Monday, January 31, 2011


1828 : HO'LINESS, n. [from holy.] The state of being holy; purity or integrity of moral character; freedom from sin; sanctity.

1. Applied to human beings, holiness is purity of heart or dispositions; sanctified affections; piety; moral goodness, but not perfect. The state or quality of being holy; perfect moral integrity or purity; freedom from sin; sanctity; innocence.

We see piety and holiness ridiculed as gloomy peculiarities.

2. Sacredness; the state of anything hallowed, or consecrated to God or to his worship; applied to churches or temples. (Sometimes People)

3. That which is separated to the service of God.

2011 : “Encarta On-Line Dictionary” Title used in addressing or referring to the pope;

Can the “Meaning” of a Word really Change that Much?

If You say “Holiness” to most people they get a pained look on their face, like you are about to suck ALL the Fun out of their lives…

It just has this “Old-Fashioned” sound to it that has become so negative in our church culture, the last thing you want to be is a Holiness Preacher!!!

Be Honest if your Church advertised two Bible Studies

1. “Being a Successful Christian in 2011” …..

2. “Being a person of Holiness in 2011” …..

Which one are you drawn to? Which one do you think will fill-up first?

I read the following short article from a young pastor in Michigan…

It Challenged Me…...

I hope it speaks to you as well….

Attached at the end is a PDF “Study-Tool” (If you Dare)

Leave some “Feed-Back” ….. Love to hear your Honest Thoughts…

And it’s the only way we know anyone is reading these things……

I have a growing concern that younger evangelicals do not take seriously the Bible’s call to personal holiness. We are too at peace with worldliness in our homes, too at ease with sin in our lives, too content with spiritual immaturity in our churches.

God’s mission in the world is to save a people and sanctify his people. Christ died “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor. 5:15) We were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph. 1:4) Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27) Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)

J.C. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool from the nineteenth century, was right: “We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world…Jesus is a complete Savior. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, He does more–He breaks its power (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:10).” My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all that Christ saved us from, we will give little thought and make little effort concerning all that Christ saved us to.

The pursuit of holiness does not occupy the place in our hearts that it should. There are several reasons for the relative neglect of personal holiness.

1) It was too common in the past to equate holiness with abstaining from a few taboo practices like drinking, smoking, and dancing. In a previous generation, godliness meant you didn’t do these things. Younger generations have little patience for these sorts of rules. They either don’t agree with the rules, or they figure they’ve got those bases covered so there’s not much else to worry about.

2) Related to the first reason is the fear that a passion for holiness makes you some kind of weird holdover from a bygone era. As soon as you talk about swearing or movies or music or modesty or sexual purity or self-control or just plain godliness, people get nervous that others will call them legalistic, or worse, a fundamentalist.

3) We live in a culture of cool, and to be cool means you differentiate yourself from others. That has often meant pushing the boundaries with language, with entertainment, with alcohol, and with fashion. Of course, holiness is much more than these things, but in an effort to be hip, many Christians have figured holiness has nothing to do with these things. They’ve willingly embraced Christian freedom, but they’ve not earnestly pursued Christian virtue.

4) Among more liberal Christians, a radical pursuit of holiness is often suspect because any talk of right and wrong behaviors feels judgmental and intolerant. If we are to be “without spot or blemish,” it necessitates we distinguish between what sort of attitudes, actions, and habits are pure and what sort are impure. This sort of sorting gets you in trouble with the pluralism police.

5) Among conservative Christians, there is sometimes the mistaken notion that if we are truly gospel-centered, we won’t talk about rules or imperatives or exhort Christians to moral exertion. To be sure, there is a rash of moralistic teaching out there, but sometimes we go to the other extreme and act as if the Bible shouldn’t advise our morals at all. We are so eager not to confuse indicatives and imperatives that if we’re not careful, we’ll drop the imperatives altogether. We’ve been afraid of words like diligence, effort, and obedience. We’ve downplayed verses that call us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) or command us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1) or warn against even a hint of immorality among the saints (Eph. 5:3).

I find it telling that you can find plenty of young Christians today who are really excited about justice and serving in their communities. You can find Christians fired up about evangelism. You can find lots of Generation XYZ believers passionate about precise theology. Yes and amen to all that. But where are the Christians known for their zeal for holiness? Where is the corresponding passion for honoring Christ with Christlike obedience? We need more Christian leaders on our campuses, in our cities, in our seminaries who will say with Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk.” (Eph. 5:15)

When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4 –“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”–when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our YouTube clips, our TV and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles, you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).

I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God. ……. Kevin DeYoung

Kevin is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, right across the street from Michigan State University. He has been the pastor there since 2004.

Holiness Unto The Lord

Thursday, January 20, 2011


An emphasis on personal feelings or responses as opposed to external facts or evidence; In philosophy a theory stating that the only valid moral standard is the one imposed by somebody's own conscience…

I recently read the following article by Stewart Fenters a young man with a passion for the “Truth” … In a “Church” world where almost nothing is “Wrong” or “Sinful” (Remember that old word) as long as you don’t feel bad about it, this letter blessed me & challenged me, I trust it will do the same for you….

The Problem With Subjectivism....

I was riding in the car listening to the radio and an interview with Shooter Jennings came on. Good ole Country rock. He said the following, “Hold to what is true and to who you love, whatever it is you find to be true and whoever you love”. My stomach turns a bit when I hear statements like that. Mostly because of how untrue they are.

When talking of your faith with a non-believer, this response is quite typical in today’s culture: “I have no problem with your faith. Christianity works for you, but it doesn’t really work for me. I’m still looking to find my religion”. In an age where being “religious” is actually kind of cool, it shouldn’t be surprising. Again, my heart breaks when I hear statements like this because of how far from the truth they really are.

In this light, you can look at faith in two ways. It can be subjective; meaning that it is based on our feelings or opinions. Or it can be objective; meaning that faith is not influenced by our own feelings or opinions about its truth.

The Gospel is objective in that its truth stands alone and its security is not dependent on our belief for it to be created or continue to exist. For example, God doesn’t exist because Christians believe He exists. He exists without the opinion or influence of any living thing. Another example, the glorious salvation offered to us by God did not come into existence simply because we believe it. It is an event that has happened and we chose to accept the continuous gift from a gracious Lord. Let’s put it inversely as well: believing something that is inherently false doesn’t magically make it true. If I choose to believe with absolutely certainty that I am a fish, my belief maybe somewhat honorable (or insane) but it will not be true.

If you look at faith in Christ in a subjective light, it gives you the freedom to pick and choose elements of truth from other religions as they “fit” into your personal belief system. This practice of picking and choosing elements from other belief systems into your own is called syncretism. It has seeped its way into our culture as well as our churches. We hear a passage that is difficult to follow and we choose to keep that element out of our practice of faith. But God’s truths are not meant to be picked apart. Psalm 119:96 states that “To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless”. Every other “truth” in the world has a limit, but the truths of God have no bounds and are eternal. Anything contrary to the Gospel is not the Gospel at all, and changing a little portion of the Gospel tears apart the integrity of the message itself. God also makes a warning to these kinds of actions in Revelation 22:18-19.

You could write a book on this topic. I am not going to write a book. However, one example of how truth and lies being mixed came to me this morning. I make coffee in a French press every morning and as I was boiling the water, I began to think about the purity of water. It is so clean and so fresh and it sustains life. As I poured the water into the coffee grounds housed in the press, I saw the two ingredients mix and become a completely different drink. No one could look at my cup of coffee and say, “yes that’s water”. They could say, “There’s water in that drink, but it’s mixed with something else”. Fundamentally, it has been changed. When it comes to faith, you cannot mix truth with lies and expect truth to be the same. The holiness of God can’t be seated next to the un-holiness of earth. He must reign above all things (Col. 1:17). The great St. Augustine said the following, “Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.”

While God’s holiness and value does not depend on our belief of his majesty and power, our life is dependent on his grace and mercy, and our very breath is in the hands of a Sovereign King. (Ps. 39:5).

We must take the truth of the Gospel for all it is worth. We must allow entire message of love to envelope our lives by recognizing our sinful nature and the God of grace and mercy who has brought us out of sin into righteousness, out of darkness into light and out of death into life.

Stewart Fenters… Is a musician and worship leader at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, SC.

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