Summary: link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
The World and the Word
Many Christians have given up on the idea of living a truly victorious, holy Christian life. They have a besetting sin which has them in a headlock. Maybe more than one. They have tried to get the victory, but feel they have failed...probably numerous times.
At least on a subconscious level, they have resigned themselves to the belief that it is impossible for them to walk in complete victory. The key to victory is found in this prayer of Jesus.
Let's read our text. As we do...
...Notice how many times Jesus says 'world' and 'word'. They are almost the same spelling, but are diametrically opposed. The Word is the only hope of the world. And the Word will keep you from the world. But the world often keeps us from the Word!
The key to victory is found in this real Lord's prayer.
vv. 1-5 Jesus prays for Himself.
vv. 6-19 Jesus prays for His present disciples.
vv. 20-26 Jesus prays for His future disciples.
During this prayer, Jesus touches on the 3 great parts of the Christian life.
Past-Justification. [positionally right with God]
Present-Sanctification. [conformed more like Him]
Future-Glorification. [finally in His likeness]
Most of us like talking about the past...when we got saved, and all God HAS DONE. And we like talking about the future in heaven, and leaving this world behind in the rapture, and getting a glorified body.
But when the preacher mentions present sanctification, many of the people break out in hives! It scares us to talk about this subject. Why?
Because there are 2 Common Misconceptions about Sanctification:
1. We mistakenly think it means 'sinless.'
We've given up on that idea. "I'll never be perfect so why even try?"
But sanctified doesn't mean sinless. We won't attain to that until we are in heaven, and God removes our sin nature entirely. Real sanctification isn't being sinless, but learning to sin less ... by God's power.
2. We mistakenly think it means the end of the good life.
"I'll never have any fun anymore." "God's will is dull."
But read the instructions, and you'll hear of joy, love and peace ... and I want you to know they are real joy, true love, actual peace. God made us and knows what is best for us and WANTS what is best for us, and He's not trying to ruin our fun ... He wants to enhance it!
I've been saved for over 37 years and I want you to know that God's will is not always easy, but it's a blast of an adventure, with no regretful hangover. It's a great time being a Christian. I wouldn't want riches, fame, and worldly pleasures if it meant I couldn't have Jesus!
It's a truly satisfying drink of living water with no funny aftertaste. It is living the good life God intended for us, and that doesn't mean it won't have problems or stress. It means it will be worth living. It will still have battles but they will be battles worth fighting. There will still be heartaches but they will be worth enduring. There will still be a load to carry but it won't break your back, because you do not walk alone ... underneath are the everlasting arms!
These 37 years I have proven it is a better life. How? Is it by living victoriously? Yes, in part. And also by NOT living victoriously. When I read the instructions...sometimes I take the high road and learn that it is better. Oft times I've taken the low road and tried my own way ... and still learned thru pain and consequences that God's way would have been much better! Pain is a primary motivator and many of us learn best from our mistakes. [no kids agree?] Now, let's take what we've learned on both roads and decide to live this year in His steps, walking His way, allowing Him to conform us to His image in daily sanctification and holy living. And when we do we will see once again that it is not just 'the good life', it's the best life, and the only one worth living!
Sanctified doesn't mean sinless or boring. So, what does it mean?
v. 17 Justification happens at salvation, in an instant. Sanctification is a life-long process. We can become more sanctified every day.
Being saved, on the other hand, doesn't have degrees. It's like being 'sorta pregnant' ... either you are or you aren't. You are either saved or lost, there is no in between. You're a saint or you ain't! Jesus said you are for me or against me, gathering or scattering, under my love or under my wrath!
And when you were born again you moved from one side to the polar opposite, in the time it took you to believe! Sanctification however, takes time. You don't just 'pray yourself holy.' God won't just 'zap you' into sanctification - it's a process, and it involves some spiritual discipline on your part, beginning with reading the instructions of the Word, in order to be set apart from the world.