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The Holiness of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2021 7:00 am

The Holiness of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 17, 2021 7:00 am

When it comes to God, imitation isn’t the highest form of flattery; it’s the highest form of obedience. That’s why, in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will explore God’s command to be holy as he is holy and help us understand what that looks like.

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We may think God is too picky, but if you're going into an operating room, you want your doctor to be picky. Dr. Tony Evans says it's no wonder God sets high benchmarks for His people. If a doctor has to be particular, what about a God who has a perfect standard? Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

When it comes to God, imitation isn't the highest form of flattery, it's the highest form of obedience. We're commanded to be holy as God is holy, and today Dr. Evans will help us understand what that looks like. Let's join him as he begins in the book of Isaiah. It was in the year, verse 1 says of Isaiah 6, that King Uzziah died, that I saw the Lord.

It was when Uzziah dies, and Isaiah's world is unraveling, that he saw God. Uzziah was the king, the king died, but then he saw the Lord sitting on a throne. Where does a king sit? On a throne. Well, a king died, the king was fine, because he saw God sitting on a throne even though the human king died. I saw him.

Notice, he saw him sitting on a throne. Now, Isaiah is a prophet. He's a representative of God, but he's going to see God like he has never seen him before in the midst of a disappointment. Some of your greatest experiences with God are going to come in your lowest points of life. Some of your greatest encounters with God is going to come at some of your lowest points in life.

So in your lowest point in life, when you are struggling with life, look for God, because he's still sitting on the throne. He went on to say his robe filled the temple. Now, let's say this was a wedding.

There were no seats. It was just the floor. The bride came in and her train of her dress filled the temple, filled the sanctuary. So that'd be a huge train. So the train is, you know, the flowing part that comes off the gown. Well, the king's train, his robe, filled the temple. Well, let's say you were coming to the wedding and she has already walked in, but her robe is filling the temple. Well, now you have a problem, because if her robe is filling the temple, then there's no way for you to come in without stepping on her train because it's filling the temple.

In other words, her presence is all-consuming. So you gotta be careful how you walk, and you gotta be careful how dirty your shoes are. What did God tell Moses? Take off your shoes. You're on holy ground.

You know, you got tiptoe. You gotta be real careful now if the train is filling the temple. He said he saw angels seraphim above him, because they weren't going to step on the king's robe, having six wings. With two, they covered their face because they could not stare directly on the glory of God. With two, he covered his feet because they couldn't step on the robe of God. And with two, they did fly because they were carrying out the will of God. So they're in worship like we were.

They're singing antiphonally. Verse 3, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.

Now watch this. His robe is filling where? The temple. But his glory is filling where?

The whole earth. So God never expects his glory to be limited to the church. He wants to fill the church, but he wants it to overflow to the earth. That's why you just can't be a Christian in church.

You're supposed to fill every place of the earth. When Christ physically comes back, he's going to do that. In the meantime, we are his body. We're to carry his glory out of the temple into the world because his glory fills the whole earth. There is no place on planet earth where God's glory is not meant to fill. Now, the word holy can often get confused with the word righteous or righteousness. When we talk about righteousness, we're talking about the divine standard, the standard of God, his law, his principles, his commands, his standards.

That's his righteousness. But remember, holiness is a broader concept, and it affects all of his characteristics or attributes. So if you want a synonym for holy, it is uniqueness. Now, there are a number of words that come off of the word holy that are synonyms sacred.

Okay? There's another synonym for holy. It means to be set apart, unique, one of a kind, class by itself. So God is not to be treated as common, certainly not to be treated as profane, but not even as regular. He's not one of. That's why he would not allow any other idols. He's not just another God.

He is in a class by himself. That is, he is distinct in all of his perfections. Isaiah 57 15 says, Holy is his name. Psalm 89 35, God swears by his holiness. God's holiness involves his purity and separateness from anything that's unlike him. Now, we may think God is too picky, but if you're going into an operating room, you want your doctor to be picky. You certainly don't want him digging his scalpel in the mud and cutting you with it, but you don't want him sneezing on it either.

So you want him to be real particular with you. Well, if a doctor has to be particular with you, what about a God who has a perfect standard? So when we talk about this holiness, separateness, it's a class by itself.

It is unique. So you see, they are, the angels are lifting God up. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts. And there's nowhere on the planet you can go where you don't run into him. The whole earth is full of his glory.

The only reason we don't run into him more is man has gotten in the way. We have built ourselves distractions from his glory, or we have made us our own glory. So we don't see his glory. But the earth is full of his glory. That is, you can't do anything that does not in some way bump into God. The word glory means to advertise or display, to put on advertisement. God is advertised everywhere, in everything, is the advertisement of God.

But if you're not conscious of it, if you're not looking for it, if you're not thinking that way, you'll miss it or you'll dumb it down. When you have a beautiful day, that's God's day. It only rains because of God. It only snows because of God. The wind only blows because of God.

In fact, you breathe in because of God. That's why evolution is a religion, because it wants you to define things in life apart from God. It's not only about how the earth was created, it is also how the earth is sustained. Evolution says it was created without God and it's sustained without God. In other words, what evolution is doing is trying to rip the glory of God away from him and put it in the hands of man, better known as science. All science is supposed to be is finding out how God does what he does.

Science has become replacing God with man. So the whole earth is full of his glory. And when you see, when you look at earth from this standpoint of the glory of God, then he is unique because you don't know anybody who can do what he does.

He's in a class by himself. When he saw the glory of God and his uniqueness in the sanctuary, our job is to keep you, keep me, keep us God focused and God centered. Now in the Lord's Prayer, we're learning that this God is also your father. So he wants a relationship.

But he's looking at scope now. The earth is full of his glory. In the sanctuary, in the church house, the temple, we are to remind you and us to maintain and to keep a God-centered focus in all of life since the earth is full of his glory. So we want you to run into God from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. And when you wake up, you start all over again.

And if you have to, dream about it. In other words, this comprehensive view of God and to begin to look for him everywhere because the earth is full of his glory. Now, when they're getting their praise on, it says the foundation of the threshold trembled at the voice of him who called out while the temple was filling with smoke. Now you talk about a church service. The place was shaken by the glory of God or by the praise of the glory of God.

As the angels were worshiping, the building shook. There are numbers of times, 2 Chronicles 5, but they're having this worship service and they're just worshiping and making a big deal about God. And it says, and the glory of God came and invaded the place so that the minister could not get up to minister. Because who needs a sermon when God shows up? That is the sermon.

Okay? So let's make a big deal about God in your life, in your world, in your focus, comprehensively since the earth is full of his glory. Dr. Evans will tell us more about that remarkable angelic worship celebration and Isaiah's surprising reaction when he continues our message in just a moment. In the meantime, I want to tell you about Prayers for Knowing God. It's Tony's newest book and it's designed to help you experience greater grace and peace each day as you grow closer to God through your communication with him. And if you visit us right away and help out with a contribution, we'll send you Prayers for Knowing God as well as all 12 full-length lessons from Tony's current teaching series, God's Heart Revealed. These messages and prayers will help you better understand God's motives, actions and desires and will move you from a casual acquaintance with God to an intimate friendship. It's all our way of showing our appreciation for your faithful support of this ministry. Get all the details and make your request online at or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222 before this special offer runs out.

I'll repeat that information for you later in the program. Dr. Evans will return with more of today's message right after this. Racism is sin, but what can one person do to make a difference, to bring the connectedness and togetherness? In his book, Oneness Embraced, Dr. Tony Evans looks at his own life, straddling the worlds of white evangelical circles in black urban culture and what the Bible says about race, racism and reconciliation. If the church can come together as one, we might just become one nation under God. It's a call for unity we all need.

Learn more at So, he's hearing this celebration of God by the angels. Then I said, uh-oh, woe is me for I am ruined, I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips. Now, he's the preacher, he's the prophet. And he says, I'm a man of unclean lips. He goes on to say, and I am among a people of unclean lips.

Wait a minute, you didn't know your lips were unclean? Look at the last line of verse five, for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. When you see God, you see yourself better.

See, as long as you're being defined by people, you may look better than you really are. But when you've seen the king, because you have exalted his holiness above all else, his uniqueness, you become exposed. He says, Isaiah, you've been preaching, but you ain't been, your lips aren't where they need to be. So, he sees himself, he sees his failure, he sees his weakness. He sees where he hasn't lived up to it, because he's measuring himself against the right standard. When non-believers stand before God, some non-believers will be a lot better than other non-believers in how they live their lives.

But that's not the standard. God says, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In other words, God is the standard. So, being better than your neighbor makes you a better person on earth, it still doesn't meet the standard of God. That's why we need Jesus Christ, who met the standard of God.

So, he sees himself. Now, it's a bad thing for a good reason. When God exposes you to you, when he lets you see a part of you that's not pretty, we can be comfortable with our mess.

We can be comfortable. Especially if we don't think it's that bad, or everybody else is there, doing their, you know. But God's glory shows you what's wrong with you and shows you what's wrong with everybody you know. He says, you are a people of unclean lips.

You run in your mouth and they run in their mouth, and all y'all wrong. Because I'm looking at a different standard, I'm looking at God. Then, then when? When he recognized what was wrong with him. We live in a world where we love, everybody likes this in our humanity, to be patted on the back. We want to be told what's right with us.

Okay? But God is trying to change us, not make us comfortable in what's wrong with us. Then one of the seraphims flew to me when I acknowledged what was wrong with me, that only got exposed when I saw the uniqueness of God. Then one of the seraphims flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, behold, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin forgiven. Let's look at this for a moment.

Remember this. We're talking about the holiness of God, his uniqueness, and therefore that's a different standard, there's a different scope of his glory, he's in a class by himself. It says, when he recognized his wrong and acknowledged it, I am a man of unclean lips. The angel went to the altar where the sacrifices were, took the tong, took a coal with the tong, and brought it down and touched his lips. Now why is he touching his lips? Because he's got a problem with his mouth. I'm a man of unclean lips. So he touches him at the point of the problem.

Doesn't touch his feet or his hands, he touches where the problem is, his lips. So let me ask you a question. Have you ever burnt your lips? Have you ever tasted some tea or coffee or something that was red hot and you didn't know it? That's a painful situation. You do like that, that hurts. Because lips are extremely sensitive. Extremely sensitive. So what I'm trying to tell you is, when God's trying to clean us up, it might hurt.

It might be uncomfortable. It might not be what you want or prefer when he's trying to fix it and straighten it up. But he wants to hit you at the point of the need or the problem or the sin. He touches him, behold, he touched my mouth, verse 7, behold his touched lips and your iniquity is taken away and your sin forgiven.

I've cleaned you up from the problem you didn't know you had. David said, see if there be any wicked way in me. One of the great prayers you can pray, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those trespasses against us, that could, on the human side of the second half of the Lord's Prayer, that is the most important line of them all.

His sin is forgiven. David said, see if there be wicked way in me. One of the great prayers you should pray is, God, I give you permission to expose me to me.

Show me me for what you see. Now, we do that all the time with people, don't we? We tell people what we see. Now, sometimes they may accept it, you know, you're right. Or other times, I don't care what they say about me. I don't care what they say about me. They don't know what they're talking about. You know, we have different reactions to what people see. It's hard to find a person who will come up to you and say, would you tell me what's wrong with me?

We'll hear that. Give permission to God to expose you to you. When he was forgiven, verse 8, Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? The Trinity, us, because there was only the Lord talking. Then I said, Here am I, send me.

Guess what? He heard from God. You know why a lot of us don't hear from God? Because he hasn't been allowed to clean anything up in our lives. We still play in church, play in Christianity, so we don't get to hear anything. But then the Lord spoke, which means the Lord hadn't spoke yet.

Why? Because he had exalted God in his uniqueness. Holy, holy, holy.

His glory was his dominant concern. He was willing to be exposed by the holiness of God. And now God says, Now I want to use you.

And he says, Here am I, send me. Dr. Tony Evans will have a closing story for us when he wraps up this message on the holiness of God in just a moment. But before he comes back, I wanted to encourage you to take advantage of that special limited time offer mentioned earlier. Tony's brand new book, Prayers for Knowing God, along with all 12 messages from his current God's Heart Revealed series on CD and digital download. The entire package is yours as our thank you gift when you make a contribution to help keep this broadcast coming your way each day.

Again, this is a limited time offer, so don't put it off. Visit us today at to get all the details. You can make your contribution and your request online at Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members assist you. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. There's nothing wrong with looking out for number one, as long as you realize that number one isn't you.

Dr. Evans will explain tomorrow as he talks about the sovereignty of God. Right now, he's back with this closing story. Two years ago, I met a man who picked me up for an engagement. I asked him what he did as we were driving. Oh, he said, I work at the nuclear power plant. I said, boy, that's really dangerous to get close to that much radiation.

He said, sure is. He says, that's why we're provided this special suit, because the closer we get, the more dangerous it becomes. So we need a special covering to make sure that we're not consumed by the power. God is inviting you and me up close. Moses said, show me your glory. I want to come up close.

God told him, this is the nuclear power plant. No man can look at me and live. But I'm going to cover you in the cleft of the rock so that when my glory passes by that reflects my uniqueness, you'll be alive to talk about it. You and I have a covering, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the blood. So draw near. You got cover.

You got your uniform on in the name of Jesus. And give God the height and unique. Don't make him one among many. He's in a class by himself. Treat him that way. Look at him and look for him everywhere. Be willing to be exposed by the holy manifestation of his glory and then listen carefully for what he has to say to you. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-24 06:01:24 / 2023-12-24 06:10:04 / 9

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