Holiness

Posted on 06/10/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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KING OF KINGS

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory, Hallelujah!
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory, Hallelujah!

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory, Hallelujah!
Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory, Hallelujah!


I SURRENDER ALL

All to Jesus I surrender
All to him I freely give
I will ever love and trust him
In his presence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at his feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me, Jesus, take me now

All to Jesus I surrender
Lord, I give my self to thee
Fill me with thy love and power
Let thy blessing fall on me

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender all


HE IS LORD

For he is Lord, he is Lord
He has risen from the dead
and he is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord

For you're my Lord, you're my Lord
You have risen from the dead
and you're my Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord


*** listen to the audio for the introduction ***


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

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

"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."

What do you think: Does our land need to be healed? I think we'd all agree it most certainly does.

Just take a look at the world around you today. Don't we seem to have lost our way? The number of fatherless homes continues to grow. Depression, opression, and anxiety are at an all-time high. Biblical morality is 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 it's going to be nearly impossible for you to help make things better.

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 are obviously not going to bother.

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.

"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."

Are you called by God's name? Do you claim to be a follower of Jesus? If so, 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 through many different examples and in many different ways 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 themselves that they make everyone around them sick? It is because pride stinks, and pride keeps 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.

Humility is one of the three basic requirements of a Child of God, as found in Micah 6:8; "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8 KMV)

Perhaps that's why Jesus said that the greatest in God's kingdom are those who humbly serve, expecting nothing in return. A life of selfless service flows out of and creates humility. It's much more difficult to think about how superior we are to others when we are washing their feet, so to speak. It's much harder to feel superior to the one you are serving than it is to imagine yourself greater than the one who is serving you.

The problem is that when we think about being humble, we think about how WE should be. Our focus is still on ourselves. But someone once said, "Greatness comes not in lifting yourself higher than others, but in lifting up others instead." Humility doesn't come in acting a certain way; instead, humility comes in taking your eyes completely off of yourself, and putting them on someone else instead.

Our eyes should be fixed upon Jesus, and we serve Him by serving others. This is one of the secrets to humility.

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

"...Pray and seek God's face..."

Do you pray enough? Do I pray enough? I know I don't, and I'll let you answer the first question for yourself.

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?

"...Turn from your wicked ways..."

If you're like a lot of us, you probably are thinking, "Well that won't be so hard, I don't do anything that's really 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's going to start revealing things to us that need to change in our lives.

God promised that 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 sick bodies, minds, or spirits, and leave the same way 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, a fear that recognized God's absolute holiness in the center of his limitless love, people began to receive miraculous healings. Every day more and more people were giving their lives to Jesus. Those who were tormented by evil spirits were set free.

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

Did you catch that? 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 who are posessed and tormented by evil spirits coming into our churches, and instead of being kicked out, are being 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 THIS question: "Has anyone died while putting money into the offering plate lately?"

Sin cannot stand in God's presence. If we are holding on to sin, 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 Himself. 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.

Not too long ago, someone started a forum thread on TalkJesus.com titled, "Is it ok to french kiss someone's spouse." Now, it looks as though the person who posted it was trying to make the point that we shouldn't kiss anyone intimately at all unless we're married to them, because we will probably marry SOMEONE some day, and the person we're kissing will probably marry someone ELSE some day, so we're really kissing someone else's future spouse.

But the responses to the poll attached to that thread are really disturbing.

89% of the people said that french-kissing someone else's spouse is wrong. But...

11% of the people in this Christian forum said that french-kissing someone else's spouse is OKAY! And 1% said that purity is "old school."

These are people who at least claim to be Christians. In a church of only only 300 people, more than 30 of them would think it's perfectly okay to french kiss someone else's husband or wife. Does that seem frightening to you? Well, it sure does frighten me.

Where is the fear of God in the Church today? I'll tell you where it is: the fear of God is in the same place the power of the Holy Spirit is to heal, deliver, and save: They are evicted. Silenced. Rejected. And even blasphemed.

But I think the Church would do well to ask ourselves these questions:

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?

If so, 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 everything we have.

But His Spirit is calling us today; He is calling us to not wait for something to happen. He is calling us to throw off everything today 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 a time of prayer and ministry.

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, those enemies who, today, 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.

Let's not wait until we, because we have not placed ourselves 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 don't have room for all those who are 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 just might 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.


Let's 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, and 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, and you're all invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front. Come make a fresh dedication of your life to seeking God's presence, and to putting aside everything in pursuit of Him.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message Mariposa or me, and if you're listening in Second Life or someone else, you can go to almcyberchurch.org and click the Pastors' Offices and contact us there.

"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.