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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Discipleship: The Communicating Of Holiness


 

In some respects this will be the simplest message of the whole series. It will not be deeply theological nor will there be much in it that would likely be very controversial. Nevertheless, it may be one of the most important messages of the series.


 

This message strikes at the core of passing on a godly heritage. Having lived long enough to see a couple of generations as it relates to families and ministries I am fully convinced that principles of holiness are often times not adequately communicated.


 

Every family is just one generation from assimilating back into the world. Every church is just one generation from assimilating back into the world. When one considers the historical transition that took place in our culture from the late 1940's to the late 1960's we should shudder. Judge Robert Bork referred to the phenomena in the title to his excellent book, Slouching Toward Gomorrah. The fact is, living in Sodom takes its toll. Often times the one we attempt to drag out turn and look longingly and are turned at least spiritually into a pillar of salt. "Remember Lot's wife" were the words of admonition from our Lord.


 

If we have strong convictions and fail to communicate them effectively to those around us we will find the very convictions that we held dear discarded on the trash heap of fleshly lusts and carnal desire. The attractions of Vanity Fair will have claimed another victim and in a couple of generations we will find our family and friends living in the City of Destruction that we once fled with great fear of the wrath to come.


 

The sad reality according to my own experience and observation, and I would love to think that it is not statistically accurate, is that churches tend to go from separated to worldly, hardly ever the other direction. Families tend to go from separated to worldly, hardly ever the other direction. Thank God there are a few exceptions and I hope and pray there will be more.


 

Would to God we could raise children that were more spiritually devoted than we are. Would to God we could leave our church more spiritually zealous than when we found it.


 

These things cannot happen unless we learn to effectively communicate holiness. We likely will not live long enough to see the full consequences of having failed to do so.


 

So, may God give us the grace to step it up a notch and communicate with holy zeal and passion the importance of doing so.


 


 

  • THE RESPONSIBILITY TO COMMUNICATE
    • Matt. 28:16-20 – Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
      • Observe - To guard from loss or injury by keeping the eye upon.
      • People must be taught the entire counsel of God's word.
      • As we have clearly seen separation from the world is not a topic where the Scripture is silent.
      • We have a solemn obligation to communicate all of God's truth and equip people to guard it from all loss or injury.
    • Acts 20:27 - For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
      • All of God's counsel must be communicated even if some of it is unpalatable to the flesh.
      • It would be unreasonable to expect that we could seek to declare all the counsel of God and everyone always be comfortable with it.
    • Acts 20:20 - And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
      • Paul sets the example here in relation to our responsibility to communicate.
      • He kept back nothing that was profitable to them.
      • Again he did not say palatable but profitable.
      • Some things that are profitable may not be palatable.
      • Not all medicine taste good but we take it because it is profitable.
      • Parents, at times, have to become very inventive to get their children to take medicine that is profitable for them.
      • We don't say, "Well, the medicine does not taste good and little Johnny does not like to take it, so I am not going to make him." To the contrary we find a way to get it down him because it is profitable.
    • 1 Thessalonians 4:1 - Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
      • Paul instructed people concerning their walk, that is their Christian life (the practical areas) so that they might please God.
      • It was Paul's desire that the church at Thessalonica would abound more and more in the teaching he had given them concerning their walk.
    • 2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
      • This is a very familiar verse for most of us.
      • It tells us that the Scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness.
      • This implies that we need to be instructed in righteousness.
      • It states that the Scripture is the instruction book.
      • And again we find that it is profitable, profitable to be instructed in righteousness from the Holy Bible.
    • 2 Timothy 2:1,2 – The things which thou has heard, commit to faithful men who shall be able to teach others.
      • We are to be taking the things that we have heard and be the instrument of their perpetuity.
      • We are to teach them to other men who will teach others.
      • We have a solemn obligation to communicate all of God's truth.
      • Rather than letting it slip, we are to be passing it on.
    • 2 Timothy 4:2 - Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.


 


 

  • THE COMMITMENT TO COMMUNICATE – 2 Timothy 3:10 - But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, . . . .
    • Sound doctrine.
      • Communicating principles of separation should not simply be the ranting of an ill-informed, arrogant, separatist.
      • Rather it should be the logical, systematic presentation of Bible teaching in the area of God's people coming out from among them and being separate.
      • I would recommend my own approach to the subject over the course of this series.
        • I could have come to this blog and lifted up a my voice like a trumpet against sin and the emotional energy and rhetoric would have been evident and you would have left here knowing where I stood but having little idea as to the doctrinal supports to my conclusions.
        • Instead of taking up all this space we would have had a couple of short blogs and left the issue only partly addressed.
        • For too many years this has been done in Baptist pulpits and when the culture was more influenced by Christianity than paganism a preacher could get by without building a doctrinal foundation.
        • We are no longer afforded this luxury if we want people to be able to stand against the subtle inroads of the world.
        • It is not longer enough to have a strong personality in the pulpit we need to be communicating strong convictions rooted in an understanding of doctrine.
        • When all is said and done I will have presented 15 messages most of them taking up a good deal of space by blog standards.
        • Of those 15 messages only three actually were designed to address specific areas of concern for a believer who desires to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
        • Most of the series has been devoted to the doctrinal superstructure upon which principles of separation are well-founded.
          • God – The Origin of Holiness
          • Justification – Imputed Holiness
          • Sanctification – Growth In Holiness
          • The Word of God – The Standard Of Holiness
          • The World – The Antipathy Of Holiness
          • The Flesh – The Difficulty Of Holiness
          • The Heart – The Focus Of Holiness
          • The Behavior – The Manifestation Of Holiness
          • Separation – The Effect Of Holiness
        • Only then did I spend several weeks addressing our entertainment choices, our appearance, and our speech.
        • Then we finished with three more messages designed to help with a defense for and having the right attitude about separation.
          • Our Confidence – Answer The Assault Against Holiness
          • Joy and Grace – The Adorning Of Holiness
          • Discipleship – The Communicating Of Holiness
      • Separation as with everything else is a matter of being rooted in the Scripture.
        • 1 Peter 3:8-15 –Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
          • This is whole passage is about living right and being ill treated for doing so. We should be able to give a scriptural answer for why we live like we do.
          • We should not be surprised when many do not see it our way.
          • When a man asks we should have an answer.
          • The answer should be given in a spirit of meekness and fear.
          • And lastly what is most important is not that people agree with us but that we have a good conscience.
        • Colossians 4:6 - Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
          • It is the assurance that our conclusions are rooted in sound doctrine that prepares us to be able to answer with grace.
          • Uncertainty about out positions create frustration and results in a lack of grace in our responses.
        • 2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
          • It is the assurance that our conclusions are rooted in sound doctrine that prepares us to be able to instruct in meekness.
        • Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
          • I believe it was Matthew Henry that said, "By sound doctrine, not loud arguments".
          • If we hope to effectively communicate principles of holiness there has to be willingness to ground people in sound doctrine.
          • Something is wrong when people will vehemently scour women who wear pants, people who watch "R" rated movies, boys who wear their hair long and girls who wear their hair short, folks who unashamedly swim with little clothes on, and frown at the use of the slightest euphemism and yet;
          • Are at a loss of words if the discussion turns to the holiness of God, the glories of justification, the implications of sanctification, the reasonableness of Scripture establishing standards of behavior for us, the relationship between law and grace, the essential nature of the heart, and the dangers of the world.
          • People who fit this description are shallow!
          • They are not well grounded they are simply well-rehearsed.
          • And, when show time arrives under the glaring lights they melt and dissolve away, usually under protest. Why? Because they did not know the Scripture.
          • They were not grounded and rooted.
          • I have been determined that if this were true of anyone who sat under my ministry of the word it would be because they have not paid attention and applied themselves and not because I was unwilling to go to the time and trouble to communicate and build a foundation.
    • Holy Example
      • 1 Thessalonians 2:10 - Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
      • 2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
      • 2 Cor. 6:3-10 – Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
      • 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
      • 1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
      • Titus 2:7,8 - 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.
      • 1 Peter 5:3 - Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:5 - For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
      • Philippians 3:17 - Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.'
      • Philippians 4:9 - Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
      • 1 Corinthians 4:16 - Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
      • 1 Corinthians 11:1- Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:6 - And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
      • Hebrews 13:7 - Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
      • Psalms 37:37 - Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
        • It has been said concerning children that "more is caught than taught". There is certainly some truth in this little proverb. I think the principle could be expanded to all those over who we exert influence.
        • What we are not communicating with our lives we will never effectively communicate with our tongues.
        • People tend to, over the long haul, be influenced more by a strong example rather than a powerful message.
        • It is often easier to show people how to be separated than tell them how.
        • It is more productive to lead people to separation than drive them to it.


 

Let me close the series where we have started every evening in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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. 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.

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