Eastern Stars? Philippians 2:15-16, Romans 13:11-14.
Last week I ended our short series on Epiphany with a challenge for you to be the “Eastern Stars” of the modern day. That is, leading people to Jesus as that Bethlehem Star did for the Magi so long ago. Jesus put it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). If we are to be “shining stars” then we must often do some serious self reflection. We must ask ourselves: According to our actions what exactly are we shining light on?
We live in a dark world, full of lies, self-centeredness, hate and confusion. But God’s Word tells us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light”(Romans 13:12 NASB). While others are chasing after physical pleasures and selfish gain, we’re commanded to live a different way—to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14 NASB).
The Holy War 1 Peter 1:14-16 The apostle, Peter, said it this way:
”As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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” (1 Peter 1:14-16, Leviticus 19:2).
Many view “holiness” as an outdated term. This is due in part to the tolerance trend sweeping the churches. No one wants to label someone or something “holy” because it might make someone feel excluded, judged, or cause one not to fit in with the “new church” or their old friends. But holiness is not an option for the Christian. It is a command according to God’s word. It is also a “war word” according to the passage in Romans that we read earlier. “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12 Note: only a soldier puts on armor and only when going to war! Can’t you just feel the clash between your fleshly desires and God’s command at the sheer mention of the word? Satan wants you to hate that word and all of its implications.
The primary Old Testament word for holiness means ‘to cut or to separate.’ basically,holiness is a cutting off or separation from what is unclean, and a declaration of what is pure.” In the New Testament the word for holy, hagios, is the same root word for saint and sanctified. God states that He is Holy and clearly declares what is holy and what is not in His word (the Bible). To be Holy is to be set aside for God’s use.
“God doesn’t seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.” Dwight L. Moody
Living Water John 7:37-39
A star in space is fueled by atomic gas. If we are to be those “holy”(set apart) shinning stars that God intends us to be we must be fueled by “living water”. In the passage above, Jesus cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ This “living water” that Jesus was speaking of is the fuel of our holiness! This is the Holy Spirit working in the believer to make us shine as true lights to the Savior. The passage goes on to make a reference to the fact that the Holy Spirit did not come until Jesus finished His work on the cross and ascended into Heaven (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit is the presence of Christ in every believer. We cannot be holy without Christ. We cannot be a witness of Christ without His Spirit. It is not by our might, it is not by our power, but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). That is how God built the Temple in the Old Testament and that is how God builds you and me into a holy burning witness for Him today. This is why holiness is not an option for the believer in Christ, but a command! He is holy, so if He is in us then we must be holy too. To resist being holy is to resist Christ in you.
Holes Ephesians 4:17-24
Holes…we have seven of them on our head. What goes into them and what comes out of them has everything to do with holiness! We are fooling ourselves when we make excuses for the leaks in those holes. The eye is the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22) what goes into it either pollutes or inspires holiness, likewise the ears. They were made to hear what the Spirit says (Revelation 2:29). When we fill them with filth we cannot have a clean mind. The apostle James calls the tongue in our mouth “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). James goes on to say “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 3:8). God made our tongue to praise Him and to share His goodness. He also made our mouth to as a gateway to nourish our body and not to pollute our mind and body with intoxicants. The LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). If our very breath and salvation comes from the Lord then should we not make every effort to be holy as He intends?
The apostle Paul exhorts Christians to be holy and not full of holes!
1.) We are instructed as Christians to no longer live in the futility of our own thinking. When we find ourselves resisting holiness, we need to remember where our own stinking thinking has taken us before. Do we really want to go back to that place? 2.) We are warned against hardening our hearts and losing all sensitivity to the things God teaches us in His word. We must remember that the grace of God is not a license to sin against Him (Romans 6:1-2). “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. (1 John 3:6-9) 3.) We are instructed to put off the old self and put on the new self who is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are made new in Christ to reconcile others to Him (SHINE!) 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Evangelist, D L Moody was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. “Well,” he said, “I need a continual infilling because I leak!” He pointed to a water tank which had sprung a leak. “I’m like that!” he said. It’s a fact that living in this sinful world we do need to be replenished by the Spirit, but it is our responsibility to seek that filling for the fuel we need to burn bright as a true witness for Christ. Be holy my friends, because God is!