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March 4, 2007 AM

EX 3:1-6

INTRO: Few of us have not heard this incredible narrative multiple times. We have wondered at the mind and emotions of Moses as he saw and heard these wonderful things. And there was the voice of God declaring, "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Nowadays, we sing the song "Holy Ground" and declare that "where He is holy".  For some good while I have been thinking about this event with a very specific question in mind ... what made that ground holy? I think most of us would probably answer, "Well, it's because God was there." And I really do not have any argument with that answer. But I do wonder if that's is all the answer there is.  Go with me for just a few minutes as I think through my question.

    1. Is it tradition?
      1. tradition can be so deep, strong that things become sacrosanct
      2. so, a traditional belief/thing can become "holy" in our thinking - inviolable
    2. Is it memorable events?
      1. I think of the "shrine" of the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor
      2. a place of hushed tones, reverence because of what happened there
    3. Is it personalities?
      1. the Lincoln memorial - a "hallowed" place
      2. a "larger than life" person memorialized
    1. Ex 19:5,6 - "And ye shall be unto me ... an holy nation"
      1. the people of Israel were just people descended from Abraham
      2. but the Ismaelites were also descended from Abraham
      3. so, what made the seed through Isaac so special ... holy?
    2. Review Deut 7:6-8
      1. there was little to set them apart from others  - to make them special
      2. but what made them holy, what made them special was God's choosing
      3. ground is ground until God declares otherwise - yes, God was indeed there ... but He declared it to be "holy ground"
    1. It means that what God has declared must be viewed as hallowed
      1. Moses was told to remove his shoes - demonstration of reverence
      2. notice that it was God Who told him to do so - it was God Who demanded reverence, respect for that which is holy
      3. Isa 55:8-11 - " word that goeth forth out of my mouth..."
    2. I suggest that the scriptures are "holy ground"
      1. 2 Tim 3:16.17 - note v. 15 and "holy scriptures"
      2. the scriptures are God's declarations to humanity - with purpose
      3. notice Num 15:40 - remembering, doing equals being holy - here is the reverence for that which God has declared
      4. today's assault on the scriptures is shocking disrespect for "holy ground" - many of today's scholars would do well to take off their shoes where God's word is concerned
    3. I suggest, too, that marriage is "holy ground"
      1. God has most assuredly made declarations concerning it
      2. Gen 2:24 with Mt 19:4-6
      3. the last part of Mt 19:6 is the demanded reverence for His declaration
      4. I know well the many questions here - but I must not, cannot let the fact that there are dilemmas, questions, emotions cause me to disregard the holy
    4. Baptism is "holy ground"
      1. re: John's baptism? Lk 7:30 ... "the counsel of God"
      2. Mt 28:18,19with Acts 2:38,41 - this is clearly heaven's declaration
      3. Acts 2:41 is the demanded reverence for this word from His mouth
      4. to suggest that baptism is not necessary, that it is a reflection on the grace of God is to tread disrespectfully on "holy ground"
    5. The Lord's church is "holy ground"
      1. start at Isa 2:1-3 - the great prophecy speaking of kingdom/church
      2. thence to Lk 24:45-47 - "beginning at Jerusalem" ref. us to Isa 2:3
      3. Acts 20:28 - how could the church be anything but "holy ground"?
      4. 1 Cor 11:2with 1 Tim 3:14,15 - reverence toward the church necessitates carefully following God's pattern, plan for it
      5. for reasons known to themselves there is a growing number of men in the church who are seeking to make the church just another denomination - they have lost sight of the need to remove their shoes in reverence toward that which God has revealed, designed, purchased ... and within which the saved are

CLOSE: The things of God, dear friends, are "holy ground". Ex 3:6 tells us that Moses "hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." Such awe and reverence as this seems to be lost on us moderns. Would to God that such respect and reverence for the things of God could characterize His people.

Cecil A. Hutson

04 March 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)