Luke 7:36-50 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and Jesus went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "Say it, Teacher." "A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Simon the Pharisee assumed that Jesus would become unclean by the touch of this woman. But, instead, the touch of Jesus “cleaned” the woman.
Matthew 8:1-3 When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out his hand and... touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Everyone knows not to touch lepers. Lepers not only make you unclean, they are contagious. But, instead, of Jesus being “infected” by contact with the leper, the touch of Jesus healed his leprosy.
Mark 5:2-15 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran... and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." For Jesus was saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion, for we are many.” And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Everyone knows to stay away from crazy people. “There’s no telling what they might do!” But, instead of the demons attacking Jesus, the words of Jesus cast out the demons. The man was given his life back.
This morning, I would like to advocate that... holiness is more powerful than sin or evil.
This year we are exploring a New Covenant. Over the last several weeks, we have been working on our idea of God. As I have said, who we believe God to be is the most important idea you possess. So, at the beginning of our study into the New Covenant, we are honing our ideas about God.
We have been working on the pyramid.
So far, we have laid the foundation... God is love! That is our starting point. That has to be our starting point.
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Level Two is God is Three.
God is One and Two and Three. We think like Scripture. Sometimes the Scriptures talk of one God, at other times there are two and occasionally three.
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The doctrine of the Trinity moves from One, to Two, to Three, interchangeably.
Our thinking, like Scripture, flows between the Three as our brain needs. The point I need to repeat this morning is Jesus is the understanding of God the Father.
Hebrews 1:2-3 ...but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature...
We learn of God’s nature by observing the Son.
This morning we step up to Level Three – God is Holy.
Let’s define holy. Like many words, the word, holy, is used in a variety of ways depending on the context.
--I suspect the word, holy, is most often used, today, as an interjection; a way of expressing amazement... “Holy smoke!”, “Holy cow”, “He is a Holy terror”, or what used to be popular, “Holy Mackerel.” This morning as we discuss, “God is Holy” I am not using holy as an interjection.
--Holy is also used as judgement. A “Holier than thou” attitude is a feeling of moral superiority derived from a sense that one's actions are of greater virtue than those of the average person. “That person is “Holier than Thou”. That is not what I am talking about this morning.
--When we use the word “Holy” in a normal, non-theological discussions, we usually are referring to behavior. When we speak of someone being holy, we are talking about living moral better than most. We often equate holy with purity. They are related but pure and holy are not the same thing. I am not really talking about moral behavior, when I say God is holy.
--The scriptural meaning of holy is... set apart. Holy, fundamentally, means separate; set apart; special usage; consecrated. When discussing humans, holy means set apart for God’s use; set apart for religious function. We believe in the priesthood of all believers. We, as priests, are holy. We are set apart for sacred use. We all are to be used for God. We all are holy in our purpose of serving God.
1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to Jesus, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are set apart priest who form the temple of God!
--The holiness of God has a different meaning. God is holy means God is other. God is set apart; above us. God is not us. We are not God. Because God is pure love, He is way different than us. God’s holiness flows from his unpolluted love. His love is so pure that it makes Him different than us. This simple love drives God to always do what is right. God does not sin, because God’s motives for doing right are always pure. God is holy because God is love. God is other!
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Holiness of God is otherness.
I want to be clear at this point.
--God’s love creates His holiness...
--God’s holiness creates His purity; His sinlessness.
--God’s purity cannot be tarnished by anything. Nothing can change the holiness of God...
--God’s holiness, instead, eradicates sin.
When Jesus, the exact imprint of God’s nature, was touched by the woman at Simon’s banquet Jesus was not contaminated by the woman’s sin. Purity flowed from Jesus to the woman. The woman’s sin was forgiven. Jesus was not tarnished! God’s holiness is more powerful than sin. The holiness flowed downhill.
When Jesus, the one we know as God on earth, touched the leper, he was not stained by contact with the leper. The flow of God’s purity cleansed the leper. The flow of holiness went towards the man and cleaned him. God’s holiness is more powerful than sickness. The power of holiness flowed downhill.
When the demon-possessed man rushed toward Jesus with harmful intent, Jesus was not worried that he was going to be harmed by this demon. No, Jesus knew he was going to overcome the demons. The flow of power went from Jesus to the man! God’s holiness is more powerful than evil. Holiness flowed downhill.
God cannot be harmed by sin, or impurity, or evil. God is holy. His holiness, instead, has the opposite effect... Holiness eradicates sin. Holiness overcomes sickness. Holiness defeats evil.
Listen to Isaiah 6.
Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for. And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
God was not in danger because of Isaiah’s sinfulness. Rather, the holy, holy, holy God sent an angel to touch a coal to the mouth of Isaiah to eradicate sin. That is the nature of our God. God is love. That creates Holiness. That holiness covers sin!
God is Other than us! So other, that when we contact His holiness we are changed!
We worry about being infected.
--Your mother tells you, “Go, wash your hands. I don’t know where your hands have been.”
--You are warned, “Those people are a bad influence on you. Stay away from them.”
--We view sin like the measles. “Stay away you are going to get it.”
We think about sin and evil flowing uphill. If we come into contact, we will be harmed.
--But that is not the case with God the Father. He took Isaiah’s guilt away.
--It is not the case with Jesus. He forgave the woman. He healed the leper. He drove out evil. Purity flowed downhill.
--The Holy Spirit is the “Holy” Spirit...
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The HOLY Spirt sanctifies. The HOLY Spirit purifies us from sin. The HOLY Spirit drives out evil!
Holy, Holy, Holy points to the Trinity. The Three are Holy. From them holiness flows downhill. Sin is forgiven. Impurity is healed. Evil is defeated.
God is other than us. God is Holy, Holy, Holy!
That bit of theology changes how I live. I told you, what we believe changes how we live.
We don’t live in fear of being contaminated by the world. We live to purify the world. The holiness that we received from God the Father, by the Son, and through the Spirit... makes us contagious. We live to flow God’s holiness downhill!
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
We who are God’s chosen, holy and beloved... we flow love downhill!
Holy. God is other. God’s holiness flows downhill making us holy. We become contagious!
February 3, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ