A Church for Which to Thank God (pt1)

The Abounding Church

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (2Th 1:3-4)

love-and-faithHere Paul is thanking God for the church at Thessalonica. He is not just saying the words, but he is spelling out the reasons he could thank God for them.  We should all desire to be the Christian and the church for which we, and others, can thank God.

The two reasons he was thanking God for them were they were a church that was abounding and enduring.

We all must be both abounding and enduring if we are going to reach the end of our race well and be all God desires for us.

To endure without abounding is boring and is of no lasting value or impact.

To abound without enduring is no more than a flash in pan and of not much more value than fools gold.

First, let us look at where they were commendably abounding and in the next post, we will see how they were enduring.

They were a church Abounding in Faithyour faith groweth exceedingly…

The phrase “growth exceedingly”  means to be ABOVE MEASURE.  The faith referred to here is not a body of beliefs, but rather a “credence given” and a “strong confidence in”.

Let me suggest you begin by knowing your faith

Know first that your faith is the right Person and place.  It must be in Jesus Christ as Saviour and in His Word.  Make sure you are saved.

Then, begin growing your faith.

Faith is buildable and can be, as in this church, abounding!

There is a condition of “No faith” 

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?(Mar 4:40)

Then there is “Small faith”

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  (Mat 6:30)

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  (Mat 8:25-26)

Then some have “Great faith”

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  (Mat 8:8-10)

 

They were a church Abounding in Love – the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 

It was a commended love

Because God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (1Jn 4:16)

Because Christ epitomizes a life of Love.

If we are going to be like Him we must love also.

It was a common love

Note the term “every one” – charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth

We can never be a church God wants us to be unless the love of Christ is expressed by “every one” of us.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (Joh 13:35)

Ask God to help you live a life and to be a member of the church for which people are thankful to God.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Est Bay

 

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Three Steps to Santification

maxresdefaultProve all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Th 5:21-24)

From the last post, we saw two keys to the process of sanctification (consecration). We learn from the above verses that it is God’s will that His people be sanctified as we wait for the return of our Savior.

Key 1 – The power of personal sanctification is the sovereign work of God

Key 2 – The practice of personal sanctification is the submission to the will of God

To help us in our journey into personal sanctification and submission to His will, God gives us a three-step process. These steps are listed in our text above.  They are, “Prove All Things”, Hold Fast that Which is Good”, and “Abstain from All Appearance of Evil”.

It is extremely helpful to take these three in order. Too many times our problem is that we skip over the first two and try to accomplish the third.  While we might be able to do so for a short while, we will not be able to maintain the process, or at best, we will do it without joy.

Here is a brief explanation of the three-step process to personal sanctification from 1Thessolonians 5:21-22.

Step 1 = Prove all things

The meaning of proving is to test, determine validity, check its quality, and determine if substance or statement is true or counterfeit

The methods for  proving all things

  • By searching the Scriptures

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Act 17:11)

  • By seeing the fruits

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Mat 7:15-16)

  • By seeking the excellent

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (Php 1:10)

This means we are not satisfied with the mediocre or the “good enough” when it comes to our work and walk with God.  We desire and give our VERY best for Him.

The measure of proving all things – all things…

What part of all do we not understand?  All areas, all practices, all means, “all things”.  Our dress habits, our church attendance habits, all doctrines, all Biblical positions, child disciple, marriage, and relationships, … ALL THINGS

Step 2 = Hold fast that which is good

Once proven good, hold on to the good

  • Hold fast to our integrity

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.  (Job 2:3)

  • Hold fast our profession

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (Heb 4:14)

  • Hold fast our faith

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:6)

  • Hold fast good instruction

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. (Pro 4:13)

Step 3 = Abstain from all appearance of evil

  • We should abstain for temptation’s sake
  • We should abstain for testimonies sake

The Practice of abstaining.  We may need to be cautious and abstain from all appearance of evil as it regards to:

Our passions

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (2Ti 2:22)

Our places

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.  (Pro 4:14-15)

Some people

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. (Psa 26:4-5)

Conclusion – Take all three steps and let God sanctify you.


 

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay 

Agents of God’s Work in Sanctification

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Th 5:21-24)

Sanctification (or consecration) is a twofold operation. Part is God’s work and part is our work. In this discussion, we will briefly look at God’s portion as it states in the above text, “who also will do it.”

God supernaturally declares us and positionally makes us sanctified. He also provides the spiritual power for us to live holy in this present world.  Here are two key statements to help us understand this relationship.

KEY 1 – The power of personal sanctification is the sovereign work of God

KEY 2 – The practice of personal sanctification is the submission to the will of God

See below three “Agents of Sanctification” God uses to accomplish His work of consecration in our lives.

One agent is the Spirit of God

This work of the Spirit begins at and with our salvation

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (2Th 2:13)
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1Co 6:11)

The work of the Spirit then begets obedience

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1Pe 1:2)

Another agent is The Word of God (John 17:17)

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17)
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11)

A third agent is the blood of God

God foreshadowed the work of the blood of Christ in sanctifying us through His instructions for the building and operation of the tabernacle.  He then clarifies and reinforces this illustration in Hebrews.

And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. (Lev 8:30)
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. (Heb 13:12)
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Rev 1:5)

Allow God’s work of sanctification in your life.  Let Him begin today.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay