Leviticus 19:2 "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."
Some things are black or white, right or wrong -- the problem is not so much knowing what to do, but it is the sin in us, that does not want to do what is right. What do we do? Sometimes we kick up dust, that’s one way to make things not so clear, and if its not so clear then we might not feel so guilty doing what we know is wrong. For our conscience works hard so that we never feel comfortable knowingly doing wrong. Let me put that another way, we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, lead us NOT into temptation, but at the same time we pray, make life interesting, we view temptation as exciting and interesting… we are kicking up dust. A new fashion is the use of the word "bad" -- in things are bad, and that’s supposed to be good, and so I hear people saying to one another, You’re so bad, those shoes are so bad…. And that’s supposed to be a complement. Another case of kicking up dust. But worse it is a case of forgetting who we are. Who are we? We are the children of God, at baptism God gives us his name. Why did God give us his name, certainly not so we can drag it in the dirt. God gave us his name to lift us up. God gave us his name, and made us part of his family. God claimed us to be his people, and by grace though faith, has worked to change us, making us a new creation, making us his people, making us holy, just as He is holy. Simple, it is just the way it is, and it is what God in Christ has done for us.
There are a variety of temptations that we face in life. Alcohol and Drugs are ways of coping with temptation that do not involve prayer. They are not answers, but they may for a time dull the pain of living in the dirt and the dust; but wouldn’t it be better to be lifted up? Wouldn’t it be better to turn to God in prayer, asking him for the power to overcome temptation. God has promised us this power, in Christ. And the scriptures show us that not only has Jesus already won the victory over all these things, but he offer to share this with us now. The children of God, have been lifted up, lifted out of sin, and lifted to be a new creation. God call on us to live this new life, that’s what being holy is all about.
There are a variety of temptations that we face in life. One of these , is that often we see something we want, and we will do almost anything to get our way. This has been spilling over into politics is a way that should embarrass everyone. Anything to get elected…Lev 19:15-18 "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand forth against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."
Partial to the poor, defer to the great, going up and down slandering… I think we have heard plenty of this. What are we to do? Throw up our hands in disgust? NO, the scripture calls for us to rebuke sin, lest we bear sin for failing to warn him of the direction he is heading. But its not just politics. We live in an age where people seem to believe that it is OK to do anything to win, or anything to get their way. Winning, at least in this world is not everything. In fact, winning in this world, might be at the cost of loosing everything, everything that lasts, and endures, and in particular the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and the everlasting life that is ours in Jesus Christ. This is what people are willing to sell, in order to win now.
Matthew 16:26-27For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
What will you sell your salvation for? For a pair of tennis shoes? For a win? To get high? In the Old Testament, we read about Essau who sold his birthright for food, but even he wouldn’t have thought to sell his salvation. The scriptures make it clear, that even if you were to get the whole world, that would not be enough to replace what you would loose, your salvation, forgiveness, and peace with God. Who else can pull you out of the dirt and the dust? Who else can fix what is broken? Who else has called us to be his people? Who else has given us everything? So we turn and return to God and to the holiness to which we have been called.