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August 15, 2021 7:00 pm
So you just got another sermon and song which in many ways is a summary of the text that we are going to be looking at today in first Thessalonians 523 and 24. Most of you are aware that the apostle Paul customarily closed his epistles with the benediction. What is a benediction. One commentator defined a benediction as an expression of good wishes or the invocation of a blessing.
What is it invocation and invocation is a petition or a prayer and saw benediction is a prayer request a petition for blessing, which is why we don't talk about a benediction of blessing because benediction is blessing. That's what it means a benediction is a petition for blessing upon God's children. The invocation of a blessed and Paul occasionally employed to closing benediction's as he has here.
Always one and only a couple of times to the second wad in the final one is the most familiar wonders found in verse 28, Paul concludes his epistle by saying the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. It's been a good number of years ago now and I don't even remember which epistle we were concluding in our study, but we came to that closing benediction and I took one Sunday to analyze all 13 of Paul's benedictions. You may remember that we categorize them to three different classes there were the long ones. The short ones in the middle sized ones we looked at what was similar in what was different and it was a very profitable study. I thought, but this is a very familiar one wording we will find very, very much like this in all Paul's epistles, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. That's a prayer petition for God's grace to rest upon them. His closing benediction, but the first benediction is found in verses 23 and 24 of this one is unique before I nothing like this in any of the other epistles. He says now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it in here is a Benedict Terry prayer for the sanctifying work of God's spirit, the blessings of sanctification invoked and explained invoked that is petitioned prayed for and explained in examining this text of two verses. I see three things. Number one, a basic petition number two and explanatory repetition, and number three in ironclad assurance begins with a basic petition for sanctification again. Verse 23. The first part now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May the God of peace himself.
So I defy you completely end of this first part we are going to ask who are the objects of sanctification and who is the author of sanctification. The objects of sanctification are the Thessalonian believers, by extension, all other believers of the Lord Jesus Christ and the petition for these believers is that God will sanctify you completely. What is sanctification is a word that means to set apart there actually two aspects of it to be set apart from sin and to be set apart to God.
The two go together. Sanctification draws us away from sin and draws us onto God. The word holy is virtually a synonym for the word sanctify and so do sanctify is to make holy or complete. It also carries the idea to consecrate the priest in the Old Testament were sanctified by the anointing of olive oil and others.
In the Old Testament work anointed, set apart for God, set apart for special service. They were they were sanctified they were consecrated to God for special service. But what is and here's another phrase.
Entire sanctification is you'll find the phrase in some of the translations of my Bible with its use the word complete sanctification now may the God of priests himself sanctify you completely sanctify you entirely sesame or translations, sanctify you wholly say other translations sanctify you through and through is a translation that some of you may have. What is this entire sanctification. It is total, with an emphasis on the fact that no part of us will be excluded from this process. Entire whole, total, completely sanctified and sanctified in all our parts until the final goal is achieved entire sanctification does not mean, as some have missed it understood to mean sinless perfection in this life that is not what this is teaching and will see why in a moment we get into what part of is a sanctified spirit, soul and body, and when people talk about entire sanctification, which is a mistake the Bible doesn't teach that doesn't teach it in this life. He does teach it teaches entire sanctification. But that entire T that completeness awaits the future. In fact, it's not complete until the day of Jesus Christ as our text makes clear, but that process is going on down in our life but nobody reaches sinless perfection in this life. No one reaches entire sanctification in this life, and one reason it's obvious is because, according to our text, the sanctification not only ministers to the spiritual side of us are spirit and soul, but it also addresses our body. And I don't know many people who are willing to say that our bodies are made perfect in this life if they were would never die right so this is not talking about sinless perfection in this life. This is not talking about perfect sanctification in this life it's talking about something else and I pause therefore to point out that most of the errors that are taught in the Christian religion are based upon a biblical word or phrase in here. The phrase entire sanctification is found in some translations are based upon a biblical word or phrase removed from its context, and infused with an imported meaning see their it says entire sanctification.
That means that we are may sinless to perfect or least have the potential we can if we will trust God's will try hard enough it will work out is sufficiently we can become similarly perfect and that erroneous idea is imported into that phrase as the phrase itself is removed from its context, and therefore made to mean something that clearly does not mean in its original setting and most errors are likely a related error is the error of the potential for perfect healing of the body as a matter of guarantee if we will believe God for it in trust God for because we are told that healing is in the atonement healing is included in the atonement. Have you ever heard that phrase is healing included in the atonement. Yes. Does that mean that the healing is included in the atonement can be achieved in this life know the healing that's in the atonement awaits the second coming of Jesus Christ. When our bodies will be raised, glorified, glorified bodies are perfectly and forever he'll that's in the enjoyment, but it's not now it's the end understand how these things go. It's so easy to take something and get it almost right but just close enough to make it wrong and then to teach something that is not true, and I will just simply say without giving any illustrations for that. It appears to me that a lot of the errors relating to eschatology happened in similar fashion, the word is taken removed from its context, infused with meaning from someplace else that may also not be as clear as some people think it is in their it is. This is what the Scripture teaches just backup look at it more closely examined in context and see what the Bible is actually saying the objects of sanctification are believers, may the God of peace sanctify you completely. The author sanctification is clearly God now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely God is the one who sanctifies sanctification is first and foremost, the work of God because his power alone is able to accomplish this to make us perfect.
Only God can do that. The God who does this is described in this passage is the God of peace why that particular phrase for the God who sanctifies the God of peace, the term, the God of peace is a broad, general districts description would be an accurate description of the character of God himself.
God is the God of peace because God is the peaceful God in his presence there is peace and joy and no turmoil and no worry. No anxiety, no conflict. That is, his character, that flows out from him that is what surrounds him. Don't we long for that because we don't have much of that in this world, and furthermore he is the God of peace, because he's the author of human peace. Wherever human peace is to be found.
God has created their wherever there's a lack of peace, either in society or in your heart because at that particular point. God is not ruling your affections, your thoughts, your activities or those that are going on in society and therefore peace has not been produced because only God can produce peace, you can achieve that by social action isn't strange. Were going to create peace by by rioting and so forth.
I mean it so counterproductive. But if you don't know where peace comes from a don't know how to achieve it that you do the best you can. And the best the humans do turned out always to be the opposite of what they say they're trying to achieve. That's the blindness of sinful hearts but peace comes from God, the God of peace, but as to its contextual emphasis is God of peace.
Why he is called the God of peace.
In this text on sanctification. It is because of the following thoughts that relate to God number one God effects reconciliation by the cross of Christ.
Where are we in our sin we are at war with God Bible calls into being at enmity with God, we are rebels against him. We are unwilling to submit to his rightful rule we are pushing against him, defying him questioning him. That is our normal condition.
So we are at war we are in turmoil. We are at anything but rest and, therefore, for God to bring about peace in our lives. It has to be given by reconciling us to himself that that sinful enmity has to be dealt with.
It has to be removed and how is it removed. It is removed by the work of Christ upon the cross, who bears the judgment for our sins. And when we trust in Christ we are justified a simple child's definition of that is just as if I'd never sinned. It's not deep accurate full theological definition, but that will do for right now. Justification is just as if I'd never sinned. The enmities gone by sin is good. My war with God is over. I'm at peace with God's got Effexor exit reconciliation by the cross of Christ and reconciliation through justification must come first and then restoration of sanctification follows justification deals with our record in heaven. Justification deals with the day of judgment. Justification deals with the judgment bar of God when God will open the books and he will either judge was guilty or he will judge us plans righteous and when we are justified in Christ that I record in heaven is as perfect as the record of Jesus Christ himself. Amazing amazing amazing amazing how can that be, but that is the truth.
But the fact of the matter is that here upon the earth.
We are still wrestling with remaining sin right we haven't been fully sanctified, but sanctification is that process by which we are gradually being made more Christlike. Little by little by little until the day we shall be completely Christlike when the day went our state matches are standing are standing before God is perfect, justified our state is that were not yet perfect, but God's working on that too. But he has to start justification. And so, God effects reconciliation by the cross of Christ through justification and then restoration which is sanctification follows because sanctification occurs only in the lives of subdued rebels.
Or another way of putting it is those who are no longer rebels because they have surrendered. I don't I buy I submit now the work of restoration, sanctification begins and we are told in our text that it's God alone who does this in the work himself is emphatic. Matt now may the God of peace himself. If you have a great testament maybe one or two of you do himself as the first word in the text.
And that's the emphatic position in Greek God alone is able to do this. God himself will do it because God alone can do that God alone is able to fulfill this petition of sanctification. God alone can justify the condemned center. God alone can restore the ruined center all human efforts are vain without him. I'm not saying all human efforts are wasted. But they are in vain. Without him human efforts by those who are not justified.
Make no progress at all human efforts by those who have been justified are working together with the sanctifying power of God to accomplish this purpose. That is the basic petition, but the text goes on in what I called an explanatory repetition now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and here we go, may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a sense, this is repeating the basic petition with new information.
Paul prays for their sanctification. Paul now repeats that petition in different words that give us more information, but it's another way of petitioning for their sanctification and explanatory repetition that I have three questions to ask of this part of the text. Number one, what will be sanctified.
Number two. How will we be sanctified in number three. When will we be sanctified.
What will be sanctifying short answer our entire being. That's the entire earlier holy part of the first part of the text. Our entire be this explains what Paul meant by that phrase may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely that is your spirit, your soul, your body all you that's what completely me everything that makes one a human being both the material and immaterial part of man, God is sanctifying. Our inner man. God is sanctifying. Our outer man.
God is sanctifying our soul and spirit will talk about that in the moment God is sanctifying RFID that will be entirely sanctified at the coming of Christ. All of the parts that make a human being, a human being will be sanctified now that gets us to the what shall I say the college dormitory debate about this text is Paul teaching that man is a tripartite being or is it more accurate to think of a man is a lie. Part B should man be thought of as consist constitute convinced constituting three parts, body, soul and spirit, or is it more accurate to think of man as being two parts the material and the material the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul, spirit. This is the main text for those who lean toward the tripod position. The other text that would point in that direction is the familiar one Hebrews 412.
This is the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
So there are the only two texts I know that tenant to teach a tripartite position.
What you need to know is that text that refer to man is a bipartisan being are far more numerous. If you're counting texts. How many lean toward tripartite to how many lean toward by part probably at least 10 or 12. I'll just give you one in the Matthew 1028 Jesus said and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Christ is also talking about the wholeness of man.
Don't fear those who can only kill the body, because they can't touch the the spiritual part, but you need to fear God above who is able to cast both the spiritual and the material part of the soul and the body into hell. There you have man envisioned as a two-part being, and I can also tell you and I listed a number of other text or not to take time to go into the mall, but I can also tell you that you can find a number of text where the term soul and spirit are used interchangeably. It's impossible to tell any meaningful distinction between them. In fact, sometimes you will find the same words that are given in one gospel using spirit another gospel using soul. Obviously they are intended to be the same in that setting, so much as it is man try part by part I got my own theory. I'm not going to go into that now because that takes is a field of the main point of the text. The main point of the text is simply to point out that sanctification includes not just the soul of man, but also his body we talked about that earlier. That's why this idea of sinless perfection in this life really can't be taught from this text even though it speaks about entire sanctification or complete sanctification, but in the context what that completeness means is the completeness of man's being is physical part equally to his spiritual part and until all of man body and soul are completely sanctified.
The work is not been done and were told here when that will occur at the coming of Jesus Christ. So what will be sanctified. Answer our entire being. How will we be sanctified.
Answer we will be preserved blameless.
That is, through divine preservation and through divine perfection preserved preservation blameless perfection.
We will be sanctified through divine preservation God will preserve us until we reach this goal, the truth of the matter is if you haven't learned this yet about yourself.
You need to know what the truth of the matter isn't left to yourself, you would destroy yourself, you would you would cast off your faith in Christ you would go another direction, you would plunge yourself back into said you would you would lose your salvation long before you die. If God didn't preserve you, but he does protects the preserves he restrains he pulls you back you getting close to the cliff pulls you back.
He doesn't let you go over.
That's what God does. He preserves as he keeps us he protects us in the faith until this work is done until we are presented blameless.
As Paul said in another place without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. We are presented.
Finally, in that day is the bride of Christ. And so, through divine preservation. We are preserved from premature destruction which we would bring upon ourselves and through divine perfection. We are brought without blame to the final condition so that there is nothing to blame because not only have we been justified but we will be entirely sanctified, which means all flaws and imperfections in sales and sinful thoughts and directions and desires and propensities that will be gone will be perfect in that day blameless before the throne of God in that day.
Can you imagine that that's what were taught and I am told that there have been discovered in Thessalonica and some of the ancient tombs of Christians. The two words preserved blameless that they believed that they would be preserved blameless until the day of Christ.
Paul told them that in this epistle. So what will be sanctified. Answer our entire being. How will we be sanctified. Answer your divine preservation and divine perfection. Number three. When will we be sanctified in our text says at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that tells you the end conclusion, but the text also teaches not as clearly in the English translation that we are progressing now in a sanctification that will be completed at the coming of Jesus Christ. We are progressing in sanctification now and here I have to lean upon the scholars it was Edmund Hebert who put it this way others said similar things but without telling me exactly what was the basis that underlies what is said and he said that this is an error rest active optative. I scratch my head and said can I remember that phrase at all from my 2 1/2 years of Greek some 50 years ago.
I don't even remember that phrase. If you wish.
It was there I did, I did remember it I maybe never heard it.
That's that's a rare one but that's what he says.
I take his word for it.
It is an error rest active optative which she takes to mean a realizable prayer wish for their future. But he says this is Edmund Hebert continuing the action is. And here's another big word constant to have, which means the process is going on and will be consummated. Christ return. No I say you don't see all that. Clearly the English but I'm convinced that that's what is found in the Greek text for those who understand I'm taking that by faith because I don't understand that myself.
So, if you will take my word for what I'm taking Hebert's word for then we will agree that that's what this text is teaching because that conforms with what is taught elsewhere in Scripture that's in perfect accord with the teaching of Scripture.
We are progressing down sanctification. The question was when will base we be sanctified and the answer is now and then we will be in a process of being sanctified now and that process will be completed at the return of Jesus Christ. Then we will be sanctified entirely completely but there's another question. Why does we can we not say that we are entirely sanctified and death when we die we enter the presence of the Lord we say accurately that are sold at that time is entirely sanctified. We are without sin or we could be in the presence of the Lord.
We could be in heaven are sanctification of our soul is complete. When we enter into the presence of the Lord at death. But why then do we say that this process is not complete until the second coming of Christ. Because of the body. The work of sanctification includes soul and body and therefore our body is not sanctified to death.
Our soul is what our body is not the sanctification of our body awaits his return and then when our bodies are raised, glorified, like Christ body out of the grave and united with our already sanctified souls. We will be entirely sanctified will be entirely perfect, with whom he without flaw in any part of our human being, body and soul and thus may fit to stand in the judgment.
Remember Psalm one. Sinners shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous can't stand there.
They can't stand before God the righteous God. Only those who have been justified, cleansed, redeemed, can stand in the congregation of the righteous and the presence of God. So the sanctification makes us completely fit to stand in the judgment of God without blame without blame that made fit to share in Christ's glory because we are perfect, without blame. This text is teaching us in regard to sanctification.
Progress now perfection them. Which brings me to number three and ironclad assurance.
Can we be certain that this will take place. Verse 24 he who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. It's an ironclad assurance because it rest upon God's character. He is faithful. He is trustworthy he is reliable. He always keeps his word.
He never fails to keep his promises. And he has made promises to his children, and therefore he will fulfill them. He who calls you is faithful. He who calls you is a way of identifying the people of God.
He who calls you when the Bible talks about the call of God.
It's generally talking about what we refer to as the effectual call there couple of references that could be properly labeled and general call for the gospel goes out indiscriminately yet invites people to believe in Christ.
That's a general call and anyone who hears that call and responds to it will be saved. Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That's the general call, but this cannot be talking about the general call.
Why not because this tells us he who calls you is faithful, who also will do it the one who makes this call is going to accomplish something unerringly unfailingly in the lives of those whom he calls right.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. This therefore is talking about the Bible doctrine of election.
It's talking about the elect of God, who are called into life. It is talking about those who are regenerated, who are born again. It is talking about those who understand and embrace the gospel because of the work of God spirit within them is talking about those who have new spiritual desires and delights because God has changed their heart. We don't have spiritual desires and delights in our Adamic nature. The natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, their foolishness to him because they are spiritually discerned. We can't desire delight those things in our old man but those who have new spiritual desires and delights created by God are those for whom this promise is in effect. Those who by the work of God are lifelong repent. We don't just repent. Once of our sins we repent over and over, not necessarily the same sins over and over, though sometimes it may be the case but that's not what I'm talking about, but we repent regularly week the more sanctifying work. God does in our hearts.
The more conscious we are of our sins.
The more since we didn't scarcely notice before now begin to loom large, and we say oh no, I have I have a dishonor doing this so Lord I have displeased you and please forgive me to become lifelong repent or, why is that so because he who calls this works this within us. We you have a concern for the salvation of other unconverted people don't are concerned about the salvation of others about him concerned sufficiently about the salvation of themselves. This belongs to those who long for the return of Christ. The final conquest of sin, the fulfillment of all of our spiritual desires which still are unfulfilled as we are longing for Christ to come by kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Even so, Lord Jesus those who have desires like that are the ones that Paul is talking about.
He who calls you and this is how we can tell that we have been called. These are the evidences, some of them of that calling that effectual call.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will and so this ironclad assurance rest upon God's character is promised to God's children, but I depends upon his performance who will bring it to pass. He will he who calls you is you is faithful, who also will do it.
He will bring it to pass. Because whatever God begins.
He completes got that God is like us. And if your men have the projects around the house that you started and you really thought you would been done with long time ago. But there they sit, are they ever get done. Only God knows you don't God never starts anything that he doesn't complete. How did Paul put it in Philippians 16 being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Whatever God begins. He completes and so depends upon his performance. He will bring it to pass. But we need to understand that God engages our participation in this process. God is doing God is guaranteeing that God is guaranteeing success because of a dependent upon us. We couldn't guarantee success, but it depends upon God and therefore success is guaranteed. But God works in the operation of sanctification in what is called synergism. Unlike his work in regeneration, which is actually called managers familiar with those terms.
Very simple. Monetarism means one alone who regenerates God. How do we how do we enter into that. We haven't done to us by God. We don't contribute to the God does the work of regeneration. God brings dead souls to life.
God's that steps up to the tomb of our dead soul like the tomb of Lazarus and says Lazarus come far. Lazarus didn't do a thing to bring life to himself. It was done to him. That's monitor Judaism. That's regeneration, but by design by divine design sanctification is done in a synergistic fashion. God doesn't in cooperation with us. He involves us in the process he includes us in the mix but in such a way that isn't perfect control and he make sure that it will get accomplished. He engages our participation, but it doesn't depend upon efforts depends upon God's guarantee it will happen.
He will bring it to pass because he superintending the process so I come to my conclusion but don't think I'm done. It's a long conclusion and I saved enough time for. I start by answering some questions.
These are now review who sanctifies us answer God's question number two who endeavors to grow in sanctification, answer the believer. The believer desires to grow in sanctification true born-again believer does question three. Who creates those desires within us answer God that sure didn't come out a fallen Adam question four who guarantees that these desires will be fulfilled. Answer God, so let me go through that again. For questions for answers. Who sanctifies us answer God who endeavors to grow sanctification answer the believer who creates these desires within us answer God who guarantees of these desires will be fulfilled.
Answer God so would you say that sanctification is God's work involves us. He engages our participation, he engages our efforts but it truly is the work of God, which brings me therefore to make a few observations about salvation in general salvation you understand is more than a decision. It's more than an act of the will all that's included is not less than that the Holy Spirit of God brings us to a place of decision. He brings us to a an act of the will.
Where we desire Christ. But salvation is so much more than that, it is that so much more.
Salvation is more than a ticket to heaven, though it does include that praise God when we been saved we do have our names written in the Lamb's book of life and the tickets in our pocket were on our way and were assured of it is if we were already there. Salvation is a divinely designed process to make sinners who are fit only for Intel into children of God who are perfectly suited for heaven that takes a lot of work more than just write our names down the Lamb's book of life. Praise God that's true. There's other work going on to get us ready before we get there, and God superintendents the process from beginning to end all away from eternity past to those of the chosen him before the foundation of through all the processes of salvation. Everything that was necessary, including Christ, dying on the cross and the Holy Spirit coming and working in our hearts and bringing us to understand the gospel to desire Christ and to decide for him and to exercise, I will in the choosing of yes, all of that to and then this gradual work of making us more holding little by little by little by little by little until we die and enter our souls enter into the presence of Christ perfectly holy and then we wait the resurrection of the body and the completion of the process and when he comes, then it's all complete. God guarantees that every elect person will complete the process.
It scares work here is assurance believers will be saved because God guarantees it.
Here is encouragement. Believers will experience full and final salvation is frustrated as we are now with our remaining sin here is encouragement. Believers will experience full and final salvation here is examination. Listen to me. You say you are Christian you manifest spiritual desires. Now if you waiting to get to heaven to start being spiritually minded you will waited too late because the process that God does starts that those desires in that direction.
Now they don't become perfect until we get to heaven, but they do begin with the new birth do you manifest spiritual desires. Now you see, God has designed the end. Complete sanctification at the coming of Christ. God has designed the path the Texas to the end.
Progressive sanctification along the path of life, and no one reaches the end who bypasses the present process. Why not because that's the way God designed why not because that's the way God does it, why not because that's the way God guarantees it.
Why not because the Almighty all-powerful God works his way to pass. So I ask you, are you progressing in holiness now and is that what you truly desire. Because sometimes people who are making progress in holiness because of the sanctifying work in their hearts it's making them more aware of their sin makes them feel like they're making not making any progress. So the question is do you have those desires do you do you know that within yourself. You have a serious desire to become more like Christ to become more holy to become more pleasing to the Lord to find yourself confessing your sins and asking God for help to do them no more because that's what God is doing this work of sanctification to all of those who are going to have and if you don't have those desires. Why not in the answer should be obvious because you need to be born again no matter what you profess to matter how many miles you've walked no matter how many cans you've raised to matter how many prayers you prayed.
Evidently you have a really yielded your stubborn heart to God, you haven't surrendered. You haven't given up your fight with God for control of your own life. Therefore, you need to recognize your need and go to Christ, shall we pray father take your word, apply it to every hard as needed. We ask in Jesus name