Sunday, January 18, 2009

About Holiness, Part One

The following is a manuscript from a friend. Dr. Tim Adams is pastor in middle-north Tennessee; he is a faithful prayer warrior for this wandering missionary. For brevity's sake, I am going to make this a two or three part post. Aside from that, the manuscript is unedited.

“The Vision of A Holy Heart” 2 Corinthians 7:1
It is October 14th, and the sun is reflecting mirages of water on an Air Force base runway in southern Florida. The silence of that scene is interrupted as a long-winged plane touches down on the runway and taxies to the hanger. A thousand planes a day go through this same routine, but this one plane’s payload is different from all the others. Its payload is just a few rolls of film, but the information on that film will shape the events of the world. It will shift the balance of power in the world. The film is transported to a top-secret laboratory and developed. It is sent to the Pentagon and then to the Oval Office in the White House. The year is 1962, and a young president, John F. Kennedy, just 44 years old, sits at the desk in the oval office of America. The decision he makes moves the armies of the most powerful nation in the world to counter a crisis of immense proportions. The photos taken were from a U2 reconnaissance aircraft. One picture in particular revealed that the Soviets had placed medium-range missile silos in Cuba. These missiles were capable of reaching strategic targets throughout the United States. The risk of world conflict hadn’t reached this level since WW2, and it involved the two greatest superpowers in the world, Russia and America. The president moved decisively, ordering Premier Khrushchev to halt all further deliveries of weapons and to immediately dismantle the missile sites. A broadcast to the American people let us know the gravity of the situation. The president said, “This secret, swift, extraordinary buildup of communist weapons is a deliberate and unjustifiable challenge to our national security, and it will not be accepted.” America braced for what was to come. President Kennedy ordered an immediate naval and air blockade of Cuba. Premier Khrushchev decided he would test this young president’s fabric and challenge this nation’s resolve. The Soviet ships sailed on toward Cuba. The world held its breath in nervous anticipation as hours crept by and ships grew closer and closer to one another. As kids we played a little game called ’chicken’ but this was no harmless game. There is a word for this standoff in wartime vocabulary. It is called “brinkmanship.” Brinkmanship is the willingness to expose oneself to risk, to press the limits of safety for a cause. It is walking the tightrope of disaster. The Soviets were going to press the boundary, walk the line, and see just how much they could get away with. The Soviet ships were 100 yards away from our American ships. Our Navy was on full battle alert with orders to stop the Russians at all costs. Some of you recall those moments as people were glued to the radios and TV’s to see who would flinch, who would fire, or what the world would look like in this latest age of nuclear war. With just feet to spare, at the brink of disaster and destruction, the Soviets turned.
There are a lot of people who play this game of spiritual brinkmanship with God. They push the envelope of their lives into realms of darkness, compromise, filth, carnality, and wickedness all the while calling themselves a Christian. Some of the greatest pornography lovers are in the church. Some of the worst thieves are in the church. Some of the worst liars are in the church. Some of the worst adulterers are in the church. But that doesn’t mean they’re in the family of God. Let those who name the name of Christ forsake their iniquity. Brinkmanship - pushing God to the limits of mercy and grace right on up to the last few hours in the Intensive Care ward at the hospital and crying crocodile tears for a life wasted in the devil’s lair and these folks think God will treat them royally in the judgment. Better to think again. Brinkmanship - sailing deep into the waters of adultery and fornication and expecting God to rescue a condemned vessel when the storms of disease and death hit. Wearing the wedding ring of God is no guarantee you’ll make it to the marriage supper. Brinkmanship - very little church involvement, don’t want to talk about your salvation, couldn’t quote one scripture if your life depended on it but you expect that God will smile on you as you walk through the pearly gates. There may be no gates except the prison walls of consuming darkness in hell and no smile, just weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
We are living in times of unprecedented deception. The god of this world has indeed blinded the minds of men lest they truly believe and the light should shine unto them. Did you know that 21 percent of Americans consider themselves to be holy. Yet the same 21 percent of those responding to a holiness questionnaire said they admit they don’t know how to be holy. There is a mass of people attending church today that do not understand the concept of holiness. Proverbs 30:12 says, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.”
Would we dare to think God is not serious about holiness when He mentions it 659 times in scripture? “Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” That verse echoes across the centuries of time and 1500 years later Christ is saying, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” The incense they burned in the tabernacle was holy incense made of specific and unique ingredients. Only the best and pure for God. The High Priest could only go into the Holy of Holies where God dwelt between the cherubim on the ark of the covenant once a year and when he did it he was scared senseless. They tied a rope to his waist and feet to drag him out in case he died in the holy presence of God. The Bible says in Habakkuk 1:13 that God is too pure in His eyes to even look upon evil. If you were to come into the presence of God in your mortal state and see Him face to face the exposure of mortal with immortal, corruption with total incorruption, filth and wretchedness with absolute purity would kill you dead right in the spot where you stand. The great prophet Isaiah who encountered the call of God on his life in an amazing way: one of the seraphim who stood before the throne of God shouting praise, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory,” flew down with a live, white hot, cleansing coal off of God’s altar and burned purity into Isaiah’s mouth and tongue calling him to the prophetic ministry, that Isaiah declares in the 57th chapter of his prophecy and the 15th verse, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” God’s name is holy. God’s celestial city is holy. God’s worshipers are all holy or they don’t ascend the hill - remember Psalm 24:4, “clean hands and a pure heart.” The offerings given to God all had to be holy and consecrated. God’s thoughts are holy and just. The Bible says all of God’s judgments are holy (Isaiah 5:16). God never, never, never, ever makes a wrong judgment. If He wiped every living soul off the earth it would be a holy act of God justified because of man’s defiance of a thrice holy God.

God has moved upon my heart to preach this morning on The Vision of a Holy Heart for God. In the earth today there are tremors of God’s judgment to bring the church back to His bosom. We must come back to be a people of prayer, extraordinary prayer, spending time - even hours with our God to be sustained by His power. There is the tightening of the noose of judgment upon the economics of the land, not that we elect another president of another mind hoping he can solve the disappearing dollar mystery. It is no mystery, I promise you. It is God waiting for His people worship Him in spirit and truth, to have no other gods including the ones in our wallet or even the ones we wish were in our wallet, so that the Lord of Heaven may operate within His righteous character, turning calamity into blessing for those who seek Him. Now, this morning we are called to the Throne Room to be smitten once again for our healing. The church is sick, deathly sick. We suffer from a grossly backslidden heart that has let all kinds of unholy and carnal infestations creep into the soul, a soul that in salvation was set apart to be a clean vessel for God. Do you drink of clean water from a scum crusted cup? No, you don’t. Neither will God drink and fill Himself full from a life that has docked in the harbor of sin and iniquity becoming totally crusted with the barnacles of filth and wickedness. God has called us to have a holy heart, church. He has not called us to clean the saucer up on the outside that it may be a pretty place setting in the church house while bearing the smears and smudges of hidden sin. There are three things you need to see in our passage today to receive the message of God on having a holy heart.

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