Called To Holiness
By The Gospel
Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) Our world today is filled with a diluted gospel, which is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth of the gospel is important. Jesus taught an uncompromising gospel. In today’s world anyone who claims to be a Christian can find some church that will accept him, regardless of whether that person’s life shows any commitment to God or not. The early church grew because Christians taught the gospel to others. There was public teaching of the gospel and there was house to house teaching. “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42) After Jesus arose from the dead He commanded that the gospel be preached to every creature. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) The gospel is a unique and special message because, (1) It came from God, (2) It is true, (3) It is all-sufficient for man’s spiritual needs, (4) It is unchanging, (5) It is the message by which God calls men to salvation, and (6) It is by this message that men are begotten and saved spiritually. “Whereunto
he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14) It is by the gospel that we are called to holiness.
God calls Christians to holiness in their moral living -- Ephesians 4:17-20: It was said by inspiration, that we are not to walk as other Gentiles walk. If we are Christians we are members of Christ’s body. We must walk worthy of our high calling, and we must adorn the doctrine of the Jesus, our Savior. The Christian life is often compared to a journey. There are certain ways we must not walk as Christians. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” (Ephesians 4:17) Those wicked Gentiles were alienated from God in their minds and by their immoral living. They were alienated from the life of God through ignorance as to what constitutes right living. These were people, “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:19) If we are living in immorality, we were not taught that lifestyle by Christ. He requires that we abandon immorality and ungodliness.
God calls Christians to holiness by spiritual renewal -- Ephesians 4:21-24: Christians have opened their hearts to the message of God. They have learned what it means to follow him. “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.” (Ephesians 4:21) The unconverted soul turns to all kinds of corruption and deceitful lusts. The life before a person becomes a Christian is described as the “old man.” The old man must be renounced or put off by Christians. Those who are Christians must be renewed in the spirit of their minds or they must change their way of thinking. We must, “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) In Colossians 3:10 this same teaching of spiritual renewal is set forth. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” The purpose of our spiritual renewal is so that we may become like God. The point of spiritual renewal is to restore the soul to the image of Christ.
God calls Christians to holiness by revealing the seriousness of sin -- Ephesians 4:25-30: Truth is valued by those who would practice holiness. Lying is the universal vice of the godless world. Those who would practice holiness of character must always practice integrity and truth. God’s people must stop lying and speak simple and unvarnished truth. Another problem to be avoided is anger. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26) Solomon wrote, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9) Anger brings special danger because it often leads to sin. Anger gives the Devil a place in our life. He is always busy when we are angry, and if possible, will lead us into sin. The best way to avoid the working of Satan in this matter is to restrain yourself and avoid even sudden anger. Theft is another universal sin. “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.” Let us work so that we may have the means of doing good for others. Another sin that hinders holiness in our life is filthy or dirty talk. We should do our best to say the right thing at the right time and do our best to encourage others with our words. Let us be careful that we sin not; if Christians sin they bring grief to the Holy Spirit of God.
God calls Christians to holiness by practicing forbearance and kindness -- Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) In Hebrews 12:15 we read, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” We must be kind, forbearing, loving and forgiving to others because God has shown those same qualities to us. “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26) Every kind of evil is to be put away and you are to manifest only that which is godly and holy. The words of these verses fit well with Colossians 3:12 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” We are to forgive others even as God has forgiven us. We cannot become like God in wisdom, power or sovereignty; but we can become like God in love and forgiveness.
God calls you by His gospel to holiness. Jesus gives us a picture of a whole and holy life, unbroken and unstained by sin. “Everything Jesus does is prefaced by holiness. His is a holy love, a holy righteousness, a holy joy. Holiness, or wholeness, is the very definition of abundant life. Such is the life you have in Christ.” Keep yourself in the faith. Be busy working for God. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Trust in the Lord. In order to be holy, govern yourself by the will of God. Our holiness is through and because of Jesus, the Christ. To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) We must daily live a set-apart life, not trying to "blend in" with the world, but instead living according to God's Word. We should all choose God’s way because it has proven to always be the better way.
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Lorene Beverly, LeRoy Boutwell, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camren Coleman, Anna Bell Conway, Bonnie Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Mike Dalton, Crowell Davis, Ethan Flowers Diamond, Marietta Faulkenberry, Michelle Flowers, Gail Gipson, Devin Hawkins, Doris Hayes, Patrick Hicks, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Alice Little, Arthur Little, Annie McKee, Jewel McNaughton, Betty McQueen, Charlotte Miller, Ethan Miller, Jeff Miller, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, Candie Reaves, Peggy Rice, Billy Rodgers (grandfather of Hunter & Hannah Owens), Rosie Rudolph, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Sarah Stidham, Virginia Stiers, Bobby & Mary Lou Terrell, Cindy Thomas, Arlene Thomas, John Tindoll, Jenny Trawick, Bobbie Walker, Leroy Waller, Jim Watts, Carlton Whittle, and Cody Yelverton. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Elizabeth Perdue, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter, Alice Thompson and Gladys Warren. Georgiana Nursing Home: Earl Lowery.
2. Responded to the Lord Invitation: Kevin Huddleston responded to our Lord’s invitation asking for your prayers. Please keep him in your personal, private prayers.
3. Placed Membership: Roxanne McNeil was restored and identified herself as a member of the Walnut Street Church of Christ. Information for the directory for Roxanne and her husband, Eddie is: address 1934 Mt Pisgah Road, Georgiana, Alabama 36033, Phone 33-376-2473, Cell Phones (his) 334-525-2305, (her) 334-362-3474, Birthday (his) August 6th, (her) March 28th, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Building in Annai: Please pray that everything can come together for the completion of the building in Annai, Guyana, South America. These brethren need this place for worship. Thanks to everyone who is helping to make this a reality.
5. All Age Devotional: There will be a Devo for all age children on December 16th after evening service. The children are asked to bring a wrapped ornament. Bring finger foods.
6. Secret Pal’s Christmas Party: Lisa Garlock is hosting a Christmas Party for all ladies who participate in the Secret Pal’s program. If you are a member of Secret Pal’s you are invited to Lisa’s house for lunch, following morning worship, on December 9th.
7. Mitch Bozeman: Basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Please keep him in your prayers.
8. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: December 11th Jason and Ashley Holladay.
9. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: December 11th Anne Kathryn Smith, December 15th Evelyn Duke.
10. Crowne Health Care: There will not be a class at Crowne Health Care December 29th.
11. Sign-Up Sheets 2013: The sign-up sheets for 2013 are on the bulletin board. Please volunteer to help.
12. Food Committee List: There are sheets on the bulletin board for the Food Committee. Please sign-up even if you have been on a committee before.
13. Thank You Notes: (a) Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts during my surgery. Thanks also for all the visits, food, and cards. The cards have been wonderful. I have enjoyed them very much. I love you all. In Christian love, Lorene Beverly and (b) Thank you for being so good to us during and after Tete’s illness. We thank you for the plant and food you brought us – most of all your prayers and calls. Let me thank all of you for helping with the poinsettias. They are beautiful – Chris does a great job of providing us with them. Thanks, Tete and Eleanor Stabler
14. Thank You: Thanks to those that help make the Christmas Breakfast a success the children had a great time. Thanks also to Barbara Walker for opening her home for the Christmas Party for the ladies. The ladies had an enjoyable time.
Faith In Action
“The future depends on what you do today.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Sometimes you hear people say that Christians are known more for what we're against than what we're in agreement with. Sadly, sometimes this seems true. We shouldn’t be KNOWN for pointing fingers, judging others, and making it known what we believe is "right" and "wrong." Instead of trying to “get ‘em told,” we should be trying to save their souls!
A spiritually mature Christian doesn’t get angry at people because they aren’t faithful to God. A spiritually mature Christian mourns the lost and wants desperately to SHOW them WHY it is wonderful to serve to God. It is a constant challenge to balance faith and works, but James chapter 2 stresses the importance of both. “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) Real faith cannot exist without good works any more than love can exist without actions to back up the emotion.
Understanding the depths of God’s love for US gives insight into the fact that He loves others every bit as much! When it comes to your faith and actions, you are establishing habits and patterns right now that literally can shape your life for better or worse. One key to success here is that when we start focusing on faith, the good deeds follow naturally.
Balancing faith and works can be a difficult thing to accomplish. Good deeds alone cannot earn God's favor or salvation, though using our talents faithfully is required (Luke 15). But, actions are evidence of the compassion, love, and grace God has bestowed on every Christian. So, today, will you consider obeying the gospel as a reaction to God’s matchless love? “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
- - - - Darrell Powell
Don’t Just Own A Bible, Read It!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551