Summary: In this sermon I use the word HOLY to describe aspects of being like Chist or holiness. Humbleness, Obedience, Loving, and Yielded.
Text: 1 Peter 1:15-16
Title: An introduction to Holiness
Would you join with me by opening your Bibles to 1 Peter 1:15-16. Our scripture reading this morning is short and sweet. It will take us longer to find the page than it will to read it. However, it packs quite a punch. Entire denominations have either been started or changed because of this verse or its meanings. Let’s read it together.
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”a
Our denomination is a Holiness denomination as you know. Striving towards Christian perfection, entire sanctification, or holiness should be our goal both as a denomination and as individual Christians. It needs to be our goal; in fact here we read that Peter, the Rock of the Church, commands it to be our goal. However, I believe many people get weighted down by the jargon surrounding holiness. We make it harder than it actually is. Words like legalism, justification, consecration, regeneration, and sanctification don’t seem to clear up exactly what Christian holiness is. I am not knocking our denomination here, but our definitions, although correct, don’t seem to clarify things for us very well. Let me read to you directly from our Manual.
“We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.
It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service.
Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.
This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.” (Manual, 30-31)”
Did everyone get that?
I would like to give you a one word definition for Holiness that I think will make more sense to all of us. Holiness is Christ likeness. Becoming Holy is to become more like Jesus Christ. Our lessons about how to become more holy come from none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Although, Christlikeness may be a little easier to understand I would like to break this down into four areas of application for our lives. We are going to take the word HOLY and use each letter to represent a characteristic of Christlikeness or holiness.
The first letter in HOLY is obviously “H” and I think this could represent humbleness for it is impossible to become Holy without being humble.
Some people go through their entire life and just never get the need for humility. A newspaper reporter was interviewing an old rancher and asked him to what he would attribute his success as a rancher. With a twinkle in his eye the man replied, "It’s been about 50 percent weather, 50 percent good luck, and the rest is just pure brains."
Others will get a dose of humility whether or not they ask for it. Muhammad Ali was in his prime, and as he was about to take off on an airplane flight, the stewardess reminded him to fasten his seat belt. He came back brashly, "Superman don’t need no seat belt." The stewardess quickly came back, "Superman don’t need no airplane, either." Ali, now humbled, fastened his belt.
One way or another you will be humbled, either you seek it out yourself and honor God through it or sooner or later you will be humbled. The ways of this world are not the same as God’s ways. Our society teaches us to always be strong and never show any sort of weakness. God’s ways are different. In this world if you want to really live you must seek out everything you can get your hands on no matter who is destroyed in the process, but to live in God’s world you must first die. In this world to succeed you must walk over others to get where you want to go. In God’s world you must first get on your knees if you want to succeed. In this world if you want to become strong you must pump yourself up. In God’s world if you want to become strong you must first become weak. Because this world operates on a different set of rules than does God’s world.
I found this quote while studying for this sermon. I have no idea who said it but it is so true. ““Humility is probably the most unpopular virtue demanded by the gospel, yet until man is humble, no good thing can come from him no matter what he may do. The Lord can do such great things for us if we are humble and so very little for us when we are proud.”