Holiness?

Posted on 07/30/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Good morning, good morning! And welcome to the gathering of the believers in the virtual world.

A warm welcome to our visitors.

Our purpose for being here today isn't to impress anyone.

Our purpose for being here today isn't to make people like us, although we hope you do.

Our purpose for being here today isn't to recruit people to some religion, for religion doesn't bring you true peace, and it doesn't bring you any closer to God.

Our purpose for being here today is to enjoy the real presence of the true and living God, to corporately show him our love and adoration, to look at his Words of Life together, and to learn how to have a closer, more intimate relationship with him.

For is it only a real, daily, close, intimate relationship with God that will make any difference in your life.

Religion won't do it.

Arguing points of view won't do it.

Finding the belief system which makes you feel the most at home won't do it.

Performing rituals and honoring man-made traditions won't do it.

All these things might keep us busy, but underneath our busy distractions lies the same emptiness, still unfilled and still driving us onward to seek that deep, ever-elusive satisfaction.

Find me a demon-possessed person and ask them to say a few things:

"Becoming Buddah is the secret to life." They will be able to say it.

"Allah is the one true God, and Mohammad is his prophet!" They will be able to say it.

"I am one with all and I am God." They will be able to say it.

But then ask them to say, "Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is Lord of all, and his blood washes me clean and opens the doors of fellowship with God. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by him."

When they can speak all other words but these, ask yourself why.

This is why we gather here today: it is to glorify and magnify the name of Jesus. There is no power in the name of Buddah. There is no power in the name of Allah or his prophet Mohammad.

But there is endless power in the name of Jesus, the name that makes demons cringe, the name that opens blind eyes, the name that raises the dead back to life, and the name that takes our dead, empty spirits and makes them living, breathing testimonies to the awesome love of Christ.

There is no other name on earth whereby we must be saved. And there is no other name we claim -- we don't claim the name of some denomination. We don't claim the name of some preacher, teacher, or evangelist. We don't claim the name of some church or organization.

We claim the name of Jesus Christ, for we belong to him!

Stand to your feet as we open with prayer, and as we prepare to enter God's presence with singing.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being here today by your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you're not some religion, you're not some crutch, you're not some myth or fable. Thank you that at your name demons tremble, at your name all other names must bow, and at your name our lives can be changed.

Come mingle with us in a powerful, real way today, as we gather together to focus our minds and our hearts on you, and you alone.

Thank you Jesus! Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship God together with song.


Let's sing along with Dennis Jernigan, I Belong to Jesus!

I BELONG TO JESUS

Satan goes around like a roaring lion
	seeking whom he may devour
But he has been defeated so I'm testifying
	by the blood of Jesus he lost his power

Christ was lifted up with my sin upon him
	his life and blood came flowing down
So hear me I'm declaring Jesus Christ is Lord
	I'm taking back his holy ground

I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin
I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin

All sin nailed to the cross
	and the Lamb's blood flowing
	Meant victory was sealed that day
When satan saw the blood
	he knew that Christ had won it
	and he knew that Sunday was on its way

The ground began to quake
	and all of heaven's power
	came bursting from the tomb within
The stone was rolled away
	and hell was overpowered
	by the King who rose again

I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin
I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin

He was lifted up
	He paid a costly price
He bought me with the blood
	of his own life
Christ the king now reigning
	he wears the victor's crown
satan was defeated
	when the blood flowed down

I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin
I belong to Jesus
	I belong to him
I belong to Jesus
	Free from sin

People, we are free from sin!



Thank you Jesus that we belong to you! The earth is yours and all it contans. You already own all that exists, and all bodies conceived in the womb; but we give you our wills, our hearts, and our love, and we worship you Lord!


WE WILL WORSHIP THE KING

We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King of Kings
We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King

And with our hands lifted high
	we will worship and sing
And with our hands lifted high
	we come before you rejoicing
With our hands lifted high to the sky
	when the world wonders why
We'll just tell them we're loving our King
	Woah woah
	We'll just tell them we're loving our king


We love you Lord!


You may be seated.


Today we're going to read a bit of Scripture and ask a few questions, then we'll close with prayer and have our time of fellowship next door.

Let's read from Second Chronicles chapter seven, beginning with verse 14:

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

And my first question is this: Does our land need to be healed?

Don't we seem to have lost our way? Aren't the number of fatherless homes growing? Isn't depression, opression, and anxiety at an all-time high? Isn't Biblical morality being methodically removed from our society?

Does our land need to be healed?

If your answer is no, if you think everything is as it should be, if you think our society is ship shape, then the rest of this message isn't for you.

If we don't realize there's a problem, the solution to that problem isn't going to do us a bit of good, and if that solution requires something of us, we will completely dismiss it as rubbish.

But if you agree that our land needs to be healed, listen on. God does not point out a problem that he does not make available the means to heal.

Let's read that verse again, then we'll ask a few more questions before closing.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Many of us know this Scripture by heart, and in itself, it is a living challenge to us.

Are you called by God's name? Do you claim to be a follower of Jesus? Then this Scripture is specifically speaking to you.

And what is the first thing this Scripture tells us to do?

"Humble yourself."

Scripture tells us repeatedly that God gives grace to the humble, but he opposes the proud. When we are proud, we stink. Can you think of someone who is so full of him or her self that they make everyone around them sick? It is because pride stinks, and pride will keep us away from God.

Scripture tells us to "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up." What our pride exalts, it also hiders. What God exalts in the midst of our humity, he brings to maturity and brings to life with supernatural power.

And what does this passage say we should do after we humble ourselves?

"...And pray and seek my face..."

Do you pray enough? Do I pray enough? I know I don't, and I'll let you answer the question between you and God.

Do we seek God's face fervently enough? Does everything in our life revolve around our pursuit of God, or is our pursuit of God really just an afterthough, one of the many things that revolve around our pursuit of other things?

If we humble ourselves but do not place God in the center of our every-day lives, we will not be able to stay humble, nor will we be able to attain true humility in the first place.

So we humble ourselves, and after we begin pursuing God in daily times of prayer and seeking his presence. What else do we need to do to see God heal our land?

"...And turn from their wicked ways..."

If you're like a lot of us, you probably are thinking, "Well that won't be so hard, I don't really do anything that's wicked anyway."

And yet we say that from the point of view of people whose minds are not God's mind, and whose ways are far beneath God's ways. As we daily humble ourselves and seek God in prayer with attitudes of humble repentance, he will begin to reveal things in our lives that need to change.

God promised if we do these things, he will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sins, and will heal our land.

Are you tired of seeing people come to church with sickness of the body, mind, or spirit, and leave just the same as they came?

Are you tired of seeing people brought into the Kingdom on rare occasions, while we know the harvest is ripe?

Let's turn for a moment to Acts chapter five, beginning with verse one:

"Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

"Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.'

"When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

"About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, 'Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?'

"'Yes,' she said, 'that is the price.'

"Peter said to her, 'How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.'

"At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."


This says that "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events." I would imagine so! I'm sure there were many who were thinking about their own actions, thoughts, or attitudes that deep down they knew displeased God.

I also believe this fear of God resulted in a lot of people getting things right with God. Let's read a little further, beginning with verse twelve, and see the result of this corporate call to holiness.


"The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.

"Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed."


So as the church took the moving of the Holy Spirit more seriously, and as they began to have a healthy fear of God that recognized God's absolute holiness in the center of his limitless love, people began to receive miraculous healings. Every day more and more were giving their lives to Jesus. Those tormented by evil spirits were set free.

And this passage ends with the words, "...and ALL of them were healed."

Wow! ALL of them were healed!

Can we say the same thing about the Church today?

Are people beating down our doors asking how to receive Salvation?

Are people posessed and tormented by evil spirits coming into our churches, and instead of being kicked out, are set free by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Are sick people coming in lame, blind, deaf, full of cancer, and dying from AIDS, and leaving completely healed?

Our answer to these questions is probably the same as our answer to the question, "Has anyone died while putting money in the offering plate lately?"

Sin cannot stand in God's presence. If we are holding on to sins, if we are holding on to compromise, if we are holding on to the familiarity and comfort of our every day routines, then we are holding God at bay.

God has given us all of him. It is not the Holy Spirit who is lacking. Rather, we have not given God all of us. It is we who are lacking. And as long as we are holding on to things which do not please God and which are not his will for our lives, we will not be able to grab hold of his power and take it to the world around us.

I don't stand up here today as some great holy man who is repremanding everyone else. This message came to me before I delivered it to you, and God is speaking to me as well as to you.

Do we want to see our land healed? Do we want to stop having to argue the truth of God's Word, and still see people turn away in disbelief, for the simple fact no one can see him moving?

Then we need to get serious about God.

Usually we people need to have something hit pretty close to home before we take bold action. We need to have a near-death experience, or have something dear to us taken away, or experience some type of shaking before we fall on our knees and pursue God with our whole beings.

But his Spirit is calling us today to not wait for something to happen. He is calling us today to throw off everything that hinders us and put our everything into the pursuit of God, and the pursuit of his holiness, his presence, and his power.

Let's read our first Scripture again, but let's read it in context, and then we'll close with prayer and go next door for fellowship.

King Solomon had just finished building the temple. After the people gathered together to worship God, and after Solomon prayed a prayer of righteousness, justice, and dedication of the temple to God, the glory of God filled the temple in such power that the priests could not even enter.

In the New Testament we read that "...(our) body is the temple of the Holy Spirit...". Have we sancified our bodies and our minds? Have we prepared ourselves for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our temples? Have we cleared out the idols and the junk, all the stuff we've put there as though our bodies belong to ourselves, and instead furnished and made ready our bodies and minds to be the dwelling place of the God of the universe?

When we do, and we humble ourselves, and we pray and seek God's face, and we turn from our wicked ways, then the presence of the Lord will fill us to overflowing. Just as he filled the temple made with human hands, he will fill the temple of your body, made with heavenly hands, and you will never be the same again.

Let's read what God said to Solomon after his dedication of the temple:

"When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Every time the people of God turned against him and went their own way, God removed his hand of blessing from them. He turned them over to their enemies, who represent our sins which bind us and those things which would destroy us.

And he did this because then and only then would his people return to him. The only salvation for the people of God in their time of complacency has been the removing of God's blessing and protection.

Don't wait until you, not placing yourself fully under God's blessing and protection, suffer a wakeup call.

Do you want to see an end to a powerless life? Do you want to see God stir within you the gifts he has placed inside you? Do you want to see him use all of us in such a way that the sick are healed, the depressed and opressed find freedom and joy, those bound by anxiety find lasting peace, and we cannot contain all those giving their lives to Jesus?

Then let's get serious today. Don't wait for tomorrow. If you're anything like me, tomorrow is when you plan to do all the things you don't want to do today. And you may have discovered as I have that tomorrow never comes, it is always a day away.

Let's humble ourselves.

Let's pray and seek God's face.

Let's turn from our wicked ways.

Then God will hear from heaven, and he will forgive our sins, and then God will heal our land.


The ministry team can come to the front now as we close with prayer.


Lord God, thank you for sending your Word to us today. Thank you for speaking to us. Your Word says that a Father corrects those he loves. The wise hear correction and grow in wisdom. Thank you for giving us your wisdom so we can heed your call today and do today what we've so long been putting off until tomorrow.

This altar is open. Come kneel and pray. Come make a fresh dedication of your life to seeking God's presence, and putting aside everything in pursuit of him.

Come to this altar and get serious with God today. If you need someone to pray with you, instant message one of the ministry team.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Come. And let's see God do amazing things as we give it all to him!