Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church: A Passion for Holiness (Soul On Fire Series #7) To hear this message and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
Which Highway? Isaiah 35:8-10, Matthew 7:13-14
Bon Scott of the iconic heavy metal band, AC/DC, died of alcohol poisoning only seven months after the bands hit album Highway To Hell was released. Some of the lines from the albums theme song (by the same title) said:
No stop signs, speed limit— Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it— Nobody’s gonna mess me around
Hey Satan, paid my dues playing in a rocking band
Hey mama, look at me—I’m on my way to the promised land, whoo! I’m on the highway to hell
Well, Bon Scott was certainly slowed way down and any wise man knows that Hell is not the “promised land”. Despite the artistry of the songs driving rhythm and catchy chorus there is a eerie irony to the song when you know that after a drinking binge Scott tragically suffocated on his own vomit so soon after its release. There is no doubt that he is on that highway now and biblically speaking it is no great party.
There is an alternate highway promised to those who, unlike Scott, desire to be “holy” (that is to live set apart to follow Jesus). The prophet Isaiah wrote about that highway in Isaiah 35:8-10. Jesus also spoke of that same road in the gospel of Matthew and apparently it’s quite narrow and only a few find it. Which highway are you on and are you sure you are traveling down the right road?
Be Holy 1 Peter 1:13-19, Ephesians 1:13-14, Psalm 119:9-16
In our last lesson we talked about how as Christians we are a “chosen people”, “God’s special possession”, sent to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”(1 Peter 2:9). In order to accomplish this special mission we must be “alert and sober”. We must be obedient to God and be set apart for his purposes. We must be holy! Do you have a passion to be holy? Is your soul on fire to be a reflection to this world of who God really is or are you content to simply give him lip service of your appreciation? Remember, God did not purchase us from the Devil’s grasp with mere silver and Gold. He purchased our adoption with his blood. Shouldn’t our blood (our life) be on fire for him?
To be holy means to be set apart or separate from sin and evil. God is holy—completely separate from everything that is evil. In him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). God calls us to be holy, just as He is (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 19:2), but we must understand that apart from God this is impossible. We must have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and filling us with His holiness. We can only live a holy life through the power of the Spirit. The first step to living a holy life is to accept Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 1:13). We are then marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
The second step to living a holy life is knowing and obeying God’s Word (John 17:17). Hiding( cherishing, holding dear) God’s Word in our hearts keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11). As we hear, read and study God’s word, and meditate upon his instruction his Spirit will help us to live it out in our lives. We should delight in living out God’s word as one rejoices in great riches. The Holy Spirit will produce Christ likeness in us as we yield to Him. We can live a holy life (Galatians 5:16) if we keep our minds on him.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
Dead to Sin Alive to God Romans 6:11-14, 17-18
Any time we face temptation, we should say, “I’m dead to that! That was part of my old life! I am a new creation in Christ!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). To live a holy life and separate ourselves from sin we must see ourselves as God does—as born-again children of the Most High, clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10). Sin will no longer be our master unless we surrender ourselves to bondage once again! Why put back on a filthy robe when God has clothed us with a clean and royal one?
As former slaves of the Devil— now set free by Christ, we should “obey from the heart” (Romans 6:17) in allegiance to Christ as willing slaves to righteousness. What else can we possibly give to him in appreciation for our salvation? How else can we thank him for his indescribable gift? (2 Corinthians 9:15) If you have a passion for Jesus then you will have a passion for holiness too, but remember, we are not trying to live a holy life in order to earn salvation. Living a holy life is a natural outgrowth of being saved by God’s grace and filled with His Spirit. It is also important to not give up when we mess up. When we fail, our response should be to confess the sin and keep moving forward in our Christian walk(1 John 1:9). God’s grace doesn’t go away when we make mistakes. (Romans 8:1)
Stir It Up! Hebrews 10:23-25, Matthew 5:13-16
Fellowship with other Christians and making ourselves accountable to them is a great source of strength in living a holy life. As Christians, we are called to spur one another on in this matter. We are instructed to “stir up one another to live in holiness” (Hebrews 10:24–25). We are to influence one another to live our lives in praise to the one who purchased us from the Devil with his own blood. We are to make one another holy. Like salt we are to preserve one another and make one another “taste” better. If we lose our desire to be holy then we ruin one another and are good for nothing, but are trampled underfoot by the world.
We are the light of the world, brothers and sisters in Christ. That light comes only from our deliberate relationship with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is only by our obedience to Christ in being holy that we can shine that light for the world to see.
Pray for a passion for holiness. Live to be a soul on fire for Christ. Let’s join together to make his praises great in our homes, our church, our city, our state, our nation and the world! Be holy, for our God is holy and we are his children.