ML-12 - The Battle for Holiness
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The Scripture says, “As He who called you is holy you also be holy in all
your conduct,” 1 Peter 1:14-15.
Did you know that there is something you cannot live without?
In Hebrews 12:14 the Bible says, “Without holiness no one can see
God.” Holiness is that key attribute that if it doesn't exist in my life and
yours, I'll never be able to be in the presence of Almighty God. And friend,
holiness is such an important idea especially in the day and age in which
we live. You realize that we live in a time of impurity, immorality,
ungodliness, and unholiness. Sin is as commonplace as breathing is to so
many people today. This fact alone makes it especially difficult for
Christians to win the battle for holiness. It is a battle; it is a fight every day
for the child of God to really be holy as God who called us is holy. Today,
we want to offer some help from Scripture to help us overcome the battle
and win the battle for holiness.
Let's think about today: What is it that will help me to really win the
battle for holiness? Let's first realize that we are in a battle for holiness. I'm
in a battle right now, and you're in a battle right now. I want you to listen to
the words of 2 Corinthians 10 as we think about being in a battle. Paul so
beautifully pictures this battle that we're in in the words of 2 Corinthians
10:3-5. The Scripture says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but
mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, and
every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing
every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and being ready to
punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Here we clearly learn, yes, I'm living a fleshly life, but I'm not fighting
a fleshly battle. Our battle is against the spiritual host of wickedness,
Ephesians 6:10-18. I've got to be ready to fight the good fight of faith, 1
Timothy 6:12. From which some have strayed in their sinfulness and have
suffered shipwreck, 1 Timothy 1:16-18.
In this spiritual battle for holiness, let's realize there is an enemy out
there who is striving every day to make our lives impure and unholy. That
enemy is none other than Satan himself the serpent in the garden Genesis
3, the Dragon in Revelation 12, the roaring lion looking to cause people to
be lost, and the tempter who tempted Job in Job 1 and 2 is the same one
who's after me and you today. We mention again the words of Jesus for
they give us an ever present reminder of the activeness of Satan. “Simon,
Simon,” Jesus said “Satan,” listen to this, “desires to have you that he may
sift you as wheat, but I've prayed for you that your faith would not fail,” Luke
22:31. There is an enemy, Satan is what we identify him as the devil in the
Bible and he wants me and you to be lost.
In this battle let's also realize in the battle of holiness that with God's
help we can and will win the battle. “I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me.” With Christ, as a Christian, with God on our side, we can
definitely win the battle. He Himself is our Savior and our leader. “He
through death overcame him who had the power of death and has released
those who all their lifetime were subject to bondage.” Jesus has already
defeated Satan. The good news is this: Christ came to this earth, He lived
that perfect life Hebrews 4:15, and in His death on the cross He dealt that
deathblow to Satan. The battle's already been won. I've just got a stay true
to the Lord and be faithful in His army. The Bible teaches with God's help, I
don't have to worry about man, what man can do. Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord
is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do?” If I stay faithful in this
battle, regardless of what external forces may do, God's on my side. I can
and will win the battle.
But as we think about this battle that we're in, let's also realize this
friend listen very carefully, the stakes in this battle are extremely high.
We're not talking about land or power or money or pride or governmental
control that of which many wars are fought over; we're talking about
something far greater. The stakes in winning this battle are eternal in their
nature. My soul and your soul are on the line in this battle. Do you
remember the two questions Jesus asked? Two rhetorical questions that
the Lord asked in Mark 8:36-37 Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he
gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in
exchange for his soul?”
Right now my soul and your soul is what is up for grabs, is what's on
the line, maybe a better wording what's on the line in this battle. Jesus
clearly taught us that ‘The righteous will go away into eternal life the
unrighteous into eternal condemnation.’ So we're fighting in this battle for
our soul. God is on our side. The battle's been won; the enemy is a very
militant and aggressive enemy. But we can win the battle if we realize and
wake up every day with the mindset ‘I'm in a spiritual battle.’ I will do my
best to fight it every day and to live for God.
In this battle let's also realize and understand the dire need that the
dire need to live holy lives every day. Do we realize that God Himself is the
epitome of holiness? Isaiah 6:3, “Before the throne of God the cherubim
cried out ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.’” That same echo goes
forth in Revelation 4:8 where God is seen as the holy one sitting upon the
throne. From all ages, God's the epitome of holiness. I've got to live a holy
life if I'm going to see God. Without holiness I can't see Him. 1 Peter 1:15
God says this, “Be holy as He who called you is holy.” Quoting from
Leviticus 11 verse 44, the command and the edict from the throne of
heaven is “Live a holy life.” Again we mention Hebrews 12:14 ‘Without
holiness no one can see God.’
Now friend we're not talking about perfection. I understand that we
want to strive to live right. We want to strive to do, we want to be what God
wants us to be, but all of us from time to time do make mistakes. We do fall
short. Yet, we realize we can still be holy through the blood of Christ and
through the sacrifice that He makes. ‘As we strive to walk in the light, we
have fellowship one with another and the blood of His Son Jesus Christ
cleanses us from all sin,’ 1 John 1:7-8. So let's do our part every day to
strive to live a holy life like God wants us to.
Then part of overcoming the battle of holiness and winning is to
recognize some of the challenges we face today to holiness. Friend we're
living in a day and age where there's no beating around the bush but to say
sometimes it is a real challenge for every child of God to live holy. Do we
want to live holy? Sure we do! Are we striving to? Absolutely! But is it a
fight and is it a challenge every day? For most, it is indeed a challenge!
Although holiness is an achievable task, it is not always easy. It takes
diligent work and effort on my part to overcome sin.
And so part of overcoming some of these things is to understand,
what are some of the challenges to holiness?
First and foremost in my life and yours, sin is the ultimate challenge
to holiness. What is it that separates us from God? Sin, Isaiah 59:1-2. What
is it that caused Adam and Eve to fall into death? Sin, Genesis 3:1
following. What is it that causes us to be lost? The wages of sin is death.
While there may be a passing pleasure to sin, Hebrews 11:25 that pleasure
is passing. In view of what sin does to us, let's realize it is that which we
must battle each and every day. The Bible clearly teaches we've got to
discipline our body and bring it into subjection every day, 1 Corinthians
Secondly, let's realize that the world and worldliness is a real
challenge to holiness. Friend if I'm going to be holy, I can't live a holy life
and live it up in the world, live a worldly life as well. By worldly we mean
those things which are often opposed to God. Listen to James 4:4 James
says, “Adulterers and adulteresses,” such strong language, “Do you not
know that friendship with the world is enmity or division with God? Whoever
therefore desires to be a friend of the world makes himself God's enemy.”
John said it so clearly in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the
things that are in the world for all that is in the world lust of flesh, lust the
eyes the pride of life, it's not of the Father but is of the evil one, and the
world and all that's in it is passing away, but he does the will of God that's
the one who'll abide forever.”
Let's illustrate the world's attachment to some people and how that
causes great problems for them. There are some words that are ever going
to echo down the halls of hell that are repeated in Luke 17 and found in the
book of Genesis. Jesus simply said this, “Remember Lot's wife.” What
about Lot's wife? What did she do that's so memorable? Well God is
sending Lot and his family out of the wicked and immoral unholy place of
Sodom and Gomorrah, and God sends two Angels, two servants, to lead
them out. But here's His command, “When you start to go out of the city,
don't look back or you'll turn to a pillar of salt.” Family takes off; they're
going down the road. They're out of that horrible city. Lot’s wife has to have
just one more look. “Remember Lot’s wife,” there she is a pillar salt.
Luke 15, we think of a man there who had a great crop year in Luke
18 as well. You've got Luke chapter 12 mentioned, Luke 12:15-21, all these
people were caught up in various things, but this man is so memorable.
Here's a man in Luke 12:15-21, who had a great year as far as his crops
went so much so that he tore down his barns and built bigger barns. And
he said to his soul, “Soul you've got many goods laid up for many years
take it easy.” In essence eat, drink, and be merry was the old philosophy.
Do you know what God said to that man? “You fool this night will your soul
be required of you, then whose things will these be whom you acquired?”
And here's the point, so is he who is rich but not in godliness. What was the
problem with that rich fool? He had made preparations, been very
successful, been a good planner, and a good businessman for everything
except the one most important thing: his soul.
Friend how much time do we spend planning at the job? How much
time do we spend planning for school and education? How much time do
we spend planning for recreation and all these? Host of a person, may be
one of most successful people in all the world, and yet they don't make
preparation for their soul. Their life has been lived in ultimate foolishness.
Your soul is the most important thing and this world is indeed a challenge
Another challenge to holiness that we have today is peer pressure.
We live in a world where there a lot of people who not keen on doing the
will of God, and who try to pressure us not to as well. The Scripture
teaches us do not follow a multitude to do evil. I've got to realize that just
because everybody's doing; it doesn't make it necessarily right or wrong.
It's only right when God says it, and it's only wrong when God says it.
Matthew 7:13-14 teaches us that there are few who are going down the
path that leads to Heaven. Don't let peer pressure, don't let friends, don't let
associates, and don’t let somebody else pressure you into not doing what
God wants you to do.
But you know there's another temptation and that is it is indeed a
strong challenge to holiness and that's the lust of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 6
Paul spoke specifically about these lusts of the flesh, and I want you to
notice what he said beginning in verse number 9. Paul said in 1 Corinthians
6:9 these words, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you, but you were washed you were sanctified, you
were justified in the name the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of God.” As you
read that list of sins there many of those are directly related to the lust of
You know sometimes it's as Paul said, “The very things I want to do
those are the things I don't do, and the very things that I don't want to do,”
according to Romans 7 Paul said, “those are the very things I do.”
Sometimes this old flesh, if we're not careful and if we don't have control
over it, can cause us to get caught up in sins that we know are not right.
Great men of God throughout time have faced that. Do you think David
wanted to sin against God? Do you think he wanted to commit murder and
lying and adultery? Not necessarily, but the lust of the flesh took over in his
sin with Bathsheba. Friend let's realize Hebrews 13:4 says this, “Marriage
is honorable the bed undefiled whoremongers and adulterers God will
Now let's think about some things we can do that will help us develop
a pattern for living lives of holiness each and every day. What can I do in
my life and what can you do in your life to help have a daily pattern that will
promote holiness in my life and yours?
First let's realize if I want to have a pattern for daily holiness, I need
to read my Bible each and every day. Friend we cannot over emphasizes
the importance of reading God's word and having a holy life. Acts 17:11
there is the daily emphasis, “These were more fair-minded than those in
Thessalonica in that they searched the Scriptures daily to see if these
things were so.” “Study to show yourself approved unto God,” 2 Timothy
2:15, give attention to reading 1 Timothy 4:12. Since the Bible is God's
message of holiness, since the Bible tells me about God, since the Bible
tells me how to live a holy life, and since this book has everything I need,
the more I read it the stronger I'm going to grow and the more I let it direct
my life. God's word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Psalm
119:105 the psalmist said it this way and here's the practical application of
what we're talking about, how can the Bible help me to have holiness every
day? The psalmist said, “Your word I've hidden in my heart that I might not
sin against you.” The more of God's word I can have in my heart and my
mind, the more that's going to be a preventative to sin.
Secondly to have a daily pattern for holiness, we need to pray each
and every day. The psalmist said in Psalm 86:3, “I cry unto thee daily.”
“Jesus arose early went out by Himself to pray departed to a solitary place
and went out and prayed,” Mark 1:35. Luke 18:1 teaches us ‘men ought
always to pray and never lose heart.’ Don't we realize the power of prayer?
James 5:16 says, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man
overcomes much.” If God's throne is the throne of holiness, then I can
approach that throne from which I can receive help to live a holy life. Do
you remember Hebrews 4:16? The Bible says, “Let us therefore come
boldly to the throne of grace that we might find grace and mercy to help in
time of need.”
What can I do to help me live a holy life? Pray every day. In fact Paul
said it this way, “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Also to develop that daily pattern of living as God wants us to live,
let's also avoid any questionable places. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians
5:20-21 that we are not to have fellowship with unrighteousness. Ephesians
5:11 and the Scripture teaches us that we are not as Christians we are not
to be involved in things that are not right in the sight of God. “Have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” We are to avoid that which
is evil and strive to do what is right in the sight of God.
And so in a world that's filled with immorality, let's be convicted and
motivated every day to live a life of holiness. I want to live like Jesus and
live the best life possible. John 10:10 Jesus said, “I came that you may
have life and that you may have it more abundantly.” What motivates you to
live a holy life? By living like Christ, you can live a life of holiness every day.
Philippians 2:5, I want to have the mind of Jesus Christ a selfless, sacrificial
mind that puts God's will before his. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine
before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who
is in heaven.” We want to be an example, not an example of unholiness;
rather we want to be a godly example to the world. We want people to see
we're trying to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, 1 Peter 2:21 and that we've
been with Christ, Acts 4:13.
What motivates us to really live a holy life? The desire to go to
heaven more than anything ought to motivate holiness. Do you really want
to go to heaven? In this life is that your main goal? Is your soul your most
important possession? If so, let that motivate you to live a life of holiness
each and every day. You see it is that motivation that Paul often used to
really be encouraged to serve God. “I consider the sufferings of this present
world not worthy be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
When we get down, when we find discouragement, when life tries to
encourage us to live an unholy life, don't lose sight of heaven. ‘If then you
were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is
sitting at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Jesus would say to set your
mind on things above not on things of this earth. So that's the
encouragement that each of us have in this life to really live as God wants
us to live.
Let's seriously think about our lives. Are we really striving to live holy
as God wants us to live? Don't forget these two verses they're found in your
Bible in Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with all people and holiness without
which no one will see the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:15, “As He who called you is holy
you also be holy in all your conduct.”
Friend we've thought today about a life of holiness, we thought about
things that will encourage us to really live that life as God wants us to live.
Now let's do a little self-examination. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Test
yourself to see,” if you're in the faith, “examine yourselves.” Let's look to our
own lives and let's be honest for God knows. God knows and sees all
things. Let's see are we really living a life of holiness as God wants us to
live? Is my life, I'm not talking about when you go to church, when we go to
worship, but when I'm out in the world, when I'm with my family, when I'm
with my friends, is my life really an example of holiness as God would want
it to be? The way I talk, does it represent holiness? Do I speak in such a
way that God would be pleased with the way I speak? Or do I sometimes
use language that's not appropriate and brings shame to the name of God?
My actions, the things that I'm involved in, the relationships that I have, are
those pure and holy and right in the sight of God? The way I treat others,
those who are strangers, my friends, my family, does that exhibit the
command to love your neighbor as yourself? Are we doing good unto all
men, especially those of the household of faith?
Friend as we've said throughout the lesson, there can be no holiness
without God and without Christ.
Today our encouragement to you is, if you've never obeyed the
gospel you can begin to live a life of holiness by putting on the Lord Jesus
Christ in baptism. If you know that Jesus is the Savior of the world you're
willing to make a commitment to Christ (John 8:24), to turn from a life of sin
(Acts 3:19), and turn to God. If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus
is Lord and Savior (Acts 8:36-37), would you be baptized to get into Christ?
Paul said it this way in Galatians 3:27 “As many of us as were baptized into
Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.”
Have you been clothed with holiness by obeying the gospel and
becoming a Christian? And if you are a Christian and things in your life
have not been lived right, maybe you know ‘Hey I've done things that are
not pleasing to God. I've said things that God wouldn't approve of. Satan
has had his way in my life, and I need to be done with that.’ Friend the
Bible says if we're willing to confess and repent of those sins and turn back
to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from
all iniquity, 1 John 1:7-10.
Whatever the need is today our encouragement is, let's live lives of
holiness and win the battle for holiness.
Study Questions for: “Motivational Lesson 12”
1. How are we to conduct ourselves according to 1 Peter 1:14-15?
2. Hebrews 12:14, “Without ________________ no one can see God.”
3. How does 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 describe the battle we are in?
4. According to Luke 22:31, who desired to have Simon? What did Jesus
do to help?
5. What 2 questions did Jesus ask in Mark 8:36-37?
6. Isaiah 6:3 tells us God is what?
7. How should we be according to 1 Peter 1:15?
8. What separates us from God according to Isaiah 59:1-2?
9. What does Jesus tell us to remember in Luke 17?
10. Who will not inherit the Kingdom of God according to 1 Corinthians 6:9?