"The Greatest Sermon Ever Written: A New Holiness"

You’re going to have to forgive me, but I’m going to keep this Update short this week.

We had a wonderful service on Sunday, and I had the great privilege to baptize six people at the end of it (it would’ve been seven people, but one of them was unable to attend the service, at the last minute).  In fact, an amazing number of things went “sproing!” surrounding the baptisms -- so much so, that several of us began to wonder if we hadn’t somehow caught Satan’s attention with the whole thing.  People weren’t able to be there, others came late, we melted the front of the microwave off (long story), etc.  But if you could’ve seen the look on people’s faces when they came up out of the water, you’d know that it was all worth it.  So give a big hug to Kent Stewart, Asher Doremus, Genevieve Uhler, Zack Lawson, Mariah ArreguinQuintero, and Juanita Alvarez the next time you see them, and affirm their public declaration that they want to live out their fresh, new life in Christ.

One downside to this week is that I accidentally severed my tendon connecting my left bicep to my arm.  It’s kinda painful, and I’m having trouble doing much typing, but I’m going in for surgery on Tuesday, September 3, to get it repaired.  Then you can spend the next six weeks watching me try to move around in an arm brace, and another couple of months after that trying to work through physical rehab.  But thank God that it was my left arm instead of my right -- and that the doctors could rush me in and get me into surgery so quickly.

In our message this week, we talked about chapters 8 and 9 in the Book of Hebrews, looking at the entirely new level of holiness that God has given us through Jesus Christ.  See, everything that we do here on Earth -- even the most “holy” things -- really are just shadow plays of what God intended for us.  Solomon built an amazing temple in Jerusalem to mirror the throneroom of God in Heaven... but it’s only a child’s playset by comparison to what Christ opened up to us in God’s presence.  Priests offered the blood of the best goats and calves they could get to cover over our sins temporarily... but our true High Priest, Jesus, offered up His own perfectly sinless blood to wash our sins completely away -- once, and for all time.  Everything that we do can make us look clean from the outside... but everything that Christ did can make us truly clean from the inside.

As those six people declared in their baptisms on Sunday, let’s all declare that we want to live from this point onward as if we were really, truly holy -- set apart for God in every context, every action, and every conversation -- cleansed once and for all from the inside-out.

Pray that God shows you what that would look like.