Summary: Part 2 of 4 Advent sermons focusing on the Four-fold Gospel (C&MA distinctives)
Christ Our Sanctifier
I. Why Do I Need a Sanctifier?
A. What is sanctification?
B. What is the relationship between salvation and sanctification?
C. How important is sanctification?
II. What Is God’s Plan to Meet My Need?
A. A perfect man
B. A perfect sacrifice
III. How Do I Receive Christ as My Sanctifier?
A. Recognize my need
B. Reject personal attempts at holiness
C. Receive His holiness
1. A crisis experience
2. A progressive experience
D. Remain in Christ
Several years ago a Washington, D.C. TV reporter who was working on an assignment called“The Spirit of Christmas,” telephoned the British Embassy and asked to speak to the British ambassador.
“Ambassador,” the reporter said, “you have been very kind to us through the year and we would like to include you in a special Christmas news segment we’re going to run. Tell me, what would you like for Christmas?”
The ambassador replied, “I am very touched by your offer, but I must decline to accept any gift.”
“Oh please,” said the reporter, “you really have been very helpful to us, so won’t you please tell me what you would especially like for Christmas?”
Again the ambassador refused, but the reporter persisted, and he finally gave in. “All right then, if you insist. This Christmas I would like the jar of mint jelly.”
Having forgotten about the conversation, the ambassador was surprised when several weeks later, on Christmas Eve, he turned on the evening news and heard the same reporter introducing a segment on “The Spirit of Christmas.”
We recently interviewed three visiting ambassadors and asked them what they would like for Christmas. These three diplomats each gave revealing answers when they pondered what they would most like during this Christmas season of goodwill.
The German ambassador said: “I would like to see a peaceful and prosperous decade ahead for the newly liberated German people, and all citizens of the planet. May God bless us all during this historic period of change.”
The Swiss ambassador wished: “May the Spirit of Christmas last throughout the year. It is my dream that our world leaders will be guided toward a common goal of peaceful coexistence. This is my wish this Christmas season.”
And then we asked the British ambassador who said, “I would like a jar of mint jelly.”
I wonder what kinds of answers I would get from each of you if I asked you tell me what you would like for Christmas. No doubt there would be at least as many different answers as there are people assembled here. Some of the items on our lists might include toys, candy, clothes, snow, or sports equipment. Other lists might include intangibles like love, peace, joy and happiness. No matter what we wish for, the motivation behind all of our wishes is the same: we want what we believe will give us a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment in life. “If I only had that thing, my life would be more complete.”
What would you like for Christmas? Or more importantly, what would you like from the Christ of Christmas? Perhaps you’ve never considered that question before. It’s kind of hard just keeping up with the shopping lists, where do you find the time to think about other things? But then, what is Christmas if we don’t think about Christ? After all, He is what Christmas is all about, isn’t He?
Some of you may be thinking, “Of course Christmas is about Christ. I always keep Him in the center of my celebrating. And besides, I know what I want from Him. In fact, I’ve already received it. I want Him to be my Savior, which is the reason He came to earth.” And that sounds like the right answer, but I remind you that the British ambassador gave the right answer when he said that he wanted mint jelly. But his answer was based on what he understood the reporter to be asking. He didn’t realize that the implications of the question ran much deeper than what he personally wanted to get out of Christmas giving. What the Christ-child came to do also runs much deeper than just what we usually contemplate.
Christ came not only to be the world’s Savior, He also came to be the world’s Sanctifier. There is a world of difference between being saved and being sanctified. Accepting Christ as Savior is the first step—our initiation into the kingdom of God. But we must also accept Him as our Sanctifier if we desire to experience the richness of our new life in Him—that experience which He described as life to the full (John 10:10). Let’s consider Christ our Sanctifier.
Why Do I Need a Sanctifier?
As we did last week in our look at Christ our Savior, we will begin with the question, “Why do I need a Sanctifier?”