1 PET 1:13-16
INTRO: Does the subject of holiness trouble you? I have a confession to make. It does trouble me. Clearly, Christians are called to be holy people. And while this may not be a call to absolute perfection, I keep wondering if people who are in Christ are making an adequate effort to be holy people. In fact, do most of us look any different than the good folks who are our neighbors, our fellow students, our work mates, our friends who are not in Christ? If you were on trial for being holy, would there be enough evidence to convict you? I wonder if we are not infected with the disease of minimum standards when it comes to the subject of holiness. It does really matter what you believe about holiness, dear friends!
A 1 Pet 1:15,16 - ...so be ye holy in all manner of conversation...
1. there is not doubt about was is said here - no ambiguity
2. the insistence, the imperative is that we are to be holy
3. since God is holy, and we are His offspring, the family trait is expected
B. But ... we may have some questions about this
1. He is God, and I am not ... how is it possible for me to be holy?
2. does God expect me to be perfect?
3. Im just human. What does God expect, anyway?
II. THINK ABOUT...
A. 1 Cor 6:19,20
1. when you obeyed the gospel, you became Gods own possession
2. your role as His possession if to glorify Him in both body and spirit
3. everything about your life must be examined in light of this truth
4. everything you do and say reflects in some way on God (1 Cor 10:31)
B. 2 Cor 6:17,18 & 7:1
1. holiness involves separation for that which could make one unclean
2. holiness involves cleansing from all things which compromise holiness
3. holiness involves fear of God - respect and reverence for Him
4. it is accurate to say that holiness involves attitude as well as actions ... if the attitude is defective, we will not be holy - religious? maybe - but not holy
C. Titus 2:11-14
1. there is clearly a lifestyle which distinguishes the people of God
2. this lifestyle is not bizarre, not monastic ... but it is separate from the typical worldly interests and behavior ... some might think it strange (1 Pet 4:4)
3. but Gods people have been purified (Eph 5:26) to be Gods possession
4. think about Isa 43:6,7 - I have created him for my glory
D. Holiness is a lifestyle ...
1. of Mt 6:33 - seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
2. of discernment and choices - Col 1:9,10 - walk worthy of the Lord
3. which does not argue for minimums - Titus 2:3 - as becometh holiness - have we developed a mentality which is satisfied with less than the best?
4. motivated by love for Christ - 2 Cor 5:14,15
III. IF WE THINK AS PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, WE WILL HAVE PROBLEMS
A. Please consider Jas 4:8
1. this chapter deals with Christians who are having holiness problems
2. it includes several simple imperatives to solve the problem
3. but it also comes to the very heart of holiness problems - purify your hearts, ye double minded ... there it is ... plain and simple
4. Christians who have not made firm, committed decisions about how they relate to this world will find themselves being friends with the world (4:4)
B. Then, 1 Thes 4:7
1. the most thorough purity (Phillips)
2. every word, every choice, every action, every relationship must be considered in view of this holiness - and in view of our being Gods possession
3. 1 Thes 4:8 - if one chooses to make light of this call to holiness, he is not making light of man ... but of God!
4. Heb 12:14 - precious friends, we have got to think seriously and practically about holiness ... and what we believe about it
CLOSE: I have been weighing this subject and sermon for a considerable time. Indeed, I have agonized over it because I fear that we have become very accepting of minimums where Christian behavior is concerned. And I ask, with the deepest of love and concern, that each of us reexamine himself in the light of holiness.
Cecil A. Hutson
28 August 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)