Summary: A sermon on holiness.
When I was a child, I really enjoyed science classes and experiments. Even though I wasn’t the best math student, I really enjoyed chemistry. I don’t know if it was the fact that we got to play with fire or that we were always mixing things together to see what creation we could come up with. It certainly wasn’t the fact that I frequently mixed things wrongly and caused a huge, stinky smoke cloud that forced us to evacuate the lab and land me in trouble.
I enjoyed chemistry so much that when I entered college I made sure that I took a chemistry class. The outcome was the same. I still didn’t quite get the formulas correct and had some interesting times in the lab. Although it was fun and interesting for me, the teacher didn’t share my enthusiasm because she knew I was missing the beauty of the perfect formula. I finally was paired with a chemistry major, which helped me follow the perfect formulas for experiments, and the results were amazing. I learned that formulas really do make sense and work according to the plan.
With that in mind, I invite you to join me in reading 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. (Read) We will see in this passage that the author Paul has clearly laid down for us the formula for Holiness.
Paul had helped to establish the Corinthian church during his missionary journeys and regularly corresponded with them to check their spiritual growth. In between his first and this second letter the church had fallen prey to false prophets who were attempting to hinder heir spiritual maturity. In this particular part of his letter to the Corinthian church he is teaching them how to take the next step in their relationship with God, which is holiness
. Through our time together today you will be challenged to look at your life and see if you have the formula correct. If not, you will have an opportunity to approach the great tutor at the mercy seat during our study of God’s word.
From this passage of Scripture we will learn that SEPARATION FROM SIN plus FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD equals HOLY LIVING. That is the formula for Holiness that we will explore in greater detail this morning. Now that you know the formula, let’s see how it works. The first part of the equation is SEPARATION FROM SIN.
Before you can understand the concept of separation from sin we must review what constitutes sin. Sin is anything that is not pleasing to God. We were all born as slaves to the sinful nature because of the sin of Adam. But, we also know through scripture that if we accept the gift of redemption through Jesus we are free from this birth defect.
Romans 6: 6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” This assures us that when Christ died for our sins on the cross, our bondage to sin died with Him when we accept Him as our Savior.
That means that God expects us to turn away from our way of living in the sinful nature. Galatians 5:19-21 tell us, "the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
We must work to resist the temptations thrown at us by the tempter and live according to God’s plan for our life. Hebrews 10:26 tells us, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” We cannot crucify Christ a second time for sins redemptive purposes. Therefore, we must cease to sin and separate ourselves from its clutches.
We cannot be devoted to sin and God at the same time. If we want to be a child of God we must achieve SEPARATION FROM SIN. As redeemed sinners, we become aware of the fact that our sinful nature has kept us separated from God because He cannot accept sinful living. Therefore, by SEPARATING OURSELVES FROM SIN we can enter into the next part of our formula; FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
When we have accepted Christ as our Savior and separated ourselves from sin we can have fellowship with God. Galatians 3:26-29 teaches us, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” We are the sons and daughters of God. As such we are the recipients of His love and companionship.