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St. John EV. Lutheran Church
Schaumburg, IL
February 19, 2017
Leviticus 19:1–2, 9–18


Holiness is a Gift from God

Our Old Testament lesson being with:
19 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

You shall be holy. Does this mean that Lutheran are now Holy Rollers? Not quite, even though I am a guest here, and it has been many years since my last visit, but I am fairly sure that you are not going to start rolling around on the floor in some uncontrollable way.

God has a different view when He speaks: you shall be holy.

Holiness from God’s view is not what you do, but what God has done to you.

Luther notes that God’s Word is our “most holy relic,” What Luther meant was that God is Holy, God’s Word then is holy and anything that God choses to connect with His word is Holy. So when the holy Word of God touches you, you are Holy. In fact, nothing is holy apart from God and His Word.

God’s Word sanctifies the waters of Baptism so that it becomes a washing of regeneration, God makes us Holy through Baptism. God’s Word also sanctifies the bread and wine as the body and blood of Jesus. Given and she for you, to keep you Holy.

Notice what Luther writes in His explanation of The First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
Hallowed be Thy name.
What does this mean?
God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.
How is God’s name kept holy?
God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us
to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

God’s name is kept holy: “When both our doctrine and life are godly and Christian.”

God’ Word makes you Holy, that is why it is import to teach in in truth and purity. For through this Word we are made Holy.

John Kleinig notes We do not ever possess God’s holiness; we receive it from Him as a gift, just as we daily receive light from the sun without ever owning it.

That is our Christian vocation. God’s will for us as His children, His purpose for us in our spirituality, is to be holy as He Himself is holy. We are not expected to generate our own holiness. Rather, we are called to participate in God’s holiness. We receive it from Christ as we travel with Him through life along the holy way. We do not worry, because Christ’s holiness is a gift. Secure, because of Christ’s Holiness given, our Old Testament reading continues, but an introduction from Matthew would be helpful.

Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 5:17 (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Therefore, even in Leviticus God after making us Holy, then puts the focus upon our neighbor.

Leviticus 19:9–18 (ESV)

9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.

The focus is on our neighbor, especially those in need.

But out sinful nature will object, what is wrong with harvesting your field up to the edge and gathering all the grapes. If you remember A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Charlie’s sister Sally states, “All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.”

However, Luther reminds us in The Fourth Petition
Give us this day our daily bread.
What does this mean?
God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

Sally wanted her fair share, from God’s view, because of sin the fair share is death. Christ instead gives us life, daily bread, and in Lev 19 to consider other. Jesus answers the why question,

Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Kleinig: We do not ever possess God’s holiness; we receive it from Him as a gift. Our Daily Bread is a gift, God’s Word and Sacraments are gifts. Gifts received, not because it is my fair share, or what is owed to me, but gifts received for another purpose…to give glory to your Father who is in heaven. So, we take the gifts that God gives us and glorify Him through those gifts.

Because of Christ’s gifts, we begin to hate the sins that we formerly loved, and to flee from them. In Christ’s gifts, we begin to fear and love God above all things, and to trust in Him. We no longer serve the devil and our sins, but begin to serve our Lord who has redeemed us, and our Father in heaven. We are not perfectly holy that is without sin, nor do we become so, as long as we live here on earth. So, we must confess that we daily sin much and deserve nothing but punishment. We ask God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake. And through Christ’s gifts, the Holy Spirit daily gives us new strength and power to fight and struggle against all temptations of the devil and the world and their own evil lusts. The Holy Spirit daily gives us new strength to walk in godliness, to love God and our neighbor.

May the Holy Spirit continue to keep us in Christ’s Holiness. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

February 19, 2017 at 12:14 am

Posted in Sermons