Summary: Sins of the sanctified and what to do about them.
March 8, 2015
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel”
When I became a Christian it became clear to me that I was not to “smoke, drink or chew or run with women that do!” Right from the get go I knew this was God’s will for me. So I repented of those things. I turned from them. My life immediately changed in those areas. It was a testimony to the power of God to change a life. But I knew I was not perfect by any means. I knew I had a long way to go. I knew God didn’t want me satisfied where I was at.
It seemed to me that growth in the Lord, or walking the Christian way, was an uphill struggle. If I stopped trying –I was swept backwards spiritually. It seemed to me that living for the Lord was kind of like swimming upstream in a river. When you stopped reaching forward – you were swept back; when you neglected the relationship it began to grow dim; when you stopped feeding the fire – you cooled off.
We have to keep feeding the fire – don’t we? This is one of the hardest things we do. It is so easy to give in to our lazy, fallen flesh. We just don’t do anything. And then we excuse ourselves. I call these ‘Sanctified Sins.” We may not live a sinful, depraved life; we may continue to look spiritual – even ACT spiritual, but in our hearts we have lost the fire. Some Christians excuse this weakness. They develop all kinds of doctrines and theology to excuse their lack of passion and Christlikeness. Sinfulness becomes the new norm; weakness becomes the standard; Apathy become the attitude. REALLY? This is your religion?
God knew we have a tendency to do lose our passion. The Bible says,
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Ever been there? I know I have. This morning I want to begin by telling you to 1) Acquire the Fire. It’s a choice isn’t it? Jesus began His early ministry by telling us this in His very first public message. He said,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
We need to have a hunger to do the right thing. We need to have an unquenchable thirst see the right thing done. That is what Jesus was saying. I don’t know about you – but I don’t need to choose to be hungry – I just am. I don’t need to think, “I think I will be thirsty now” I just am. It is just part of having physical bodies. God designed us to feel hungry or thirst when our bodies physically need replenishing.
It isn’t quite like that spiritually. We can starve ourselves to death spiritually. So the Bible tells us,
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
Do you see that it takes effort on our part to grow? Not only that but these godly graces need to continue to grow. When we stop feeding our hunger physically – we die. When we stop pushing forward we lose our momentum and stop. When we stop exerting effort to grow we begin dying spiritually.
The Bible says,
“ And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Do you see that we must choose to believe that he will reward – not half-hearted effort; not complacency; not laziness; not even busyness – but earnest effort? Are you giving real earnest effort in seeking God? We need to. We need to acquire the fire – we need to acquire the passion we once had.
Another sin of the sanctified is quarrelling. We need to 1) Acquire the Fire, but we also need to 2) Quit the Quarrelling. They did it in the early Church. The Corinthian Church was known for being shallow and immature and quarrelsome. Paul wrote,
“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? 1 Corinthians 3:3