Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sermon Feb. 25, 2015 Mid-Week Lent

Title: God desires you to be holy, In Christ!
The Lord’s Prayer: First petition.
Hallowed be thy name.
Text: Psalm 25:1-10

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

In the First petition we learn Hallowed be Thy name.

And to this Luther asks the question: What does this mean?

He answers that God's name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.

And then tell us how is this done?

When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and [when] we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with God’s word, we keep his name holy among us. To this end [we call upon God to] help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than [within] God's Word teaches and profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.

It is during this Lenten season that we focus on who we are as sinners, born sinful and unclean who God is as the Holy One of Israel and the joy and hope in Christ that:

God desires you to be holy, In Christ!

25 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;

Here the Psalmist looks to the one and only true God, the maker of heaven and earth, and this is the one in whom his trust is placed. It is in this God whose name is holy, where the psalmist’s hope is placed, and where he places his trust, alone.

His cry is for protection from the shame of the world and the mockery of his enemies. And his hope is that God, who is holy, will deliver him, and all who trust in his name, away from the treacherous whiles of those destined for death and destruction.

In the Pursuit of Holiness Scottish Theologian John Brown comments,

"Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills."

John Brown, Nineteenth-century Scottish theologian, quoted in J. Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 51.

In other words, it is not our speculations about God which has not been revealed in his word; not how much we might show our enthusiasm for God by our prayers or worship joy that we exhibit, or even the things we do to withhold or fast from certain foods or things and blessings of this world that make us holy. No, holiness is outside us and it requires you and me to be perfect.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matt 5:43-48

To be perfect is to be as God and to be as God is to be holy.

Therefore, God desires you to be holy, and he himself, makes you holy, In Christ!

D.L. Moody once said:

“A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.”

D.L. Moody.

4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
    teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

God, in his law shows us what he demands. We have his commandments and we know the perfection he requires. The call of the Psalmist is to know God’s ways, to be taught his truths and to trust in the God who brings salvation to his children lost in trespass and sin.


Tim Hansel in his book Holy Sweat tells of a story with his young son Zac.

“One day,” he says, “while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, "Hey Dad! Catch me!" I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and then yelled "Hey Dad!" it became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk.”

When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: "Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???"

He responded with remarkable calmness: "Sure...because you're my Dad." His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn't this even more so true for you and me and our Heavenly Father?

Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, pp. 46-47.

We though don’t see God as Holy because instead of keeping our thoughts on him and his desires we fall away daily into the ways of our own sinful desires, being led into the breaking of the commandments, as opposed to the righteous desires that God has for you and me.

It is during this time of Lent where we remember our place as sinners in need of repentance and like the psalmist call out to our heavenly Father.

6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

May you name be holy among us also as we pray in the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

But even though we fall short … God never does.

It is his desire to make you what you could never be, in your own righteousness, as we look to Christ and his work we too know that the name of Jesus is the name of God for as Christ said to Philip in John 14:9:

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father John 14:8-9a

In Christ Jesus the Father is seen, in his person and work. He, Jesus, is of the same substance and his name is holy, set apart for you, yet without sin. As we walk through these 40 days towards the cross together with Christ may we come to the blessed repentance and glorious hope of a savior who makes satisfaction for sin so that we are covered by a foreign righteousness that is not of us but of Christ so that we are holy even as our heavenly Father is holy.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Through Christ’s righteousness we are holy and made acceptable to God, righteous and set apart, covered with the name that is hollowed or holy in Christ … for you.

God desires you to be holy and makes you so in Christ!

The mountain of sins has been removed and you are now in the loving arms of your savior, Jesus Christ. He is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him. He is the rock of your salvation.

He is holy and you dear friends are holy in Christ!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


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