Summary: Part 6 in our discussion of how a future focus motivates present behavior. This message focuses on the pursuit of sanctification.
Future Focus Present Faithfulness Series Pt 6
A holy life is one whose direction comes from the principles and purposes of Scripture. A future focus motivates us to think about how we are living today. What does our life communicate to those around us? Does our way of life reflect God’s ways or the ways of this world? Our activities, words, attitudes, conversations, dress? Hebrews 12 draws attention to three specific life goals to consider as individuals and as a church family. This is a purpose directed life. It is my hope that they will guide the direction of our church family throughout the year.
a) Promote Healing among the body
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
First, “restore” the wounded; the paralyzed; the lame.
Second, make smooth paths to walk on that will enable continued healing.
b) Pursue peace with ALL men
God directs us to aggressively and passionately initiate and pursue peace making.
We are to passionately pursue peace with all men.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
The nature of God’s children is to pursue peace. When you see someone passionately pursuing peace, it is natural to assume they must be related to the King of peace.
There are times when the reality of our relationship with God feels fuzzy. We struggle to grasp the wonder, the enormity of the transforming power of that relationship. We sing songs like, “I want to see Your face”, “I want to know You more”, “I want to see Jesus”. Yet, if we were honest, the reality falls short of the yearning. The glare of this world often distracts from the deeper glory of relationship with Christ. Our third life pursuit provides a clue to deeper relationship with God.
c) Pursue purity (sanctification)
The writer of Hebrews insists every follower of Christ passionately pursue that which will enable us to fully see or perceive the Lord.
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Heb 12:14
Jesus also affirmed the necessity of a pure walk.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Interestingly we find the two concepts of peace and purity linked throughout Scripture.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:17-19
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
The same verb used regarding “peace” also applies to “sanctification.” It is a present/active/imperative/2nd person plural.
Personally engage in a continual passionate pursuit of sanctification.
It is a divine directive not a divine suggestion.
It is every believer’s spiritual obligation not an option.
It is addressed to ALL believers. It is not just the pastor’s job to pursue sanctification.
The 28 of the 44 occurrences of the word for “pursue” are translated “persecute” - indicating the intensity of the activity. Go after it with a passionate focus. Focus on laying hold of it. Give your time and energy to its achievement. God intended this to be a family pursuit. It is also something we are to pursue together as a church family. The mutual nature of this effort is reinforced by the instruction that directly follows concerning how we all must look out for three peace and purity breakers. “Seeing to it that no one among you…”
What exactly are we to jointly pursue? “Sanctification” It is hard to pursue something you don’t understand. I hope to remedy that today. In order to passionately pursue “sanctification” we must first understand it. Sanctification is essential to experience deep relationship with God.
It is something required of everyone and anyone who wishes to have such a relationship.
“…without which no one will see the Lord.”
The writer uses a word that goes beyond the physical ability to see something or someone.
This word for “see” emphasizes the idea of perception, recognition, understanding, experience.
We need to passionately pursue “sanctification” in order to increase our perception and recognition and personal experience of the Lord. Without it you cannot see God. A clear perception of God can only be achieved with a pure heart. This is to be a lifelong pursuit.