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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Behaviour - The Manifestation Of Holiness

PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD
2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1


THE BEHAVIOUR – THE MANIFESTATION OF HOLINESS
1 TIMOTHY 3:15
The house of God is not the building in which a church assembles it is the church of the living God.

The church of the living God is the covenant relationship that baptized believers have with one another to carry out the work of Christ.

The building of God and the church of the living God is a context in which we live our lives.

Once in that context there is a proper way to behave. I think there are two things worthy of note in this connection.

1. We learn how to behave ourselves.
2. The behaviour is an “ought” to behaviour.

There is a way we ought to behave. Which of necessity means there is a way in which we ought not to behave. Unfortunately we live in a day when people do not want to be instructed in the way they ought to behave. Oh, general principles are not normally objected to but when one attempts to put the general principles into practice then the crying and the mockery starts.

The point is behaviour matters. It is a carnal, worldly believer who would argue that our behaviour does not matter or if it does it matters little, especially when compared with the inside. This is an insidious doctrine with terrible consequences.

Behaviour involves the way we talk, dress, entertain ourselves, attitudes we embrace, and the whole realm of what the scripture calls our “walk”.

Holiness that does not transform the behaviour is a cheap counterfeit of the real thing. Holiness that does not practice non-conformity to the world and hunger and thirst after righteousness is no holiness at all.

The fact is there is an appalling lack of discernment in this day. Believers have become adept at defending behavioral patterns that are clearly patterned after the world. This in spite of the scriptural admonitions to not love the world neither the things that are in the world, and be not conformed to this world.

Separation is ultimately about behaviour. Yes, it starts in the heart but it ultimately effect the behaviour. A separated life is the result of a separated heart. An unseparated life is the result of an unseparated heart.
Yes, God’s intention is to deal with the heart but the purpose is to affect the behaviour. Why, because it is our behaviour that the world sees and upon which it makes its judgment about our Christianity. It is our behaviour that forms our testimony. It is in the area of behaviour where people see if our Christianity has made a difference in our lives. It is our behaviour that determines if we are just talking the talk or if we are walking the walk.
SALVATION COMMENCES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR

Repentance
It should come as no surprise that the lack of preaching repentance and then requiring the fruit thereof has gone hand in hand with the growth of worldliness in the churches. Now we have even got to the point that instead of insisting on repentance we do what we can to make the services palatable to goats. This is the whole emphasis of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church. Instead of building sheep folds we are constructing goat pens. When you build goat pens don't be surprised when you attract goats.

Eze 14:6 - Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
This is a great verse because it defines the essence of repentance. Turn yourselves. If one does not turn from their idols and abominations then they have not repented. God is fairly clear about what is an abomination. All you have to do is look the word up in a concordance and you will find a list of behaviour that God identifies as an abomination. You might be surprised.

Eze 18:30 - Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Repentance is turning from all of our transgressions. It is to our benefit to do so. Why? Because iniquity is our ruin. When we turn from transgression, which happens to be a violation of law, then we are also turning from that which ruins us.

Ac 8:22 - Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
We are to repent of our wickedness. How do we know what is wicked? Must there not be a standard somewhere or is it simply left to the way we feel about it??? I, for one, would conclude their is a standard. The standard is the Word of God. To the law and the testimony must be our motto!

Ac 26:20 - But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Repentance is turning to God. If we turn from something (iniquity, sin, transgression, wickedness) then we must turn to something (God). When a soul turns to God they will do works that are suitable for repentance. It is the essence of what James was saying in the second chapter of his epistle when he wrote, show me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works. A faith that has no works is not saving faith. When we turn to God we have our eyes set upon God. We want to please God. We want to pattern our lives after Jesus when he said I do always those things which please the Father.

Ac 26:18 - To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Repentance is having our eyes opened. It is turning toward the light and consequently we see things in their proper context. It is being turned from darkness to light. If we are not careful we will turn to the light and then close our eyes against the light. 1 John 1:66 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: To be worldly, that is patterned after the world is to walk in darkness. If we are conformed to the world it matters little what we think of our spiritual state, the Bible declares we do not have fellowship with him. How can we? God is light and in him is no darkness at all!

Conversion
Now conversion is an old fashioned word. Where there is no repentance there can be no conversions. Conversion is the effect of repentance. When one repents they are converted. The conversion takes place because the individual is moving in a different direction. Their whole orientation is different.

Ac 3:19 - Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Without repentance and the resultant conversion there is no opportunity for having our sins blotted out. Salvation is not possible except in the context of repentance.

2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
So what are we to conclude if old things do not pass away and all things do not become new? It should at least raise the question of whether the individual is in Christ. This change is not prsented as a possibility but as a certainty. Those in Christ are new creatures. Old things are passed away. All things are become new. Every statement is a statement of certainty. The fact is biblical salvation ocassions a change in behaviour.

Born again
Being born again is the perfect picture of being converted for it aptly expresses the degree to which a person is convereted. It is a new birth. A new beginning. A new start. Everything is changed.

Joh 3:7 - Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
In fact Jesus said, "Ye must be born again!" We must have a new start that is produced by repentance and conversion.

Titus 3:5 – Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
We are saved, not by what we do but rather by what God does for us. However when we are saved we are renewed. God has never saved anyone he has not also renewed. It is, if you will, a package deal. If you do not want to be renewed then you do not want Biblical salvation.

1Pe 1:23 - Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Of course the seed by which we are born again, is an incorruptible seed. Consequenly it produces an incorruptible nature. It makes us a partaker of the divine nature. It causes the Holy Ghost to live in us. These are not the kind of changes that can take place without having a profound impact in our behaviour. Any honest person would have to admit this reality.
SANCTIFICATION ENSURES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR

Sanctification is God’s purpose
It may surprise some but God does not labor under the burden of uncertainty as to what to do with those who believe on his Son. He knows what he intends to do and in fact it has been predestined. Those who believe are predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son.

1 Thess. 4:3 – For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.
If there are any question the above verse should set it to rest. Our sanctification is God's will. It is God's will that we be separated more and more from sin and more and more unto himself. Let us be clear, this is the will of God!!

Eph. 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
What does God intend to do with his people? He intends to sanctify and cleanse them. How does he intend to do this? By the Word. John 17:17 - Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth. God intends to take his word and cleanse his people thereby. Exposure to the Word of God results in a cleansing process taking place. This necessitates that we allow the Word to define dirt and then give us an aversion to dirt. In a properly maturing believer this will happen.
Let's have a little practical application right here. How is it that believer's can have their video shelves full of PG, PG13, and R movies? They are likely not properly defining dirt and when they do they likely are not allowing the Lord to work in the hearts a proper aversion to it. They justify exposure to the dirt instead of allowing themselves to be cleansed by the Word of God.

1 Thess. 5:23 – Sanctify you wholly; body, soul, and spirit.
Don't tell me the outside is not important. You are a Nicolaitan if you do! God's desire is to sanctify all of us; body, soul, and spirit. If your body is not being sanctified then you are not achieving God's stated purpose in your life. Is your choice of clothing sanctified? Is your choice of hair styles sanctified? Is your use of language sanctified? Is your entertainment choices sanctified? These questions are dismissed at one's own peril.

Eph. 2:8-10 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We rejoice in the truth of verses eight and nine and rightly so. I would only add that we should equally rejoice in the truth of verse ten. Many have taken the grace of God and turned it into laciviousness. Verse ten has to do with God's purpose in our lives as it relates to producing good works, right living. At salvation we are created unto good works. It is these very good works that God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. It does have to do with our walk, our manner of living. Whatever happened to the grace of God that appears to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. This is an aspect of grace that is sadly lacking in many people's theology. The grace that does not teach us this is not the grace of God.

Heb. 13:20,21 – Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What does the God of peace do? He sets himself to make us perfect (complete) in every good work. Not some good works. Not most good works. Every good work. He seeks to move us to do His will. How do we know His will? By reading His book! It is not by watching the culture and seeing what is acceptable there, that is a wayward standard. It is God's desire to work in us that which is wellpleasing in his sight.
Sorry, but call me a legalist! I will never be convinced that mixed swimming is wellpleasing in his sight. Cross-dressing will never be wellpleasing in his sight. Men with women's hairstyles and women with men's hair styles will never be wellpleasing in his sight. What is it with women who cut off their hair and then say, "It's just so much trouble." God says it is your glory! Sorry women but you got it wrong. It is not trouble it is your glory, God says so. Watching every violent, cursing, sexually suggestive movie that flows out of Hollywood will never be wellpleasing in His sight. I do not see myself ever being convinced otherwise! As for me give me the old paths wherein dwelleth righteousness!

Sanctification is the believer’s desire
Let me simply give you a few verses to ponder and ask if they do not indicate that the believer will have a desire for sanctification??
1 Thess. 4:4 – That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
2 Tim. 2:19-21 – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Col. 1:9,10 – For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Titus 2:6-8 – Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Tit 2:14 - Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Heb 10:24 - And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Sanctification is the Spirit’s work
No matter our desire without the Spirit sanctification would be a practical impossiblity. The cleansing process requires divine power, energy, desire, and ability. It is for this very reason that true sanctification deprives one of the opportunity to take any of the credit. Our is simply assuming a position of subordination. In doing that the Spirit of God is not quenched and has the liberty to do his work.

2 Thess. 2:13 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Sanctification of the Spirit. Sanctification is by the Spirit and of the Spirit. It is in conjuction with believing the truth. A soul has never been sanctified who has not been in a believing position toward the truth. If we will not believe the truth about ourselves, sin, the world in which we live, God's view of sin, etc. . . the sanctification process will be greatly hindered.

1 Pet. 1:2 – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Again we are reminded that the sanctification that we enjoy is of the Spirit.

Rom. 15:16 – That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Being sanctified by what? By the Holy Ghost! We are not sanctified simply by personal effort. Having begun in the Spirit are we made perfect in the flesh? The answer is always the same! The flesh is encapable of bringing about even the least degree of sanctification. We are always, first and last sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Phil. 4:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Who began the work? The Holy Ghost! He began the work. He is performing the work. He will continue the work until the day of Jesus Christ. The fact is God is determined to never leave us alone. If we are saved he will continue to mold and make us more into the image of his Son. He is fully committed to the task and will accept nothing less than victory. In the final anaylisis when we see him we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. The work will be completed and it will be God who is the completer. He started it and he will finish it.
Phil. 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This verse sets forth clearly how the work is all of God. It is God who both gives us the "will" and the "do" of his good pleasure. The desire does not originate with us, nor does the doing. It is all of God, by God, through God, and with God! Thank God for the presence of his Spirit within.
SCRIPTURE ASSUMES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR
I am again going to just give you a thus saith the Lord. In reading the following verses determine in your own mind if the Scripture does not assume a change in behaviour in the life of the believer.


1 Pet. 1:13-16 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 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.


Eph. 2:2-6 – Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


1 Pet. 4:2-4 – That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Ro 6:4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Ro 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Eph. 4:22–24 - That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

1 Pet. 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: . . . .

1 Thess. 4:7- For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Titus 2:11,12 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; . . . .

2 Pet. 1:4 – Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Pet. 3:11 – Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, . . . .
Holiness is not an issue that simply has internal consequences. It has consequences in our behaviour. In the way we talk, in the way we dress, in the way we conduct our business, in the way we entertain ourselves, and in our relationships. In every area of life.

Perfecting holiness in the fear of God is recognizing that some behaviour is worldly and carnal and addressing the root of the problem in our hearts so that our behaviour might be conformed to standards of holiness and righteousness.
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