Preparing to Receive Power

In the last two posts we have looked at the beginning of Pentecost and receiving and walking in new revelation from the Word. Today we will look at preparing and receiving the power of Pentecost, the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  

Acts 1:4-8 KJV “ And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The disciples were told to wait until they receive power, the old-timers of Pentecost called this tarrying or praying through, we have lost that in today’s church. I’ve grown up Pentecostal/charismatic and I’ve heard stories about this but I don’t think I have actually ever seen it in a service. I have heard stories of great prayer meetings where people were overcome by travail (a deep prayer) and prayer meetings lasted for hours. I have heard and read many stories but I am not seeing this in our Pentecostal churches (and by the way, no, I don’t handle snakes).

The General Overseer of the Church of God, Dr. Tim Hill at the Ministerial Intern Commissioning Service last weekend said, “Pentecost – put up or shut up”. This may sound in your face but his point was right on. If we claim to have power, this deeper experience with Holy Spirit, we should have something to show for it.

I believe we have lost our passion and our patience.   

Our passion has been replaced with routine and rutted services. Our patience has been reduced to we want to be out by 1:00pm and wanting to see people hurry out of the altars and moving to the closing prayer. I’m not saying every service needs to be wild and crazy, there are times when God wants to come down in his peace and dwell with us as we sit quietly (with no tongues to try and break the uncomfortable silence). True Pentecost is both still and moving; loud and quiet, concert prayer and personal prayer.

When I look back at my Pentecostal heritage I see founders who loved and taught the Word of God, I see people passionate and long in prayer time, I see people who had a heart for worship and lived empowered by the Spirit. True Pentecost is all these things. When  we look at the Scriptures and our heritage we see both instantaneous receiving of power and those who had to seek for it more than one time. I don’t believe this is because God was holding back or because the persons didn’t have the faith. If we are truly hungry for the infilling of the Spirit, as the old-timers we will tarry, we will pray through.

Like the disciples who were filled in Acts chapter two, they were refilled two chapters later. Some of us who were filled ten or forty years ago need to receive a fresh baptism. Ask Holy Spirit to give you the hunger, the desire, the passion you once had. Let us not look to our heritage as the good ole days but let us see it as an example and say their ceiling is our floor, we will see more salvations, more baptisms, more infillings, more churches built, more missionaries sent. Pentecost is not a onetime historical event, it started with Moses, it culminated in the giving of the Spirit and now we have the privilege of celebrating both the Word and power of God.

This Pentecost, let each of us read and receive new revelation in the Word, receive the baptism or a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is given freely to those who ask. Ask to be given the power to witness ask for your personal prayer language that builds your faith according to Jude twenty.

We are under the open window of heaven right now, today can be your receiving day, all you have to do is believe and take it – open your mouth and let a new language come out. Take the step and witness to someone, you have received boldness to witness! The Bible says we receive when we pray, now it is up to us to act on what we believe.

Resources on the baptism and ministry of the Holy Spirit can be found on the bookshelf.

Quick thought on modern day Pentecostalism

blModern day Pentecostalism, known as charismatic is seen in the eyes of the charismatic renewal and third wave movement and has been largely removed from classical Pentecostalism.

 
The problem with understanding the movement apart from its origins is that we lose the holiness roots of our founding.

 
I would encourage every charismatic individual, everyone who sees themselves as part of the Word-of-Faith movement and every other modern charismatic movement to take the time and revisit the roots of the movement.

 
Pentecostalism sprang from the holiness movement of John Wesley and without a holiness foundation Pentecostals and charismatic’s put themselves in a dangerous place spiritually.

 
I believe the reason we so much sin among the movement is because we have largely abandoned our holiness roots.
I would encourage all of us to revisit Wesley and our holiness roots.

 
a good place to start is Dayton’s Theological Roots of Pentecostalism.

 
If we want to see the supernatural we have to be living right. When we get back to holiness we will see a move of God.

The Key to Revival’s Door

door keyThis Father’s Day will be the 20th anniversary of the Brownsville revival.

 

Myself and maybe more importantly, well known leaders in the Church have been talking about the need for another great move of God, a third great awakening, a revival.

 
As much as I believe we need a revival, I think we need God more. Let me explain, revival can be trumped up through happy music, shouting, screaming preachers, and let’s be honest, spiritual excess. All this can and many times is called revival, when in reality it’s not.

 
If we truly want to see a revival we must first look to God and obey His word.

 
We are all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14, but the reasons that verse has not worked for us is two-fold. One, we’ve never truly repented, and two, we’ve never taken it in context.

 
2 Chronicles 7:12-22 NKJV ” 12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’”

 
When we read this portion of Scripture with context it has somewhat of a different feel to it.

 
The place was sanctified and there was sacrifice. We need to be sanctified and we need to be the sacrifice.

 
To be sanctified means to be set apart. We are sanctified when Jesus is made LORD of our life. At salvation He is savior but at sanctification He is made LORD.

 
Psalm 51:7-10 NKJV ” 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

 
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 5:23 NKJV “3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 
Many Christians have made Jesus savior, but not all have made Him LORD. Salvation and sanctification are clearly two different and separate works of Holy Spirit and until we are sanctified, until our temples are sanctified, until our churches are sanctified we will not see God, nor a move of God.

 
Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no man shall see God. It is not enough to be saved. Matthew three says we must produce fruit in keeping with repentance. We must be sanctified.
In our sanctification we must present ourselves holy and acceptable which is our reasonable worshipful service.

 
In revival we want the glory of God to come down. The glory of God is the holiness of God. Exodus 15:11 NIV “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory”.

 
There are two Hebrew words here, Kabod: holiness as brilliance, and Kodesh: holiness as glory.

 
The eleventh verse ends, working wonders.

 
Before we ever see supernatural manifestations of glory, we must see and be a part of the holiness of the glory of God.

 
We must walk according to the Word of God, 2 Chronicles 7:17. If we do not take the holiness of God seriously and the command of all of Scripture to live and walk holy, we will never see the glory, we won’t see revival.

 
Second Chronicles seven was written to the Church, not the world. This is for us. The call to repentance is for us, the call to sanctification and sacrifice is to us. The call to walk according to the Word is for us.

 
I am thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate a revival anniversary, but this needs to serve as a wake-up call. Steve Hill preached repentance and holiness, the healings and other things happened because of the repentance and holiness lifestyle.

 
If we truly want to see a move of God we must do the following:

 

Repent of our wicked ways.

 
Invite Holy Spirit to sanctify us and we continually sanctify ourselves through the Word.

 
We must put ourselves on the altar of sacrifice.

 
All this must be done individually before we can ever do it corporately.

 
Holiness is a positive message, it is a victory message. If we want to see the promises of God fulfilled, and I know each one of us does, we must hold up our end, which is to walk on the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8).

 
Take some time and ask Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, ask to be sanctified, pray the prayer of Psalm 51. Begin walking in victory today, walk in purity and demonstrate power.

A Message for Today From the Bygone Era

americanchurchMatthew 4:17 KJV “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

 
The word repent means to think differently. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.

 
With all that’s going on in our world today, with a Supreme Court ruling on marriage being expected next month, with Christians being beheaded all around the world, with Christian businesses already being fined in the U.S. it’s time for Second Chronicles 7:14 to quit being the cute verse on the national day of prayer it must become our verse in action.

 
2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV “IF my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land”.

 
This is a IF – THEN verse, not a guaranteed verse.

 
Humble themselves: The word humble only has this meaning twice in Scripture; here and chapter thirty-four. To humble ourselves means to bend the knee, to humiliate, to bring down (low) into subjection, to be under, to humble [your] (self).

 
Notice that God is not humbling us, but we are humbling ourselves. In other words we are fully submitting ourselves to God. This is the first step to change in our nation. This is even the first step to a move of God within the Church.

 
After we have fully submitted to God we can then pray and seek Him and turn from our wicked ways.

 
This is another key for the Church, turning from our wicked ways. This whole verse is about Gods people changing. We must get rid of our wicked ways.

 
It’s time for the “old” message of repentance and holiness to once again be proclaimed in the churches.

 
The words of Zechariah 14:20-21 KJV are a call for the Church today. “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. (21) Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come in and take of them, and seethe theirin: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts”.

 
We are in an hour where holiness must be restored to the Church. We can no longer tolerate a preaching of grace that allows for loose living and sinful living. It’s time to restore standards once again.

 
It’s time we quit laughing at the past saying they didn’t drink and wear jewelry. Because they didn’t drink they never had to keep watch on themselves as not to have too many.

 

Ladies making fun of women for not piercing their ears and always wearing long skirts. It could be that you are getting attention you don’t want because of what else you have pierced and how tight your clothes are.

 
And don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m being “religious” or “legalistic”. The Word of God still has standards, the text does say let not your adornment be outward but inward. If your clothes or jewelry is causing men to say and be a way you don’t like rethink how you look. And guys take a look at Job 31:1 and get your eyes in the right place.

 
Well, now, Casey, that verse is Old Testament and were under grace not law. Well, Romans six says, shall we sin that grace may abound? No. Some of the modern grace message has gotten too permissive in behavior.

 
And lest we mistake holiness as Old Testament or legalism:

 
1 peter 1:15-16 KJV “But as he which hath called you is holy, so ye be holy in all manner of conversation; (16) because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”.

 
Hebrews 12:14 KJV “Follow peace with all, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

 
Holiness is commanded and holiness is possible. The only sermon Jesus ever gave reiterated the Ten Commandments and was a sermon on holiness (Matthew five through seven).

 
It may seem “old fashioned” to many but the Church today must return to the message of Jesus, a Kingdom message, repentance and holiness.

 
The only way we will see the supernatural is to preach the same message and live the same way Jesus did.

 
Instead of making fun of our forefathers, instead of replacing their books and messages with all new books with modern antidotes and motivational messages, let us preach the same word, the Gospel, the message of Jesus.

 
If we do these things and are not afraid to address what is Going on in our world we will see a third great awakening.

 
But we must be willing to preach repentance and holiness and we must not cower in fear and shy away from the issues of the day. King didn’t, Bonheoffer didn’t and we can’t afford to ignore the issues of our day, if we do, we can say goodbye to the America we once knew.

 

Part 12: Practical Holiness

imageWe have twenty-four verses to cover today so I am going to give some introductory statements and we are going to jump right into the Scripture.

The section of Scripture we are dealing with today talks about holiness. When most believers talk about holiness they think of God as holy which is true. Not only is God holy we also see in various scriptures that we are to be holy. I believe God would never tell us to do something that the Holy Spirit would not empower us to do.

The issue of holiness, however, down through the years has become a list of a whole lot of stuff we don’t do and a list of things we do (and the don’t list is always longer than the do).

Do’s and Don’ts are not holiness, they never have been and they never will be, do’s and don’ts are legalism, that’s what the Pharisees were wrapped up in.

Now are there things we should and should not do? Of course, but we can’t base holiness on that. There are many non believers who could adhere to a list it does not make them holy because they don’t know the Holy One.

The truth is, as hard as we think keeping rules is a “holiness” based on rules is much easier to do than a holiness based on relationship.

As an example if the rule says don’t drink, it’s easy, You’re sold out to the rules and you don’t drink. However, since the Bible says nothing about not drinking (just getting drunk), you can drink, however, it’s possible that in relationship the Holy Spirit could ask you to abstain and at that point you have a choice to give up something you can do for a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Here is the difference, if you give it up in relationship that does not make you better than anybody else because others are following in other areas and we realize we are all at different places, on different levels, with different relation requests. There is nothing condemning (or shouldn’t be anyway between the one who drinks and the one who doesn’t).

If you give it up because of the rule anyone who does drink is automatically condemned and that is not the heart of Jesus. In this rule and relationship scenario we are not talking about sin issues but choice issues on things Scripture doesn’t give us “command”. For those who wan’t to talk about Elders and drinking, we are not talking about that, just everyday believers.

We must understand and live out a relationship based holiness and not a rules based holiness. We need to become known for what we are for instead of what we are against.

Let’s look at our next section of Ephesians to see what Paul said about holiness.
Ephesians 4:25-28 NIV “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (26) “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold. (28) Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

The Amplified Bible says give no opportunity to him (the devil).

True holiness is loving others, that is the plain and simple truth – that’s what Paul is saying when he says don’t let day end with you being angry, don’t lie to your neighbor, work and help those in need. It’s not about a list its about loving others.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. (5) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. (7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

The Amplified Bible of verse twenty-nine says “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”

There is so much I could say here but all I will say is this, we know that life in death is in the tongue, Proverbs four tells us words bring healing to the body. We need to have right words for Scripture says how forceful are right words.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, how do we do that? By being bitter, angry, fighting, slandering, and all forms of malice. Conversely, how do we please the Spirit? Being kind and compassionate and forgiving.

Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP “THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. (2) And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

Holiness is imitating God, following His example and walking in love. To imitate God is obviously to be like Him. Some are bothered when people say we can be like God because they see God so far above us, He is not far above us. Now, I am not saying we are God, but Jesus did say we are seated with Him and Jesus is next to the Father, we are not God but we are like Him (Genesis 1:26-27).

The Holy Spirit was given so that we could be like God (Father, Son, and Spirit).

Again, we see not a list of rules but a relationship. The Holy Spirit is interested in our relationship with Him not a list of rules we have out of a legalistic spirit which is Opposite of the Holy Spirit.

This next part of Scripture does list some things we should not be a part of, but even here we can’t see rules we must view all of Scripture through a relational lens and not rules.

Ephesians 5:3-7 NIV “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (4) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (5) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (7) Therefore do not be partners with them.”

Because we love Jesus we should want to keep commandments (John 14:21) we get out of love when we demand people to behave a certain way and have no love in us when we talk to others. Should we encourage our brother to not engage in these things, absolutely, but we must do it from a place of love and not condemnation.

In saying that I am not saying we don’t hold believers accountable, we must hold people accountable but the only people anyone of us can legally hold accountable are those we are in relationship with and those who have given us permission to speak into their lives.

I just see so many times and have been guilty myself of beating with the Scriptures instead of loving with them, this does not mean we excuse sin, it means we love and help our brother sister out of it in a way that is loving and up building to their growth in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8-14 NIV “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) (10) and find out what pleases the Lord. (11) Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (12) It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. (13) But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (14) This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

When we were saved we were translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. We don’t have light we ARE light. The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.

Galatians 5:22-25 AMP “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, (23) Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. (24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. (25) If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]”

Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, (19) speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, (20) always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Many believe they can’t know the will of God, but here it says understand the will of God. The will of God is that we be holy and that His Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

When talking about how to live holy it really is simple, holiness is to walk in love and imitate God as little children imitate their fathers following them and doing what they do. That is holiness. Following the example given and the ministry of Jesus is the example given for how we live spiritually, how we relate to others and how we give the world what we have.

Holiness is simply RE-PRESENTING Jesus to our world by living, talking, walking, loving, and doing what Jesus did. As Bill Johnson says, If Jesus did everything as God, I’m impressed but I’m not compelled to follow, but Jesus laid down His Godhood and came as fully man and worked through the Spirit so that we would do what He did. That is holiness, being Jesus in our world.

Part 7: Heart Holiness

imageToday we will be discussing heart holiness, but before we get into the Word I want to make some statements.

Rules are good for guidelines but rules don’t produce relationship. Many times we can look at holiness as a list of rules, that is religion, obedience without relationship is Phariseeism.

Jesus looked at the Pharisees and said you are white washed tombs, meaning, they had rules without relationship, He said, you have a form of godliness but deny its power.

The truth is for many people it would be easier to keep a list of rules than to have relationship because the truth is the relationship is more involved. The rules say, known as the law, sacrifice a spotless lamb, but Jesus said be perfect as your Father is perfect. The problem with that is this, the rule leaves you feeling guilty and brings more work, whereas the relationship leaves you feeling grace and at rest.

The command of Jesus is actually easier to fulfill because when we are yielded to Him the command has within itself the ability to be fulfilled. Jesus said He would write his law on our hearts, Psalm 119:11 says with the Word in us we won’t commit sin. Philippians 2:5 says we have the mind of Christ, the reason the majority of us don’t walk in that truth is two fold, we don’t believe it and even if we do say we believe it we don’t apply it.

Let’s go to the Word,

Ephesians 2:11-17 NIV “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— (12) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (14) For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (15) by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, (16) and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (17) He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”

As we look quickly at the text we see that Christ has put together both Jew and Gentile by the Spirit. We are now one, which is why 1 Corinthians 10:32 says, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” We are now the Church, one body.

The Pharisees wanted to hold on to the law (not only the law of moses) but all the laws they made up.

Jesus didn’t have a problem with the law of Moses, in fact he expounded it and made it about the heart and not the duty. We will remember though a discussion about hand washing, that was man made it didn’t matter.

We remember the Pharisees always took issue with Jesus healing on the Sabbath, why? Because they were more worried about the rule instead of relationship, at one point Jesus actually turned to them and said the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath. In other words Jesus is basically saying, quit being stupid and rejoice that the day of rest has brought true rest to these peoples lives.

Hebrews 4 tells us that there is a rest that remains for the children of God, we have to choose to enter into that rest though.

Holiness is about relationship not rules, that’s why Jesus healed people out of love and relationship.

Ephesians 4:18-22 NIV “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (19) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (21) In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.(22) And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

WE HAVE ACCESS! We don’t have to go through a priest, we have access. We can come boldly into the throne room! We are citizens of the Kingdom!

Let’s talk about the Kingdom for a minute. Jesus said that the will of God is that the Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven. Part of the Kingdom is holiness.

Let’s look at some phraseology in John seventeen from The Message.

“And my life is on display in them” and “Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life”

What life is He speaking of? Kingdom LIFE!

The Kingdom is HIS LIFE ON DISPLAY!

His life on display is love, holiness, healing, and abundance.

We see in Ephesians, verse twenty-two that we are a holy temple.

John 13:10 in The Message says, my concern you understand is holiness. Jesus goes on to say, (15) “I’ve laid down a pattern for you, What I’ve done you do.”

The pattern Jesus laid was a holiness pattern and the outflow of the holiness in our lives is the help of Jesus manifested through us to others.

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying; The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

The outflow of a holiness lifestyle is the miraculous, that is not just physical healing, but spiritual, emotional, and relational as well.

In wrapping this up, Ephesians 4:22 NIV “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling place in which God lives by his spirit.”

The dwelling place of God is a holy place, Psalm 15, and the outflow of that living river is healing and wholeness for the believer.

Believer, holiness is not keeping the rules, holiness is relationship.

John 15:7-8 MSG “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is – when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

We need to be at home in Jesus and THE WORD needs to be at home in us, putting the WORD in us and having the WORD flow out of us. When we ask, the Greek word here is demand, when we demand according to the WORD it will be done! There is no if or buts, no if it be thy will, no but what if God in His wisdom… none of that doubt and unbelief junk only faith and faith only.

Grapes is a representation of the new wine of the Spirit, when we produce the Spirit we mature and become disciples.

(11) “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.” Hebrews 1:9 says Jesus had more joy that his companions, we should have joy that is full of glory and full of grace.

The Kingdom life is a holy life and a holiness based from relationship not rules.

Today I invite you to embrace a holiness that comes in relationship and discard any holiness that is based in rule keeping.

Jesus longs for relationship, he wants to know us and wants us to know Him. If we have relationship we will walk in holiness without having to think about it.

Jesus said come away with me and rest awhile, true holiness is rest, not working to keep rules.

Today an invitation is extended to leave the work of rules and enter into the rest of relationship which is true holiness.

Thoughts on Holiness from Exodus 19-20

dtI am currently reading through the Old Testament and today I read up to Exodus 21. Most of us would be familiar with Exodus 20 because that is the first place the 10 Commandments are recorded.

I am not going to draw our attention to the commandments but the preparation to receive the commandments.

Exodus 19: 5-6, 10 NIV “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, (6) you will be for me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (10) “And the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them was their clothes”.

Does that portion of scripture remind us of anything in the New Testament? 1 Peter 2:9 NIV “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light”.

Before the commandments were given the call to holiness was given and after the commandments were given the call to holiness was affirmed, Exodus 20:20 NIV “God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning”.

For some reason in the Christian community “law” and “rules are seen as wrong and sometimes even sinful, but the fact of the BIBLE is we are called to holiness and the commandments help us to walk holy. Now that is not to say we are saved by keeping commandments, we are saved by grace, but the fruit of keeping with repentance, Matthew 3:8, is holiness.

the easy grace mentality is not a biblical mentality, Paul said in Romans, shall we sin that grace may abound? The answer is no, God has called us and through the Holy Spirit, empowered us to be holy and Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Scripture tells us many times over, that drunks, adulterers, liars, and the like will have no part of heaven.

Jesus told us that the way of heaven is narrow, Isaiah 35:8 says it is a way of holiness.

As believers let us remember the Words of Jesus, that He did not come to destroy but fulfill the law and until all is fulfilled none is done away with. As believers we need to receive passages like the 10 Commandments as an encouragement in our walk.

People often point to scripture that says without the law we wouldn’t know sin, that may be true, however we must remember without sin we would have known holiness without the law but now that there is sin we need the law so we know holiness.

Jesus didn’t do away with law, on the contrary, He said He would write it on our hearts.

As we live our daily lives we must remember grace is for a holiness enabled life, not a sin allowing life. The grace of salvation covers sin and the grace of Sanctification destroys sin and fills us with love.

Holy Spirit enabled holiness comes through knowing and living the Word and part of the Word is commandments, after all, Jesus gave an additional command.