Thursday, September 22, 2011
“And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind.  This is the great and first
commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall
love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:37 –
“There can be no such thing as Christian holiness without supreme love to God.” [B.T. Roberts]
“Failure here involves failure everywhere.” [B.T. Roberts]
***** Loving God (and others) is often replace by
self-righteousness [DJW] *****
I. Self-righteousness from God’s view.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do
fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” [Isaiah 64:6 KJV]
“We are unfit to worship you; each of our good deeds is merely a filthy rag. We dry up like leaves; our sins are storm winds sweeping us away.” [CEV]
1. Legally unclean… like a leper. (Unable to be part of the community, excluded
from temple worship, exiled to outside the camp.)
2. “Filthy rags” is literally a “menstruate rag.” (a tampon)
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” [Revelation 3:16]
1. The lukewarm is considered to be resistant… it neither heats up or cools down.
2. The spiritually “cold” can be reached. The spiritually “hot” are in right relationship… The spiritually “lukewarm” have one foot in each world without deciding.
a. It is the classic “playing it safe” mode.
b. The energy is gone (heat is energy). The excitement is gone (heat comes from the molecules energetic movement). The eternal is given way to the here and now.
c. They “were for self.” [Dante in the "Inferno”]
II. What does “love to God” mean?
A. We will seek to please God.
1. Actively look for things to do to please God.
2. Even if it involves painstaking self-denial.
2 Samuel 23:14 – 17 David was thirsty for water from a well at Bethlehem. Three of his men broke through enemy lines and got him a pitcher…
B. We will “honestly and carefully endeavor to ascertain [God’s] will.”
1. Study the Bible to know the will of God.
2. The love of God and the love of the Bible are closely linked.
C. “The holy person has his ear open to the voice of God in the soul.” [B.T. Roberts]
1. The Holy Spirit guides.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” [Romans 8:14]
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” [Isaiah 30:21]
2. The Holy Spirit also teaches.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:26]
D. “A lover of God is likely to be a lover of nature.” [B.T. Roberts]
E. “IF we love God… we shall hear and support preachers… because they speak the word of God faithfully.” [B.T. Roberts]
1. Often there is a false belief that “polished” or “skilled” means it is not faithful to God. [Baldwinism]
2. Test the spirits… (search the Scriptures).
F. “If we love God we shall manifest it by unquestioning obedience to all His
commands.” [B.T. Roberts]
1. Obedience is the test of love… [John Wesley’s idea in “Christian Perfection”]
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21]
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” [1 John 2:3 – 6]
2. “Slaves of fashion” or servants of God?
a. The “everyone” test is not valid… [“Majority” had become an idol in American society… what “everyone” is doing, thinking, or believing has NOTHING to do with truth.]
b. The “results” test is not valid… [We often give in to what we consider “proof.”
American are “pragmatic” and believe if it works it’s right.]
G. “He who loves God has a spirit of devotion.” [B.T. Roberts]
1. Worship… “secret, social, and public.”
2. Prayer. “[Saints] talk a great deal to God.” [B.T. Roberts]
“Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling.” [James 5:17 CEV]
a. Answered prayer turns to praise.
b. B.T. Roberts used the illustration of hiring others to eat our food… it is as silly of an idea as letting others praise God for us.
Issue of musical instruments in the church: “Mere sound, though it be pleasant to the ear, is not
worship.” [B.T. Roberts]
He went as far as calling “worship performed by the ungodly or indifferent… open mockery.”
About the next six chapters of Hebrews are spent developing the theme of Christ our High
Why? Think of it the audience it was intended to reach. The book of Romans was to a secular
and reasoned world. In Romans God’s actions are defended through the action of Jesus.
Hebrews makes that connection between Jesus and the fulfillment of the Law. To do this, the
writer of Hebrews (Paul) uses the images from the Old Testament to make his point. The
strongest one is Jesus who is both King and Priest.
The High priest possessed two qualifications.
First, the High Priest was one of the people. This made sure that he was sympathetic to the
weaknesses of the people. [v 2]
Second, the High Priest was appointed by God. [v 4 – 5] This made sure that nobody ever
claimed the right. Since it traveled through family lines and God reserved the right to change
High Priests every Day of Atonement (through the serving one dying)… It also meant nobody
actually wanted to be High Priest.
It was the most humble of jobs, it was the most dangerous of jobs, it was the most important of
Jesus possessed a THIRD qualification: Jesus was also the sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice was the
foundation of the authority He now exercises in heaven. Jesus was made “perfect” though
suffering. [v 9]
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to
glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” [Hebrews 2:10]
The word translated “perfect” is the word “teleos.” The word does not mean “flawless.” Jesus
was already flawless. “Teleos” means “the bringing of the person to a fixed goal” (Vincent). In
this case is the completion of the process. (Robertson)
I. Here’s the problem (two of them)
A. First, Jesus was not of the line of Levi (not from Aaron).
1. How could Jesus be a High Priest if He was from the “wrong” family?
2. The whole nation was called to be priests.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous
light.” [1 Peter 2:9]
“But you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our
God…” [Isaiah 61:6a]
B. Second, what happened to the priesthood that already existed?
1. It failed because the priests were as sinful as the people.
a. How often is the strength the major weakness?
b. It was because of sin that the people needed a mediator.
c. Aaron and others were officially “holy” but not actually spotless and pure.
2. It failed because the priests served in a copy of the original.
a. They served in an earthly copy of the heavenly reality.
b. Because they were not divine, they did not have the access necessary to function on a level above a crude, imperfect, and flawed copy.
Jesus, being the spotless and pure lamb of God was able to enter the real “holy of holies”
through His sacrifice for us.
II. Here’s the paradox:
A. One would expect the sinless one to be the severest, stickiest, and saintly judge
of those who sin.
1. Yes, Jesus as the Holy one of God will eventually judge.
2. However, Jesus (in perfect holiness) is the most merciful, compassionate,
and considerate Judge…
3. Our sins make us impatient and severe with others BECAUSE we see our
flaws in others!
4. Irony: the holier the character the more loving and sympathetic they are
B. Possibly God’s guiding principle: He is not willing that ANY should perish but ALL
should reach repentance.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,
not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” [2 Peter 3:9]
1. Jesus made it a point to forgive those who crucified Him.
“And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to
divide his garments.” [Luke 23:24]
2. Forgiveness is so important, Jesus made it a point to tell us if we do not
forgive we will not be forgiven.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” [Matthew 6:12]
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.” [Mathew 6:15]
III. Here’s the possibility: victory over death.
A. Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” [v 9]
1. Physical death is the “organic connection with divine wrath.”
a. No wonder Jesus cried out “let this cup pass from me.” [Matthew
b. God the Father charged all our sin to Jesus’ account as He tasted
that cup of physical death for us.
2. Jesus’ obedience became the example for our obedience…
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example,
so that you might follow in his steps.” [1 Peter 2:21]
B. His obedience earned him the title and position of High Priest “in the order of
Melchizedek” (King of Salem and High Priest of God Most High… see Genesis 14:18 – 20)
1. Melchizedek was a King and a priest… nothing known outside Genesis 14
and the book of Hebrews.
2. Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek… (More in the weeks to come on
IV. Here’s the prize.
A. Perfect peace.
1. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Romans 5:1]
2. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he
trusts in you.” [Isaiah 26:3]
Kicker: the only time perfect peace is clear is in the storm.
“Everyone is either heading into a storm, in a storm, or just coming out of a storm.” [American
3. This perfect peace is found only in right relationship to God the Father
B. The God who cares…
1. Jesus extended tenderness towards the sinner in need. (Woman caught
in adultery John 8]
2. Jesus demonstrated compassion on those who were “without a
3. Jesus perfectly sympathizes with us in our time of need… under the
pressure and pain of temptation and failure.
4. BECAUSE of all this Jesus knows the sorrow and brokenness that is too
deep for any human ministry.
a. Jesus is able to understand and heal that sorrow and brokenness in our soul.
b. Jesus intends to restore our spirit to a right standing before God the Father.
c. Jesus, the friend of sinners, calls us to engage the bottomless ocean of God’s love by doing away with sin and its burden, guilt, and future consequences.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Attributes of Holiness – honesty and impartiality James 2:1 -- 10
[B.T. Roberts re-examined]
“Honesty is that disposition which prompts us to give to everyone his due. It make us thoughtful of the rights of others.” [B.T. Roberts]
“We would infinitely prefer to be the victims of injustice, than to be unjust.” [B.T. Roberts]
Lev. 19:36 “You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
Deut. 25:13 “You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small.”
Prov. 16:11 “A just balance and scales are the LORD's; all the weights in the bag are his work.”
Prov. 20:10 “Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”
Prov. 20:23 “Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.”
Mic. 6:11 “Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights?”
A. We would rather suffer wrong than do wrong.
1. Means keeping careful watch to not harm others.
2. Means never taking advantage of the ignorance of others.
B. We freely give all the information necessary to form a correct judgment.
1. Means we allow our religion to interfere with our business, our lives, our conduct.
2. Means we will regulate ourselves according to the principles of justice.
C. We serve and give because it is the right thing to do.
1. There is no stipulation or obligation that will be unreasonable or unfair.
2. Means not being honest is considered stealing.
“God is no respecter of persons… He loves a poor man who is truly pious, just as much as He does a millionaire or a king who serves Him no better.” [B.T. Roberts]
A. “As we become holy we become partakers of the mind that was in Christ.” [B.T. Roberts.]
1. A holy person will not claim or accept a privilege based on his wealth.
2. It is not about “superior worldly advantages.”
“Consequently a holy person should not buy or rent a seat in a house of worship. To do this would be to give his sanction to a practice which shuts the poor out of the house of God…” [B.T. Roberts]
B. “The Gospel was made for the poor.” [B.T. Roberts]
“The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” [Matthew 11:5]
1. “False religions seek their votaries among the rich and powerful.” [B.T. Roberts]
a. At Jesus’ pivotal moment… He did not seek the rich and powerful. Jesus went to the “down and out.”
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” [1 Corinthians 1:26]
b. It is not “might or power” that accomplishes God’s will.
2. “An individual that is holy cannot consistently belong to a Church that despises the poor.” [B.T. Roberts]
a. Neither the anticipation of danger or expectation of reward will sway us to honor one above another based on wealth.
b. This will keep our soul clear of judging someone else.
Conclusion: the word is “integrity.” (“Adherence to moral and ethical principles.” Dictionary.com)
***** The value and worth of the other person. *****
Three tools for Success
Verse 11 starts with a warning… “Let us strive… so
that no one may fall…” Israel did not enter the rest
because of disobedience (“unbelief”).
In this chapter we have seen a promise coupled
with a warning. Whether we like it or not, God’s
promises are conditional. God takes the initiative
but expects us to respond. God gives grace but we
must react in faith. God does the heavy lifting but
we are expected to invest ourselves in obedience.
Why the warning? Because of the very real
possibility of failure… but we are given three very
powerful tools to achieve our goal.
I. Tool #1: We are given the Word of God.
A. What is the “Word of God?”
1. The Bible
“But he answered, It is written, Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that comes from the
mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4]
2. Jesus Christ
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1]
B. What makes the “Word of God” special?
1. It is “living.” [v 12]
a. It is not a “dead language.” (It is
b. Jesus came to give us “abundant
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill,
and to destroy: I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.”
1.) Jesus as the “Word of God”
reveals God the Father, His
expressions, thoughts, and
2.) In the Bible we hear, find, and
2. It is active. (It is the word we get
“energy” from) [v 12]
a. This power is not necessarily what
we think or want it to be!
b. 1 Kings 19:9 – 13
C. How does the “Word of God” work?
1. In the “Word of God” we find identity,
power, and purpose.
a. It exposes us for who we really
are… (“discerns” is the image of the
head pulled back to expose the
1.) Thoughts (MIND)
2.) Intentions (HEART)
b. It has the healing power of the
1.) The word “sharper” conveys
the image of one clean cut (as
opposed to “hacking.” It was
the advantage Roman soldiers
had over their opponents…
steel that remained sharp.)
2.) It is the power of the spoken
word that the word that
created and chaos is turned to
cosmos at the cross.
“By faith we understand that the universe was
created by the word of God, so that what is seen
was not made out of things that are visible.”
2. In the “Word of God” we are
confronted with a choice: live or death.
a. The image of the sword either kills
b. It is the image of sacrifice… we will
see this again in Hebrews.
c. Which side of the sword do you
want to be on?
II. Tool #2: A sympathetic High Priest
A. Jesus has gone before us… What?
1. Explain the “day of atonement.” (The
one time of the year anyone, and only
the High Priest, could enter the “holy of
holies” behind the veil.)
“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is
for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and
do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull,
sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the
mercy seat.” [Leviticus 16:15]
2. God eliminated that wall of separation
between Him and us when Jesus died.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and
yielded up his spirit.  And behold, the curtain of
the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”
[Matthew 27:50 – 51]
B. That is what we call a “game changer.”
1. Because of Jesus, everything changes…
a. God sympathizes with our
b. While Jesus is God in every way, He
was also human in every way… His
humanity AND sinlessness adds up
to the perfect sacrifice AND perfect
2. God has become not only our judge but
also our advocate.
a. Even though Jesus was not a sinner,
God treated Him like one.
b. Jesus took our place, took our
whipping, took our death sentence,
took our damnation to hell… THAT
IS LOVE (and believe it or not it
“My little children, I am writing these things to you
so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we
have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous.” [1 John 2:1]
a. Once we were against God… now
God shown Himself to be for us.
b. Once we were separated by a veil
that represented our uncleanness…
now God has exchanged Jesus
righteousness for our uncleanness.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no
sin, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21]
C. What difference does this make?
1. We have our identity in Jesus.
a. He is our King.
b. We are co-heirs with Jesus.
"So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son,
then an heir through God.” [Galatians 4:7]
[Roman law of adoption: A person was privately
adopted… eventually there was a public ceremony
before the civil authorities. It was not uncommon
to have many years in between the private and the
public ceremony. It was not legal until the public
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the
revealing of the sons of God.” [Romans 8:19]
Here is the “already but not yet” principle we see
2. We have power through the shed blood
a. One way to understand this is what
Jesus gave us:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]
b. Another way to understand this:
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the
Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they
loved not their lives even unto death.” [Revelation
III. Tool #3: Our confession [v 14] and confidence
A. What confession?
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus
is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised
him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with
the heart one believes and is justified, and with the
mouth one confesses and is saved.” [Romans 10:9 –
1. “Confess” means to tell others… (new
fangled word “witness.”)
2. Faith is expressed by the content of our
B. What confidence:
1. If we need mercy, what do we do?
“The man answered, I was naked, and when I heard
you walking through the garden, I was frightened
and hid!” [Genesis 3:10 CEV]
“People who do evil hate the light and won't come
to the light, because it clearly shows what they have
done.” [John 3:20 CEV]
a. Think about it: when do you need
mercy and grace?
b. When you have sinned…
2. Repentance depends on God’s loving-
a. Do you really think that God does
NOT want anyone to perish?
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some
count slowness, but is patient toward you, not
wishing that any should perish, but that all should
reach repentance.” [2 Peter 3:9]
b. If God really does not want anyone
to perish (go to hell) then why do
we act like God is the mean bully?
3. Mercy is for the past, grace is for the
now, hope rules tomorrow.
a. This is all give WHEN it is needed.
(“in our time of need.”)
b. Without doubt or fear, you can
approach God in repentance.
C. What does this mean?
1. We have free access to God…
2. We have right relationship with God…
3. We have the responsibility to “strive”
(with all diligence and effort).
4. We are not working FOR our salvation…
we are acting like we are saved.
Attributes of Holiness – Hatred of sin
(B.T. Roberts re-examined)
“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” [Proverbs 8:13]
“Holiness is not indifference. One who is truly holy does not feel that he has done his duty by simply abstaining from sin.” [B.T. Roberts]
Topic: Popular holiness vs earnest holiness…
1. Moral definition: “A willful transgression of a known law of God.” (Wesley’s definition)
2. Legal definition: “To deviate in any manner from an absolute standard of perfect behavior.”
Problem: In America we think… a.) All sin is equal (none worse than others), b.) Christians sin daily c.) Our sins are forgiven.. past, present, and future d.) we should confess our sins daily (“spiritual breathing”) e. We can never be sinless. (Keith Drury)
Premise: We are NOT to sin; we do not have to sin.
Thus: the legal definition does not make sense in context of God’s prohibition against sin.
Fact: "But to make everything sin is, in effect, to make nothing sin" [Exploring Our Christian Faith, W.T. Purkiser editor, page 293, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO. 1978.]
When something is unavoidable, it is excusable.
“Sin is a choice; an avoidable choice.” [Jeff Paton]
I. Popular holiness:
A. Things earnest holiness does NOT do:
1. Holiness does not “smile at sin.”
2. Holiness does not give “ample toleration” to sin.
3. Holiness is not favorable to “building up the church” by allowing “fashionable or popular” sin.
B. Things popular holiness does:
1. “It valorously kicks the dead lion, but is very careful not to excite the anger of the living jackal.”
2. Popular holiness does NOT recognize the obstacles to earnest holiness.
II. Earnest holiness:
A. “True holiness is not blind.”
1. Not obtrusive or skeptical… it is observing.
2. [American proverb] “All that glitters is not gold.”
a. Some things look good and right… but are not.
b. Some things sound right but when matched against Scripture are shown to be false.
c. It looks beyond manners and correct words.
B. “Scriptural holiness implies hatred of sin.”
1. There is “stern resistance to sin in all its guises.”
2. Serious problem: Often Roberts and early holiness people focused on externals as symbols of internal spiritual sins.
Roberts opposed people “adorning themselves in gold and pearls of costly array.” [quoting 1 Timothy 2:9] He called it pride.
Wesley, using this verse, warned: “These four are expressly forbidden by name to all women (here is no exception) professing godliness, and no art of man can reconcile with the Christian profession the willful violation of an express command.”
(Sounds more like vanity… important distinction: vanity is concerned what others think of us; pride is what we think of ourselves.)
Pride: “a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.”
However, pride is also: “a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect.”
3. Vanity and Pride takes on a deliberate (willful) “better than” attitude. Either by showing of wealth (status) or judging another.
C. “Hates the first appearance of sin in himself.”
1. Quick conscious is necessary to instantly repel a Satanic suggestion.
2. There must be an instinct about us that is uneasy with sin and false things.
3. We must have clear understanding when something is “dead works.”
D. “He hates sin in others.”
1. Ability, talent, accomplishments, position, etc… “does not mitigate the repugnance which he feels on account of his sins.”
2. CAUTION: “there is no malice in this hatred… this does not imply angry, malevolent feelings, but a settled aversion of soul toward the haters of God.”
III. Why is this essential?
A. Notice I did not say “important.”
1. The difference between “important” and “essential.”
a. Important can be ignored…
b. Essential cannot be…
2. “Tyranny of the urgent.” (Charles Hummel)
a. The problem is not time (or resources)…. It is priority.
b. We live in tension between the “urgent and the important.”
c. What Hummel is describing is things that seem important because they are disguised as urgent.
3. Our problem is that we think things are important when they are actually NOT.
a. They drain our energy, time, and resources.
b. They demand our priority.
In the book, “The Kneeling Christian” the anonymous writer claims: “For we can accomplish far more by our prayers than by our work.”
B. Roberts claimed: “hatred of sin is essential to the aggressiveness that belongs to the Christian character.”
1. Do good to others!
a. Inviting others to Christ.
b. Making war on sin.
“A man who goes to the bar and drinks water, while his friend drinks whiskey may be personally temperate; be he certainly cannot be a very warm advocate for temperance.”
2. Fact: Satan is a relentless hunter. (no scruples, no pity)
a. You cannot deal with sin passively!
b. (Ill.) Who is the “father of lies?” (Any lie that exults itself or puts itself against God is Satanic. Any deliberate deception of another is Satan at work. Any lie that hinders another or misleads people from Christ is devilish to the core.)
c. So why can we NOT see that, let alone hate a lie?
d. FACT: if Satan is relentless against God, all that is good, and against all that is godly… then the Christian must also be relentless in ripping sin out by the roots.
3. “Hatred of sin will enable you to stand true to God under all circumstances.”
a. It is a hedge against what our early fathers called “backsliding.”
b. “As long as sin looks odious you will not embrace it.”
c. UNDERSTAND: sin as being against God.
David: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” [Psalm 51:4]
IV. What does this mean?
A. First, we must truly love God.
1. That means we will stand in right relationship with God.
2. We will not knowingly give the enemy a stronghold in our lives…
a. This is war.
b. Our very soul and eternity depends on it.
B. Second, we must become determined.
1. We cannot afford to give sin a place in our lives.
2. We cannot afford to give ourselves rest in our diligence against sin.
3. We cannot afford any compromise with sin in any form.