Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

10/22/2017 A.M.

 

Pursuing Holiness

1 Peter 1.13-16 & Hebrews 12.14

 

There’s no doubt that we are living in the most… Permissive… Self-centered… NARCISSISTic… time in history.

 

Listen to our conversations…

Read…Watch… Listen… to our newscasts…

• You’ll hear presidents and congressional leaders lying and cheating for their own interest…

• Church leaders… Priests… Popes… Preachers… and Ministry Leaders… Are involved in immoral atrocities.

 

Follow Social Media… And we see everyday posts indicating that…

• Participants are filled with… Jealousy… Anger… Hate... Envy… toward friends and family.

• Everyday citizens attempting vengeance on their neighbors… Bullying and road rage are epidemic.

 

All this paints a picture of a pre-occupation and obsession with me-first happiness at any cost.

• We want wealth without work…

• Pleasure without conscience…

• Knowledge without character…

• Capitalism without morality…

• Sciencewithout humanity…

• Worship without sacrifice…

• Politics without principle…

• Religion without commitment.


We live in a world where sin is called CHOICE or Opinion instead of sin.

 

I gotta tell you church… This mindset… These attitudes… Don’t lead us closer to our Father God… But lead us away from Him… It certainly doesn’t make us Holy.

 

Here it is… We… As God’s children… His people.. Are expected to live on a higher moral plane than the rest of the world.

 

We are called to be Holy as our God is holy.

 

Hebrews 12.14 tells us… Make every effort… Make every effort… To live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord.

 

We must be able to sing this prayer with integrity… 

 

More holiness give me, more strivings within.

More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.

More faith in my Savior, more sense of His care.

More joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.

 

More gratitude give me, more trust in the Lord.

More zeal for His glory, more hope in His Word.

More tears for His sorrows, more pain at His grief.

More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

 

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,

More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.

More fit for the kingdom, more useful I’d be,

More blessed and holy, more, Savior, like Thee.


 

Come… Let’s see what we can learn about Holiness

and how to become more like our Father God…

 

First… What is Holiness?... We need a definition…

 

Webster tells us that Holiness is being… Set apart… To be different… Distinctive... Dedicated or devoted to the service of God. It is to be spiritually pure and godly.

 

Holiness is taking on the moral characteristics of God.

Peter quotes the Old Testament Leviticus saying… That as God’s people… We are to be holy because he is holy.

 

Church…Is there any doubt that we are to be like our God…To have… The heart… Mind… Attitude… Disposition… Behavior… Of God as He was dressed in the humanity of Jesus?  This is what Christianity is all about… Our conforming to His image… Amen?

 

Holiness is being pure and separate.

Listen as I read from Second Corinthians six… Beginning with the verse numbered 14… Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”“Therefore come out from them and be… WHAT?... separate… Says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

 

Israel violated this law… Ten Tribes lost their identity by intermarrying when God said don’t.  The other two tribes were carried into Babylonian captivity because they would not keep themselves pure as God’s people.

 

It always amazes me that we think we can become the exception to…God’s rule… His law.  God maintains that Holiness is being separate and pure.

 

We must know that just as darkness and light are mutually exclusive… So are sin and godliness… We can’t have it both ways… We can’t walk in the light and walk in the world.

 

In Colossians chapter two… Paul tells us to NOT… Handle… Taste…Touch… The things of this world.  John tells us that loving the world makes us enemies of God.

 

Church… Gotta ask this morning… Do we really want to be... Holy… Set apart… Pure… Separate?... Do We?…   Then the things of this world cannot reign and rule our life… Our desires and ambitions.

 

Holiness is something we do… Living righteously… It’s a lifestyle!

Holiness is walking in step with the Spirit of God… Thus producing the horticulture of the Spirit… Love… Joy… Peace… Patience… kindness…goodness… Faithfulness… gentleness… Self-control.

 

Holiness is walking in the light…  It’s adding the Christians virtues…faith…goodness… knowledge… temperance… Perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness…and love.

 

You see… It’s one thing to claim Christianity… Another to walk as He walked… Amen?

 

Holiness is seeing ourselves as we really are… sinners in need of God’s FORGIVENESS.

One of the most interesting and HOLY Scenes of the Bible is found in Isaiah chapter six… There the Prophet saw the Lord sitting on a throne… High and lifted up… HOLY!... His robe filled the Temple… There were Seraphim crying out… Holy… Holy… Holy… Is the Lord of Hosts… The whole earth is full of His Glory.

 

When Isaiah saw God for who He really was… He sees himself as he really is… A sinner in need of forgiveness… Wow is me… I am undone…  Unclean…Ruined… I am lost… A man of unclean lips… I dwell in the midst of those of unclean lips.

Then one of the Seraphim touches his lips with a live coal… Sins are cleansed… Isaiah is made HOLY. 

 

Then we see our next point… Holiness is our being ready to tell others about our creator God.

At this point in our narrative… God says… Whom shall I send… Who will go for us…  Isaiah responds… Here am I… Send me… Let me do it!!

 

Church… Genuine holiness is our ready to be evangelistic…

• Tell others about God…

• Share Jesus…

• Calling others to be cleansed of their sins…

• To come enjoy the life in Christ.

Church… There will come a day in my life and yours that we will say to God… let me do it!

 

Well… Now that we have a better idea of What Holiness is…

Let’s let Peter tell us how to get started

in the Ministry of Holiness…

 

Read the text with me… First Peter 1.13-16… Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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.”

 

First… Peter says… Prepare your minds for action.

Our King James says… Gird up the loins of your mind.

The imagery is of the ancient oriental who wore loose flowing robes…So that in order to run or work… It was necessary to bind up the garments… Tucking them around the waist.

 

Church…Holiness is our having our minds in constant preparation to do God’s will at any moment.

 

Paul tells us that God saved us to do good works that He prepared in advance for us to do.

 

When God providentially opens the door of opportunity… We must be mentally ready to walk through… It’s a part of holiness.

 

We must Be self-Controlled.

The need for us… To exercise self-control… To think soberly… Correctly… Is mentioned several times in the New Testament.

 

The Greek literally means to be free from intoxicants that might…

• Slow our thinking…

• Inhibit our decision-making or behavior.

 

Listen to Paul in Ephesians chapter 5… Make the most of every opportunity… Do not get drunk on wine… Which leads to debauchery…Instead… Be filled with the Spirit.

 

Most of us would never get drunk on wine or strong drink… But many of us become… Drunk…Intoxicated… On the wine of the world… Things that are about this world… But have little or nothing to do with God’s Kingdom effort?

 

Paul is not saying everything in the world is bad… But we must not become intoxicated… On them… By them…With them.

 

John is not saying that everything in the world is bad… But he does say… Do not love… LOVe…  The things of the world.

 

Church…Holiness is sober thinking…. Correct thinking… Maintaining a balance between the things of the world and the pursuit of God Righteousness… HOLINESS!

 

We must set our hope on what will happen when Jesus comes.

Our eternal hope is found in the fact that… We are saved by grace through faith... But the reality of our salvation will not become evident until Jesus returns.

 

We must persevere… Never give up… never lose sight of our hope.

 

Listen to Peter… Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away.

 

Here it is church… If we lose our hope of heaven… We are more likely to forsake our pursuit of Holiness.

 

Number four… We must not conform to evil desires.

Romans chapter six and twelve tell us that genuine worship and service to God is wrapped up in our becoming His instrument of righteousness… A Living sacrifice.

 

We do this Paul says by Not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world… But to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

 

So…the question becomes… What patterns of living did you and your speaker have to break… What did we have to give up… In order to become a Christian?


Perhaps more importantly… What patterns of living do we now need to… Leave off… Give up… In order to maintain our Holiness?

Be Holy as I am Holy.

 

We finish our lesson by noting some hindrances to Holiness…

 

Perhaps the most prominent hindrance in the day of Paul, Peter & John was Persecution.

Christians suffer today… Some more than others… We not so much.

We talked in our Ephesians class Wednesday Evening about the fact that in some Jewish and Islam circles… If a Jew forsakes his religion to marry a Christian…He is excluded from the family… And they have a funeral to mark his being dead to God.

 

Today…If you are suffering because you are a child of God… Don’t lose sight of your Hope Or your reward… But consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance… When perseverance finishes its work you will be mature and complete… Not lACking anything… Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial.

 

Church…If we are… perfect… Lacking Nothing… Then we’ll be holy…Amen?

 

Secondly… Our lack of Commitment

It’s possible to be a Couch Potato Christian… Merely going through the motions…But having a tough time of clearing the hurdle that God demands… That of HOLINESS… Total commitment…

• No other Gods before Me…

• Love God with all… ALL your Heart… Mind… Soul… Strength….

 

Proverbs 3.3-9 sums it up for us… Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart…. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him… Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your income…


God demands total absolute commitment.

 

Francis Chan writes of commitment saying… It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.

 

Thirdly… There’s the HINDRANCE of Lust.

Desire gone astray is another way to describe today’s American Culture.

Such desires have led many man, woman and teen Away from Holiness.

 

God has given us… Blessings… Natural Desires… that lead to JOY… And we’ve turned them into sin…

• The desire for food into gluttony – Obesity rules our nation.

• Sex into… Pornography… Fornication… Adultery… Homosexuality.

• Anger into… Hate… Murder… Hostility toward all we don’t like.

• Faith into doubt…

• Fear into paranoia…

• Self-worth into Self-aggrandizement… Me first… The big “I”…

• Our desire to find God into idolatry…

• Choice into sin…

• I believe we have a natural desire to be holy… That we’ve turned into conspicuous religiosity.

 

As we end… We must ask the question…

Can we become Holy within ourselves?… Not at all…

 

No amount of self-styled holiness can forgive our sins and place us on heaven’s road… All our… Good works… Good deeds… are but filthy rags in God’s sight.

 

It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us with…

   • The washing of water through the Word… New Testament Conversion

   • It's living holy lives by walking in the light of… His Word… His Truth.

 

What do we need to do this morning to be Holy?...

• Be born again… Conversion…

• Or walk in the light… Live in Holiness.

 

It’s hard to believe that any one of us is absolutely Holy… So the invitation is for all as we stand and sing together.