Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Importance Of Sanctification

Temple Baptist Church - 10-11-2015
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8


A.  The church at Thessalonica is a great church but, as with all churches, has an uncertain future if it does not grow spiritually.  Spiritual growth is important to the welfare of the local church as well as to the individual believer.
B.  One of the most important of doctrines is that of biblical sanctification.  I saw this quote and thought it appropriate: “The greatest sin of this generation is not the sin of ignorance, but the sin of indifference.”  We have covered this numerous times over the past 28 years but there are actually three distinct areas of sanctification in the life of every believer:
1.  There is Positional Sanctification - 1 Corinthians 1:30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  (At the moment of salvation, the believer is set apart from the world positionally through Jesus Christ.  He is the believer’s sanctification.  We are baptized into Christ and remain secure!)

Colossians 3:3-4  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  (4)  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

2.  There is Practical Sanctification - 1 Peter 1:15  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. (When we are saved, we remain just a sinner saved by the grace of God.  As we mature in the Lord and grow in our faith, we are being constantly changed by both the Spirit of God who indwells us and the Word of God that teaches and guides us.)

3.  There is Perpetual Sanctification - 1 Thessalonians 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (We will be forever delivered from the presence of sin at either death or the rapture of the church.) 

C.  Positional and Permanent Sanctification are distinct works of the Lord as He becomes the propitiation for the sinner and ultimately comes to take him or her home to heaven one day.  Practical Sanctification is a work of the saint!  It is the act of separating from the world and unto the Lord; therefore, it is a very positive thing, not a negative one.  Sanctification is obedience to God’s Word and, therefore, to the Son of God.  We are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

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.

Titus 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Unusual, eccentric, strange, odd, uncommon, not the norm, belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing.)

Hebrews 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

1 Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

D.  Biblical Sanctification defined:  Sanctification refers to the practical experience of separation unto God, being the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life, and is to be pursued by the believer earnestly.

Horatius Bonar said over 200 years ago: “I looked for the Church and I found it in the world, and I looked for the world and I found it in the Church.”

Keith Daniel said: “If we try to win the world by being like the world the world will win you!”

Greg Gordon said, “A peculiar people is a powerful people! God anoints a set apart Church with the Power of His Spirit, there is no other way.  A worldly Church will never win the world.”

E.  Practical Sanctification is an important part of living for the Lord because of the strong pull that the world has upon us.  The world will not leave us alone or be satisfied with us simply straddling the fence.  There is an old saying, “Every drunk wants everyone else drunk.”  There are three areas of Practical Sanctification that I want to briefly look at with each being contingent upon our obedience to the Bible.  These two different aspects of sanctification are essential. 

1.  Personal Sanctification – Practical sanctification is not separation from the world.  It is conformity to God!  Each of us who are save have an obligation to be personally conformed to  the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible says that we are a peculiar people.  We are not trying to be a peculiar people, we are peculiar.  We are to be peculiar in our actions; we are to be peculiar in our deportment; we are to be peculiar in our following; we are to be peculiar in our thinking; we are not to be conformed to this world but we are to renew our minds through the Word of God.  We are special and we are different!  We are saved and we are His!  The world hates Jesus Christ and, if we are right with Jesus Christ, the world will hate us!

Titus 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

a.  Act Right - 2 Corinthians 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

b.  Conform Right - Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

c.  Love Right - 1 John 2:15-17  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  (16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  (17)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

d.  Associate Right - James 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

2.  Ecclesiastical Sanctification - We are to remain doctrinally separated and pure.  Our guide is the bible and we are to adhere to it unwaveringly.  We are to allow no one who is not doctrinally correct to teach or preach in our church.  We are not to work in any situation with someone who is not doctrinally correct.  Wrong doctrines or wrong bibles make for disobedient affiliations.  Earnestly contending for the faith does not make one popular with either the world or the religionist.

a.  Separation In Word - Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  (Doctrinal purity must be maintained!  False teachers are a constant problem as they infiltrate local churches.  I have often said that liberals filtrate while fundamentalists separate.)

b.  Separation In Worship - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.  (Our church is not to be yoked in any manner with other churches and denominations that are liberal or impure in their doctrine.  Denominations and conventions lend themselves to such unbiblical unions.  You are who you hold hands with spiritually.  You may think you are straight but if you are supporting or affiliated with liberal churches, you are liberal in your associations!  That’s why we are independent and autonomous!  We are not personally to worship in heretical, liberal, or apostate churches.  If we obey this command, we will be hated and maligned by family and friends but, remember, the Lord Jesus.  Which leads to the last point which overlaps the first two points.)

Conclusion:  We are not our own for we have been bought with a terrible price.  Our responsibility is to be separated unto the Lord which separates us from this present evil world.  In all that we do, we are to glorify God.  Biblical Sanctification is a positive thing, not a negative one.  We are not only separated from something: the world, but we are to be separated unto Someone: our Lord Jesus Christ.

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