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Part of the series: SOWING THE SEED
CHURCH GROWTH through SANCTIFICATION
Victor M. Eskew
A. We have been looking at some aspects of Christian living that contribute to church growth.
B. In this lesson, we want to look at the subject: “Church Growth through Sanctification.”
1. Sanctification is not a word that we use every day.
2. We “kind of” know what it is, but most likely we have not applied it to church growth.
C. Let’s examine this topic in some detail. Maybe it will encourage us to live holier lives while on this earth.
I. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
A. There are three Bible terms and their derivations that come from the same root word in the Greek language.
1. Sanctify (I Thess. 5:23) hagiazo
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…
2. Saint (Phil. 4:21) hagios
Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.
3. Holy (I Thess. 5:27) haigos
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
1. Strong (37): to make holy…purify or consecrate, (mentally) to venerate
a. To be venerable or hallow
b. To separate from profane things and dedicate to God
c. To purify
II. SANCTIFICATION BEGINS AT CONVERSION
A. The scriptures connect several things to sanctification.
1. The truth (John 17:17)
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
2. The washing of water by the word (Eph. 5:26)
That he might sanctify it and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
3. The blood of Christ (Heb. 13:12)
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
4. The Holy Spirit
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
B. The combination of these things sounds like the teaching of Jesus regarding the New Birth.
1. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth, the Word of God, that one must believe to be saved (I Cor. 2:9-13).
2. The word of God instructs us to be washed in the waters of baptism wherein we come into contact with the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4).
3. When Jesus taught about the New Birth, He made a similar connection (John 3:5).
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
a. God takes us out of the world and puts us into His family.
b. He adds us to the church (Acts 2:47), the kingdom (Col. 1:13), the household of God (I Tim. 3:15).
c. We are a peculiar people or a special treasure unto God (I Pet. 2:5, 9).
d. We are purified in our obedience to the truth (I Pet. 1:22-23) and are separated for a holy purpose unto God (I Cor. 6:19-20; II Thess. 2:13).
e. We are sanctified.
III. SANCTIFICATION CONTINUES THROUGH OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE
A. Three passages
1. Ephesians 5:3-4
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
2. I Thessalonians 4:3-5
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
3. I Peter 1:13-16
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy.
1. All three words that we noted in the introduction are used in the passages that we just read.
a. “…as becometh saints…:
b. …possess your vessel in sanctification…”
c. “…so be ye holy…”
2. The admonitions were written to Christians, those who had already obeyed the truth and were baptized into Christ.
3. Sanctification involves our keeping ourselves from the evil, sinful, lustful things of this world.
4. Sanctification involves both mind and body.
a. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…”
b. “…possess his vessel in sanctification…”
5. Sanctification is insured if we continue to obey the commands of our heavenly Father.
IV. HOW SANCTIFICATION APPLIES TO CHURCH GROWTH
A. Our lives introduce others to God.
1. Peter commands us to be holy (I Pet. 1:15-16).
2. God is holy (Isa. 6:1-3).
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is filled with his glory.
3. The more holy our lives are, the better the picture others have of God when they come into contact with us.
B. When we live a sanctified life, others know that this life is “real” to us. This could cause them to seek such a life.
1. Two examples:
a. The Philippians and unity.
1) Philippians 1:27
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, in one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
2) Jesus noted that the unity of believers would cause others to believe (John 17:21).
That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
b. Godly wives married to non-Christians (I Pet. 3:1-2).
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
2. On the other hand, when we live sinful, carnal, ungodly lives, our example hinders our message (Rom. 2:24).
For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
C. Godly lives condemn the lives of the ungodly (Heb.11:7).
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
A. Sanctification is important in our relationship with God.
B. It also helps us in our spread of the gospel of Christ.
C. If you are not sanctified, you are not set apart unto God’s holy purposes. Won’t you be sanctified today?
D. If you have been sanctified by the blood of Christ, but you have despised the law of God, you need to repent and seek the forgiveness of God (Heb. 10:26-31).
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there re-maineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.