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

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Do Not Let That Day Overtake You

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1Th 5:4)

The rapture, the catching away of the saints, is a certainty and a soon coming event. God wants us all to be ready. He does not want us to be taken unawares, but be making every preparation and be active in His work when He comes that we need not be ashamed.
Here he warns us not to let that day overtake us as a thief might. The thief comes to steal from us what is rightfully ours. God does not want us to lose what is ours by letting that day of His return come upon us unprepared. In this passage, God gives us reasons we may let that day overtake us.

Reason 1 – We need not let that day overtake us because of darkness; the sin and wickedness of the world and the natural flesh.

Because we have been delivered FROM darkness
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Col 1:12-13)
Because we have been CALLED OUT of darkness
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1Pe 2:9)
Because we are TO CAST OFF darkness
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (Rom 13:12)
Let’s leave the paths of sin and darkness so that we will walk in light as children of light and be ready for THAT day when we see Jesus.

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Works of Faith

 

Faith works powerpoint 2Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1Th 1:3)

The relationship between faith and work has been preached, taught, and pursued since the time of Abraham and before.  Although there has been much taught and written about the works of faith I believe we are lacking a full understanding. Below is a simple description of the three works of faith.

First – The Works of “Supplying Faith”.

This is the power of faith. It is the work that God does.

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (2Th 1:11)

 It is God in us working the power of faith. We must seek and permit this work of faith of God in our lives if we are to experience power in our faith

Second – The Works of “Supporting faith”.

This is the product of faith. This is the work that we do.

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1Th 1:3)

These are the works of faith described in Hebrews 11.  These are the feats of action begun, performed, and completed by acting in faith toward God and His Word.  This is the common work of faith we think of when we seek an expression of faith.

Third – The Works of “Showing”  Faith.

This is the proving of faith. This is the work that faith does.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (Jas 2:14-18)

This is probably the most important and spiritual of the three.  These are the works that flow involuntarily from the child of God that is truly growing in his faith. It is the work of faith that is most Christ-like.

For us to be perfected in our faith, with nothing lacking, we need to ensure we are perfect in all three works of faith.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay

Punctuality

_85378500_clockIt has been said that the scourge of the pulpit is laziness. As true as that may be, today, one of the scourges of the pew is tardiness.  In our Christian school, we have gone to great lengths and efforts to reduce tardiness.  We have even imposed a “Class disruption fee” for habitually tardy students.  We call it this because repeated tardiness not only shows and develops poor character, it is a major distraction and problem for the teacher and fellow students. All work stops while”Tardy Tommy” comes in, gets situated, turns in his homework, and makes a general nuisance of himself.

As inappropriate and annoying as this is in a classroom, it is even more detrimental and disrespectful when done in the church and the work of ministry.  Here are a few thoughts to help us all develop better habits as it relates to being punctual.  Can you image Jesus being late to all events and appointments?  I think not!

Purposes for Punctuality

Redeem the time

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:15-16)

We are all complaining about how we do not have enough time in a day.  Let’s not be a waster of time by missing those precious moments of instruction, work, and even pleasure by being late.

Respect the time of others

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Php 2:3)

When we ar 10 minuets late and 6 people are waiting on us, we have wasted one man-hour of time in total, but six minutes of each persons life.  Let’s not “steal” life and time from others.

Reverence 

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Co 10:31)

When we are late to church or our assigned ministry, we are being disrespectful to God.  We are saying to God, “Your time is not important to me, God.  Your place, God, is to wait on me.”  How irreverent?  We say that with our actions every time we are late to a meeting with and for God.

Retain a good testimony

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. (Ecc 7:1)

No one likes to always wait on the same person.  What is YOUR reputation as it relates to punctuality?

How to be more punctual12625438_f496

Schedule

You must adjust and apply these thoughts as it relates to your own issues.

Make a time-based agenda for the day or that portion of the day.

  1. Know when you are to be there.  (Include time to park, walk, put up coat etc.)
    • A leader should always be 10-15 minutes early.  On time for a leader is late.
  2. Know and add how long it takes for you to shower and dress.
  3. Know and add how long it takes to load all in the car.
  4. Know and add how long it takes to drive to the appointment.
  5. Know and add typical distractions and delays you experience
  6. Add 15 minutes.

Submit to your schedule. Make your calendar your boss

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Co 9:27)

 


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Do Not Let the Hurt, Hurt

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Everyone hurts, it is how we react to those hurts that matters.

An old-time preacher once taught that everyone gets hurt, but it is important not to let the hurt, hurt. In other words, as Christians, we are not to let the hurts and trials that enter our life hurt what God is doing.

We should not let the hurt;

  • Hurt our walk with God.
  • Hurt our relationships with others that are innocent or not related to the cause of our hurts.
  • Hurt the work of the ministries in which we are involved.
  • Hurt our trust in God and His goodness.
  • Hurt our future faith or willingness to be vulnerable and love others.
  • Hurt the … (you fill in the blank where you are apt to let the recent hurt, hurt).

How to keep the hurt from hurting.

1. Crucify the carnal (Gal 5:24-26)

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.(Gal 5:24)

It is impossible to hurt a dead man – Lester Roloff

Too many of our hurts” are simply the flesh and old nature raising its ugly head and complaining we are not getting what we deserve or want. “I” was mistreated, “I” was let down, they did not care about “me”. You get the idea.

2. Cast, do not carry, your care (1Pet 5:7)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:7)

Cast your hurts onto Jesus. If you cannot kill your hurts, give them to the Lord and leave them with Him.

3. Cultivate contentment (Phil 4:11)

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Php 4:11-12)

Not getting your “needs” taken care of by others?  Be content.

Not receiving the “so deserved” thanks and accolades? Be content.

Not being appreciated or considered? Be content.

4. Conform to Christ (1Pet 2:21-23)

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1Pe 2:21)

Feel hurt? Consider Him and follow His example in responses, prayer, forgiveness, sacrifice, and looking for the joy in the ahead.


Visit us on line at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Eat Bay

Will You Excel?

Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.(Gen 49:3-4)unstable-as-water-1-728

In spite of Reuben’s great potential afforded by being his father’s first born, the prophesy for his future was not bright.  The words “thou shall not excel” hold a sense of disappointment and a foreshadow of a wasted life.

We all want to excel in our life and especially in our service to the Lord.  Let’s look at just a few of the reasons from the life of Reuben that we may not excel.

We Will Not Excel Because of Unstable Characterunstable as water (read Gen 37:18-34)

His instability of character was demonstrated by his acts of compromise

He only partially stood for right in his desire to save the life of his little brother, Joseph.  He gave in to their want for revenge, thinking he would return for Joseph later and rescue him for the pit.  Because of his unwillingness to make a clear stand his brothers sold Joseph while he was gone.

We usually get only one chance to stand and do right.  Here he blew his opportunity.

His instability of character was demonstrated by his acts of collusion 

Collusion is “the secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others“.

We might say he went along to get along!  When he found out it was too late to save Joseph, he went along with their wicked plan to deceive their father into believing Joseph was dead. He also let this deceit and collusion go on for years.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psa 1:1)

We Will Not Excel Because of Unscriptural Conduct (vs4, Gen 35:22)

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.(Heb 13:4)

Although the Bible says that Israel knew about Reuben’s sin in the relationship with Bilhah his father’s concubine, we have no indication that his father did anything about it or that Reuben ever confessed and made it right.   We can never excel (prosper) if we harbor and hide sin.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Pro 28:13)

 So in summary, we will not excel if we compromise in doing right, collude with evil people and plans, and fail to confess and forsake sinful conduct.

Let’s purpose to excel for God!


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The Nazarite Vow and the Committed Christian

The-Nazarite-Vow

The Nazarite vow of Numbers 6, was a very special vow a person could enter into for a specific period and completely dedicate themselves to the Lord for that period. The New Testament Christian should live their life with a modern-day commitment to the Lord in the same way. Let’s look at the Nazarite vow and we will see it parallels the fully committed Christian life of today.  May we make the same decision today as a Nazarite would make then.

A Vow Available – to all

When either man or woman shall separate themselves

It was a vow for both genders

It was a vow for all ages – from the age of accountability upward

It was a vow for all tribes and peoples.  One need not be from a certain lineage as required for Priests.  One did not need to claim a Divine call as the prophets.

A Vow of Aspiration – of desire

A personal vow – It was strictly voluntary

A purposeful vow – Had the goal and purpose to be totally separated unto the Lord

A premised vow – The premise to making such a vow was to be able to more fully serve the Lord.

A Vow Regarding Appetites

He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

The Nazarite was to abstain from all forms of grapes and products from the grape-vine.

Our appetites should all be spiritual – not carnal.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1Jn 2:15)

A Vow Regarding Appearance

All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head:

 

The Nazarite was given to an appearance that was distinct and different from the world

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (1Co 11:14)

The Nazarite was given to an appearance that was deemed for the Lord

A Vow of Attitude – Holy unto the Lord (vs 5, 8)

When we desire to be holy – it puts us on anther plane.

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (1Pe 1:15)

A Vow of Associations (vs6)

he shall come at no dead body.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2Co 6:17)

…And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (Lev 10:9-10)

Vow of Adherence and Affection

 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luk 14:26)

 A Vow for Always

Nazarite  vow was for 24 x 7 for a specified duration.  For Christian commitment it should be a commitment 24 x 7 all the days of our life!


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