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Holiness, Intergrity

 

Holiness

        Many trees appear to be healthy when we see them in summer. But, in the winter, after their leaves have all fallen off, we sometimes find that hidden underneath the lush green of the summer foliage was a parasitic plant called mistletoe, which had been slowly sucking away some of the tree’s vitality.

        We as Christians sometimes have hidden sins, which-like the mistletoe-slowly suck away our spiritual vitality. Although not always evident in times of outward spiritual health and fruitfulness, we must always examine ourselves for those small, often unseen, parasites of sinful habits that will sap our vitality. And we must also remember that just because they are not apparent now does not mean that in another season of our life God will not reveal them for all to see.

 

Holiness

        What do we mean when we say a thing is holy? Look at your Bible and it says, “Holy Bible.” What makes it holy? The land of Israel is called “The Holy Land,” and the city of Jerusalem is called “The Holy City.” Why? There is quality about all three that they share in common. They all belong to God. The Bible is God’s book; Israel is God’s land; Jerusalem is God’s city. They are all God’s property! That is why they are holy; they belong to God.

 

Holiness

        The great missionary David Brainerd, who spent his brief life (he died before the age of thirty) ministering to American Indians, wrote in his journal these words: “I never got away from Jesus and him crucified. When my people were gripped by this great evangelical doctrine of Christ and him crucified, I had no need to give them instructions about morality. I found that one followed as the sure and inevitable fruit of the other.”

        He also said this in another place: “I find my Indians begin to put on the garments of holiness and their common life begins to be sanctified even in small matters when they are possessed by the doctrine of Christ and him crucified.”

        What Brainerd was saying was this: when a Christian realizes who Christ is and what Christ has done for him so graciously, as we have been seeing, it tends to have a dramatic effect on this life, not only in salvation but in holiness.

 

Holiness

        ”One day as I was reading the second chapter of I John, I realized that my personal life’s objective regarding holiness was less than that of John’s. He was saying, in effect, ‘Make it your aim not to sin.’ As I thought about this, I realized that deep within my heart my real aim was not to sin ‘very much’-Can you imagine a soldier going into battle with the aim of ‘not getting hit very much?’”—Jerry Bridges

 

Holiness

        Howard Hendricks wisely observed, “It is foolish to build a chicken coop on the foundation of a skyscraper.” The Christian who fails to live a holy life is failing to utilize the foundation for his life that Christ has given him.

 

Holiness

        C. S. Lewis once commented to an American friend, “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing,…it is irresistible. If even 10% of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year’s end?”

 

Holiness

        ”A surgeon who selects a scalpel in the operating room rejects a scalpel with a minute spot of defilement on it as readily as one that was severely defiled, because even the smallest spot means the scalpel is defiled and cannot be used in surgery. The degree of defilement is inconsequential. The fact of defilement is what matters to the surgeon. A thing is sterile or defiled, clean or unclean. A person is holy or unholy. God is not concerned with degrees, only with the absolute.”—J. D. Pentecost

 

Guilt

        ”It seems that I know evil more intimately than I know goodness and that’s not a good thing either. I want to get even, to be made even, whole, my debts paid (Whatever it may take!), to have no blemish, no reason to feel guilt or fear…I’d like to stand in the sight of God. To know that I’m just and right and clean. When you’re this way, you know it. And when you’re not, you know that, too. It’s all inside of us, each of us.” – Gary Gilmore

 

Guilt

        The story is told of a time when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided to play a practical joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each a telegram that read, “Flee at once…all is discovered.” Within twenty-four hours, all twelve had left the country.

 

Guilt

        Bruce Narramore has described the two kinds of remorse:

        “Two people are chatting over coffee. Reaching for the sugar, one of them accidentally knocks his cup in the other’s lap. A typical guilt reaction would be, ‘How stupid of me. I should have known better. Look at the mess I’ve made. I’m sorry.’ The offender continues to berate himself and his misdeed. Constructive sorrow is very different. The offender might say, ‘I’m so sorry. Here are some napkins. I’ll get the table cleaned up.’ And later he might offer to pay the cleaning bill.”

        Godly sorrow is constructive.

 

Universal Guilt

        ”It is indeed amazing that in as fundamentally an irreligious culture as ours, the sense of guilt should be so widespread and deep-rooted as it is.” – Erich Fromm

 

Saints

        A little boy attended a church  that had beautiful stained-glass windows. He was told that the windows contained pictures of Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, Saint John, Saint Paul, and other saints. One day he was asked, “What is a saint?” He replied, “A saint is a person whom the light shines through.”

 

Saints

        The word saint has come far from its original New Testament meaning. When we think of a “saint,” we think of some stylized human figure depicted in stained glass, or of a person long dead who has been officially declared as an ecclesiastical relic. However, one of the clearest definitions is “A saint is a dead sinner, revised and edited.”

 

Integrity

        In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north. So they built the Great Wall of China. It was too high to climb over, to thick to break down, and too long to go around. Security achieved!

        The only problem was that during the first hundred years of the wall’s existence, China was invaded three times. Was the wall a failure? Not really-for not once did the barbaric hordes climb over the wall, break it down, or go around it.

        How then did they get into China? The answer lies in human nature. They simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through a gate. The fatal flaw in the Chinese defense was placing too much reliance on a wall and not putting enough effort into building character into the gatekeeper.

 

Integrity

        A pastor preached a sermon on honesty one Sunday. On Monday morning he took the bus to get to his office. He paid the fare, and the bus driver gave him back too much change. During the rest of the journey, the pastor was rationalizing how God had provided him with some extra money he needed for the week. But he just could not live with himself, and before he got off the bus he said to the driver, “You have made a mistake. You’ve given me too much change.” And he proceeded to give him back the extra money. The driver smiled and said, “There was no mistake. I was at your church yesterday and heard you preach on honesty. So I decided to put you to a test this morning.”

 

Integrity

        ”Sen. Sam Not Convinced” read the headline. Former Senator Sam Ervin, who had presided over the Senate Watergate Committee, took note of H. R. Haldeman’s perjury conviction in commenting on the former White House aide’s book The Ends of Power》: “A man that would commit perjury under oath might possibly be tempted to commit it when he is not under oath…I would say that before I would accept his book as credible, I would want it corroborated by all the apostles, except Judas.”—Dallas Times Herald, February 17, 1978

 

Integrity

        In 1959, 40-year-old Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox was suffering from a pinched nerve in his neck. “It was so bad that I could hardly turn my head to look at the pitcher,” he said. For the first time in his remarkable career, he batted under .300, hitting just .254 and only ten home runs. Williams was the highest salaried player in sports that year, making $125,000. The next year, the Red Sox offered him the same contract. “I told them I wouldn’t sign it until they gave me the full pay cut allowed, 28 percent. My feeling was that I was always treated fairly by the Red Sox. They were offering me a contract I didn’t deserve.” Williams cut his own salary by $35,000!

 

Holiness

Many trees appear to be healthy when we see them in summer. But, in the winter, after their leaves have all fallen off, we sometimes find that hidden underneath the lush green of the summer foliage was a parasitic plant called mistletoe, which had been slowly sucking away some of the tree’s vitality.

We as Christians sometimes have hidden sins, which-like the mistletoe-slowly suck away our spiritual vitality. Although not always evident in times of outward spiritual health and fruitfulness, we must always examine ourselves for those small, often unseen, parasites of sinful habits that will sap our vitality. And we must also remember that just because they are not apparent now does not mean that in another season of our life God will not reveal them for all to see. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Holiness

What do we mean when we say a thing is holy? Look at your Bible and it says, “Holy Bible.” What makes it holy? The land of Israel is called “The Holy Land,” and the city of Jerusalem is called “The Holy City.” Why? There is quality about all three that they share in common. They all belong to God. The Bible is God’s book; Israel is God’s land; Jerusalem is God’s city. They are all God’s property! That is why they are holy; they belong to God. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Holiness

The great missionary David Brainerd, who spent his brief life (he died before the age of thirty) ministering to American Indians, wrote in his journal these words: “I never got away from Jesus and him crucified. When my people were gripped by this great evangelical doctrine of Christ and him crucified, I had no need to give them instructions about morality. I found that one followed as the sure and inevitable fruit of the other.”

He also said this in another place: “I find my Indians begin to put on the garments of holiness and their common life begins to be sanctified even in small matters when they are possessed by the doctrine of Christ and him crucified.”

What Brainerd was saying was this: when a Christian realizes who Christ is and what Christ has done for him so graciously, as we have been seeing, it tends to have a dramatic effect on this life, not only in salvation but in holiness. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Holiness

”One day as I was reading the second chapter of I John, I realized that my personal life’s objective regarding holiness was less than that of John’s. He was saying, in effect, ‘Make it your aim not to sin.’ As I thought about this, I realized that deep within my heart my real aim was not to sin ‘very much’-Can you imagine a soldier going into battle with the aim of ‘not getting hit very much?’”— Jerry Bridges

 

Holiness

Howard Hendricks wisely observed, “It is foolish to build a chicken coop on the foundation of a skyscraper.” The Christian who fails to live a holy life is failing to utilize the foundation for his life that Christ has given him. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Holiness

C. S. Lewis once commented to an American friend, “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing,…it is irresistible. If even 10% of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year’s end?” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Holiness

”A surgeon who selects a scalpel in the operating room rejects a scalpel with a minute spot of defilement on it as readily as one that was severely defiled, because even the smallest spot means the scalpel is defiled and cannot be used in surgery. The degree of defilement is inconsequential. The fact of defilement is what matters to the surgeon. A thing is sterile or defiled, clean or unclean. A person is holy or unholy. God is not concerned with degrees, only with the absolute.”— J. D. Pentecost

 

Guilt

”It seems that I know evil more intimately than I know goodness and that’s not a good thing either. I want to get even, to be made even, whole, my debts paid (Whatever it may take!), to have no blemish, no reason to feel guilt or fear…I’d like to stand in the sight of God. To know that I’m just and right and clean. When you’re this way, you know it. And when you’re not, you know that, too. It’s all inside of us, each of us.” – Gary Gilmore

 

Guilt

The story is told of a time when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided to play a practical joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each a telegram that read, “Flee at once…all is discovered.” Within twenty-four hours, all twelve had left the country. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Guilt

Bruce Narramore has described the two kinds of remorse:

“Two people are chatting over coffee. Reaching for the sugar, one of them accidentally knocks his cup in the other’s lap. A typical guilt reaction would be, ‘How stupid of me. I should have known better. Look at the mess I’ve made. I’m sorry.’ The offender continues to berate himself and his misdeed. Constructive sorrow is very different. The offender might say, ‘I’m so sorry. Here are some napkins. I’ll get the table cleaned up.’ And later he might offer to pay the cleaning bill.”

Godly sorrow is constructive. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Universal Guilt

”It is indeed amazing that in as fundamentally an irreligious culture as ours, the sense of guilt should be so widespread and deep-rooted as it is.” – Erich Fromm

 

Saints

A little boy attended a church  that had beautiful stained-glass windows. He was told that the windows contained pictures of Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, Saint John, Saint Paul, and other saints. One day he was asked, “What is a saint?” He replied, “A saint is a person whom the light shines through.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Saints

The word saint has come far from its original New Testament meaning. When we think of a “saint,” we think of some stylized human figure depicted in stained glass, or of a person long dead who has been officially declared as an ecclesiastical relic. However, one of the clearest definitions is “A saint is a dead sinner, revised and edited.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

PURITY

We can supplement our accountability to others by reading slowly through literature designed to challenge our Christian maturity. Consider, as an example, these questions related to sexual purity that I had to read carefully as I read Kent Hughes' Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome:

1. Are we being desensitized by the present evil world? Do things that once shocked us now pass us by with little notice? Have our sexual ethics slackened?

2. Where do our minds wander when we have no duties to perform?

3. What are we reading? Are there books or magazines or files in our libraries that we want no one else to see?

4. What are we renting at the local video stores? How many hours do we spend watching TV? How many adulteries did we watch last week? How many murders? How many did we watch with our children?

5. How many chapters of the Bible did we read last week?

Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, pp. 120-121.


Robert Murray McCheyne wrote to Dan Edwards after the latter's ordination as a missionary, "In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God".

Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, pp. 65.


Two theological students were walking along a street in the Whitechapel district of London, a section where old and used clothing is sold. "What a fitting illustration all this makes!" said one of the students as he pointed to a suit of clothes hanging on a rack by a window. A sign on it read: SLIGHTLY SOILED -- GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE. 

"That's it exactly," he continued. "We get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a course book, or allowing ourselves a little indulgence in dishonest or lustful thoughts; and so when the time comes for our character to be appraised, we are greatly reduced in value. Our purity, our strength is gone. We are just part and parcel of the general, shopworn stock of the world." Yes, continual slight deviations from the path of right may greatly reduce our usefulness to God and to our fellowman. In fact, these little secret sins can weaken our character so that when we face a moral crisis, we cannot stand the test. As a result, we go down in spiritual defeat because we have been careless about little sins.

Source Unknown.


After a violent storm one night, a large tree, which over the years had become a stately giant, was found lying across the pathway in a park. Nothing but a splintered stump was left. Closer examination showed that is was rotten at the core because thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at its heart. The weakness of that tree was not brought on by the sudden storm; it began the very moment the first insect nested within its bark. With the Holy Spirit's help, let's be very careful to guard our purity. 

Our Daily Bread.


A farmer went each week to the Farmers' Market to sell, among other things, the cottage cheese and apple butter made on his farm. He carried these in two large tubs, from which he ladled the cottage cheese or apple butter into smaller containers the customer brought.

One day he got to market and discovered he's forgotten one ladle. He felt he had no choice but to use the one he had for both products.

Before long he couldn't tell which was which.

That's the way it is when we try to dispense the good news of Christ using hearts, minds, and tongues too recently immersed in the coarseness and one-up-manship of the world. Nobody gets any nourishment.

 

Beth Landers.