*Here’s a recent highly redacted sermon. Many sermonic elements remain.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
God wants you sanctified.
Paul, at the conclusion of his letter to the church in Thessalonica, prays. He prays that God will sanctify the church. Sanctification is the process of being made holy, of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I pray the same thing for you. My first sermon series I referred to you as “The holy people of Sulphur Spring.” This is your identity in Jesus. I pray that you are sanctified. I pray that you are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. I pray that each day you look less like earth and more like heaven.
God wants you sanctified. And not just a little bit. Return to the passage. He wants you sanctified through and through. He wants you sanctified not a little bit but a lotta bit. He doesn’t want you simply sanctified on Sunday. He wants you sanctified from Sunday to Sunday. He wants you sanctified in the words you think, speak, and act. He wants you sanctified deep down inside the dark corners of your heart.
God wants you blameless.
Paul, at the conclusion of his letter to the church in Thessalonica, prays. He prays that at the return of Jesus Christ the church will be found blameless. He prays that they will be found blameless when they stand before God on the Day of Judgment.
I pray the same thing for you. I pray that when the day comes God will look at you with a great sense of love and joy. I pray that when you meet God face to face that you’ll be able to look him in the eye and receive the praise of “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” This is a very nice idea until you ponder at a deeper level. God wants me sanctified? God wants me blameless?
Imagine I had a special machine upfront in which you place your finger and the machine projects on the screens in the worship center the spiritual condition of your soul. It shows the deep, dark corners of your heart. It exposes the idols in your life. It displays the thoughts running through your mind. It recaps your recent words spoken in anger and in gossip. Frightening, huh? And that’s just a human audience.
Imagine standing before God. Remember, when that day comes, you won’t be able to pull one over on him. He knows you intimately and personally. He created you in your mother’s womb. And while he has been God for all eternity … his memory is still perfect. He remembers every idol you’ve worshipped, every lie you’ve told, every hateful word you’ve spoken, every time you’ve flat out ignored and disobeyed him.
Imagine standing before God. How is that going to go for you?
God is powerful.
Here’s the good news: The one who calls you is faithful; he will do it. We are not sanctified by our own effort. We are not deemed blameless by our own good deeds. We can never try hard enough or do good enough to be holy and blameless before God.
That’s why we must place our lives into the hands of God. This is why we must bow before the truth of the gospel. We are sinners in need of a Savior. We have a Savior in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of the world and walked out of the tomb giving you and me victory over sin and death.
If you try to sanctify yourself – you will fail.
If you try to live a blameless life in your own effort – you will fail.
God is faithful; he will do it.