September 2, 2014
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Sermon Of The Week

Why Can't The Church Live Holy?

By Pastor Thomas N. Bristow
There is a pervasive question that seems to raise its ugly head every now and then. It is unfortunate that I've heard this question not just among sinners, but also among those that call themselves saints. I call this question pervasive because it leads to other questions that will eventually lead to questioning the character of God. The question is whether or not a person can be perfect, or even more important, can be "holy". When I ask saints if they are holy or have been living perfect, I get all kinds of ums and Oh well you see.

If the devil can convince folk that it's impossible to live holy, then he has destroyed the very core of their identity. When he deceives us into doubting our holiness through Christ, then he can also convince us that we are not the children of God. Our prayers become ineffective, because we believe that God answers prayer, just not our prayers (Hebrews 11:6)

There is a pervasive question that seems to raise its ugly head every now and then. It is unfortunate that I've heard this question not just among sinners, but also among those that call themselves saints. I call this question pervasive because it leads to other questions that will eventually lead to questioning the character of God. The question is whether or not a person can be perfect, or even more important, can be "holy". When I ask saints if they are holy or have been living perfect, I get all kinds of ums and Oh well you see.

If the devil can convince folk that it's impossible to live holy, then he has destroyed the very core of their identity. When he deceives us into doubting our holiness through Christ, then he can also convince us that we are not the children of God. Our prayers become ineffective, because we believe that God answers prayer, just not our prayers (Hebrews 11:6)
 

This is why we have churches full of folk that can shout and dance, but who are ineffective in walking in the spirit. The result is a church full of folk that expect others in the church to be holy, but fail to place the same standard upon themselves. Many have been hurt in the church. But do we ever think about who we might have hurt? Have we always walked in love and forgiveness? The response usually is, "Well, you know I'm not perfect, but." This type of mentality produces weak, selfish, impotent folk that will drain a ministry of the power it needs to have in order to reach those that are lost. Instead of winning the lost and producing disciples, it produces immature, self-centered babies that never grow up. Paul addressed the same concern in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and in Hebrews 5:11-14. All of this comes from embracing a worldly deception that no one can live holy.

If we can't live perfect or holy, then we have a serious problem with God. It was God that said that Noah was perfect in all his generation (Genesis 6:9). He also said that Job was a perfect and upright man (Job 1:1). Our other problem is that the Lord requires His children to be perfect (Matthew 5:48) and holy (1 Peter 1:15). These scriptures are not suggestions, but commandments. How and why would the Lord make such requirements if He knew that we couldn't keep them? He wouldn't!!

            Salvation is not just a ticket to get to heaven. It is deliverance from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and one day the presence of sin. According to the Word of God we have power to live holy and righteous at all times and the access of that power is based on what we believe (Romans 8:2-9). The devil knows that if he can convince us to walk in our own holiness, we will fall flat on our faces. The results are discouragement, doubt, and fear (Romans 10:3). We must depend on and hold fast to the holiness of Jesus Christ our Lord.

            God sent the Holy Ghost to empower the saints to live holy, righteous, and perfect (Acts 1:8; Romans 8:26-28). Holiness is not just an idea or concept; it is a state or condition that every believer must embrace as their identity. To be holy is to be like our creator and Lord. Just as an earthly father expects his children to have his attributes, God expects us to look, speak, and act like Him. We are transformed by the power of the Holy Ghost and we are given a mandate to follow His lead and guidance (Romans 12:1-2). God has entrusted His glory in earthen vessels. We are, because He is. We can, because He did. We will, because He has promised (Jude 23:24). We did not chose ourselves, God chose us before the foundations of the world to be holy and to be perfect (Ephesians 1:4).
 
Pastor Thomas Bristow is the Pastor of the
Maranatha Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ
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