Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Washed, Sanctified, Justified

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Washed, Sanctified, Justified

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Washed, Sanctified, Justified

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God wants us to come completely out of sin. He makes it possible through His Son, Jesus Christ, by forgiving us our sins. We have been washed, sanctified and justified and that we, too, have a new identity, we are a new man or we are a new woman in Jesus Christ. Our identity today is we are a Christian – we are a follower of Jesus Christ.

Transcript

 

[This sermon was given on the last day during the Days of Unleavened Bread.]

 

The book of 1 Corinthians was written around the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. The internal evidence points to this fact – the reality. 1 Corinthians 11, which we looked at this past week discusses the Passover – why we in the United Church of God keep it, and when we do.  It discusses discerning the Lord's body – taking the Passover worthily. Also it discusses the fact of examining ourselves. Then, if you look in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, you will find that Paul discusses the Passover as well as the Days of Unleavened Bread. He says, because Christ was the sacrifice, our Passover, "let us keep the Feast." So the internal evidence discusses the reality of this being written around the time of the Passover and Unleavened Bread. Paul, in the context of the Passover and UB, discusses the condition of the Corinthians. He discusses the condition, or the particular state, that they were in at that particular time. And this particular state or condition consisted of three things. So we want to look at that condition this morning – take a look at these three things, in particular, because it's what our state is to be. It's what we are to be considered and how we are looked at by God and Jesus Christ today. 

Now the apostle Paul did deal with an instance of sexual immorality in the Corinthian church – again in 1 Corinthians 5. It was a case of incest in which a man had taken his father's wife. Most commentaries will bring out it wasn't his mother, probably a stepmother, but either way, God called it an abomination. And against that backdrop of what Paul was discussing there in the beginning of 1 Corinthians, chapter 5 – it talks about putting leavening out and taking the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth in – against that backdrop Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, beginning in verse 9 – and I would ask you to turn there. The other two scriptures were just references. 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 9 – and we will read down to verse 11. Paul tells the church at Corinth and by extension all of us here today:

1 Corinthians 6:9 1 Corinthians 6:9Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
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- Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, nor sodomites,  V. 10 - nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And he goes on to say, V. 11 - And such were some of you. But now you are washed, you are sanctified, and you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

So Paul did deal with a very serious issue in the church at Corinth at that time. A particular man had a sin. Paul knew that something needed to be done, and he took the actions necessary to do so, out of and from the love of God – trying to help the gentleman. And then he tells them, "You also were this way in your past.  But now you were washed, you were sanctified and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God."

Now this passage – that we just read in 1 Corinthians 6 – holds a number of great messages for us.  First, it tells us that sin is sin. Sin is sin. God doesn't differentiate between one type, or brand, of sin and another. Now I think most of us – or many of us anyway – might consider, or wouldn't think of, revilers – that means slanderers – as being the same sin as thieves. Surely there's a difference in the two. One is worse than the other. But God doesn't have categories of sin. He tells us sin is sin, because all sin did what? All sin caused the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All sin caused His death. That's why we partook of the Passover not all that long ago – because we recognize that and we want to honor what He did on our behalf. 

Now it is true that later in the chapter – verse 18, to be specific – 1 Corinthians 6:18 1 Corinthians 6:18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
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it is true that later in the chapter that Paul made a distinction between the sin of sexual immorality and other sins, teaching the Corinthians that every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  But this is a differentiation of sin according to the effects, okay – the effects of certain sinful behavior, not the nature of sin itself.  It is true that sexual immorality can have a different effect upon us than maybe another sin, especially in our society today, that if we are immoral and we happen to contract an STD, it really does impact your body dramatically, to say the least.  So he does discuss the distinction with regard to the effects of certain sinful behavior, but not the nature of sin itself. 

Secondly, in this section of scripture, it tells us that sin is often a lifestyle, often a mindset or state of being. I don't know if you picked up on that or not. Paul was not describing one specific act or behavior as condemning, although it can be, rather he was stating that sin had been the identity. It had been the identity of the Corinthians in their past. They may have had different sins, but it was kind of their identity as far as what they were involved with. Sin had been their all consuming character. For example, Paul didn't say, "Some of you have taken things that weren't yours." What did he say? He called them what? Thieves. He called them thieves. In some respects, people had stolen as a way of life. He also didn't say, "Some of you had one or two many drinks on occasion." He called them what?  Drunkards. It was kind of a lifestyle some of them were involved with. We see that often even today in our society. Now some of you read through here, along with me, and you are saying, "Well, I didn't see any of my past in that list. I must be okay." No, no, no, no, that's not the case. Okay? Let me advise you that this is not a definitive list of sins. What Paul specifically was doing here, as he was trying to help the people recognize and realize that whatever our sinful state is, it's the same as what he described in Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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. He was trying to teach them that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That is true. We recognize that. We recognize our past and the effect that it had upon us. 

A third lesson that this passage teaches us is really, from my perspective, the most important and the most encouraging – the most helpful. And that is, Jesus Christ inspired Paul to write that all types of sin can be forgiven. All types of sin can be forgiven. Paul said, in verse 11 of where we were just reading –

1 Corinthians 6:11 1 Corinthians 6:11And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
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As such were some of you... – not 'are', but ...were some of you.  Then Paul reminded them that they were no longer who they were, but they were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God. 

So this group of people – we might say, group of sinners – pre BC – found a new identity from what they were and that new identity was their identity now in Jesus Christ – made possible by what He did for us during this time – the apostle Paul emphasizing it to the church at Corinth during the time of Passover and Unleavened Bread.

What does God say of us? That we have been washed, sanctified and justified and that we, too, have a new identity, we are a new man or we are a new woman in Jesus Christ. Our identity today is we are a Christian – we are a follower of Jesus Christ. That's the Unleavened Bread part – putting away those things of our past, accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and taking into us – abiding – which we'll look at later – in Christ Himself and walking as our Savior walked – living as our Savior lived and, I might say, presently lives via understanding the fruits of God's Holy Spirit. 

Again, note the word that the apostle Paul used – washed - washed.  Paul spoke of a cleansing of the spirit. You know, the individual we know as David wrote in the Psalms – Psalms 51:7 Psalms 51:7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
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.  Psalms chapter 51, and verse 7. David wrote, because he had gotten himself involved with a particular sin that God pointed out to him through the prophet Nathan, and David repented deeply. And Psalm 51 is his prayer of repentance and he says:

Psalms 51:7 Psalms 51:7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
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- Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
And that's what Christ did with us.  He washed us, He cleansed us.  Revelation chapter 1 beginning in verse 4.  It says:

Revelation 1:4 Revelation 1:4John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
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- John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,  V. 5 - from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood...

So through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our remembrance of His death at the Passover, when we took the wine we were symbolically saying we accept and are grateful and we appreciate the fact that we are able to be washed from our sins by Jesus Christ's blood.  He gave His life on the cross.  And it goes on in V.6 – it says He has made us to be kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Notice Hebrews chapter 10 beginning in verse 19.  It says,

Hebrews 10:19 Hebrews 10:19Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
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- Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,  V. 20 - by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,  V. 21 - and having a High Priest over the house of God,  V. 22 - let us draw near with a true heart... as Paul said, of sincerity and truth.  ...a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience...  that we had B.C. - before conversion.  We shouldn't have an evil conscience today – you know, A.C. - after conversion  ...sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

So the Father in heaven and Jesus Christ knew that we, as a people, needed to have our sins forgiven and to be washed in the blood of Christ and also washed in the word of God, the word of God, which is truth.  Walking in that truth maintains something for us. 

Let's look at the second word, second description that the apostle gave to the church at Corinth and by extension he gives to us today.  Not only are we washed, but we are also sanctified.  Sanctified.  You know, something that is sanctified is dedicated to God.  It is set aside for holy use.  You know, in the Old Testament times, blood from sacrificial animals were applied to certain vessels in the Tabernacle or in the Temple to make them holy for God's use.  So God does sanctify different things for His use.  That's why you read going back to Genesis 2:1 Genesis 2:1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
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- Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  V. 2 - And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had done.  V. 3 - Then God blessed...  God blessed  ...the seventh day and sanctified it...  He sanctified it because in it He rested from all of His work which He had created and made. 

So you find in the beginning when God reestablished what we see around us and He gave the Sabbath day, it says that He sanctified the Sabbath.  What does that mean?  Well we know, as we just saw, sanctified means dedicated to God.  God established the Sabbath day, the day that we keep and will be keeping tomorrow, we're here on the High Sabbath today, it was sanctified for the benefit of mankind.  Jesus Christ said that Himself.  The Sabbath wasn't made for man, I'm sorry, man wasn't made for the Sabbath, let me get this correct since I'm being recorded.  You never know what they're going to say about you when you misstate, okay?  So, he says that man wasn't made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was sanctified, made, established for man – for man's benefit as a tool that God can use to help educate us, to train us in the way of life we should be living.  And as those in Dayton and Cincinnati know for sure, why God trains us in this life, why He tells us or asks us to do what He asks us to do is because it is for our – anybody in Dayton can answer that.  If they can't, I've failed.  It's for our good!  Deuteronomy 10:12 Deuteronomy 10:12And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
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says all these things that I command you, that I want you to do, is for your benefit.  God never asks us to do anything that's not for our benefit or our well being as a blessing for us.  We must never forget that.

So the Sabbath was sanctified for holy use as a benefit for us to come and fellowship together as brethren, to encourage one another, to have the word of God taught to us that we can grow more in the knowledge and understanding of what God is and what God teaches.  It was dedicated.  It was very special. 

And, again, as it was stated earlier, in the Old Testament times blood from sacrificed animals was applied to certain vessels in the tabernacle or temple to make them holy for God's use.  They would be sprinkled. 

Hebrews 13:12 Hebrews 13:12Why Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
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states - Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people...  those He would be working with, those God would call  ...that He might sanctify the people...  set them aside, how?  ...with His own blood...  suffering.  You see, the blood was applied, we were sanctified, we have been set aside for holy use.  That's why Mr. Armstrong many, many, many, many years ago used to state that we weren't called just for salvation.  We were called for salvation.  Am I very grateful for that.  But we've also been called to sanctify for God's use, for holy purpose, for God to use us – and I would encourage all of you in this auditorium, not to think, well just the ministers are to be used for holy use as far as preaching on the Sabbath.  I think it behooves all of us to say, "Father, You have sanctified me.  I am one of Your children.  I am Your son.  I am Your daughter.  Use me however You see fit.  Use me to be an example around those I live, where I work, my community, my family, my household.  Help me to be that sanctified person that I now am, no longer what I was."  Passover and Unleavened Bread really emphasize that reality.  God wants us to be that sanctified people and He expects us to see ourselves as holy and solely for His purpose and His fellowship. 

Notice Acts 20:28 Acts 20:28Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.
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.  He says - Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God...   now the apostle Paul was having as many ministerial meetings, so to speak, down south of Ephesus at Miletus and he's telling the ministers there in particular, that you're probably not going to see me again.  And so they had this conference and he's giving them his words and encouraging them and he tells them, you know,  ...to take heed to yourselves and to the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, the shepherd of the church of God which He...  Jesus Christ  ...purchased with His own blood.  And for those of us in the ministry, that's something we never want to forget, that when God asks us and gives us the blessing of working with you and serving with you, being a helper of your joy to the best of our ability, that we always remember, we never forget, that all of us – all of you in this audience – belong to Christ, belong to the Father.  You were purchased with Jesus Christ's own blood. 

1 Corinthians chapter 6 brings out the same point of being sanctified, purchased by the blood of Christ.  1 Corinthians chapter 6 beginning in verse 19, this is what God says about you. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 1 Corinthians 6:19What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?
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- Or do you not know...  do you not know?  ...that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you which you have from God, and you are not your own?   You have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  You have now been sanctified by God and you belong to Him and you are to be used for His purpose to accomplish His will.   V. 20 says – Because you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.   So we should be taking care of ourselves.  We shouldn't be involved with all sorts of sexual immorality as was the case with this one particular man there in 1 Corinthians chapter 5.  God says we've been washed – our mind, our spirit, our body need to be in His service.  We've been purchased by His blood.

In 1 Corinthians 7:22 1 Corinthians 7:22For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
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under this point of being sanctified, For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave.  V. 23 – You...  again  ... were bought at a price; so don't become slaves of men.  He says, I have brought you out of your captivity.  I purchased you and I set you free from the sins of the past.  I've set you free from serving mankind.  You are now serving the living God so don't become slaves to man again, to mankind and the way man does things.  God called us out of the world and the way the world does things. 

I find it interesting, speaking of sanctified, we read where it says that God calls us out of the world, right?  What does He do when He calls us out of the world?  Does He say, go find a cave somewhere and, you know, maintain your righteousness?  No, it says He calls us out of the world and through the conversion process gives us His Holy Spirit and He washes us.  He cleans us up, gives us a new way of thinking, a new mindset.  He sanctifies us then what does He do to us?  He sends us right back into the world not to be a part of the evil, the wrong that often takes place, but to be a light, to be the salt, to be a point of presence for Jesus Christ in the world because we're sanctified to show forth His praises.  You read that by the way, I won't turn there, in 1 Peter 2.  It tells you very clearly that we are a special people to do what?  To show forth the praises of God.  So our light is to be a healing, salt is to be a flavor to the world around us, not as the religious leaders were in Christ's day.  What was said about the religious leaders in Christ's day?  They said the name of God is blaspheme among the Gentiles – why?  Because of you.  They often talked a good talk.  "How righteous and holy we are!"  But the self-righteousness entered in and they often would require other people to do those things that they themselves would not do.  So God says for us, we're not to be that way.  That when we go out into the world they should see us and bless the name of God.  They might say by looking at you, whoever you are, put your name there, "You're a really nice person.  You're a fine man.  You're a fine woman.  Tremendous character.  You exemplify the spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance."  You exemplify them and that's what people see.  And when they see the fruits of who you are, then they say, "What is it that makes that person different?"  Then you have the Sabbath, the Holy Days that come into play.  People don't see the Sabbath and Holy Day initially, they see who you are.  They see the life.  They see how you communicate, your very presence which should be the presence of Jesus Christ.  We are sanctified, set aside, set apart for Holy use. 

The third word that the apostle Paul applied to the church in Corinth is justify.  You are washed, sanctified and justified.  You see, in the natural world when we justify something, we line it up.  For example, we justify the margins on a page.  You line it up.  We justify our legal arguments against the law of the land.  But when we are justified in our actions, it means we are vindicated.  We are vindicated.  It is through the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ that He lines us up against the truth of what Jesus did – specifically what He did and accomplished on the stake or on the cross.  And then, because of what Christ did, God vindicates us and declares us to be righteous because we are lined up now with Jesus Christ, we're lined up with God, the Father, and we are lined up with their lifestyle so we're justified, we are set apart. 

You know, you read in Paul's writing where he says one reason Christ came to die – was crucified – was so that we might have the Holy Spirit.  Paul says that we are justified through that power that God made available through Jesus Christ, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who live after the Spirit and not the flesh.  God lines us up.  You see the righteous requirements of the law can now be fulfilled in us because of what Christ did. 

What is the righteous requirement of the law?  You see, people like to talk about doing away with the law.  God says, "I came that the righteous requirements of the law can be fulfilled in you."  Righteous requirement of the law is nothing more than the law of God identified specifically by the love of God and love of man.  It is the love of God in us.  And by those two great laws, we have what?  The first four Ten Commandments, the last six Ten Commandments.  God says, "I came to give the Holy Spirit to you that you can be lined up with my way of life because the normal carnal mind" – B.C., right? – "is not subject to the law of God.  Neither he can be, but I came that you can have God's Holy Spirit, that you can be lined up with Me and My Father and the way of life that we live."  Why would God do away with something that is so blessed for us?  It's such an awesome gift of walking in His paths. 

So God vindicates us, He justifies us, He lines us up.  That's what Paul told the church at Corinth and, by extension, he tells us.  There's nothing beyond God's forgiveness.  There's no sin too great, there's no sin too awful, there is no sin that has been too prolific for God not to forgive.  He can forgive anything.  And no person is so steeped in sin, so ingrained in the lifestyle, so steeped in evil that he or she cannot be forgiven.  Some people think that's the case.  You know, as a minister now for right at forty-three, forty-four years – I have counseled, as have other ministers – people who have thought that they had committed the unpardonable sin because they had this particular problem – B.C. - this particular sin that afflicted them that they committed and they felt God could never forgive them of that sin.  And God says, "I can forgive you of anything.  You go through the process of conversion, repent of it, be willing to accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice – it's washed away.  Remember, washed?  Once I wash it away, I can do more than that, I can sanctify you because I've justified you.  I've lined you up now with My way of life."  That is what Passover and Unleavened Bread are all about – our service to God Almighty.

You know, I know there has been a discussion in our general area – Cincinnati, Dayton and so on – about the subject 'Are We Still Sinners A.C.'  I'm going to give you my opinion.  I told my wife I was going to say 'opinion' because this softens it a little bit.  I'm going to give you my opinion.  Were we sinners?  As one lady who ran for office a few years ago said, "You betcha!"  Okay?  We were.  That's what God told and said about the Corinthians.  We were.  We all broke the laws of God.  We broke the Sabbath probably every week maybe in ignorance not knowing better, but we did it.  Some of us were involved with other things in our past that we're now ashamed of and wish we never had done, but thankfully God has forgiven us for that. 

Notice 1 John chapter 2.  Are we still sinners – looked upon as being 'sin-ers'?  I really emphasize that word.  In 1 John 2 beginning in verse1, John says this:

1 John 2:1 1 John 2:1My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
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- My little children, these things I write to you...  that which we read in chapter 1, the gospel account, whatever it was John had written, all the writings and communications  ...these things I have written to you, so that you may not sin.   I have written these things that you may not - I don't want you to sin because sin is painful.  It hurts people.  It hurts you.  That's not your M.O. any more, you say, that you don't sin.  Your M.O. is no longer to be a sinner.  Your M.O. is now to be washed, sanctified and justified.  Your M.O. now is to walk in the paths of Jesus Christ, not to be what you were and so I'm writing that you don't sin.  But if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.   V. 2 - And He Himself is the propitiation...  or the forgiveness  ...for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.   God says through John, "Don't sin."  That needs to be the way you walk, that needs to be your lifestyle, what you want to do.  He says, but if we make a mistake, if we sin in ignorance, maybe a temptation hits us.  We recognize it, we ask God, "Please forgive me.  You know, I've got Jesus Christ as the propitiation of our sins.  Please forgive me my sins and help me continue the path that I am presently walking." 

My opinion, brethren, is that we are no longer sinners.  But do we sin?  Do we make a mistake?  You betcha.  We do, all of us.  Chapter 1 brings that out, but it's not our lifestyle.  Now if it is your lifestyle, then you still are a sinner, okay, and that's what you want to be and that's how you want to live.  But for those who are really converted, who have God's Holy Spirit, who have been cleansed, sanctified and justified, God says that's what you are today.  You are no longer what you were.  And when you do slip, make a mistake and you repent of it, God says, "Yeah, you sinned and you need My sacrifice, but I know that's not what you want to do.  That's not your lifestyle."  You don't want to be doing those things for which you are now ashamed as scriptures bring out.  That's my opinion for what it's worth. That does it.  Fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.            

Because is it possible for us who are no longer sinners to become sinners once again?  Is it possible?  It is if you allow it.  Absolutely.  You have the example of the dog doing what?  Turning back to its own vomit.  You have the example of the pig doing what?  Going back to the mire.  God says that's not a good thing.  So we can, if we allow it.  And that's the key:  we allow it.  You know, we have an adversary, Satan, who would like to see us do that and we know, we're not ignorant of the fact that it says Satan is like a roaring lion seeking what?  Whom he – operative word – may devour.  It doesn't say he can, we have to allow it.  Because John also tells us that which is in us is what?  Greater than that which is in the world.  I believe if we are not careful, we in the Church can give more power to Satan than we do to God.  That's not good.  God is the all powerful being in the universe.  But we know we do have an adversary, we know if we're not careful we can, shall we say, become weary in well-doing or we can become negligent and apathy and lethargy and begin to slip.  That's not what we want.  We want to stay strong. We want to stay in that state of being washed, sanctified and justified.  So is it possible?  Sure.  There's no question about that.  But even there Jesus Christ knew that He would give us tools to deal even with that element of life. 

What are some of the tools God gives to us through Jesus Christ in overcoming temptations that might want to drive you back into that old lifestyle.  Well, Matthew 26:41 Matthew 26:41Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
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says this – and I'm not going to turn there – he says, pray that you enter not into temptation.  When did He say that?  Anybody remember?  Anybody?  He said that after He instituted the New Testament Passover.  He was with His disciples giving them encouragement, telling them what was going to be transpiring and happening because He knew He was going away.  And He says, "Listen, fellows," and by extension all of us here, men and women "pray that you enter not into temptation."  I know that I have encouraged brethren in Dayton and in Cincinnati North that if you do find a temptation coming along, grab yourself, you know, be pro-active.  Tell yourself what you're going to do before it happens.  If something begins to happen, you just go pray.  It's hard to be praying to God the Father, discussing it and being committing it.  Ask Him for His strength, His guidance, when you pray to God it helps as He says. 

John 14 tells us another tool is the power of the Holy Spirit.  John tells us that Jesus Christ was going away – Christ's own words – and that He would send the paraklētos.  Paraklētos means the helper or the comforter that would come after Christ's crucifixion after He had given the Passover. 

Another tool He tells us to help keep us washed, sanctified and justified is given to us by the example of Jesus Christ Himself.  Turn to Matthew, chapter 4 – Matthew 4 beginning in verse 1.  It says:  Matthew 4:1 Matthew 4:1Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
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- Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil...  talking about temptations.  Vs. 2 - And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.  Vs. 3 - Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."   But notice what Jesus Christ did.  Vs. 4 – He answered him and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.' "   So Jesus Christ was emphatic in how He dealt with the tempter.  He used what?  The word of God.  That's why it behooves us to really not take for granted studying.  It's a wonderful tool, you know, filling our minds with the word of God to see how He thinks and how He did things, learning from Him.  After all, how does faith come?   Aren't we told that faith comes by hearing the word of God?   It's part of that which gives us the strength to deal with temptations and problems.  So don't underestimate the power of putting our eyes and, therefore our minds, into the very word of the living God. 

You know, if you were to look at Vs. 7 after the second temptation, which I'm not going to read, Jesus said, It is written again, 'YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.' "  That was where Satan was trying to, you know, tempt Christ to throw Himself off the temple. 

And then you look at Vs. 10 after Satan was trying to get Christ to give up on being our Passover, verse 10 Jesus once again says this:  Vs. 10 - "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.' "   So Jesus Christ was emphatic in how He dealt with the tempter and that is He knew what the word of God taught.  After all, He was the one who helped inspire it.  Right?  He's the one who gave it to us through the writings of these different people.  And so God emphasizes that it is the written word that can help us deal with our issues in life. 

You know, that first temptation, talks about Jesus Christ fasting for forty days and forty nights and it says that He was hungry.  That's not an unnatural fact of life.  You know we keep the Day of Atonement.  When the Day of Atonement is over we are normally what?  Hungry, okay, we are normally thirsty.  So it's not unnatural.  But what you have here is Satan trying to get Jesus Christ to turn these stones into bread.  What he was trying to get Jesus Christ to do was to let the spiritual side of His life become subservient to the physical.  And that's important for us to understand when it comes to what we face in life.  And when you think about it, that is the heart of all temptation – to allow the fleshly side of my being to rule over the spiritual side of my being.  That's why Christ says we no longer live after what?  The flesh, but after the spirit.  What Satan wants is to allow our fleshly side of our nature to rule over the spiritual side, to get it reversed.  God says don't do that.  No.  Colossians 3 says set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.  Does God not know that we need physical food?  Sure He does.  Shelter?  Yeah.  Clothing?  Yes, He doesn't want us running around naked.  Okay?  He knows we need all these things.  He says He will handle them.  He will take care of it for us.  But keep the spiritual side of your nature in charge.  That was the lesson Christ taught.  And we do that when we're utilizing the word of God.  You know, Christ always goes from the physical to the spiritual.  The woman at the well.  She wanted Him to enable her to have all this water so she didn't have to come out to the well any more.  And Christ says, I'm not talking about physical water.  I'm talking about spiritual.  He always went from the physical to the spiritual.  He never, never shortchanged that element. 

So God gives us the tools to deal with those things that might want to pull us back into the world.  Can you think of anybody who did give up?  Do you remember a guy by the name of Demas?  He was in that state of being washed, sanctified and justified, but what happened to Demas?  Paul says, "Demas has left me loving the things of this world more than the things of God."  Demas began to allow the fleshly side of his nature rule over the spiritual side.  And he got caught up with those things that would pull him away from God.  And at baptism we said we would put nothing before God.  Nothing.  We would love less by comparison – not hate – but love less anything - wives, children, husbands.  We love our wives and children dearly.  Some of us, if we are not careful, get to the point of worshipping our grandchildren.  I'll raise my hand on that one.  They are special.  But God is more special and He says that is what we need to remember.  Jesus Christ, true to His word, met every temptation that He faced and He says, I'm here to help you deal with those issues. 

Notice Psalm 119 as we begin to wrap this up.  Psalm 119.  Let's begin our reading in verse 9 of Psalm 119.  It says:  Psalms 119:9 Psalms 119:9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.
American King James Version×
- How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word...  Washed by the water of the word.  Vs. 10 - With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!   Vs. 11 - Your word have I hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.  A man who was dedicated, was meditating, hiding the very word of God in his heart that he might not sin against God.  Having the word of God in you helps you in the life that you live.   Vs. 12 - Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.   Vs. 13 - With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.   Vs. 14 - I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.   Vs. 15 - I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.   Vs. 16 - I will delight myself in Your statutes; and I will not forget Your word.   So you find here that in the book of Psalms that the word of God was hidden in his heart that he might not sin. 

John mentioned in his first epistle, he said, I wrote unto you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.  And I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong - because you are strong because the word of God abides in you.  That's 1 John 2:14 1 John 2:14I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God stays in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
American King James Version×
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 Why are they strong?  Because the word of God abides in you.  You have been washed, sanctified and justified and you now have the word of God abiding in you.  Do you know what that word 'abide' means?  The word 'abide' means 'to stay' there in 1 John 2:14 1 John 2:14I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God stays in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
American King James Version×
.  You are strong because the word of God stays within you.  It obviously means abide.  It also means 'to dwell'.  And the Greek word, by the way, is meno.  The word of God dwells in you and because it does you are strong.  It means 'to be present.  It means 'to remain' - because the word of God remains in you, you are strong.  According to Thayer's definition the word means 'to continue to be present'.  I like that.  Because the word of God continues to be present in you, you are strong.  Thayer's also brings out for the word 'abide' 'to be helped' – kept – emphasis on the word 'continually'.  Because the word, continually abides in you, you are strong. 

So God gives us the tools to help us maintain our status of being washed, justified and sanctified and He wants us to continue in that state because He knows that it is for our benefit, it is for our well-being.  So in Jesus Christ's temptation He used the word of God because the word of God continually abided in Jesus Christ.  There was no question about that. 

So brethren, we are here on the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, the seventh day – seven being a number of completion.  God wants us to come completely out of sin.  He makes it possible through His Son, Jesus Christ, by forgiving us our sins.  He says, "I also makes it possible by washing you, justifying you and sanctifying you."  That is who you are, brethren.  As far as I am concerned, you are no longer sinners.  You are washed, justified and sanctified.  Can you sin?  You betcha.  We all can if we let our guard down.  But even then God allows us to have the tools – of prayer, the power of His Holy Spirit, and as Jesus emphasized, the word of God.  And when we allow the word of God to abide in us, to remain continually in us, we can be strong.  So as I look out over this audience, I see a strong group of people who want to do the will of God, who want to serve their living God and their Savior, Jesus Christ, with all of their hearts.  And I encourage all of you to maintain that steadfastness, not to become a Demas who got pulled away from those things that are very, very, very, very important, that is the word of God.  So enjoy your lunch all of you justified, sanctified and washed people. 

Comments

  • KARS
    I don't exspect you to post this. This is my complaint. If I didn't have nights where I woke up in the middle of the night; I would have missed out on important lessons. Like the one that was here after this one. The One about changing the heart and being ready for the tribulation. I know you have more than one UCG.org webpage. Ok, this one is most probably milk and the other seasoned meat. Understandable. However, if I see it and then I come back and you take it away. Don't expect me to be a happy camper. I just finished listening to the sermon from the Feast of Tabernacles and it was very helpful and true. Thank God our Father that it was His will that I came online and heard it. Have a good night webmaster. Sincerely, KARS
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