Summary: A CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE Pastor preaches that holiness is a "birth-right" for the Christian. Experience it! And have fun, too!
(With a Little "Sesame Street" Humor)
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-23, KJV
Purpose: Holiness is a "birth-right" for the Christian. Jesus gave you a new life where holiness is the normal experience. Experience it! And have fun, too!
A Little Explanation
I guess I need to explain a little about what I am going to do this morning with this sermon. In short, I’m going to have a little child-like fun! I mean, Jesus said, "...whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all," (see Luke 18:17).
Now, the popular Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television show, "Sesame Street," became popular after my adolescent years. I did not watch it when I was a child.
But while in seminary, in the class on children’s ministry, one of my assignments was to watch one week of "Sesame Street," and one week of "Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood." And then write about what I learned in the ways these two shows teach children.
Let me tell you what I learned:
* The "Sesame Street" show made my head and eyes hurt. The screen flickered between scenes about every 15 seconds. I got so tired of trying to keep up! Funny, that.
* The "Mr. Rodgers" show nearly put me to sleep. Still, it was kinder and gentler to my spirit, and my eyes, and my head!
Other than that, the only other thing I remember is that on one of the "Sesame Street" shows, I learned about the letter, "R." Different characters appeared who looked like "R’s." And they all said, "I am the letter, ’R,’" while the drew out the sound, as in, "rrrrrrrrrrrr."
==> I like the alphabet. Even Jesus used the alphabet. Recall that He said, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end...," (see Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). So, Jesus is the "A" and "Z," the first and the last; I’LL JUST USE SOME OF THE OTHER LETTERS TODAY!
So, sit back, pray for your Pastor, and let’s learn about "Experiencing Holiness," while using a whole host of the alphabet.
Our Scripture is 1 Peter 1:13-21. This passage speaks about "holiness."
It is God’s will that we experience holiness. Holiness is the endearing experience--for TO EXPERIENCE HOLINESS IS TO EXPERIENCE THE HOLY ONE. Holiness is nothing-less-nor-anything-more than--get ready, because here comes the letter "R"--holiness is nothing-less-nor-anything-more than a Radical, Royal, Reliable, Remarkable Romance with the Redeemer.
Okay, let’s look into Jesus’ neighborhood!
EXPERIENCE HOLINESS IN BIRTHING
The major topics in this message all deal with the high privilege--and THE HIGH PLACES--of experiencing holiness. They are all brought to us by the letter "B." The first topic is "Birthing."
We will have the help of the letters "D" and "S."
Born Again to the New Birth
Birthing. I’m referring, of course, to being born again--to the "new birth."
In the Older Testament (OT) we find some interesting stuff in the birth of Isaac. His birth is a wonderful, biblical, and practical example of birthing (Galatians 4:22-23, 29 and John 3:36). Wonderful because, by all natural appearances, Isaac should not have been born. His parents were far too old to bear children.
Yet, God brought Isaac to birth in spite of Debate, Doubt, Derision, Dysfunction, and the Death of the natural human reproductive systems, (Genesis 15:1-4; 17:1519; 18:9-14; 21:1-7). GOD USED THE MOST EXTREME SITUATION TO SHOW HIS MERCY AND HIS MIGHT.
For me, this says that any of us--whatever our Situation, whatever our Sorrows, whatever our Sinful past--all of us can experience "spiritual birthing," for "Abraham is the father of us all," (see Romans 4:16), and Jesus died to put us into the family!
==> In the New Testament (NT), spiritual birthing begins WHEN WE OPEN OUR EYES TO SEE JESUS. With God’s grace, when you look, you will see "HIM WHO IS WONDERFUL," and have the opportunity to reach out to Him.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, ’Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’" (John 3:3)
==> You must be "born again"!!! You must be spiritually "birthed"!!! Your new birth begins your new life; one where you experience holiness for the first time. You begin to know God, EXPERIENCING HOLINESS IN "HIM WHO IS WONDERFUL."
EXPERIENCE HOLINESS IN BURYING
The next high place of experiencing holiness is "Burying," brought to you with the help of the letters "R" and "S."
Die Out to Bring Forth Fruit
Burying refers to the seed falling into the ground and dying: "Except a seed fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit," (John 12:24).
For me, this is one of the finest presentations of entire sanctification. Dying out, being crucified with Christ and buried is an "experiencing holiness" high place.