This is a speech that I gave to our Sidewalk volunteers at our Christmas on your party. It is such a great way to start the new year thinking about this very important aspect of God and our walk with him.
I am so grateful to be with all of you who are some of the most amazing Christ-followers I have ever known. First of all, I want to say thank you. Thank you so much for your sacrifice. Thank you so much for your service. Thank you so much for being an example and an inspiration not only to me, but to a dark and hurting WORLD. Thank you for taking God‘s word so seriously and for loving Jesus so deeply.
God has really been speaking to me lately out of this verse: 1Peter1:15-16 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
In this season when we sing O Holy Night, it feels like a timely message. Be holy, because I am holy.
To be holy is to be set apart. To be different. to be obedient and righteous in ALL we do- in our thoughts and our actions. To be set apart in what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, how we speak, and how we behave. Our hearts are transformed by our faith such that our deepest desire is to be like Jesus, to be Holy as He is holy. It is not an easy task to be holy. But God has not called us to ease and comfort. Not even to happiness. He has called us to faith that promotes righteousness. To holiness.
I was recently counseling a very sweet young lady, who had chosen life. She came from a long line of pastors and elders, even church planters. She claimed to love and follow God. Yet, she came to the Abortion clinic three times to try to kill her baby. When I asked how she thought about that in terms of her relationship with God, she told me, “You have to do what brings you peace, and God will forgive you.”
I do not think that statement is true. This is not God-centric, but self-centered thinking. And I could feel God telling me be holy, as I am holy, and that includes confronting and challenging the twisting of scripture. God will never give us peace, not His peace, when we choose to rebel against Him. So often, we focus on His mercy and love and forget His righteousness, His holiness.
If we feel peace while murdering an innocent unborn child, that is not from God. We cannot sin and find peace in God. We are called to be Holy, Jesus said. But I hear all the time, as the woman I mentioned had expressed: it is OK to sin against God because I know I can count on His forgiveness.
That statement has to be challenged because I think it is the fallback of the world, claiming Jesus as their Lord, when actually they are Lord of their lives. They’re going to do whatever they want to do whether it reflects God‘s commandments or not, because they know God is a loving and forgiving God. And as long as this idea is perpetuated, abortion will never end. NO SIN WILL. God IS love… BUT He is also Holy.
It was not a very comfortable thing to confront her with…but praise God, she responded well. I am encouraged that she might even now challenge others who think holiness or peace with God can be found in rebellion against Him.
I know this might sound like a bummer for a Christmas party speech. But actually, I hope it will be an inspiration. All of you on the sidewalk are already speaking truth, often in the face of rejection and anger. Abortion will never change if we do not continue to do that, not only in front of Abortion centers, but whenever God opens the door for us to speak.
We are here celebrating Christmas together. We want to honor and thank you with this party, and we want to honor and celebrate the birth of our savior.
Jesus came to earth as an unborn baby. This speaks volumes about what God thinks about the unborn. Jesus, from the moment of his Holy birth never shied away in His Holy life on earth from confronting sin, even if it completely disrupted His listeners’ lives and endangered Himself.
He is our model.
We are to be holy, because Jesus is holy. I believe that’s a message we should proclaim as we minister to a wounded world. We are to be grounded in faith and make sure that we ourselves are trusting Jesus in how we live holy lives. But we should never shy away from telling a mother that killing her baby is wrong. We should not be afraid to confront statements that someone is following the Lord as she is on her way in to murder her child.
That is not harassing women. That is loving them enough to speak truth, even when the result is that they hate and reject us.
We are here at this party celebrating you all. I am always inspired by your strength and courage while bearing all kinds of unbearable conditions. I applaud you, and I thank you, and I love you. May the celebration of the birth of our savior this Christmas overflow onto the sidewalk with the message of His Love and His Holiness. And may we be holy because He is holy.