Is Holiness Relevant For Today?

God’s command to the Israelites was, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (Lev 20:7). Yet, the same command is repeated in the New Testament to born again believers, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness was not just for the Old Testament people of God.

imageHoliness is important to God. In fact, holiness is the very essence of who God is.

So what does holiness mean? The basic meaning of the word holiness is to be ‘set apart’ or dedicated to God.

Sadly, being holy is not discussed very often in churches today because it seems to be outdated and too challenging to live out. It’s important to understand that holiness is not just a matter of what I do or don’t do which would then qualify me as being holy or not.

In fact, I believe obeying certain guidelines and rules would be ‘easier’ than actually having to explore what is inside of me in striving for holiness. Our Pastor mentioned the other day the Bible verse, our ‘heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?’ (Jer 17:9). That is where holiness occurs…in our heart…our mind, will and emotions.

So in our pursuit of holiness, examining our heart against God’s holiness is the right place to start. God’s holiness is found in the Bible. When you start to read on the subject of holiness in the Bible, you see that holiness is much more than just being morally pure.  Morality is certainly part of holiness but that is not all that it is.

Holiness for you and I as believers is demonstrated through our day to day lives; our day to day behaviours including our thinking patterns.

God requires you and I to be set apart from the world. I don’t believe this means going and living on a compound somewhere away from society but rather that we live in the world by God’s standards and not the world’s standards. Marching to the beat of God’s drum rather than this world’s drum. In fact, when Jesus was on earth, He totally went against what the accepted religious believers lived and taught at that time. He was set apart.

If I am set apart – who am I set apart from?  God is asking you and I to be set apart from the value system of this world. So much of what the world projects today is self interest, self preservation and self promotion. Yet, the holiness that God teaches us is so different from this. God’s holiness teaches us to ‘in love prefer one another’ (Rom 12:1), ‘deny yourself’ (Mat 16:24) and ‘humble yourself before God’ (James 4:10).

Holiness is not like a garment that you can put on but rather it is something that is cultivated in our lives through the choices we make.  Choosing to spend time in prayer every day; reading and meditating on the Word of God every day; forgiving others; fellowshipping with other believers are the foundation of holiness.

Why is holiness so important?  Firstly, because holiness is important to God, it needs to be important to me.  I love God and I desire to obey His Word and please Him.

HolinessSecondly, the Bible says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” (Heb 12:14).  So cultivating holiness in my life is imperative if I desire to be saved.

I don’t want to be like the Pharisees – Jesus said of them, “Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness,” (Mat 23:27).

I don’t just want to look the part on the outside but I want to be full of life (God’s power) and clean (through His righteousness) from the inside out!  How is that possible?  By allowing the Lord to cultivate in me His character.

Am I truly set apart from this world and dedicated to God and His Kingdom?  An interesting question to ask ourselves, don’t you think?

This is a post from Jena Grech, the Assistant Pastor of The Pentecostals of Sydney and author of “Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction”

End Times

We are definitely seeing a time of rapid change and great social and political upheaval right across the world. With our country having just had a Federal election, we wait to see what changes it may bring about.

Oly 3

Germany in the 1920’s under the Weimar Republic went through a period of cultural renaissance and a rise in social liberalism. Berlin gained a reputation for decadence. Such luminaries at the time like Dr Magnus Hirschfield promoted such things as transgenderism, nudism, and challenged sexual norms and taboos. However this new social liberalism and moral decay helped create social backlash and the perfect environment for a just as harmful movement to rise, fascism. Excess and licentiousness soon gave way to poverty and despair as the depression spread across the globe. The Nazis utilised the frustration and despair experienced by many Germans to help bring them to power and inflict their evil regime under Adolph Hitler.

Likewise before the fall of Rome in 476 AD, Rome experienced a period of great wealth, excess but also great moral decay, with sexual sin in particular reaching a high water mark. Soon after it all came crashing down as Rome not only experienced invasion by Goths but Rome also dismantled internally.

Just like in Germany in the 1920’s and Rome before it fell 1600 years ago, our global society is seeing a period of comparative decadence and moral decay.

Here are three scripture concerning the Endtimes and second coming of Christ that I will highlight as they show that we are very likely living in the Endtimes.

  1. Mark 13:10 – “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” (see also Matthew 24:14)

The Gospel will be preached in every nation before the second coming of Christ.

globe-1130870_960_720When Jesus spoke these words 2000 years ago his audience did not know the existence of much of the world. They did not even know the existence of the continents of North America, South America and Australia. They had no idea about much of sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Asia and any of the Pacific islands. In fact it was only in the last 200 years that it was even possible for the Gospel to be preached to every nation, as people’s across the world began to come into contact with each other for the first time in thousands of years.

Today however Jesus’s prophecy has possibly already been fulfilled. The rise of the internet could also be the very vehicle that makes it possible for the Gospel to have been preached in every nation virtually.

  1. Daniel 12:4 – “…even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”

In ancient times the largest library on earth was the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, yet the books contained in that library could not compare to the billions of pages of information available to billions of people on earth through the Internet. Knowledge today is so accessible to so many. It is so quick and so cheap to access. However less than 100 years ago, only the very rich could boast of possessing more than 100 books in their own personal library.

Much of the world 2000 years ago could not even read or write let alone have access to the information anyone in the world could have access to. Knowledge has definitely increased exponentially not just in the last 2000 years but in the last 20 years.

Also 2000 years ago, most people on Earth rarely travelled very far from their own village. Jesus only ever travelled at most 800 kilometres from his birthplace of Jerusalem when he went to Egypt as a child. Today most of us have not only travelled further than that to visit other cities like Melbourne or Brisbane, but we have flown overseas travelling thousands of kilometres in a few hours. People today are travelling far more than ever. The invention of the aeroplane, steam- powered train, diesel powered ships and the automobile in the last 250 years has led to people being able to travel so much quicker over so much more land and sea than ever before.

In the last 20 years, the increase in global wealth and relatively cheap airfares has meant that a greater proportion of humanity than ever before can travel all around the world by air.

Today Daniel’s words have definitely been fulfilled.

  1. Revelation 13:16-18“16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.”

The Mark of the Beast mentioned in this verse can only happen in a cashless society. Think about it, at the time John wrote the Book of Revelation they could not have had an economic system without any physical currency. How could a mark on one’s hand or forehead determine how much money someone had to spend at a place of business, especially if that person was travelling outside of their hometown or homeland? mark-of-the-beastHowever since the introduction of the credit card in the 1960’s and the implementation of the Internet in the 1990’s, now a person’s bank balance and credit can be established instantaneously. If the Mark of the Beast given to people on their forehead or right hand in the form of an RFID chip, barcode tattoo or some other technology could easily be scanned and access someone’s bank account or credit card in much the same way the Eftpos system does now.

It is only in the past few years that technology and infrastructure is available in order to introduce the Mark of the Beast. People also are becoming more open to the idea of paying for things with a chip in their hand rather than carrying a card. The convenience and possibly even the security of such a system is highly attractive to today’s fast paced society.

We are on the verge of seeing this fulfilled today.

The End Times are here, be prepared (see Acts 2:38 for instructions).

This is blog post from Ben Finn, the New Life Journey Co-ordinator of the POS and former Youth Pastor. 

Your True Purpose

One of my students asked me once, “Miss Ferrari, how many religions are there in the world?” Before I could turn to him, he eagerly grabbed his device and launched out in search. Not long after, he came back to me saying, “I don’t understand what this means.” He pointed to a statement that popped up at the bottom of the article he was reading. It read – This is an unfinished list that may never be satisfied by the standards of completeness.

what_is_your_purposeI looked at him and said, “Well… it means that the list keeps on growing and people are not satisfied with religion. They are still looking for answers to the meaning of life and the existence of God. What do YOU think it’s all about?” This was the perfect opportunity to share about the love of Christ.

The meaning of life is constantly in the minds of people today. What am I here for? Religions attempt to answer this question simply by pointing to how life should be lived on earth. Many have been left confused and dismissed the question, giving up their search for purpose. They live by the motto: Don’t hold back- you only live once. They give themselves permission to live the NOW with total disregard for any consequences which would result from poor choices or actions. The Bible calls this trend of thought foolish. However, many others continue this personal pursuit of purpose which often leads to the ultimate question: Is there life beyond this life? They wrestle within themselves and a longing awakens to be reconnected with their Creator.

It’s a natural emotion to fear what we don’t know. Though it is true that we are given one life to live on earth, life after death is as real as the next breath you take: eternal life is a transition that awaits us all. Jesus spoke often about eternity; in fact His love for us and His desire to be with us forever was what kept Him nailed to the cross. The Bible says that everybody died in Adam (spiritual death) but everybody comes alive in Christ (spiritual rebirth). If our hope in Christ is only in this life, then Paul says we are to be most pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19-22).

Here is the most exciting news: Jesus is waiting for us! John 14 3: ‘… I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ The place is set! A place where death is gone for good, where there will be no more tears and pain no longer exists. God promised to make all things new. Your purpose is to be with Christ eternally. Whatever you do on earth, must lead to it. Only then, you will be complete and whole!

Get yourself ready for heaven going… Don’t put it off. Let nothing or no one move you away from your eternal purpose and wait with patience for the time where God’s rule is absolute.

This a blog post from Marcela Ferrari, the Guest Connect co-ordinator of the POS.

UpRising Conference

What is an UpRising? The word uprising is defined as ‘an act of resistance’ or ‘a revolt’, certainly strong words that you could argue carry negative connotations. With this in mind ‘UpRising’ would appear to be an unusual name to call a major youth conference, that is until we understand what we are ‘resisting’ and ‘revolting’ against.

Philippians 2:15 reads, ‘That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world’. This letter was written to the Philippians, yet still applies to the world we live in today. As apostolic people we must resist endorsing, participating in and promoting a world which is distancing itself from biblical truths and morality. We are called to act in love, to not judge others, to contribute positively to society but not at the expense of compromising our biblical and Christian values.

With this in mind I want to highlight the true essence of what UpRising Conference is built on. It is built on a desire to see both young people and saints alike, rise up in the pursuit of God’s best. It is built on a conscious choice to go beyond low expectations, to step out of mediocrity and into excellency in the things of God. It is built on inspiring, empowering and equipping apostolic young people to both recognise and respond to the call of God in their life. A ‘revolt’, a firm ‘resistance’ against low expectations and a decision to become everything God has called them to be.

We extend a warm welcome for you to attend UpRising Conference this weekend! We are believing God for a mighty move of his presence, for hearts to be touched, for many to be inspired! 1 Peter 2:9 says, ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar; that ye shall show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness and into his marvellous light’. An UpRising awaits…

This is a blog post from Greg Willmott, the Youth Pastor of Kingdom Elevated Youth, the youth group of the POS.