Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Sanctified by His Word and Prayer’
© March 12, 2017 by Steve Mickelson
Originally Shared with BLCF on Sunday, January 2, 2011
Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #634 (Christian Unity – John 10 & 17, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4); Prayer
Opening Hymn #276: In the Stars His Handiwork I See; Choruses
Prayer and Tithing – Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayer Requests Responsive Reading: #634 (Prayer of Christian Unity – John 10 & 17, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4)
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Sanctified by His Word and Prayer’
Let us pray…
Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done,[b]
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.[d]
Footnotes: a. Matthew 6:9 Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence b. Matthew 6:10 Or Let your kingdom come, let your will be done c. Matthew 6:11 Or our bread for tomorrow d. Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
The Scriptures in today’s BLCF Bulletin, begin with Matthew 6:9–13, (described also in Luke 11:2–4), gives Christ gives his answer to the Disciples’ request as to how they should pray. The next Scripture passage, the subject of today’s message is taken from John 17, contains the prayer Jesus gave to God at the conclusion of his earthly ministry, just before his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven.
To understand the significance of the Prayer to the Gospel of Jesus, we must briefly look at how John’s Gospel differs from the writings of the other disciples. John’s writings happen to be a subject of study for several months at Wednesday’s Morning Bible Study at BLCF. John’s Gospel is particularly interesting, as it differs from what is commonly referred to as the Synoptic Gospels in several distinct ways.
First, we must note that John’s Scriptures were authored some 30 years after the Day of Pentecost, where the Synoptic Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), were authored primarily before the Holy Spirit was given to the Disciples in the Upper Room on the evening of Christ’s Resurrection. To better understand the differences, let us look at the following from biblia.com:
Each Gospel account has its own theme, and each account was written to a specific group as noted below:
- Matthew was written to the Jews, and it shows Jesus’ Messianic work as a king over His everlasting spiritual kingdom, which is His church.
- Mark was written to the Romans, and it shows that Jesus is the one with power and strength through His miraculous works.
- Luke was written mainly to the Greeks, and it shows the human side of Jesus and portrays Him as being a perfect man.
- John was written to all Christians, and its primary focus is Jesus being Deity, and that He is the Son of God. (John 20:30-31) Consider the following chart:
We see a contrast between the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 and the personal prayer Jesus gave at the conclusion of his earthly ministry.
Though it is true that other passages of scripture record how Jesus taught believers how to pray, it is interesting that John 17 is that is the only passage in the gospels where we are privy to Jesus’ feelings with respect to His glorification by His sacrifice; the fate of His disciples after His ascension and for the unity of all believers.
The Prayer in John 17 can be broken into three distinct concerns voiced by our Lord:
The first concern is found in verses 1-6 of John 17 Jesus acknowledges his relationship with God, the Father, as well as the unity that we know as the Holy Trinity, which includes God – the Father, Jesus – the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is part of the Trinity, being distinct from the other, though each is an expression of the same God, a subject that we studied in another sermon at BLCF.
John 17:1-6 (ESV) The High Priestly Prayer: Jesus Prays for Himself
17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
The second concern is found in verses 6-19, where Jesus prays to God for his Disciples, whom he acknowledges will no longer have his earthly guardianship; also asking for His sanctification, His joy, His protection from Satan, (except Judas Iscariot, described as the son of destruction), and praying for unity among the Disciples not unlike the found between Jesus and God, while Christ was in the world.
John 17:6-19 (ESV) The High Priestly Prayer: Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.
Footnotes: a, John 17:15 Or from evil b. John 17:17 Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God) c. John 17:19 Or I sanctify myself; or I set myself apart (for holy service to God) e.John 17:19 Greek may be set apart (for holy service to God)
And the third concern in his prayer, Jesus prays for all other believers, asking for the same unity with God and the Son, as the Lord asked for his disciples and for His Love, as well.
John 17:1-6 (ESV) The High Priestly Prayer: Jesus Prays For All Believers
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
And how wonderful must the love and unity with God be, that on the eve of his death, that he gives a prayer for his disciples and the other believers, which includes you and me!
In this prayer, Jesus asks the Father for sanctification, which comes from the Word of God, which is the truth from God, John 17:17.
Sanctified by the Word of God
17 Sanctify them[a] in the truth; your word is truth.
Footnotes:a. John 17:17 Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God
And what precisely is the definition of sanctification?
Merriam-Webster further defines this process of sanctification as:
sanc·ti·fi·ca·tion noun \ˌsaŋ(k)-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən\
1 : an act of sanctifying
2 a : the state of being sanctified
b : the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion
Sanctification is growing in grace after being baptized by the Spirit, following a Christian’s conversion. It is important to note that this sanctification or growth in grace, requires a commitment on the part of the believer.
I am totally convinced that the born again Christian who keeps claiming “grace” for his continued sin struggles with this verse. How can one who continues to act like the world say he is sanctified? Is that Christian cleansed from corruption? Is he purified from his sins? Is he making himself holy by detaching himself from? I’m not talking about Christ’s blood covering our sins and salvation. I am talking about the on-going process of our spiritual walk after salvation. God is the Potter, we are the clay. He molds us into Christ’s image through sanctification – through our continued growing process as we read His Word.
Sanctification is a process. When we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit wants to prick our hearts with conviction. When we respond to that conviction, we begin the process of sanctification.
It is no wonder that today’s “church” is struggling! They are no longer in the act of making their lives holy. Instead, they are busy with distractions and not digging into God’s Word. This produces a church that does not separate themselves from the world – they act like the world – they talk like the world – they dress like the world! All because they look at God’s grace as though He looks the other way when they act like the unsaved! Christ took His salvation to the people, yes. He ate with them, He told them truth and He led them to truth. He always had a purpose and that was to lead them to truth. He didn’t compromise that truth by “acting” like them. The world sees Christians like this and they do not desire what they have for there is no difference between the two in their eyes. The Christian’s salt has lost its flavor!
Sanctifying ourselves means that we must daily strive towards being more Christ like. Would Christ use the Lord’s name in vain? Would Christ have a cursing mouth? Would Christ gossip? Would Christ get drunk? Would Christ have a temper tantrum? Would Christ steal? Our lives as Christians should be an on-going process of spiritual growth. Granted, we’re not going to be sinless – but we should sin less!! The more we hang out with the world and act like them, our standards will lower. How can one grow unless one sets himself apart from sin? How can one grow if one doesn’t make himself holy? Just because we are saved does not grant us the privilege of sinning! If this is what you are thinking, then something is not right with your spiritual walk.
Some Churches today are big on God’s “grace” but they miss out on the other half of it. These Christians want His understanding and forgiveness but they do not want to purify themselves and alienate themselves from sin and the world. Sin brings pleasure and they are not so willing to part with it. This is the basis of our struggling church today. Man’s heart is desperately wicked and deceitful as we see in Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV):
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Why would we trust our own heart to make decisions when we are not sanctifying ourselves?
Wil Pounds, writing in Message Page makes the following comments on the importance of sanctification to Christians, as vessels of God’s Holy Spirit:
How do you possess your vessel? Do you protect yourself from the temptations of this world? What are your weak areas? Do you have a pet weakness? Honor God with your actions. Honor God with your mouth. Honor God by sanctifying your life – set it apart from what the world does. Grace has nothing to do with us continuing to sin and act like the world. Grace has everything to do with salvation! Once we have received salvation, we must train ourselves to turn to God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us and sanctify us! Wake up Church!
True daily sanctification in this life comes through the ministry of the Word of God. Jesus told His disciples, “Now are you clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). God set us apart to Himself when He saved us. As we grow in Christ we experience more and more sanctification. We are progressively set apart to God as we grow in our faith, and love for God more than the desire of the world. This being set apart daily comes as the Holy Spirit applies God’s word to our everyday experiences. The Holy Spirit enables us to obey God’s Word. He is the author of the Word and He uses it to enlighten our minds, enable our will and encourage our hearts.
We were made clean through the Word at the new birth. As we obey the Word of God daily the defilement is washed out of our lives. When we sin we do not need to be saved all over again. We will never be regenerated a second or third time. After you bathe, you do not need to bathe again when you get your hands dirty. You wash them off and you are clean once more. God has given us a bar of soap. It is found in 1 John 1:9. Use it daily. Read 1 John 1:9 (ESV):
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It is our responsibility to apply the word of God daily in the power of the Holy Spirit. It does not come automatically.
Jesus’ Prayer in John 17 follows the example that Christ gave to his disciples. The prayer begins by Jesus acknowledging the sanctity and authority of the Heavenly Father on earth and heaven. Jesus prays that both his disciples and all believers continually (daily) receive Divine truth or bread and for the Father’s deliverance and guidance from evil and temptation.
It is interesting to note, that though Jesus was facing his own crucifixion and death on the cross for our sins, his prayer focuses upon the spiritual welfare of both his disciple and all believers, which is you and me. Jesus prayed for us. We should remember that all of the disciples, except John, would suffer horrific deaths for their faith. John was exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he authored his Scriptures.
In conclusion, as believers at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, we are sanctified by our faith in the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on our behalf. And as we have read in His prayer in John 17, that it is the desire of our Savior that we continue to maintain our walk as believers, Sanctified by God word and through the Holy Spirit which convicts us of the truth found in that word. We are expected to grow in the truth or understanding of the Word and be sanctified. This is how we may best glorify our Lord for His gift by demonstrating a unity of purpose, a unity of faith, sanctified as a single body of believers in the precepts taught us by Jesus in His prayer in John 17.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #581: There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Benediction – (2 Corinthians 13:14):
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.