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?

 

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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?  

Justification: How are we saved?

by Dan Seidelman

by Dan Seidelman

Justification: How are we saved? – Audio.mp3

What is Justification?

”Justification is the article by which the church stands and falls.” -Attributed to Luther

“Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which He (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in His sight.” -Grudem

 

Instantaneous, legal act –

  • Romans 3:20,  4:4-5, 5:1, Gal 2:16, 3:24.
  • Not a process, Justification is a declaration that we are righteous when our lives show otherwise.  God acts as a judge, not a surgeon when justifying.
  • Forensic Righteousness- having legal qualities.

 

Thinks of our sins as forgiven –

  • “Just as if I never sinned.”
  • Past, Present, and Future Sins – we are not held to pay the penalty.
  • Rom 4:6-8, 8:1
  • Forgiveness alone equals moral neutrality – God Requires perfection, not moral neutrality.

 

Gives Christ’s Righteousness –

  • 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Cor 1:30.
  • “It is essential to the heart of the gospel to insist that God declares us to be just or righteous not on the basis of our actual condition of righteousness or holiness, but rather on the basis of Christ’s perfect righteousness, which He thinks of as belonging to us.” – Grudem.
  • Gives us assurance since justification is based on Christ’s righteousness and not our righteousness.
  • This puts man higher morally than at creation.

What must I do to be saved?

Not by works but through our faith in Christ.

  • Mark 1:15
  • Repentance – “Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”
  • Includes the whole person – Emotion, Volition, and Cognition.
  • Faith –
  • Rom 10:14 – requires knowledge
  • Matt 7:22 – Requires trust, not just agreement that facts are good.
  • Faith is a means and not a merit.
  • Faith is the opposite of depending on ourselves. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace – Rom 4:16

What about Works in James?

  • Romans 3:28 – For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
  • James 2:24 – You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

“There is no one doctrine in the whole Bible more fuller asserted, explained, and urged, than the doctrine of justification by faith alone, without any of our own righteousness.” -Jonathan Edwards

 

  • Two Uses of “Justify”: make righteous (Paul) and show righteousness (James, cf Matt 12:37)
  • The example of Abraham explains this, compare Jas 3:21, Gen 15:6, 22:12, and Heb 11:17

What About Old Testament Saints?

  • Romans 3:22-26
  • God allowed Old Testament Saints by passing over former sins.  Jesus paid their price of life.
  • They did not have full understanding, but trusted God.

Implications:

  1. Hope and Assurance – We can be sure of heaven and don’t have to doubt our salvation
  2. Power – We have the power and promise to become what God declares we are
  3. Humility – There is nothing we did to become a Christian, it’s all God.  This should lead to humility.

 

Final reminder: Theology cannot be separated from person-hood.

 

“To say God forgives sin is true.  But in saying it that way, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is sinners from whom the liability of guilt is lifted.  God punishes persons and He forgives persons.  Some try to distinguish between sin and the sinner: “God hates sin; loves the sinner.”  Such a separation isn’t possible.  God sends sinners to hell; they, not their sin, are punished eternally.  Christ, not the sin He bore, suffered and died on the cross.” – Jay Adams (Theology of Christian Counseling, 195)

 

 

Depravity: Why do we need salvation?

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by Sean Perron

Depravity: Why do we need salvation? – Audio.m3p

 

Depraved, wicked, evil, sinful.This subject is not something to simply store away in our heads. It is serious and must be sensed. If we have never felt the weight of our sin, we have not experienced salvation. If we have never realized our depraved nature, we have never seen Christ. There are many people who sincerely think they are good people. In sharing the gospel, I have been utterly shocked at how many people think they are good. People often have no standard of perfection and therefore make themselves the standard.

Have you given thought to your sinful state apart from God? Have you paused and truly considered the reality that without Christ, you are wicked at your core?

1. Depravity is Wide (Universal)

  • 1 Kings 8:46
  • Psalm 14:1-3
  • Proverbs 20:9
  • Ecclesiastes 7:20
  • Isaiah 64:6-7
  • 1 John 1:8-10

2. Depravity is Deep (Total)

  • Everything an unbeliever does is sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Titus 1:15)
  • Depravity has been deep every since the Fall (Gen 6:5)
  • Depravity darkens understanding. (Eph 4:18)
  • Depravity does not mean everyone will become Adolf Hitler.

When we say “Total” depravity, we mean everything is tainted without Christ. There are different levels of sin and different intensities of it’s manifestation. Total depravity is referring to the core of a person and this core is shown in different ways.

3. Depravity is Early

  • Psalm 58:3
  • Psalm 51:5
  • Proverbs 22:15
  • We are sinners by nature and by choice.
  • Romans 5:12
  • Romans 5:18-19

4. Depravity is Deadly 

  • Depraved people desire darkness more than light. (John 3:18-21)
  • Depraved people are unable to change their affections. (Jeremiah 13:23)
  • Only a work of the Spirit can change a depraved heart. (Eph 2:1)
  • Dead hearts can only be made alive by God. Dry bones can only be revived by the breath of life.

We need new hearts. We need hearts of flesh and not of stone. We need hearts that beat for God and that love God at their core. This can only happen by a supernatural work of the Spirit. God must speak and change our affections. Dead hearts can only sin. Sinful hearts are bound by their nature and there is nothing good in them that can bring about self change.

Small Group Discussion:

  1. At the core of your being, do you have a love for God or a love for something else?
  2. How have your affections changed since becoming a Christian?
  3. Why do you think most people view themselves as a “good person”?
  4. In your own words, explain why everything an unbeliever does is sinful.
  5. How does the doctrine of total depravity impact our pride?