A TRUMPET IN THE WILDERNESS
P.O. Box 1752
Denton, Texas 76202
Newsletter # 30 January, 2002
Blow a trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm on My Holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is
Coming; surely it is near
WHATEVER BECAME OF HOLINESS?
"It is with naked feet, naked and stripped of every covering, that man must bow before a holy God. Our utter unfitness to draw nigh or have any dealings with the Holy One is the very first lesson we have to learn if ever we are to participate in His holiness." Andrew Murray
Because someone embarks on a study of holiness, he may not necessarily expect imminent results. Satan wants to dull our senses, so we are dull in hearing and understanding the Word of God, especially when it comes to this area of holiness. Although I have spent a great deal of time on this article I now realize it's basically a life long work, and I will share with you only a small portion in hopes you will gain some help from any insights found in the following.
It's with an undeserving heart that I submit this article to you. It's my prayer that the truth that is embodied in this article will assist you in your deeper walk with the Lord as He perfects you wholly to be holy for Him. Holiness or sanctification is brought to fruition for the divine purpose enunciated in these words, "Ye shall be holy: for I am Holy."
Do most churches teach and preach sanctification or holiness? Is holiness or sanctification sought after as one of the most precious gifts a believer can obtain? Does the average "churchgoer" pray for holiness in his daily life? I submit to you that the answers to the aforementioned is no. So I ask you what I have entitled this article: Whatever Became of Holiness? I can answer in two words: It left.
I got my title from the famous book by Dr. Menninger, the famed psychiatrist from Kansas. I actually stayed in his son's house overnight when I was in VISTA back in the late 60's. Dr. Menninger's book was published in 1973 and his question of whatever became of sin should be asked even more loudly today. Along with the question of whatever happened to sin, I ask you this question: whatever became of holiness?
What we do today as "Christians" is the same as those who claim to follow the Lord have done for decades. It's the same thing the Children of Israel did in the Wilderness. They neither knew the Lord nor believed in the Lord. They didn't obey. "Only those who obey can believe, and only those who believe can obey." We can never be mature without holiness, otherwise it's an oxymoron. While it's true that only those who obey can believe, and those who believe can obey, it's also true that those who are truly mature will be holy and those who are truly holy will be truly mature. Holiness or sanctification is a total separation from the entangles of this world and a total connection to the Lord. Holiness is a separation from self and being joined totally to the Lord. Until we learn what holiness is and all that it entails we will remain immature infants at best, provided we are even born again.
There are a lot of home groups who say they pattern themselves after the Early Church. They claim they have the same "order of service" so to speak. Many seek after a pattern as well as the miracles, but they shun the discipline that was also prevalent in the early church, such as with Ananias and Sapphira. They want the miracles, but not the suffering. They want the gifts but not the command to be holy. They want the blessing without obedience. They want victory without the daily walk and all that walk entails.
Paths Straight and Not So Straight
Many of us have had our struggles. It has taken me years to learn basic Biblical truths. One fundamental truth that has taken me far too long to learn is that God is God and I am man. Unfortunately there are those who have yet to learn this central truth.
I have spent years unlearning false theology and religious church dogma. I was raised a Baptist and in fact I am quite thankful for many truths I was taught as a child growing up. Not everything I learned was true. I, like many of you had to unlearn a number of things.
When I would read my Bible, and it wasn't that often, I noticed there was something lacking not just in my own life, but in the lives of virtually everyone I saw at church. There seemed to be little if any realism. All I was told is that we all sin, we all are human and we just do the best we can. As I grew into a teenager nothing seemed to change. Yawn, yawn, go to church, fill a pew during revival week, buy a brick for the building fund, win an award for bringing the most to church on high attendance day and receive a little pin if you attended church without missing all year. (I think I received one of those pins). This was about the state of what was going on in the mid-sixties. Churches were being challenged with the music from the Beatles, an open view of sex, the so-called "New Morality", drugs, the Vietnam War, protest songs, rebellion, assassinations, moral dilemmas and so on and so forth. Now there were some solid men and women who to this day I wish I could parallel my life after. However, they were few and far between. I knew as a young boy, being raised in a Southern Baptist Church, that I found some things amiss. Some things were not right. A lot of my Baptist Church memories are mixed together, but for some strange reason business meetings stand out in my mind (let the reader understand). Let me assure you the Southern Baptist denomination was not the only group that was sick, but that was the group I knew the most about. At the age of nine with my limited knowledge of the Lord, I was saved and baptized. As a young boy I loved hearing about the Lord and I often would have church service with the kids in my neighborhood. I am sure they thought me a little strange but they would come just the same. I made it through my teens with neither great victories, nor great defeats - I merely survived.
When I reached my early twenties a new movement was sweeping our country. This new movement was called the "Jesus Movement". Now that movement, like most movements had its pros and cons. One thing it did for me was to help facilitate an excitement about the Lord again. In fact it generated a new excitement I had never had.
Church life was made up of mostly dry meetings until a revival meeting came and that excitement lasted a couple of weeks and then more mundane things began again. Oh, we had dinner on the ground, sweetheart banquets, January Bible Study, RA's, GA's, Sunday School, Training Union and of course business meetings. However, the Jesus movement had people even younger than myself who were excited about the Lord. Many had stopped putting drugs into their bodies and started putting the Word of God in their minds and hearts. A paradigm shift was definitely taking place. Young people were getting serious about the Lord and serious about not playing church. The phrase "Jesus freaks" was coined. It was during this time that I purchased a brand new copy of the Living Bible. I was overjoyed. First let me bring your attention to the fact that I basically showed up for class all through school, and reading was my least favorite activity, followed by the rest of the subjects. I had not at this time begun to take higher education or learning itself seriously. I read little of the Bible at this time. I did read my Sunday School lesson occasionally out of the Quarterly and the verses associated with it. By doing that I could check that little block on the envelope at Sunday School. But now I had a copy of the Living Bible which had a green cover and I thought that meant go and read, because that's just what I did. I found a new Bible, new growth and a new world with and in the Lord. I had a job that allowed me more than ample time to read. I would call my pastor whose name was also Jack. I would call Brother Jack at the office and ask all kinds of questions and he would patiently try to answer each one. I didn't realize he may have had more to do than try to answer all my theological inquires. The significance of all this is to say that I was growing in the Lord by reading out of my new Living Bible. I even carried it with me to restaurants and coffee shops, not for a show, but to read it whenever I would sit down. I loved reading His Word. I recall one such day, a day I will remember as long as I still have the ability to retain a thought. It must have been thirty years ago, however I can recall every detail as if it were moments ago. I walked into a coffee shop on Locust Street in Denton, Texas with my Living Bible in anticipation of having a few minutes with the Lord. I saw a thin red-headed man sitting at a table drinking a cup of coffee and of all things reading his Bible. Praise God!!! A brother reading the Word. He was older than me perhaps by ten or 15 years. I waved and greeted him: "I see you're reading the Word" in anticipation he might invite me down to fellowship or at least give me a warm friendly return to my greeting. I was excited to see another man reading the Bible. Surely this was a holy man. I was ecstatic. I will never forget his words. I will carry them to my grave or until the Lord returns. When I said, "I see you're reading the Word" he looked up at me and then at my Living Bible and then glared and said: "Yeah, but you're not." His red face got redder and the veins around his forehead became more distinct. For what seemed like hours but I am sure only a couple of minutes, he instructed me in his own brand of corrosive theology that what I was reading was trash and only the King James Bible 1611 was the Word of God. I thought I had just as well had a Playboy magazine in my hand after listening to his jarring rebuke. Now what he said had some words of truth, but his venomous spirit destroyed his point as well as me, and I walked away dazed, shocked and bewildered. I still remember that sinking feeling and looking around for the truck that just ran over me.
We who think ourselves as having truth had better examine ourselves to see if the Spirit of God dwells in us and not only head knowledge. Head knowledge without true Holy Spirit reality is a recipe to produce a mercenary.
My walk with the Lord continued and I grew but like most people it was up and down, straight and not so straight.
In 1975 I became pastor of a small church in Oklahoma. This Church was about twenty miles from Chickasha, Oklahoma. I didn't understand the most rudimentary forms of homiletics, I didn't even know what the word meant. All I knew was how to pray. I probably got on average of three to four hours per day in prayer and meditation. I would lay prostrate on the floor and cry out to the Lord for help and insight. I would lay hands on each pew and beseech the Lord to minister to whoever would sit there. The Lord really manifested Himself in my life and in those who sought the Lord with me. I had a ministry to the so-called rough society, the un-churched, the impoverished, the deprived and those who were not necessarily welcomed in the church. Those became my flock. By God's grace I was able to reach many. Now hear the deception that almost destroyed me. We baptized a lot of people and we were even recognized by the Southern Baptist State Board. We were number two out of our association in baptizing people, and number 22 per ratio in baptizing people in the State of Oklahoma. I became so presumptuous and full of myself that I thought I had something to do with this. I was now getting three or four hours in sermon preparation daily and very little in prayer if any. I began to work on voice tone. I wanted to be like the older preacher in Chickasha. They had baptized only two the entire year, but I wanted his ministry or at least his recognition. I deserved it! I thought. Little did I realize that I held the sword that would spirituality slit the throats of those I once ministered to. The greatest danger to any professing believer in Yeshua is spiritual pride. A little head knowledge mixed with a little success can be a recipe for death to your spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of others. I will not go into what happened over the course of the next several years, for sharing sin can oftentimes glorify it. Although my sin was great God's forgiveness and grace was even greater. God allowed me to repent. The blood of Yeshua will cleanse from all, all, all sin, if we will acknowledge our sin and repent. My biggest regret is the others I have hurt and wounded, and although forgiveness does occur so do the consequences. I make no excuses. The sin of pride, my sin of pride has scarred many. I am thankful the Lord removed me before worse damage occurred, which I am sure would have.
Although I have had crooked paths I now have a better understanding and appreciation of Hebrews 12:13, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. NAS
A Cry of Warning
I can say with all honesty that my desire is for the Lord and Him alone. I regret most profoundly the hurt I caused other brothers and sisters, some who were young in the Lord, and this is why I cry out to you. I say most profoundly, especially to those who claim to know the Lord, and most assuredly to those of you who are teachers, pastors, evangelists and the like. Guard against spiritual pride. Don't wait for Yahweh God to bring you down, for the fall may be long and hard.
If you are truly holy you will be truly humble. If you are truly humble you will be truly holy. I say to you in the name of Yeshua: guard against spiritual pride. It will send you to hell as quick or quicker than anything I know. Once you think you're somebody, the most merciful thing God can do is to bring you down. If one falls into this deadly sin one should pray and repent before the revelation of Obadiah 4 comes to reality, Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. KJV
The worse kind of pride one can have is spiritual pride and some never recover from this deadly snare.
Our churches are full of shepherds full of themselves shepherding sheep full of themselves and everyone wonders why there are so many church splits. A Church can't hold people full of themselves. Voice after voice exalting self instead of the Holy God. We build big buildings and big names.
However, these voices are not just in our churches but they fill the air ways with their prideful teachings. Their teaching is not only filled with the poison wind of false doctrine but fueled with the deadly force of pride. The religious television reeks with this pride and false teaching. These voices are not just on television but radio also. They are on short wave and regular radio alike. One sure way to detect a false prophet is to listen to who is being exalted. Do they exalt themselves or God? Do they enjoy giving titles of superiority to themselves or take on a role of a servant?
Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matt. 20:28 ( NAS).
Power has destroyed many true men of God. Power and money have taken many captive and they remain in these chains and are being dragged to hell itself. Power perhaps more than money has destroyed many, many true men of God. Pride can raise his head of authority over others only to sever the heads from the ones they are trying to control. Pride can clothe itself in many garments. One can look holy on the outside but inside you find a cesspool. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27 NAS.
A holy man or woman will have perfect love and a servant's heart. The real power of perfect love will forget itself and find its blessing in blessing others. Where perfect love enters, there God is. When God abides, humility thrives and pride is destroyed. Itís one of the saddest events of all. A man of God begins to have responsibility, and as his ministry grows so does his pride. Soon you can no longer see the original man because of his pride.
I recall the story of two preachers. One was old and well in years. The other just out of the seminary, perhaps in his mid-twenties. They discussed deep theological matters. The older was more than willing to pass on all that he had learned to the younger. When they were about to adjourn the older pastor lit up a pipe. The younger not only rebuked him but did it in a sarcastic and prideful way. He said, "I can't believe you are smoking - you should know better, as for me I have never even tasted tobacco." The older replied, "You're right young man. Smoking is wrong, but I wonder which is the worse, my smoking or you being so proud you don't."
Pride can never, never walk with holiness. Pride always will come before the fall. Many who warn others not to fall away may have fallen away themselves, or they will certainly fall away lest they repent. Sin is not satisfied with being childless but wants to multiply itself tenfold. When one is full of pride one is devoid of the Holy Spirit. Instead of the Holy Spirit being their guide they are driven by their own lust. When one is driven by his own lust one will not only destroy himself but a throng of others. It's a travesty that some of these men will even speak of repentance and holiness and they are the antitheses of both repentance and holiness. However when one repents we must be quick to forgive him even if we have been deeply hurt from his sin.
My Closing Thought
Now let me make a parenthetical shift. Let me go back to the question of the title of this message. When I asked whatever became to holiness, the answer is: It left. It left a long time ago. As a whole our churches would rather debate than do the Word of God. We get all worked up over gender roles but don't care in the least about the blatant sins in the temple. There are those who fight tooth and toenail over the women's leadership role in the church but will roll their eyes when one speaks of righteous living and holiness. The laodicean mindset is far-reaching and has infected many. The women's movement has done great harm to our churches and if you are caught up in this you need to pray that you are not being deceived by the trickery of satan. Today we even debate if homosexuals should have roles of leadership or not. Sin is no longer sin and holiness is no more. God help us. Churches in America are anything but holy. The American Church is in trouble. We must preach repentance, holiness and righteous living before it is too late.
But what is holiness? It's total separation from the world and total allegiance to the Almighty God. It is knowing God, believing God and acting that out by obedience. It is God who makes you holy and you maintain that holiness by living out your holiness by your faith in Him moment by moment day by day as you serve Him.
God is the only one who can make something or someone holy. We must believe and we must obey. Has not a song been written in the year 1921 by J.H. Sammis, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey." "To obey is greater than sacrifice." However it is only God who makes us holy and all our actions are in vain without His divine presence. When Moses met the Lord on the Mountain of God, The Lord said: "Moses, Moses! Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is Holy ground." God was about to make known who He was and what His name was. However it was God's presence that made it Holy ground. It is God who makes anything holy. It was Holy ground because God had come there and occupied it. Where God is there is absolute holiness. God is set apart as God. He alone is who He is. When we are holy we are set aside to be in Him. God will sanctify you and make you holy if you allow Him to dwell and rule in your life. What do you think the Exodus was all about? It was about knowing God. When Pharaoh answered Moses and Aaron "who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides I will not let Israel go." Pharaoh was more honest than many churchgoers. The truth is Pharaoh was not the only one who didn't know the Lord. The Egyptians didn't know the Lord nor did the children of Israel know the Lord. When one really knows the Lord one will obey the Lord. One will want to keep His laws and not debate them.
Brothers and sisters without a return to true holiness we are doomed to disaster. Without holiness we can't even see the Lord. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (KJV). We as a people, we as a Church must once again recapture what it means to have the fear of the Lord which will lead to holiness. We have people in the church who have the audacity to try to tell God what to do. We must fear Him - and rid ourselves of all, all, all filthiness. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God 2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV. You cannot enter into holiness without first the fear of the Lord.
There is much that awaits us, there is more on the horizon than anyone wants to know and unless we start to take God at His word we are doomed.
The Islamic religion is as deadly as it is false and seeks to destroy both Jews and Christians. Their agenda is strong and sure and we must be equipped if we are going to survive. Islam will become more and more accepted and true Christianity less and less. Wars and rumors of wars will increase: Pakistan and India, China and Taiwan, the United States and Russia and perhaps China. Things could cool down or heat up but be assured of this - tensions are boiling in various strategic countries and their running over will be devastating. Immorality, and all sorts of perversion have made their way into our schools, homes and many of our churches. Even if you do not want to think about it we will indeed go through the great tribulation and we need to pray we will not fail the test as the Children of Israel did in the Wilderness. Perilous times are indeed ahead. Let me say something I believe as much as anything I preach and teach. It will be the Christian who is truly set apart and obeys the Word of the Lord who will be persecuted. It will be the religious crowd who will set their faces against the true believer and side with a beast government headed by the anti-Messiah.
We must meet Him and seek Him and abide in Him if we are to be holy. It is a must to spend quality time with Yahweh God to ever know who He is. I urge you to invest quality time with the Lord and let Him teach you holiness. In ourselves we can only sin.
What I Do
My most precious time is when I begin my day. I go immediately to the ministry room where I wait on the Lord. I have a simple method. I wait. Much of the time I listen to a praise tape by Chuck Girard. This is truly a real praise tape. Chuck Girard is a singer who is far from the commercial sound, he just worships the Lord and you can worship with him. I sit there in the dark and just wait. I sit in the early morning and meet the Lord. Then I pray and then read in His word. Later Barb will come in and we start our day praying together. After that I listen to teaching tapes. I have been tremendously blessed studying the Torah. I have been listening to teaching tapes on the Torah with Monte Judah, who is in my opinion one of the most gifted Torah teachers around and his life backs up his ability. I suppose as I journey on in my walk I lean more and more to the Messianic teaching but I am too far away for any fellowship with other Messianic believers. However I enjoy these teachings that have led me into a deeper understanding of the Messiah.
All through the day I fill my mind with the Word, good teaching, good music, and a constant communication with Him but when I walk away from that, defeat awaits me. I try to spend every thinking moment with my mind on Him. When my mind does wander I bring it back to where it should be. These are just things I do. It's a road map that has worked for me. However, itís the Lord's presence that makes me anything good. We must meet with the Lord and invite Him in. Do not neglect your morning watch. Do not neglect your time with the Lord if you expect to be holy.
Shall we not pray: Oh Holy God, only You are truly Holy. My nothingness humbles me and only in You am I holy. Only when I abide in You am I anything. Lord make me what You wish as I submit to You and You alone. Help me Lord and give me the life You have to offer. I want to be holy but without You I can do nothing.
I only have as much holiness as I have of You, Oh God. Unless You dwell in me there is no holiness. I remember the words of your Son, "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Oh Mighty Lord, You alone are truly holy. Yet You call us to be holy. Unless You be our holiness we can never obtain it or even the understanding of the word let alone the action of it. Let us hear You calling us to be holy and by faith in You and You alone become holy. O Holy Father, I bow myself before You and do with me as You wish as I submit totally to You and You alone. Let Your words be true and ring deep in my heart. Be holy for I AM Holy. Amen.
God's call to holiness is a call to Himself. "Remember only he that believes can obey and only he who obeys believes."
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem