Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to retain holiness

How to retain holiness

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: [13] To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” [1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 13]

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” [2 Peter 1:10]

(Illustration: “It is not necessary to teach us how to lose our health.” [B.T. Roberts] “So the Bible does not teach us how to lose holiness.  It gives very explicit directions how to keep it.” [BTR])

I.          Fact: God requires an investment from us.

            A.         “…there is something spoken of for us to do if we would keep holiness and get through to Heaven.” [BTR]

                        1.         “love toward another and toward all men” (Love is the defining quality of holiness)

                                    a.         John Wesley defined “Christian perfection” in terms of “knowledge” and       “love.”

                                    b.         Spiritual failure is seldom a lack of knowledge… it becomes a matter of our love for God.

                        2.         “give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, you shall never fall.”

                                    a.         Caution: we are often caught chasing the “latest and greatest.”

                                    b.         (Ill.) Companies know that to keep or attract some people, there has to be something new all the time (monthly specials).  PROBLEM… the pursuit of these things can wear us out, weaken us, and dissipate our energy.

***** “No matter how much grace a person received when he was converted, and how great an increase was realized when he was sanctified wholly, if he does not go on in his experience and grow in grace he will become dry and unfruitful, spiritually dead, and insensible to his condition.” [BTR]  *****

            B.         The condition of someone who does not grow:

                        1.         “His outward conduct may be without reproach, but his power is gone.” [BTR]

                                    a.         Input but no output…  (Ill. The Dead Sea)

                                    b.         That is why useful service is so important…. Power is expressed in the work accomplished.

                        2.         The stale Christian complex…

                                    a.         Roberts noted that many keep the profession but lose the blessing.  (Reasoning is correct, habits are correct, no need of the Holy Spirit.)

                                    b.         The symptom: no fruit.  (no joy, no gentleness, no meekness…)

                        3.         Caution: there may be “dry times” in a person’s life, times when physically we are suffering, and times when life simply stinks…. (that does not mean the power is gone).

                                    a.         The lies the devil whispers… “it’s no use,””God’s not listening,” “you are on your own.”
                                    b.         Here’s the problem, we have become more dependent on feelings than on truth.

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [1 Peter 1:5]

II.         Fact: God supplies the ability!

            A.         God has given us “power” that keeps us…

                        1.         Dependent on faith (not giving up).

                        2.         Dependent on salvation (right relationship with God).

                        3.         NOTICE the “keeping” part of this power.

                                    a.         Armenian/Wesleyan often focus on things like “loosing salvation.”

                                    b.         Roberts was trying to refocus us on doing the healthy spiritual thing… thus, “loosing” is never going to be an issue.

            B.         God “is willing, nay anxious to keep us all.” [BTR]

                        1.         The witness of the Holy Spirit…

                        2.         The clear conscious… (as witnessed by the Holy Spirit).

“Have you had a clear experience of being sanctified wholly? If not, then seek it at once.  You cannot afford to live another day without it.” [BTR]

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