Tuesday, December 25, 2007

HOLY is the LORD

I will not be continuing my Creationism posts today. I do plan to return to them soon.

Then, I plan to answer the response about Iraq. I am sorry for the change in plans. Plans, in reality, often are altered for one reason or another. “The best laid plans … often go astray.” Thank you for your understanding and patience.

How many unborn toddlers were murdered today because of the humanistic, paganish, barbaric decisions of the United States Supreme Court?

Stop the
Murder of

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4: 17 (NIV)







The following is from http://www.searchtv.org/.

“Holy is the Lord
Exodus 3: 1-6

God is revered very little in our present culture, even in much of American style Christianity. Virtually nothing is being said about His absolute holiness. So, it just may be that we’ll be addressing one of our nation’s greatest needs today. We’re calling our study, ‘Holy Is the Lord.’ We pray you’ll be blessed. Greetings to you, my friend.
Welcome to our Bible study program, In Search of the Lord’s Way to become a Christian and to be a Christian. We’re so pleased to have you with us today and we pray we’ll both be blessed by our study together. God is often rejected in our society, and is more often than that—‘downsized’ by American style Christianity. I have to speak about ‘American style Christianity,’ because so very much of what’s taught and preached in our country nowadays as Christianity is not Christianity at all that you read about in your New Testament. There is reason for hope, though. Some men of prominence in various religious groups are seeing some of that inconsistency, and are speaking up and writing about it. While we wouldn’t agree on everything they say and they wouldn’t agree with everything we say, we see the evil treatment that God is getting these days and are writing and speaking about it. They—and I—can spell ‘God’ with a capital ‘G’, though. My friend, God is not a myth or an image or a hallucination. God is real and authentic. He’s not the god of the street language that’s made its way into the common vernacular in movies and TV and entertainment today. He’s the one and Holy God in whom we can put our trust and our faith. We’ve titled today’s program, ‘Holy Is the Lord.’

But, before we get to the message, let me remind you, that you may have a CD or an audio cassette tape—or a printed copy of it absolutely free, simply by sending your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083 or by internet to searchtv@searchtv.org. If you prefer to call, you may use our toll-free telephone number 1-800-321-8633. Ken Helterbrand’s going to lead us now as we sing.

We’re reading today from the third chapter of the book of Exodus, beginning at verse 1. ‘Now Moses was attending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.’ So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.’ And I read through verse 6. You may want to read farther than that in your private reading. Now let’s go to God in prayer. Holy God, we respect and revere you as our one and only Holy Father. We know our weaknesses in our humanity and we seek your forgiveness for all of our irreverences in the past. And beg your presence and your blessings upon our study this hour. In the name of your Holy Son, we pray, Jesus Christ, Amen!

If you read the Bible any at all, or if you grew up attending Sunday school just about anywhere, you’re probably familiar with the story of someone named ‘Moses’ at a burning bush. Well, we read a part of the Biblical account of that before the hymn. The incident is the occasion of God’s call of Moses to lead His people out of some four hundred years of slavery in Egypt. Even though the Bible says nothing about it, we have reason to conclude that Moses was a believer in God even before the incident. The second chapter of Exodus details some of the marvelous story of his birth and a little bit about his early life. There are some things recorded there that cause us to question the measure of his faith in God, however. Brought up as a grandson in the palace of the King of Egypt, he's exiled in the land of Midian where we found him when we saw him at the burning bush, a while ago. He’s herding his father-in-law’s sheep. He saw a bush over there. It was on fire—it was burning; but it was not being burned up or consumed by the fire! Amazing! Fantastic! Even Miraculous! (Yes! my friend, that was a miracle.) The like of which you don’t see anymore. He drew closer. And GOD spoke to him. Oh, you’ve probably heard preachers say ‘God spoke to me’ so many times you can’t even count them. But, I’m saying to you now that God, I mean the Almighty Creator, the all-loving Father in heaven, the one and only absolutely Holy God really did speak to Moses. Believe me, this isn’t something that happens to every Tom, Dick and Mary Jane who comes along and makes the claim. God really did speak to Moses.

What happened, friend, is that God said to Moses: ‘Do not draw near to this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ The God we read about in the Bible demands of us absolute respect and reverence when we approach Him in prayer and in worship. Too often some of us read ‘the place where you stand is holy ground,’ and miss the meaning of the whole story. The ‘old friend,’ ‘the palsies, walsy,’ modern casual approach to God isn’t only offensive to God, it’s even repulsive and totally unacceptable. It reduces Him to a ‘manageable god,’ spelled with a small ‘g.’ But God is not such a god. ‘He is not a man’ (Job 9: 32); not even a great man. That’s exactly what God was saying, ‘Do not draw near.’ Don’t get too close as one version says. Don’t become too intimate. Furthermore, in the presence of that Holiness, Moses ‘hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.’ That’s in verse 6. Well, he was also driven from within to show the deepest reverence for God. From that moment, there’s never been any question in our hearts about the greatness of Moses’ faith.

What a contrast with our times. The name of God is most often used as a part of an exclamation of surprise,—or it may even be fear. The very word ‘God’ is so thoughtlessly and carelessly tossed about in our 21st century American speech that it’s even become useless and vain. That’s a serious offense to God, because His name is not to be so used. It was strictly forbidden in the Ten Commandments. ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.’ (Exodus 20 verse 7). Although that’s serious enough, people show disrespect in other ways, too. God’s Holy Word, the Bible, is ignored sometimes and sometimes even ridiculed, even altered to fit the wills and the wants of men. And, ‘God’ is a forbidden word in public assemblies, especially government operated schools. His name is being removed from public places even in our capital city. One of the great tragedies is that many of us are trying to navigate through life without the help of God, who gave us life.

Even supposed Christians sometimes fail to have a proper respect for the holiness of God. In his book, ‘The Knowledge of the Holy,’ A. W. Tozer wrote about...’the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind.’ He said, ‘The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of Christian life has resulted from one basic error in our religious thinking.’ Furthermore, he said, ‘It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back a spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.’ Well, he is so right about those things, isn’t he? Several things about God clearly reflect His holiness, calling us to a greater respect and honor of Him.

FIRST, God is Holy in His nature. Man’s disrespect for Him doesn’t change God’s character. God doesn’t just go away because man ignores Him. He’s still Holy. There are two places in Scripture that picture a heavenly scene and each one ends with the affirmation: holy, holy, holy is the Lord. One is the call of Isaiah in chapter six, verses one to three of His prophecy. Isaiah was shown a vision of heaven. He says He ‘saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.’ He saw angels (seraphim). ‘And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’’ Oh yes! Well, we had a whole program about that recently. And I plan another about this scene before much longer.

The other heavenly scene is recorded in Revelation chapter 4 verse 8. There the apostle John, exiled on the Island of Patmos for his testimony of the gospel of Christ (Revelation 1: 9), was worshiping on the ‘Lord’s Day.’ And he was shown a vision of heaven with God on the throne and worshippers surrounding Him. The message that was constantly proclaimed ‘day and night’ was ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’ In both of these scenes the word ‘Holy’ is used three times, in an attempt to convey to man that no man is absolute in this attribute, only God. He isn’t just holy sometimes, or in some of the things that He does. He didn’t receive His holiness from another source. He didn’t learn to be holy either by teaching or by practice. He is holy. Now, men may ignore it, but He is so Holy by His very nature.

NEXT: GOD is holy because He is uniquely different. The word ‘unique’ is used here in its classical meaning, ‘one and only.’ In the visions of Isaiah and John, which we just referenced, there are various figures present, but only One who is on the throne, and that one is God. The book of Deuteronomy is a ‘restatement, or repetition of the law’ and it says this: ‘Therefore, know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on earth beneath; there is no other’ (Deuteronomy 4: 39). Six times in the book of Isaiah God says, ‘I am God and there is no other god.’ And three times, ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other,’ and the two statements appear together once (Isaiah chapter 44 verse 8).

Man has always had his idols. They are innumerable, but there is only one God. That uniqueness is expressed in the language of the two visions that we’ve just cited. Isaiah saw God sitting ‘on the throne...’ Only one can occupy a throne. No other being can be described thusly, my friend. In Revelation the praise rang out, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’ God is unique because He is eternal. The concept of ‘holy’ is ‘set apart.’ God is Holy because He is the one and only.

THEN: God is holy in His purity. This is the sense in which most of us use the words holy and holiness, but that’s only one of its meanings. First John 1: 5 says, ‘God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.’ Darkness here refers to evil and the practice of evil. And God is the very opposite of evil; and is opposed to every form of evil. He is absolutely pure. James 1: 13 says, ‘Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted of evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.’ The Bible affirms, ‘It is impossible for God to lie’ (Hebrews 6: 18). By His very nature God is sinlessly pure, and He simply cannot participate in anything that is evil. Now the practical side of all this for us is that the words of God are pure and holy, therefore they bring a blessing into our lives. The idea that some have, that the Bible is harmful to the full and complete development of the person that we can be, is a gross error, my friend. It can’t be so. Psalm 19: 8 says of God, ‘Your word is very pure; Therefore, Your servant loves it.’ And so, God’s holiness is seen in the fact that He is pure and His purity leads His people to the purity of the word, the Bible.

NEXT: God is holy in His goodness. The apostle Paul encourages us to ‘...consider the goodness...of God’ (Romans 11: 22). And James says to us, ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning’ (James 1: 17). One of the Psalms shouts at us, ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will be withheld from those who walk uprightly’ (that’s Psalm 84 verse 11) And David in one of his psalms says, ‘How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust in the shadow of Your wings’ (Psalm 36 and 7). God also spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord’ (Jeremiah 9: 24). When asked by one of His disciples, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us,’ Jesus answered, ‘He who has seen Me, has seen the Father’ (John 14: 8-9). We know something of the goodness of God by observing Jesus’ life. And one of the shortest biographies of Jesus is given by the apostle Peter and is recorded in Acts 10: 38. ‘He went about doing good.’

Finally, God is Holy in His justice. When I referenced Romans 11: 22 earlier, I passed over some of the words in that verse in order to emphasize God’s goodness. I’m sure now that some of you noticed it. It was intentional. The full sentence reads, ‘Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God.’ We studied God’s goodness then, now let’s study His severity. Oh, but some would rather not to think of His holiness as severe judge. Yet, a failure—or may I say, refusal to think of God’s righteous judgment on evil, molds Him into a kind of a god like we think God ought to be like. And that’s idolatry, friend. That’s the kind of a god, well that the devil is in disguise. I know that’s the god that’s being preached and taught in some—well—most places. When we’ve done that, we’ve made Him into a ‘manageable god,’ one that is unable to lift us to any higher than we are able to go without him—or without her (the manageable, people created god—my addition). The goodness of God is seen clearly when it’s viewed in the light of His judgment on evil. God is holy even in His judgments. Psalm 33 and 5, ‘He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.’ Righteousness and goodness are seen most clearly, not in denial of evil or in tolerance of evil, but in just judgment upon evil. God would not be a Holy God, if He did not render just judgment on evil. Let us pray. Thank you Lord, for your blessings, for your presence with us, for your Holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Even though we’ve all sinned, we can have peace with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. But God does command us all, all men everywhere to repent because He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ (Acts 17: 30). If you haven’t done so, you also need to be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord, as Saul was told to do in Acts 22: 16. Oh no, the water doesn’t wash away our sins. Of course not. It’s the blood of Christ that does that (Revelation 1: 5), when you are baptized into Christ's death then you reach the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and you must go there to reach that blood. Do it soon, will you? God Bless you. It has been a pleasure to have you with us today. Hope you will be back next week. We love you.”

A little further (after saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” in chapter five of the book of Revelation it declares “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousands times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb (the LAMB is JESUS, the CHRIST, the SON of GOD—my addition) who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5: 11-14 (NIV)



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