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Why Is Holiness So Important?

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Last Sunday, June 11, 2017, Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series on Holiness, answering the question "Why is holiness so important? with 7 reasons.

1)  We must be holy because God commands it.

Matthew 5:20, 48.  Our faith is not essentially about behavior.  I Thessalonians 4:3; I Peter 1:15-16

2)  Our holiness is a part of why Jesus came.

It's part of God's purpose for us.  Jesus died to make us holy.  Titus 2:14 - Jesus died to purify us and to break sin's power.

3)  Holiness is the evidence that we have a connection to Christ.

Matthew 25 - this is the only real evidence.  When we're made right with God, our behavior begins to change.  Our obedience shows we love Christ.  John 14:15

4)  Our holiness wins the world around us!

I Peter 2:11-12

5)  Our holiness provides us with a sense of God's presence in our lives!

I John 2:3; 3:19

6)  Our holiness is the ultimate source of our true and utter relief!

Our well-being and well-doing are linked together.  It's a relief to stop our struggles with sin.  We need wholeness and holiness.  God's commands set our hearts free (Psalm 119).

7)  We were designed for holiness.

It's what our lives are supposed to look like.  Ephesians 1:4  What you see in Jesus is what he's after in you.

The way of holiness asks:  How can I please God?  How can God most be reflected in my actions?  What would Jesus do?

Far too often, we decide via:  What do I want to do?  I should be able to do what I want to do.

We're at our best when we do what God wants.

Holiness can be costly.  Deeply so.

It's worth every penny of the cost.  It gives us a sense of God's presence.

Assignment:  Take a step toward holiness this week.  An active step.  A practical step.

3 ideas:

1)  Have a week of devotions with friends.  Arrange it this week.

2)  Take a 4-hour prayer retreat.  Pick a book of the Bible and read the whole thing.

3)  Take a 30-minute walk every day this week and memorize the first half of Romans 6.

Or:  Something that works for you.

 

Posted by Sondy Eklund with 0 Comments
Tags: holiness

Holiness

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Today, June 4, Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series on Holiness, using the text 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.

He began with a visual illustration of two aspects of the meaning of holiness.

The first meaning is "separate, other, set apart, completely unique."

Another concept tied with holiness is pure, absolute perfection, moral purity.

God fits both aspects.  God is in a completely different category from everything else that exists.  And God is good.

The Shocker:  God intends for us to be holy as well.  (2 Timothy 1:9 - God saved us and called us to a holy life.)

What motivates us to be holy?  We looked at 3 "Don't Miss This" Principles:

1)  Our holiness is motivated by what God offers us.

7:1 - "because of God's promises."  We do want what's best for us in the long run.  God designed us such that our desires are met in Him.  He offers holiness - and true happiness.

God offers us an intimate connection with Him.  That offer is NOT conditional, but it is consequential.  As a consequence of being holy, God's blessing moves in and through us.

In our desire for happiness, we often chase short-term solutions.

C. S. Lewis:  Our desires aren't strong enough.  God offers infinite joy.  "We are far too easily pleased."  Our problem isn't that we want to be happy.  It's that we settle for short-term solutions.

2)  Our holiness is also motivated by our reverence for God.

We forget how awesome God is.  We have a casual understanding of what God expects of us.

We live thinking that if we're generally kind, God will provide therapeutic benefits.  We treat God like a vending machine, or a kind grandfather, or a really great counsellor.  These don't go far enough.

When we see God for what He really is, we are filled with awe.

What is NOT a motivation for holiness:  Guilt!

This isn't about a list of Do's and Don't's.  Guilt isn't sufficient motivation.

3)  We grow in holiness through discipline and effort.

If we're standing still, we're losing ground.

Let's be clear:  Holiness is work that God does in our lives.

But:  We aren't robots and God won't force it on us.  We must pursue it.  "Let us purify ourselves."

We also looked at 2 Corinthians 6:14 about being equally yoked.  Don't put ourselves in a close connection with someone who's not pulling in the same direction as we are.

[Ed did point out that Paul is the same person who wrote that Christians shouldn't leave a marriage with an unbeliever.  But here he's suggesting it's not a good idea to start one that way.]

Why not form a relationship where we're not heading in the same direction?  Because we're holy.  It's who we are. 

Pursuing anything else is against God and His purposes.

If we pursue holiness, our lives will become more gracious and more like God.

Pursuing the opposite makes us more and more self-centered.

Do what you must to purify yourself.

Lord, make our desires LARGE!  Show us what You are offering!  We will stop settling for less.

 

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