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Summary: A sermon explaining the meaning of sanctification.

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1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Be All That You Can Be!"

Today we are talking about a word that most people have heard, many Christians brag about, and few understand: sanctification.

Sanctification can be a really confusing word because of the way people use it.

Most Christians understand the word "sanctification" to mean "set apart."

When we say we’re sanctified what we mean is that we have been set apart for God’s glory to be used by God to accomplish his purpose.

Others use the word to mean "made holy."

People who use that definition think that when you’re sanctified that God declares before all men and the angels that you have been made holy and that you can do no wrong.

While sanctification might contain both of those definitions, sanctification is more than just being set apart or being made holy.

You might have heard people say, "I’ve been washed in the blood of Jesus, I’ve been justified by the grace of God, and I’ve been sanctified by the Holy Ghost!"

And, that is true.

The Holy Spirit is responsible for our sanctification.

God the Father is responsible for disciplining us as his children.

He causes us to want to do his will and gives us the power to do it.

God the Son earned our sanctification for us and set the example for us.

God the Holy Spirit works within us to change us and give us greater holiness of life.

But what makes this word so confusing is that we tend to think of it as something that happens once, like justification.

You might remember from last week’s message that justification is a one time thing when God declares us legally innocent and free from the penalty of sin.

Sanctification is not a one-time declaration by God.

Sanctification is a process in which we have a part.

Here’s the definition: Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives.

Now I want you to be clear about one thing: we aren’t talking about salvation.

I want to reiterate that there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation.

No amount of good works can get you into heaven.

But you can’t be sanctified unless you are saved.

Sanctification is the process that causes us to grow in Christlikeness.

The more we grow in the likeness of Christ, the more we personally experience the joy and peace that are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The more we draw near to Christ the more we experience the kind of life we will have in heaven.

As we grow in holiness we grow in conformity to the image of Christ, and more and more of the beauty of his character is seen in our own lives.

That’s the goal of sanctification.

Because sanctification is a process I want you to know how the process works and I want you to pay close attention to your part of the process.

I. How Does Sanctification Work?

A. Sanctification has a definite starting point.

A definite moral change begins when we are born again.

Remember that the word for "born again" is "regeneration."

That’s when God prepares us for conversion by changing our hearts.

He gives us new spiritual life.

This initial moral change is the first stage in sanctification.

It involves a break from the ruling power of sin so we are no longer controlled by sin.

We are given the power to overcome acts and patterns of sinful behavior.

It causes us to be able to say with confidence "I will not give up" when it seems like, no matter how hard we try, that one sin that keeps popping up over and over in our life.

It causes us to say, "I don’t care if I have had this temper for 50 years I will not let it ruin my relationship with Jesus."

This initial break with sin also changes our desires so that we no longer have a dominant love for sin in our lives.

You already know the reason most people sin is because they think it’s fun.

When the process of sanctification begins in your life you suddenly realize that not only is sin NOT fun, it is dangerous.

Every day it seems like we read in the paper or hear on the news that this child killed that child or this child killed his parents.

We hear of men and women getting arrested for prostitution or selling drugs.

We see politicians and judges taking bribes and doing other illegal things.

We hear of more and more people getting AIDS as men and women become more and more promiscuous and open with sex.

All of these things happen because people love to sin.

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