Called to Be Holy
October 12, 2020
CALLED TO BE HOLY
Paul has earned the right to teach us. He has earned the right by his faithfulness, by his honesty, by his humble attitude, by his perseverance, and by his efforts to see that we receive the Truths of God’s Word. As Paul wrote to Timothy: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (843)
Paul has not only earned the right to preach to us and teach us, he has earned the right to call us out and call us to God’s service and even more importantly, call us to be Holy. Look at his first letter to the Corinthians. In his address, the beginning, he sends that letter to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — their Lord and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:1-2) (806) As we read this letter that is addressed to the Corinthians, we can read it as if it is addressed to us, “To the church of God at Bostwick,” because it is. To those Sanctified in Christ Jesus, that’s us, we have been and are being Sanctified by Jesus Christ. Through the leadings of the Holy Spirit we are moving on to Sanctification, as John Wesley would put it. And Paul goes on to say it to those “Called to be Holy.” If we are Sanctified, then we are Holy. How Holy do you feel at this moment? I believe the sense of Holiness may be something like those glimpses of God we get from time-to-time. They can be oh so fleeting, oh so brief. But, once we’ve felt it or seen it, we want to seek it all the more.
Being Called to be like Christ, we are Called to be Holy. We are called to be God’s Saints, his representatives here on earth. We are called to be the representatives of Christ in this world. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV) (817)
Paul repeats this call to us in various ways in his salutations in many of his letters. Take a look at a few of them here:
Romans 1:7 – To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (795)
2 Corinthians 1:1-2 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (816)
Ephesians 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus (827)
Philippians 1:1 – Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi (830)
Colossians 1:2 – To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (833)
The Apostle Peter gives us even more instruction on this calling and how it relates to us and our Heavenly Father.
1 Peter 1:15-16 – But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (857) When he says for it is written Peter is referring to Old Testament Scripture where God calls us to be Holy: I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44-45) (78)
Therefore, let us respond to Paul’s and Peter’s calls to be Holy, to grow in Christ, to become the Saints we are called to be. That’s easily said isn’t it? Typing this was the easy part. As you are responsible for becoming those Holy Saints, (some of you are well on your way) I am responsible for leading you there. One good way to accomplish this is for us make sure we stay in the Word and look, regularly, at how we are to be and how we are to respond. Notice I said we. I have work to do, also. Let’s look at one more place that shows us what Holy Worship by Saints looks like. Go to Isaiah 6:1-8, you’ll recognize this as one of my favorite Scripture.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8 (NIV) (487)
Want to be more Holy? Want to be “Saintlier?” Respond as Isaiah did, “Here am I. Send me!”
Begin by staying deep in the Scriptures, stay deep in the Word of God. When I give you Scripture references, look them up, then read more of the Scripture around them, before and after. Build that longing in your heart that King David tells us about, “As the deer pants for streams of water,” (Psalm 42) Build that longing in your hearts… For we are called to be Holy!
Bostwick UMC 10/11/20
Perfect Sermon as always! Thank you Doug