Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His 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 biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're 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's 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 we're doing that series this semester as a faculty and staff and student body is because we believe that the choice of a local church is one of the most important decisions that we as Christians will make in our life. The choice of where we will grow and serve and worship. And so we've 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 a question. I'm going to have you turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 in your Bible.
And we're going to look at a paragraph of scripture and sort of take that paragraph as a place where we'll begin our time together this morning. But the question I have for you as you turn there is this. How many of you have actually bought a car yourself? You have purchased a car. Can I see your hands?
All right, hold your hands way up high. How many of you found that to be a delightful process? One where you just anticipated and you 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 you wanted.
And it fit your budget of about $1,500. Did that happen to anybody in here? I remember when my son just determined that he was in desperate need of a car. 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 certainly as you drive, your prayer life increases as you ride with them in the first times they drive. And so I remember when Robert began shopping around for a car and it was an endless process. I call that period of time the endless conversation about cars and what do you think dad?
And do you think this is? And I would say, you know what son? What you need to do is you need to talk to so-and-so and I gave him the name of somebody who knew a lot about cars. And my son ended up buying a car and drove it for a few years and then went on to enter into the lifelong engagement of car buying and you're going 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 the things we need that vehicle to do are. 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 a church where they worship. I don't mean that as an indictment, I just, I've watched this as a pastor, I've watched this as I've been around Christian circles and it strikes me that many, many people give more intentionality to the choice of the purchase of a vehicle than they do to the church where they attend. And so our 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 this semester and that is where are you going to worship, where are you going to grow, and where are you going to serve. And where we are in our series, we've talked about the importance of the church, we've talked about the doctrinal foundation of the church, we've talked about the importance of sound preaching, we've talked about the importance of evangelism and discipleship, and we've 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 we're now ready to join, what is supposed to happen next? Some months ago I was preaching, I can't even remember where it was now, but I had a rental car and you know when you get a rental car oftentimes you you get these tin cans on wheels and I had a I think it was a Toyota Camry or a and I pulled up to a 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've seen Ferraris and but I've never been like really up close to one and so I pulled my little Toyota right up next to his and I thought maybe we could share the same gas pump. And so I got out and and I noticed that he was trying to figure out something about his car and he was walking around the car and 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 Ferraris? I said oh yeah I know a lot about them.
No I didn't say that. He was trying to find out how to open the gas lid. 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 won't even say where I was so there's no I don't even know who he was I just thought man that's the Ferrari guy who doesn't even know how to get his gas can open or his gas cap open. You know sometimes in our lives as we come to the church we don't quite know what we're supposed to do next. As we as we enter 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 has made us 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 parag- that that phrase grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually referring to the topic of our message this morning. It is referring to the concept and to the theological reality of sanctification in our life. This is not the first time Peter has talked about this in first in 2nd Peter chapter 1 earlier in that same 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 Christ. 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 thriving then we we if we fail to do this we will fall back into the very sins 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. And so what I'd 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 so let's begin by asking this basic question.
What is it? What is sanctification? And I have two definitions that I think are helpful in the process. One is a definition by a theologian named Anthony Hochma and he said it this way, sanctification is the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit. In other words the Holy Spirit energizes this. It 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 sinners, 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 Grudem, 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 describes sanctification it describes it in three ways. There are texts in the Bible that talk about the reality of sanctification as 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 let me give you some texts. 1 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 ye are sanctified but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God. Hebrews chapter 10 verse 14 says it this way, for by one offering he hath perfected forever 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. It 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.
Paul says, I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, even now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. Paul says 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. And then 1 Thessalonians 4, 3, 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. And then sanctification is described a 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 in your glorified body. 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 13, to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Christ.
So this is when that will happen. And in our text this morning, 1 Thessalonians 5, 23, 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 unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that description then leads to a responsibility. And that responsibility can be summed up this way, our sanctification, our personal growth in holiness is not optional. It is a responsibility that Scripture gives us. You can say it 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 it this way, be holy even as I am holy, quoting out of the Torah. We have a responsibility to live in ways that reflect the holiness of the Father who has 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.
And that brings us to the second question. How does this function? How does sanctification actually work?
How does it function? And we could start it 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. It's 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. And so God declares you righteous and a person who has been declared righteous, who has been cleared by God has an important question to answer.
And Paul frames that question in Romans chapter 6 like this. What shall we say then? Now that we're justified, what is to be our conclusion?
What shall we say about this? Shall we continue and sin? And Paul's answer to that is a 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 obedience. It is affected by the spirit. It is energized by grace and it is directed by the Word of God. Paul said it this way in Philippians chapter 2. In verse 12, he talks about my responsibility in sanctification. Wherefore, my beloved, is ye have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more my absence. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
And 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 has 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? And 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 effort.
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.
And 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? Is sanctification important to them?
Does this church take the gospel to the next level? 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 can encounter the Word of God that will sanctify them? Jesus mentions this and actually talks about this in his prayer in 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 I know this theological truth and understand how it works in my life and how it should work in my church life, how do I put it to work? How many of you have been to the Wiles? Can I see your hands? You've been to the Wiles? All right, how many of you been on the CIT or been to the CIT program?
Can I see your hands? All right, there's a bunch of you that have been on the 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 CITers. There was a fourth son, Fred, who didn't come to CIT. That's why you never hear about Noah's fourth son, Fred.
He drowned in the flood. But CIT has a particular piece that everybody in CIT loves except me. And it's this gruesome hike that we take. It's a four and a half mile hike. We do it the first Thursday and we go all the way down to Lake Jocassee. 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 the Wiles people bring this ancient truck down to this lookout spot where we have lunch and they 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 this opportunity. So I get in the truck, it's raining and I've got to drive this truck up the trail and take it back to camp. And so I'm coming up the trail and I see a sign that says to camp. Now, a lot of times when you see a sign that says to camp, that's the way to camp.
A lot of times, not this time. So I followed that sign and the trail got really narrower and narrower and then it stopped. And I got the truck gloriously stuck. And I tried to unstick this truck or unstuck this truck and I couldn't figure out how to do it.
Now I'm frustrated and I'm walking across this little bridge and these little Neanderthals are shooting me with these water cannons. And I get to the other side and I see Doug Gorseline and I do not want to see Doug Gorseline because he's going to ask me a question. Where's the truck? And he asked me that question.
I said, rapture. Rapture happened, truck left, I'm here. And he said, no, no, no, really where's the truck? And so I told him, I said, you know, I was diligently following the trail and I got the truck stuck. And we got over there and he starts laughing. And I'm like, don't laugh at me.
This is embarrassing. I took a wrong turn. I got this truck stuck.
I'm an 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 could have got it out of here. And I'm sitting there going, now? Now you're going to tell me that?
You need to go to CIT because we have things that we can do to people like you. You know, sometimes sanctification feels that way, doesn't it? Where we have all of this knowledge and we know we're supposed to be growing and all of a sudden we head down the trail and we take a wrong turn. 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, you know what happens? You celebrate the fact that you were once in darkness, but God has brought you into light and you are to walk in newness of life. Every time you take the Lord's supper, it reminds you to keep a short account with God. You were to review what has been going on in your life and what has 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. And so I want to ask you as we close this morning, do you look for that in a church or are you just looking for a church where people are encouraged to like Jesus when they should be encouraged to be like Jesus? So when 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. And Ephesians talks about the fact that he is going to present that bride spotless without wrinkle and that bride is us. And that's why in our passage this morning in 1 Thessalonians 5, Peter prays or Paul prays rather that we would be sanctified wholly in our body and in our spirit. And it happens individually, but it really happens where you get all of the benefit of what the New Testament teaches that happens in the context of your membership in a local body.
So find a church where sanctification matters. Lord, 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 have 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've 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 bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series on church membership here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 11:43:42 / 2023-03-17 11:53:10 / 9