#4 (THE "WITHOUT" SERIES)
"WITHOUT HOLINESS, NO MAN SHALL SEE GOD!"
TEXT: Heb. 12:14; I Peter 1:13-16; Titus 2:11-15
INTRO: In this day of “exciting worship teams, powerful preaching skills, great name speakers, TV ministries, mega Churches ministries, stirring music, creative programs, large crusades, and exciting revivals” -- there is one thing that gets little attention and little emphasis in the church, and in fact gets buried in all the “stuff:” HOLINESS!
ILLUS: A FORMER
And now the problem with most people's concept of "holiness" … they think it is some state of spiritual depth that makes them more spiritual than others, or that it is some negative constrictive lifestyle that is boring and uninteresting. In reality however, holiness in the Bible is an ACTION concept! Holiness is not just what we DON'T DO; it is very much what we POSITIVELY DO!
Holiness in the Bible is almost always connected with actual lifestyles, not just with some state of mind. It is very powerful, and very practical, and very positive!
The basic concept of holiness in the Bible is that of "separation," a separation from sin, and a separation to God!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that "without holiness, no man shall see God!" (Heb. 12:14). Holiness therefore is an absolute necessity as a discipline for the believer!
I. HOLINESS: ACTIVE, NOT PASSIVE! I Pet. 1:13-16
A. Preparation -14
1. Peter here describes the holy life as one who prepares his mind for action!
a. The KJV here has, "gird up the loins of your mind" which meant a great deal to a man of the first century who wore long flowing robes as his daily attire. If something had to be done quickly he would gather up his robe and tie it around the loin area so he would be free to respond without being encumbered or held back! (Today we would say, "Roll up your sleeves" to indicate the need to be ready.
b. If planning a trip, they would often gather up the robe and "gird it around their loins" so that they could act quickly if necessary to anything that happened on the trip without being slowed down!
2. Notice Peter's meaning and advice here: "PREPARE YOUR MINDS FOR ACTION!" 1:13 (NIV)
a. Preparing to live a holy life begins here, IN THE MIND!
b. While not a popular subject in church life today, it is important and critical!
c. Philip. 4:8-9 comes to mind here, those things that build the positive rather than the negative!
3. The point of this preparation is to be ready for ACTION!
a. Holiness is not some spiritual state of ecstasy; it is a verb of action!
b. Notice what follows Peter's call to prepare the mind for action:
(1. "be self-controlled"... it is in the imperative tense, the man or woman who is holy demonstrates the characteristic of self-control in all areas of their life! (KJV has the word "sober.")
(2. "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you" ... meaning: as you expect Jesus’ coming at any minute live as though He would be here any second! Purity is the idea here, being always prepared for Christ's return; how would you live today if this was the day Jesus returned?
4. Peter says holiness is more than just rules or laws, it is righteous living!
a. Peter's use of the word "self-controlled" or in the KJV "sober" refers to one who avoids excesses, the life that is free from self-indulgence or reckless living.
b. It can mean any excess, even religious excesses! We are to be in control of our lives to honor God and to serve others if we are to be "holy!"
5. When one views the real God, the wonder of Him and His grace, it will drive us to live in a way that pleases Him, not ourself or others!
ILLUS: IN BILL MOYER'S BOOK, "A WORLD OF IDEAS II" JACOB NEEDLEMAN REMEMBERS THE LAUNCH OF APOLLO 17 IN 1975. IT WAS A NIGHT LAUNCH AND THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF CYNICAL REPORTERS ALL OVER THE LAWN THAT HAD BEEN SENT TO REPORT ON THIS LATEST OF LAUNCHES. THESE CYNICAL BORED REPORTERS WERE DRINKING BEER, WISECRACKING WITH DIRTY JOKES, CAVORTING AROUND WHILE WAITING FOR THE 35 STORY TALL ROCKET TO LIFT OFF. IT WAS A SCENE OF IMMORALITY WHILE THEY WAITED, THEN SUDDENLY, THE ROCKET CAME TO LIFE, EVERYTHING AROUND WAS SUDDENLY LIT UP WITH A LIGHT YOU COULD HARDLY STAND TO LOOK AT, AND THE POWERFUL NOISE FROM THIS ROCKET COMING TO LIFE WAS FELT THROUGHOUT YOUR ENTIRE BODY. AS IT LIFTS UP SO MAJESTIC, YOU SUDDENLY REALIZE THAT THERE ARE HUMANS ON THAT AWESOME MACHINE AS THE FIRST STAGE ROARS TO FULL LIFE WITH A BLAZING BLUE THAT RIVALS THE STARS. IN THE CROWD THERE IS COMPLETE SILENCE, AND THEN THEY ALL STOOD IN AWE, HELPING EACH OTHER UP, ALL LOOKING INTENTLY AND REVERENTLY IN AMAZEMENT AT THE POWER DISPLAYED! SUDDENLY, THE AWE THEY ALL FELT MADE THEM ALL MORAL PEOPLE, HELPING EACH OTHER, LOOKING IN AWE, SOBER FOR THE MOMENT AS THEY CONTEMPLATED THE WONDER OF WHAT THEY WERE SEEING! WHEN WE LOOK AT GOD, DO WE HAVE THE SAME RESPONSE, THE WONDER OF HIS POWER, AND THE AWE OF HIS GRACE? WHEN SEEN, IT TOO WILL MAKE US RESPOND IN A MORAL WAY, A WAY THAT HONORS GOD! -- Source Unknown
6. Peter here also connects "holiness" with the second coming of Christ, when we truly believe that He can come any second it will have an effect on us as we live, a life that is holy waiting for Christ to come! (See I Jn. 3:1-3)
a. Thus we are to abandon the "old ways" we used to live by!
b. Then, we lived in ignorance, we did what everybody else did, but now our eyes are open to sin and we need to be aware of what pulls us from God and avoid those things!
c. Those old evil desires should not be expressed anymore in one who calls himself a Christian!
B. Performance 1:15-16
1. The argument Peter uses here is simple: If God is holy and we have God in us we will live holy!
2. Peter does not spend the time arguing why "holiness" is something we should think about, or why it is right, just that it IS RIGHT because God Himself is Holy!
3. The call to holiness is based on the character of God being a Holy God! It is that simple!
a. We can't embrace the God of the Bible and fail to embrace a holy lifestyle.
b. To have the one is to have the other or you don't have either!
c. Hence the statement in HEBREWS 12:14 "Without holiness, no man shall see God!"
4. God in the life of a believer will express Himself in holy living! There will be a performance! It is not enough to know what the right desires should be, they must be acted out too!
ILLUS: A RESEARCHER FOR A PUBLISHING COMPANY WAS INTERVIEWING PEOPLE TO DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF BOOKS THEY LIKED TO READ. THE BIBLE, SHAKESPEARE, AND THE CLASSICS WERE HIGH ON EVERYONE'S LIST! IN RETURN FOR THEIR COOPERATION HE OFFERED EACH PERSON A CHOICE OF A FREE BOOK FROM A LIST. TO HIS SURPRISE, THOUGH THEY HAD ALL SAID THE BIBLE, SHAKESPEARE, AND THE CLASSICS WERE THEIR FAVORITE READING, THE NUMBER ONE REQUESTED BOOK WAS, "MURDER OF A BURLESQUE QUEEN!" THEIR STATED DESIRES DIDN'T MATCH THEIR ACTION! SOMETIMES IN CHURCH WE LEARN WHAT WE SHOULD LIKE AND EVEN PRAISE THOSE THINGS, BUT IN OUR REAL LIVES THERE MAY BE LITTLE PRACTICE TO THEM! -- Source Unknown
5. Holiness requires an actual performance!
II. HOLINESS: ATTITUDE AND PERSONAL! Titus 2:11-15
A. Perspective 2:11-13
1. Titus' teaching about holiness mirrors that of Peter's here: Holiness is a real change on how we live and what we think! It is not just a religious concept; it is a concrete lifestyle!
2. Holy living can alter the landscape of a nation!
a. It is NOT something however that can be legislated by man’s laws!
b. It is NOT something that you can make others do!
c. It Is SOMETHING that we must do in our own lives and by our example affect others.
3. We can never legislate morality – the Old Law proved this didn’t work, the best thing we can do is live morally!
a. The world needs a perspective of morality seen as a model!
b. Holy living will provide this for others!
c. If the church and Christians do not living a holy life our calls for the world to be more holy will only fall on deaf ears!
4. Notice Paul's teaching here: holiness "teaches us to say 'NO' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." 2:12
a. It is not enough to just say NO ... it also requires living a positive model of holiness too!
b. Perspective begins in the mind remember, but it then flows out into action!
5. No one can continue to live the Christian life that doesn't practice a holy life!
ILLUS: TAKE THE EXAMPLE OF TWO GREAT CHRISTIAN LEADERS OF THE RECENT PAST: ONE WAS CLIFFORD BARON, HE WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST ORATORS AMERICA HAS EVER PRODUCED, ONE RESPECTED PASTOR CALLED HIM, "THE GREATEST PREACHER SINCE THE APOSTLE PAUL." AUDIENCES EVERYWHERE WERE SPELLBOUND BY HIS MESSAGES. AT AGE 25 CLIFFORD BARON HAD TOUCHED MORE LIVES, INFLUENCED MORE LEADERS, AND SET MORE ATTENDANCE RECORDS THAN ANY CLERGYMAN HIS AGE IN AMERICAN HISTORY! THEN THERE WAS DAWSON TROTMAN, WHO WAS BRIGHT, ARTISTIC, AND ALSO HIGHLY ARTICULATE. HE LOVED A CHALLENGE, AND AT AGE 27 WITH BUT ONE YEAR OF SEMINARY AND ONE YEAR OF BIBLE COLLEGE BEHIND HIM, HE SET UP A DISCIPLESHIP GROUP CALLED THE "NAVIGATORS." HIS MINISTRY DEMANDED HOLY DISCIPLINED LIVING AND HE HAD HIS SHARE OF CRITICS FOR THE STRONG EMPHASIS ON HOLY LIVING, BUT HE PRESSED ON, AND MANY HAD THEIR LIVES IMPACTED BY THE NAVIGATORS. BOTH BARON AND TROTMAN DIED BEFORE THEIR TIME: BARON THE GREAT PREACHER DIED IN HIS MID-THIRTIES, THE GREATEST PREACHER SINCE THE APOSTLE PAUL DIED FROM ALCOHOLISM AND SHABBY FINANCIAL DEALINGS, HIS WIFE HAVING LEFT HIM WITH THEIR CHILDREN, HE DIED IN A THIRD RATE MOTEL ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF AMARILLO, TEXAS, HE LEFT NOTHING! TROTMAN DIED EARLY TOO, IN HIS EARLY FIFTIES FROM TRYING TO SAVE THE LIFE OF A LITTLE GIRL WHO WAS DROWNING AT SCHROON LAKE IN NEW YORK. HE LEFT BEHIND AN ORGANIZATION THAT EVEN TODAY MINISTERS POWERFULLY WORLDWIDE WITH A STAFF OF OVER 2500 PEOPLE. ONE LIVED HOLY AS WELL AS PREACHED HOLINESS; THE OTHER MERELY PREACHED IT BUT DID NOT PRACTICE IT! -- Source Unknown
6. Paul says here to this young pastor that God's grace should do two things:
a. Help us “say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly passions!”
b. And "to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." (2:12)
7. This is the challenge for all Christians, to demonstrate to the world our commitment to living a holy lifestyle!
a. We talk different!
b. We act different!
c. Our values our different!
d. Our perspectives are different -- eternal vs. temporal!
8. Does it really show!!!????
B. Purity! 2:14-15
1. God's purpose in saving us is described here by Paul as God's way of purifying us.
a. Salvation is meant to make a difference in the way we live!
b. It will impact the present age in the way we live!
2. Jesus gave Himself, as Paul says here to “redeem us from all wickedness.”
3. Sanctification is a church teaching that desperately needs emphasis again!
4. Revival is contingent on repentance from sin, a turning from sin and sinful passions to holy living!
5. The very effectiveness of the Gospel being preached may hinge on the purity of our lives before the world, they need to see real holiness at work!
a. If the world sees holiness as a negative thing it is only because WE have made it appear that way!
b. We can show the world that holiness is a great POSITIVE!
c. There is NO BETTER way to live than in God’s holiness!
ILLUS: A SURGEON WHO SELECTS A SCALPEL IN THE OPERATING ROOM TO HEAL HIS PATIENT WILL JUST AS READILY REJECT A SCALPEL WITH A SMALL AMOUNT OF DEFILEMENT ON IT AS READILY AS ONE THAT WAS SEVERELY DEFILED! AS AN INSTRUMENT USED TO BRING HEALING HE LOOKS FOR PURITY OR HE ENDANGERS THE HEALING PROCESS FROM TAKING PLACE! HOW CAN GOD HEAL OUR LAND IF WE ARE NOT CLEAN, HOW CAN WE BE HIS INSTRUMENTS OF HEALING IF WE ARE DEFILED AS HIS PEOPLE? HOLINESS IS LIVING A LIFE OF PURITY, OF SELF-CONTROL FROM WORLDLY PASSIONS! -- Source Unknown
6. Notice too that Paul here states that not only is holiness a pure lifestyle but that is makes us "eager to do good." 2:l4b
a. This certainly reflects the POSITIVE side of holiness!
b. Those that have a clear conscience and clear life are eager to work for God; they have joy in their salvation and love to serve the Father that they know is pleased with them!
c. Paul then tells this young pastor that these are the things he is to "teach."
7. In a final word to a young pastor Paul tells him to do two things:
a. "encourage" -- God's people to live holy!
b. "rebuke" -- those who would ignore this call to living a life of holiness!
c. Paul's point is for this young pastor to not be afraid to use God's authority to do what is necessary to have His people live a life that is pleasing to God, and this will thus reveal to the world the nature of sin and bring conviction on ungodly and unfruitful lives!
d. And with a final touch Paul says to him, "let no one despise you" -- meaning "don't let anyone get to you" for teaching the truth!
e. Holiness does not know any age limit ... it is for all God's people because "without holiness no man will see God!"
CONCLUSION: For many people "holiness" has a negative connotation to it; “we don't do this, we don't do that!” Biblically however, holiness has a strong positive focus, one of positive action! Holiness is a simple concept, it means being set apart by God to reflect His will in this world. Since God is set apart from the evil of this world we must be also. "Without holiness, no man shall see God!" Is you life one that reflects true holiness?