Summary: A call to holiness to thwart the accusation of hypocrisy in the church.
Holiness – The Answer to Hypocrisy
Romans 12:1-2, Various Scriptures
Over the past 4 weeks we have taken a rather extensive and intensive look at holiness.
The first week we looked at the importance of holiness in our lives. We saw that holiness is not just some nice notion we talk about in Christian circles. And while holiness may seem impossible, it is commanded nonetheless, and God is the One who makes it happen.
We looked at the Battle Ground of holiness – our heart and mind. We laid out a Battle Plan for holiness – time in the Word and prayer, worship in a Christ-centered church, fellowship with like-minded believers, all culminating in bottom-line obedience to Christ and His commands. Stress was put on the point that God not only helps us obey Him, He helps us want to obey Him.
Then we looked at how holiness shows itself in our speech. We spent a good bit of time contrasting harmful speech and holy speech, discussing how gossip, slander, lying, misusing the Lord’s name, foul language, and prejudice have no place in the life of a Christian. Holiness in speech is shown in talk that benefits and uplifts others, and honors God.
Last week we examined the lives of Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as we broached the subject of holiness in our actions – or to put it another way, integrity. We saw that holding onto strong Principles and giving strong Production leads to strong Praise to God.
Today we wrap all this up by focusing on how we possess the holiness God wants to work in us.
The title of the message this morning is Holiness-the Answer to Hypocrisy. I want to warn you that we won’t be discussing hypocrisy much, because that will take care of itself as we work through this issue of holiness.
But let me give you a definition of a hypocrite I borrowed from motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. A hypocrite is just someone who isn’t himself on Sunday. Get it?
I have said many times since you’ve invited me here that God wants to do mighty things IN us and THROUGH us. This morning we will look at the IN part. We are going to dive headfirst into the fountainhead of holiness.
My purpose this morning is to invite you to a point where the Holy Spirit can truly have His way in your life. I’m convinced that God has something special in store for us today, so hang onto your seats, and let go of your heart.
II. “Possessing” Holiness
A. Our Part
We will discuss two main points this morning: our part and God’s part. We will start off with our part.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Book of Romans, chapter 12. This is found on page ____ of the Bibles in the racks in front of you, if you were unable to bring a Bible today. By the way, if you do not own a Bible, I would be happy to arrange for you to get one at no charge. Just let me know after the service, or leave a note with the church office.
Please read with me. I will be reading from the New International Version.
-Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.-
Our part is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. What does this mean, really? Well, what is a sacrifice? When the priests laid a sacrifice on the alter, what was to happen to that sacrifice? It was to die.
That is what is required of us. We die to ourselves so we can live for God. This is easier said than done. It is so hard to look beyond ourselves and our needs and wants, and look to follow Christ. This especially hard when we have had what we consider to be a pretty good and enjoyable life up to that point.
Let’s face it, folks, some sin is pleasurable. I’ve heard testimonies of people who led sinful lifestyles involving drugs and sex, and they say something like “I wasn’t really happy .” Folks like that are willing to lie about other things, too, I imagine.
They may not have known JOY, but they were happy. How do I know? I’ve been there. Some of you were here last Sunday night when I shared my testimony as an example of how to share your testimony. If you want to hear it, you’ll need to come to the youth Sunday School class next week. But let me just say that I had fun and I was happy doing what I was doing.