Regarding God as Holy
Text: I Peter 1:13-19
I. Peter charges all Christians to conduct themselves in holiness - I Peter 1:15-16
A. We will not see God without holiness - Hebrews 12:14
B. And knowing that this world will end and we all must face God - II Peter 3:11
C. Holiness is the idea of something or someone set apart for a pure, upright, or worthy purpose.
1. Among the pagans, holiness was seen with a material viewpoint. Certain items were regarded as holy because of their association with a god.
2. But God taught his people that holiness came from a moral way of living.
a. Genesis 17:1 - Abraham was told to walk with God and be blameless.
b. God is holy because there is no flaw in what He does - I John 1:5
c. We are called to be perfect like God - Matthew 5:48
3. Living by the corrupt standards of the world does not produce holiness
a. Cleanse from the filthiness of the flesh - II Corinthians 7:1
b. Setting ourselves apart - I Thessalonians 4:3-7
c. Careful to engage in good deeds - Titus 3:8
d. Proving ourselves blameless - Philippians 2:15-16
e. The Israelites tried to be holy and live in the world at the same time, and it didn’t work - Jeremiah 7:9-10
II. The deaths of Nadab and Abihu should soberly remind us that God cares about His worship - Leviticus 10:1-3
A. We do not want to follow them in making the same mistake - I Corinthians 10:11-12
B. Why did God kill Nadab and Abihu?
1. The obvious answer is that they offered the wrong type of worship, using a method and fire that was not proscribed by God.
2. But take careful note of Leviticus 10:3. They did not regard God as holy.
3. By their action, they did not treat God as holy.
C. Shortly after their deaths, God warned Aaron about drinking - Leviticus 10:8-11
1. We don’t know whether this is related to Nadab and Abihu, whether they were “under the influence” when they offered incense to God.
2. But the warning is clear: priests are to distinguish between the holy and unholy, the clean and the unclean
a. Alcohol impairs judgment. It interferes with man’s ability to distinguish.
b. To treat God as holy and glorious, the priest needed sound judgment in order to not offer profane worship to God
III. Nadab and Abihu’s offering was called profane or strange
A. The word means foreign. It carries the idea that something or someone was not set apart as special.
B. Why was God pleased when priests offered a proper sacrifice?
1. Was there some special virtue in the things offered?
2. Did God gain power or prestige through the sacrifices?
3. No, the sacrifices were acceptable because God sanctified the practices.
C. God is pleased when we offer sacrifices that He has hallowed. He is displeased when offered things that are foreign (not sanctified by God).
1. When we do not offer what He has commanded, we are profaning God.
2. We are placing our own choices ahead of God’s choices.
3. Malachi 1:6-10 - They substituted cheap things
D. Nor can acceptable sacrifice be offered when the worshiper was not living a holy life
1. Jeremiah 11:15 - Sacrifices would not avert disaster
2. Isaiah 1:10-20 - Clean up your lives before appearing before God
E. Nor can acceptable sacrifice be offered when the worshiper has a bad attitude - Malachi 1:11-13
IV. Applications for today
A. It has become popular to say that everything we do is worship to God
1. This cannot be. Worship is a special (holy) time when we approach God.
2. God did not condemn Nadab and Abihu because He did not like the scent of their air freshener
3. He was offended at their attempt to worship Him with things He did not set apart as holy
4. Acceptable worship is only acceptable when we offer sanctified gifts in holy ways.
B. Jesus instituted a special meal to remember him - Luke 22:19-20
1. The Corinthians were criticized for profaning this meal - I Corinthians 11:17-27
2. What had happened? They had substituted a regular meal, a common unholy feast, for the sanctified elements of the Lord’s Supper
C. God has sanctified certain elements to be used in worship of Him, such as singing and prayer - Ephesians 5:18-19; Hebrews 13:15
1. Would offering burnt meat be an acceptable offering of worship? Or the offering of incense?
a. They were offered under the Old Law, and under that law they were holy and acceptable.
b. But they are not holy under the New Law.
2. Instrumental music was sanctified under the Old Law - Psalm 150:3-6
a. But using instruments was not set apart by God under the New Law for worshiping God.
b. Why should anyone expect God to be pleased with something He did not ask for?
D. Worse are the denominations voting on what they will or will not accept
1. They fully miss the point. It is God who makes things holy, not man.
2. Man cannot argue with the maker - Isaiah 45:9-12
3. It is God who uses us as He wills - Jeremiah 18:1-6
4. The potter holds power over the clay - Romans 9:19-21
V. We are called to be a holy people
A. That means leaving sin behind
B. It means yielding to living life God’s way.
C. It means offering worship as God has asked.
D. Will you set your life apart for God this day?