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Holy Preoccupation

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2021 12:00 am

Holy Preoccupation

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 4, 2021 12:00 am

What occupies your thinking and time? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Stephen reminds us that if holiness isn't our greatest pursuit, we're just chasing wind.

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Imagine some apologist writing to the president of the United States or the Chancellor of UMC currency state or whatever since I know what you need to do to validate the truth that I'm writing to you about Christianity is just checked out the lives of your citizens. Check out the lives of your students and when you examine their lives.

You will come to the conclusion that because they are so uniquely pure Christianity must be uniquely is that we never drift into holiness. We need to live intentional lives if we want to live as God desires so here's the question for you. What occupies your thinking and time. What gets you out of bed in the morning if holiness isn't your greatest pursuit.

You're just chasing wind. This is wisdom for the heart Stephen Davies message today looks at this in detail. This message is called holy preoccupation your statement.

If you are with us in our last discussion we asked the question, how do you become and stay clean. One of the steps to staying clean and an unclean culture. How do you pursue holiness in an unholy world, and we focused on four steps before we ran out of time so we invite your attention back to your copy of the New Testament, and at first Peter chapter 1 where we've arrived at chapter 1 in verse 13, and since today is a continuation of that discussion and some of you may not of been there in that discussion and those of you who were forgot. Let me just kinda briefly go over before and I've written them in my note as I forgot to okay here we got the first step in staying clean. We talked about was simply this good handle on your thought life handle on your thought life.

Notice how Peter writes in verse 13.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action.

I reference the old King James translation. Therefore gird up the liens of your mind, and the analogy is turning up the loose fabric and in this analogy, girding up the loose fabric of your thought life and talking it all in. So it doesn't get in the way as you attempt to run your race unencumbered for Christ. Get a handle on your thought life.

The second step to staying clean is get a grip on your emotion. Peter writes next keep sober in spirit that is internally stay sober. Don't begin to live as if you're intoxicated, don't panic, don't get carried away. You can render it. Stay levelheaded in these days. This was desperately needed as it is in these days stay levelheaded first step to staying clean is get focused on your future, he writes next fix your hope that is your expectation completely on the grace to be brought to you with the revelation of Jesus Christ. In other words, Christians are to live in the future tense and we use this illustration engaged couple saved up money who makes different kinds of plans though the bride-to-be begins to gather things in that hope chest so appropriately named, they are determining every action and in every decision in the present tense in the light of the future tense in their lives together. So course, the application would be that we as the bride of Christ, we are making decisions. We are making our plans in the light of the fact that our bridegroom is going to be revealed. The revelation of Jesus Christ and we will soon enter into his glory and his father's house and then step number four is simply this, get rid of old habits. He writes in verse 14 as obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. The word for loss was simply we said a summary of the sinful self centered, self seeking self praising corrupt desires that drive the children of disobedience.

Paul calls them that in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse two, but you on the other hand, are children of obedient and so these are now your former lusts, which means in a very encouraging way these patterns can be broken. Now he doesn't mean to say that a believer will never be self-seeking or self-serving that a believer will never lust again what he says in effect is that the believer is no longer choosing the pattern their lives after those lusts, those habits now as children of obedience. They are driven by the spirit intoxicated, as it were by the spirits pursuing the fruit. Step number five.

How to stay clean. Get serious about your calling verse 15 but like the holy one who called you Nepal's who called you don't miss that. This is one of the favorite concepts of the apostle Peter and and it's important to mention most people think that only pastors are called by God that there's no special calling in life are all the other Christians in the Christian in a community of believers sages you guys are called you pastors, elders, missionaries, you guys have a calling from God and you know the rest of the state. I guess were left without it listed that is exactly what the devil would love for you to think why will, for one, it discourages you from any sense that your life has a calling of God upon it in it for you. I guess if you're just you're just confined to the mundane.

There is anything special about his calling in your life but worse is the perspective that that lets you off the you guys are called on me year professionals in of this is your livelihood is what you do. God hasn't called me to anything special that's for pastors and missionaries and elders not appear in the context years writing. Remember, as he opened the letter to all the believers that are scattered all around the Pontius in Galatia and Cappadocia, and Asia, and Bithynia scattered around planted the seed is how you want to think of it supplanted by the hand of God as he scatters them like seed covering 750,000 mi. in the region that he just delivered they and you are called by God to serve him wherever he has planted in whatever he is called you to do. There is a sacred bookcase. You know the word Locascio means sacred calling, we lost it in the Middle Ages the Reformation is attempted to resurrect the idea that there is in a unique calling a special calling a closeness to God in the calling of someone who is vocationally involved because they Locascio is sacred. Whether you're in an apartment, surrounded by dirty diapers of dirty dishes that is his.

At this moment in your life is sacred calling, what you're performing surgery on some water changing the oil in a clients automobile that is his special calling where you get to demonstrate the character of God, by the way where I take.

You can get serious about your calling. If you want to stay clean.

Step number six. Get the honest truth about holiness at the honest truth about holiness. You ask 100 people what holiness is and you'll get 101 different answers. Peter is going to make it clear what I want to do is break down step number six and three sub points as he describes holiness. First, holiness is comprehensive notice in the latter part of verse 15 in all your behavior. You could circle the word all the Greek meaning of that word. All is all you might write that in the margin.

In all, you are, you can render that conduct how you act. In other words, in all of the different areas. All of the different aspects all of the different decisions.

All of the different concerns all of the different genres and then use where you are. Found holiness is comprehensive, that doesn't mean you where starched shirt and necktie. The grocery store doesn't mean you gotta try to read your Bible required changing the tires on the customers automobile and he certainly doesn't mean you read that along listing to take the your car do's and don'ts and the review in the morning. Keep in mind that if holiness is only a list of do's and don't you actually missed your calling. You've missed the object of your holy preoccupation in all your pursuit of holiness. How easy it is to run past him to overlook him and he just does it work stands there while we run through our list as you genuinely pursue him.

Peter makes us aware that everything will belong them to him comprehensively. Which means you don't talk one way in church today. Another way on the golf course. Christ invades your vocabulary out there to, or in the cubicle or the shop or on a weekend camping trip and we have the impression that you know in here were gonna you know were going to talk a little bit more in differently sacred.

We all units are to get our tones mellow and everything is a bless you and your brother just wait on Monday when Justin wrote his apology in the second century. His defense of Christianity sometime before he was martyred, hence the name Justin Martyr.

He wrote specifically to the. The Roman Emperor because I was the way that it is polite and proper.

And then it would just spread out from there.

But what's interesting is apology a is that he gave only gave the normal defenses for the validity of Christianity of the truth claims of Christianity. He also challenge the Emperor to examine the lives of Christians and observe quote there purity observe there. Can you imagine that argument being used today. In fact, out of the concern of the political world as I am the spiritual church work.

Can you imagine some apologist writing to the president of the United States or the CEO of the Bank of America or the Chancellor of UMC currency state or whatever and saying what you need to do to validate the truth that I'm writing to you about Christianity is just check out the lives of your employees check out the lives of your citizens.

Check out the lives of your students and when you examine their lives. You will come to the conclusion that because they are so uniquely pure Christianity must be uniquely true. And here's the tragedy were all feeling right now because that ought to be the argument today. It ought to be the apology of our faith. So holiness is not compartmentalized. It is comprehensive. Secondly, holiness is not something new that notice the ending of verse 15. Again, be holy yourselves, and all your behavior.

Why, because implied. It is written. This is something Peter came up with. He didn't think it up one day and his argument will be greater. Persons were how you they pursue the holiness of God is actually quoting here from the book of Leviticus the place in your Bible, or the pages stick together more than likely the word holy shows up in that book of the Bible more than any other book of the Bible. It's in that book where God is revealing through Moses. The difference in all the different says of the Israelite nation and it's spelling it all out that is revealing all the dietary distinctions and all the ceremonial distinctions and commands all the prescribed rituals and customs and regulations and laws that the people of Israel were to follow, and at the core of it all was God's desire that his people, his nation distinctively reveal their covenant relationship with him.

That would be different than any other nation around them and and now what Peter does here, rightly so, in this New Testament dispensation is drop out any mention of ceremonial or dietary or cemetery and/or festival or costume more sacrificial requirement and he simply repeats the core command strips everything away and he says this is just as relevant for this dispensation of grace, as it was to these Old Testament believers in the dispensation of law be holy, just like God is holy, as in J any prefaces it by saying listen. This was written down a long time ago and it hasn't changed, so don't argue with me are you with God is still true today. Holiness is not compartmentalized holiness is not something thirdly, holiness is not something you create again the core command you shall be holy, for, or, as I am holy. Holiness is not something you create its someone to whom you conform your calling is to pursue conformity to the character of God, and he works in you to willing to do with his good pleasure because you belong to him and is already established in our last study this relationship between father and and child. Children should grow up modeling than what they see in the lives of their parents.

The last thing you want is for your children to begin modeling their lives after other children. I mention those three brothers of mine, and I never once heard my mother say to any of them boys what you need to do is start behaving like Stephen start acting like him. That would be life-threatening. But what she often said is that we ought to grow up and act like our dad.

After that this is part of our probably comes all this, which is why were so secure in our thinking. We forgotten him and were just acting like each other and remeasuring ourselves against other people, we found that we are actually looking holier will be better off than those other people you know maybe will catch up to it we set our sights way too low. Peter elevates it to a work of God's spirit. Stop creating your own self-made lists fact share with my greenhouse class I church father who was writing the second century. He was asked by a young zealous believer, young man, what it meant to live a holy life and how could he do it.

What you need to do. Unfortunately, the church fathers, rollout of the particular list and miss the point.

We have some of his list extent the day he wrote to the young man these words forsake colored clothing remove everything in your wardrobe that is not white remove everything that isn't white no longer sleep on a soft pillow or take warm bad. In other words, don't be comfortable in life and he continues unfortunately if you are sincere about following Christ and holiness never shave your beard for shave is an attempt to improve on the work of him who created my favorite Hebrew word comes to mind pronounced baloney.

The spirit is alive and well. I mean, when I grew up as a kid you know there were church leaders and thought it was sinful for man to have the ministers later saying its influence you shave your beard when you do grow on the side of the site shave somehow reach a compromise the truth as we pander to man-made rules because really lower after his man-made approval and our models are man-made.

Draws her focus back to the relationship of our father and in so doing makes the point implicitly the holiness is to be created by you to be the fruit of your calling, and God.

He was given up calling a special calling to all of us.

He's given us a calling to himself. You belong to him and he will do in your life and work in your life and in your families lives.

Distinctives and differences that may be unique to you, so long as none of us of violate Scripture to make a thousand decisions on what it means to pursue this holiness. But this foundational relationship is primaries between father and child. Peters effectively telling us to grow up and act like a father model after are there any real Christians out there. Where are the world. Those who have accepted their calling and their vocation to model the excellence in purity and integrity of God. Those who been called out of darkness, who loves the lights. Those who accepted their calling the model the self-control of Christ. Peter writes in the face of suffering.

That's her calling her preoccupation. Are there any real Christians out there answering the call, I found one in an unlikely place. Two of our pastors are heading to India today.

The been invited to preach at a pastors conference in but I'm reminded that on one preaching and ministry trip I took their we went to several states preach the number of rallies send and in churches, and it was along its an exhausting trip just getting there back in one city, I remember where we stayed for several nights. One evening I was going to preach to well over a thousand believers and in the I will insert this to just for interest, your interest, but that that service was so exuberant. My preaching was preceded by two hours of music and all of these choirs from all these churches took turns and they will all decked out in beautiful matching outfits and after they saying I preach.

I spent the morning in the early afternoon in my hotel room, preparing for that message and the maid came in a woman in her middle years and I could sense you know you've been there you'd seen this just sort of sense.

This joy I didn't say anything, but have a little conversation. She's very polite and very dedicated to the way she clean the room very careful as she spoke to me in broken English. Next day she was in the hallway again. I greeted her and again to set the sense of her dedication to her task and her spirit of of joy. The following day as I was leaving like in my suitcase down that long corridor or she was standing by her cart of supplies and I stopped and I I asked her a question that I knew could cause trouble for her if it was overheard but I wanted to ask her anyway. I said ma'am.

If I cannot like to ask you the the excellent way in which you cleaned my room every time I I've seen you there is this this spirit of joy I have to ask you in a world surrounded by Hindus that is antagonistic to the gospel of Christianity.

Do you belong to Jesus Christ and she immediately just being and she said oh yes I am a Christian on the Christian what I have to go on her dedication to her job, her countenance, which in that line of work. By the way, and in that world of incredible poverty is not the most conducive thing to a joyful spirit struck me.

Later, she will never deliver the gospel publicly. The thousand people in some rally she she may not even be known by a large body of believers, but she cleans hotel rooms and you can tell it.

It's a demonstration of her preoccupied mind with the character of her God living Lord, who then threw her gives this blessing to those around her. This hockey's. This distinction in the fruit of it, which in what I sense joy. Are there any Christian in your part of the world, but to answer that question tomorrow, but let's answer the call when we show up, take these in our desired state like Robert Murray, Shane.

Let's be awesome.

What's become awesome weapons in the hands of our holy God. It is the most amazing weapon that is the gospel in interest because it transformed life from the inside out and working to do that because God had given some passive no opportunity or some great display of talent but because of by means of a great likeness, gracious and living a life that's truly remarkable doesn't come from trying to be unique or clever we are at our best when we are most like Christ. That's what God calls us to do and be wherever this day might take you.

It's your opportunity to let Christ live through you. We sure are glad you joined us your listening to wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi. Today's lesson is called holy preoccupation and it comes from the series in pursuit of holiness.

The entire basis of our ministry here at wisdom international is our commitment to the truth that the Bible is God's word. We believe that it's only through knowing and applying the Bible that we can live as God requires. We hope that commitment is evident as you listen to these daily messages. Here's how one listener expressed it. We appreciate how Stephen stays biblically sound and shrew to the word of God we listen every morning and were blessed by your ministry that came from George and Reba who live here in North Carolina. Thanks for sharing that with us if you'd like to send Stephen a note there are two ways to do it.

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