Summary: This sermon looks at what is called holiness but is really just a culture. Holiness is not about rules and regulations.
Is Holiness a Culture thing or a Lifestyle?
Quite a while ago I began a message where I told you about a young lady who went to a pastor she had never met before to talk with him about a problem concerning her wedding. She & her fiancé had different church backgrounds & they had asked each of their pastors to participate in a joint wedding ceremony. His pastor said “Yes,” but her pastor said “No.” Well, she was quite hurt by that because she had gone to that church all her life. A few days later her pastor called & told her that he had changed his mind & would take part in the wedding after all because she was not a Christian. He told her that if she had been a Christian, he would have had to say “No.” Here was, a young lady in her mid-20’s, who had always attended church regularly, even while away at a church college, & she isn’t a Christian. Her mother is a very devout member of their church, & all the children attend regularly. But this young lady had never become a Christian. And now she didn’t dare become a Christian before her wedding or her preacher wouldn’t take part in the ceremony. She was asked why she had never become a Christian. She told me, “Nobody ever asked me. I guess I was a kind of an unruly girl or something, so maybe they didn’t want me. I attended a church college, too. But nobody ever said a word to me about becoming a Christian & being baptized. So I never did. In my whole life, nobody has ever suggested that I become a Christian. I grew up living next door to a family that went to a holiness church. Their son was one of my friends. We hung out together but in all the years that I knew that family not once was I or any member of our family ever asked if we wanted to go to church.
A number of survey have been are taken place in the last few years where they were surveying people who at one time went to church to find out why they aren’t going today. One of the results is that many who are outside the church are convinced that today’s Christian lifestyle doesn’t line up with what Biblical churches actually teach. The result is that many non church goers think that Christians are a bit hypocritical. The perception of those who are outside the church is that there is very little difference between believers in Christ and the world. I would imagine we have heard someone say, “The church is full of hypocrites” or “I’m just as good as they are even though I don’t go to church every Sunday so why should I bother? A result of a survey of church going Christians, by that they mean people who have accepted Jesus Christ and go to their respective churches every week. They feel that the people of the world are just being picky.
The Christian organizations that are doing the survey feel that if they are to reach today’s world they need to understand people’s reaction to Christianity and the church. At one time when a pastor was preaching to the un-church the pastor would always ask if people wanted to go to heaven. Then he would explain God’s plan that if we look to the scripture we will discovered that the first direction given in the Bible on how to get to heaven is that we must have faith. We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins, & that He is risen from the dead & is alive forevermore, & He is coming again. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Now faith is such an important part of the way to heaven that some people say that one lifestyle doesn’t matter even if you believe in Jesus. Their concept is that saying one believes in Jesus is enough to get them into heaven. But the Bible doesn’t give us that kind of an answer and we need to realize that.
James 2:19. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that & shudder.
But they’re not saved they’re lost! The demons won’t be in heaven, even though they believe and even though they tremble before God. So there is more of a answer to the question on how to get to heaven than just believing in Jesus. You see, most everybody believes. If you went out on the streets & started asking people, do you believe in God? Do you believe in Jesus? pollsters say that more than 80% of the people would answer, Yes, I believe. The problem is, the belief that many of these people say they have hasn’t affected the way they live & what they do.