Who Do We Worship - P4

By Russell Henderson
Contributing Writer
February 21, 2013

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Jehovah Mekadesh (The Lord Who Sanctifies)

Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
Leviticus 20:7-8 (NKJV)

Sanctification is a word that we don’t hear preached in our pulpits much these days, but it is a vital ingredient in the life of any worshipper, not to mention any follower of Christ. In our 21st century world we have entire denominations whose whole doctrine centers around this one concept, and at the same time we have other denominations departing from this teaching entirely. Let’s take a look now and find out how this concept applies to us as worshippers and Christ followers.

The biblical definition of the word ‘sanctify’ centers around three other main words: clean, set apart, and holy. Webster’s definition is almost identical: (1) to set apart to a sacred purpose, (2) to free from sin (3) to make productive of holiness or piety. In other words when God says in verse 8 of Leviticus 20 that He is the “Lord who sanctifies” that means he cleanses us of sin, He sets us apart for His purpose, and He makes us holy.

To understand this character of God a little better let’s study what it means when God calls himself “The Lord who sanctifies”. 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Two verses earlier in verse 7 John says, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:26, “Christ…loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word….” Finally, Titus 2:14 says, “Jesus Christ….gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

The opportunity for cleansing and holiness now is available to all of us because of the blood and word of Jesus Christ. He is indeed “The Lord who sanctifies.” But we must understand that sanctification is not only a cleansing process, but it is also a process of being called out and separated by God himself. This is where we come into play. When God tells us in His word that He will sanctify, He has bound Himself to that word. He must act upon it. But there is also a role in this drama that we must play.

As worshippers and worship leaders we are in essence the spiritual descendants of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood, and I believe that the same rules of holiness and sanctification that applied to them still applies to us today. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first high priest in the sanctuary of the Lord, and Exodus 28: 36-38 gives us a clear illustration of the importance of holiness in worship.

“Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the LORD.

It is very clear that God required a standard of holiness in the lives of those who offered up worship unto the Lord. Aaron could not come into the presence of the Lord with his own guilt and sin on his head because he was the one responsible for carrying the guilt and sin of the people of Israel. The ‘holiness of the Lord’ was to be placed on the forehead of Aaron, and it was to go before him as he came into God’s presence. The worshipper who is expecting to come into the presence of the Lord must be sanctified, or made holy, before the Lord.

We don’t like to hear this message because it means that we have to change the way that we live. It means that we can no longer be a ‘normal, go-with-the-flow’ Christian. The bible is very clear that there is only one standard—the Lord’s standard. This message is not just limited to the Old Testament, but also is very evident in the New Testament. We know that Romans 12:1 teaches us how to be a true worshipper, but we are given further instructions in verse 2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 1 John 2:15 commands us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Did you catch that? The love of the Father is not in those who want to hold on to the things and the patterns of this world. If we want to be in the will and the love of God we need to become like Jesus and be “in the world, but not of it” (John 17:16-17).

As a worship leader, I cannot take a group of people to a place that I have not yet been myself. If I have not become holy and set apart to the Lord, how can I lead others into holiness? God is a jealous God and He will not share us with another. We are to be set apart to Him and only Him. Our introductory scripture above is from verses 7 and 8 of Leviticus 20, but the first 6 verses of this chapter truly sum up the jealousy that God has for us.

The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.”

God will not share us—His prized possession—with another. He is not jealous of us as some would believe, but He is jealous for us. We belong to Him, and we have been called by His name. Peter states that “we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” Deuteronomy 14:2 declares, “You are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

What a privilege and a blessing to know that God desires fellowship and communion with us. He longs to be near us, but He also intends for those who desire to be near him to be holy and living for Him alone. As worshippers live your life in such a way that the world will know that you are different. Let them know that the Lord has sanctified you. Cleanse yourself daily, and be holy as He is holy.









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