Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiness of life

I was this morning (and has been stuck on my mind all day)lamenting the fact that there are not many reformed and current preachers that are characterized by holiness. I mean in searching for really good and challenging books or sermons of well known preachers and it seems apparent that there is such a lack.
I also read a little of CJ Mahaney's HUMILITY and clearly this guy is concerned about personal holiness. Yet C.J. is Charismatic and for one thing i don't see exactly eye to eye with him concerning that, but YES he's sound, he's reformed. But apart from him and very few (Piper, Macarthur) who really commands a reverence???? There should be a reverence of character about a minister, in fact what should characterize him is 'holiness'!
It's no compliment to be known as 'intelligent', 'innovative', 'funny', 'interesting', 'edgy' and yet this is often what characterizes many today, in fact it's what many are seeking after.
Take for instance Mark Driscoll (i was just meeting with a pastor and the name came up), what characterizes him? "blunt" (which does not always mean 'bold') 'edgy', 'relevant and hip' this is terrible, we are not talking about the next blossoming CEO of America, we're speaking of a 'man of God' and if it's not apparent i'm NO fan of Driscoll, and this from someone who ministers to criminals (that type of 'edge' is unnecessary). Surely he's doctrinally sound, he's seems like a very nice and humble guy. Yet my biggest problem is that he often makes references to his mistakes and bluntness (in repentance like speech) and then uses sermons and interviews to defend it later (I hope he makes up his mind).
Yet shouldn't we strive to be holy above all else, shouldn't we be concerned about being a 'man after God's own heart'. What are the biblical qualifications of a minister, now above that list all the supposed things that a minister needs that are NOT contained in the scripture.
What is it like to be 'close' to the Lord, could you allow me to talk like this? Isn't this being seperated to God way beyond what we 'defend or teach' but the EXPERIENCE of growing CLOSER and CLOSER to God. Another way to say that is to say we are SENSITIVE to the Spirit of God. To be sensitive to sin, to have a quicker and greater awareness of the majesty and holiness of God that we walk closely to Him. In this closeness we are going to be GRIEVED at what God is grieved at.
I can't stand all this talk of liberty, that boils down to 'i'll watch, read, listen and go wherever i want to and not be convicted by it because I'm so mature and can doctrinally defend my positional holiness." Let me then pose this question? By what then is the Spirit grieved? Are all things neutral to God, is there nothing that causes God to burn with anger or to bitterly grieved? Can we be honest for a minute, are there things that entertain me, that God hates? Who under forty is talking about these things? The old writers did, Spurgeon did, the older and living examples today do, what about us?
I can say I'm even angry at myself in these things, that I'm too quick to brush off the sense of God's grievance to sin because I want to be entertained. This shouldn't be, how much can i be exposed to and NOT be affected? How much can i watch and not be desensitized? Are there not things that even AMUSE us, that cause us to Laugh that would cause CHRIST to cry, to weep?
IS this why we see so little, why we can only read of great things, what were the habits of preachers used mightily in revivals (holy and focused lives).
OH God make me one of these, Oh God make them holy, that we would truly and always and more quickly and consistently hate what you hate and love what you love. What did Paul challenge his pupil Timothy about? his points in a sermon? how to reach the culture? NO but to be HOLY!!!!!! Here are some verses that need to be focused on a lot more than 'being sound and doctrinally minded', in other words here's some things that due to the lack of emphasis, you would think should be absent:
2 Tim 2: 22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
1 Tim 4: 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

May the Lord bless us with greater conformity to Him, there are men that are admired for these things that are clearly off in many points theologically, and yet their lifestyles shame many of us. A.W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill are those type of men who to read you could find much wrong, but at the same time you are left with this insatiable hunger to seek the face of God in repentance, the way in which they MAGNIFY God and the way in which they Speak of prayer and the like, leaves you with no doubt that these men are pursuing intimacy with God (while others are just pursing 'accuracy'. Of course without a doubt THERE NEEDS TO BE BOTH! May God raise up a generation of Puritan like leaders that will be distinguished with a LOVE for the Lord AND (not just) a LOVE for truth.

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