Summary: Today I’d like to talk with you about the one singular thing that all revivals have in common, and that is holiness. Without holiness there is no revival, there is no renewal. Holiness is a road God says we need to travel
A High Way to Holiness
Throughout this year, I’d like to go back and revisit those doctrines that we looked at during my sermon series that became the basis of the new book I’m writing, “Wells of Living Waters.”
These wells are those doctrines that contain God’s living waters that has brought revival and renewal to the church in the past, but the enemy of our faith, Satan, has cover over and made of no effect.
And unless the church begins to open what Satan has so successfully covered over, then we’ll never see that renewal or revival that we so desperately want and are praying for.
There’s a popular saying in Christianity today; that while we’re to be living in the world, we’re not to be of the world. What this means is that we’re not suppose to be living our lives in accordance to what the world says, but rather by what the Lord says, which is the meaning of our topic today.
Today I’d like to talk with you about the one singular thing that all revivals have in common, and that is holiness. Without holiness there is no revival, there is no renewal.
Holiness is a key component, not only in the House of God, as the Psalmist says, “Holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever,” Psalm 93:5 NKJV, but holiness should also be the heart of God’s people. The Apostle Paul said that God has not called us to uncleanness, but holiness, 1 Thessalonians 4:7. The writer of Hebrews says,
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NKJV)
This word “see” is interesting. It means to have a vision of something, and so without holiness we’ll never get a clear view of God, and we’ll never understand His ways.
Over this past generation the church has undergone many changes in its attempt to make itself relevant to the society. And as I have listened to what is being taught, read what is being written, and witnessed how those who call themselves Christians are living, what has become evident is that the church has gotten itself off track.
And one of the reasons is because the church has largely forgotten about Holiness, but it’s a road God says we need to travel.
In speaking about the time of the coming Messiah, when the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped, and the mute will shout for joy. When water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams will flow in the desert, the Lord says,
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way.” (Isaiah 35:8 NIV)
Now this word for highway doesn’t mean what we refer to it as being, rather it means exactly what it says, a way that is high. A highway was a road built on a raised causeway making it visible and unmistakable to everyone even at a far distance.
In the church this elevated way is called the way of holiness. Yet the church has lost its way, even though God’s word has clearly marked it out for us to follow.
John Wesley said that God raised up Methodism to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land. Wesley had actually formed a holiness club at Oxford. And Methodism was the source of a great revival that broke out in the mid 19th century known as the “Holiness Revival.”
But today much of Wesley’s teaching and this holiness revival has been forgotten, or better yet ignore it all togetherr because we’ve relegated holiness to a set of behaviors, like not smoking or drinking, or the way we are to act, or how we are dress and speak. Others speak about holiness as some perfectionistic ideal, which has discouraged many because there’s no way we can ever reach this ideal of perfection.
What then is holiness? What does it mean? The word holiness belongs to the same word grouping as sanctify and sanctification. It means to be separated and set apart for God, and it implies living a life of service for God, along with conforming to and becoming like the God in which we serve, or to become like Christ.
Holiness is then to become like Christ. That is the process of holiness.
And so to be holy is to be separate from sin and set apart for God and His kingdom purposes.
Now, does this mean that we have no sin? No, that’s impossible because within each believer, whom the Bible identifies as saints, which is another derivative of the word holy, within each of us exists the sin nature.
The Apostle Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)