Summary: The call to holiness is still being answered, but oftentimes at the expense of "The Great Commission" Seeking Jesus is for everyone and all the time.
Sermon Title: Why is Holiness Dying Out?
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 30:17-20
Wesleyan Community Church
Sunday Morning – June 23, 2002
As I was driving back from the hospital the other morning, I was reflecting and praying about the sad state that our holiness camp has fallen into. You look about and you imagine what it was like in its prime, with all the cabins dressed up and well maintained, the sounds of praise and worship filling the air, and the continual reports of lives changed and souls saved.
If you walk through the camp now, you see the decades of neglect very evident in each and every area. The paint is fading, the vegetation is rapidly encroaching on many of the cabins, in fact some of the cabins have vines that are growing well in the inside. Vandals have broken out several hundred pieces of glass, and some roofs are falling in and the remainder are perhaps 10 years overdue a new layer of shingles. Floors are weakened by infestation of termites and the general lack of upkeep. In many respects, it has become a virtual ghost town.
It then becomes only natural to try to figure out why this has been allowed to happen, who did not do their part in continuing what was once an awesome display of God’s power through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The fact of the matter is, the Holy Spirit never left the camp or for that matter, the holiness movement, it is the men and women who have abandoned it, but before they ever abandoned the camp and the holiness churches, they lost touch with the will and the way of the Holy Spirit.
The standard response to this, is that it is the younger generation that has failed to carry the torch of holy living forward. That is true enough, however looking at the example that was set before them, they saw little reason to continue on. When I look back at my own walk toward Christ, and when I compare it to the walk of others toward Christ, I see many similarities. Unfortunately, there are more similarities between myself and my contemporaries and the lost of this world, then comparing myself with some of the holiness movement. If the holiness movement dies, it will be the direct result of their own unplugging of their spiritual life-support systems.
The people of the church that I began with did more to keep me away from ever developing a relationship with Jesus then those who lived in the sinful lifestyles that I was eventually delivered out of. That speaks volumes of the present day effort by the holiness churches to win lost souls. They have become ingrown, inbred, inactive and ineffective. Instead of seeking to point out where others are in need of correction, we would better spend our time seeking the face of God so that His reflection may be seen in us, and through that allow others to see what they truly must strive to become.
Please join me in the reading of this mornings text:
Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 30:17-20
17 For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. 18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying The good LORD pardon every one 19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. 20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
One of the wonderful blessings that we get when we recall the events that led up to and follow our glorious passage from lost soul to a child of the King are the ability to compare from whence we came to where we are in the process that God has called us to. The song says it all, “He’s still working on me!” Praise His name that He didn’t stop by simply saving my soul from an eternity in hell, He is continuing the process of forming, shaping, purifying, and yes – the unpopular word with the non-holiness people – perfecting me. I remember, right after I was first saved, that it was time to go to Wednesday evening service and the weather was hot and humid. I was wearing a pair of decent looking shorts, that were what I considered long enough. Laura asked me when I was going to change into something that was appropriate, and I didn’t have a clue as to what she was talking about, but I went ahead and changed before going to church, and knowing now what I did not then, I would have more than likely received an earful about disgracing God’s house. The rebuke that I would have received, would have been unkind like many that I have heard there and places elsewhere. God has brought me to the point now, where I would never dream about wearing shorts to church, not through a self-appointed holy fashion council, but through the gentle nudging and nurturing of the Holy Spirit.