Summary: A study of sanctification and the necessary place it holds in our relationship with Christ.
Intro – Somewhere, out there, is a list of things without which I expect I can still make it to heaven. I think you can not be a Cubs fan and still make it into Heaven. I think you’d be OK not understanding the difference between licentiousness, concupiscence, and debauchery. But this subject today is a deal breaker. It’s one you have to have. Heb 12:14 says without this, no one will see the Lord! - Come back next week to find out!
I want to see the Lord one day! Do you? We’re going to need sanctification.
Sanctification is one of those words…like the name of someone you ought to know by now – but you’ve forgotten it or just never knew it in the first place, and now you’re too embarrassed to ask. “Sanctification. What’s that again?”
It's the same as the word for holiness. To sanctify something means to make it holy. I want you to remember it this way: to set it aside for special use.
Ill – You phone ahead to Red Lobster. There are going to be 22 in your party. So, when you arrive, you tell them your name is Anderson, and they take you back to your table. Not only do they have the tables put together, but they’ve also got 20 chairs and 2 high chairs, and 22 placemats all set to go. That place is set aside special for your use. That’s like sanctification.
Sanctification is part of being a Christian. God sets us aside for His special use when we accept Jesus, but He’s also cleaning up our lifestyles and our mouths and our minds for the rest of our lives. Maybe you didn’t realize that this morning – that after you become a Christian God works a change you. Until that time, you’re just trying to do it on your own. Aren’t you getting tired of that?
Hebrews 13:12 says Jesus suffered for the sake of making us holy -- to sanctify us. It isn’t something we do ourselves. It’s something that He does to us with our willing cooperation.
Ch 4 of I Thes. is about the how-to’s of sanctification. Let’s look at them. First, I see…
I. 3 Approaches To Life that Prove Sanctification
If you’re sanctified – if you’re truly set aside for God’s special use – then there are some things about your approach to life that will show that.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 - It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
Look again at v3. What do you see after the word "sanctified"? (a colon) In other words, what follows are some definitions of what it means to be sanctified – to be set apart for Jesus.
What does it look like if you’re “sanctified”?
1. You Avoid sexual immorality
God’s people show they are sanctified when they avoid sexual immorality.
Joke - A mother in Texas was telling her daughter about the importance of being chaste. Her daughter said, "But why, Mom? I'd rather do the chasing myself instead of being chased."
There was a time when we used euphemisms for dealing with this delicate subject.
We talked about waiting, keeping yourself pure, remaining unstained, saving yourself until marriage, being faithful to your wife or husband; monogamy.
But when Paul deals with this, he doesn’t look for a bunch of different ways to say it. In v3 he uses a broad term for sexual immorality in general. It’s the word from which we get our word pornography. It includes all kind of sexually impure behaviors. Run down the list, not out loud, of everything that the world has done to make sexuality something ugly and wrong, and that’s what Paul is talking about here.
Being sanctified means we keep ourselves away from these things.
In the neighborhood where the Thessalonian Christians lived, sexual purity really wasn’t a big deal. In fact, the only reason sex outside of marriage might be considered bad was not being sure who a child’s father was. Other than that it was considered acceptable.
In a culture like that the Thessalonian Christians needed to hear what the HS had to say about purity.
If you haven’t noticed, in much of the neighborhood where the Christians of Central Christian Church live, sexual purity is really no big deal. Much like the Thessalonians, we’re surrounded by a constant flood of reasons to abandon any attempt to remain pure people.