Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 3 – The „How” Matters

See Part 1 – Holiness

See Part 2 – Holiness – The Goodness of God

Listen to the audio here- Play Download:MP3

Read the notes from the entire sermon here- http://www.thevillagechurch.net/media/sermons/transcripts

Here’s a few paragraph excerpts from the sermon:

  • So far we’ve answered some pretty big questions. We’ve looked at the holiness of God, who he is, how different he is, what really his holiness is, and then last week we looked at God’s ferocious commitment to making us holy. (See parts 1 & 2). We’ve left some pretty big questions unanswered, and the primary question is how he goes about making us holy.
  • How you understand the process by which you become more and more like Jesus, more and more holy… The more you understand that process correctly, the greater life, freedom, and love for God you’ll have, and the more you misunderstand how that takes place, the more wearying and difficult the Christian life will be to you.  In this great exchange between God and you, the only thing you bring to the table is the sin that makes your salvation necessary. You don’t have the tools or the materials with which to build a house that’s holy. You don’t have them. So if you get away from the One who can build that holy house and try to build it yourself… What the Bible is going to repeatedly tell us is you can’t even make a shack of your own abilities and own efforts. So it’s very important for us to understand how we become holy, so we might walk in the fullness of joy that God has brought for us in our adoption as sons and daughters as he makes us a holy people.
  • The very good news is that God has decreed, chosen, predetermined we would become holy and blameless in his sight. We are going to have a positional holiness before God. We are going to be seen and viewed by God as a holy people. But he still doesn’t say really how he goes about that except that he accomplishes it in Jesus somehow. Ephesians 2:1-10 is going to unpack it more fully. So in Ephesians 2 now, starting in verse 1: „And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–-among whom we all..
  • Now there are some verses and some ideas in the Bible that seem to strain this idea. They put a lot of strain on it. Let me give you an example of just one. I never want to hide from these kind of verses. I actually want to show you how they would work into the gospel. Hebrews 12, verse 14 simply says, „Strive [struggle, work] for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Here’s what you have to start to do with texts like this. There are a lot like this, even like, „…train yourself for godliness…” You can get into all these texts that seem to put a lot of effort on you in order to become the holiness the Bible just clearly said is actually gifted to you by God alone in Christ. So how do you strive toward the holiness without which no one is going to see the Lord if holiness is a gift of grace through faith? How do you strive for something that’s a free gift? I think here’s how you answer that question in light of the gospel. Let me tell you how you strive for holiness, how you train yourself for godliness, how you pursue righteousness and avoid sinfulness under the banner of the gospel. Here’s how you strive: You strive by faith through grace. If that’s confusing to you let me make it simpler: Fix your eyes on Jesus.
  • So with unveiled faces, you and I now have our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus, and in our beholding of the Lord Jesus we „…are being transformed into the same image…” What’s the image? The image of Jesus, the holiness of God, so that by beholding Jesus we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Look at how this works so we can be patient. „…from one degree of glory to another.” I love that the Bible is so honest about this. As we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, as we see and savor Jesus, we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next.
  • So how should we fix our eyes on Jesus? Not only is he the founder of my faith, not only is he going to perfect my faith, but look at what in particular we are to look at. „…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Where are our eyes focused? Our eyes are focused on the founder and perfecter of our faith who, filled with joy, died our death and rose from the grave, showing that all of our sin has been paid for. Therefore, to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ is to pursue holiness and to avoid sin.
  • But what ends up happening to many of us is we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ and go, Okay, let me pursue Jesus Christ… I have my eyes off of him, but let me try to pursue him, and then let me try to avoid sin, and honestly, nine times out of ten we reverse those. Let me avoid sin and try to pursue him. But the Bible continually teaches it a completely different way. „Get your eyes on Jesus. Pursue Jesus. Chase after Jesus.” It’s the same thing over and over. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet. I have one sermon. That’s it. One. We just come out of a different text every weekend to preach it. Because this is what we need to be reminded of over and over and over and over and over again, always. You don’t become holy by trying to become holy. You become holy by fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ, and his decree declared holiness over us because of his life, death, and resurrection. He is the founder and he is the perfecter of our faith who died our death and has risen from the grave to prove that he paid the bill in full and has victory over sin and death.
  • Well how do I fix my eyes on Jesus, Matt? How do I fix my eyes on him? How do I look, how do I gaze, how do I behold his glory? Well God has given you all sorts of things to help this. He has given you the Word of God. The Bible is there so you might see who Jesus is, what he’s like, the nature and character of God. He has given you Christian community. He has given you a place like this where we can just come together and we can make much of Jesus. We can talk about him. We can rally. We can celebrate with one another who Jesus is and what he has done. We get to sing to him and sing about him.

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