Themes of Holiness from Kevin DeYoung’s Book – A Hole in Our Holiness

Holiness is such an broad subject to consider. In preparing for our upcoming conference The Highway of HolinessI’ve spent a lot of time reading through Kevin DeYoung’s book – A Hole in Our HolinessHere are just a few of the many quotes from the book which really stuck out to me:

Holy Son, Holy Word, Holy Spirit:
There’s no question holiness is one of the central themes in the Bible. The word “holy” occurs more than 600 times in the Bible, more than 700 when you include derivative words like holiness, sanctify, and sanctification. You can’t make sense of the Bible without understanding that God is holy and that this holy God is intent on making a holy people to live with him forever in a holy heaven. The whole system of Israel’s worship revolves around holiness. That’s why you have holy people (the priests), with holy clothes, in a holy land (Canaan), at a holy place (tabernacle/ temple), using holy utensils and holy objects, celebrating holy days, living by a holy law, so that they might be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.1

The World Opposes Holiness:
The world stands for everything that opposes the will of God. In its simplest form, this means “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions” (1 John 2:16 mg.). Or to put it another way, worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.7 Some nations and cultures are better than others, but in every society there is a principle of Babylon that makes war against the children of God (Revelation 17–18).1

No Joy Without the Pursuit of Holiness:
When we keep Christ’s commandments, we love him. And when we love Christ, the Father loves us. And whomever the Father loves, Christ loves and reveals himself to them (John 14:21). So, there is no abiding in Christ’s love apart from keeping Christ’s commandments (John 15:10). Which means there is no fullness of joy apart from the pursuit of holiness (v. 11).1

DeYoung, Kevin (2014-01-31). The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness (p. 31, 37, 54). Crossway. Kindle Edition. 

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Holiness Flows from Affections Fixed on Jesus Christ



Jason Dohm is a speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he talks about what holiness really is, and what it looks like in the life of the believer.

What I’m fighting against is the first thing coming to mind being self-righteousness. A lot of people, when they hear the word “holiness” that’s what they think of. In other words, they think of it badly, it makes them nervous ’cause it sort of makes it seem like self-righteousness which everybody knows we’re not supposed to have.

Holiness is really simply, just being set apart for God, being completely God’s, being His, being available to do His will at all times. This is to come from a heart of love. It is our duty to be holy, but really what we desire is for it to be an overflow of affection for God, God has laid claim to our highest affections. In fact, if you look at what Jesus says in Luke chapter 14, He says: “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and his children, his brother and sister, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus in saying that, lays claim to our highest affections.

Hearts that love Jesus must want to be just set aside, set apart to do whatever it is that He’s pleased with. This is the nature of holiness, it flows from a life whose affections are fixed on Jesus, and that leads to wanting to be set apart for Him.

To hear more from Jason Dohm, please consider joining us later this month in Asheville NC for the Highway of Holiness conference. Geoff will be giving a message entitled: J.C. Ryle’s Classic: “Holiness”.

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A Highway of Holiness for the People of God

In Isaiah 57:13-21, the prophet is piling up imagery to help us understand the contrast between those who trust in their idols to get them by and those who trust in God. We all go somewhere for medicine and food.

In the previous context of Isaiah 57:1-12, Isaiah has been pronouncing doom on those who maintain an outward religion, but behind their doors, they are hiding their idolatries. The Lord has called these religious people who do their duties on the sabbath, “dumb dogs,” blind watchmen, “offspring of sorcerers,”  and “greedy…” He has told them that their idols will forsake them, and in our text last Sunday, Isaiah 57:13-21,  the Lord declares His sovereign power to change some of them. He changes their hearts, heals them, leads them, comforts them and alters their speech. He will change some of them so dramatically, that instead of continuing in their former fakery, they experience a total transformation where they begin to say, “Heap it up, Heap it  up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling block out of the way of my people.” Here in this section Isaiah shows us what happens to those whom God changes – they start speaking things that they never did before… they rise up and build, and restore by calling all around them to, Heap it up, Heap it up.” In other words: rebuild. This explains why God has left His people on the earth, so that we build up the highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35).

He is speaking of the power of the gospel that is exercised at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant era. The apostle Peter and Paul both refer to that, Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near.” At the same time there will remain those without peace, they are “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest.” 

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The Message of the Gospel



Geoff Botkin is a speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he talks about the Gospel and the effect it has on culture.

The Church has a message that can sanctify the entire world, change the entire world, convert the entire world. The power of the Gospel message can benefit even the unregenerate, who are stubborn in their hearts. If they’re living in a culture and a society which has been touched by the love of the Gospel and the power of the Gospel, they will begin to learn a standard of righteousness and holiness that’s insisted on by the King of kings and Lord of lords. They no longer obey their witch doctors or their local tribal chieftens. They submit themeslves and even bow the knee to a higher authority: Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Gospel of the kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes so much more than just a simple little Gospel message. It is all the edicts and the way that the Word was used in the first century, and the Lord Jesus Christ chose His words very carefully. The Gospel of the kingdom is the Gospel of the laws and the edicts, all the prouncements – every single statute which the Lord Jesus represents gives us His standard of holiness, and this is part of our Gospel message. When it sweeps over and overwhelms entire cultures, we’re baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We’re giving them this vision of how they can come out from slavery to sin, and be released from that into slavery to righteousness and freedom in the law of Christ.

To hear more from Geoff Botkin, please consider joining us later this month in Asheville NC for the Highway of Holiness conference. Geoff will be giving a message entitled: How God Measures National Holiness.

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Everything Flows From Your View of God



Please accept our invitation to our 2015 National Conference – “The Highway of Holiness.” Using Isaiah 35:8-10 as our touchstone, we will unfold the doctrines of the holiness of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. After laying this foundation, we will then explain how the holiness of God relates to various aspects of our lives here on earth, for these great doctrines have wonderful practical applications. You will learn about progressive sanctification, wrong views of holiness and sanctification, the means of sanctification, and how holiness relates to family relationships, work, stewardship and the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Everything flows from your view of God. Do you view God as holy? Do you view everything that is of Him as beautiful? That is absolutely the most defining aspect of all of life. Everything hinges on your view of God, wether you believe He is holy or not, and wether or not you believe that holiness is beauty, that holiness always brings forth happiness. That is the most defining issue in all of life. Who is God? We want to try to capture the beauty of His holiness at this conference. I hope you can join us!

 

Learn More and Register to Attend

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Young Couples Retreat in Texas! – Registration Now Open



Registration for the Getting the Picture Right marriage retreat is officially open. This event will take place January 1-2 in the home of my friend Michael Moody in Georgetown Texas. This is an event for couples who have been married for seven years or less, and we are limiting it to only 20 couples, so don’t wait too long to register!

There is no cost for registration, and food will be provided throughout the duration of the event. Also if you need a place to stay please contact us and we will work to arrange for someone to host you. For more information, and to register for the conference, go to the event page for Getting the Picture Right

I hope to see you there!

 

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Our Part in Our Own Sanctification



Marcus Serven is a speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he talks about the synergistic work of sanctification as compared to the monergistic work of justification.

One of the key texts that talks about this interplay between holiness and also knowing that you are complete in Christ is this one from Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says: 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” 

The interesting dynamic in that text, is that you have Paul making an exhortation that you are to work out your own salvation, and if that’s all that he said you would get the impression that it’s all up to you. You have to make the effort, you have to grow, reform yourself, change yourself, put off the old man and put on the new. But then he goes on to say that not only do you make efforts, but God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 

That’s the wonderful dynamic of sanctification. You work and God works. In that respect, whereas justification is a single effort, it’s monergistic in the sense that only God does it. He changes you and declares that you are no longer under His judgment. In contrast, sanctification is synergistic. The Holy Spirit is working in you, but you’re cooperating in this whole effort, you’re working out your salvation in fear and trembling.

It’s an interesting tension point in sanctification, you’re making efforts as you’re convicted of your own sin, you’re making resolutions, you’re going to change your speech, have different values, live a different way, use your money differently, submit your future to the Lord – all these human resolutions. But God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. That brings out the cooperative nature in sanctification, and I think this is one of the key texts to understand sanctification properly. 

To learn more about this subject, please consider joining us next month in Asheville, NC, to hear Marcus’ message titled: Definitive And Progressive Sanctification.

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Our Part in Our Own Sanctification



Marcus Serven is a speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he talks about the synergistic work of sanctification as compared to the monergistic work of justification.

One of the key texts that talks about this interplay between holiness and also knowing that you are complete in Christ is this one from Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says: 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” 

The interesting dynamic in that text, is that you have Paul making an exhortation that you are to work out your own salvation, and if that’s all that he said you would get the impression that it’s all up to you. You have to make the effort, you have to grow, reform yourself, change yourself, put off the old man and put on the new. But then he goes on to say that not only do you make efforts, but God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 

That’s the wonderful dynamic of sanctification. You work and God works. In that respect, whereas justification is a single effort, it’s monergistic in the sense that only God does it. He changes you and declares that you are no longer under His judgment. In contrast, sanctification is synergistic. The Holy Spirit is working in you, but you’re cooperating in this whole effort, you’re working out your salvation in fear and trembling.

It’s an interesting tension point in sanctification, you’re making efforts as you’re convicted of your own sin, you’re making resolutions, you’re going to change your speech, have different values, live a different way, use your money differently, submit your future to the Lord – all these human resolutions. But God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. That brings out the cooperative nature in sanctification, and I think this is one of the key texts to understand sanctification properly. 

To learn more about this subject, please consider joining us next month in Asheville, NC, to hear Marcus’ message titled: Definitive And Progressive Sanctification.

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How Sanctification Works



Dan Horn is a speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he explains how God, as a kind father, works in the lives of every one of His children to make them a holy people.

Is it possible for someone to be justified, but not very sanctified? Well in a sense, none of us are very sanctified. All of us are sinners, all of us continue to have sin that’s manifest in our lives. I think that I’m a much worse sinner when I look at myself now, than when I looked at myself 20 years ago, even though I can see that God has freed me from many sins, but many things that I consider serious sins, I wouldn’t have considered to be sins at all 20 years ago. In this sense, no one is very sanctified.

In another sense, God says He scourges every single son He receives. There is not one who is not sanctified by God the father. He is a father to His adopted children, and when we say that He does not constrain evil, but lets you continue to run in the same path, what you’re saying is that God is a horrible father. – That’s blasphemy. God is not a horrible father. He trains every child he receives. Every son he adopts, He treats as a son. He constrains their evil, He purges them, cleanses them, and moves them along the path towards righteousness.

To hear more from Dan Horn, please consider joining us next month in Asheville, NC, at the Highway of Holiness conference.

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How to Take Dominion

Yesterday I took our interns to Mt. Vernon, the home of President George Washington. The objective was to instruct our interns on how to take dominion by learning from a great mentor – George Washington.

It is a joy to do this as it gives me an opportunity to speak of some of the important things that young men can learn from Washington. His courage, faith, family life, industry, and many other qualities are such good examples for these young men. Here are a few of the areas I identified:

  • He took dominion over his entire demeanor. We studied his Rules of Civility, which explain his objectives.
  • He took incremental dominion over his house and land. He practiced what I call, Incremental Dominion, taking one step at a time using what he had. The way he built his house was by starting with a small, one-story home and expanding it into the 9,000 square-foot mansion as it came to be. That is incremental dominion.
  • He took dominion over his disposition. We noted his confidence in God and how it made him fearless in battle, and even appreciative of the sound of bullets flying by his head.
  • He took dominion over his mind. Though he felt he had a defective education, he was a reader and learner.
  • He took dominion over his resources. He was ever expanding what he had rather than holding.
  • He took dominion over his schedule. He went to bed promptly at 9:00, rose at 5:00, and ate breakfast at 7:00 and dinner promptly at 3:00.

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The Kind of Civil Leaders We Need Today

Today I’m taking the NCFIC interns and my family to my Vernon. As we enter into the season of political races and decisions about who to vote for, the most important consideration is, “What does the Bible say about what qualifies a civil leader?” I saw an illustration of this while at Mt. Vernon at the grave of Bushrod Washington, the President’s nephew. He was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice from 1798 to 1829. This is the kind of civil leader the Bible says we should promote. Here is what was written on his grave stone:

As a Judge, he was
Wise and Just.
“A man of Truth, hating
covetousness.”
Firm in every honour-
-able purpose and pursuit.
Yet gentle, humane and
condescending.
A sincere Christian.
Doing in all things the
will of his Master.
And resting his hope of
eternal happiness.
Alone on the righteousness
of Jesus Christ.

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What’s So Bad About Sin?



Kevin Swanson is a keynote speaker at our upcoming conference The Highway of Holiness. In this video, he contrasts the dreadful effects of sin, with the joy and blessing of the fruits of the Spirit. As Christians, we should enjoy walking in holiness.

Sin is not enjoyable, it ruins every part of our lives. Sin is corrupting, but when we receive the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the spirit, it’s a wonderful, joyful, beautiful experience to walk in the Spirit, rather than walking in the flesh. This is where we want to be as Christians.

To learn more about this subject, please consider joining us next month in Asheville, NC, to hear Kevin’s message titled: Killing The Deeds Of The Flesh – Romans 8:13

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Laying Hold of Sabbath Joy



On Sunday, I preached on Isaiah 56:1-8, Laying Hold of Sabbath Joy, where the Lord speaks of an in-gathering of believers to a new and happy community of obedient sons and daughters who have experienced the joy of the mountain of the lord, obeying His commandments. In this section, God explains various benefits of the expanding sabbath worship. He tells us that the celebration of the sabbath is one way He brings justice and righteousness to the world. This happens as we come together to observe Sabbath worship, re-calibrating our minds and refashioning our perspectives on all things. People are gathered. Eunuchs get a family, foreigners get companionship and outcasts are enfolded.

As a result, justice is preserved and joy is increased. The Sabbath is meant to be a day of delight (Isa 58:13-14) as reflected in Psalm 118:24 which is a prophesy of the resurrection of Christ and the church celebrating the sabbath on resurrection day, “This is the day the LORD has made; / We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). 

Here are seventeen considerations for joyful Sabbath celebration:

  • See the goodness of the Lord
  • Sanctify the day 
  • Draw near to God in sincerity and truth
  • Cry out to God
  • Re-focus your thoughts
  • Re-order your perspectives by the majesty of God.
  • Capture time in a more beautiful way
  • Stop creating and be re-created
  • Heal and be healed
  • Pray
  • Taste and see that the Lord is good
  • Consider heaven
  • Hear from God
  • Remember the peace and joy of the Kingdom of Heaven
  • Use it for justice and righteousness
  • Avoid both antinomian and legalistic extremes
  • Prepare for the Sabbath 

If you are interested in learning more on the doctrine of the Sabbath, go to the NCFIC store to download A Day for Delight, which contains several sermons on this topic.

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Latest Video on Planned Parenthood



Here is the latest video from The Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood. The church needs to stand up and spread the word about this. “Open your mouth for the speechless, / In the cause of all who are appointed to die” (Proverbs 31:8).

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Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference



It is our privilege to invite you to join us at the Freedom 2015 National Religious Liberties Conference on November 6-7 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Friends of NCFIC registering by October 15 will receive a special rate of $79 — 60% off the regular price of $199 (use coupon code: NCFIC).

Family freedoms have not fared well over the last eight years during the Obama administration. Religious liberty is under attack like never before. The recent Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case is a clear example of our country’s animosity towards families who hold to Christian beliefs and desire to pass this faith on to their children.

As we look at the 2016 presidential elections, we must send a strong message to our leaders that family and religious liberties are of utmost importance. But even more importantly, this is the time for us to prepare our hopeful, optimistic response to the growing opposition we face.

Come to the Freedom 2015 conference to get equipped, educated and encouraged by national speakers, and fellowship and network with other Christians!

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