What Does Holiness Look Like?

What follows are my notes for a Bible Study that I taught last night at church.

The term for “holy” or “holiness” occurs around 275 time in the New Testament.  Why was this concept so important to the early Christians?  And what does this look like in the 21st century?  Why is it so important to know what holiness is and what it is not?

We need to remember that writers of the New Testament carried over the idea of holiness from the Old Testament.  Many of us at Parkway are currently reading through the Bible.  During the past few weeks our readings have spoken much about being holy because God is holy.  God had much to the children of Israel about being holy and holiness.

  1. What did God tell the Israelites about being holy?
  2. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – “Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
  3. What do these verses look like in everyday life?

The New Testament writers speak of holiness as well.  Here are several verses about holiness.  We don’t have time to look at all the verses, but will sample a few.

Matthew 22:36-37: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  Jesus replied,” You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment.

John 17:9-19

9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

Here Jesus is praying for Christian to stay holy when He leaves them.

Here are several verses about holiness and that one of the reasons we need to be holy is because:

We have been purchased with the death of Christ.

  • 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. — Romans 6:22
  • 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. — Colossians 1:22

We Are the Temple of God

  • 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
  • 14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.” — 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

We Are A Living Sacrifice

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

Those Who Are Not Holy Will Not See God

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. – Hebrews 12:14-15

If We Are Holy We Will Want to Serve Each Other

  • 1 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. – 1 Corinthians 16:1
  • 15 You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. – 1 Corinthians 16:15

This is just a sampling of the verses in the New Testament that speak of holiness.  I encourage you to study more about holiness and see what God is speaking to you about holiness.  In addition, think intentionally about your body as being something holy (set apart) to God.  Ask yourself what God’s body ought to be fed, what it ought to drink, how it should exercise or care for itself, and how your relationship with others.


I Must See God In Everything I Do

I must see God in everything I do and in every aspect of my life.  My service to the church as their pastor would be a disservice if I do not.  I cannot be service driven at church, and not at home and in the community.  What evergizes me will pour out for societal gain.

David Deck


Sunday Night Thoughts

  • What an interesting weekend.  Last weekend we were basking in beautiful spring-like temps, Friday, the National Weather Service put us under a Winter Storm Watch, which was then downgraded to a Winter Weather Advisory.  The best thing of all is that none of it stuck on the roads.  I was out early this morning checking on the roads and church went on as usual.  Which I was really looking forward to.
  • It was great because this morning, I had the chance to preach.  As the Worship Pastor that’s not something I get to do very often.  I received many complimentary comments regarding the sermon.  God was with us in the service, however, it was tough for me because I was balancing the extra task of preaching.
  • The praise team did a good job and so did the bell choir.
  • I was worn out after the service, so I took a nap before choir rehearsal.
  • Choir rehearsal went well.  We have a great group of singers.
  • I am really looking forward to what God has in store this week.
  • I will be putting up not only audio, but video of our service this week, as we experiment with that.

Seize the Day!

Sunday Set List

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Third Sunday of Lent

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

The Lord’s Prayer

Special Music – Mountain Ridge Ringers

The Old Rugged Cross

Songs of Worship

Blessed Be Your Name

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

You Are My King

Connecting Through Prayer

Song of Worship

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Giving Back to God

Special Music – Mountain Ridge Ringers


Worship Through God’s Word

Do You Want to Be Clean?
II Kings 5:1-4; Titus 3:3-8

Song of Commitment

Give Us Clean Hands


Is The Lord Here With Us Or Not?


Third Sunday in Lent
March 27, 2011

Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

1 At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. 2 So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.

“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?”

3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”

4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”

5 The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

7 Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”


Unwrapping Lazarus

One Sunday I taught our preschool worship students the story about Jesus raising Lazarus. We played the game of unwrapping Lazarus, which was a game where I wrapped the each child in toilet paper then the other children would take off the toilet paper. As I got ready to teach this story, my mind started to think about the time I heard the story of Lazarus preached by Bud Bence.  As he was preaching, he asked “Could you imagine what it was like when Lazarus came out of the grave?” As he talking about Lazarus coming out of the grave, he was acting it out too. In his sermon, Bud talked about what Lazarus smelled like because he was dead for four days. When Lazarus came out of the tomb, it would have been messy.  Are we afraid to help those who don’t know Jesus because it might be messy? When I was planning to teach this story and thinking about the sermon, I thought what it was like to unwrap him. Not only did he smell but was there were decaying parts on his body. When you work with and help sinners you may have to peel back years of sin and that there might be some scars from their sinful life. It may not be always pretty what you find.  When we see what is under the wrappings, we remember that God loved us when he saw what was under our wrappings before we were saved.

When My Service Becomes an Act of Worship

I put a high premium on service.  Since I’m not a particularly musical person, my concept of worship goes well beyond singing praise and worship songs; in fact, at times I may be more dismissive of this form of worship than I should be.  I listen to myself and those around me sing songs of incredible commitment, making seemingly heartfelt promises — but how many of them will we actually keep?  Yes, in some sense music helps us rest and revel in God’s presence, but too often we walk out of church and go our own selfish ways.  I can find no verses in the New Testament in which Jesus commanded his disciples to sing songs for at least a half hour once a week, but I can hardly go two pages without coming across Jesus’ call to commitment, a call he applied and fulfilled in glorious fashion…We don’t turn this relationship on and off; it has to remain the tenor of our lives.  I can’t ignore God for days on end and then get in front of a group and expect to rest in and rely on his empowering presence.  But when my life becomes a prayer, when my service becomes an act of worship, when God-granted humility becomes my companion, then relying on God becomes the only thing I know how to do.  There is no other way…when we work with God instead of for God, our sweat creates an intimacy.  In fact, it becomes an act of adoration and worship.

Gary Thomas – The Beautiful Fight: Surrendering to the Transforming Presence of God Every Day of Your Life.