Faded Glory : Holy, Holy, Holy
November 10, 2019, 11:15AM
I made a statement last week that I think shocked some people. I could tell, your heads kind of snapped back when I said this and it was about a character quality of God. It was about the essence of God. Here’s what I said, and I want you to think about this because what I’m going to say is totally and completely correct. It’s biblical, but when I say it, you’re going to think, “Surely that’s not true.” The number one attribute of God is not love. I told you. The chief quality of God, let me say it again, is not one of love. In our culture, we would rather have a God who’s happy and peppy and bursting with love as opposed to a God of judgment, a God of purity, a God of righteousness. We want God to sort of be a little bit above us so we’re not too convicted. Just kind of the Prozac Jesus, the pale, frail, blue-eyed, decaf sipping, white boy Jesus.
Jesus, come on, I’ll do what I want to do with my career, with my life, with my sexuality, with my behavior. And you could just come on and just kind of, you just kind of follow me around and when I need you I’ll call on you because you’re there to make me happy. The Bible says from cover to cover that the chief quality of God is one of holiness. Holiness, we don’t really hear a lot of talk about holiness anymore. We’d rather talk about abundance, blessings, your best life, not the holiness of God. Because if we talk about the holiness of God, the implications are pretty incredible, aren’t they? God is a God who is holy. In this series called A Faded Glory, we’ve been saying around here that the glory of God is who God is. And it’s hard to even get our minds around the glory of God. In fact, we can never ever understand or comprehend the glory of God. We never will.
The Bible does though give us some great words. It says that we have an opportunity because we’re mirrors made in the majesty of our maker. Once we turn our mirrors toward God and away from ourselves, kind of like the flip feature on your phone and my phone, you know, we do that all the time, once we get it off the selfie and and turn it and turn it to God, that is when we become followers of Christ. We ask Jesus Christ to come into our lives. We’re made to mirror him to glorify God in everything we do, say, touch, and feel because God glorifies God and everything he does says, touches, and feels. We’re to glorify God. We’re to advertise his attributes and actions, to glorify God. It’s easy to say, it’s difficult to understand, and it’s challenging, quite frankly, to do, yet that is why we’re here, to reflect the glory of God.
The glory of God is intrinsic to God, it’s self defining, self perpetuating. It’s independent. He doesn’t need glory from someone or something else to be more glorious. It’s also invitational. Isn’t that good that God invites us to be sharers of his glory because we’re made again in the image of God and when God looks at your life and mine, he wants to see reflected back who he is? And inherently, I have some qualities of God. So do you, just inherently. Like love. I’m just all about love. And commitment. Human beings, we have that. That’s inherent from God. I would say that. We have forgiveness. I like to forgive most people. But I’ll tell you something that we don’t have. We don’t have omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence. I’ll tell you something we really don’t have. We ain’t gotten holiness. No, it’s not there.
Holiness comes from outside of us, but God, understand this now because the Bible says the number one reason why we’re to worship God is his holiness, holiness is intrinsic. The holiness of God is intrinsic. See this Bible right here, this Bible, get a good shot of this Bible, is 40 years old. My parents gave this Bible to me when I graduated from high school. Intrinsically, it’s cheap. Cheap leather, paper with ink on the paper, it has very little intrinsic value. Extrinsically, it’s priceless to me, because of what it means. I haven’t used this Bible to preach from recently, and I was looking through it. In fact, this fell out in the first service. I saved a love letter from Lisa that she wrote me when I was 18 years old. Do you want to hear it?
And I’m serious. Oh, it’s hot. Dear Edwin B., Because my name is Edwin Barret Young. I think about you all of the time and that’s the truth. All I can do is think about the time when I’ll be with you again. I hope that will be soon because it seems like a month until I last saw you. I don’t want to read you the rest, but love always and forever. Lisa. It’s apropos that this love letter was in this Bible because this Bible is a big honking love letter to you and me. “Wait a minute, Ed. I thought you said the chief quality of God is one of holiness.” It is. Everything flows from his holiness. His love is a holy love, which is love on a holy another level.
His grace is a Holy grace. His mercy is a holy mercy. His omnipotence is a holy omnipotence. It’s intrinsic. It’s independent. God’s not looking, “Oh yeah, pour some more holiness into my life. Hey Ed, if you live a Holy life, man, that’ll make me more whole.” God’s not saying that. He is. Last week we talked about the is-ness of God. He is glory. He is holy. Today, we’re talking about the otherness of God. To be holy means to be separate. God’s holiness is intrinsic. It’s independent. God doesn’t have to share it with you and me. He does, but he doesn’t have to, he’s God. And it’s invitational. Have you ever thought about the invitation that we have to glorify God? How about his holiness? We’re not holy. I’m not holy. I’m a sinner. God’s not going to hydroplane over his holiness. God is separate.
Holiness is like it. He can’t even wink at sin or say, “Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. Sin has to have a payment.” Sin has to have a payment. God’s so holy that he judged the sin of his son on the cross. The sinless one became sin, God judged him. God gives you and me an opportunity to give our lives to Christ. His holiness, once we make that decision, once we turned the mirrors away from ourselves and to him, once we pressed the flip feature, his holiness and righteousness, it’s imputed into our lives. So when God sees me or you, he doesn’t see Ed Young self centered sinner. He sees the holiness and the righteousness of his son. Is that awesome? How awesome is our great God?
I have a friend of mine, he has this little ranch outside of Waco. And I guess he’s a friend because I have to pay him to fish in his lakes. I’ve often wondered, maybe you wouldn’t like me if I didn’t pay him, but I do and I’ll pay a lot to fish, I just love it. This guy has some lakes full of bass and man, the bass fishing is ridiculous. The other day I was there with EJ, kind of a father son thing, and I had to get through this gate in the middle of nowhere, dark 30, and the guy texted me the code. And I was a little bit nervous because he was like, “Make sure to close the gate really, really fast because there’s deer and these deer can get out,” and et cetera, et cetera. So the gate opened.
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:12:04]
The gate opened. We drove through. Now the moment of truth, another code to close this stupid thing. It closed. Now, we’re in a bass fishing paradise. The holiness of God is the code that opens us up to the character and the nature and the glory of God. It’s about his holiness. He’s separate. There’s no one like him. His holiness is intrinsic. It’s independent. It’s invitational, but we didn’t like to hear about it. But I’m telling you when we understand it and as we look into the face of God reflected back to us is who we really are, and that makes us nervous, but we’re going to find out something great is going to happen.
I want to talk to you about a guy who lived 2,500 years ago. His name was Isaiah, and Isaiah was great at pointing out sins in other people’s lives. I’ll be honest with you, I’m great at that too. I’m great at criticizing people. I amaze myself. Hell, I’m much better than her. I’m better than him. Now, I’m not sure if I’m better than him but all these other people. Are we good at that? We really are, but you can find out when we stand before the brilliant blaze of God’s glory and holiness, we’re not going to worry about other people that much anymore.
Isaiah didn’t worry about all the other hypocrites he was calling out. Do we have hypocrites all around us or what? I did a series years ago called I’m a Big Hypocrite. I had everyone admit their hypocrisy. Let’s do it again. On the count of three, say I’m a big hypocrite. One, two, three. I’m a big hypocrite. Some of you didn’t say anything. You’re like somewhere like, some go I’m a big… No, no, no, no. I’m a hypocrite. I admit it. You’re a hypocrite too. Say one thing. Do another. You ever done that? Well, you’re a hypocrite. So Isaiah is calling out these people and in Isaiah chapter five, he’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Almost sounds like a hip hop song. Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Well then, Isaiah 6, he faces God. He sees God, and this is one of the great interchanges in scripture. If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Isaiah, Isaiah chapter and you’ll notice a BEAUTIFUL COLLISION, a beautiful collision. Then we’re going to find out not only did he have a beautiful collision, he had a IMPACTFUL CONVICTION, and we’re going to end this talk today talking about his WONDERFUL CONDITION. Those sound great, don’t they? Amen?
That’s what I thought you said. Amen means so let it be. So Isaiah 6:1-4 (NKJV), “In the year that King Uzziah died,” now Uzziah was this powerful king in Judah. You’re like, why would Isaiah write that? What’s so important in the year that King Uzziah died? Well, it’s important if you’re King Uzziah. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.” That’s huge. He was transported in a vision to the throne room of God, Isaiah was. I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up. In my opening remarks, what do we do? We want to kind of put God down. He’s just kind of above us.
If we saw how vast and how massive and how sovereign and how supreme God was, and if we thought about it, we wouldn’t believe it. It’s like you’re sitting on the beach. I have to be careful in these pants. I ripped these pants last year, and so I had them sewn and anyway, Lisa told me, she goes, “Honey, I don’t know if you should wear those pants. You ripped them the last time.” I said, “I know, but I want to take a fashion risk.” Fashion is not always comfortable. Did you know that? If you’re into comfort, you’ll never be into fashion. I’m into fashion and some stuff I wear right now, it’s just uncomfortable. This vest, I’m hot in it, but it’s fashionable. It’s kind of tight. These pants, I need to lose a little bit of weight, but problem areas, et cetera, but hopefully I won’t rip these pants. I mean, it was an embarrassing rip. I was backstage. I just buckled my shoe and I’m like, what was that?
You’re sitting on the beach and you see a little wave, no big deal. Just a little wave. You say to yourself, “Oh look at this little wave.” Little do you realize 238,000 miles away, a big old moon has caused that wave. We go through life. We see the glory of God in an animal and a plant. In bass fishing paradise, we see the bass. It’s the glory of God. There’s something much bigger, much grander. The holiness of God behind it all. So Isaiah goes, wow, you’re “high and lifted up” and check this out. This is like freaky, verse two. “Above it stood seraphim. Each had six wings. With two, he covered his face. With two, he covered his feet. With two he flew.” Whoa. “And one cried…” or you could say one sang to another and said, say it with me. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out and the house was filled with smoke.”
The only time God is described like this is in Isaiah and Revelation, Isaiah and Revelation three times, three peat, holy, holy, holy. When a Hebrew writer wanted to emphasize something on a, I’ll say it again, whole another level, they said it three times. You’re never going to see love, love, love, omniscience, omniscience, omniscience, grace, grace, grace, mercy, mercy, mercy. Only holy, holy, holy. Once again, it’s the other ness of God. God is set apart. No one or nothing can compare to him. He’s holy. If we knew how holy he was, our brains would explode. God is holy. He is glory.
Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV), I love this, Texas. It says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” We say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Well true. God implores us to glorify him and to be holy. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:16 (NASB), “You shall be holy for I am holy.” We can’t get holiness inside of us. We can’t conjure it up. It has to come, let me say it again, from the outside, the gospel comes from the outside in, then the person of the Holy Spirit works inside of our lives as we live a holistic holy life.
Why are we so intrigued with Whole Foods and grass fed beef? I want everything to be pure. Could it be that this is just a little sliver of wanting to reflect the glory of God?
So it was a beautiful collision Isaiah had with God. Notice this IMPACTFUL CONVICTION. Isaiah 6:5-7 (NKJV), “So I said, woe is me for I am undone.” I mean, I’m unhinged. I’m just messed up. He wasn’t thinking about the other people. Yeah, my father. Yeah, my coach. Yeah, that girl. What they said about me on social media. No, no, no, no, no, no. Wow, “I am a man of unclean lips.” When he saw the holiness of God, he saw the sinfulness in his life.
I’ll say it again. The closer we walk with God, the more we’ll be convicted of our sin and the less we’ll worry about the sin in other people’s lives. You might be going, whoa, man, I feel more sinful now than I did last year. It could be because you’re walking closer to the Lord. Well, when I go to church, I don’t want to feel guilty. You’re going to feel guilty sometimes. When I go to church, I don’t want to feel shameful. You’re going to feel shameful. This is Isaiah. We don’t have any Isaiah’s here, that’s part of it. So “I’m a man of unclean lips.” Why the mouth? Because out of the heart, and I know a lot about the heart, flows what’s really inside of our lives.
I mean, I shouldn’t say some of the things I say about people. And then I should say some things I should say about people. This gets me in trouble and Isaiah has been up in the grill of all these people and now all of a sudden, I’m undone. “I’m 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 live coal, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips. Your iniquity, “sin,” has been taken away and your sin purged.” How great is that? God is so Holy, so righteous, so loving, so forgiving, he even will forgive my sin and your sin. Yeah, we think we have degrees of sin, don’t we?
We have 10 campuses at Fellowship Church. It’s kind of strange because sometimes if I’m here I’m thinking like, “Well, this is Fellowship Church. No. I mean, I’ve a hard time even getting around my little brain all the other campuses. Three of our campuses are in prisons.
I know what we think. “Well, at least I’m not in prison. I’ve done some bad stuff, but I’m not like one of those inmates, those men or women.” I know. In God’s economy, we are. Sin is sin whether I lie or whether I rob a bank, and in God’s economy we commit one sin, we’re in prison. We deserve the wrath of God. We deserve judgment. But what did God do? God sent his son Jesus to live a holy life, a righteous life, to take your sin and mine. And once again, think about the holiness of God. He did judge Jesus because he took voluntarily your sin and mine. Powerful stuff, is it not?
Notice the repentance, the turning, the confession. I’m undone. I’m a man. I’m a woman of unclean lips. Look at this WONDERFUL CONDITION. Verse eight. Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV), “I heard the voice of the Lord saying,” this is after confession, after cleansing, “whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Us. God, the father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit. Three in one, one and three. Why did the seraphim say, “Glory, glory, glory?” One glory for God the Father, another glory for God the Son, another glory for God the Holy Spirit.
“So who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send him.” Wait a minute. Here I am, and I’ll do what you want me to do if it’s in a really cool place. Maybe Aspen or Paris. Is that what it says? No, no. Maybe he just said, “Here I am,” like, “Here’s my location.” No, no, no, no, no, no. Isaiah, his response, “Here am I. Send me.” God, I want to walk in your will. I believe, God, living a holy and righteous life is the way I’m hardwired to live. We’re hardwired to live a holy life, to die to self and live for God, to allow the Holy Spirit in everything we do, say, touch, and feel. Everything I do, my behavior. Everything I say, my communication. Everything I touch physically. And everything I feel emotionally.
We walk throughout the day. God, am I reflecting your holiness? Holy Spirit, am I reflecting your holiness? Positionally as believers, we’re holy. We know that, but think about the foundation. Our foundation is the cross. Now, can you imagine building a dog house and your foundation is big enough for a skyscraper? So I know a lot of people will say they’re Christians, and I guess they are. They prayed the prayer and their foundation is the cross, yet they have a dog house built on top of it. Where’s the holiness? Where’s the reflectivity? Because when people who don’t know God look around for him, they can see him in your life and mine as we’re mirrors, as we’re that reflective gear. You ever seen people wear the reflective gear? Absorbs that light, then reflects it? That’s you should be. That’s who I should be. And God wants us to do so. Hebrews 12:14. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.
Have you made the choice to give your life to Christ? Because if you’re relying on your holiness outside of Jesus, holy ain’t holy enough. Good isn’t good enough. We’ve learned, though, that God has got enough. God saw our sin. He saw us hydroplaning over holiness. He knows your shams and mind and your coverups in your sins and your iniquities. Jesus. He sent Jesus to live this holy life, to take the punishment of sin from a holy God on the cross, to die and to rise again, and you, my friend, can make that decision to receive Christ.
And how do I do it? By flipping your phone off of self and onto the savior, by saying, “Jesus, I ask you to come into my life.” Many of you need to make that decision because the holiness of God is waiting for you to make it. There are others here, you’re like me, you’ve been a Christian maybe for awhile. I’ve been a Christian for a long time. And maybe, just maybe the Holy Spirit is saying, “In this area of holiness, Ed, what you do, what you say, what you touch, what you feel, I mean, are you really thinking about that? Are you really listening to the power of the Holy Spirit?” You mean, Ed, you’re seeing his little waves and think, “Oh, man, nice little wave” when there’s something and someone massive behind it. So what does God see when he looks into your mirror? And more importantly, what do you see when you look into the mirror of our holy God?
I want us to conclude this sermon by making a DECLARATION. I’ve written this out and I want us to say this together, and only say it if you mean it. There’s power in a declaration. There’s power in confessing truth. Let’s do it together. I commit to reflect Your glory in everything I do, say, touch, and feel. I confess my sins before You and turn from them to live a life of holiness. Here I am, send me.
Let’s pray together.
As our heads are bowed and eyes are closed, the first prayer I’m going to pray will be for those here who need to just press the flip feature on your life and turn to Jesus. Here’s how you do it. Just simply say this to yourself. Just say, “God, I admit to you that I’m a sinner and I’m unholy. I turn from my sins, God, and turn to Jesus. I believe.” Just confess this. “I believe that you sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins to rise again,” and during this point in time, during this moment, you might be on the back row, you might be watching this online, you might be at a prison campus, you might be somewhere around the world watching this on television. You say, “Jesus Christ, I ask you to come into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I give you everything I am now and everything I’ll ever become.”
As our heads are bowed and eyes are closed, I’m going to ask you to do something on the count of three. On the count of three, if you prayed that prayer with me for the first time, I’m going to ask you to lift your hand. One, two, three. Hands going up if you prayed that. Awesome. Down front, to the side, keep your hand up. Awesome. All people, all sorts of age groups. Keep your hand up. Just slip your hand up. Awesome. Awesome. Incredible. Incredible. I see it. I see it. Men, women, students, even children, and let’s give them a crazy round of applause because right now, you, my friend, and from this day forward are holy in the sight of God.