We have no purpose as Christians if first and foremost we do not glorify Christ. We regularly state this in our services at Berean. You will not attend any Sunday service without hearing it in a prayer, in a song, in a sermon, or in a class. Our purpose is to glorify Christ.
This is the theme of our church every Sunday of every year, which doubles my enthusiasm for the subject of the message today. We begin a multiple part sermon on the church at Philadelphia, which of the seven churches in Revelation is the one we most want to use as a role model for ours. The letter to this church begins with Jesus proclaiming His holiness and truth. These two attributes of Christ might well be the overarching definition of Him as God. He must be perfectly holy and absolute truth, or He fails in His work and His self-revelation.
In today’s message, I have chosen to concentrate on His holiness. Some struggle to define holiness. Many times, the definition includes the word which is not always helpful. The Greek word is hagiosune, which is also translated sanctification.This causes us to dig deeper to discover that holiness means what sanctification means—that is, to be set apart. It is to be distinctly different. In this application, it is to be different in ability, in character, in reverence, in righteousness, and in spirituality. God is distinctly different from us in all these areas.
God commands us to be holy as He is holy, but we can never reach that perfect ideal of the extent of His different holiness. The Bible describes Him as high and holy. His holiness is above all others; it remains so and is thus unattainable. I mean to say the holiness we achieve as His people is of a different quality. For this reason, when we speak of the righteousness of God imputed to us by faith, it is not God’s inherent righteousness we receive. This righteousness cannot be transferred to us. Instead, we receive righteousness that is earned by Christ keeping God’s law perfectly. We are incapable of doing this ourselves, and yet it is the holiness without which no person will see God (Hebrews 12:14). This holiness is first derived from God, but its connection is to earned righteousness by obedience to the Law. In other words, it is not our intrinsic holiness, but that which comes from outside of us.
God is distinct because unlike us, His holiness is not derived from any other. It is not earned by keeping laws. It does not come by imputation, or by bestowment of any other. He is holy because His being is holy. As God is self-existent, He is self-holy. In Revelation 3:7, Jesus said He is holy. This holiness is the same as God’s inherent holiness, the being of holiness that only God is. Therefore, Jesus is God.
Similarly, Jesus said He is truth. In the next message, we will concentrate on truth. Think on this during the week. Jesus did not claim to know truth. He said He is truth. He is the standard of truth, which means how you or I feel about truth is of no consequence. We will not be judged by our opinion of truth. We are judged by the one who is truth.
This is a fitting beginning to Philadelphia, the model church. They preached Christ, and for this, they were commended. If we preach Christ, so shall we.
Pastor V. Mark Smith