Summary: In this series, we will explore six traditions of Christian faith. The first is one that the Church of God strongly connects to: the holy life. We explore strengths/weaknesses and how to integrate it.
Streams of Living Water
October 10, 2004
“Streams of Living Water” is the title of this sermon series. During the next month and a half we are going to look at six streams or traditions of the church. These traditions are six different foci concerning our spiritual walk. At various times in church history, all six have been emphasized sometimes to correct an out of balance spiritual system or sometimes to augment a deficient spiritual walk. A great resource for this series is a book by Richard Foster with the same title as this series.
Of these six traditions, they are grouped into pairs. These pairs often provide a counterweight or balance to the other. These pairs often have complementary strengths. For example, one of the great traditions of the church is the prayer-filled life. This is a life that is focused on God and centered on prayer. The temptation is to be so withdrawn in prayer that one forgets to look where God is at work in everyday life, which is the focus of the incarnational tradition.
You will find that you practice several of these and they are important to your walk. You might find ways to move even closer to God through these strengths. However, you will also find that there are some that you may need to do better at integrating into your life. Unless we integrate all six we will be out of balance and spiritually anemic. Just a quick note, although we will talk about these separately to that we can better understand them, in reality we find ourselves flowing in multiple traditions at the same time.
We are living in a wonderful time. Although some are disturbed at how denomination loyalty is suffering greatly, I believe this is a great opportunity for the Church of God Reformation Movement! We are not a denomination but promote the unity of God’s visible church. Throughout our own history, we can see all six of these traditions even though we have magnified a couple of them more than others. In our day, people are no longer content to settle for one specific brand of Christianity! We want to integrate the best of the best to be all that God wants us to be. It is with this thought in mind that we begin this series.
This morning we will begin by talking about the holy life. It is the holy life that is fresh water. It is to the holy life that we are reborn to live. So the holy life is fresh. Every day His mercies are new. It is through the prayer-filled life that the holy life is formed. We will address the prayer-filled life in two weeks.
There is a new law in Finland regarding speeding. On February 11, 2004, Helsinki police stopped Jussi Salonoja, a 27-year-old Finnish sausage maker, driving 80 kilometers an hour in a 40-kph zone.
Salonoja is no stranger to illegal speeds. In 2000, he was caught cruising the highway at 200 kilometers per hour and paid a hefty fine. This time the fine was higher.
Finland has little tolerance for speeding and scale traffic fines to the income of the violator. Thanks to his position as Finland’s "sausage king," Salonja is a millionaire. His fine set a new national record at 170,000 euros. The cost in U.S. currency, $277,000.
Through James we can learn what holiness is.
Holiness: Re-formation of the Heart.
This is why we are the Church of God Reformation Movement. We seek that change that comes when God’s Spirit comes to dwell in our heart. But this is crucial!
(A transformed heart will produce right action).
It doesn’t take long to see how important right action is to James. “Show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility. It is the virtuous life. But right action by itself is not enough. The right action or holy life must come because the source is purified. That source is our hearts. A pure heart leads to pure action. Selfish ambition leads to evil and sin.
Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray. It was there that the devil tempted Him but He was without sin. His pure heart was shown because He refused to act sinfully.
This leads us to a few clarifying statements about holiness.
Clarifying Statements About Holiness
• Holiness is not just rules and regulations.
Although there are rules to holy living such as the Ten Commandments, simply obeying a bunch of rules misses the whole point. God does have rules to obey. But they are not meant to be restrictions as much as life-giving directives.
• Holiness is not separation from the world but set apart.
Too often we separate ourselves from the world. Yes, we act differently. We live differently. But how will God ever be glorified when we never interact with the lost.