Summary: This is part of a series I did on topics my congregation requested. Several of these messages are two parts.
YOU ASKED FOR IT
STRAIGHT LIVING IN A CROOKED WORLD
Sunday May 28, 2006
Scripture Reference: 1 Thessalonians 5:23
A. Last week we began our look at the subject of Holiness. This was another one of these topics that was simply to large for me to fully preach in just one message so I broke it down into two parts. As I also said last week this is one of those subjects that deserves a series of its own. Actually I did preach a series on Holiness about seven years ago but maybe this is God’s way of preparing us for another series down the road. Because this message is in two parts we need to take a few minutes and review what we learned last week. This review is not just for those who were absent last week but for those of us who were here as well. If I were to ask those of you who were here last week what the points of my message were I doubt that many of you could tell me and that is because we all struggle with our short term memories so let’s take a moment to review.
1. The first main point I made is that Holiness is not optional. I spoke to you about this issue of customizing our Christian faith and how detrimental this attitude is to our spiritual lives. Holiness cannot be considered an option in our spiritual lives that we can use or not use to customize our faith. We saw in the Bible where it tells us that without holiness we cannot see God, so holiness is not optional but essential.
2. We also learned that God commands us to be holy. The Bible says several times, “Be holy because I am holy.” This is not something that is up for discussion or debate. It is absolutely essential to us.
3. We also discovered that what God calls us to be He also enables us to be. We cannot be holy by our own personal efforts that would be impossible. But because this is something God wants in us it is also something that He has provided for us to obtain.
4. Then we learned that holiness is God’s will for our lives. We often wonder, “What is God’s will for me?” Well here is our answer at least in part. God wills that we be holy. Hebrews 13:12 tells us that Jesus suffered outside the city walls that he might make us holy through his blood or through his sacrifice on the cross. A tremendous price was paid so that God’s will could be fulfilled in your life.
B. The second main point I shared with you is the HOW? If holiness is not optional and it is God’s command and will for our lives then the next obvious question is how do we obtain this thing that God wants for us? I really did not answer that question last week but I will today. What I did last week was to share with you a very important point in understand why we need to seek this holiness or sanctification. Let me share this with you again because it is so critical in this whole discussion.
1. We believe that sin is twofold. There are the sins we commit and then there is the sin nature, the bent we have in our hearts towards disobedience to God. When we first come to Christ or as we might say, when we are “Born Again”. God forgives all the sins we have committed. All the things we did in disobedience to God’s will for our lives are totally wiped away. That is great news isn’t it? But there is still more good news because all of us who have experienced this forgiveness of sins know that there still remains this pull within us back towards those things we know are not what God wants for us. Some believe that this is simply our lot in life that we can never be free of this tendency towards sin everyday in word thought and deed. I believe the Bible teaches us clearly otherwise. That Jesus died to set us free not to give us temporary relief.
2. Now this is a topic that deserves a sermon all its own but I cannot do that today but what I want to do is answer that HOW question. How can we obtain the holiness of heart and life that God says is His will for my life?
II. HOW CAN WE OBTAIN HOLINESS?
Trans. I will offer to you today four necessary elements for obtaining this holiness God commands.
B. Four Necessary Elements For Obtaining Holiness.
Before I give you these four elements I want to point out an important point in my wording. Please notice that I said these are the four elements in “obtaining” holiness not “attaining” holiness. What is the difference? The difference is that attaining is something we work to receive where obtaining is something that is received. We can no more work or perform our way into holiness than we can work or perform our way into salvation or being Born Again. The holiness of heart that God desires for us is received much that same way as when we first came to Christ. So let me give you those four elements.