Sermon series: Holy God, Holy People
Our text today deals specifically with this subject of approaching God. I want you to notice several things about coming into the presence of God.
I. Approaching God requires consecration
This speaks to how God views us.
In verse 10 God tells Moses to consecrate the people, to set them apart, to purify them, so they will be qualified to meet God. The Hebrew word employed here is from the same root as the word Holy. It means to be ceremonial clean or pure, to be set apart from that which is profane and dedicated or consecrated to that which is holy. One of the New Testament words which carries the same meaning is “sanctify,” or “sanctification.”
As God prepares to meet His people, as He prepares to speak with them and give them the Law, He tells Moses that they must be prepared and Moses is given the task of consecrating or sanctifying them.
We do not know in great detail exactly what it was Moses did to consecrate them, what is of importance is that we note they had to be set apart before they were ready to meet with God.
There were two things God told them to do.
They were to wash their clothes. By washing their clothes, the Israelites were demonstrating their understanding that God was Holy and that to meet with Him required holiness.
They were to refrain from sexual activity. Not that sexual activity within the bonds of marriage was in anyway unclean, but as they prepared to meet God, as they prepared themselves spiritually, they were to abstain from any personal indulgence which would take their heart and mind off of God.
The lesson here is that meeting with God requires personal preparation. It means seeking Him with an undivided heart and mind. It means not allowing anything else, no matter how blessed or wonderful it may be, to distract us from preparing to hear from God.
If we want to experience God as believers did in days of old, we must be prepared to meet Him. We must be consecrated.
James 4:8-10 tells us four things to do as we prepare to draw near to God.
Cleanse your hands – stop sinning.
Purify your heart – The heart is the realm of feelings and attitudes.
Be wretched, mourn and weep – This speaks to taking your sin seriously, of understanding that it was our sin that nailed Jesus on the cross and that to save us from our sins was the reason He died on the cross.
Humble yourselves – this brings us to the heart of the matter. To be right with God demands humility.
Approaching God requires consecration. It requires that we be set apart from all that profanes us and set apart unto the One who makes us Holy.
II. Approaching God requires veneration
This speaks to how we view God.
In verses 12 and 21-25 we find God telling the Israelites to keep their distance from the mountain. In verse 12 God told Moses to set limits all around so that the people would not go up and touch the mountain, lest they incur the death penalty.
There are two things which can be said here about God setting boundaries around the mountain.
First, it was to teach the people that God was different from them as was not to be approached lightly.
Secondly, the boundaries told them that He could only be approached on His terms.
III. Approaching God requires mediation
This speaks to how we get to God.
The message is clear. The only way we can get to God is through Jesus. He is the mediator, the one who makes it possible for us to get to God. And the reason we have access to God through Him is because His blood consecrates us, it sanctifies us or makes us holy so that we can be cleansed of our sin and enter the presence of a holy God.