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Holy, Where?

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 NIV

Thesis - We are to be holy in spirit, soul and body.

Sanctification Objective - To cause people to be holy in spirit, soul and body.


This morning we continue our series on “The Questions of Holiness” by considering the where of holiness?  Where are we sanctified?  The apostle Paul provides the answer in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24.  (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24.)  Where are we sanctified?  The short answer, according to the NIV, is through and through.  After the short answer, “Paul … specifies the threefold division of our human nature, the spirit, the soul and the body as the [where] of this work of grace.”

            Notice the apostle moves, in this prayer, from the higher to the lower locations of sanctification.  The first where of sanctification is

I.  The spirit.

A.  What is the spirit?

                        1.  “The spirit is that in us which knows God.”  -A. B. Simpson

                                    a) Conscious of His presence

                                    b) Also knows the enemy

                        2.  “The spirit is that which loves God.”  -A. B. Simpson

                        3.  “The spirit is that which glorifies God.”  -A. B. Simpson

                        4.  “The spirit is that which enjoys God.”  -A. B. Simpson

5.  “The spirit is that which recognizes the difference between right and wrong.”  -A. B. Simpson

6.  “The spirit is that which chooses, purposes, determines and thus practically decides the whole question of our action and obedience.”  -A. B. Simpson

                        7.  “The spirit is that which trusts.”  -A. B. Simpson

B.  What is a sanctified spirit?

                        1.  It is a separated spirit.

a) Like the lily in the coal mine it stands unstained, separated by its own nature and purity from the dirtiness all around it.

                                    b) A spirit whose senses are separated from evil

                                                (1) It refuses to listen to the tempter.

                                                (2) It refuses to look with favor on temptation or sin.

                                                (3) It refuses to touch anything unclean.

                                                (4) It refuses to taste what is forbidden.

(5) It turns from the smell of unwholesome atmosphere.

                                    c) Separated in all other aspects

                                                (1) From all other Gods

                                                (2) From unbelief and distrust

                                                (3) From forbidden loves

                       2.  It is a dedicated spirit.

a) “Every moral sense … is dedicated to God.”  -A. B. Simpson

b) “Its will is dedicated to God.”  -A. B. Simpson

c) “Its power of trusting is dedicated.”  -A. B. Simpson

            (1) Under any circumstance

            (2) In spite of feelings                    

                        3.  It is a filled spirit.

                                    a) With the Lord’s presence

                                    b) With the Lord’s power

The next where is

II.  The soul.

            A.  What is the soul.

                        1.  Home to our understanding which has many varied chambers.

                                    a) Perception

                                    b) Intelligence

                                    c) Memory

                                    d) Imagination                     

e) Expectation

                                    f) Reason or judgment

2.  Home to the tastes that represent the special bias of mind each of us has.

                                    a) Certain special talents - e.g. playing musical instruments

                                    b) Adaptations - e.g. learning languages and switch hitting

                                    c) Mental inclinations - e.g. solving puzzles

3.  Home to our affections which speak to our human passions and emotions (from love to competitiveness).

4.  Home to our appetites (those qualities of mind that touch the physical senses and act through them – e.g. sexual desire)).

            B.  What is a sanctified soul?

                        1.  It is a separated soul.

                                    a) It is a separated understanding.

(1) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

(2) Forgetting what is behind …  Philippians 3:13c

                                    b) It is separated in tastes.

                                    c) It is separated emotions.

                                                (1) Unselfish love

                                                (2) Righteous anger

                        2.  It is a dedicated soul.

                                    a) It is a dedicated understanding.

                                    b) It is dedicated tastes (Psalm 34:8a).

                                    c) It is dedicated affections.

                        3.  It is a filled soul.

                                    a) An understanding filled with the mind of Christ.

                                    b) Tastes under His full control.

                                    c) Affections under His full control.

            The final where is

III.  The body.

A.  What is the body?

                        1.  Obviously, it is the physical part of man.

2.  “The human body was designed to be the ultimate climax of the whole creation and later to be the eternal form of the incarnate God himself.”  -A. B. Simpson

a) Therefore it is not something to be depreciated. (Gnosticism taught the body is not real.)

b) It is not something to be disposed of.  (It isn't evil and therefore shouldn't be destroyed by mortification.)

c) It is not something to be debauched.  (Neither should it be destroyed through excessive indulgence of its grossest passions.)

                                    d) It is something to be sanctified.

B.  What is a sanctified body?

                        1.  A sanctified body is a body separated from:

a) Gross, sensual indulgences

                                                (1) Galatians 5:19-21

                                                (2) Ephesians 5:3-5

b) Indulgences of the appetites in every excessive or unnatural


            (1) Eating to live

            (2) Drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18)

(3) It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.  1 Thessalonians 4:3

            (a) Fornication

            (b) Adultery

            (c) Homosexuality

            (d) Bestiality 

                                    c) Dirty eyes

                                    d) Dirty ears

                                    e) Dirty tongue

                                    f) Dirty hands

                                    g) Dirty feet

                                    h) Worldly dress

                                                (1) 1 Timothy 2:9, 10

                                                (2) 1 Peter 3:3, 4

                                    i) Intemperate work, excessive service

                                    j) Disease

                                                (1) Sickness is a result of sin.

                                                            (a) Racial

(b) Sometimes personal - That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.  1 Corinthians 11:30

                                                (2) God can use illness for His glory.

(3) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  1 Peter 2:24

2.  A sanctified body is a dedicated body.

                        3.  A sanctified body is a filled body (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).

            Do you have a sanctified spirit, soul and body?  If not you might want to use a hymn writer’s prayer:

                        “Refining fire go through my heart, Illuminate my soul,

                        Scatter thy life through every part, And sanctify the whole.”

                                                                                    -A. B. Simpson


Wyoming, PA – 04/20/08

Bangor, ME – 02/15/09

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