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Ekklesia Sanctification

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Over the past few weeks we have been looking into Praise & Worship. We’ve examined the Hebrew & Greek terms, looked at hindrances to entering into the Holy place and even how giving can affect our Worship.

 

All week in my devotional time I have been reading about the Israelites in the dessert.

Exodus 19: 10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. [1]

 

We know that on the 3rd day God descended in a cloud and spoke to Moses. Everyone heard him and was fearful. They told Moses “you speak to God, and we will believe you.” They were afraid of God.

 

What follows in Exodus is God giving Moses specific instructions for a place of Worship – a tabernacle in the wilderness. He even chose which workmen would execute his plans.

 

The really interesting thing to me, was that right in the middle of all the material gathering and construction, God calls Moses up the mountain to give him the 10 commandments.

What happened when Moses was gone?

 

Exodus 32, my favorite line is 22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” [2]

 

Now you tell me, how did this people go from holy enough to see the cloud and hear God’s voice to total disregard for Go by worshipping a golden calf?

 

What I wan to talk about today is -- The Process of Sanctification

In preparation for this message I did some research on holiness and sanctification. Although what sparked my interest was the Hebrew text – the Hebrew word for holiness is Ko’desh, - I am more familiar with the Greek, will limit our discussion to that.

HANDOUT

The Greek word for holiness is hagiasmos,

Bible translators translated this word chosen, election, sanctifying, holiness, holy and sanctified.

Do you see a progression? Good, that’s because sanctification is a process. It begins when we respond to the Holy Spirit and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, and then continues throughout our earthly lives, culminating at death or the Rapture.

Can you think of some experience in everyday living that begins at one point in your life and isn’t finished until death? Eating, growing and paying taxes, are all good examples. What about learning? When you start school at the age of five, you begin the formal education process. After twelve years of grammar and high school, you graduate. You may go on to university, trade school or directly into the work force. Either way the process continues. Pick up a book or a newspaper, turn on the television, or answer the phone, and you will learn something new. Log onto the Internet and a world of information is just a mouse click away.

Everyday we are bombarded with information. If I were to ask the older people in the room to stop and consider for a moment, are there some things you learned in school that you couldn’t remember today? Of course there are! You younger people still in school, when was the last time you studied all night and forgot an answer for a test the next morning? Did your learning experience stop there? No, what happened is that your exposure to the material was not reinforced enough to make it easy to recall. Now, are there some things you learned that you’d never forget? Sure, tying your shoes, riding a bike, or driving a car are just a couple examples. Just as insufficient exposure to information leads to forgetfulness, repeated exposure to information leads to mastery of the subject.

Turn with me to Luke 18:18-25

A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

           

This man thought he had arrived. He thought that his good works would insure him a place in the Kingdom of God. But he was wrong. When Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor, this man went away dejectedly. His response to the command revealed what was in his heart. Jesus had asked him to do what he was unwilling to do.

When we are newly born again, our hunger for knowledge about the things of God seem insatiable. We read our Bibles voraciously. We are at church every time the doors are open. The only channels our television and radios are tuned to are Christian. We want to learn how to pray and practice it religiously. We’re growing in the things of God. We want to become “super Christians”. We join the evangelism team and hit the streets. Then that first door slams in our face, or our loved ones tell us we’re crazy, or we lose our job, or get sick. We discover that we’re not super Christians after all. We’re still human.

At that point we have a choice to make – give up or persevere. The Bible clearly says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; (Jer 1:5) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last (John 15:16). And being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

Your being here today demonstrates that you are willing to take the next step, to persevere, to move deeper in Christian maturity. How is that done? Let’s go back to our list of verses and continue the sanctification process. Having moved from chosen to elect, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit moves us towards holiness. To be holy may be defined as: to set apart, to dedicate or purify.[3] Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself (Ps 4:3). We can see that this is a joint effort between the Holy Spirit and man. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3). He has equipped us. What have you done with your equipment?

“Certain lifestyles portray Christian maturity and give our witness credibility; other lifestyles do not.”[4] Now turn with me to 1 Thess 4:3-8:

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Like the rich young man, we should ask what it is that the Lord would have us do. It is not enough to do what we choose or to set limits on how much of our lives we’re willing to share with God.

Col 3:17 tells us, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Ask yourself this question the next time you’re tempted to give a half-hearted effort, would Jesus want to cosign this effort? Consider your ways. Would Jesus approve of the way you barked at the waitress who took to long? Or shake your hand for sneaking out of work early? Would he congratulate you for your mastery of getting someone’s attention or your way by flirting? What would he say if he sat down at your computer and checked the history logs to see where your eyes had been on the Internet? Does your cable TV package include channels “unsuitable for family viewing”?

Oral Roberts tells a story about a group of men applying for the job of stagecoach drivers during the conquest of the Old West. As the story goes, during the hiring process the applicants would boast of their prowess by telling hair-raising tales from previous crossings of the Rocky Mountains. As their stories unfolded, the driver’s ability to navigate his wagon along narrower and narrower trails brought the wagons closer and closer to the precipice edge. 

The men judged each other on how close he could come without tipping the wagon and its contents down the mountainside. At one point a young man interrupted their stories to withdraw his name from consideration. The wagon master inquired why, and was told because he didn’t drive a wagon the way the others had. When pressed as to how he would drive a wagon along a narrow mountain ledge, the young man replied. “I would keep the wagon as far as I could from the edge.” [5]

What kind of driver are you? Where is your sanctification wagon going? “I’ll work in the nursery, but only after Sister Suzie takes her turn.” “I’ll read my Bible but just until my favorite program comes on.” “I’ll tithe as soon as I get a raise.” “I’ll dress anyway I feel like.” “I’ll drive as fast as I want.”  Do that, and you’re driving your wagon perilously close to the world’s edge. 

So Pastor, tell me how do I stay on the safe trail?

1.  Refer to the instruction manual. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). Read it, study it, and refer to it often on the journey.

2.  Make sure you have the right supplies.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph 6:13-17).

Just as a wagon needs a cover to protect its contents from the storm, we need the full armor of God to protect us from the fiery darts of the enemy.

3.  Know where the wagon master is, and defer to His counsel.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). You are not on this road alone! The Holy Spirit is your helper, your counsel and your guide.

            4.  Stay on the established trail. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb 10:25). Know that you are not the first to travel this road. Be willing to encourage other believers as they travel the road of sanctification. Be open to godly correction and discipline.

            5.  Never lose sight of the final destination. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14). Paul understood that sanctification was a process that would continue until he entered his eternal home.

            How about you? Have you been able to determine where you are on this road of sanctification? Remember that Sanctification is a lifelong Christian maturing process. Which mile marker are you approaching:  Election, Chosen, Sanctifying, Holiness, Holy, or Sanctified? Or are you approaching the edge of the precipice? Have you fallen over the edge? Getting back on the road isn’t as difficult as you imagine. Turn your heart towards God. The wagon master will wait for you. Where is your instruction manual? Crack it open, get your bearings, dust off that armor and get going to the next signpost.

           

           

SANCTIFICATION SERMON HANDOUT

Lexicon search hagiasmos

Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

Rom 11:5

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.

1 Thess 1:4

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

Rom 9:11

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-in order that God's purpose in election might stand:

Rom 11:7

What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,

Rom 11:28

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,

2 Peter 1:10

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,

2 Thess 2:13

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

1 Peter 1:2

who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:

Rom 6:19

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

Rom 6:22

2 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

1 Cor 1:30-31

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  

1 Tim 2:15

But women will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

1 Thes 4:4

that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

1 Thess 4:7-8

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Heb 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

1 Thess 4:3

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

WORKS CITED

Gramcord Institute. 1995. Gramcord Bible Companion, Vancouver, WA:

Gramcord Institute, electronic edition.

Grudem, Wayne. 1999. Bible Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Haggard, Ted. 2001. The Life Giving Church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

Roberts, Oral. Sampson and Delilah: The Battle of Champions. Tulsa, OK: Oral  

Roberts Ministries, audiocassette.

Thomas Nelson Inc. 1997. Nelson’s Electronic Bible Reference Library.

Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, electronic edition.


----

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ex 19:10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ex 32:22). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[3] William F Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich, “hagiasmos”, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1969), 9.

[4] Ted Haggard, The Life Giving Church, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001), 74.

[5] Oral Roberts, Sampson and Delilah: The Battle of Champions, (Tulsa, OK: Oral Roberts Ministries), audiocassette.

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