Whole and Holy

Foundations in Faith 5:

Whole and Holy

God's plan for each and every Christian is that we grow, “To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

We grow as we read and study the Word of God, allowing the Lord to apply His Word to our lives, forming and shaping us. We grow as we live that Word day by day.  We grow as we learn to fellowship with the Lord in prayer and in worship. We grow as we allow the Lord to minister to us in those areas of life where we are weak, hurting, immature or vulnerable to sin. 

As we honestly open our hearts to Him, He progressively establishes His wholeness and holiness in us. This process is called sanctification.

Whole and Holy includes three lessons: 

Sanctified

Receiving the Ministry of Jesus 

Holy Spirit, Holy Life

Sanctified

Foundations in Faith 5:

 Whole and Holy

Sanctified

On the night before He died for us, Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of all His followers, 

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

The word sanctify is hagiazo.  It has to do with being set apart. Having redeemed us from slavery to sin, God sets us apart for Himself and for His purposes, to serve and glorify Him.

Hagiazo is the basis for the New Testament word saint — hagios — holy ones, people set apart. Saint is the word Paul used in his letters to greet all the members of the churches:

 

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (I Cor. 1:2).

Since we are all “saints by calling,” what does it mean to be sanctified, set apart by God? That is an important question.

There are two aspects to sanctification: positional and progressive.

1. Positional sanctification refers to the fact that through repentance and faith in the atoning blood of Jesus, we stand before God justified. This is our position before God —we are declared by God to be just, righteous.

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebr. 10:14).

The writer does not mean that we have been made perfect but that our standing, our position before God is perfect. We have been declared righteous, sanctified through the blood of Christ. 

2. Progressive sanctification occurs as the Holy Spirit takes the word of God and applies it to our hearts and empowers us to live that word. As we are thus led by the Spirit, we are gradually made holy. This is a progressive work of transformation.

Prior to our new life in Christ we were sinners, separated from God by our sin. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth reminds the church who they once were and who they have become.  

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:9-11).

“Such were some of you” Paul says to the church in reference to those particular sins that he listed. In fact, the entire church had been separated from God by sin but the good news is that “you were washed … sanctified … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is true for all of us — we were once separated from God by sin but we are now reconciled to God and sanctified (set apart) by God to serve and glorify Him.

How Are We Sanctified?

1. Sanctification begins when we are raised up out of spiritual death and separation from God, born again by the power of God. This happens when we repent of our sin and place our faith and trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Sanctification begins when the blood of Jesus is applied to our lives through repentance and faith:

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate” (Hebr. 13:12).

2. Sanctification is a work which only God can produce in us:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23).

3. The Spirit of God works in us to sanctify us.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and the work of sanctification continues as we yield our lives to “the sanctifying work of the Spirit” (I Peter 1:2).

4. Sanctification is a cooperative work. 

Only God can produce His holiness in us but we must choose to yield our lives to God’s work. 

The Holy Spirit takes God’s word of truth and applies it to our hearts and empowers us to live that truth. As we submit to the Holy Spirit and obey the word of truth, as we commit ourselves to live that truth, as we confess our sins and failures and open our lives to God’s restoring grace, we are progressively transformed in the grace and knowledge and likeness of Jesus.

Our will is involved in this. We choose to refuse sin. We choose to resist temptation. We choose to do that which is holy. We choose to obey the truth.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (I Thes. 4:3,4).

Abstaining from sin is a choice we make each day.  Only God can produce His holiness in us but we must choose to surrender to God’s work day by day.

5. Sanctification involves conflict.

Choosing to resist the desires of our unredeemed humanness (the Bible calls this our flesh) is a constant struggle. Our unredeemed human nature wrestles against our new nature. Speaking of this warfare, the Apostle Paul said, “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Rom. 7:19).

Before we surrendered our life to Christ, our self will was enthroned. Now the rebel has been removed from the throne, Christ is Lord but we must choose every day to resist the flesh and submit to the Holy Spirit:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:16,17).

In Jesus we are more than conquerors. We are even able to conquer our own unredeemed humanness as we surrender daily to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit enables us to realize when we sin, empowers us to confess and turn from our sin, ministers the restoring grace of God to us and enables us to walk on with a pure heart.

6. The immediate goal of sanctification is a life that glorifies God.

The immediate goal is that in this life we will be “a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work”  (2 Tim. 2:21).

God has prepared works for each of us so that we can glorify Him with the time, resources and opportunity that He gives us (see Eph. 2:10). We can accomplish these works and truly glorify God only as we live and walk and work in holiness. This is so because only God can perform His works through us. And how can we partner in ministry with a holy God except that we walk in holiness?

7. The ultimate goal of sanctification is to stand before God, blameless.

Someday we will stand before God blameless in holiness. The Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus loves the church and gave Himself up for her, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:26,27).

From eternity God chose to set His love upon us, not only to redeem us but to share His holiness with us, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thes. 2:13).

The Apostle Paul’s goal for the church was to present the church to Christ “as a pure virgin” (2 Cor. 11:2).  That is our final destiny and the Apostle John saw that great day as he gazed into the heavenly vision:

“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:6-8).

Someday we will stand before God as a pure and holy bride.  We live toward that day as we surrender hour by hour to the cleansing, transforming work of the Holy Spirit, as we honestly confess our failures and gratefully receiving God’s restoring sanctifying grace.

Study Questions

1. What does it mean to be sanctified? (look for the word hagiazo)

2. What is positional sanctification?

3. What is progressive sanctification?

4. When does sanctification begin?

5. How is sanctification a cooperative work?

6. What is the immediate goal of sanctification?

7. What is the ultimate goal of sanctification?

Receiving the Ministry of Jesus

Reborn by the power of God, we are new creatures in Christ. Is there life after birth? Yes, it is the nature of living things to grow and it is the Lord’s purpose that we grow in the grace and knowledge and likeness of Christ.

Why is it  important that we grow? So we can fulfill the priesthood which God has prepared for us. We are priests and as we grow into the image of Christ we are able to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

God’s purpose for your life is completely unique. The combination of gifts, talent, personality and opportunity which the Lord invested in you will never again be duplicated. You are a once in a universe event.

In order to grow into the fulness of our priesthood, we need to cultivate a healthy devotion to the Word of God. We need to develop a rich life of prayer and worship. We also grow as we allow the Lord to minister release, recovery, liberty, forgiveness and restoration to any areas of weakness, brokenness, immaturity or sin in our lives. 

Jesus wants to replace our burdens with His rest.  He wants to minister abundant life to us. He wants us to abide in Him as He abides in us, as branches on a vine drawing life from the vine, so that we can fulfill His priestly calling on our lives and glorify God in our generation. 

A. Take a moment and read Luke 4:16-21

1. What did Jesus say He is anointed to do? (Anointing refers to God’s consecration and empowerment for ministry).

2. Does Jesus still carry this anointing?  

3. How do you interpret this Scripture: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

4. Are there any areas of your life where you need for Jesus, the "Anointed One,” to minister release, recovery, liberty, healing, forgiveness or restoration to you?

5. God heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3).  Is this still true?

6. Do you believe Jesus cares enough about you to minister these blessings to you?

7. How do you interpret this Scripture: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (I John 5:14).

8. How do we receive Jesus' ministry and how do you interpret this Scripture: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

9. How do you interpret this Scripture: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety (care, discouragement, despair, suffering) on Him, because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).

10. If we do not allow the Lord to minister to us in these areas of need, will our growth as a Christian be hindered?

As we humble ourselves before the Lord, confessing areas of weakness or immaturity; as we honestly confess our sins and ask the Lord to cleanse and deliver us, He does.

B. Take a moment and read Matthew11:28-30 and Psalm 55:22

1. What does Jesus want us to do with the labors and burdens of this life?

2. What blessing does He want to give us in place of the burdens?

3. What must we do to receive that blessing?

4. What is a yoke and what does it mean to be yoked to Jesus?

5. One of the marks of maturity in the Lord is the ability to refrain from carrying problems on our own shoulders, the capacity to rest in the storm. How do we cultivate that kind of maturity?

6. How do we accept responsibility / accountability for our priesthood while giving our burdens over to the Lord?

Even as we accept the responsibilities the Lord has entrusted to us, we also continually surrender to Him our strengths and our weaknesses, our gifts and our burdens, our hopes and our fears. As we honestly open our hearts to Him, He “yokes” us to Himself ever more deeply, extending His Lordship into every area where we need His ministry.

C. Take a moment and read John 10:10,11 and Psalm 23

1. What does a shepherd do?

2. What is abundant life? How do we receive it?

3. In Psalm 23 we read about the blessings off the Shepherd:

a.  What are green pastures and quiet waters?

b.  He restores my soul (Psalms 23:3).  What does that mean?

As a shepherd cares for His sheep, so Jesus cares for us. He leads, guides, forgives and restores, sharing His life with us. This is abundant life — sharing the life of Jesus.

D. Take a moment and read John 15:1-11

1. What is the relationship between a branch and a vine?

2. What does a vinedresser do?

3. What does it mean to prune a branch? (15:2)

3. Is God's ministry to us sometimes a ministry of discipline? (see Hebrews 12:5-11)

4. What does Jesus mean when He says, "Abide in me and I in you?” (15:4)

5. When we abide in Jesus, what does He say will happen? (15:5)

6. When we do not abide in Jesus, what does He say will happen? (15:6)

7. Jesus says it is His will that we bear much fruit (15:7-16). What is a fruitful life?

8. Jesus said, “For each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44). What does that mean?

9. If we are alive in the Lord, will others see His life in our growth and in the fruit we bear?

Abiding in Jesus means we live submitted to His Lordship. We gratefully allow Him to garden our growing. Jesus is a wise, loving, gentle and uncompromising gardener. He carefully cultivates our lives, knowing His purpose for each of us. When He sees anything in us that would harm us or others, anything that would impair His design for our fruitfulness, He shows us. If we allow Him, He will remove it, prune it out of our lives.

E. Take a moment and consider this Scripture:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

If we will be the priests Christ has ordained us to be, it is necessary that we humble ourselves before Him, confessing those areas of our life where we need forgiveness or restoration. He not only forgives, He also cleanses and restores, prunes and cultivates. 

As we pray, as we worship and especially as we read, study and obey His word, as we live His truth and humble ourselves before Him, Jesus will minster His wholeness and holiness to us.

Holy Spirit, Holy Life

Foundations in Faith 5: 

Whole and Holy

Holy Spirit, Holy Life

God’s will for us is that we grow into the image of Jesus. This new life is, at its roots, profoundly different from our former life. Before we were born anew, we were dominated by the values of a fallen world and a human nature that was inherently sinful and rebellious.

Our new life is defined by the values of the kingdom of God and a new nature. This is a holy life, devoted to the Lord.  How can we live a holy life in a world so evil?  Only by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit who birthed us into new creation will enable us to live this new life. 

The word holy is derived from the early English word hal, from which we derive heal and whole.  To grow in holiness is to become a whole person. This process is called consecration or sanctification. It means growing, maturing into the image of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about this growth in us. He does so as we yield our lives to Him.

A. The  Promise of the Holy Spirit: 

Take a moment and read Ezekiel 36:24-27

After Israel had been destroyed by the Babylonians, Ezekiel prophesied that a day would come when God would regather His people and cleanse them, give them a new heart and would put His Spirit within them. This process of regathering has begun with the establishing of the modern state of Israel but complete fulfillment of the prophecy awaits the end time when many Jews will recognize Jesus as Messiah. They will be cleansed and the Holy Spirit will indwell them.

However, the prophecy of Ezekiel is also being accomplished now among Gentiles and Jews who repent of sin and place their faith in Jesus, the holy Lamb and risen Lord. God cleanses us of sin, gives us a new heart to love Him and places His Spirit within us.

Take a moment and read John 7:37-39

Jesus renewed the prophecy of Ezekiel, promising that all who believe in Him will experience “rivers of living water” rising up from their inner being.  This is a reference to the Holy Spirit, “Whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).

Jesus said that after He departed, the Father would send “another Helper that He may be with your forever; that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16,17). The word Helper is Paracletos and refers to one who is called alongside, an Advocate, Comforter.  Notice Jesus said that He is “with you” now but “will be in you.”

Jesus promised that after He returned to the Father, the Lord would send the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, also called the Helper, Comforter and the Spirit of truth, to live in us.

B. The Convicting Power of the Holy Spirit

Take a moment and read John 3:3-6

Jesus said that we must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Born again may also be translated born from above, that is, by the power of God. It is the Holy Spirit who applies the Word of God to our hearts and brings us to a place of repentance and faith. As we turn from our sin and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, the Spirit of God regenerates us, recreates us as children of God (see John 1:12,13). Only the Holy Spirit can fulfill God’s promise to make us new creatures filled with His Spirit.

C. The Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit:

Take a moment and read Acts 2:1-4

On the day of Pentecost (a Jewish festival), the Holy Spirit was poured out on the gathered disciples of Jesus in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise. The Spirit of God came to indwell the followers of Christ. Since that day, the gift of the Spirit is received when we place our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The infilling of the Holy Spirit occurs at our new birth.

Notice that the disciples spoke in a variety of languages on that day, enabling them to praise God and preach the gospel to a variety of nations. The proof of a Spirit-filled life is a life empowered by the Holy Spirit who glorifies Jesus in us and through us.

Take a moment and read Acts 2:36-39

Notice that after Peter finished preaching, the people “were pierced to the heart.” The Holy Spirit takes the word of God and pierced the heart of unbelievers with the reality of sin, the consequences of sin and God’s offer of saving grace. The result is that people cried out, “What shall we do?”

Peter responded, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

1. According to Peter, the Holy Spirit is what?

The Holy Spirit is God’s gift.

2. Who qualifies for this gift?

As many as God calls to Himself will be forgiven of sin and given the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

3. Who does God call to Himself? 

Those who repent and place their faith in Christ.

Take a moment and read Galatians 2:20 and also Romans 8:9-11

1. Who lives in us now? 

Christ lives in us (through the presence and person of the Holy Spirit).

2. If you have surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus, does His Spirit dwell in you?

Yes!

 

Take a moment and read I Corinthians 3:16   

1. We are a temple of what?

A temple of God. 

2. Who lives in us now?

God’s Spirit lives in us.

Take a moment and read Ephesians 1:13,14  

1. The Holy Spirit is given as what? 

The Holy Spirit is given as a seal and as a pledge.

Having believed the gospel, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The word seal refers to the mark that was placed on a document signifying that it was under the authority of the person who stamped or sealed that letter or contract. The Holy Spirit living in us signifies that we are under the authority and ownership of God. We have been purchased by God and will be preserved by God through time and eternity. The Holy Spirit guarantees our security.

The Holy Spirit is also given as a pledge, deposit or promise of our inheritance in Christ. Someday we will be entirely redeemed — body, soul and spirit. We will reign with Christ and inherit, with Him, a recreated universe.

D. The Work of the Holy Spirit

1. The Holy Spirit purifies and transforms us:

Take a moment and read Malachi 3:1-3

How does Malachi define the work of the Lord?  

What does the process of refining involve?

A refiner of silver heats the silver, which causes the impurities to come to the surface. He skims off this dross and continues the heating and skimming process. He knows the silver is pure when he can see his reflection in the molten metal. This is what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives — skimming the impurities until He can see the image of Jesus in us.

Take a moment and read 2 Corinthians 3:18 and I John 3:2,3

Into whose image are we being transformed?

2. The Holy Spirit witnesses within us:

Take a moment and read Romans 8:14-17

The Holy Spirit witnesses within us that we are children of God, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Jesus.  He does this by giving us the power to live our new life and by producing in us the fruit of the life of Christ.

3. The Holy Spirit prays within us:

Take a moment and read Romans 8:26,27

The Holy Spirit knows us perfectly and knows the mind of God perfectly and so is able to pray for us in perfect agreement with the purpose of God for our lives and for this world.

4. The Holy Spirit teaches us about Jesus.

Take a moment and read John 14:26  

How does the Holy Spirit teach us about Jesus and reveal Jesus to us? 

The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us and teaches us by opening our minds and hearts to the Word of God, enabling us to understand spiritual truth and live it. The same Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible indwells us and interprets the Word to us. The Holy Spirit also raises up Godly teachers of the Word who help us to learn and grow. The Spirit of truth enables us to discern ungodly, false teachers. The Spirit ushers us into the present reality of Jesus as we pray and worship.

5. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be His witnesses.

Take a moment and read Acts 1:8

The word power is dunamis, from which we derive the English words dynamite, dynamo and dynamic. The Holy Spirit works powerfully through us as we tell the world about Jesus.

E. The Fruit of the Spirit    

Take a moment and read Galatians 5:17-26

1. What are the deeds of the flesh?  (5:19-21)

2. Will those who practice these things enter the Kingdom of God?  (5:21)

3. What are the fruit of the Spirit?  (list them — 5:22,23)

The fruit of the Spirit is a description of the character of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can produce the character of Christ in us but He requires our cooperation. We must be willing to turn from the old life and practice the new life.

F. Working with the Spirit    

Take a moment and read Colossians 3:1-17

1. What does it mean to “consider ourselves dead” to sin?  (3:1-5)

2. What does it mean to “put off” the practices of our former life?  (3:8)

3. As we lay aside our former habits, the Holy Spirit is renewing us into whose image?  (3:9,10)

4. List the character traits of our new life.  (3:12-17)

5. What does it mean to “put on” compassion, love, etc.?  (3:12-17)

We put off our old nature by refusing to entertain the thoughts or practice the deeds that characterized our former life. We put on the new nature by practicing the new life: obeying the Word of God, submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit, forsaking our sins, honestly confessing when we fail and allowing the Lord Jesus to forgive, cleanse and restore us.

G. Separated by the Spirit    

Take a moment and read II Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1

1. What do Christians have in common with the world-system?  (6:14-16)

2. What does this mean, “We are the temple of the living God?”  (6:16)

3. How can we “be separate” and still live in the world?  (6:17)

4. Do sons and daughters resemble those to whom they are related?  (6:18)

5. What does it mean to be “perfecting holiness in the fear (reverence) of God?”   (7:1)

The word perfecting means to complete. We are exhorted to complete the work of holiness which the Holy Spirit has begun in us as we continually resist the temptations of the world, repent of sin and follow after Christ as we reverence, worship God.

What a marvelous truth — the Spirit of God lives in us! By His presence and power, we are able to live a holy life in the midst of a corrupt and dying world.

H. Conformed by the Spirit   

Take a moment and read I Peter 1:13-23

1. The society in which we live has a formative influence on our lives.  How does Peter tell us to resist being conformed to the world?   (1:13,14)

2. To whom are we to pattern ourselves after?   (1:15,16)

As we fix our hearts and minds on Christ, He will progressively conform us to Himself and transform us in His likeness. There are times when we stumble and sin but the Lord’s words to us are not only a command — they are also a promise: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” He calls us to holiness and He will create His holiness in us as we continually repent and surrender to His Lordship.

I. Transformed by the Spirit   

Take a moment and read Romans 12:1,2

1. How are we to present ourselves to God?   (12:1)

2. We are not to be conformed to this world, rather, we are to allow the Lord to do what? (12:2)

3. How does the Lord accomplish this?   (12:2)

As we daily surrender our lives to the Lord, submitting our thoughts, words, choices and work to His Lordship; as we read His Word and allow Him to plant His truth, thoughts and values in our minds; as we worship the Lord in all that we do, keeping our hearts focused on Christ; as we resist practicing the values of the world around us, the Lord Jesus through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit will progressively renew our minds and transform our lives in conformity to Himself.

J. Refreshed and Empowered by the Spirit

Take a moment and read Acts 4:23-31

1. Peter and John had been arrested for proclaiming Jesus. They were then warned to stop preaching. After their release, what was their response? (4:23-30).

2. What was God’s response to their prayers? (4:31)

Though the disciples had already been filled with the Spirit, they needed to be continually refreshed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. When they encountered a crisis, they called out to God and the Lord responded by ministering a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

K. Gifted by the Spirit:

Take a moment and read I Corinthians chapter 12. Underline verse 7:

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

In this chapter of I Corinthians, Paul is not speaking of natural talents but spiritual gifts, charismata, supernatural endowments from God. The Greek word for manifestation is phaneroosis, from phanos, meaning lantern. A spiritual gift is a lantern from God. 

God graciously grants us supernatural lights that we might better see Him and serve Him in this dark world and that the world might better see and encounter God through His church. Paul says that these gifts are given “for the common good.” People are blessed as God’s grace is lavished upon them through the exercise of gifted ministry. 

In summary, the gifts of the Spirit are for the blessing of people and the glory of God. We are not owners but stewards of the gifts of the Spirit. They are not given to us but through us. As God is glorified and as people are blessed, the church is built up.

1. Are there any ungifted followers of Christ?

2. We have natural giftings and spiritual  gifts. Are you familiar with your gifts?

3. Why has God gifted you?

L. Restored by the Spirit:

Take a moment and read I John 1:9

1. What does this mean? 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

When we fail, sin, stumble or fall, the indwelling Holy Spirit shows us our failure, not to condemn or destroy us but so that we can repent of that which would condemn and destroy us. The Holy Spirit enables us to honestly confess our sin, gives us grace to turn from it and empowers us to resist it. He then ministers to us the Lord’s forgiving, cleansing, restoring grace.  

This is “the sanctifying work of the Spirit” (I Peter 1:2).

Sanctification is the process whereby God sets us apart for His purposes, gradually transforming us in His holy likeness. Only God can do this in us. He does so only as we continually yield our lives to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Summary:

Take a moment and read Ephesians 4:11-13

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Following our new birth by the power of God, the Spirit of God came to indwell us. He then placed us in His church which has the responsibility of equipping us so that we can grow into maturity. Maturity is defined as “the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

God’s will for us is that we grow and mature into the image of Jesus!  Because we were born again by His Spirit and because His Spirit indwells us, we are able to resist conformity to this world and are able to develop new habits, new responses, a new lifestyle.

As we humble ourselves before the Lord, the Holy Spirit works in us transforming and renewing us, conforming us to the life and holy character of Jesus. 

As we grow toward eternity, holy is the way we must walk if we would walk with a holy God. 

Holy is what we become as we walk with a holy God.

Study Questions:

1. If you are a disciple of Jesus, when did the Holy Spirit come to indwell you?

2. What work is the Holy Spirit doing in us?

3. How do we put off the old nature and put on the new?

4. How would you describe the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit?

5. What is the Lord’s goal in sanctification?