Sanctifying Your Space
Posted on 01/20/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***
RIVER OF LIFE
I've got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I've got a river of life flowing out of me!
Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
TAKE ME IN TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES
Take me into the Holy of Holies
take me in by the Blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
take the coal, touch my lips, here I am
Take me past the outer courts
into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
and the priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
and it's only found one place
*** listen to the audio for transition ***
Last week, we talked about one of the calls to us from the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, the call to make sure we're ready, and to do so by making sure our lamps are full and stay daily filled with oil. And if you missed last week's service, I encourage you to listen to it after the service today. You can find it at almcyberchurch.org under the service archives.
Today, I'd like for us to consider one thing we can and should do that will help keep the oil flowing in, while sealing any cracks through which that oil can be lost.
And the title of today's message is, "Sanctifying Your Space."
First of all, what is sanctification? Well, Dictionary.com gives these definitions:
- to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate
- to purify or free from sin
- to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing
We, as sons and daughters of God, are called to holy lives -- lives of sanctification. That means that we should be set apart as sacred. We should be purified and free from sin. And our bodies, our minds, and our lives should be made productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing.
Ephesians 5:24-27 (NKJV) says this:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
What reason does this passage give for Christ's giving Himself for us? "...that He might sanctify and cleanse her." That's why Jesus gave His life for us -- so that we can be sanctified. It is this sanctification and cleansing that makes it possible for us to be in God's presence.
"That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish."
Today, it's a popular idea that it's okay for us to just stay the way we are, and that a loving God wouldn't expect us to push ourselves or go through the pain of giving up anything we enjoy or doing anything we don't want to do.
But that attitude not only flies in the face of Scripture, but it also results in destruction. If we don't take personal responsibility, if we don't see the need to push ourselves and go beyond that with which we are comfortable, then we will become complacent and luke warm. And our spirit will atrophy.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NKJV), we read this:
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Sanctification. It's not just a nice idea. It's God's will for your life. Because of this, if you're not living a holy, sanctified life, you are living contrary to the will of God.
Like we considered last week, the popular attitude today, both in the world and the Church, is that sexual purity is relative, and as long as it feels like love, it doesn't really matter if you have sexually-related thoughts toward or activities with someone. But for the true believer, this is completely unacceptable.
Sexual immorality, including lustful thoughts, destroys sanctification. You cannot be sanctified and impure at the same time.
"For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit."
We've had people walk out never to return because they were offended by messages I delivered that said we should not live sexually immoral lifestyles such as homosexuality. But according to this last verse, they weren't rejecting me or anyone here; they were rejecting God.
Sexual morality is not open to personal interpretation. The Bible clearly tells us what is sexually pure, and that is relations in private between a husband and wife. And Jesus clearly tells us what constitutes marriage: "In the beginning, God made them male and female; for THAT reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh."
Jesus also said that if someone looks at another with lust, they are committing adultery with that person in their heart.
These things have absolutely no place in a believer's life. Instead, God has called us to sanctification.
Now, most of you are probably not living in sexual immorality, and if you are, you can repent today and receive the power and the grace of God to embrace holiness, purity, and sanctification today.
Hebrews 12:14 (NASB) says this:
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
We must pursue peace and sanctification. Not just nod at it as though it's a good idea, but PURSUE it. Why? Because without sanctification, no one will see God. No one. We must live lives that are sanctified, set apart to God, made holy, set apart as sacred, purified and free from sin.
And whatever is sanctified is made productive of and conducive to spiritual blessings.
So what are these spiritual blessings? Well, there's a long list of them in the first chapter of Ephesians. Let's read that together.
Ephesians 1:3-23 (NASB)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
So... What are these blessings? If a life of sanctification produces and conduces spiritual blessings, what are they? Well, here are a few of the ones mentioned in the passage we just read. These are things you can expect to develop within you as you sanctify more and more of your self, your surroundings, and your life. And they are:
That's a pretty impressive list. I mean, who wouldn't want these things?
Boldness. Jesus commanded us to proclaim the Gospel to everyone everywhere. For some people, that kind of boldness comes naturally. But most of us struggle with it. Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of boldness.
Confidence. Do you ever worry? I've worried plenty of times. Pretty much all of us have. But worry is a sign that we lack confidence in God. Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of confidence. We will not fear, for we are confident that He is with us. Will will not worry, for we are confident that God will meet all our needs, that He is in control, and that He will work ALL things out to our good.
Deliverance. Do you ever struggle with anything? Perhaps with worry? Perhaps with fear? Maybe you struggle with negative thoughts, or with temptations, or with addictions, or with doubt. Well, making the choice each day to living a life that is set apart and sanctified as holy unto God, will produce the spiritual blessing of deliverance. And you WILL be set free!
Enlightenment. Do you ever feel as though things just aren't clear in your life, as though you're kind of poking around in the dark, as though the path just is not clear? Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the blessing of light. The paths you should take will start getting more and more clear to you.
Faith. Jesus said that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you. But faith isn't just strong belief; otherwise, the first insane person who jumped off a tall building because he just KNEW he could fly, would still be flying around today, because he probably also thought he would never die. Instead, faith is a gift from God -- it is a spiritual blessing. And living a life of sanctification will cause your faith to grow.
Favor. It's a popular idea in the Church today that the favor of God is in no way related to what we do. But remember Job? God bragged about Job to satan, because Job walked in integrity -- Job lived a life of sanctification. There is such a thing as unmerited favor. But do you want a close, intimate relationship with God? Do you want to hear Him call you His friend? Then live a life of sanctification, and His favor will be poured out upon you.
Freedom. We're all bound by something. For one, it might be fear. For another, it might be tradition. For someone else, it might be self-consciousness. For yet another, it might be something else. But living a life of sanctification will produce the blessing of freedom -- freedom from sin, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt and shame. Those who don't choose to walk in holiness and sanctification aren't promised any of those things. But a life of true sanctification is always a life of liberty.
Hope. Have you ever felt as though something in your life will never get better? Or as though someone you love will never come to the cross? Or perhaps just a general sense of hopelessness that you just can't seem to put your finger on? Well, living a life of sanctification produces the spiritual blessing of hope.
Intimacy. Have you experienced true intimacy with God? If so, it's something you never forget, and once you taste of that intimate fellowship, you just want more. Sure, it's easy to THINK you've had it before you really have, but living a life of sanctification will remove all doubt, because it will produce the spiritual blessing of intimacy with God, and your life will never be the same again.
Knowledge and Understanding. Some people know a lot, but they still don't get the point. Knowledge in itself isn't enough. First of all, it's kind of important WHAT you know. Well, living a life of sanctification produces the Holy Spirit-delivered blessing of both Godly knowledge and the understanding of that knowledge, so you can know the will of God, the direction you should take, the decisions you should make, and so you will understand the Scriptures as God reveals them to you, and your understanding of life in general and of the things going on in the world around you will continue to mature and grow.
Peace. That's a blessing that's in increasingly short supply. Well, the reason peace is so hard to find these days is because living a holy, sanctified life never even occurs to most people. But living a life of sanctification will produce the blessing of a deep peace that surpasses all understanding, and which will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Power. Do you ever feel powerless? Powerless to witness? Powerless to wage spiritual warfare? Powerless to overcome addictions and temptations? Powerless to cast out demons or heal the sick? Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the incremental blessing of power -- and not a power that will glorify you and gratify your flesh, but power that will transform your life and the lives of those around you.
Purpose. So many people go through their whole lives without any clear sense of purpose. They work, eat, play sleep, and live day after day with no true, transcendant purpose. But living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of purpose. Life start to take on a whole new meaning for you, as God starts revealing to you the plans and purposes He has for your life on this earth. And as you gain Godly purpose, you will come alive in ways you never even imagined.
Reconciliation. There are so many people who believe they are Christians, but do not walk in a state of reconciliation with God. If you are not walking in step with God, then true, lasting fellowship with Him is impossible. But living a life of sanctification will result in the incredible spiritual blessing of reconciliation with God; and that distance that seems to keep you luke warm will start to disappear.
Rest. Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." But lots of people have come to Jesus and still don't seem to have rest. Why is that? Well, consider that the way many in the Church think of Salvation isn't the whole picture. Believing in Jesus isn't the same type of thing as believing in Santa Claus. Beyond the obvious different that Jesus isn't a fairy tale, the word translated as "believe" includes depending on, trusting in, following, and, in context, obedience. If you believe in Jesus, you follow Him, walk with Him, and obey Him. That kind of belief, the only kind of belief that results in Salvation, will cause you to choose a life of sanctification. And living a life of sanctification will produce in you the spiritual blessing of Rest.
Revelation. Do you want to have the meaning of some of the Scriptures with which you've struggled revealed to you? Do you want to have the hidden causes of problems in your life to be revealed? Even better, do you want for the true Jesus to be revealed to you, and for you to thereby be transformed into Him image? Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of revelation.
Strength. Do you ever feel weak? Too weak to pray? Too weak to worship? Too weak to fight spiritual battles? Too weak to witness? Too weak to continue actively walking with God? Well, choosing to live a life of sanctification will produce in you the spiritual blessing of strength.
Unity. I don't know about you, but I've seen a number of churches where I grew up and lived for most of my life, divide. Factions would arise, people would side with either the pastor or the one fighting against him, and the church would split. People gossip about others, think bad things about their brothers and sisters, fight amongst themselves, and especially between different churches, find themselves unable or unwilling to work together in unity. Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of unity, as your fleshly, carnal attitudes and mindsets begin to get chipped away, and as the will of God for unity begins to grow in your heart.
And finally, Wisdom. The Bible says a LOT about wisdom. It says that God created the heavens and the earth by it. It says that it is life and beauty and success to those who possess it. With it, your life will be full of blessings. Without it, you're in deep trouble. Well, living a life of sanctification will produce the spiritual blessing of wisdom.
Do you want to block the flow of these spiritual blessings into your life? Then don't live in sanctification. Don't live in holiness. Do you want to open yourself wide to all these spiritual blessings? Then live lives of holiness and sanctification.
So how do we live lives of sanctification? Well, this is where the title of today's message comes in, "Sanctifying Your Space."
First of all, what is your space? Well, to put it simply, it's where you are. Your home might be your space. Or maybe you have no control over what goes on in your home, but you have a room. Or a cubicle. Or a computer. Or maybe a closet. Whatever it is, whatever your life circumstance are, you have some sort of space.
When you want to relax and unwind, you choose a place that is your space. Is that space sanctified?
Guys, do you have calendars with women in seductive poses, or perhaps some websites you visit when no one is looking? Then your space is not sanctified.
What do you choose to watch on TV? Are they things that would displease God? Or how about the music to which you listen? Does it glorify God, or does it glorify the flesh and the world's ways of living and the world's ideas about relationships? That is your space. Is it sanctified?
How about your finances? That's part of your space. Your work ethics. Your relationships. Your time. Your schedule. The words that come out of your mouth. The things you do or don't do.
Let's take this a step farther. Whatever goes on inside you creates your emotional space, and that which you radiate around you. That's part of your space, and it includes your thoughts, your attitudes, your emotions, and the general feelings that create the backdrop of your reality. Do you live a life of thanksgiving and praise? Of submission and humility? Of prayer and holiness? If not, then your space is not sanctified.
So how can we sanctify our space? Well, it's simple. I didn't say it's easy, but it IS simple. Tear down and exile everything and anything that displeases God. Everything. No exceptions.
Try this: choose one thing or area at a time, and take another look at it, as though it is a holy area, an area that is set apart as a place of worship, a place where God settles and stays ALL THE TIME. Then, with that thought strongly in place, consider what might be there that shouldn't be. After all, this is a place of absolute holiness, and you wouldn't dare desicrate it. It's set apart for God. It's set apart to worship and glorify Him in every way. And as you identify things that need to change, make those changes right away, and make them permanently.
Now, maybe you've tried to make changes like this in the past, but it was only a matter of time before you fell back into the way you'd always done things -- the familiar, the comfortable, the carnal. And it's no wonder. For one thing, we humans wired to stay in the same old patterns. That's why bad habits are so hard to break, and even why we tend to become like the parental figure we swore we'd never become.
We need, first of all, a strong commitment, and a strong commitment that we project into the future. A projection onto the future times we don't feel like it, or we feel like giving up on the whole thing, or we start having thoughts show up that say it's silly, as we forget the reasons we're doing it in the first place.
That's why it's important to write things down in great detail, as soon as they come to you, so you can look back later and remember.
But that's just our part, and how many of you know today that we simply cannot walk this path alone. As God says in Zechariah 4:6, it's "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." God wants to partner with you on this thing. His will for you is that you live a sanctified life in every single area and every single space; and when you partner with God's will, and you continue to partner with His will, there's no power in heaven or on earth that can stop you.
And it's vital that you do this for the RIGHT reason. The right thing for the wrong reason isn't counted for you as the right thing at all. God won't partner with pride, or with self-seeking. If you're just looking for God's hand of blessing, you're missing the true reason for sanctification.
Above all else, God wants intimate fellowship with you. He wants every single barrier and every single thing that comes between you and Him to be removed. After all, His blessings and His presence are inseprable. In fact, the blessings of God are simply symptoms, if you will, of His presence.
So we need to seek God's presence. We need to search after His embrace, His hand in ours, as we walk in step with Him in the cool of the day as Adam walked and fellowshiped with God before sin separated them.
And all those things, those thoughts, those attitudes, those actions, those lifestyles, all those things that make a space between you and God are worthless. They don't REALLY make you happy; instead, they stand in between you and true joy, true peace, true freedom; they separate you from faith, from hope, from true knowledge and understanding; they separate you from purpose, from power, and from rest.
Why? Because they cut you off from God. A life that is not sanctified is a life that blocks the flow of spiritual blessings from your life, and it blocks your contact with your heavenly Father.
So let's partner with God today. Let's choose an area of our life, a space of our heart and mind, that needs to be sanctified, set apart, made pure and holy so that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords can make His home there today.
This altar is open, and you're all invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front. Or just kneel before Him right now where you are.
Just cry out to Him right now! You desperately need His help! We can do nothing without Him. We cannot walk the path of life in our own strength or for our own glory.
Let us rend our hearts, and search after Him with desperate abandon! And when you find Him, hold Him close and refuse to let go!
Come, and let's start living lives that are sanctified, set apart, for nothing less than the full presence of God!
Lord God, thank you for your word today. Thank you for speaking to us, for calling to us, for knocking on our door, waiting for us to just get up and let you in, to push all those things out of the way that would keep you out.
Forgive us Lord! Forgive us for letting things that displease you take the place where only You should be! We ask Lord God that you would place within each one of us a growing and burning desire for more of You, and we thank You that You have been waiting patiently to partner with us in this heavenly love affair with You.
And as things try to sneak back into those places we've sanctified for you, that by your Holy Spirit, we would declare, "You have no place here, this place is holy, it is sanctified and consecrated for God!"
I ask that none of these spiritual seeds would be stolen away, but that they would fall into fertile soil, and that this day would be the day in which we start walking with you as we have never walked with you before.
Thank you Lord!