JESUS CLEA SES THE TEMPLE By F. WATSO HA A , D.D.

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Golden Text: "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever." — Psa. 93. 5.

The text introduces us at once to the subject of personal holiness, for there cannot long be sanctity to a place without there is holiness of the people. The ninety-third psalm is a declaration of the might and majesty of God, and of the permanence of all that he has established. The house of the Lord is for his people, and its holiness is complexioned by the holiness of his people; and holiness being the perfect wholeness, or health, of the soul, it is the mark of the soul's permanence in the house of the Lord. We shall consider at this time not the abstract holiness of a place, but the practical holiness of a people. If we ourselves are holy the sanctity of the house of the Lord will easily be preserved inviolate. ote I. The Call to Be Holy. There are many calls to vocations — some are called to the ministry, some to medicine, some to teaching, some to music, some to art, etc.; and, without stopping to discuss the difference in these calls, there can be but little doubt that God calls men and women to these various vocations by the very aptitudes for them with which he endows them. But the call to be holy is not a call to vocation, but to character, and to every one this call comes. We are all called to be saints, which is a call to holiness; and there is no life, however crude or obscure, to whom that high calling of God does not come. This call comes to all because holiness is fundamental to our eternal 19

DREW SERMO S fellowship with God. If we are to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life we must be like him in character: therefore God makes that demand of us. Holiness is the nature of God, righteousness his activity, and love his character. These, of course, cannot be detached. They belong together, but righteousness and love root in holiness. We are called up to this transparent nature, and the most important work of our life, whatever our occupation ma}' be, is to realize our calling in terms of personal experience. The call to be holy is clearly a call to separation. The Old Testament conception of holiness was that of separation. That is the way God first taught the idea of holiness. Separation in space from the unclean was a symbol of separation in quality from the unholy. The cleanliness required for body and garment was a symbol of the purity required for character and conduct. The tabernacle, in the very structure as well as its use, taught the idea of the separation of holiness. That separation remained until our great High Priest offered himself once for all an atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world, and the veil was rent in twain from top to bottom, and every soul had access into the holy of holies without the intervention of any human priest. The temple was modeled after the tabernacle, to perpetuate the idea of holiness. A holy God in a holy place, to be worshiped by a holy people. God directed Moses to build for him a holy place, but he also commanded him to sanctify the people. Rej)eatedly in the Old Testament is the command to some leader to sanctify the people, and for the people to sanctify themselves, for only thus could the}' approach God. Separation in space was used to teach separation in character. The idea of separation was twofold. First, it was separation from sin, from everything that defiled. In order to deepen and make clear that idea, the ceremonial law of cleanness was i)racticed. ^feddling with what

God calls unclean is dangerous business; and those who 20

JESUS CLEA SES THE TEMPLE try to justify their living in contact with the world by the example of Jesus must be very sure that they are motived to it as Jesus was. He did not come to compliment, cajole, or make capital of sinners, but to save them. His sociability was always complexioned by his evangelism. Whatever may be our necessary physical and social contact with the world, we must be separate from it, in the quality of our character. In that sense God's people must be a separate people. But this separation, in the second place, has a positive side. It is separation to all that is Christlike in character and service. *^Be ye holy" is a call to the life adjusted to the will of God. By every experience of joy or sorrow, or doing or enduring, God is calling us up into his own likeness. Separation to all that is holy and Christlike in character and conduct is sanctification. "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever," means that a sanctified people shall enjoy its privileges, conduct its worship, and administer its affairs. God calls us to holiness. II. The OMigation to Holiness. It is not a matter of convenience whether we shall be holy or not; there is a divine obligation on us, binding us to it. That obligation is grounded, first, in the reasonableness of holiness. It is im])Ossible to unify moral incompatibles. The heavenly hosts are holy; heaven is holy; God is holy. What fellowship could the half consecrated and moderately righteous have with them? But we are to have fellowship with God here. God says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." His holiness is a reason for ours. "How can two walk together except they he agreed?"

Second. The obligation to be holy is grounded in God's right to demand it. Creatorship carries with it the right to designate the thing created to a specific purpose. The principle underlying copyright and patent is that author and inventor have a right to the things they produce. God can lay upon us the obligation to be holy. We belong to him. He made us. 21

DREW SERMO S Redemption emphasizes the right of creatorship. Man by sin repudiated his obligation to be what God made him, and delayed God's purpose in him, and destroyed himself. Then, at infinite cost, God redeemed him back to his original purpose. By the cost of the blood of God man is under obligation to realize the purpose of redemption. Third. Our obligation to be holy lies deeper than either the creatorship or redemi)tion of God, namely, in God's Fatherhood. We are more than redeemed creatures; we are redeemed sons. Sin is ungrateful, unreasonable, and unfllial. A son is, by the very fact of sonship, under obligation to be in character like his good father. The family honor requires it. The family protection and provision, education and privilege, make it imperative. As children of God redeemed from sin, and disciplined to do God's perfect will, and to enjoy his bounty, share his home, participate in the rule of his kingdom, and be in his fellowship forever, we are under obligation by every reason and right to be holy. We are called and obligated to come to our best. "Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever," carries with it as its corollary, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." III. Tlie Content of Holiness. Only a word can here be said on a great subject that would require a volume worthily to set it forth. It may seem trite to say that

holiness is soul soundness, wholeness, or health. But we must realize this in experience before holiness will be either sanely lived or taught. othing is less selfconscious or more sympathetic and active than health. o one in perfect health would think of l)olaboring an invalid. o more would holiness belabor one whose spiritual health was subnormal. The effort of both, through warm sympathy, is to help the weak brother up to physical or spiritual health. Perfect health expresses the right relation of the body to the laws of God. Iloliness expresses the right relation of the soul to God himself. 22

JESUS CLEA SES THE TEMPLE Of course, we recof^iiize that our holiness here in the body is not the perfect and unconditioned holiness of God, nor of perfect spiritual beings who never knew sin. or does it lift us out of the realm of temptation. We cannot expect a higher plane of spiritual living than Jesus had. He had his temptations, swift, subtle, and strong. When men have reached a state where they no longer have tem])tations, that state is not moral mastery, but spiritual insensibility. The devil never lets any man alone except the one who is of no use to God. The holiness which we find everywhere emphasized in the ew Testament, and exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, is that state of spiritual life where sin is shunned and hated; where goodness is loved for its own sake; where the will is perfectly homed in the will of God; where the Holy Spirit dominates the life in motive, affection, and action. We may be beset with temptations, but we have the mastery over them. We love Christ supremely and for his own sake. We have a passion to extend his kingdom to the ends of the earth ; to see every soul for whom Christ died brought to a knowledge of the truth. We are not free from errors of judgment, or from the failures of weakness

and ignorance; but the objective of our life is to do the will of God. Grouping together the eight words in the ew Testament which are translated "holy" or "holiness," we get this broad meaning for holiness — strong, reverent, pious, godly, worthy, pure, holy. The life that attains to these will surely be at its best and will realize the purpose of God. lY. The Possihilifi/ of Holiness. either call nor obligation can ever extend to the impossible. Christ said, "Follow me." God says, "Be holy. Again Christ says, "Be ye perfect." Indeed, space would not permit the citation of even the most prominent passages that bear directly on what may be taken for granted as the possibility of holiness. It is nowhere intimated that this high requirement cannot be met. To require what could 23

DREW SERMO S not be done would be arbitrary and unreasonable, moral tyranny. There are some high human attainments which only the favored few ever may reach ; as Rusk in said of the great painter Turner, "There is but one Turner in five hundred years, and God decides without any admission of auxiliary cabal what piece of clay his soul is to be put into." But God is every day lifting the scum of the city up to the light of the world. The Holy Spirit is not a respecter of what piece of clay he shall enter; but into whatever souls that long to know and do the perfect will of God he comes with sanctifying power. We are predestined to be conformed into the image of the Son of God, and every help necessary thereto is at the disposal of faith and obedience. Our subtlest and most dangerous temptations are not to gross and vulgar sins, but to defeat, by neglect, the purpose of God in our lives — to fail to come into the likeness of Christ. We are the real temples of the Holy Spirit. That realized in experience is the possibility of

our holiness. "If a man love me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." We can be holy when God dwells in us. Then indeed are we the Lord's house. It is not only expedient that we be holy, it is imperative. That life can be lived. The Holy Spirit is here to sanctify us wholly. This life of holiness which is possible, reasonable, and imperative is ours for the living of it. The domination of the Holy Spirit fits us to maintain the holiness of the Lord's house forever and brings to us the purity and power that enable us to live in the will of God. " ow unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

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