Holiness Is Not An Option!

1 Peter 1:16

Holiness is not an option!
Becoming holy is a vital need of the Christian life.
That is why 1 Peter 1:16 says, "Be holy, because I am holy."

Holiness literally means to be "set apart" or to be different.
Holiness is living the life is becoming like Christ.
Holiness is having the mind of Christ.

Holiness is seeking God's will in our life every day.
Holiness is loving what God loves and hating what God hates.
Holiness hates lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, and unfair dealing,
even in the least things.

The life of one who is holy will reveal the fruit of the Spirit.
A holy Christian will strive to resist every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.
One who is holy will love God with all their being, and loving others as God has commanded.

We should daily set aside another part of ourself to God, and continue to seek to be more like Jesus.
Sad to say that too many of us are very easily satisfied with the appearance of holiness.
So, It might be as a shock to discover that even in the church of Jesus Christ,
it is difficult to find anyone that is truly holy.
We have to admit that God intends for us to be holy. (1 Peter 1: 16)

Very few Christians are truly holy.
But there are some who give the appearance of holiness.
There are those long years in church membership would lead one to think that by now
they ought to be holy.
Despite all of this, even in the church of Jesus Christ it is difficult, if not impossible,
to find any one that is truly holy.

It should alarm us that the contemporary church is not producing holiness in their lives.
What we are likely to find in the church is not holy Christians, but a generic kind of Christian.
It should also disturbs us that very often that we who represent a holy God,
and have been convicted of our sin and have a new in Christ; and we who sing, " Holy, Holy, Holy!"
are not really holy.

It should also alarm us that even though God's Word speaks of holiness and defines holiness for us
and that God demands holiness, that there is not much preaching about holiness.
It is also true that when we just talk about holiness that some are apt to be uncomfortable.
So, even to bring up the subject of holiness causes an anxiety level in some,
and will turn some some Christians off.
We must understand that holiness is not my idea or the ideal of any pastor.
Holiness is not an option.

The Bible teaches that God's people are a holy people and a holy nation.
Leviticus 20: 7 says, " Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy!"
The Book of Psalms tell us that the place for worship is at His holy hill.
When Isaiah was ordained, an angel touched his lips with coals of fire from the altar and cried, " Holy!"
God gave Moses the Law, and told him to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
Paul told Timothy that God calls us with a holy calling.

God's name is holy: " Bless the Lord,O my soul: and all that is within me bless His holy name."
The Bible from which we preach was written by holy men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
There is no question that holiness in the life of a Christian is real Christianity..

The Apostle Paul is writing from Corinth with love to those whom he says are " called to be saints."
We must understand that those to whom Paul is writing are captives of a culture committed to sin.
These are the ones to whom Paul writes.
They are the citizens of a commonwealth that has all kinds of corruption within it.

These are the ones to whom Paul writes.
They are Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians and the wise and the unwise.
These are the ones who live daily amid the sins of Roman hedonism, narcissism, perverted sexuality,
and homosexuality.
These are the ones who live in the city of the Caesar's set on seven hills where God's morality|
was in contrast to man's immorality.
They live where virtue has lost out to vice, where goodness has given way to greed,
and where weakness has degenerated to wickedness.

It is to these who are the unclean, the impure, the iniquitous, the defiled, the dirty,
the weak and the wicked; it is to these that Paul said:
" Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."
Paul has been proclaiming how sinners can escape the power of sin.
It is in this (Romans 6: 23) that Paul reminds his readers that "the wages of sin is death."

Paul was teaching that once a person is converted he is no longer what he was.
The converted person was once a servant of sin.
But now a change has taken place, and now he has acquired a brand new life and a brand new walk,
and he is no longer a servant of sin, but he has become a servant of righteousness.

The process of moving from sin to salvation, is the process of moving from what we used to be
to what God wants us to be.
Once we yielded our body to uncleaness, but now we yield our body to righteousness unto holiness.
We have not just stumbled upon holiness.

Paul teaches that we must seek or desire the fruits of holiness, and the gift of God through holiness.
We must decide to give up, to surrender, to yield our bodies as " servants to righteousness unto holiness."
It is here that Paul gave his classic word of advice on holiness when he said in Romans 12: 1:
" I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your body is a the living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."

Now let us look at some problems that are involved in the claim to be holy.

The first problem of holiness is that it is difficult to be holy.
We must honestly confess that it is difficult to be clean when we live in an unclean world.
It is difficult to live a holy life when we live in an unholy environment.
It is difficult to live holy when we live in a pagan world.
It is difficult to be holy when the demons of hell are always hounding us.
It is difficult to be holy.

Another problem of holiness is that some may question the intensity of our claim to be holy.
So, when we claim to be holy, we better be sure that we can back it up.
It wouldn't be wise to try to appear holy if we still have skeletons in our closet.
It wouldn't be wise for us to put on a " holier-than-thou" attitude when we are living in a glass house.
You can be sure that when we testify somebody will check us out.

We must be careful with our claim to be holy because somebody will want to know
if were walking that walk or just talking that talk.
When it comes to testifying, we had better tell the world: " I am just a sinner saved by grace!"

There is a another problem that is attached to holiness.
There is an uncomplimentary mark that is attached to all who are a part of the holiness crowd.
It seems that when anyone makes a claim to holiness they are immediately thought
to have mental problems.
Whenever the priority of Christ consumes our life, and when we began to view things
with a spiritual mind rather than a carnal mind, we are suspected of having something wrong
with our mental capacity.

Many who claim to be holy are seen as religious fanatics.
Can you remember the day when you didn't hear applause in our church services.
Can you remember that when someone happened to say, " Amen," that person would get
several dirty looks.
Can you remember when no musical instruments except a piano or an organ were accepted
in the worship service.

If the Lord has rescued you from the pits of hell, then you ought to say, " Amen."
If God has opened doors to you that no man can shut, then you ought to say, " Amen."
If God has delivered you from some heavy burdens, then you ought to say, " Amen."
If God has been a bridge for you over troubled waters, then you ought to say, " Amen."

The redeemed of the Lord ought to say so!
Who cares how prim and proper we are? Say something!
Who cares how sophisticated we are? Say something!
Who cares how many degrees we have? Say something!
When you have tears that flow from your eyes, and the Lord wipes every tear from your eyes,
say something.

Who cares if there are those who don't like to sing the praises of God, sing them anyway!
David said:
" Praise him with the trumpet,
Praise him with the psaltery, and harp,
Praise him with the timbrel and dance,
Praise him with the stringed instruments and organ.
Praise him with the loud cymbals,
Praise him with the high-sounding cymbals,
Let everything that hath breath
Praise the Lord!"

( Psalm 150)

Are we religious fanatics when we are praising the Lord?
I don't believe that praising the Lord will make a person a religious fanatic.
but is easier to cool off a religious fanatic that it is to heat up a religious corpse.

There were some who were thought to be fanatics in Jerusalem one day.
It was on that day when then came from every nation, and they met in that upper room.
In that upper room, there " came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind
and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues lack as of fire, and it sat upon each of them
."

These religious fanatics were so holy that Luke said that they were filled with the Holy Ghost
and began to speak with other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The church today needs a little more of that wind and a little more of that fire.
The church needs the wind of the Spirit that will blow through every once in a while
and turn things upside down and right side up.
The church needs the fire of the Holy Ghost that will set a holy fire that no one can extinguish.

It is important that we know what holiness is and what holiness is not.
We must be careful here for everything that looks and sounds and shouts like holiness
is not necessarily holiness.

Someone has said that:
"Holiness is not about what we wear; holiness is about how we walk.
Holiness is not about the cross we wear around our neck; holiness is about the cross we bear.
Holiness is not about the Bible we carry; holiness is about the Bible that carries us.
Holiness is not about how high we lift our hands; holiness is about how high we lift our fellowman
Holiness is not about how high we jump when we shout; holiness is about how well we serve
when we come back down."

We must all pray to be holy!
We should pray that we would be a holy church.
We should not want to be associated with one that is not holy.
God is holy, and His church ought to be holy!

Moses went up to Mount Sinai one day, God let him see a bush on fire.
The bush burned, but it was not consumed.
And God told Moses, " Take the shoes from off your feet for the place
where you are standing is holy ground
."

When we come to God's house, we should want to stand on holy ground.
When the choir stands to sing, we should want the choir to sing on holy ground.
When the preacher preaches, we should want him to stand on holy ground.
When the saints of God go to their eternal home, they will truly be moving up to higher, holy ground.

" I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day --
Still praying as I'm onward bound,
'Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Tho' some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I pray till heav'n I've found,
'Lord, lead me on to higher ground."

'Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on heaven's tableland;
A higher plane than I have found --
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White