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August 2, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn continues the series entitled “Church Matters,” with a message from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The school was founded in 1927 evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series called church matters. These messages were preached at Bob Jones University to help students choose a church home while attending college.
However, these biblical principles apply to everyone helping us choose where to worship with the body of believers each week today. Sermon will be preached by Dr. Sam Horn. We have been making our way through a series on the nature and the importance of the local church and one of the reasons were doing that series this semester as a faculty and staff and student body is because we believe that the choice of the local church is one of the most and important decisions that we as Christians will make in our life. The choice of where we will grow and serve and worship so we been taking our time this semester to make our way through what the New Testament has to say about that process and so as you think about that. I want to ask you question him and have you turn to first Thessalonians chapter 5 in your Bible and were going to look at a paragraph of Scripture and sort of take that paragraph as a place where we begin our our time together this morning, but the question I have for you is you turn there is this how many of you have actually bought a car yourself, you have purchased a car can see your hands right hold hands way up high.
How many of you found that to be a delightful process, one where you just anticipated and it just went smoothly and you walked into the dealership and there you saw this beautiful car and I mean it was everything you desired it had all the horsepower you wanted it had the look he wanted and if any figure budget of about $1500. Did that happen to anybody in your I remember when my son just determined that he was in desperate need of a car and and finally that moment arrived, we tried to put it off as a family for a whole lot of reasons.
When you become a parent and your son or daughter drives. That becomes a very very good way for you to become dependent on the grace of God and as certainly as you drive your prayer life increases as you ride with them in their first in the first times that drive and so I remember when Robert began shopping around for a car and it was an endless process I II call that period of time. The endless conversation about cars and what you think dad and he think this is and I would say you know what's on what you need to do is you need to talk to so-and-so and I gave him the name of somebody knew a lot about cars and my son ended up buying a car and I drove it for a few years and then went on to to enter into the lifelong engagement of car buying in your to be doing a lot of that you know when we make a major purchase like that most of us are not just going to go into the dealership point to a car and say that's the one I want.
Most of us are going to take some time to do some research to do our homework to figure out what what the things we need that vehicle to do our and so car buying for us becomes a very intentional process. I suspect that many people many believers give more attention and more time to the purchase of a car than they do to the selection and the choice of the church where they worship and I don't mean that as an indictment. I just I five watched this as a pastor I watch this is a been around Christian circles, and it strikes me that many, many people give more intentionality to the choice of the purchase of the vehicle than they do to the church where they 10 and so are series this semester is intended to help bring some intentionality to the choice that many of you are making right now and some of you will make at the end of the semester and that is where you going to worship where you going to grow and where you going to serve and where we are in our series with we talked about the importance of the church. We talked about the doctrinal foundation of the church. We talked about the importance of sound preaching.
We talked about the importance of evangelism and discipleship and we talked about the fact that the church is God's amazing family. The importance and blessing of church membership, and so where we are today is this, as a member of this family. Once we have checked out these aspects of the church and were now ready to join what is supposed to happen next. Some months ago I was preaching. I can remember where it was now, but I had a rental car and you know when you get a rental car. Often times you get these tin cans on wheels and I had a I think was a Toyota Camry era, and I pulled up to gas station and I saw a guy and he had one of the most amazing cars. I think I've ever seen up close. It was a Ferrari and he was standing outside at the gas station I have seen for reason, but I've never been like really close to what and so I told my little Toyota right up next to his and I thought maybe we could share the same gasp and so I got out and and I noticed that he was trying to figure out something about his car he was walking around the car he was opening up the doors and he opened up the trunk and I'm thinking, what is he doing and then he came over to me and he said do you know anything about for Rian's. I said oh yeah, I know a lot about the noise and sick that he was trying to find out how to open the gasket. I thought to myself, you know, that is an amazing thing. I almost took a picture of it but I decided not to just just out of I would even say where I was, so there's no I don't even know who he was. I just thought men that's the Ferrari guy doesn't even know how to get gasket was gas capital, sometimes in our lives as we come to the church.
We don't quite know what were supposed to do next.
As we as we answer the body life of the church. What is it that we're supposed to do as we fuel up our spiritual life so that we can go forward and make a difference in this amazing body that God is made as a part of.
And Peter has an answer to that at the end of his second letter in chapter 3 verse 18 Peter says here's what you're supposed to do. You are supposed to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that description that paragraph that that phrase grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually referring to the topic of our messages morning it is referring to the concept into the theological reality of sanctification in our life. This is not the first time Peter has talked about this in first and second Peter chapter 1 earlier in that saying letter he talks about seven virtues that we must give diligence to add to our life. And when we add these virtues to our life. They make us look remarkably like the Lord Jesus and Peter says when these things are present in your life, and flourishing. They cause you to be in a place where you will not be unfruitful in your ministry and in your service to Christ and then he warns that if they are not present and if they are not driving, then we leave for if we fail to do this we will fall back into the very sin that the gospel rescued us from and so for Peter. This is a very big deal. Sanctification is a very big deal, it's even more important for the writer of Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews.
In chapter 12 said follow peace with all men, and holiness. That's the idea of sanctification, without which no man shall see the Lord.
So as you and I think about our church and we think about the choice of a church. This idea of progressive sanctification is something that has to come on our radar. So what I like to do this morning is just take you on a little journey through what the Bible has to say about sanctification in general and then how it applies to your life as a member of the body of Christ. So Celeste began by asking this basic question. What is it what is sanctification. I have two definitions that I think are helpful in the process. One is the definition by theologian name Anthony hope Mark and he said it this way, sanctification is the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit.
In other words, the Holy Spirit energizes this is the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit involving our responsible participation. This is something that God does. And this is something that you do so. There is a cooperation that goes on in this idea of sanctification.
It involves our responsible participation by which he delivers justified centers. That's the ground on which sanctification is built from the pollution of sin renews our entire nature. According to the image of God. That's that's where sanctification is headed and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to God Wayne Gruden.
Another theologian said it this way. Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives. When the Bible actually describe sanctification.
It describes it in three ways. There is there are texts in the Bible that talk about the reality of sanctification is something that is already done in your life. There is a positional sanctification that every believer enjoys because they have been sanctified by God when they began the Christian life and want to give me some texts.
First Corinthians chapter 6, verse 11 is a classic text and such were some of you Paul talking to the Corinthians about the life of sin out of which they had been redeemed and such were some of you but you are washed and he are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of God. Hebrews chapter 10 verse 14 said that this way for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. So when the Bible talks about sanctification. One of the things that it describes is a reality that every one of you enjoy every one of us enjoy as believers and it is that God has set us apart to himself and he has set us apart from sin, so that positional idea is described in a second way is also described as a progressive process. You are being sanctified. As you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.
This is the part where you cooperate in the process. Positional sanctification is something that God does to you and he does for you. Progressive sanctification is something that God does with you. You and God cooperate together. Romans chapter 6 verse 19 speaks to this reality pauses. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you wants presenting your members as slaves to impurity and the lawlessness leading to more lawlessness.
Even now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification bosses you take your bodies and you take your life and you bring them to God, and you allow God to use those members. Your body so that you should actually perfect holiness in the fear of God in the first Thessalonians 43 for this is the will of God. Even your sanctification and then here's what you're supposed to do that you would abstain from fornication, then sanctification is describe the third way it's described as a position that God has placed you in it is described as a process that you and God cooperate in and it's described as a permanent reality that you will fully enjoy when you stand in his presence, and your glorified body. First Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 13 to the end, he may establish your hearts unblamable and holiness before God.
Even our father at the coming of our Lord Christ. So this is when that will happen in our text this morning. First Thessalonians 523 and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly or entirely completely and I pray God your whole spirit and your whole soul and body be preserved blameless under the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that description then leads to a responsibility and that responsibility can be summed up this way are sanctification our personal growth and holiness is not optional.
It is a responsibility that Scripture gives us you can say this way the new birth, and justification make holiness possible, but they do not make it optional you and I have a responsibility to be holy. Peter said in this way, the holy even as I am holy coating out of the Torah. We have a responsibility to live in ways that reflect the holiness of the father, who was called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. And so when we think about sanctification. It is that progressive process in which we cooperate with God in becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like the world around us that brings us to the second question, how does this function. How does sanctification actually work. How does it function and we could start this way we could say that sanctification functions on a particular theological foundation justification. Justification is the ground on which sanctification grows and is built is not the same as sanctification. Justification is a legal declaration that God makes about you when he declares that you are righteous on the merits of somebody else's righteousness. So God declares you righteous and and a person who has been declared righteous, who has been cleared by God as an important question to answer and and Paul frames that question in Romans chapter 6 like this, what shall we say then, now that were justified. What is to be our conclusion. What shall we say about this. Shall we continue in sin and Paul's answer to that is a say resounding definite no. If you have actually been justified, then you cannot continue to live in your sinful ways. So here's the big question if that's really the truth then how do I stop sinning. How do I build on this ground and the answer is there is a spiritual actualization that happens and it's called spirit energized the obedience is affected by the spirit.
It is energized by grace, and it is directed by the word of God. Paul said it this way and flipping chapter 2 in verse 12 he talks about my responsibility in sanctification. Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling in the idea. There is display it your salvation. The justification that God has granted you needs to be displayed now in your life so that your life becomes the evidence of the reality that God indeed is justified. You so you and I have a responsibility to grow in grace and work out or display our salvation. But how do we find the strength to do that in verse 13, follows on the heels of this where Paul says this, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God drives the efforts we bring a tiny amount of effort we bring all the effort we can to the table but God brings the effectual grace that energize our effort and produces that growth in our life and there is an indispensable agent to all of this and that agent is the word of God. That is why the word of God is so important. So when you look for a church and you think about the church where you are going to grow you need to ask yourself.
How does that church present the ideas that we've been talking about this morning's sanctification important to them.
Does this church take the gospel to the next level doesn't impede does the leadership of this church does the preaching of this church present the word of God in such a way that a believer who is bringing their little effort to the table and encounter the word of God that will sanctify them Jesus mentions this actually talks about this in his prayer.
John 17 when he talks about the word of God being the agent of sanctification.
Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth, and Paul tells the Corinthians that as they look into the word of God and they begin to understand what the word of God is actually saying it will change them. It will transform them from one level of glory to the other and that brings us into the third question and that is this how does sanctification happen. How does it actually work now that now that I know this theological truth and and understand how it works in my life and how to work in my church life. How I put it to work. Many of you have been to the wireless connection you had you been to the wild or how many of you been on the CID or been to the CIT program, Tennessee enhanced like there's a bunch of either been on CIT program.
I have been doing the CIT program for many many years. I think 23 years this summer. I had all of Noah's sons as CIT.
There was a four son Fred, who didn't come to CIT. That's why you never hear about Noah's force on Fred.
He drowned in the in the flood but CIT has a particular piece that that everybody in CIT loves except me and it's this gruesome hike that we take this a 4 1/2 mile hike we do it the first Thursday and we go all the way down the leg geocaching and and it's like going uphill both ways. It's not but it feels that way and I remember one time going on this hike and an end and the wiles people bring this ancient truck down to this lookout spot where we have lunch in the asked me to take the truck back and I thought okay this is going to be great because I don't have to go on the hike. Lord, I must be living right I am so thankful for for this opportunity so I get in the truck it's raining and and I got to drive this truck up the trail and taken back to campus on coming up on the trail and I see a sign that says to can't now a lot of times when you see a sign that says the camp. That's the way to camp a lot of times not this time.
So I followed that sign in the trail got really narrow or narrow, and then it stopped and I got the truck gloriously stuck and I tried to unstick this tracker unstuck this truck and I couldn't figure out how to do it now. I'm frustrated and I'm walking across a little bridge and these little Neanderthals are shooting the with these water cannons and I get to the other side and I see Doug Northline and I do not want to see Doug or select because you asked me a question, where's the truck and he asked me a question I said rapture rapture having drug left on here and he said it really wears a truck and so I told my said you know I was.
I was jingling gently following the trail and I got the truck stuck and we got over there and he started laughing like dumb laugh at me.
This is embarrassing. I took a wrong turn I got this truck stuck in adult male. I should know better and he's laughing at me.
He said Horn this is a four-wheel-drive. All you had to do was push this button and you can cut it out here and I'm cynical on now. Now tell me that you need to go to CIT's we have things that we can do to people like you know sometimes sanctification feels that way, doesn't it.
Where where we have all this knowledge and we know is mostly growing and all of a sudden we headed down the trail and we take a wrong and that's why you need the church because the church that takes sanctification seriously is a body that is going to help you understand how sanctification works in the body and it works like this through the careful and accurate preaching of God's word. It works like this through the intentional Christ focused worship of the church that grounds you in the reality that is bigger than you, and it happens as you observe the ordinances every time you see a baptism know what happens. You celebrate the fact that you were once in darkness but God is brought you in the light, and you were to walk in newness of life. Every time you take the Lord's supper and remind you to keep a short account with God you were to review what is been going on in your life and what is been happening through your body and in your spirit and in your soul and you were to keep short accounts with God and the Lord's supper reminds you of the grace that enables that it happens through the accountability of membership and it happens at times through the difficult loving practice of church discipline. Someone ask you as we close this morning. Do you look for that in the church or are you just looking for a church where people are encouraged to like Jesus, when they should be encouraged to be like we talk about sanctification in the body. There is a glorious goal for all of this and it is this the head of the church is preparing a bride for her wedding day. In Ephesians talks about the fact that he is going to present that bride spotless without wrinkle and that bride is us. That's why in our passages morning. First Thessalonians 5 Peter praise or Paul prays rather that we would be sanctified holy in her body that her spirit in its and it happens individually, but it but it really happens where you get all the benefit of what the New Testament teaches that happens in the context of your membership in a local body. So find a church or sanctification matters or thank you for your word this morning. Thank you for the truth that you have made possible that we would grow in the knowledge and grace of who you are and what you're like and as Lord. We live in the body that you placed us in and we hear the preaching and we respond to the word Lord would you grow us in grace and in our likeness to you in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Sam Horn from the series called church matters. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.
Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform, please visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina to see how God is working in the lives of our students both spiritually and academically. For more information about Bob Jones University's more than 100 accredited academic programs visit BJ you.edu or call 800-252-6363. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series on church membership here on The Daily Platform