1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
If you’re worried about offending people, you’re probably not a good Apostolic. You can’t blend in with the world and be Apostolic. You are to be salt and light to the world.
Outward holiness, is it necessary? Yes.
History repeats itself. Nicholas in Acts 6 was one of the first deacons chosen. History tells us that he eventually backslid into a kind of legalism practiced by some of the Jews. He abused the doctrine of the grace of God. He called it ‘freedom’. Nicholas and his followers erred in combatting one extreme with another.
Rev 2:14-15 “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”
Balaam encouraged the mixing of the holy people of God with the unholy pagan women. They intermarried and pretty soon, the holy people became unholy.
Nicholas said the Christians could live like the world on the outside but still remain saved on the ‘inside’. This led to the idea of ‘once saved always saved’. Even the practice of confession came from this doctrine. His teaching had no outward expression of holiness. This was a very attractive doctrine. You didn’t have to change or commit or much of anything. It created a lukewarm church.
History says that they ‘led lives of unrestrained indulgence.’ The first thing to go was outward holiness. After that, the baptismal formula was changed, the doctrine of spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, etc. This propelled the church into the Dark Ages.
The doctrine is still popular today. Social acceptance and societal approval compel us to compromise.
In the world today, there are 1.2 billion Muslims. The majority are peaceful. 15-20% are radical terrorists. That makes 180 million radical Muslim terrorists.
The majority of Germans were peaceful during WWII, but over 6 million Jews were murdered. The peaceful majority is irrelevant to the radicals who are bent on murder and destruction.
We need radical Christians who are terrorists to Satan’s kingdom. These people are dedicated to holy, sin-free living. They are willing to sacrifice time, energy, money. They were willing to look different and be different from the rest of the world.
Heb 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
God is Holy. Holiness is core to His character like love, light, truth, etc. People need to see God in you, His character and nature reflected out from you.
Be Holy for I AM Holy. Because God is holy, He requires us to be holy in order to fellowship with Him. Not only does God require holiness, but He makes us Holy.
How do we become holy?
What is holiness? Holiness is separation from ordinary use and dedication to God. “For the Old testament Hebrews, holiness included both the negative concept of ‘separation’ and the positive concept of ‘dedication’. For born-again Christians, it specifically means separation from sin and the world, and dedication to God” (from The Pursuit of Holiness by David K. Bernard, p. 10).
In baseball, the guy on first base has the goal of getting to home. In order to advance, you have to take your foot off first base and run like fire to second base. It’s the same thing with separation and dedication. You have to let go of one thing and run like fire to get to another.
Things, objects, were made holy by God. The temple was holy because God made it holy, utensils, garments, altar, wood, bronze, gold, Ark of the Covenant, etc. ‘What God has cleansed, you shall not call common.’ When God touches something, it becomes holy. David said in Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
If a priest stepped outside of the use that God had made for it, he became profane and God judged him—quickly.
God’s presence makes something holy. The Holiest of Holies was the most ‘HOLY PLACE’ on earth — because GOD chose to manifest His presence in that place. This was all about the glory, the holiness of God.
I Tim 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Jesus was the Holy God manifest in the flesh.
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
What makes us holy?
The Holy Spirit (Spirit of Jesus Christ) makes us HOLY. We become the living temple of God with His Holy Spirit. Because He is Holy, and ABIDING IN US, (like the ark of the covenant or most holy place), we have been made Holy.
Cor 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
If you have God’s Spirit, you are on your way to holiness.
Moses tended sheep for 40 years. He had been over that same ground over and over again. Then, God called to him out of a burning bush and told him to take off his shoes because the ground God had touched was holy.
God partners with us to KEEP US BLAMELESS — Separation from the WORLD Dedicated to God. Because He has made us holy — we need to continue in holiness and live a Holy Life. We need to be separate from the world and dedicate our life to God.
It can be very difficult to choose to be holy, but it is a lot easier when you allow God’s Spirit to move in you!
2 Cor 6:16-18 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
2 Cor 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Holiness is separation from the world and sin and dedication to God. It is a partnership, mostly Him.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!