Sanctification: How We Grow in Godliness

 

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By Dan Seidelman

“Sanctification is the continuing work of God in the life of the believer, making him or her actually holy… Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God.” – Millard Erickson (980).

Two Aspects:

    1. We are Already Sanctified in Christ. – Set Apart for God
      1. 1 Cor 1:2 – To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
        1. Church in Corinth is not perfect, they have tons of problems that Paul talks to them about.
        2. Yet They are called Sanctified because God has set them apart.
      2. 1 Cor 6:(9-)11 – And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
        1. God redefines what we are.  Before they were defined by their sins, now they are defined by Christ.
        2. You can still struggle with sin, but you’re not defined about it.  So if you struggle with a sin, you’re not that.  You’re not a liar, you’re a Christian who struggles with lying.  You’re not a cheater, you’re a Christian who struggles with cheating.
        3. This should bring encouragement, God redefines who you are.
      3. Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
        1. It’s only by Christ’s sacrifice that we’re sanctified.  You can’t separate Sanctification from the Gospel.
        2. Don’t think that the Cross is just for Justification, it’s also for Sanctification.

 

  • The Old Rugged Cross: In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, A wondrous beauty I see, For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, To pardon and sanctify me.
  • Sanctification is a Process

 

      1. It is primarily God’s work– we can’t do it by ourselves
        1. Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
          1. We are being sanctified.  It’s a passive work, God sanctifies us.
        2. John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
          1. One means of sanctification is the Bible.  God uses His word to sanctify us.
        3. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
          1. We can have encouragement that God will sanctify us completely.
          2. It’s through the Holy Spirit that we are Sanctified, it’s all an act of God.

 

  • We must put forth effort – not a “let go and let God.”  We play a role in this too.
  • Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  (Leviticus 20:7-8 ESV)
  • The Bible is not afraid of the tension between God’s sovereignty and Man’s responsibility.
        • Col 3:5-17 – The Bible tells us to do things in order to act like Christians

 

How do we become Sanctified?

  • Believe what God says about us and our sanctification.
        1. Trust that you have been sanctified
        2. Don’t try to sanctify yourself to earn favor
        3. Don’t do it apart fro the Cross and the Spirit’s indwelling power.
  • Spend time in the Bible
        1. Know the truth

“If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply belonged to myself” – CS Lewis

        1. Know what God commands
        2. Know what God is like
          1. Holiness is not depriving you of anything (except pain, suffering, disappointment, and death)
        3. Know how a Christian is supposed to act.
  • Repent of your sins
        1. Power to change comes through repentance.
        2. Need to recognize what is wrong before it’s right.
  • Work hard and fight
        1. The power of Grace comes in the doing, not up front.
        2. If the Bible says obey your parents, obey your parents, no matter how hard it is.
        3. Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.

 

 

Questions for Discussion:

  • What did you learn new or stood out about today about sanctification?
  • Do you believe that your identity is in Christ and not where you sin? How does this affect how you live?
  • How can you focus more on the cross every day?
  • Are you spending time in the Bible? Why or why not?  What kind of results does it have?
  • Is working hard to be holy and persevere a regular practice in your life? How do you deny yourself to sin?

 

Endurance: How We Remain Saved

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Endurance: How we remain saved – Audio.Mp3

 

1. A believer must endure to the end

  •          Matthew 24:11-13
  •          Revelation 3:10-12
  •          Ephesians 6:10-20
  •          2 Timothy 4:7-8
  •          Philippians 2:12-13
  •          Ephesians 4:30-31

 

2. Those who fall away prove themselves to have never been converted

  •          Matthew 7:23
  •          1 John 2:10

 

3. God will sustain the believer until the end

  •          John 10:27-30
  •          Romans 8:29-30
  •          Romans 8:31-39
  •          Philippians 1:6
  •          Jude 24

 

 

Small Group Questions: 

1. Was there anything from the lesson tonight that stuck out to you in a fresh or new way? 

2. In your own words, answer the question “Can a believer lose his salvation?” 

3. In your own words, explain whether or not a true believer can continue to live in sin. 

4. How does tonight’s lesson impact your soul? Does it make you want to persevere? Does it make you fearful of eternity? Does it comfort you? 

5. What does it look like to persevere and keep the faith on a daily basis? 

Election: Why We Are Saved

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by Sean Perron

Election: Why We Are Saved – audio.mp3

There are many questions that will arise out of the teaching tonight. We want thinkers who love God with all of their mind. There is no possible way we can address every concern and issue in this 30 minute teaching session. t is my goal to whet your appetite and make you hungry for more. I want you to ask questions, read good books and talk with your small group leaders.

1. God is 100% sovereign over all things – including human actions.

  • Psalm 115:1-3 – God’s glory is central and he does all that he pleases. God is totally free. God is the only being in the world with true free will. Man has a will and it is active, but it is only bound to sin. You can exercise free will, but you will only and always choose to sin. Therefore it is not truly free will. This is why regeneration is necessary.
  • God is sovereign over disaster. (Amos 3:6; Isaiah 45:6-7)
  • God is sovereign over evil deeds. (Isaiah 19:2)

1 Samuel 2:25 – God wanted to put Samuel’s sons to death because they were wicked. They mocked the things of God and they were being sexually immoral with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

  • God is sovereign over kings and their decisions. (1 Kings 12:15; Proverbs 21:1)
  • God is sovereign over every detail of life. (Proverbs 16:33)
  • God is sovereign over conversion. (Acts 13:48)

All of these terms (depravity, justification, regeneration, election, adoption, etc) are linked. When is someone regenerated? Right before they are justified. When is someone elected? Before the foundations of the earth.

  • Acts 16:14
  • Ephesians 1:4 – God elected us before the foundation of the world.
  • John 6:35-40, 44 – God must draw us to himself and change our hearts. All that the father gives, will come. This is not the other way around. It does not say, all that comes – the father will give.

 

2. Man is 100% responsible for his actions.

  • The Bible is very clear that man is judged according to his works done in unbelief. No one gets a free pass. No one will be able to say to God – I wanted to get saved but I was not predestined. This is not an option. We touched on this last week.

God does not force people to be saved. The only people who are saved are those who want to be. No one will be banging on heaven’s door to find out that God turns them away because they are not elect. Rather, we are all shaking our fists at God and he decides to save some. It is miraculous that God would save anyone. He does not owe salvation to anyone.

  • We are called to act. We are not called to passively await for the wind to blow on us. We are called to believe or we will be condemned. John 3:16-19
  • Romans 9:6-25 – God is sovereign and man is responsible.

This is where the mystery lies. The mystery is how we can be responsible and yet God can be sovereign. The mystery is not that God works alongside our free will to change our hearts. God alone who changes the affections of the heart and our will. The mystery is that God works in us and our actions are real.

3. Election is designed out of the mercy of God.

  • Ephesians 1:4-5 – “In love”
  • 1 John 4:19
  • Romans 9:23 – “vessels of mercy”

4. Election is designed to make God look good.

  • Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed”
  • Ephesians 1:6 – “to the praise of his glorious grace”
  • Ephesians 1:10 – “to unite all things in him”
  • Ephesians 1:12- “to the praise of his glory”
  • Romans 9:17 – God raised up Pharaoh to show his power throughout all the land of Egypt and for generation after generation to remember the display of God in parting the red sea. God loves his own glory and it is loving for God to do this.

5. Election is designed to comfort the Christian.

  • Romans 8:28-39

 

Questions for Small Group:

  1. Have you heard this doctrine before? Did anything stick out to you in a fresh way? What are some of your unanswered questions?
  2. How is this doctrine humbling? In your own words, explain how this doctrine brings God glory?
  3. How can this doctrine bring comfort to people who are suffering? How can this doctrine bring comfort to those who are being persecuted? How does it make you feel that God is for you and not against you?

Adoption: Who we are in Christ

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by Joe Bayless

Adoption: Who we are in Christ – Audio.mp3 

 

Summary: “Adoption is the act of God where He transfers us from the realm of sin into His family.”

Biblical Texts:

  • Gal. 4:4-7
  • Rom. 8:12-16
  • Eph. 1:5

1) Adoption begins with God. (Eph. 1:3-5)

  • God acts to adopt us as sons.
  • Example: Whenever a child is adopted from an orphanage, does the child take the first step to be adopted?
  • He acts by sending his son to die for us. cf. Gal. 4:4-5
  • Christ’s work on the cross allowed us to be adopted into God’s family.

 

2) Adoption is only for born-again believers. (John 1:12, John 3:5-7)

  • Adoption is an outcome of saving faith. Gal. 3:26
  • People who aren’t believers aren’t a part of the family of God. Eph. 2:1-3

 

3) Adoption comes with benefits: 

Possession of the Spirit.

  • The Spirit is evidence that we are sons and daughters. cf. Rom. 8:16, Gal. 4:6-7
  • The Spirit produces fruit in the lives of believers. cf. Gal. 5:22-23
  • The Spirit is evidence that we are no longer under the Law. cf.Gal. 5:18
  • The Spirit gives each believer gifts to use in the church. 1 Cor. 12:7-11, Rom. 12:6-8, Eph. 4:11-12

Personal Relationship with God:

  • God loves us as His children. 1 John 3:1
  • God takes care of all our needs. Matt. 6:7-8
  • God hears us in prayer. Matt. 6:9

 

4) Practical Applications

  • We should praise God for the diverse family created by adoption. cf. Rev. 7:9-10
  • The body of Christ is composed of 100% adopted people.
  • This family comes from multiple nation, ethnicities, and people groups.
  • We should be humble as a result of adoption.
  • We should carry the gospel message so others can believe and be adopted as well.

Book Recommendation: Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

Tonight’s Emmaus topic is on the doctrine of election. This topic can be both controversial and confusing. As a high school student, I remember wrestling with this issue and pouring over seemingly contradictory passages in the Bible. Perhaps the most helpful piece of material I have discovered is an article by John Piper called “Are there two wills in God?” This article has now been published into a very thin book called “Does God desire all to be saved?” The book is less than 50 pages but offers a convincing explanation of some of the most difficult texts in the Bible.  If you want to study the topic further, I recommend grabbing a copy of this book.

 

Regeneration: How we begin to love God

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by Sean Perron

Regeneration: How we begin to love God – Audio.Mp3

1. You must have a new birth in order to see heaven (John 3:3)
  • Regeneration is the act by which God enlightens the heart to saving faith and changes the core being of a person.
2. You cannot birth yourself (John 3:8)

  • Babies do not decide when they are going to be born. The parents decide for them
  • The new birth is mysterious and supernatural. The wind blows where it wishes and it is almost unexpected. You can know someone and they can be changed overnight. Do not doubt the power of God. God can change people.
  • John 1:13

3. You would not choose to be born again. (John 3:19)

  • Our hearts are angled to love sin. They will always misfire because they are aimed incorrectly. The people “loved” the darkness rather than the light. It is not as though they want to come to Jesus. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in Regeneration, people always hate God. The emphasis always falls on God’s mercy and not our actions.
  • 1 Peter 1:3
  • James 1:16-18
  • Philippians 1:29

4. God can change the depraved heart. (John 3:21)

  • Salvation is not God throwing us a life preserver and begging us to grab a hold of it. Salvation is God diving down to the bottom of the ocean, reviving our lungs and enabling our hands to want to grab onto the life preserver.

5. Both the change God orchestrates and the faith we exercise are real. (John 3:16) 

  • We are called to act. We are not called to passively await for the wind to blow on us. We are called to believe or we will be condemned. 3:16-19
  • Titus 3:3-9
We are saved through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior. If you are in Christ, you are a new person. The old is gone and the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. The mark of a regenerated heart is a regenerated life. Are you walking according to the old ways of the flesh? Has your heart been awakened to God? Do you love God and do you have affections for him? At the core of your being, do you treasure and value God? Are you walking as someone who has been radically changed?
Regardless of when you were converted, this is a big changed. Depravity to Regeneration is a miracle. It is no small thing. 

Questions for Small Group: 

  1. Read Titus 3:3-9 together. 
  2. In your own words, explain regeneration. 
  3. Why do we need regeneration? 
  4. Are affections and feelings toward God important in the Christian life? Why or why not? 
  5. Has your heart been made alive to the things of God through the Holy Spirit? If yes, how do you know? What are the markers of a regenerate heart? 
  6. Are you ever “ashamed” of your conversion story? Why or why not?  

Tough Love

Stand Over - March 2014

Stand Over – March 2014

Last night the Emmaus guys had a “Stand Over.” This is an event involving laser tag, late night stories, chips and salsa and a Bible study.

Dan Seidelman spoke on “Tough Love” from 1 Corinthians 13. Here are some tweetable lines from his challenging and convicting devotional.

  • Love is not for the fainthearted. Love is willing to endure hardships done to itself without becoming bitter.
  • Love covers a multitude of sins. If someone wrongs you, you don’t go on Facebook and passively aggressively reference them in your status.
  • Love does not just bear all things, it endures all things. Love is taking up curses, slander and putting up with someone for their good.
  • Love keeps no record of wrong. If we are loving, we are not keeping a mental record of wrong.
  • If you want to be loving, you have to be tough. If you want to be tough, you have to be loving. 
  • We should only point out faults in others in order to cause them to love the Lord. 
  • Love is ruthless. Love is going to ruthlessly battle self. When we are loving, we are actively engaging our own pride. 
  • Love does not envy. Love is not upset when others have good done to them. Love cannot exist when everyone is concerned about themselves. 
  • Love does not talk about how great we are and try to grasp honor. Love is not arrogant.
  • We should congratulate others.
  • Love is an utter enemy to selfishness. Love does not demand preferences. 
  • Love is a gentlemen. Every situation has its own cultural setting and we should love those in that culture and not rebel. You need to know where you are, what is required of you and how you can serve others. 
  • Love searches out ways to be good to each other. Love is holding the door open for people behind you. Love is showing respect to all people. We cannot neglect the most basic things. 
  • Love restrains its emotions and keeps passions within its reasonable limits. 
  • Love believes all things and hopes all things – If we are able to interpret someone’s action sinisterly or graciously, we should always choose grace.