Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Temple Baptist Church - 12-31-2014
1 John 3:4-10
A.  Tonight, I want to delve into these verses in which we find a great spiritual truth that believe is often missed through misunderstanding. 
1.  First of all, I do not want you to think that I a Greek scholar because I am not but, once again, I do not believe that you need any Greek to interpret our perfect English bible.  If you needed Greek, God would have given you an extant Greek manuscript and you would have to learn Greek.  God has always delivered His Word to the people in their language through biblical preservation!
2.  Secondly, all you need is an old King James Bible and its Author, the Holy Spirit, in order to get the understanding of these verses.  Leave the commentaries alone and let the verses say what God intended to say instead of listening to what someone thinks they say.
B.  I want to establish that all of us have a sinful, depraved flesh and can and do sin.  Some may fall out with me at this point but I find biblical basis for the potential sinfulness of God’s people and no biblical basis for the eradication of the old nature and the flesh.
Noah got drunk!  Lot chose Sodom with its “brethren!”  Jacob lied!  Judah and Samson ran with harlots!  David committed adultery and murder!  Solomon’s heart was turned to strange gods by his 1000 wives!  Peter denied the Lord!  Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost!  Demas forsook the man of God and the ministry having loved this present world!  Paul, in Romans 7, suffered constant failure because of the flesh!  God’s people can not only sin as wickedly as the world they can, for a while, remain in that sin.  For this cause, many are sickly among you and many sleep has become a reality for some.  The Lord will chasten!
1.  In order to teach this message, I want to use three things:  Scripture, context, and simple logic.  If someone disagrees with my interpretation, I certainly will not fall out with them but I have looked over these verses for years and can only come to this conclusion.
2.  Now, it you are a “Greek Scholar,” please leave this poor old uneducated, back woods, coal mining, little preacher to his own devices!  If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant!  The Lord will straighten me out when we get to heaven but I don’t even eat in Greek or Hebrew restaurants much less study the menus.
C.  We know several things through clear scripture:
1.  Salvation is not of works though it always produces works.
Titus 3:4-7  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  (5)  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  (6)  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  (7)  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Grace becomes works when mixed with human merit and these verses are plain.)
Romans 11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (God did not save us to sin; He saved us from sin!)
2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
James 2:17-18  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (18)  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  (In my years of being a pastor, I have basically dealt with two types of church members: 1)  Those who, though they have failed some, have been faithful to the Lord and church and loving towards each other  2)  Those who have never gotten in and always remain on the fringe whose lives have been consistently inconsistent and remain the same through the years.)
2.  Salvation is always eternal in its nature!  I could fill this sermon just quoting verses of scripture that prove beyond doubt that, once a person becomes a child of God, they can no more be unborn spiritually than they can be unborn physically.
John 10:27-29  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  (28)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  (29)  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  (Add to this verse if you like or take away from this verses if you like but they remain.  They say what they mean and mean what they say!  A salvation that is not eternal is not salvation at all.  Salvation is not probation and probation is not salvation!)
3.  Though eternally saved, the child of God will always remain a sinner in this life because of two things:  1)  He/she will continue to be dual in nature: the old man and the new man  2)  He/she will continue to live in sinful flesh!
1 John 1:8-2:1  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (10)  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  (2:1)  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
Romans 7:14-25  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  (15)  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  (16)  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  (17)  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  (18)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  (19)  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  (20)  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  (21)  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  (22)  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  (23)  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  (24)  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  (25)  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
D.  I John is written to “my little children,” not to the unsaved!  There is continual shift from Positional Sanctification (salvation) and Practical Sanctification (fellowship) found throughout the book. 
1.  These verses in chapter 3 can be somewhat confusing if you do not keep this in mind.  There are words that seem contradictory and the efforts of good men to reconcile them with eternal life have had to make, what I believe to be, a wrong interpretation of terms. 
2.  At this point, let me say again, if you disagree, it does not create a problem with me because all of us know that we are eternally saved and yet still sinners.  We all believe that biblical salvation always produces right spiritual fruit.
3.  I believe that, at the point of salvation, God gives victory over sin so that we can live as He ordains but I believe that it is possible for God’s children to sin and pay the consequences.  I believe that, in the life of each believer, we struggle with sinfulness in our flesh and too often give in to temptation with some degree of continuance.  I know that the Lord corrects but He is longsuffering and gentle with us.  I find periods of continuance in sin in the bible in the lives of God’s people i.e. King David, Lot, Demas, etc.
E.  Verse 9 says “doeth not commit sin” and “cannot sin!”  This verse does not imply continuance in sin but specifically uses the word “sin” in the singular.  The wages of “sin” is death.  The same word needs to have the same interpretation.  One sin, not many sins.  Once again, I am not a Rocket Scientist nor am I a Greek Scholar but: 1)  I am not launching a rocket and 2) neither do I believe that you need the Greek to understand the English!  Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it:
F.  I want to use the first three verses to set the tone and give a proper biblical interpretation of the following verses as the context has not changed. 
1.  The Reality Of Our Present Sonship.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God!  We are His!    We are the God’s Children!  We are the sons of God now!  We are not striving to be His, we are His!  We are not what should be but we strive to be like Him and, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him!  One day, we will be just like Him, perfected at His coming but 1 John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”  (Saved, secured, safe, and satisfied!)
2.  Our Practical Sanctification Confirmed In Conversion!  Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not … And it doth not yet appear what we shall be … And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure!  These verses tell me that presently, we are not like Him yet and remain capable of sin.  It doeth not yet appear because He is perfect and we are not.  We do commit sin and we do commit sin willfully and fail God often.  Though we are not perfect, we are different because the world has to see a difference in order not to know us.  (These statements tell us several things.)
a.  The world knoweth us not because they recognize their own!  We are in the world but not of the world and the world sees the difference.  Otherwise, we would simply blend into the world.  We are not perfect but we are different!  Saved and striving.   Though we are not perfected, we are changed and that change is evident to the lost.  They may not understand the change because they do not know the Lord but they see it.
b.  We are in a perpetual state of striving to be like Him.  We have not yet apprehended as Paul said so we are not perfect nor are we sinless.  We that are saved have a desire to be like Christ which makes us not want to conform to the world.  We do not think like them and certainly no longer fit their mold.  I once walked with them because I was of the world but things forever changed when I came to Christ.
c. The Lord is our standard of excellence.  We are not to conform to the thinking of men but to the Word of God.  That differentiates the child of God from the religionist.
3.  Our Eternal Life Secured Through A Perfect Sealing!  When he shall appear, we shall be like himVerse 9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”  This is not speaking of the seed of man nor the Seed of Woman in Genesis 3:15, which is Christ.  This seed is God’s seed which is the Seed of God’s Word that brings salvation.  We are saved through belief in the inner hearing of God’s Word.  Not the outward hearing for many hear but when we hear with the ears of our heart and believe we are saved and sealed. 
1 Peter 1:23-25  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  (24)  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  (25)  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
4.  Our Desire To Live For Christ Anchored In Hope!  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure!  Notice the word “and.”  We are not what we shall be; we shall be what we are not; and we that are saved strive to purify ourselves, even as He is pure for our hope is a heavenly one, not an earthly one.  Now, we find the first 3 verses setting the context and, therefore, the interpretation.
a.  Though we are eternally saved from sin, we are not saved to sin.  Can someone come to Christ by biblical saving faith and keep walking in the same way?  The scriptural answer is “no.” 
b.  I understand that small children who are saved at a young age cannot identify with these verses as well as us who were saved at a later age.  God’s salvation not only saves and secures but also changes the heart and direction of man.  I have sinned since I have been saved but the direction of my life and longings is forever changed! 
c.  Today’s “salvation” that many people possess gives no identifying mark of conversion or change.  Most churches teach that you do not have to give anything up after you are saved.  You can look, talk, think, and act like the world just like you did before your “conversion.”  You hear little about conversion in our day but old folks would say “when I was converted.”
d.  Herein lies the reason that righteous people try to live righteously and unrighteous people try to live unrighteous.  God’s “seed” that converted us remains in us pure and powerful to do two things: 
1.  It is the seal of our salvation because that part of us “cannot sin” because His seed births us and also remains in.  In Him is no sin.
2.  It is the seal of our conversion because that part of us it converted continues to convert our outward lives.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Love of God in Christmas

Temple Baptist Church - 12-21-2014
John 3:16; Luke 2:1-20
A.  As Christmas approaches this year, our hearts and minds naturally turn back to the city of Bethlehem and the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
1.  We read a story that never grows old.  I have heard the story of the birth of Christ all of my life and still love to hear it told.
2.  We read a story shrouded with the mystery of the ages, the birth of God’s only begotten Son!  What is Christmas all about?  The world tries to make it Xmas; the world makes it all about Santa; the world tries to remove it and make it the Holiday Season!  It is all about:
a)  Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament became flesh and dwelt among us; the virgin born Son of God born in Bethlehem; Jesus Christ, Almighty God, walked among us!  John 1:14-15  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (15)  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before
Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
b)  Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament died on the cross of Calvary for the sins of all mankind: the Just for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous, the Innocent for the guilty! 1 Peter 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
c)  Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament buried in a garden tomb and gloriously resurrecting bodily on the third day for our justification!  Matthew 28:6  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Romans 1:4  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
d)  Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament ascending back to heaven and one day coming again to receive us unto Himself that were He is, we may be also!  Titus 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
e)  That is what Christmas is all about!  It is a story that will never be fully understood because it is beyond the realm of human experience but a story believed, a story accepted, and a story beloved.
3.  We read a story that has thrilled our hearts from our youth.  I have never lost the thrill of knowing the Christ of the bible; the thrill of being eternally saved; the thrill of living for God in this life; and the thrill of one day going home and seeing Him as He is.
B. This morning, I want to tie these verses (John 3:16 and Luke 2:1-11) together.  John 3:16 is often called “The Gospel in a Nutshell.”  It can be preached word by word and give a complete understanding of the salvation found in the new birth.  Nicodemus heard and believed on Christ through this one verse.
C.  One of the most blessed truths found in the Bible is that of the love of God for sinners.  John 3:16 is possibly the most noted and quoted of all verses of scripture and the least comprehended. 
1.  When I see the world, I see the sin and sorrow that permeates it.  My heart is saddened by what is taking place in the world, across this great nation, in the homes of America, in the schools of America, and in the local churches.  With the rejection of spiritual light comes great spiritual darkness.  Matthew 6:23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
2.  When God sees the world, He sees sinners in need of the Saviour!  As we get closer to Christmas, our hearts should be joyful because of the gift of God given on that night some 2,000 years ago.
D.  We can never fathom the love of God that was displayed in John 3:16 where God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son! 
Ephesians 3:17-19  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  (18)  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  (19)  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  (I have often referred to this words as knowing the unknowable!)
1.  The Breadth Of God’s Love – 1 John 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world(His love is from Pole to Pole.  His love is from the East to the West.  His love is from Wall to Wall.  The Love of God covers every man, woman, and child.  There are none exempt and there are none excluded!  There is not a race, color, or creed rejected!  His love is for the whole world!  I cannot understand it, but I believe it!)
2.  The Length Of God’s Love – Psalms 86:15  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  (God’s love is not only universal in its scope; it is longsuffering in its forbearance.  God is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, and merciful.  I did not deserve to receive it nor do I deserve to keep it.  The Lord has been far better to me than I deserve and I am eternally grateful for it.  I cannot understand it, but I have seen it!)
3.  The Depth Of God’s Love – 1 Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  (The wickedest man in the world is a candidate for His great salvation.  It matters not what you have done; it matters not what you have thought; it matters not where you came from!  His love goes to the deepest in sin and despair.  I cannot understand it, but I have received it!)
4.  The Height Of God’s Love – Romans 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound(His wonderful love is far greater than all of our sin put together.  God’s gracious love is always there and you cannot sin your salvation away.  He will forgive 70 times 7 and never exhaust his love or forgiveness.  I cannot understand it, but I have experienced it!)
E.  “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!”  It is the Lord’s desire that all people know and experience the love of God which the angel spoke of on that night. 
F.  I want to look at some aspects of that love this morning:
1.  In Bethlehem We Find God’s Love Manifested In The Gift Of Christ - 1 John 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
2.  At Calvary We Find God’s Love Commended  At The Cross - Romans 5:8-9  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
3.  In Salvation We Find God’s Love Bestowed  In Our Sonship - 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
4.  In Choice We Find God’s Love Believed By The Sinner - 1 John 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
5.  In Relationship We Find God’s Love Perceived  By The Saint - 1 John 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
6.  In Witness We Find God’s Love Shed Abroad  In The Spirit - Romans 5:5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
7.  In Fellowship We Find God’s Love Dwelling  In The Heart - 1 John 3:17  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Conclusion:  Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  “Oh, how He loves you and me!  Oh, how He loves you and me!  His love was manifested in the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus to Calvary did go.  His precious blood to bestow.  He gave His life; what more could He do!  Oh, how he loves you!  Oh, how He loves me!  Oh, how He loves you and me!”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Safeguards of Purity

Temple Baptist Church - 12-10-2014
1 John 3:1-3
A.  We could all agree that the condition of our nation has continued in serious decline over the past century.  Morality is at an all time low; national pride is at an all time low; everything is in a constant condition of decay.
B.  We could all agree that the effect of this decline has affected us all to some degree.  We are constantly bombarded in a satanic war of attrition. 
C.  We could all agree could all agree that the Lord could come at any moment.  The world’s condition along with the spiritual decline of just the last 14 years is indicative of the fulfillment of prophecy.
D.  Our day is prophesied and described as:
1.  Days of Sinfulness:
a)  The days of Noe or Noah - Matthew 24:37-39  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (38)  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  (39)  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
b).  The days of Lot - Luke 17:28-30  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;  (29)  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  (30)  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Ezekiel 16:49-50  Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  (50)  And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
2.   Days of Deception - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  (2)  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  (3)  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
3.  Days of Spiritual Peril - 2 Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (2)  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  (3)  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  (4)  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  (5)  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
4.  Days of Apathy - Revelation 3:14-16  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  (15)  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  (16)  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
E.  Within our text for tonight lie some safeguards that will help us to remain pure:
1.  Safeguard #1 – “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us” – (Knowledge of what God did for us – His Sacrificial LoveMay we never forget the price paid for our eternal salvation!  Free but not cheap as it cost God His Son, the Son His life, and heaven it’s glory!)
2.  Safeguard #2 – “that we should be called the sons of God” - Knowledge of who we are – Sons of God  (We have been adopted into the most wonderful family!  Sons of God with brothers and sisters the world over.  I thank God for that.  Twice, the Song of Solomon says, “My beloved is mine, and I am his!”)
3.  Safeguard #3 – “Beloved, now are we” – (Knowledge of why we are what we are – We chose to believe and Desire Him – we desired Him over the world – we came to Christ because we chose to do so.)
4.  Safeguard #4 – “it doth not yet appear what we shall be” – (Knowledge of what we are to strive to be – a separate people zealous of good works.  God not only saved us from something, He saved us to something.)
5.  Safeguard #5 – “but we know that, when he shall appear” – (Knowledge that He could appear at any moment – Our blessed hope.  We are to be watchful for He is coming as He said and we are going home.)
6.  Safeguard #6 – “we shall be like Him” – (Knowledge of what we desire to be (our blessed hope) – we look forward to a world and body without sin.  We look for a city wherein dwelleth righteousness; a prepared place for a prepared people.  The song writer said , “Some call it heaven; I call it home.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An Unfinished Work

Temple Baptist Church - 12-3-2014
1 John 3:2
A.  When Christ shall appear, we will be like Him!  What a day that will be!  No more wicked flesh to subdue, no more spiritual battles to fight, no more failures to face.
B.  Until that day, we can only strive to be like Him.  One of the problems that many people face is a lack of biblical understanding in the area of sanctification.  John, writing this in his last days, declared that he was still a work in progress.
1.  The believer needs to understand what sanctification is not: it is not the eradication of sinfulness in the flesh in this life.  The Apostle Paul was one of the greatest Christians named in the bible.  He wrote almost half of the books of the New Testament under the influence of the Holy Ghost.  He was a Spirit filled man of God who continued to fail God during his ministry.  Paul made the lack of eradication of the flesh perfectly clear in Romans.
Romans 7:14-25  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  (15)  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  (16)  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  (17)  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  (18)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  (19)  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  (20)  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  (21)  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  (22)  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  (23)  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  (24)  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  (25)  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
2.  The believer needs to understand what sanctification is: sanctification can be biblically broken down into 3 different aspects which are clearly taught in out text verse:
a)  Positional Sanctification: the deliverance from the penalty of sin.  This takes place at the moment of salvation.  “Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God!”
b)  Practical Sanctification: the deliverance from the power of sin.  This is a work in progress.  “It doth not yet appear what we shall be!”
c)  Permanent Sanctification: the deliverance from the presence of sin.  This will be finally realized at either death or the rapture of the church.  “We shall be like him!”
C.  The world is too often correct with it indicts the believer for not acting like a Christian.  The believers were first called Christians by the unsaved at Antioch because they behaved like Christ.  The world expects us to be different and live a holy life when we profess Christ.
D.  The believer is too often harsh when judging other believers.  We expect God to be gentle and longsuffering with us while being critical of others when they do not live up to our expectations.
E.  It would do all of us good to memorize this verse for tonight as none of us have “arrived” and still fail in our flesh.  Paul said it well:
Philippians 3:12-13  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  (13)  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
F.  Now, let us take a look at Practical Sanctification. 
1.  Practical Sanctification is a gradual work.  2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  (Not only is our outward change gradual, but it is also different in each individual.  There is no such thing as a certain rate of spiritual growth that is uniform.  Never judge another person’s salvation nor their spirituality because of what you see or do not see in their lives.)
2.  Practical Sanctification is a personal work.  Romans 14:12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (I cannot change others any more than they can change me.  God has a personal relationship with each of His children just as we have a different relationship with each of our children.  Too many people change outwardly through peer pressure and the change will not last.  Let God lead you; let God change you and it will last.)
3.  Practical Sanctification is a spiritual work.  Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (Many times, when there is no outward visible change, there is an inward struggle.  The Spirit of God takes the Word of God to bring about true conviction of the heart of the believer.  As saved and still sinful believers, we often battle in the inward man.  Paul said, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.”)
4.  Practical Sanctification is a perpetual work.  Jeremiah 18:3-4  Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  (4)  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.  (I thank the Lord that He does not throw the clay away!  The little song says that the Lord made the universe in just 6 days but He is still working on me.  Paul said that he had not yet apprehended and neither have I.  You and I are not always what we should be but we are certainly not what we will one day be.  When we see Him, the work will be over with and we will be like Him.)
1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.