T4G 2018 Session 1 Notes

Mark Dever

Holiness Together

 

God is holy.

God calls us to be holy.

But in a fallen world, it is hard to be holy.

The world does not like us or our message.

At times, the church in the past has defended sin as virtue—slavery, etc.

We are tempted to hypocrisy.

Many of us do not seem interested in God.

We show we are more interested in what God can do for us rather than who God is.

Romans 6:7 tells us we are freed from sin.

We are free to live holy.

We are freed from the bitter taskmaster that is sin.

 

The local church is not only the focus of our alternative life that we live, it is also the means God has given us to live that alternative life.

 

Point 1: Commit yourself to preach through the Bible.

The way to make sure you keep preaching the gospel is that you keep preaching the Bible.

We only get the message of the gospel from outside of ourselves, from the revealed word of God.

Nobody would have ever thought up the message of the gospel.

Preaching through the whole Bible makes sure that we do not end up with a gospel that is misshapen.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable.

Jesus told his disciples to teach people to obey all he has commanded.

We must teach doctrine and practice.

 

Point 2: Emphasize what the Bible teaches about God.

We need to teach people about the Holy One if they are to be excited about holiness.

Holiness is godliness, being like God in our character.

Romans 3:25-ff

Why did God send Jesus and save people?

He did so to demonstrate his own righteousness.

Jesus came to die and rescue people because God loves himself—yes he loves us, but the Scripture shows us that this is about the glory of God first.

God’s righteousness is the moral core of his character.

God wants his righteousness to be known.

That is clear in the entire storyline of the Bible.

And in that, we get wisdom as to what we are to be like as we better know what God is like.

We want to keep God before the minds of our hearers.

The world is constantly conspiring to erase the truth of God from our minds.

The Old Testament constantly tells God’s people to remember.

Why? Because we constantly forget.

 

Point 3: Emphasize how you become a Christian and what it means to be one.

How do we teach them to avoid false teaching?

We have to teach them the true gospel.

We need to share the gospel like we see in the Bible if we want to see conversions like we see in the Bible.

The holiness of the local church should both intrigue and convict someone who visits but who does not know Christ.

 

Point 4: Teach Christians to commit to love.

We are not telling you just to love, but to commit to love each other.

Help your members to cultivate the desire to love God’s people.

God loves his people.

We are not, in and of ourselves, loveable; yet God loves us.

When we are saved, we are reoriented.

We get a new ability to love the people of God.

We begin to love more like Christ loves.

We love because he first loved us.

The commitment to love Christians, especially our own local church, helps us to love those we would not be predisposed to love on our own.

Church covenants matter here.

We promise before God and each other to love and care for each other.

 

If you know all about good theology, but it does not change the way you act toward other Christians, you are not saved.

 

Point 5: Pray that we are more concerned about our members than the number of our members.

In the parable of the lost sheep, would we care about the one who wandered away if we got a few more to come in?

Our work does not end when somebody joins our church. That is often when our work begins.

 

Point 6: Teach the congregation that they must choose between hypocrisy and church discipline.

You will have either, but you cannot have neither.

Church discipline is all the ways that we teach each other.

It is formative, as we learn from each other.

It is corrective, as we call people to repentance.

The Lord’s Supper forces this question upon us.

Church discipline is the antidote that the Lord has given us for hypocrisy.

Failing at church discipline means our church misrepresents God.

As a Congregation, we have to choose holiness that calls us to repent.

Hypocrisy – You will tolerate unrepentant sin.

 

Point 7: Teach the church how to find the right pastors.

Pastors are not best identified by resumes, personality inventories, business practices, or weekend assessments.

They are best attested by pastors who know them and who are respected by the church.

Holiness is best seen over time.

It is our role as pastors to teach the church what a pastor is.

Today’s sermons are preparing your members to pick tomorrow’s pastors.

Help those who show a desire to enter ministry.

Train them. Send them to seminary, raise them up for service in your church or in another.

No decent pastor you know is self-made.

The world is taught to connect authority to authoritarian.

Satan’s trick is to tell us that God cannot tell you no without saying he does not love you.

The world believes that no means you do not love me.

But this is not the way of God.

 

Point 8: Pray publicly and specifically about hopes and problems

Prayerlessness is self-confidence.

We need to show our understanding of our weakness.

We teach our congregations by what we pray about every Sunday.

How do we reorient our people by prayer?

Praise God.

Confess sins.

Pray for the regular preaching of God’s word.

Pray for people of other people groups to be saved.

Pray for missionaries.

Is the image your church projects only one of strength and progress?

Spend so much time praying in the service that the people who only pretend to believe in God get bored.

 

Point 9: Explain how holiness does not compete with missions but is essential to missions.

The self-denial that is cultivated in holiness is necessary for missions.

We must learn not to sacrifice missions to our own comforts, and this is the same self-denial.

Your most important contribution to others is your knowing God in a way that makes you different from others.

A church that tolerates the unholiness of unrepentant sin today is a church that will not be sending missionaries tomorrow.

 

If you are not at odds with sin, you are not at home with Jesus.

WE have to be humble and hopeful.

Holiness must not become a threat to us or a license for a legalistic  pride.

Start with humility.

Church members are dear to us because they are dear to Jesus.

Let this make you be hopeful.

Let your identity be taken, not from sin you still fight, but from the promised holiness that is coming.