Take Time to be Holy pt II

Good morning, everyone. Most of you are aware of the divinely ordained severe physical and emotional pain I have been living with for almost three years. It’s been one of the most difficult periods of my life. However, beyond the shadow of doubt, I know this trial has been a huge blessing to me especially in my spiritual growth. During this time I have shared with you folks lots of praises to God for Him faithfully meeting each of my daily needs and seeing to it that my burden has never been more than I can handle. I told you that I’m a fighter and that I won’t give up and plunge myself into a depression. I have had a lot of anxious moments when my mind was focused almost exclusively on things such as, will what will the test results reveal? In one way or another many of you folks can relate to that experience. Because of our present study on the necessity of you and me making every effort to put on holiness; I’m happy to say that this past week I believe I have taken a giant step in that direction. I’ll explain shortly.


14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)


I ended last week’s sermon by asking: Are you and I true believers in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? We have only looked at one example today of what holiness isn’t. As far as our souls are concerned the most important spiritual matter we should be thinking about today is that if we want to see and be with Jesus after we die, and no one knows when that event will occur; we MUST sincerely be making every effort to be holy. As your pastor I plead with you to TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY! Today I plan to call your attention to the following bible verses documenting that fact. Here they are:


16 Adam’s one sin brought the penalty of death to many, while Christ freely takes away many sins and gives glorious life instead. 17 The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all, but all who will take God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Yes, Adam’s sin brought punishment to all, but Christ’s righteousness makes men right with God, so that they can live. Romans 5:16-18 (TLB)


1 Let me add this, dear brothers: You already know how to please God in your daily living, for you know the commands we gave you from the Lord Jesus himself. Now we beg you—yes, we demand of you in the name of the Lord Jesus—that you live more and more closely to that ideal. 2 3 For God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin 4 so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways. 6 And this also is God’s will: that you never cheat in this matter by taking another man’s wife because the Lord will punish you terribly for this, as we have solemnly told you before. 7 For God has not called us to be dirty-minded and full of lust but to be holy and clean. 8 If anyone refuses to live by these rules, he is not disobeying the rules of men but of God who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (TLB)


19 Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too—so strongly that they tremble in terror! 20 Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith. 21 Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good because of what he did when he was willing to obey God, even if it meant offering his son Isaac to die on the altar? 22 You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to; his faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions, his good deeds. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say, that Abraham trusted God, and the Lord declared him good in God’s sight, and he was even called “the friend of God.” 24 So you see, a man is saved by what he does, as well as by what he believes. James 2:19-24 (TLB)


1 Lord, who may go and find refuge and shelter in your tabernacle up on your holy hill? 2 Anyone who leads a blameless life and is truly sincere. 3 Anyone who refuses to slander others, does not listen to gossip, never harms his neighbor, 4 speaks out against sin, criticizes those committing it, commends the faithful followers of the Lord, keeps a promise even if it ruins him, 5 does not crush his debtors with high interest rates, and refuses to testify against the innocent despite the bribes offered him—such a man shall stand firm forever. Psalm 15:1-5 (TLB)


During the past week God woke me up out of a sound sleep as He sometimes does. As I often do, I immediately started thinking about this morning’s message. After about fifteen minutes He started inclining me to get up and work on it. But I ignored His prompting because I didn’t want to get up. I was very comfortable lying on my side in bed and not having any pain. So I didn’t get up. Finally He caused me to bolt out of bed hollering because of severe foot and leg cramps. I rushed out of our bedroom with my walker and cane and walked all over the other rooms. I begged Jesus to stop it and let me go back to bed and away from the pain I was experiencing. I reminded Him I was worn out from the previous day’s events, one of which was that I had to stop driving and surrender my license to the Motor Vehicle Bureau. In my way of thinking that event represented the beginning of the final season of my life in this sin drenched world. I praise the Lord that after all these years of driving I have never caused an accident. Once again His Spirit strongly inclined me to glance in a certain direction. I spotted a book I had been searching for, for over a month. I quickly picked it up and opened it to no page in particular. My eyes were immediately drawn to some sentences which I had previously underlined in red. I read what they said. And that was when I took a giant step forward in me making every effort to put on holiness. Allow me to explain.


In his insightful book “the Pursuit of Holiness,” writing about the necessity of you and me putting on holiness if we want to see the Lord, Jerry Bridges comments: “Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self centered than God- centered. We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God.”


I had never considered the fact that every time I sin, and that’s a lot, I was breaking God’s heart! I felt awful and promised myself to struggle harder not to sin. I begged Jesus to help me. Now it is very painful for me whenever I sin. I realize I will be breaking God’s heart until I die and leave this world and so will the true believers who are at this worship service. Today I have a better understanding of the magnitude of God’s love for me.


Then, citing W. S. Plummer Bridges writes, “We never see sin correctly until we see it as being against God…. That it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set at naught…. Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned’; but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before you’; and David said, ‘Against you, you only have I sinned.”


Bridges continues: “God wants us to walk in obedience-not victory. Obedience is oriented toward God, victory is oriented toward self. This may be seen to be merely splitting hairs over semantics, but there is a subtle, self-centered attitude at the root of many of our difficulties with sin. Until we face this attitude and deal with it we will not consistently walk in obedience. This is not to say that God doesn’t want us to experience victory, but rather to emphasize that victory is the by-product of obedience. As we concentrate on living an obedient, holy life, we will certainly experience the joy of victory over sin.”


That’s the giant step forward I believe I took. At our worship services during my current trial I have publically praised God for His faithfulness in meting each of my daily needs and seeing to it that my burden is never more that I can handle. This past week the Holy Spirit convicted me that I had been focusing on my victory over this or that, and, unless I’m mistaken, I never mentioned the fact that my sins grieve the heart of God. For instance, despite the fact that I have diabetes, one of my favorite sins since I was in the nursing home and rehab center has been to pig out on Sour Patch Soft and Chewy Candy for Kids. I’m asking each of you folks to do everything you can to help me to overcome my fondness for sugar.


14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)


By the end of last week’s message it became quite obvious that none of us completely knew what true biblical holiness is. Please remember the fact I have told you many times in the past. When I deliver these messages I’m preaching to myself too. I plan to give us an idea today and, Lord willing, continue next week. I will be modernizing the language of J. C. Ryle a man who lived from 1816 to 1900. He wrote the following in a very helpful book called “Holiness.”


“Holiness is having the habit of being of one mind with God as we find His mind described in the Bible. It’s that habit of agreeing with God’s judgment; hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this sin infested world by the standard of His inerrant Word.”


“A holy person will shun every known sin, and keep everyone of His commandments. Such a person’s mind will be bent toward God, with a greater fear of displeasing Him that of displeasing the world, and posses a love of all of His ways. He or she will feel what the Apostle Paul felt when He said.22 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; Romans 7:22 (TLB), and what King David felt when he said,128 Every law of God is right, whatever it concerns. I hate every other way. Psalm 119:128 (TLB)


A biblically holy person will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He or she will not only live the life of faith in them and draw from Him all of their daily peace and strength but they will also labor to have the mind that was in Him, and sincerely want to resemble Him. The Apostle Paul wrote. 26 “And in the same way—by our faith —the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. 29 For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers.” Romans 8:26-29 (TLB)


Ryle continues: “It will be that persons aim to bear with and forgive others, just as Christ forgave us; to be unselfish, just as Christ didn’t please Himself; to walk in love just as Christ loved us; to be lowly-minded and humble, just as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself.”


“A truly holy person will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth; that He came into our world not to do His own will; but that it was His chief desire to do His Father’s will; that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others; that He was meek and patient under undeserving insults; that He thought more of godly poor men, than He did of kings; that He was full of love and compassion for sinners such as you and me; that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin; that He never sought the praise of men, when He could have had it; that He went about doing good; that He was separate from worldly people; that He was continually in prayer; that He would not even let His nearest relations stand in His way when God’s work was to be done.”


“A holy man will try to remember all of these things. By them, he will endeavor to shape his course in life. He will take to his heart the sayings of (1 John 2:6)1 My little children, I am telling you this so that you will stay away from sin. But if you sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. His name is Jesus Christ, the one who is all that is good and who pleases God completely. 2 He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s. 3 And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By looking within ourselves: are we really trying to do what he wants us to? 4 Someone may say, “I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.” But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar. 5 But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more. That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian. 6 Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did. 7 Dear brothers, I am not writing out a new rule for you to obey, for it is an old one you have always had, right from the start. You have heard it all before. 8 Yet it is always new, and works for you just as it did for Christ; and as we obey this commandment, to love one another, the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in. 9 Anyone who says he is walking in the light of Christ but dislikes his fellow man is still in darkness. 1 John 2:1-9 (TLB)The Apostle Peter wrote.21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV)


Ryle adds: “Happy is the person who has to make Christ his or her “all,” both for salvation and example! Much time would be saved, and much sin prevented if people would more often ask themselves, the question; “What would Jesus have said and done if He were in my place?”


“Holy people will want to walk by the Spirit in love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He or she will put up with much, restrain themselves much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on their rights. We see a great example of this in the behavior of David when Shimei cursed him and of Moses when Aaron and Miriam spoke against him.” Here are the scriptures Ryle was referring to.


10 “No!” the king said. “If the Lord has told him to curse me, who am I to say no? 2 Samuel 16:10 (TLB)


3 Immediately he summoned Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to the Tabernacle: “Come here, you three,” he commanded. So they stood before the Lord. (Now Moses was the humblest man on earth). Numbers 12:3 (TLB)


“Holy people will pursue temperance and self-denial. They will labor to mortify the desires of their body, to crucify their flesh with their affections and lusts, to curb his or her passions, to restrain their carnal tendencies so that at any time they won’t break loose.”


He concludes by citing the following scripture. “O what a word is that the Lord Jesus said to His apostles 34 “Watch out! Don’t let my sudden coming [the Second Coming] catch you unawares; don’t let me find you living in careless ease, carousing and drinking, and occupied with the problems of this life, like all the rest of the world. Luke 21:34, and that of the Apostle Paul who wrote:27 Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside. 1 Corinthians 9:27 (TLB)


I’m sorry to say that’s all we have time for this morning and I have only scratched the surface of what holiness is. To those of you who profess to be a Christian, I plead with you to work out your salvation with fear and trembling because you may be fooling yourself! It’s a matter of eternal life or death.


Lord willing, I will continue this message next week. Until then, speaking as your pastor who loves each of you very much, I’m begging you to TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY!


14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)

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February 12, 2012 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized 8 comments

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