Remembering the Holiness of God leads us to be a True Disciple
Happy Thursday Bay Gospel!
This past Sunday, we looked at what it means to be a true disciple of God and how that marks a healthy church.
Being a disciple is something that "churched" individuals are often familiar with. A disciple is a follower. An adherent. A believer. A devotee. And so, when we call ourselves disciples of Christ, we proclaim ourselves to be followers of Christ. An adherent of Christ. A believer of Christ. A devotee of Christ.
I am one of the so called "churched" and would proclaim myself to be a disciple of Christ. And yet, if someone who has no idea looked at my life for 24 hours, would they be able to infer that I am a true follower of Christ? If I saw someone read the bible for 5 minutes a day, pray the same empty words for 5 minutes, and then live according to his/her own personal desires for the rest of the 23 hours and 50 minutes of their life while proclaiming they are a disciple of Christ, I would seriously doubt them. And yet, this is the reality of many of our lives including my own.
So we are reminded this past Sunday that a true disciple DENIES himself and daily takes up his cross (Luke 9:23). How exactly do we deny ourselves and daily take up our cross?
- Remember your forgiveness found in Christ
- Remember the humility of Christ
- Remember the hope of the cross
- Remember the Holiness of God
Today, I am being convicted to remember the holiness of God. To be holy means to be set apart. Our God is not just holy, but rather He is "holy, holy, holy". Yet, even despite the great magnitude of His holiness, we do not remember this! Our community bible reading plan has brought us to Isaiah 40 which says,
"To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains... Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in" Isaiah 40:18-22
It is as easy for God to stretch out the heavens as it is for us to stretch out the curtains in our homes. He is outside of this world and set apart. He is holy, holy, holy. How is it possible for me to liken God to an idol?
It's possible because I don't know the reality of God's holiness and often, I don't desire to know it. If I really knew how holy God is, I would be in awe about how He has given Himself up for me, a wretched sinner. If I really knew how holy God is, I would jump at every single opportunity God gives for me to follow Him. God has given us, grasshoppers, the opportunity to be His disciples. Yet, I'm much more interested in money, status, and ultimately myself gratification. The grasshopper is much more interested in itself than the immense God who made him. It is a tragedy how much our sinfulness blinds us. The holy God is right before us and yet, we are disinterested and unmoved.
So what do we do? In His mercy, God has given us His word so that we may know Him! One first understands and tastes the holiness of God by hearing His word. Likewise how can we, those who are prone to wander, remember the holiness of God if we do not constantly remind ourselves through His word? We must know more and more of God in order to be reminded of His holiness. And when we are reminded of His holiness, we are led to become true disciples of Jesus Christ as He has called us.
Bay Gospel, we are called to be true followers of Christ. If through a genuine heart of sacrifice and devotion we can offer up 10 minutes to God, He joyously accepts those 10 minutes of devotion. On the other hand, if we are simply going through the motions of "following" Christ because we find there is some sort of personal gain, brothers and sisters, we are no better than Judas Iscariot. Christ has called us to deny ourselves and daily take up our cross. Though this may look different in each of our lives, God has graciously given us each other to strive to do this as a church. Let's consider how Christ is calling to us to deny ourselves each day, obey, and encourage our brothers and sisters next to us to do the same.
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus Foretells His Death
21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?