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Faith and Holiness
11/24/2013
Scripture: Hebrews 11:8; Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:7...
Track 9 of in the series
Faith many times is a concept that gets lost when studying holiness or righteousness. When faith is mentioned, our minds many times will go into a preset mode and we begin to think about salvation and believing in God. We learned very early in our Christian life what faith means and how it plays a huge part in our life with God. With out faith we cant please God. And without faith, we cant be successful in our pursuit of holiness. I think the main reason people fail in their pursuit of holiness is because of faith. Do Christians believe they can live a life of holiness and will they claim the promise of it in their lives



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Holiness and Faith

Faith many times is a concept that gets lost when studying holiness or righteousness. When faith is mentioned, our minds many times will go into a preset mode and we begin to think about salvation and believing in God. We learned very early in our Christian life what faith means and how it plays a huge part in our life with God. With out faith we canít please God. And without faith, we canít be successful in our pursuit of holiness. I think the main reason people fail in their pursuit of holiness is because of faith. Do Christians believe they can live a life of holiness and will they claim the promise of it in their lives?

In the pursuit of holiness Christians are called on to perform duties that appear unreasonable and even absurd to an unbelieving world. The world will see these tasks and duties as burdensome and sometimes unreasonable and unnecessary. But to the Christian, holiness brings a whole new understanding and perception on life. Our thinking is changed and our motives move in a new direction. We begin to understand how God thinks and what He expects from us and our motivation is to make Him pleased with our actions because of what He has done for us.

What are some of the things you do today for God that your unbelieving friends donít understand? Why do they struggle trying to understand your actions? How do you explain your actions to them? Do you get pressure from them to give up your faith? Do they look down on you for your beliefs or do they respect you for your convictions?

In this class, I have been teaching the concept of holiness in a rather narrow sense. I have been teaching it as a separation from impurity and moral evil. However today, I want us to look at it from a more broad sense. Holiness is obedience to the will of God in whatever God directs.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Faith with holiness is basically saying what Jesus said in Hebrews 10:7 and Psalm 40:6-8

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ďHere I am, I have comeóit is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.Ē

No one can pursue holiness who is not prepared to obey God in every area of his life. The holiness described in the Bible calls us to do more than separate ourselves from the moral pollution of the world around us. It calls us to obey God even when obedience is costly, when it requires deliberate sacrifice and even exposure to danger. Christians do not have that concept in mind. Most do not believe that holiness can be dangerous to your personal life.

Think about it a minute, how could holiness be costly to us or expose us to danger?

We have studied over the past several weeks the importance Godís Word plays in our success in our pursuit in holiness. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to expose the deep sins we have so we can get rid of them. He also uses the Word to convince our hearts to change and stay changed. But obedience to the Word is also important. Faith and obedience can be interchanged and can mean the same thing. A person cannot have one without the other.

Hebrews 3:16-19 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

As you can see from these verses, unbelief and disobedience are tightly woven together. Both work together. The same is true with obedience and belief (faith).

If we go back and look at the heroes in Hebrews 11, Scripture indicates they were still living by faith when they died. But in Hebrews 3, we see the response to the will of God as being just as important as claiming the promises of God. The important point I am trying to make is that they obeyed by faith. And since obedience is the pathway to holiness, no one can become holy apart from a life of faith.

How many things of God do you accept and believe with all your heart but in reality, deep down inside, do not understand with your reason?

We are surrounded by the worldís values. It is all around us and they press upon us to do things that lift up the self and serve our own desires. Fame, fortune and present happiness are held as the most desirable goals in life, But the Bible flatly contradicts the value of these goals. God wants us to be faithful in a completely different set of goals and values.

Matthew 20:26-27 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave

Timothy 6:17-18 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

How do the values and goals found in these verses contradict the values and goals for life that the world seeks? Why does it take faith to follow Godís plan?

Noah is a great example of a man who listened to God and did what he was told in the face of losing fame, friends and riches. For over 120 years, he was laughed at, ridiculed and not taken seriously because God gave him a warning: a warning Noah knew was real even though there was no evidence of any danger. What Noah was warned about had never happened before. What Noah built seemed useless and a waste of time.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

In Hebrews 11:7, the writer uses a phrase ďin holy fearĒ. What does he mean by this? How did his faith condemn the world? Noah believed the warning even though what God was warning of had never been seen before. In obedience produced by faith in God, he built the ark. Noah also had confidence that the way of salvation from the impending judgment was through Godís appointed means, the ark. He responded to that promise, and so saved both himself and his family.

The ark did not make sense at all. Common sense told the world that Noah was doing something stupid. Because the action was weird, it was not to be believed. God established an appointed means to save Noah and his family. God would save them by an ark. It took 120 years to build and for that period of time, Noah remained faithful even though his work was seen as stupid.

Today, salvation comes from God through an appointed means. To many, this also seems very weird and unbelievable. Many donít see a need at all. What is the means appointed by God for our salvation today?

The point to all of this is this; the path to obedience in the pursuit of holiness is often contrary to human reason. Todayís Christians have a problem dealing with the world especially when they think the world doesnít accept them. If we do not have conviction in the necessity of obeying the revealed will of God as well as the confidence in the promises of God, we will never persevere in this difficult pursuit. We must have faith that Godís provisions are enough to help us move toward holiness. We also have to expect change to take place. But we also have to do our part to make sure the change does take place.

A great example of this is in the law of the sabbatical year. God commanded that Israel, on every seventh year, give the land they possessed a rest to the Lord. The sabbatical year was when Israel did not sow or prune their crops. Along with this, God promised that he would bless their crops in the sixth year so that they would have enough crops to eat till the crops in the eighth year were harvested. This required two things from the Israelites, they had to obey Godís command and they had to believe his promise. And when they practiced the sabbatical year, God kept his promise. The New Testament application of this can be found in Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The command here is to seek Godís Kingdom first. The promise is that as we do, God will provide for our temporal needs. Unfortunately, since many Christians are unfaithful with the promise of God, we find is difficult to obey the command of God. Most Christians give the affairs of the world top priority trying to provide for our own needs. All this flies in the face of what God wants us to do and these things also hinder our pursuit of holiness.

Faith and holiness are interlinked. They cannot be pulled apart and have both survive. One depends upon the other. The same is with obeying Godís commands and believing in the promises of God. If we would pursue holiness we must have faith to obey the will of God revealed in the Scriptures and faith to believe that the promises of holiness will then be ours.