Summary: Series on Christian Stewardship
Title: Living the Uncomplicated Life
Place: Oakdale Wesleyan Church
Date: January 19, 2004
Subject: Holiness, stewardship, simplicity
Series: Living the Uncomplicated Life
Come in wearing clothes inside out.
Have several complicated items on the table in the front and see if people can use some of them
- Pamper Chief – no sharp edges can opener
- T.V. remote
Have you ever noticed that life can become quite complicated? It seems like we live in an era of gadgets that are suppose to make our lives less complicated but even the gadgets have a way of making life more complicated.
If the gadgets in life that we have to learn to deal with aren’t enough we have plenty of our own complications that we get ourselves into. We humans just have a way of complicating things don’t we? In my reading this week I ran across this very complicated mess that someone got themselves into. Let me read this short quote…
“Far from home and without any Christian underpinnings, I descended by small steps into a sexual pit. The first time I had sexual intercourse, it was with a girl I knew I would marry. The next time, it was with a girl I thought I would marry. The time after that, it was with a good friend that I might learn to love. Then it was with a female I barely knew who simply wanted to see what sex was like. Eventually, I had sex with anyone at any time.
After five years in California, I found myself with four “steady” girlfriends simultaneously. I was sleeping with three of them and was essentially engaged to marry two of them. None knew of the others.”
It seems like we just really have a way of complicating life. Not only have we complicated just everyday life with various sin issues but then we also complicate church life or the spiritual life. Take a look at this scripture.
READ THE WOES from Matthew 23
This is Jesus own words of how the religious establishment of the day had actually so complicated the ways of God that hardly no one but the richest, smartest, and brightest could ever enter heaven. In Jesus day the religious leaders had taken a handful of laws established in Leviticus starting with the Ten Commandments and turned them into minute little rules micro-managing every little details of life and only the perfect could thus be saved. But what the laws where powerless to do was change the heart and the heart was the most important issue of the man and these religious leaders whom Jesus fought and Paul stood against didn’t get it and thus to remain in control complicated religious things so much that no-one but them would ever be able to be “religious.”
One of the key hatreds that the Pharisees and Sadducees had against Jesus was that he made spirituality too simple and too easy and consequently opened the doors for all to come to God, which was unthinkable.
We are about to embark upon a fascinating journey into Holiness. Over the next two months we are going to delve into this idea of Holiness. What does it mean, how does it look, how does one become holy? The arenas that we are going to approach is that of living the uncomplicated life. This is one of those areas in the church that when we start to discuss it we begin to really complicate matters. I don’t believe holiness is a complicated thing or a complicated issue. BUT – I will admit I didn’t always feel that way about the study of Holiness.
When I was growing up and then heading off to college I almost felt that the doctrines and ideas of Holiness were better left to the pastors, wise leaders of the church, theologians, college professors, district superintendents, and those who went to college and were trained in these sorts of things. Holiness seemed a bit untouchable for the ordinary person. Yes, we talked about holiness in the church and I even studied Holiness through our CYC kids program but it seemed so complicated filled with big ten gallon words that I didn’t understand and honestly it also seemed that many of those who were using the terms may not really understand them, themselves or at least they even fought over what many of the words meant.
Words like Sanctification, initial sanctification, progressive sanctification, the elusive entire sanctification, or how about Glorification, Christian Perfection, human depravity, atonement of Christ, propitiation (wrath of God is absorbed by Christ’s death on a cross), expiation (making amends by removing sin), vicarious (Christ was our substitute), universal sin, atonement, justification, regeneration… and on and on go the ten gallon words.
And every time the words came out, everyone would nod there heads in agreement to this wonderful holiness teaching but as you can imagine, I couldn’t settle for that. So I started to ask the questions, mom, what does…. mean. I would ask the Sunday School teachers, the pastor’s wives, the Bible Bowl leaders, so what does this mean and either they didn’t really know and tried to cover it up or they might actually have known but made it so complicated they really couldn’t explain it.