We are set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You don’t have to think, talk, act, live, or believe like the world!
Alright, everybody welcome to Valley Creek. Come on, whatever campus you’re at today, Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, The Venue, watching or listening online somewhere in the world, let’s just welcome each other together. We are so glad you are here. We are one church that meets at multiple campuses, united together by Jesus. And we really believe that hope is here, everyone is welcome and Jesus changes everything.
That hope is here because Jesus is here, so whatever you walked in here with today, there is hope for you. Everyone is welcome, which means anyone and everyone who wants to come after Jesus is always welcome. And Jesus changes everything, which means he doesn’t just change your situations or your circumstances, he actually starts to change you. And he is on the move in this place. And what a great beginning of the year we’ve had together. We started this year by just lifting up the name of Jesus and doing our beginning Jesus, more than enough.
And for the past few weeks, we’ve turned the attention and the focus and the affection of our heart towards him and we’ve kind of set the tone not just for a new year but for a new decade by just lifting up the name of Jesus. We had an amazing response weekend last weekend together where we got to respond to what he’s been doing in our lives. And so what I want to do today with you is I want to start a new series and I want to share with you the word for the year.
You see, every year at Valley Creek, if you’ve been with us on this journey, we have a word, a big idea, a theme if you will that we believe is from God for our church family. And kind of everything we do throughout the rest of the year someway, somehow kind of ties back to that word. And what I love about that is we really believe that God speaks to us, and when He speaks a word to a family, that word is real relevant to every one of us that’s a part of that family.
And when God gives us a word, there’s a grace, there’s a favor, there’s an anointing, there’s a supernatural empowerment upon it if you will reach out by faith and grab a hold of it for yourself. And when God speaks a word to a family, if you’ll reach out and grab a hold of it, what you’re saying is you’re saying, “I’m hungry for God.” You’re saying, “I want to be submitted and a part of the anointing and the authority that’s on this family. I’m rooted in this place. And I believe this is a word not just for me but for my family and for my life.”
You see, I love this verse, Isaiah says, this is God, he says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” I love this. This is God saying, hey, I’m still speaking today. And when I give you a word, it’s from my mouth to your life and I will be the one to perform it. I will be the one to achieve it. I will make sure it accomplishes my purpose in your life.
Our responsibility is to just activate it by faith and reach out and grab a hold of it with humility and hunger and say, even if I don’t get it, even if I don’t understand it, even if I don’t like it, I’m grabbing it and saying, I’m here, I’m in this family, and I want the favor and the anointing and the authority that’s on that word.
You see, if you’ve been with us on this journey, like you now have like years of these words built up. Last year, the theme for the year was pioneer. The year before was rooted in Jesus. The year before that was breakthrough. And then healthy relationship and awaken. And if you were here, when you grab those, there’s a favor and a grace on it for our family in that season.
This is why Proverbs 29 says, “Where there is no revelation or there’s no vision, where there’s no word or theme or big idea from God, people cast off restraint.” In other words, when there’s not a word from God, a vision to unite us, we just kind of wander and go all over the place.
But then when God speaks, all of a sudden we’ve got guard rails in our lives. We become restrained and we say, I’m going after that thing with everything I got because by faith I believe there’s favor when God speaks to our family. Are you with me on that?
So the word for Valley Creek Church, the theme, the big idea that we believe God is speaking to our family for 2020 is simply this, it’s Set Apart.
2020, Valley Creek Church, our theme for this year is Set Apart. You are set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You’re going to hear us say this like 10,000 times this year. So I hope you like it. Set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You are set apart. You’re unique. You’re different. You’re special. There’s a calling on your life.
And you’re been set apart by grace. You didn’t earn it, you didn’t deserve it. You didn’t achieve it, you didn’t perform for it, which means you’re not exclusive and you’re not elite. It means God’s grace has reached out and touched your life and it’s for the good of others and the glory of God. You are set apart. You’re set apart by God and for God. You’re set apart from this world for this world. You are set apart to think differently, talk differently, act differently, live differently. And most importantly, believe differently. You’re set apart, man.
And I’m super excited for this word and how God is going to stir it up in our church family this year. And if I’m honest with you, I struggled with this word more than any other word we’ve ever had. As I believe God began speaking to us this word at the end of 2019 and we were seeking Him and trying to listen to what He had to say, as I started zeroing in on this and really knew that this was where God was taking us, honestly I wrestled with it.
And our whole team, we prayed on it. We want — need to define unity together on it. And the more we knew it was God, the more I wrestled with it because here’s the deal, this word more than any other word we’ve ever had has more opportunity to challenge you and yet more opportunity to change you.
This word more than any other theme we’ve ever had, it’s going to challenge you, but man, it has the opportunity to change you. And so this is a year where we get the opportunity to believe the best about each other, but hold each other to our best.
This is a year where we get to call each other up to the life that we were created for, to awaken to the fullness of the life we have in Jesus. You’re set apart. You’re set apart and we long to be set apart, don’t we? We spend our whole lives trying to be set apart. We want to be significant. We want to be different.
We want to be special. We want to be noticed, not realizing that in Jesus, we already are. See, the paradox of the whole thing is this, we try to stand out by fitting in. Won’t you think about this for a second? We try to stand out and be different by fitting in. We try to fit in and think like the world, talk like the word, act like the world, live like the world and believe like the world, all in an attempt to stand out or be different or be special or be noticed. But that’s the wrong way to go about it because if God has called you to stand out, stop trying to fit in.
Come on. You don’t stand out by fitting in. You stand out by standing out. You’re set apart by being set apart. And so what I want to do is I just kind of want to stir up your faith a little bit today, kind of give you a direction and a focus of where we’re going because see, the people of God, we’ve always been set apart.
I mean check out some of these verses. Go all the way back to creation. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule.” Do you realize out of all of creation, you are the only one to be made in the image and likeness of God? Not the plants, not the animals, not the angels, not the spiritual beings. You were made in the image and likeness of God. You are set apart by grace. You didn’t earn it or deserve it. He decided to give you His image and His likeness that you may rule with Him, live a life that’s for the good of others and the glory of God. Not lord over creation, but serve creation.
Or how about the Israelites? The people of God in the Old Testament. Check out this. God talking to them says, “For you are a holy people.” You’re set apart. “Who belong to the Lord, your God.” Of all the people on the earth, the Lord, your God, has chosen you to be His own special treasure.”
You’re set apart. “The Lord did not set His heart on you and choose you because you are more numerous than the other nations, for you are the smallest of all the nations.” God says to the Israelites, he says, hey, you’re holy. I chose you. You’re my special treasure. And make sure you get this, I didn’t choose you because you are the strongest, bravest, most powerful nation, no. You are the weakest, wimpiest, most miserable of all people. And yet my grace picked you out to be set apart for the good of others and the glory of God.
Or how about the disciples? Check this out. Jesus talking to the 12 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit, fruit that will last.” Jesus makes it very clear. He says, he guys, make sure you understand this. You are set apart but you’re set apart by grace. Like let’s be honest, none of the 12 disciples were on anybody’s draft board.
Matthew was a tax collector. Thomas was a doubter. And Peter was, well you know. I’m saying, if they were set apart by grace, then you’re in good company. If they were picked by God, then so are you. And you’ve been appointed to go and bear fruit. In other words, to live a life for the good of others and the glory of God. To live a fruitful live in a barren world.
One more, look at what Jesus says, “I will build my church.” Do you know the Greek word for the church is the word ekklesia which literally means the called out ones? That we as the church of Jesus have been called out, set apart by God and for God from this world, for this world? You are set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. Just think about it. The moment that you put your faith in Jesus, you are set apart. Done.
I mean just think about it. The moment your faith goes into Jesus, you’re born again. You’re now a beloved son or daughter. You’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit dwells in you. You have authority of the kingdom of God. You are a holy nation, a royal people. You are the head and not the tail. Shall I continue?
You’ve been set apart. You’ve been set apart, man. The problem is we don’t believe it, do we? That’s really the problem. It’s very clear, you read the Bible — if you just read the Bible straight through, there’s no other conclusion that you could come to, than you’ve been set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. There’s no other conclusion you could draw. The problem is this, we look at our own life. We look at our brokenness and our pain and our struggles and our anxieties and addictions and relational issues.
And then we look at the world and we look at what the world says about which people are set apart or elevated and we see fame and fortune and followers. And we realize, we don’t have that to that degree in our lives. So then we draw these subconscious conclusions that we’re just like everybody else.
The problem is this, you’re not supposed to look at your life and you’re not supposed to look at the world. You’re supposed to look at Jesus. Because if we’re included in Christ, then everything that’s true about Jesus is now true of us. And if Jesus is set apart, then so are we. I mean check out this next verse. “God who has saved us and called us to a holy life, set us apart, not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Come on, that’s amazing.
You know what that says? It says, not because of anything you have done, which means being set apart is not about what you have to do, it’s about what Jesus has done.
Being set apart is completely irrelevant from your behavior. Ain’t that refreshing? Some of you are like, “I don’t know.” Not because of anything you have done. And if you couldn’t achieve it, earn it or perform for it, then guess what, you can’t fail enough and lose it. It’s about what Jesus has done, not what you have to do. And yet, it’s hard to believe, it’s hard to receive, and it’s hard to live a set apart life in a fit-in world. The world demands us to fit in. And we’re not the only ones who have experienced this broken dysfunctional world.
I mean check this out in the Old Testament. Jeremiah, this is God speaking here, and he says, “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted. Following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts, they went backwards instead of forwards. And a great crowd answered, “We will do whatever we want.”
That doesn’t sound like thousands of years ago. That sounds like 2020, wouldn’t you agree? I mean you look at the world, it’s like people aren’t listening to God. They want to do whatever they want, they follow the stubborn desires of their evil hearts, just follow your heart. No, bad advice. Going backwards instead of forwards, doing whatever we want. I mean that’s the reality. The world demands you to fit in. And yet in the midst of this context in Jeremiah, look at what God says to the prophet Jeremiah. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” In the midst of a world that was demanding people to fit in, God speaks to Jeremiah and he says, hey, Jeremiah, guess what bud, I formed you in the womb and I knew you.
Before you were even born I set you apart. And I appointed you, my grace has empowered you for the good of others and the glory of God. Come on, this is the theme verse for this year. In a world that demands you to fit in you know what God is saying to you? He’s saying, hey, before I even formed you I knew you. Before I decided your skin color, the color of your eyes, and the freckles on your face and the personality that you would have, before you were even born, before you even cried out and moved or took in your first breath, guess what, not only did I know everything about you, I chose to set you apart.
And if it was before you were even born, then guess what, you didn’t earn it, you didn’t achieve it and you didn’t deserve it, which means in Jesus’ name, you can’t lose it because it’s not about what you have to do, it’s about what Jesus has done. And he has appointed you.
His grace has empowered you to live differently for the good of others and the glory of God wherever you go. He has empowered you to live a life that’s for the good of others in your family, in your work, in your school, in your business, in your daily life, you have been set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God.
And yet, we still want to resist it just like Jeremiah did. Look at how Jeremiah responds. God says all that to Jeremiah and you would think and be like, I’ll receive it in Jesus’ name, activate it by faith, no. He says, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, I do not know how to speak; I’m not a prophet. I’m only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Don’t be afraid of them for I am with you and I will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth, empowered me by grace, and said, “Now, I have empowered you to live for the good of others and the glory of God.
God says, Jeremiah, I’ve set you apart to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah responds and says, no, no, no, you got the wrong guy. I’m just a child. Okay. Then God says, “Do not say I’m only a child.” In other words, when God tells you who you are, don’t tell Him who you’re not. If God tells you, you are a prophet, don’t tell Him you’re a child. If God tells you you’re a beloved son or daughter, don’t tell Him you’re a sinner. If God says you’re righteous, don’t tell Him you’re unclean. If God says you are set apart, do not tell Him you’re not. When God tells you who you are, don’t tell Him who you’re not. Are you with me on that?
Okay. So when God tells you you’re holy, don’t tell Him you’re not.
I’m not holy, what are you talking about? In Jesus you are already holy. And the word holy literally means set apart. Set apart by God, he did the work for God. Check this out, the next verse, “It’s true that some of you once lived in those lassos. You used to live in the world. But now, you have been purified from sin made —
And given a perfect standing with God all because of how hard you worked. All because of how well you achieved. All because of how much money you’ve made or how famous you are or how many followers you have on social media. Because of Jesus. So if He tells you you’re holy, why do you insist on telling Him that you’re not?
You’re set apart. You’re different. It’s your identity. You’ve been empowered by grace in a completely different way because of what Jesus has done. Not because of what you do. So catch this now, go to the next verse. So you must live as God’s obedient children.” Like you used to be sinners in this world. You’re now beloved sons and daughters. Your identity has changed. It should change the way you live. “So don’t slip back into your old ways of living,” when you are an orphan on your own in this world, “to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy, set apart, in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
And here’s where we panic. We’re like, I now officially don’t like this word for the year. Be holy for I am holy. Are you kidding me? You’re telling me this is a year of try harder, behave better, do more?
Bro, don’t you already know I’m beat down and exhausted in my own life? And now you’re telling me I got to measure up to God? So how am I going to do that? Here’s the problem. The problem is this, we have the wrong definition of holy. Okay. We have the wrong definition of holy. And my hope this year is we will completely flip what you think about holiness because I would bet when you think about holiness, it’s not a lot of pleasant thoughts in your mind. Come on, it’s okay to be honest in church. Like when we think holy, we think holier than thou, those judgmental people who are exclusive and elite to tell everyone else how they need to live, who are miserable and grumpy and have no fun.
Ain’t that what we think? It’s okay to be honest about that. The problem is this, if that’s what we think about holiness and we hear that God is holy, we apply that to God.
So all of a sudden, we start thinking, oh my God, God is judgmental. He’s miserable. He’s angry and pointing out everything that’s wrong with my life. He’s constantly telling me to do this and do that. And he’s miserable and distant and exclusive and elitist. That’s not holiness. Holiness is kindness. Holiness is joy. Holiness is strength and security. Holiness is faith, hope and love. Holiness is righteousness, peace and joy. Holiness is the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Holiness is freedom. It’s freedom. It’s purpose.
Holiness is not about what you can’t do. Holiness is about what you’re now empowered to do. Holiness is not the life you’re leaving behind, it’s the life you’re invited to.
And that’s what he’s saying here, he’s saying, don’t live down to the world, live up to now the kingdom of God. Holiness is Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Holy One, which means he is the most holy of anyone that’s ever lived. And if you look at Jesus’ life, he is the definition of holiness. And I would submit to you that when you look at Jesus’ life, he’s never holier than thou, he’s not exclusive nor elitist. He is not miserable and grumpy. And he doesn’t go around judging everyone.
So could it just be our definition of holiness is wrong? Could it be that our definition of holiness is focused on what we can’t do instead of what God has empowered us to do. I’ve been set apart, made holy, by what? By grace. To do what? To live differently. To live in the kingdom of God that’s righteousness, peace and joy instead of the kingdom of this world, which is to steal, kill and destroy.
So holiness is not about what you can’t do. It’s the biggest thing I want to get out of your mind. Holiness is not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you’re empowered to do. So think about it, if you’re sitting here and you’re starting to think, oh man, this is going to be a whole year you can tell us what we got to do. I’m not going to tell you nothing, number one. Number two, it’s about what you’re empowered. Think about this. Holiness is not saying that you can’t think like the world. Holiness is saying you don’t have to think like the world anymore. You don’t have to think anxiety, stress, fear and depression because you’ve been empowered by grace to think righteousness, peace and joy. Holiness is not saying you can’t talk like the world anymore, holiness is saying, you don’t have to talk like the world anymore with cursing and harshness and anger and judgment. You’ve now been empowered by grace to prophesy and encourage and speak life and build up.
Holiness isn’t saying you can’t act like the world. It’s saying you don’t have to act like the world anymore with selfishness and self-condemnation because you’ve been empowered to live as a servant with strength and security. Holiness isn’t saying you can’t live like the world anymore. It’s saying you don’t have to look at things, listen to things, and touch things that are rooted in darkness. You’ve been empowered by grace to look at, listen to and touch things that will fill your life with light. And holiness isn’t saying you can’t believe like the world anymore. It’s saying you don’t have to believe the lies of Satan anymore because you’ve been empowered to believe the truth that will set you free. That’s holiness.
That’s holiness. It’s a complete flip of what we thought. It’s not miserable, man. It’s freedom. When God says be holy as I’m holy, he’s saying, hey, guess what, you’re now included in me.
My nature is now in you. And I am free. And I want you to be free. I have purpose and I want you to have purpose. See, holiness is not exclusive or elitist. Think of Jesus, he was the most holy one ever, and yet, that holiness empowered him to serve, to love, to give and to go into the darkest parts of this world with light.
Okay. So holiness is not us disappearing somewhere. In fact, if you look at the graphic, listen, last year the theme was pioneer. It was mountains. We were moving forward and taking ground. This year, the theme is set apart. So the look is urban. Why? Because it doesn’t mean we’re pulling away from the world. It means we’re empowered by grace to go into the darkest parts of the world to shape and transform what’s going on in there. Listen, holiness is not being in a field somewhere by yourself with a white gown.
Holiness is being empowered by grace to go into the darkest parts of life and live in such a way that the world looks at you and says, can you tell me about that freedom that you have? Because I ain’t got none of that. This is why Galatians 5 says, “Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. He says, “I’m inviting you to a life of freedom. And freedom is found in holiness.
Holiness, not about what you can’t do. What you’re empowered now to do. The holy God has given you the Holy Spirit through the Holy One Jesus to help you live a holy life. The set apart God is giving you the set apart spirit through the set apart Jesus to help you live a set apart life, so you can be free and have purpose. And when you get that, John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
When you change your mind about what holiness is, you start experiencing the freedom of the kingdom of God. Are you with me on this? You’ve been set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. Holiness is not about what you can’t do, it’s about a better life that you’re empowered to live. And yet our problem is we haven’t tasted enough holiness, set-apartness in our life to want more of it. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” The problem is we haven’t tasted and seen enough of the goodness of God, enough of the fruit of holiness, not what we can’t do, what we’re empowered to do to want more of it.
So we get so focused on what we can’t do when God is inviting us to look at what we’re now empowered to do. That’s the paradox. Set-apartness leads to more set-apartness. Holiness leads to more holiness.
Because when you start tasting that kind of freedom, you don’t want to go back to the brokenness of the world. The problems is we have the wrong standard. We make the decisions of what our life is supposed to look like based on what we see everyone else is doing. If we’re just honest, I mean do you remember being a kid and everyone else was doing something. And you came home to ask if you could do it. And you’re like, but mom, but dad, everyone else is doing it. And then what did your mom or dad probably say? If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?
The answer is yes. The answer is yes, yes, you would. Every one of us in this room, there are literally places we would jump off a bridge because everyone else is doing it. We’ve allowed that to become our standard. We’re like, I don’t know what’s happening over here, but everyone else going, ohhh. You’re like, what is happening? It’s true and you know it.
Come on. Like think about this. Parents, just because everyone else has given their two-year-old a phone and a Snapchat account doesn’t mean you have to.
I’m okay if my two-year-old is mad at me for not having Snapchat. Or how about this? Business people, just because everyone else lies, cheats, manipulates and goes to the strip club to close the deal doesn’t mean you have to. Students, just because everyone else is doing it, talking it, living it, doesn’t mean you have to. Facebookers, just because everyone else goes online and feels the need to air their opinion about every area of life that they have no authority in doesn’t mean you have to too. That one probably stung the worst.
Why do we do that? I think there’s three reasons. One is just insecurity. We think like, talk like, act like, live like, believe like everyone else because we’re insecure. We don’t know who we are.
So we don’t want to be set apart because we desperately want to fit in to be accepted.
Second reason I would say is just foolishness. A lot of times we just don’t know what God has said about an area, so when everyone else is jumping off the bridge, we’re like, I guess this is the best way of life. It’s foolish. We just don’t know.
And the third reason is inconvenience. A set apart life is inconvenient. I’m just going to tell you that right up front. Why? Because you’re going the opposite way of the world. So it’s not set up to be convenient for you, it’s set up to have a little bit of resistance. And yet, we have to decide at the end of the day if Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, then we must decide in our own heart, if he is the way, the truth and the life, then his way will always lead us to life.
So you get a choice, do you want to listen to the whisper of God or the shouts of the world? Do you want the authority of the kingdom in your life, righteousness, peace and joy or do you want the brokenness of the world, despair, destruction and darkness?
So I think a lot of times we just do it because everybody else is doing it and then I think on the total other spectrum of the thing, a lot of times we actually walk around thinking we’re super set apart and holier than other people because we look at other people and say, well, I’m better than them. Well, they do this, this and this. And in our family, we don’t do those things.
Okay. Since when are they the standard? Whoever they is, who cares? They’re not the standard. It doesn’t matter. The standard is freedom in the kingdom of God. This is why 2 Corinthians 5 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Listen to me, it takes faith to live a set-apart life in a fit-in world. And the world will never celebrate a kingdom life. The world is not going to understand your kingdom living. In fact, they will try to tear you down with shame.
They will shame you as you’ve moving into this place of freedom with God. They will try to shame you back into alignment, into conformity with who they are. So you have to understand out of the gate, people who live by sight will never understand a life of faith. People who live by sight will never understand a life of faith. So waiting for your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends on Facebook, the people at the office, the other kids at school to validate a kingdom life in your world. It’s not going to happen.
But eventually, you’re going to show them the kingdom of God and they’re going to be attracted to it. And they’re going to come to you in private when no one else is around and say, hey, tell me why you’re different because my life is a mess and it ain’t working. Yeah. Hey, guess what, God’s got freedom for you too. Come on. Are you with me on this?
Look at this next verse. 2 Corinthians — or Philippians, “But our citizenship is in heaven.”
Our citizenship is in heaven. The moment you put your faith in Jesus, guess what, you are no longer a citizen of this world. The Bible tells us you’re an alien, a stranger, a foreigner on this planet. You now belong to the kingdom of heaven, you belong to the kingdom of God, you have a completely different reality of what you exist in in the world around you, which here’s what I’m trying to tell you. What’s normal for the world is weird to you and what’s normal to you is weird to the world.
What’s normal for the world, the kingdom of darkness should be weird to you. And what’s normal for you, the kingdom of God should be weird to them. So what I’m trying to tell you is you’re weird. You’re weird. And guess what, if normal is death, darkness and destruction, stealing, killing and destroying, I’m cool being weird. I don’t want to be normal and fit in with darkness. I guess I want the freedom of light.
I mean just think about this for a second. Let’s say you’re a citizen of the US and let’s say you went to one of the most oppressive nations on the planet, Iraq, North Korea, a dictatorship in South America or Africa or whatever it is, oppressive nation, if you went there, are you going to start living under that oppression? Just because you show you in their country, are you going to start thinking like, talking like, acting like, living like and believing like them? No way. Why? Because you have a citizenship from a different place. You have the constitution. You’ve tasted freedom to a dimension that you understand it, and you’re never going to go back again. So you’re going to live in a way that’s so different from them that they’re going to be like, hey, why are you not fitting in with us here? What is it about you that allows you this? You’re like I’ve tasted freedom. Why would I live under oppression?
Okay, if you wouldn’t live down to the oppression of North Korea as an American citizen, why do we then live down to the oppression of this world as the citizen of the kingdom of God?
It’s changing the thought process of our mind. That’s why Jesus says, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Change your mind because you’re a citizen of a totally different realm by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You’re set apart, man. And we all know in this room, there’s a super big different between being set apart and living set apart.
And all I’m trying to do as we roll this out is I’m trying to just help you grasp that your identity in Jesus is you’re set apart, you’re holy. You can’t read the Bible and come up with any other conclusion. You can look at your life and come up with a different conclusion. You may not feel like it, you may not act like it, you may not live like it, your family may say you’re not it, and then you get to decide who has more authority, Jesus or your feelings or your family.
And when you start catching your identity, identity determines behavior. And so when you start understanding you’re set apart, you start living set apart. It’s not living set apart that makes you set apart. It was Jesus’ living set apart that makes me set apart if I believe it.
And so here we are at the beginning of this run. Here’s just what I want to say, just quick inventory for you. Are you set apart in the way you live? Do you do business in the set-apart way? Is your family set apart? Students, do you live set apart at school? Do you do set apart things in your neighborhood and your daily life? Do you think different, talk different, act different, live different and believe different than the world around you? And if the answer is no, that’s okay. In Jesus, you’re still set apart. And when you start to grasp that I’m still set part and holy even though I’m living like everybody else in this world, all of a sudden it starts to change the way you think, it starts shifting in your mind, and you start realizing that holiness is not misery. Holiness is freedom.
In fact, a life of unholiness is misery. That’s the lie that Satan’s convinced us. Satan has convinced you that if you live a holy life, a set apart life, it’s miserable. The more you believe that lie, the more you empower him to rule and reign in your life. That’s why it’s even the word set apart. Holiness messes with you. Just go back to set apart. And some of you, you’re sitting here and you’re thinking, okay, okay, what does this really.
Here’s what it really means. Set apart just simply means you literally believe when God says, my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. I don’t understand it, I don’t get it but I believe it. Set apart literally means you believe the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you. And if the Holy Spirit is inside of you, his holy and he only dwells in holy places. That must mean that you are there for them by holy as well. It means that you’re living like you actually believe the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus actually happened.
Not that it’s some religious thoughts somewhere in the past. It means you believe you’re a creation in Christ that the old is gone and the new has come. Not that the old is going, the old is gone. Past tense, finished. Done. And the new has come. It means you believe like there is freedom and purpose to be found in Jesus. Come on man, you’re set apart. You’re set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You’re set apart. You, you’re unique, you’re special, you’re wanted, you’re desired by grace. You didn’t earn it, deserve it, achieve it or perform for it, which means you can’t lose it. It’s not about what you have to do, it’s what Jesus has done. It’s finished.
You are set apart by grace for the good of others. Listen to me, the world does not need you to fit in. The world needs you to live set apart so you can show them the goodness of God and for the glory of God.
God is most glorified when you live like you actually believe the kingdom of heaven is here. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You have been set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. You can’t deny that in Jesus’ name because he says you’re chosen, royal, holy, and you belong to him to live in light.
It’s time to believe it. It’s time to awaken to the life that’s within us. It’s time to be called up to rise up to a new place in God. See, I’m believing this year, if you will by faith, activate this word. Even if you don’t get it, even if you don’t like it, even if it stresses you out, if you could just reach out and say, God, by faith, I’m activating it, I’m pulling it into my life and saying, this is going to be true for me and my family and my business and where I go.
And you’re going to watch, God’s going to start making you bold and strong and courageous and full of faith and full of hope and love, living with compassion, going into this world. This is not about getting elite and separating from the world. No, no, it’s urban, man. It sends us into the dark places with the supernatural power of God to be different, to show them God’s goodness and his glory and his grace. Listen to me, you have been set apart by grace. Your spirit, listen to me, your spirit craves to be set apart because it was made to be set apart.
So don’t try to be set apart by fitting in. Be set apart by living set apart because you know in Jesus you already are set apart. Come on parents, don’t you want your kids to be set apart?
Come on students, don’t you want to be set apart? Come on business owners, don’t you want a set apart business? And healthcare people, don’t you want a set apart healthcare? And teachers, don’t you want health that’s set apart? Classrooms. Come on. Set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God. And in a minute, when you leave, you’re going to get one of these cards which simply says this, “Jesus capture my heart and help me to live set apart.”
I want to invite you for the next 21 days to pray that one simple prayer, Jesus capture my heart and help me to live set apart, because when Jesus captures your heart, your attention comes off to the way the world thinks, talks, acts, lives and believes and looks to the way he thinks, he talks, he acts, he lives and he believes. And that grace starts empowering you to live in a way that’s for the good of others and the glory of God.
Hey, you’re set apart by grace for the good of others and the glory of God.
Jesus, thank you so much that you speak to us in profound and relevant ways. Lord, we choose to say that this word is for us today and so by faith we reach out and grab a hold of it. Maybe even in your own way, you could just literally reach out and say, Jesus, I’m going to activate this by faith. I’m a part of this family, I’m a part of this church, I want the anointing and the authority that flows through it to come into my life. I want to humble myself with a hunger to say, Lord, I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I know your grace will empower me.
So Jesus, thank you that in you we are set apart. May we change our thought process of holiness and may your grace give us the strength to live for the good of others and the glory of God. We love you, Jesus. Thank you that you are the ultimate set apart one. In your name we pray. Amen.