Month: June 2014

Sanctification

We often seek a “right now” word, from God. Whether through preaching, teaching, reading, praying, or listening, a current and meaningful message is being sought. Many times, those messages are not really new at all, just more relevant than the last time we heard them.

As a child I remember many preachers, evangelists, and pastors preaching and teaching on the subject of sanctification or being sanctified. The vague memories I have (consider most of these memories are 20 years or more in the past) seemed to have more to do with holiness and salvation than actual sanctification. While I do see and understand the similarities and the direction the message was going, I can not say I remember any of those messages really “hitting the nail on the head”.

It is not my intent to undo any message, critique another’s sermon, nor undermine anything written, said, or heard. Instead, I hope to add to and hopefully broaden, if just a bit, the message of being sanctified. One of the difficulties when approaching this subject, is defining the subject. The word “sanctification” has several meanings which are similar, but distinct. Sanctification means to “set apart”, “make holy”, “make sacred”, “set free from sin”, and “make conductive to spiritual blessing”.

John:17:19: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Ephesians:5:26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

1st Peter:3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

In those phrases and verses you can see a very general picture with very separate details. For the purpose of this writing I will focus on being “set apart”. Once you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ the process of being sanctified begins. It is the process of being separated from the world (worldly ways) and dedicating yourself to His purpose for you. You can see how easily a message or teaching could go from sanctification to a message of holiness. Sanctification is an ongoing process, for we fight the flesh by the Spirit and this battle is fought until His appearing or our death.

Being sanctified, or set apart, is not a painless process. When we begin our separation from worldly ways and worldly lusts, it is not easy. The best analogy that comes to mind is “old habits die hard”. We are creatures of habit, and often lazy in spiritual matters, I speak from experience. We lose old friends, we refrain from going to old places (bars, casino’s, parties where drugs and alcohol are prominent), we truly begin a new life and that isn’t easy.

Today, I believe, the true church is being further set apart from the world. The refusal to call out sin or call a sin “sin” has become normal to many churches, while the true church confronts sin and shines the light into dark places. Homosexuality has been allowed to creep into the church as “acceptable” and even deemed worthy to become leaders within the church. Yet the true church proclaims the Word of God, stands firm, and declares sinners must repent. Many churches teach worldly prosperity, money, and worldly riches. The true church continues to teach “seek ye first the kingdom of God”, charity, and denial of self.

As these things continue to come against the church, and you as part of the church, it may get painful. The more you stand for what God has to say, the more you will be criticized, labeled as ignorant, or as an extremist. The more the world changes, the further the church will be separated from it. Keep this in mind:

Luke:12:51: Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Luke:12:52: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Luke:12:53: The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Luke:12:54: And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
Luke:12:55: And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
Luke:12:56: Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Luke:12:57: Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

Sanctification is ongoing for the church. I will close with this: There is coming a “setting apart” where we will leave this world, be it by the grave or that trumpet sound. Once we are truly set apart from this world and from this flesh we will be with our Lord Jesus and serve Him eternally. Seek Him, seek His will, and be ready, for we could be “set apart” in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye!

The Law

In this modern age, we have the rule of law, which we are governed by daily. Of course there are those who choose to break the law, ignore the law, and think themselves above the law. This does not change the fact that we are governed by law. We have those who make the law, those who enforce the law, those who practice law, and those who are being rehabilitated to follow the law. Yes, the law covers a lot of ground, you could say.

Here, in America, our laws are based largely upon moral and ethical law written by Moses, given by God. I have no specific verses which I want to reference, but you could start with the ten commandments found in Exodus, the twentieth chapter. The law of our land is the Constitution of the United States of America.

When we think about law, it is usually the details or a specific section, not the law as a whole, in which we direct our focus. The times we live in are much more about the letter of the law than the spirit in which it was written. The previous statement really begs for a teaching all its own, and I hope you choose to come back to it and meditate on it.

The reason I chose to write about the subject of law is because there are two points which I wanted to communicate. The first is, there is the law of God, and there is the law of man. Our law, the Constitution, is based on God’s law. Today, however, the law is being perverted, re-written, and misinterpreted to suit the needs of man, and not seeking the will of God. When you realize this, it becomes apparent why the anti-christ is referred to as the “man of lawlessness”. It is not because he does not have his own laws, it is because there is no regard for the laws of God.

The second point, or observation, I wanted to bring to light is; law is based on morals and ethics. If laws are being written, re-written, or misinterpreted from their original context, it is being done so from man’s perspective, not God’s. When you are no longer allowed to identify people by gender, when you are re-defining what marriage is, when you are limiting how and where a person can pray, you are creating law from someone else’s point of view, a man’s point of view. To say we are becoming a God-less country would be correct, instead we are becoming a country with gods.

Choose this day to be a servant to God and His ways. He that gave the law, has also given grace in and by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the more perfect covenant, and though He fulfilled the law, He by no means destroyed the law. We are still responsible for our actions, and I hope to encourage you to see what is happening and pray that spiritual eyes will be opened. We do not serve the law, but the Creator. The way that seems right to men leads to destruction, the way of God leads to eternal life. Look at the law and understand what is coming and from where it comes. Be not deceived, watch and pray. Man continues to give his law, but praise God, for He continues to give grace.

More Than Enough

We can never praise God enough. He is worthy of all praise for everything, for the past, the present, and the future. In sickness, in health, in good times, in bad times, in every season, He is truly worthy of all praise. Be sure to take note, I did not say it was easy nor did I say it was the first thought I have. He is deserving in every situation, we often fall short of recognizing that.

Too often, in our times of trouble, we fail to realize our shortcomings. We can’t always see what our trials and tribulations are leading us toward. In short, we can’t see the victory for the battle, we can’t see the forest for the trees.

There is cause for praise regardless of the season. We do not serve a God of “just enough”, we serve God Almighty, God of more than enough! God gives in abundance. Jesus said it like this:

John:10:10: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Have you really considered the meaning? It means to “present in great quantity, more than adequate, well supplied”. It does not mean “just enough, only the right amount, enough to get by”. You see, we serve our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives more than enough. Should you need further testimony, consider these verses:

Psalms:23:5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (The cup is not only filled, it runs over)

Ephesians:3:20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (exceeding, abundant above all that we ask OR think, this speaks volumes!)

When Jesus went to the cross, He did not give just enough blood to cover sin, He gave His life for His friends and gave His blood to cover all sin for all eternity to those who would believe on Him. He gave all for all, I consider that an abundance. We should not stop with things present, consider those things yet to come:

Romans:8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

There are times when things appear impossible, when no one else can help, and all things seem lost. Why do we seem to be placed in these times? So that we can know God is in control and only He is deserving of the praise. All things are possible with Christ, and He is True and Faithful. He is our Provider, our Friend who is closer than a brother, the One who has prepared a place for us, so that where He is, we can be with Him. This life is only the beginning, there are better things to come for those who know Jesus as their Savior.

Sing His praises, give your testimonies, and let Him be glorified. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t usually our first thought, but we must praise Him for He is the God of more than enough!