The Call to Holiness
Presuppositions: God requires holiness before he will have fellowship with us.
Christians should strive for holiness.
I Peter 1:15-16
Preposition: As Christians our lives should reflect the holiness of God.
Intro.: When you step into the dining room, and you pick up a cup, do you look at the inside to make sure it is clean? I work at the Dining Services at school. It’s interesting to see people check their cups or plates for spots, they look intently at it, study it under the light, and give it a thorough going over. They are looking for any imperfection in the cleanliness of the cup, and if they discover any, they will put the cup back. It doesn’t matter how much of the cup is clean, they are concerned with the one spot of dirt. We often don’t think of it this way, but God looks at us in the same way. Here in 1 Peter, God is not so much demanding holiness or perfection from us, so our focus tonight is not on rules and standards. God is requesting holiness from us. As we read these verses, notice that God is asking us to be holy because he wants a relationship with us.
Transition: First we will look at two foundations for the call. The first foundation is the identity of the Caller.
I. The Caller.
a. He is God, and He called us. Eph. 1:4
b. He purchased us with His blood. Acts 20:28
Transition: The second foundation is the identity of the called.
II. The Called.
a. Obedient children. I Peter 1:13. Rom. 8:15. It is interesting to note here that Paul uses the term children. He could call us slaves, or servants, or worshippers, or followers, but he uses the term children. Most of us growing up had fathers who gave us standards and rules to follow. We had to live up to their standards of behavior. If we didn’t, then we did not cease to be their children, we just fell out of fellowship. I think most of us could agree that we would rather hear our fathers say they are proud of us than that they are disappointed.
b. Purchased servants. Rom. 12:1-2. Although Paul does not use the term here, I think it is good to remember that we are His purchased possession.
Transition: Having seen the identity of the caller and the call, the foundations, now let us turn and look at the call itself.
III. The Call.
a. Holiness. That is our call, pure and simple. We are called to holiness. God desires a relationship with us, but He can’t have it unless we are holy. Is. 1. God wants to have a fellowship with us, but He says that we are stopping Him with a lack of holiness. He tells the children of Israel that they are wasting their time giving sacrifices and coming before Him because their uncleanness hides His face from them. In the same way that you will not use a dish unless it is perfectly clean, God will not have anything to do with you unless you are clean. Even though it might be small, He can’t just overlook it.
b. Relationship. This is the purpose of the call. We often look at the “be ye holy, for I am holy…” phrase as if it is a command from God. This is true, but look at it differently. “Be ye holy, please, for I am holy!” I Cor. 6:17-18. God tells us that if we will be clean, we can have that father-child relationship with Him.
Conclusion: So, the question you now have to ask yourself is: how much do I want a relationship with my Heavenly Father? Am I willing to be pure and holy for Him?
Illustration: Edelweiss is a compound word which in the German means "noble and white." It is a small perennial herb of the aster family whose pure white blossom must be sought after, since it nestles in the highest snowy crags of the Alps. It is so absolutely white that it blends perfectly with its environment, losing its identifying characteristics completely in its surroundings. Even when picked and pressed in paper for preservation, it remains free from discoloration for many years. If we would be like the edelweiss, we must keep ourselves pure and noble, striving to attain the heights with God. Then, as He keeps us pure in heart and motive, He will enable us to accept with humility the loss of our own status in the scope of His larger landscape.
Though holiness is not easy, and requires sacrifice of our desires, we can be like that flower, losing ourselves in God, blending in so perfectly with Him that He is all anyone sees, and all we are concerned with.