Summary: What is does holistic mean? Following Jesus in Holistic Community. What does it mean for community to be holistic? What does this mean for you and I? Is this some type of New Age impetus? No. Holism is a very powerful biblical idea.

Following Jesus in Holistic Community

What Is Holistic?

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

July 13, 2008

What is does holistic mean? Following Jesus in Holistic Community. What does it mean for community to be holistic? What does this mean for you and I? Is this some type of New Age impetus? No, not really. Holism is a very powerful biblical idea. And one of the main passages that this is derived from is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Before I begin I want to say this. I firmly believe that this series of sermons could be one of the most important series that we have looked at. As I mentioned in the last Town Meeting, the series on the 7 deadly sins set the stage for this series. This series will deal with some essential issues to the life of our congregation. I really believe that this could be a huge turning point in the lives of many individuals as well as the life of our collective body. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you must miss for vacation or work, please stay caught up online.

Here is how I’m thinking through these important issues. This week we are going to look at what holistic means. Next week we are going to look at a biblical example of someone who followed Jesus in holistic community: Stephen. Well take a break for Kid’s Day and then look at the importance of community in this stream of thought.

This three part set of sermons then lays the foundation for looking at the seven areas of holistic community that Jesus needs to sanctify, so to speak, which is taken from today’s passage. Each of these seven areas correspond to one of the seven deadly sins. The way I see it, these seven areas act as a spiritual counterweight that begins to cancel out the damage that the deadly sins can wreck in the life of the body of Christ.

Ok let’s read these verses. This morning I will be reading from the New American Standard Bible. This version gives us a very good literal translation. Sometimes the grammar is awkward in this translation but to get an extremely close translation, I often refer to this version.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

There two extremely important parts of this blessing. The first phrase says, “sanctify you entirely.” The second is “may your spirit and soul and body be preserve complete.”

Two Phrases

a. Entirely sanctified

This idea was hugely important for the early Church of God reformers. They believed that this was one of the primary beliefs that made them as Church of God people distinctive. They believed and called people to be entirely sanctified meaning that God would sanctify his people completely—totally. This meant that the redeemed people of God would give God complete control of their lives—all of it! Every area!!

Basically, they believed that a person could live in such a way that they were set apart for the use of God or sanctified completely. This meant that it just might be possible to continue to make choices that were honoring to God and would be in line with God’s will.

Now here is where it gets a little sticky. Anything that is not God’s will is defined basically as sin. However, in the bible there are three words that are often translated as sin and they have different connotations. These early reformers honed in on one of these words and narrowly defined it as a “willful transgression.” This meant that sin was only when you did something opposed to God’s will and ways on purpose. Not only that but they then created a code of conduct that then was culturally specific to determine what this sanctified saint could but usually could not do. Unfortunately in the process, this narrow definition of entirely or completely left out huge areas and therefore ended up ironically being incomplete.

Bear with me as I get a little technical. The Greek word for entirely is holoteles. Basically it is holos and telos put together. Holos means entirely or completely or literally wholly as in wholeness. Telos means goal. So the word translated as entirely might literally be translated as the complete or whole goal. So Paul might explain it this way: “May God himself with no other help make your holy or sanctify you completely as His goal for you.”

The second phrase is:

b. Preserved complete

Another translation is the whole of you that is your whole being of your spirit, your soul, and your body be kept blameless or pure or without fault. Bear with me for a moment. The Greek word here is holokleros which is holos (ok do you remember what holos means? whole. Right?) plus kleros which is parts. So together you have the whole parts. One translation actually gives further meaning to this “whole parts” by saying it is sound. If we say that a something like structure is sound, this means that the whole thing including each of the individual parts is in good shape. Thus Paul includes three designations—spirit, soul, and body—that were a symbolic way for Hebrews to indicate the whole of one’s being.

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