Holiness And Pentecostal Standards
By: James L. Kilgore
We are going to cover some very important areas. It may not seem to important right now, but I think the nearer we come to the end of life’s journey and to the time when we will hear the Master say well dome, we will realize more and more the importance of this wonderful, sacred truth.
Holiness And How It Relates To Pentecostal Standards
I want you to get hold of something. Living for God is more than a shout; it’s more than talking in tongues; it’s more than the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit. Living for God involves a great deal more than that. I have a great desire in my heart to teach the Word of the Lord to you in such a way that you will have something to which you can hold. The storm is coming, and Jesus tells us in Matt. 7: 26-27 if we are not built upon the rock we will not stand. If we build on the sand-a shallow experience- when the storms come, we will not be able to stand. We need something to balance us. If it’s strictly an emotional experience, it will wear off after awhile. If it’s founded on the Word of the Lord, you have a good balance.
The first five chapters of John gave wonderful instruction about the Spirit and the truth. We are shown the importance of the balance between Spirit and truth. It’s one thing to have truth. You could be so saturated with just truth that you would become a “Pentecostal Church of Christ: having the letter only. But to be in balance you must have the Spirit also. If you have the Spirit only, and it is not balanced by the Word of God, then you become a fanatic. One way can become formalism, the other way can become fanaticism. So that’s why it’s good that we can dig down into the Word of the Lord.
A standard is that which is established by authority as a fixed rule or measure; an established rule. In the garden of Eden there was the tree that was filled with fruit that was called forbidden fruit. When Israel got into the land of Canaan, the Bible tells us there were something of which they could not partake. There were certain boundaries that were set. In fact, there sere boundaries on all four sides that reminded these Israelites every day of their lives how important it was to stay true to God. With every command that God gives to build a wall, there is also a command that there be a plumb line to make sure that wall is built straight. Just as God told Moses he was standing on holy ground, likewise every child of God that is truly born again of the water and the Spirit has a spiritual plot of ground on which he must build his life.
When Israel got into the land of Canaan, it was surrounded on all sides. To the North were mountains; to the East was the desert; to the South was Egypt; and to the West was the Great Sea. That meant more that just being surrounded. It was more than just dessert, Egypt, the sea, and the mountains. All of these boundaries have biblical meanings.
The desert is typical of drought and barrenness. Israel could not move its landmarks to the right; to do so would be to take in something of the desert land-dryness where there was no fruit, no vegetation, and no growth. Everything was at a standstill. If the Church would move its standards to the East to take in the desert, it would be taking in drought and deadness-something that’s formal, that is not life giving. There’s no revival there. There’s no clear spring of water there. So we must not move our ancient landmarks to take in the East.
Israel was commanded to not move its landmark to the South. To do so it would have to take in some of Egypt, or at least to go toward Egypt; and that was the type of the world. If we move our land mark to the South a little bit we are going to embrace some of the world-its allurements and its pleasures. We’ll find ourselves in trouble with God.
If Israel moved its landmark to the West, it would take in the sea. The sea in the Scripture represents people. We must never move our ancient landmark just to embrace more people. The landmark is set. Proverbs 23:10 says, “remove not the old landmark….” To compromise truth to embrace people would be tragically wrong. We would have to let down on our standards. We would have to let down on some of our doctrinal truths. We must never do that. We don’t have to do that. We have seen tremendous growth. We don’t have to compromise to take in numbers. We retain the standards that were set by our forefathers.
To move the northern landmark southward would be to make their life and their living a little easier. This would, of course, cut out the mountains. They needed the mountains. Mountains in the Scripture speak of experience. Usually, when you see mountains mentioned in the Scripture there is with them an experience of some kind–there is an individual, a prophet, or a faithful warrior of God involved. These
mountains represent affliction, trials, and struggles. We’ve got to have them. Our sailing must never be always smooth. Our life must not always be an easy life. Jesus said that we must strive to enter in at the straight gate. That means we must work at it. Some might say it’s not of grace if it’s of works. By grace we are saved through faith. And that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God. No one can improve upon the grace of God. I’m not trying to do that. But Paul tells us in Titus that grace that was given unto us teaches us something also:
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). So if you could picture that little, small territory of Palestine, about 100 miles wide and maybe 180 miles long; you see how it’s hemmed in; and yet how God had a way of taking care of His own. To the East is desert–drought; to the South is Egypt–world; to the West is sea–people; to the North is mountains. Holiness and separation go hand in hand. We must have the mark of separation if we are to be a holy people.
Separation is taught in both the Old and New Testaments. (See Jeremiah 13:11, Deuteronomy 22:9-11, and Leviticus 11:7-10). Circumcision was a definite mark of separation in the Old Testament. Eight days after a
boy was born, he was given the mark of circumcision. Catfish and pork were considered unclean foods in the Old Testament days, not to the Gentiles, but to God’s nation, Israel. Israel was chosen as a people for a name, for a praise, and for a glory. There was to be no mixing of cloths. Everyone of us perhaps, have on different cloths–silk, satin, calico, wool, linen, cotton. We are privileged to mix the cloths. But in the day an Israelite could only wear wool at one time, linen at one time, silk at one time, or cotton at one time. This was the mark of separation. When they plowed in the field, they could not use two different kinds of animals. It either had to be two oxen or two donkeys. There could not be an oxen and an ass pulling together. God didn’t want them to mix a team. When sowing in their vineyard, they could not sow two kinds of seed. This was God’s way of showing them they were a separated people. The mark of separation was upon them. These things were not optional. They had no choice in the matter. They were commanded to live by these rules; and if they did not do so, the judgment of God was upon them.
Not all of these things that are mentioned in Deuteronomy 22 and Leviticus 11, are carried over into the New Testament. However, there is one that was, and I wish to speak of it here. This is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. This passage of Scripture actually is brought over to show that God’s people would retain a mark of separation. This separation is to be seen in our daily lives. It could be an unequal yoke. That’s why the writer said we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
In the New Testament we are reminded we cannot and must not be unequally yoked together. That goes right down the line. That includes going into business with somebody who is an unbeliever. What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? What agreement hath Christ with Belial? The temple of God has no agreement with the temple of the world. So you can see that the call of God in the New Testament is “come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord…and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). If we violate this principle that’s given here, then we are inviting the displeasure of God upon our lives. The call of God to the Church was for it to be separate. This means the “ecclesia” which is a called out assembly or a called out company. So God’s people are separate and are a called out assembly.
Holiness and Jewelry
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” (I Timothy 2:9).
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel” (I Peter 3:3).
Four things are mentioned here in I Timothy; gold, braided hair, pearls and costly array. This is a definite command that’s given in the Scripture–women are to adorn themselves, not by putting on jewelry and makeup, but with many other things taught by the Word of God. The women in the New Testament times, when Paul wrote, were plaiting their hair with strands of gold so that gold was interwoven into their hair.
The apostle in his discourse on marriage never made any mention about rings in ceremonies. This started with the wedding vows in the Roman Catholic Church. I have no stones to throw. We have many folks in our church that used to be Roman Catholics. God has called these people to come out of tradition. He’s called them to come out of Catholicism. He’s called them to come away from graven images and idols. There is a
real call of God in this hour.
As to the origination of rings, history says that they were worn as ornaments on the fingers, in the ears, in the nose, and around the wrists and ankles. I think this would cover jewelry from A to Z. I would have to conclude that wearing jewelry is not really the image or the ornament of a Christlike spirit. Of course, we need personal convictions along these lines. I have never disfellowshipped anybody because they wore rings, but I do believe that it’s time for us to really do some heart searching and examination about this according to the Scripture. Look deeply into the Word of God.
I appreciate a church that does not wear jewelry. I do preach that hard and straight! I think if you ladies wear a wedding band, you had better not worship that, and you had better not make a statement that you would never take it off. It becomes a spirit of rebellion then. I am asking you only to do that which you feel God talks to your heart about, as far as a wedding ring is concerned. I have never told anyone they were going to hell if they wore one. People have come to me and asked me if they should take their wedding ring off, I have said that I’m not going to tell them. Each one must work that for himself. I don’t want anybody to go off and say, “Brother Kilgore told me to take the wedding ring off.”
“And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)” (Judges 8:24).
They had golden earrings because they were Ishmaelites. The Ishmaelites were known because of the jewelry that they wore. Remember, an Ishmaelite in the Scripture is not a true son; the Ishmaelite is not the son of the bond woman. The rivalry between Isaac and Ishmael was so great that finally God told Abraham to cast out the bond woman with her son, because Ishmael had made fun of Isaac. This is a type of the flesh lusting against the Spirit. Everything that Isaac did was made fun of by Ishmael, the son of the bond woman. Remember, they both had the same father; their father was Abraham. They had different mothers. Ishmael’s mother was Hagar, who was from Egypt, and that made Ishmael a part of the world. The son of the bond woman had to be cast out so that the son of the free woman could have the liberty that was needed. (See Galatians 4:22-26.) The one that was born of the bond woman was after the flesh, but he that was born of the free woman was by promise. This is an illustration, allegory, or example; for these are the two covenants. One is from Mt. Sinai which is Hagar. There are many folks in this world, Trinitarians, who have received the Holy Spirit baptism. They have not come to the fulness of this truth yet. They have lived only on the experience of the Holy Ghost. They have talked in tongues. My call them in this hour is to come out. They are going to have to come out at some time or other and take their stand. So anyone who bedecks himself with gold and silver, pearls, earrings, and all of these things is a child of the free. Even if he is United Pentecostal, he is still the child of the bond woman. If he had identified himself as Pentecostal and he still does these things, he has too much of the love of the world in his heart, and so he is still bound to the bond woman. He is not the child of the free. I say, the spirit of the Ishmaelite must go. If we do not love truth, the spirit of the Ishmaelite will get hold of us. If you don’t love Acts 2:38 enough to give your life for it, you don’t love it enough yet. If you love it that much, then you are going to find yourself being stripped from the spirit of the Ishmaelite which is known by the jewelry that is worn. That’s the Scripture; that’s the Word of God.
The spirit of Ishmael is the spirit of Babylon. It all goes hand in hand. Jewelry originated here and was set up as a symbol for the gods in Babylon. They had a god made of gold that was a symbol for every one of their idol gods that they worshiped. They had stones that were carved to be a symbol or a likeness of that god. This originated in Babylon. (See Revelation 17:1-5.) This woman that represents the false is bedecked with jewels, gold, and precious stones. But notice the abomination that is connected with this kind of spirit. It became part of their gods and a part of their worship. You say that you don’t worship jewelry. Actually, the apostles, Paul and Peter both said to not let it be that outward adorning of wearing of pearls and gold and plaiting hair and even costly array. That also means that the children of God should choose their clothing at a cheaper price. Don’t go out for these extremes and costly array. God puts that all in the same category. So let’s be careful about how we spend our money even for our clothing. Let us make sure that we pay a modest price for these things.
Again let me remind you, out of the false religion of Babylon came sacrifice to the devil, devil worship, paganism, astrology, and worship of the host of the universe. The spirit of Babylon has
infiltrated into the hearts of the religions of mankind. Along with that spirit comes the outward adorning, that flashy and bold look portrayed with jewelry. So this is why the Pentecostals must certainly take their stand against these things. We do not believe that we can really and truly please God as we should if we have these things in our lives. We have stood for these sacred truths through the years. We don’t plan to remove any ancient landmarks, and we do not want the spirit of Babylon, which is a spirit of Ishmael, the spirit of
The original sin was rebellion. Lucifer, who was an archangel of God, said that he was going to be greater than God; that he purposed to be like the Most High. Rebellion was formed in his heart. Because of that rebellion he was removed and taken away from the presence of God. He was cast out of heaven because of that original sin of rebellion.
That sin of rebellion got into Ishmael when he began to make fun of the true son. God said to cast him out. Ishmael was identified by the jewelry that was worn. This was kin to the spirit of rebellion, the spirit of Babylon, which is described in Revelation 17. This is a spirit that the judgment of God will be upon. So I am making it as plain and serious as I can.
People in the world are certainly going to buy all the jewelry they can. Jewelry stores are on nearly every corner. You don’t expect the world to do any differently, but for children of God it must be different. We need to be convinced about that. There are some things we cannot do. These are landmarks and we must stay by these landmarks. Be careful in your walk with God.
In the account in Genesis 35:1-5. Jacob was willing to stop and go God’s way. Jacob was willing to go through the camp and gather up all the strange gods. He got them out of the tents. They began to take their earrings off; they began to give them all up; they were making a consecration. This became a great revival in the day of Jacob. God honored it so much that He caused all the cities round about to be terrified and to be afraid of Jacob and his company. When Jacob’s band would go through the city, the inhabitants would stand back.
Let us also lay aside these weights and the sins that beset us. (See Hebrews 12:1, 2.) Then let us look with joy when we are redoubled, when we are made fun of, and when people look at us saying that we are so strange, peculiar, and different. That’s all right. The joy that is set before us makes it worth it all.
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
Don’t look for something that you can be critical about. Mothers, you make a terrible mistake when you talk about others before your children and criticize them in front of your family. That’s becoming a false accuser. Find something that you can teach that is good. Be teachers of good things. If you can’t find something good to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all. I believe it’s just a wrong to gossip as it is to go to the picture shows or to the dance halls. You say, “please don’t put that in the same category.” The Bible does. If you can’t bridle your tongue, you’re not ready for the rapture. So I doubt if there will be very many gossipers in the rapture.
I wish older women would get to work and teach the young women to love their husbands and to love their children. That’s why we have so many children that are mistreated and neglected. The older women didn’t teach and train the younger women to love their children, to be mother, to be discreet and chaste (keep themselves clean). Keep a clean house, too. I would hate to have to come into some homes I’ve see, after I had done a hard day’s work. That’s the truth. I believe women ought to be keepers of their home. Some say that they are too busy for God. No they’re not. God didn’t tell them that. There is an obligation to the husband, the children and the home, to train and teach the children and to keep a good clean house. Don’t go and buy paper plates because the dishes are dirty and haven’t been washed in three or four days.
It is just as much a part of living for God and holiness as anything else–women learning to be keepers of their homes. Women should be obedient to their own husbands. Do we want the Bible or do we want women’s lib? Women are to be obedient to their own husbands so that the Word of God be no blasphemed. You can look ever so much the part of holiness, but if you’re no obedient to your husband, not a good keeper at home, and if you don’t love your children, then you are not holding up the Word of God as you should.
Young men likewise are exhorted to be sober-minded. Thank God for the young men of the Church and for the desire to be sober-minded and to work for God. I appreciate them. But young men, if you just have a giddy, light-hearted joking spirit all the time, you’ll find yourself displeasing the Lord. You are to show yourself, “…a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity. Sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7, 8). We need to adorn this doctrine, this truth of the mighty God in Christ, this truth of repentance, this truth of water baptism in Jesus name, this truth of receiving the Holy Ghost, this truth of holiness, and this truth of separation. Adorn the doctrine of God in all things.