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James Merritt - What Does Sanctification Mean?

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    James Merritt - What Does Sanctification Mean?
TOPICS: Sanctification

I wanna ask you a question, but don't answer it too quickly because you're not gonna understand what I'm asking, until I finish and the question is, "Why are you here"? Now, I don't mean why did you come today? I don't mean why are you in this building or why are you sitting in that seat? I got a deeper question than that. What I'm asking is this, why are you here on this earth? Why are you here instead of not being here? Because the one thing we all have in common is this. Nobody chose to be here. That decision was outta my hand. I didn't choose to be born, where to be born, when to be born, who I was born to. I had no discussion. I had no say in the matter.

So that begs the question, why am I here? What is the reason for my existence? Well, for all of you who claim to be followers of Jesus today, I can give you both a general answer and a very specific answer and I can tell you why you are here. Generally speaking, you're here for one reason. If there is a God and if that God is sovereign, and if that God created you, and if that God put you here, then that God must have a plan for your life. Therefore, generally speaking, I know why we are all here, to do the will of God. God has a plan for your life. God has a plan for my life and God wants you to fulfill that plan and if you go through this life and you don't fulfill that plan, you've missed the meaning of your life.

Now, that's generally speaking, but I wanna get real specific. I don't care whether you've been a believer for five seconds, five minutes or five years. It doesn't matter what church you attend or what denomination you belong to. This may sound very arrogant to say, I can tell every one of us specifically, exactly what God's will is for your life and the reason I can do that, 'cause God's told us specifically what it is. A man named Paul wrote these words in a book called "Thessalonians," here's what he said. He said, "it is God's will that you should be sanctified". I want you to say that word out loud with me, sanctified ready? Sanctified. Say it one more time, sanctified, so I know what God's will is for your life. Every one of you in this room, no matter what else you may think or what else you may say, I know it is God's will that you should be sanctified.

Now that word in and of itself is kind of a funny word. We don't use that word much anymore. We don't hear that word much anymore. Even Pastors don't use the word much anymore and I guarantee you nobody this week, and I'm one of them, not one person this week walked up to another person and said, "by the way, are you sanctified"? They look at you like you lost your mind, but you have a right to ask that, because it is God's will that we be sanctified, but the average believer doesn't even know what that means. I asked several people, but as I was working on this series, Hey, what is sanctification? I asked three people I know that have a close walk with God. They all three gave three different answers and none of them got it right and if you were, if I were to ask you what is sanctification love, you'd say, "I don't even know what that word means," which is why we're in a series we're calling "Lost in translation".

If you're visiting with us for the first time or watching us for the first time, we decided we'd take four, what we call big churchy words. Conversion, regeneration, repentance and today's sanctification. Big churchy words that the average believer, much less believer, has no clue what it is. No clue what it means and but get them to understand because you cannot have a relationship with God if you've not experienced conversion, if you've never repented, If you don't understand what regeneration is and particularly sanctification, it is one of the most important biblical words there are, because here's one thing we already know. If you're not living a sanctified life, you're outta the will of God. But I go to church, I give money, I try to be a good person much as I can, maybe but if you're not living a sanctified life, you are out of the will of God.

So let's just begin right now. Let's define the term. What do I mean by being sanctified? What this God's word means? Well, the word really helps us out. That word sanctified literally means to set apart or to be set apart and what we don't realize is we really deal with sanctification every day in our life. We just don't know that we do it. For example, let's take just two professions, a Carpenter and a Cook. A Carpenter has to be, has to work and experience sanctification every day or he can't do his job. You say, "what do you mean"? What does the carpenter do? He takes a hammer. He sets that hammer aside for one purpose, to hit nails. He takes the screwdriver, he sets that screwdriver aside for one purpose, that is to tighten screws. What does the Cook do? He takes a knife, he sets that knife aside, for one purpose is to cook, is to cut, is to slice. He takes a spoon, he sets that aside. What is that for? That's to scoop and that is to stir.

So they are all set aside. When God saves a person, when God saved you, when God saved me, whether you realize it or not, at the exact moment that you got saved, God took you and he set you aside. He says you're to be different from everybody else. You're not to live the way the world. You may live in the world. You're not to live like the world. I want you to be different. I want you to look different. I want you to act different. I want you to to live differently. I have set you aside. You now belong to me. I have set you aside for a purpose. What is that purpose? Be Holy. Be godly. Be Christ like. That's what it means to be sanctified. In other words, you live outwardly what you say you are inwardly and that's why today's message is so important for the church and it's really important if you claim to be a follower of Jesus.

Let me tell you why this is such a big deal. Several years ago there was a well known Christian leader. He made a very disturbing observation about Christianity to America. I want to listen to what he said. "Christianity in America is 3000 miles wide and half an inch deep". I believe that. Matter of fact you want to ask me, Pastor, what do you think is the biggest problem in the church today? That's the biggest problem. Most believers, you are believers, most followers, you are followers, but your Christian faith is about 3000 miles wide and about half an inch deep, because the average Christian to be, I'm proving my point, the average Christian doesn't ever think about sanctification, doesn't think about being sanctified. The average Christian doesn't think, wait a minute, it is the will of God that I'm sanctified. Am I living a sanctified life? And the truth of the matter is most Christians are not. How do I know?

Well, the Barna group conducted a survey. I want you to listen, this is an eye-opener. They asked college students to identify their activities over the last 30 days. They found Christian college students were just as likely as their non-Christian friends to visit a pornographic website, steal, consult a medium about their future, physically fight or verbally abuse someone, consume enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, use an illegal non-prescription drug, lie, seek revenge or gossip. The believers were just like unbelievers and the majority of college age non-believers said that the average Christian that they knew didn't live any differently than the way they did. Well adults, they didn't do a lot better. The divorce rates among Christians mirrors the divorce rate of non-Christians. The rate of physical and sexual abuse basically does the same thing and sexual promiscuity among teenagers is just a little bit lower than non-believers.

So many years ago, a study by George Gallup found, listen to this, only 9%, that's less than one out of 10. Only 9% of evangelical Christians give a tithe of their income to the church. Now, whatever else you think about tithing, I'm gonna say this and move on. I agree with what Dr. Raw Adrian Rogers said. He said, "any Christian that would give less under grace, that a Jew would give under the law is a disgrace to grace". If that makes you mad, you apologize, I'll forgive you. Any Christian that would give less under grace than a Jew gave under the law is a disgrace to grace. Only 9% of the evangelical believers give a child of their income to the church and listen to this, they found that evangelicals are by far the most racist group in America.

So here's what the Author concluded. "The astonishing quality of the early believers' lives attracted people to Christ. Today, our hypocrisy drives unbelievers away". That's 20 years ago he said that, but I don't really believe much has changed and so I wanna give you, I wanna just kind of take some of you back in time, okay? We'll put something up on the screen and those of you recognize what it is. Tell me what that is. Somebody tell me what is that? Anybody can tell me what that is? Say it out loud. Yeah, it's the Susan B. Anthony Dollar. How many of you remember the Susan B. Anthony Dollar? Okay, a few of you do. Most of you don't. Let me tell you. You know the government has a way of just coming up with these brilliant ideas, right? I mean, they're just come up with all these great ideas, right? So the government years ago came up with an idea, why don't we take the Dollar bill out of circulation?

So we're gonna make a coin and we're gonna make that a Dollar, we're gonna have make that our Dollar and their goal eventually was take all the Dollar bills outta circulation. Guess how long this lasted? It lasted three years and they took it outta circulation. Do you know why they took it outta circulation? Because everybody said that looks like a quarter and we think a dollar ought to look like a dollar. We don't think a dollar ought look like a quarter. It shouldn't look like a dime. It shouldn't look like a nickel. It shouldn't look like a quarter. It oughta look like a dollar. So it's no longer in circulation. You can't find them. Well, lemme tell you what God wants us to look like Him. Not a cheap imitation, not a knockoff, not some fraudulent copy. God says, I want you to look just like me and what that's called is Sanctification. God wants us to be sanctified.

So if you brought a copy of God's word today, I want you to turn to a book called Philippians. It's in the New Testament. Just go to Matthew, mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, First, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, go to Philippians chapter one and chapter two and I wanna show you three ways that God is working to accomplish our sanctification, because what I wanna encourage you to do today, many of you is really begin to believe this. We get this idea and I don't know why we get it and I hate it. Well, you know, there are a few Christians out there. They're superstar Christians. They're five star Christians. You know, they're the top of the line Christians. I can never get there. I just, you know, I'm just glad I'm saved and I'm glad I'm going to heaven, but I just can never really have the walk that they do. That's not true.

I'm gonna prove to you today, God wants everybody to be a five star Christian. God wants everybody to be a superstar Christian. God wants everybody to be at the top of their game and he is working to make that happen and for those of you who say, "oh Pastor, look, I love you. I thank God for you, but you're just man, you're just blowing in the wind. It could never happen for me". I'm gonna show you today how I can guarantee you it could happen to you, because here's three things that Paul tells us about this whole work of sanctification. Number one, he said, "God commences his work of sanctification in you". God is the one that commences his work of sanctification in you.

I want you to do this right now. You're a believer, you're a follower of Jesus. Go back to that time in your life when you became a believer, when you became a follower of Jesus. You may not know the exact time or the exact date. I'm not worried about that, but go back to that period of time where you know, you passed from death to life. You know, you became a follower of Jesus. Now, whether you realize it or not, this is exactly what happened. Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ".

Now, there were a lot of things that Paul was not sure of when he wrote those words. Paul was in prison. He was not sure he would ever get outta prison. He was not sure he would even be alive tomorrow. He certainly wasn't sure he'd ever be, ever again, be preaching in another church, or going to another mission field. He never, he didn't know that at all, but he said, I'll tell you one thing I'm sure of. I am absolutely sure that God has worked salvation into my life. That God began a good work in me.

Now, Paul was actually talking about two things here. First of all, he was talking about salvation. The work that God begins in us is the work of salvation, because that's where everything begins and he was absolutely sure this is the work that God started in me, but it's also work that God is continuing in me, because I am amazed that I really believe the average believer, the average Christian, the average follower of Jesus, don't really understand the unbelievable reality. That God doesn't just live in us, he's working in us. Do you really believe right now, God is right where you're sitting right now, God right now is working in you.

See, we get this idea that God, yeah, God lives in me, but he just gets in a recliner and drinks lemonade and eats peanuts while I go about my business. No, no, no, no. God works in you. God never quits working. He's always working in you and see, Paul said, I'm absolutely sure he's doing that and the moment that you give your life to Jesus, here's what God does. He comes into your life in the person of the Holy Spirit, and then you know what he says, "all right, time to go to work". Time to get to work. I mean, how did you become a believer to begin with? I got news for you. It didn't start with you. It started with God. That word began as a compound verb that means to begin in, it's only used twice in the New Testament. Both time, it refers to the work of salvation. When you got saved, when I got saved, when we came to know Jesus Christ, God was the one that began that work in us and see this is one of the biggest problems we have as Christians. We are so focused on what we want God to do for us, when we ought to be more focused on what God wants to do in us.

I remember years ago when I was a young Pastor. I was a young Pastor at one time, by the way. My grandkids don't believe it, but I was young at one time. You remember, thank you, appreciate that. I don't, really honest with you, but anyway, so I was a young Pastor and Dr. Stanley, Charles Stanley invited a bunch of young Pastors to come and meet with him at his church just to talk about church and Pastoring this kind of thing and he gave a lot of wisdom, but Dr. Stanley said something that day. I didn't even have to write it down. It was one of those things that just stuck with me like glue. To this day and this has been, I don't know what, 35 years ago, Dr. Stanley, this is toward the end of all. He was giving all this good wisdom about church and how to be a good Pastor, how to be a successful Pastor, how to do this, how to do that, but then here's how he ended it. He said, "men don't ever forget what I'm about to tell you. He said, I know all of you want to build your church" and we do, and we did, and I still do, but here's what he said. He said, "God is a lot more interested in building you than he is in building your church".

I will never forget that. God is more interested in building you, than he is in building your church. May I tell you something, God is a lot more interested in building you than he is in building your business. God is a lot more interested in building you than he is in building your bank account. God is a lot more interested in building you than is building your stock portfolio. God is more interested in building you than he is in building your new house. God is more interested in building you than he is in you building your reputation or even your family and the work of salvation that God commences in you at the same time, begins the work of sanctification in you. So you are saved because God started to work in you, but what I want, so many Christians don't realize is, salvation is just God getting started.

Now the real work begins because remember, God did not rest when he created the world, until the work was finished. God, when he saved you doesn't stop working. Now He wants to do the work of sanctification in you. So number one, he says, God commences his work of sanctification in me. The work that God did, the work that God is doing, he's the one that started it, but then it gets better. He said, "God doesn't just commence his work of salvation in you, God continues his work of sanctification with you". He continues it, 'cause this again is where a lot of Christians miss it. You give your life to Jesus, maybe you get baptized, maybe you join a church and then you just kind of go your merry way and you just kind of live with the way you wanna live and do what you wanna do and you don't realize, wait a minute, that's not the end. It is just the beginning, because when God begins to work of salvation in you, the work of sanctification begins with you.

So now go one chapter over to chapter two and listen to what Paul says in verse 12. "Therefore my dear friends, as you've always obeyed not only in my presence but now much more in my absence". Now watch this, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Now there are two workers he's gonna talk about. First of all, he talks to us. He says, "are you a believer"? Yes I am, "follower of Jesus," yes I am. "You've been saved". Yes I have. God says, "okay, are you working"? Well what do you mean am I working? "Are you working"? What am I supposed to be working on? Not what you're working on, what you're working out. You are to work out you salvation.

Now don't let this confuse you. Paul is not saying you've gotta work for your salvation, because you can't do that. He's not saying you gotta work towards your salvation. You can't do that. He says you're to work out your salvation. So what does that mean? Well, the word workout is a very interesting word in the Greek language. It literally refers to working in a mine. When you go into a mine, what are you doing? You're trying to mine all the gold, all the silver, all the diamonds, all the precious jewels out of that mine. Here's what Paul is saying, Paul said, when God begins a work of salvation in you, when Jesus comes into your life and you give your life to him, God expects you to go to work and God expects you to begin to get everything you can out of you, as you possibly can out of your Christian life and that leads me to say this.

You may not wanna admit it, but you know it's true. There are a lot of you here and I have no question based on, you know that you're saved. You know the Lord, you die today, you absolutely are sure you're going to heaven. I have no doubt about that, but here's the elephant in the room. If a lot of us were, were really honest today, here's what we would say. "Yeah, I'm saved, but I don't know why I'm not getting out of the Christian life when I see other people get outta the Christian life. Why don't I have the joy other Christians have? Why don't I have the the dynamic walk that other Christians have? Why don't I have a hunger for the word of God that other Christians have? Why does it always seem that other Christians always going and growing and glowing in their Christian faith"? Can I tell you why? Can I just be honest?

I can tell every one of you right now what you're getting out of your Christian life, what you're putting into it. You don't read your Bible every day. You're not gonna get a whole lot outta your Christian life. You don't ever tell anybody about Jesus. You're not gonna get a lot outta your Christian life. You don't ever have a time when you set aside and you just praise God and thank God and you talk to God and you bring your request to God. You're probably not gonna get much out of your Christian life. You're not physically involved the way you oughta be in a church. You're probably not gonna get outta the Christian life, what you ought to get out of the Christian life. You're gonna get out of your Christian life what you put into it. That's why we talk about all the time, worship, disciple, serve, sin. We're trying to put shovels in your hand and picks and axes in your hand where you can mine the gold that's out there for you. For example, Jesus said this in John 17:17, "Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth".

Now if what he said, listen what he said, he said, this book is true and the way you get sanctified is by truth. So you wanna be sanctified, you wanna live a sanctified life, you wanna get all the Christian life, out of the Christian life, you can. I'll tell you where you start. Start reading this book. Every day, get it along, get along with God. Open this book and say, "Lord, you said you would sanctify me by truth. I wanna be sanctified". If I don't get in this book, I will not be sanctified. So I wanna get in this book 'cause I wanna be holy, I wanna be sanctified, I wanna be close to you. I wanna be everything you want me to do. Everything I want you to do and the way you do that is you get into God's word. It is the tool that God uses to sanctify you. Here's the point. Here's the point. When God begins his work of salvation in us, he expects us to do the work of sanctification with him.

So you go back to when you were saved, when you became a believer, when you gave your life to Christ. At that moment whether you realize it or not, God rolled up his sleeves. God got his toolbox out and God begins his work in you, but he also gives you a full-time job of working out what he has worked in you, because here's what the Christian life is. It's not hard to figure this out. The Christian life is an outward human expression of an inward divine presence. That's all it is. It is you living outwardly what you say and who you say is living in you. It's a 24/7 job and guess what? You never retire from this until you draw your last breath and every day do you know what people ought to see in you? They ought to see you working out what God has worked in. That's what they ought to see every day.

People ought to see what God's working out, what he has worked in and then Paul says something strange. He says, and do it with fear. And trembling. Why would he say that? What do you mean work it out with fear and trembling? Here's what he meant. You know how you can tell that you're growing in your faith? Do you know how you can tell, you're really getting close to God? Do you know how you can really tell that you're living a sanctified life? Let me tell you how? When you are so passionately in love with God, that you fear doing anything that would break his heart, that you feared doing anything that would disappoint him in you. Trembling that word trembling it gives us the English word, trauma. You have such a desire and such a passion. You tremble at the thought that you'd ever do anything that would break God's heart or bring God's disappointment.

Now here's where it really gets good. You say, "but Pastor, here's my problem. I just don't think I can pull that off by myself". I got good use of you. You can't. You can't. Because we're not in this work by ourselves. Remember I told you there's two people working. That's our work. This is what he goes on to say in verse 13. "For it is God who works in you". Yeah, you work out your salvation but you're not by yourself. "It is God that works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose". So here's what God's doing right now. He's not only working with us, in us, he's working with us, he's working for us, he's working through us. It is God that works in us to fulfill his good purpose. God works in us that we might work, that he might work with us and therefore work through us, but here's the thing, he does it in such a way that we do the right thing because we desire the right thing and he gets the glory.

So God doesn't just work in us, God works with us. So listen carefully. God will work in you. And God will work through you. But he will not work apart from you. You gotta work with him. You got your work you've got to do too. He expects you to work with him. See, being sanctified is a joint effort. God does his part. You do your part. I love the story about a Farmer and he was, this Pastor came out to see him and the Pastor saw this beautiful garden that this Farmer had planted and he looked at it all the beautiful landscaping that this Pastor had cleared. He looked at all the flowers and all the trees that he planted and the Pastor would say, "boy John, that is a beautiful garden that you and God have. That's a beautiful landscape that you and God have. Those are beautiful trees and flowers that you and God have". The Farmer finally got enough of it and he said, "well Pastor, I appreciate that, but you ought have seen this place when God had it by himself".

You see there's God's part, but there's our part. And sanctification is a joint effort. Okay, God does his work, but we've got to do our work. Jonathan Edwards is one of the great Preachers and Theologians in American history. People still read him today. Edwards understood that salvation and sanctification in the end is a work of God, but he also understood he had work to do as well. So every year he would make resolutions like people do most of the time, but there was one resolution that he made and it was always number one on his list. Every single year, every year, whatever resolutions he made, this was always his number one resolution. Listen to what he said. "Resolved never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it was the last hour of my life".

He understood, what I want you to understand, now this is so important, you gotta get this, 'cause I'm some of you're gonna leave here confused if you don't get this next statement, okay? If you're listening, raise your hand. If you don't think anybody's listening, push em, shove em, hit 'em and get their attention. Your goodness does not produce your salvation. Your goodness does not produce your salvation and if you heard that, raise your hand. You Pentecostal raise 'em both, all right. Your goodness does not produce your salvation. But if your salvation does not produce goodness, there's something wrong with your salvation. If your goodness does not, if your salvation not produce goodness, there is something wrong with your salvation. Any good that we do. Yes, it is what God did in us and what God did through us, and but it's also what he does with us and it's a work we are outta do until we die. So God commences his work of sanctification in us. Then God continues his work of sanctification with us.

Now here's the best use of all, you ready? God will complete his work of sanctification for us. Now watch what happens. Your probably as I was working on this sermon, I thought, Lord, I'm gonna have a lot of discouraged people when they hear this message, they're gonna be discouraged, 'cause I know, I promise you I know what some of you are thinking right now, I get it. You're saying, "Pastor, you just don't know how far short I fall of God's glory. You just don't know how often I blow it. You just don't know the sin that I battle in my life. You just don't know, I'm not always the person I ought to be and I always don't want to do the right thing and I don't always do the right thing".

So let me help you with something. One of the pressures that a Pastor is under the moment I, and I knew this would be true, when you decide to go into the ministry and you decide to become a preacher of the gospel and a Pastor of the church, there's this 24/7 pressure, that you gotta hold yourself to a higher standard than anybody else and I can share every one of you that know me and every one of you watching me right now, nobody, you'd have to hold me to a higher standard. You cannot possibly hold me to a higher standard than I hold myself. You can't and there's always this pressure. I'm just being honest. There's this pressure. Don't ever let 'em see you sweat. Don't ever let 'em think you got any weaknesses. You know, make them think you got a red phone right by your phone, on your bed, that when you pick it up, God answers. Make 'em think you sleep in three piece pajamas with cuff links.

I'm so glad that you have not seen me at my worst moments. I am so glad you've not seen some thoughts that I've had in my mind and I'm so glad you've not seen the times when I've fallen so far short of the glory of God, it's embarrassing. So if you're one of those people that say, man, you just don't know what you're asking. Get in line. I get it. We all fall short of the glory of God. I understand that, but here's my word for you. Don't be discouraged. Don't give up. Don't give in, don't give out. 'Cause here's what I want you to remember. Listen, listen. You will never completely be what you're going to be in heaven, but you can't obediently be what God wants you to be on earth. And you will one day be completely what God wants you to be in heaven. You are going to make it. You say, how do I know that? Go back to the first verse we read. Listen to this, "being confident of this that you who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Jesus Christ".

Who began the work of sanctification in you? Who did? Who did? Who began the work of salvation in you? Who did that? What God starts, God finishes. You've started things you haven't finished, so have I, but what God starts, God finishes and only God can finish what God starts. That word for carried on completion means to fully complete. God never leaves a job half finished, three quarters finished, 99% finished. What God starts, God finishes, 100%. Now remember he's referring first to the work of salvation. So what does he say? He say, when God saves a person, he that person totally. Nobody's 50% saved, 75% saved, 99% saved. We are 100% saved and when God saves us, he saves us permanently, he saves us truly, he saves us totally, he saves us permanently, he saves us eternally, but then he says this and the work that I started in you when you gave your heart to me, I am going to carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

Well what is the day of Jesus Christ? That's the day when time ends. It is the day when all life ends. It is the day when the world ends, but God says, your salvation will never end, your sanctification will never end, but this verse also taught about sanctification. What is it that God started in you, he's still doing in you and going to finish through you? He says He who began a good work in you. So you never thought about this, but I want you to think about it. While you're sitting there listening me preach this sermon and you think that's all you're doing, that's not all God's doing. God's not just sitting there watching you listen to me preach. You know what God's doing in you right now, A good work. Wayne, God right now is doing a good work in you. You're sitting there listening to me preach. That's not all you're doing. God is doing a good work in you.

When you go to bed, God's doing a good work in you. When you get up, God is doing a good work in you and that's what God wants to do every day of your life. A good work that that's what God wants to do every day through our church and in our church, and with our church and for our church and by our church, a good work. Listen, do you know what I want people on the outside of our church to say about those of us on the inside of our church. I want our church to be known for two things. The good work that God is doing in us and the good works that God is doing with us. And I want you to hear me today. You will never be finished on this earth until God is finished with you. You'll never be finished on this earth until God is finished with you.

So right now you may be watching from a jail cell, 'cause we have people in jail who watch our ministry. You may be watching from a hospital bed, and I know some people in, I know a lady in Jacksonville, Florida right now that's watching me because she's battling cancer. I talked to her husband this morning. You may be watching from a wheelchair. You may be watching clandestinely from a foreign country and you don't want anybody to know where you are because it could cost you your life. Well, let me give you some good news. Wherever you are, God is working in you right now. God is doing a good work in you wherever you are and from the moment you drew your first breath, until you draw your last breath, God is working in you, through you, for you and with you. So you'll be all he wants you to be and you'll do all he wants you to do. You may fail him, he will never fail you. Yeah, I know you've got troubles. I know you've got temptations and I know it's hard and sometimes you're going to blow it, that's okay. At the end of the day, I started this work in you. I'm gonna finish this work with you. And you will be sanctified.

Would you pray with me right now. With heads bow and with eyes closed? You know, we started something weeks ago and I'll be honest, I love it because there's something powerful about it. There's something about praying out loud together. I think that's, I think it blesses the Lord. When you read revelation, we're gonna be singing together and praying together and praising together. May as well get started now. So for those of you who are followers of Jesus, you say you love the Lord, you know the Lord, but you're saying, but Doc, I'll tell you, Pastor, I know I fall so far short of what I ought to be. It gets so discouraging. Be encouraged. Keep working. Keep working out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing it is God that works in you, both to will and to do his good pleasure.

So I want to pray out loud, a short prayer. This is for those of you to say, Pastor, I understand what sanctification is now, I get it. God has set me apart to be different, to live above this world, live in the world, but not like it, live above it and it's his work in me that'll get it done, but my working with him that'll get it done as well and I want both of those things to be happening. If that's the desire of your heart, we're gonna play just a short prayer out loud together. You ready? Everybody out loud. If you're a follower of Jesus and you really wanna live a sanctified life knowing that's God's word for you, just pray this prayer right now. Say:

Dear God. I wanna live a sanctified life. I wanna be holy in a world that's not. I wanna be righteous in a world that is not. You must do that work in me. But I know I must do that work with you. So I thank you today that you today that you're working in me right now. Both to will and to do your good pleasure.

Now, if you're watching right now or you're in this room and you couldn't pray that prayer because you are not a believer, sanctification does not start until salvation begins. Salvation's always a starting point and some of you have never allowed God to do the good work of salvation in your heart. You've never let him do that and you will never live a sanctified life. Sanctification cannot happen apart from salvation. You cannot sanctify yourself and it is God's will, not only that you be sanctified.

There's another verse the Bible says with this, "it is God's will that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth". It is God's will for you to be saved and so if you're listening to me right now, watching by television or computer, or you're in this building right now and you'd say, "Hey, I want God to begin that work in me. I don't wanna live like the world lives. I wanna live the life that God's put me here to live and it begins with knowing Jesus as my Lord and my savior". Would you just pray this prayer right now? Would you just say, "Lord Jesus," just in your heart:

Lord Jesus, I'm asking you right now to begin that good work of salvation in me. I confessed my sins. I repent of my sins. I turn away from my sins. I trust you as my savior and I surrender to you as my Lord. Forgive me of all of my sins. I receive your gift of eternal life and I'll rejoice today that you've begun a good work of salvation in me and now Lord, I'm gonna begin my work with you. I'm gonna work out that salvation with fear and with trembling, as together, you work out your salvation and your sanctification in my life.

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