Holiness in an Unholy World

Men’s Small Group // May 2, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 16)

John 17:14-17 ESV
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one*. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
* or from evil

Not Withdrawing but Engaging

  • It’s clear in this verse that Jesus is not calling for us to disengage from the world and retreat into our holy huddles avoiding any contact with an unbelieving world.
  • Our call is quite the opposite from withdrawing. Jesus is here calling for us to engage with the world around us but to resist its influence upon our lives.
  • What will engagement with the world bring? Just what Jesus experienced during his time on earth:
    • We will be mistreated, taken advantage of, shunned, silenced, denounced, ridiculed, abused, persecuted, and hated.
  • Why are we called to engage with the world and not withdraw? (Matthew 5)
    • We are the salt of the earth. (Preserving)
    • We are the light of the world. (Exposing)
  • How can we engage with the world like this?
    • We can’t be double minded. Living one way in the church and another way in the world.
    • We must identify ourselves with Christ in a gracious, clear-cut, and open manner.

Psalm 119:9-10 ESV
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. [10] With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

Our Defense

  • Psalm 119:9-10
    • Guarding our hearts in his Word.
    • Seeking Jesus with all of our heart.
  • Look back at John 15:17
    • Sanctify them in your Word. (cleanse, purify, set apart)
  • Bridges… “The Bible will cleanse our minds of the defilement of the world if we meditate on its teachings.”
  • The key is simply John 15, we are to abide in the love of Christ. As we meditate and reflect on God’s Word and let it work in our hearts to expose sin and bring about repentance, we will go forth into this world with humility and the love of Christ shining forth from us.

Our Offense

  • So what does it mean to be salt and light then?
    • Bridges… “Our own holy life will serve as a sufficient rebuke, and our interest in others at this point is not their conduct but their need of Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
  • Why are we surprised when sinners act like sinners? Why do we feel the need to chastise or rebuke or denounce or berate a non-believer for living in sin?
    • Let’s engage with those who are in need of Christ. Let’s not be afraid to have a conversation with someone who hates Jesus and us by extension.
    • How do we love this person? We take an interest in them. We make a connection. We have a conversation. We treat them as they truly are – a rebellious person made in the image of God.
  • We are called to engage the world not because it is easy and not because we need to prove the superiority of Christianity.
    • We engage the world because that is where the hurting and the lost are found.
    • And our lives being filled up with the love of Christ will prick their hearts and expose their sin and show them the holy God they are at enmity with.
    • And our words can then tell them about Jesus. Their Savior.

Reflection Questions

  • What are some of the ways you see yourself disengaging from the world?
  • How is your defense? (Guarding your heart in God’s Word)
  • How is your offense? (Being salt and light)
  • What are some steps you can make this summer to become more engaged?

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