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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Joy And Grace: The Adorning Of Holiness

PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1


JOY AND GRACE: THE ADORNING OF HOLINESS

1 THESSALONIANS 5:14-23


Unfortunately the way some people wear their piety that which should be beautiful becomes ugly and condescending. The charge of legalism is leveled often times not because one has embraced the theology of a legalist but the spirit of a legalist. We must maintain awareness that we are not the standard but the Bible is! Even when we are honestly and thoroughly convinced that we have properly understood and are living the standard of the Bible that does not make us the standard. For if it does then our weakness and failures are legitimized at least in our own eyes. When we make the Bible the standard our own faults will be much more glaring than the faults of others. Or to put it another way, when the faults of others become more glaring than our own we have a fairly good indication that we have made ourselves the standard instead of the Word of God.

To the law and to the testimony. This is the admonition of the Old Testament prophet. Yet, even then we must realize that people will go to the same bible and come away with different conclusions. That does not mean that both conclusions are right for surely they cannot be. Both conclusions could be wrong, they cannot both be right. It is important that we allow people in their personal lives to be personally responsible before God for the conclusions to which they come.

Consequently we will not necessarily agree on every jot and tittle. And people will generally tend to congregate with people to whom they bear the greatest likeness. We have to be careful about becoming self-righteous and bitter because of the people who do not see it our way. For, we must remember we do not see it their way either. We must learn to be happy with what the Lord has revealed to us and not be overly distraught because of others to whom it has not been revealed, or even those who are living disobediently.

The issue of personal separation is a matter of importance and one which the Bible addresses often. It is not an issue that can legitimately be set aside. And, while we should be ready to defend our positions on the issues we should not walk around with the proverbial "chip" on our shoulder just daring someone to knock it off. We should be content with our own convictions and thankful for any opportunity we might have to influence others in the direction of perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The worst possible advertisement for the doctrine of personal separation is a mean, condescending, self-righteous bitter believer.

Our text provides some sound counsel for those who want their holiness to be adorned with joy and grace.

Our attitude toward others:

Warn the unruly

Comfort the feebleminded

Support the weak

Be patient toward all men

Do not render evil for evil

Follow that which is good among yourselves and to all men.


Our attitude toward life

Rejoice ever more

Pray without ceasing

In everything give thanks


Our attitude toward spiritual disciplines

Quench not the Spirit

Despise not prophesying

Prove all things


If our attitude toward others, life, and spiritual disciplines is what it ought to be I am convinced that our holiness will be adorned with joy and grace.

Now let us address forthrightly some important principles to this end.


  • AN HONEST VIEW OF SELF

    • I am a sinner saved by grace

      • 1 Cor. 15:10 – By the grace of God I am what I am
      • 1 Cor. 4:7 – What hast thou that thou didst not receive.
      • 1 Tim. 1:15 – To save sinners of whom I am chief.

        • Ephesians 3:8 - Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
        • 1 Corinthians 15:9 - For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
        • The longer Paul was saved the more his view of self was transformed from "least of the apostles" to "least of all saints" to chiefest of sinners.


    • I am battling the flesh.

      • Matthew 26:41 - Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

        • The flesh is weak!
      • Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

        • The flesh is strong?

          • Which is it is the flesh weak or strong? It depends! It depends on whether you are doing bad or good.
          • The flesh is strong to do bad!
          • The flesh is weak to do good!
      • Romans 7:19-21 – When I would do good evil is present with me


    • I have farther to go than I have come.

      • Philippians 3:14 - I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

        • Practically speaking I am still more sinner than I am saint.
        • I still have a great deal of work to do.
      • Philippians 1:6 - 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:

        • The work is ongoing.
        • I am not what I should be or could be.

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  • A CHARITABLE VIEW OF OTHERS

    • Patience with the learning.

      • 2 Timothy 2:24 - And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, . . . .
      • 1 Thess. 2:7-12 – Gentle among you.


    • Compassion with the struggling.

      • 1Peter 3:8 – Having compassion.

        • Compassion - Having a fellow-feeling; sympathetic.
        • Love as brethren - Fond of brethren, i.e. fraternal.
        • Pitiful - Well compassioned, i.e. sympathetic: tender-hearted.
        • Courteous - Friendly of mind, i.e. kind.
      • Romans 12:16 – Condescend to men of low estate.

        • Condescend - To take off together, i.e. transport with.
        • Men of low estate - Depressed, i.e. (figuratively) humiliated (in circumstances or disposition).
      • Romans 15:5 – Patience and consolation.

        • Patience - Cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: enduring.
        • Consolation – Solace and comfort.


    • Prayerful for the disobedient.

      • Col. 1:9 – Pray that they would be filled with the knowledge of his will.
      • 1 Thess. 5:23 – Pray for a complete sanctification of body soul and spirit.
      • Eph. 1:16-20 – Pray for an enlightened understanding.



  • THE CULTIVATION OF HUMILITY

    • Humility.

      • Humility is not achieved by pursuit.
      • Humility is determined by what we are preoccupied with.
      • Pride is the result of a preoccupation with self.
      • Humility is the result of a preoccupation with:

        • The glory of God.
        • The needs of others.


    • Humility toward God.

      • Matt. 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
      • Psalms 27:8 - When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

        • John 4:34 - Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
        • John 6:38 - For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
      • Psalms 40:8 - I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.


    • Humility toward others.

      • Philippians 2:3-8 - Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
      • Romans 12:10 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
      • 1 Peter 5:5 - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
      • Romans 15:1 - We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
      • 1 Corinthians 10:24 - Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.


Let us strive to ensure that our pursuit of holiness in the fear of God is adorned with joy and grace by cultivating humility, having a charitable view of others, and taking an honest view of our selves.

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