Archive for July, 2018

A Call To Holiness

July 28, 2018

I do not hear many people today talking about holiness, not even in the church.  I believe that this is in reaction to some groups that have tied holiness to intolerance, or even hatred.  Holiness is important, and it should not lead to intolerance and certainly not to hatred.

I.  The Call to Holiness:  Leviticus 19:1-2

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Of course, your reaction to this verse might be to declare that it is part of the Mosaic Law and that we have been set free from the law.  You would be partly correct.  We are free from the Law, but that does not mean that we are not called to holiness.

A.  A New Testament Call:  I Peter 1:13-16

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Here Peter repeats the call that we read first in Leviticus.  Jesus Christ is holy.  We are called Christians.  We are called to be holy.  It is important.

B. The Importance of Holiness:  Hebrews 12:14

  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

So we are to pursue holiness.  We are saved by grace, through faith but if we are saved our lives should change.

C.  Guided to Holiness

It is not my intent in this message to give to you a list of do’s and don’t.  Rather I would point you to the means by which you can discover for yourself the details of holiness.

1.  The Word:  II Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

As Christians we do not look to the world for our standards of right and wrong, rather we should look to the Word of God.

2.  The Spirit:  John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

If we depend solely on human wisdom we will not discover the truths that God has for us.  We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

II.  The Dangers of Holiness

If I am going to encourage you to pursue holiness, it is appropriate for me also to warn you of some dangers associated with holiness.

  1.  We may start to think that we have earned our salvation or God’s favor.  Salvation is a gift.  We do not earn it.  Nor does God owe us anything for doing what we ought to do.
  2. We may become divided.  As we pray and search the scriptures we may come to different conclusions about exactly what constitutes holiness.  We may think that people who do not agree with our standards are not ‘true’ Christians.
  3. We may think that we are better than others.  As God helps us to change and overcome various sins in our lives we may look at others who are still struggling and think that we are better than them.  We may see some of their faults and not see our own.  Or we may think less of them, and more highly of ourselves.
  4. We may think that we are worthless.  If we become conscious of our sins and we seem to unable to overcome them we may think that we are worthless.  We may forget that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  That alone makes us of great worth.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.
  5. We may give up.  If we seem unable to live up to the standards we, or others, have set up we may just leave the faith as too hard.  We may fail to recognize that God loves us as we are and He will continue to work on us throughout our lives, molding us into the image of His Son.

III. The Key to Holiness

A.  Crucify the Flesh:  Galatians 5: 24

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Obviously, this is not to be taken literally.  It does mean that as we learn to recognize the difference between holy living and unholy living our old nature will sometimes desire to do things that are unholy.  We should not just give in to those desires and say that ‘we are only human’.  Rather, we recognize that as Christians we now have the Spirit of God.  We are not ‘only human’ we are the children of God.  Do not give in to the temptations of the old nature, but rather live as the people God has called us to be.

B.  Be Filled with the Spirit:  Ephesians 3:17-19

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We do not change through the strength of our own will but by the strength of the Spirit that God gives to us.  It is an ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit.

Let us pursue holiness in all of our conduct, not so that we can be saved, but because we are saved.

Let us seek to be holy because our God is holy

 

These are the sermon notes from 7/22/18.  All quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have not control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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