1Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
“Skip it if you’re not interested. But holiness is not optional for the Christian. It is not an elective. It is your major… You began to be sanctified when you placed your faith in Christ. At that very time God set you apart for his special use. He also began a process in you designed to fit you for that use and to impart holiness to you. It may be that the process, because of your unfaithfulness or your misunderstanding, has ground to a halt. If so, there is no delay at God’s end. The Holy Spirit is ready to get on with his part.” [John White, The Fight, 181, 189]
We are holy because of Christ and because we have the Holy Spirit. Now we work at our major – wholly holy. The difficulty we can often have with being holy is when we measure ourselves by what we’re producing or not doing, rather than out of God’s holiness. It’s up to us to continually agree with the Holy Spirit’s process designed to make us fit to be used by God and to impart holiness.
Prayer: God, help me to surrender to your process of transformation. Help me to be holy out of your holiness by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Let’s worship to “Hymn of Surrender” (click here) by Matt Redman.
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV) 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!”
“Now, for the first time, God speaks. It is as if Isaiah was not ready to hear before this moment, as if the possibility of service could not be appreciated until this time… Having believed with certainty that he was about to be crushed into non-existence by the very holiness of God and having received an unsought for, and unmerited, complete cleansing, what else would he rather do than hurl himself into God’s service? Those who need to be coerced are perhaps too little aware of the immensity of God’s grace toward them.” [John Oswalt, NICOT: Isaiah, 185-186]
This magnificent obsession is a holy obsession. God’s holiness reveals the truth of who he is and who we are, but it doesn’t just leave us where we’re at. Instead of remaining in despair and being crushed because of our unholiness, we can arise in Christ through his glorious work on the cross and resurrection power. It’s the experience of God’s immense grace that gives us longing to follow him and to live in his holiness.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your immense grace. Help me to come into your presence and open my heart to wholly worship you. Grant me a holy obsession that follows your every leading. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Isaiah 6:5 (NIV) “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.”
“His profession of faith has been orthodox but empty, with little heart-awareness of the grandeur of God… The most telling indicator that God’s grace is renewing us is not when we say all the right things about his grace but when we stop putting ourselves above others, and even above God.” [Raymond Ortlund, Jr, Isaiah, 79]
Isaiah was undone when he encountered the Lord. God’s holiness had revealed the condition of his heart and of the people. Isaiah realized that dirty lips were just a small part of a bigger problem. It was in God’s holiness that he recognized how dirty he was all over – a spiritual sickness that was in his heart and a spiritual pandemic that plagued the people around him. Sometimes we don’t even realize our own condition. We can become so self-absorbed and acclimated to what’s around us that our hearts suffer from this same spiritual sickness. When we lift our eyes onto God and actually encounter his holiness, even for a moment or a glimpse, we become undone. This is a good thing because God’s holiness reveals what truly afflicts and hinders us. It’s at that point that we can be healed and purified by his grace.
Prayer: Lord, help me to fix my gaze on you and to be undone by your holiness. I am in utter need of your grace. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Isaiah 6:3 (NIV) And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
“’Holy, holy, holy’ is not just repetition; it is emphasis. It isn’t one + one + one; it’s perfection x perfection x perfection. The holiness of God distinguishes him absolutely… His holiness is simply his God-ness in all his attributes, works, and ways. And he is not just holy; he is ‘holy, holy, holy,’ each word boosting the force of the previous one exponentially.” [Raymond Ortlund, Jr., Isaiah, 77]
There’s an association between the Lord’s holiness and glory. God’s glory fills this whole earth and his holiness ensures such; or, his holiness is about his glory. As much as God’s holiness is this exponentially infinite perfection that illuminates any unholiness that separates us from him, God’s holiness also reveals his glory and purpose in the world. This glory is found in our Lord Jesus Christ who has removed that very separation by his holy sacrifice. Today, take time to repeatedly pray and declare Isaiah 6:3 above.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Holy One. The whole earth is full of your glory. Open my eyes as I fix my gaze on you. I lay my thoughts and my heart before you and ask that your glory and purpose would be revealed. It’s in your name I pray, amen.
Let’s worship to “Holy, Holy, Holy” (click here) by Audrey Assad.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
“Faith is the means by which Christians do business beyond time and space and bring to pass otherwise unrealizable hopes.” (John White, The Fight)
“While, certainly the concept of faith includes right knowledge about God and who Jesus is, ‘faith’ as we will see today is in the realm of reality and response, not in theories and hypotheticals. Especially at this moment when there is so much uncertainty and upheaval in our daily life and in society as a whole, we need a faith that is beyond just thoughts or words, we need a faith that moves mountains of doubt, a faith to fight the good fight when it seems easier to quit.” (P. Nate’s message)
As God is at work in our lives to make our faith more genuine by how we go through life trials and struggles, we also get to experience the inexpressible and glorious joy of our salvation!
Let’s sing, “Worthy” (click here) by Elevation Worship.
Let’s pray: Father, our hearts are filled with joy knowing that we belong to you! You alone are worthy. Thank you for our salvation! In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
“Peter here also addresses the issues of trials and suffering. But he uses the same word that James uses for ‘testing’, but translated here as ‘proven genuineness’. Testing and trials result in a genuine faith response in our lives, which he likens to pure gold. God allows our faith to be tested through trials so that it gets hot enough to evaporate impurities. It’s gotta get hot enough, get enough pressure, enough intensity so that what is real and genuine remains, and what does not belong is brought to the surface.” (P. Nate’s message)
During trials, the impurities of our faith surface – perhaps the impurities of misplaced confidence and trust in other things. Where are we putting our trust and confidence? Is it in temporary things, rather than in the promises of God? Let’s embrace God’s work of purifying and making our faith more pure and real.
Romans 10:17 (NIV) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
“Faith then is your decision to respond to God’s Word… In time the decision grows into an attitude, an attitude of always being ready to respond positively to God’s Word. Strong faith is faith that continues to respond to the Word of God in the absence of outward encouragement.” (John White, The Fight)
“We increase our faith by exercising it – through hearing and responding to God’s Word, and also lived practically in obedience in love within the church…Our faith increases and grows stronger as God’s Word becomes the impetus for response in our lives. When we truly hear God’s Word, it brings a faith response in our hearts, which is made complete when we respond in how we then live. We really get to the heart of things when we can allow God’s Word alone to change us, grow us, and lead us in love toward the Lord and others.”
(P. Nate’s message)
Today, let’s take some time to pray for our brothers and sisters in our missional group and in our church. Perhaps God is bringing someone to heart who may be struggling right now. Pray that God will give them grace to respond to his Word in faith and be built up in faith.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for your promises to us. We choose to respond to your Word rather than to our circumstances, to our doubts and fears. Build us up in faith Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
James 1:2-4 (NIV) 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
“‘Testing’ is the process of proving and revealing what is true, genuine and lasting – which is proven by how we respond initially and how we persist. It confirms what will last, and what does not. We also see the perseverance is at work, growing us up in maturity to be ‘complete’ people – meaning that we are a ‘whole’ person, able to persist in faith.” (P. Nate’s message)
Questions to consider from Sunday:
-How do we respond to unexpected trials?
-Have you been experiencing a trial again and again and again that seems to be testing you?
-Do you find yourself responding in frustration, immaturely, or inadequately?
Let’s ask God to help us to let go of our faithless ways of responding to trials.
Let’s pray: Father, I am ready to fully cooperate and submit to your work of transformation in this particular area of my life. Come and have your way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV) 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
“Faith is man’s response to God’s initiative. Your first faith was the positive response you made to the Holy Spirit when he brought truth about Christ home to your heart.” (John White, The Fight)
“In the New Testament especially, terms for the concept of faith relate to allegiance, trust, belief, faithfulness, obedience. Faith has many dimensions – the faithfulness of God to his people, the faithfulness of Jesus expressed through his life, death, and resurrection. When Jesus’ faithfulness met our lives, it brought forth faith, trust and belief in him in our lives.” (P. Nate’s message)
Our faith journey begins with God and with his faithfulness to us. God took the initiative to reveal his love to us by sending his son Jesus Christ so that we can respond and have a relationship with him. This is amazing grace! May our faith and hope rest always on the finished work of Jesus Christ.
As we sing to “Christ Is Risen” (click here) by Phil Wickham, let’s praise him for his saving grace in our lives.
Let’s pray: Jesus, I place my trust and faith in you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit today and with the joy of your salvation! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Psalm 42:8 NLT Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
God invites us daily to meet with him in prayer. May prayer become our new habit, our “new normal.” When prayer becomes our “new normal” we begin to know and feel the difference between empty and full. We begin to know the difference between thirsty and satisfied. Before we might go a long time without prayer because we didn’t know any better, we didn’t realize we were thirsty, there was no other experience to compare it to. But when prayer is our “new normal” we are aware when we are running on empty. In those moments we recognize our thirst and we pray “to God who gives me life.”
“New normal” also means we now have a genuine relationship with the Lord. God already knows everything about us, but as the Good Father he wants to hear from us because he desires for us to know him and to be with us. God becomes more than just a concept, he is a Person. You can’t talk with a concept but you can talk with a Person. You can meet with a Person. You can listen to a Person. You can learn from a Person.
Prayer: Lord, we answer your daily invitation to pray and grow in relationship with you. You give us life! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Let’s worship to “Better is One Day” (click here) by Matt Redman.