2020.05.24.SERMON.LIVING UP TO GOD’S STANDARD OF HOLINESS PART 2
William Akehurst, HSWC
1 Thessalonians 5:24
1 Peter 1:15-16
Thursday, 5/21/20 was Ascension Day.
Acts 1:6-12 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Ascension Day. 40 days after the resurrection of JESUS, when the disciples gathered and watch as JESUS ascended up into the clouds. Acts 1.11 KJV “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
I can’t help but think back to Passover when I celebrated it in my home with family. For the 1st time in 3000 years everyone worldwide was huddled in their homes while a deadly plague was raging outside. I believe that this year, 2020 is not only the year our eyes are enlightened and opened to better see the things of GOD, but also the year we will EXPERIENCE more of HIS POWER and PRESENCE. As these disciples were staring and gazing in wonderment (Acts 1:11), I am excited with anticipation as to WHAT the LORD is doing in our world at this time.
My mind is racing, I can’t help but wonder…
• What will happen on Ascension Day 2020?
• What will happen on Pentecost Sunday May 31, 2020?
• Will we see and experience another HOLY SPIRIT ENCOUNTER?
• Will it be a specific fulfillment of “In the last days I will pour out MY SPIRIT?”
We must wake each day, holding on to JESUS, waiting, searching and seeking HIM with our WHOLE heart.
This is a new day.
Today is different.
In the CHOSEN.TV series Season One released at the end of 2019, the coined catchphrase has become “Get used to different”. How prophetic these words ring out as we see the world turned upside down and knocked out of normal, as we “get used to different”.
But isn’t that what a life in CHRIST is all about? It should be “different”. HE has called us to be different.
GOD is looking for people who are consecrated or set apart for HIS use. Different. HE has called us, chosen us, to be HOLY, different, for HIS Purpose.
Ephesians 1:4 “According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
2 Timothy 1:8 “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
The King James Version of 1 Peter 1:15 uses the word “conversation.” The word translated “conversation” means behavior. The verse is saying our manner of life or behavior, should reflect holiness because God is holy.
G391 anastrophe (a-na-stro-fee') n. behavior. [from G390] KJV: conversation Root(s): G390
Christians should be - different.
In our conversation and behavior, we should stick or stand out. The way we as believers live should be different, distinguishable from unbelievers. The way we live should different from the way of the world and it should match our profession of faith.
But it’s not easy, is it? In a time when anything and everything goes, we as Christians are bombarded with temptations to live in a manner which isn’t pleasing to GOD. Ungodly living is encouraged, embraced and even expected in today’s world, but we must understand, that it is the authority of GOD’s WORD that stands as a beacon of hope and of life, and instruction for every believer.
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;”
Peculiar people…in the eyes of some unbelievers, Christians are foolish and just plain “weird”.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
But we have been called out to not only stand apart, but to take a STAND and SHINE.
Matthew 5:16 tells us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
HE has called us to be a HOLY Nation of a royal priesthood, chosen for HIS Purpose (1 Pet 2:9a), and we must stand out and be holy.
1 Peter 1:15-16 15 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
Leviticus 20:26 Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
The word translated “holy” means (Strong’s G40) sacred, morally blameless, consecrated, saint.
G40 hagios (ha'-jiy-os) adj.
1. holy (set apart by Yahweh God unto himself and apart from the world).
2. (of a person) a holy one.
3. (physically or ceremonially) clean.
4. (morally) blameless.
ILLUS: In a world of Social distancing, we are to stand apart, but in Christ, we can stand apart-together.
STANDING APART - TOGETHER
As a believer in CHRIST JESUS, having been sealed by HIS SPIRIT within us, we know our future. So, we should live our lives with expectation, as ready to meet and greet HIM, ready and together as one BODY.
But we must see the difference, know the difference of what it is to “be holy”.
STAND APART – Know the difference
1 Thessalonians 5
1But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
STANDING APART TOGETHER
8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Why comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do. 12And we beseech you, brothers, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
We are promised that the LORD JESUS will return, and will come as HE left (Acts 1.11b). Here Paul tells us we must be ready, waiting, expecting with anticipation, prepared and encouraging one another to do the same.
THE COMMANDS – Pursue HOLY Living
God uses commandments and incentives in the way HE sanctifies us. HE deals with our hearts, our minds and our motives. Paul writes specifically calling us out…
14 Now we exhort you, brothers, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice ever more. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Paul moves from encouraging, telling or commanding us to be holy, to asking GOD to MAKE us holy. “May the GOD of peace HIMSELF sanctify you wholly. May your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless when JESUS Returns.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, not only does GOD use commands and incentives to make us understand holiness, but HE also uses the prayers of HIS people. HE deals with our minds and hearts’ motives personally to make us holy, and HE also deals with others hearts and minds to pray for you as well.
I love this next passage from Ephesians when praying for others. And I have seen firsthand, the LORD opening the eyes of those I’ve prayed this prayer over, to have their eyes opened to see HIS Hand-at- Work (my cherished brother Col. Sean Lee).
16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
The incentive, the commands, and the prayer are all good, but the most important is GOD’s promise. After commanding us to pursue holy living vs 14-22 and praying that GOD would sanctify us vs 23, Paul writes vs 24.
24 Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.
THE ASSURANCE – HE will do it.
This is our assurance. It’s not what we are capable of doing, it is what GOD does in us, what HIS SPIRIT does in us.
GOD didn’t just call us to be holy and leave it at that. HE didn’t say, be Holy, go figure it out.
And in reviewing the Prayer, it’s not about Paul’s prayer and whether or not GOD will answer that prayer.
This is our assurance…
HE WHO is FAITHFUL (Revelation 19:11) “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Is HE WHO has called you (1 Peter 1:15) “…HE which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;”
Is HE WHO WILL DO IT.
Vs 24 says GOD is faithful and proves that HE will do IT.
“Be Holy for I am Holy” 1 Peter 1:16
IT = Sanctification.
Definition: Sanctification Noun: the action of making or declaring something holy.
Like. the sanctification of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ
GOD WILL DO IT.
The foundation of our complete assurance is to know that GOD is FAITHFUL and that HE will do it.
While we fail to live up to GOD’s standards, we are encouraged to live a holy life, pleasing to the LORD. But if we were left up to attempt to do it on our own, we would fail miserably.
The assurance of our salvation comes because GOD has made the promise, and HE will do it. “BE HOLY for I AM HOLY” has been spoken into existence over us by THE LORD Himself! It is a command that should stir our hearts, but GOD literally places those WORDS of HIS HOLINESS in us, through HIS PRESENCE in us.
So, then the questions concerning that assurance are these.
• Will you trust HIM not only for HIS Grace and Mercy to forgive your sins, but also for the grace to overcome those sins?
• Will you accept that HE WHO has called you to “Be holy as I AM HOLY” has declared this difference in you to experience?
• Will you believe that GOD is faithful and HE will do it?
• Do you receive this WORD today?
Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
23 And the very GOD of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray GOD your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
24 Faithful is HE that calls you, WHO also WILL DO IT!
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing