Be holy because I am holy 1 Peter 1:13-2:3

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’
Be holy. In one of his books on revival, Leonard Ravenhill wrote, “The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.”
But what does it mean to “be holy”? At its root the Hebrew word qados means “apartness” – to be separated, cut off. So to be holy means to be consecrated – set apart for God, dedicated to God, sold out for God.
A. W. Tozer “The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.”
Oswald Chambers. “The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. God’s one aim is the production of saints. He is not an eternal blessing machine for men; he did not come to save men out of pity; he came to save men because he had created them to be holy.”
Early in the 19th century the Scottish preacher Robert Murray McCheyne said, “The greatest need of our church at this time is … my personal holiness.” He offered this short simple prayer. “Make me as holy as a saved sinner can be.” Personal holiness is not just for super-keen Christians .We are ALL called to be saints – to be holy people!
Be holy! 1 Peter shows us what holy living should look like.
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
Alert and fully sober.
“Prepare your minds for action. Practise self-control.” (NLT) We thought last week about the living hope we have through Jesus and the glorious inheritance waiting for us when he returns. Holiness means fixing our minds on these things, not on the things of this world which are passing.
14 As obedient children,
Holiness means obedience. But not obedience to a set of rules. Do this, don’t do that. Rather the obedience of children in relationship with our loving heavenly Father who only ever wants what is best for us and guides us into grace and peace and truth.
do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
Before we knew God we were ignorant and just followed our own desires, doing whatever we felt like doing. We didn’t know any better then. We do now!
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
God’s holiness is our pattern and our example. We are aiming to be like God himself.
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.
We belong to God and we are accountable to him for how we live. Holiness means recognising that we don’t belong to this world any more. We are aliens and strangers and exiles in the world which is rejecting God. We are only “temporary residents” here. So we should be different – we should be holy.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Some people make the mistake of seeing holiness and love as two separate things. They wrongly suggest that there is some kind of conflict between being holy and being loving. In fact, in Christians just as in God himself, holiness and love are two sides of the same coin. So our holiness should always be expressed in deep love, sincere love, loving with all our hearts. And that means an end to any actions which are not loving
2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. (NLT)
As holy people, we should be living different lives.
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
If we want to grow up in God and grow in holiness we will want to feed on the truth of his word, the Bible. We have discovered how good and kind God is – we will want him to feed our souls. If we want to be holy, we will reject the junk food which the false gods of Entertainment and Celebrity pour into the world through the media and the internet.
Chua Wee Hian of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students wrote,
“There is in many parts of the evangelical church a self-centred godliness, a piety that stresses self-fulfilment – how God can meet my need, how God can satisfy my desires; instead of how can I please the Living God. We just want to feel good, we’re not concerned with God’s honour, God’s glory or God’s holiness. …. Biblical holiness means godliness. … Today in many of our churches we have inverted the true spiritual values. We rate skills over sanctity, dynamism over deep devotion, programmes over prayer. (So often we forget) “It is not great talents God blesses, so much as great likeness to Jesus.” We do not take time to be holy.
The apostle Peter is crystal clear. We must BE HOLY!
A wonderful hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal spells out what it would mean for us to be holy.
TAKE MY LIFE, AND LET IT BE Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, Take my feet, Take my voice, Take my lips,
Take my silver and my gold, Take my intellect, Take my love;
Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine:
Take my heart, it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

As we have just sung.
Purify my heart, Cleanse me from within And make me holy.
Purify my heart, Cleanse me from my sin, Deep within.
Refiner’s fire, My heart’s one desire Is to be holy, Set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy, Set apart for You, my Master, Ready to do Your will.

Be holy!
But WHY should we be holy?
Because God is Holy
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’
Peter is quoting here from Leviticus chapter 11.
44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
God is pure and holy and set apart – so his people must be pure and holy and set apart.
Last October we were learning from Jesus’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:48 sums up the all the teachings of Jesus. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We saw then that Jesus takes righteous living to a completely different level. The Sermon on the Mount does not just replace one set of rules in the Jewish Law with a different set of rules which Christians must follow. Reading Dick France’s paraphrase, “Do not imagine that simply keeping all those rules will bring salvation. For I tell you truly: it is only those whose righteousness of life goes far beyond the old policy of literal rule-keeping which the scribes and Pharisees represent who will prove to be God’s true people in this era of fulfillment” This doesn’t just take the standard of righteous living up a notch or two from obeying a set of rules. It really is a whole new ball game! The bar for righteousness is God’s righteousness – God’s perfection, Just as perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Be holy, because I am holy.
But Peter then gives Christian two more motives for holy living.
The next is, because we have been redeemed at such a great cost.
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
It was not an easy or a trivial thing for God to save us from our sins. It cost the life of his own dear Son Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. God’s cosmic masterplan of salvation was in place even before creation. It was Jesus’s death that brings us forgiveness and his resurrection that brings us new life. God paid this high ransom for us to be saved. The only appropriate response is for us to do our very best to live holy lives.
And that leads us to the third motive for us to be holy. Because we have been born again.
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
We don’t deserve this new life God has given us. By nature we are mortal, doomed to die.
24 For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’
But God has saved us!
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
So we should be holy Because God is holy. Because we have been redeemed at such a high price. And because we have been born again to live a new life – a holy life.
The church can’t make us holy. Worshipping together and praying together can’t make us holy. Home Groups can’t make us holy. Fellowship with other Christians can’t make us holy. These things can all help but in the end only GOD can make us holy. It is up to each one of us how holy we are. Every Christian is as holy as he or she wants to be. We may not be as holy as we would like to be, or as we pretend to be to other people or even to ourselves. None of us is as holy as God longs for us to become. But every Christian is as holy as he or she wants to be. And God says to each one of us, “Be holy, because I am holy.”
In the fourth century there was a preacher so great that they called him John “Golden Tongue”. John Chrysostom once said. “If only ten among us be righteous, the ten will become twenty, the twenty fifty, the fifty a hundred, the hundred a thousand, and the thousand will become the entire city. As when ten lamps are kindled, a whole house may easily be filled with light; so it is with the progress of spiritual things. If but ten among us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city.”
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’

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