Monday, February 13, 2012

An Inheritance among the Sanctified




Scripture

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
(Acts 20:29 NASB)
and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
(Acts 20:30 NASB)
“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
(Acts 20:31 NASB)
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
(Acts 20:32 NASB)

Observation

Paul was deeply emotional as he visited with his spiritual children in Macedonia. He knew that he would never get to see them again on this earth. He had spent three years with them, pouring out his heart and soul to them as day after day he preached the good news about Jesus Christ. These folks had "gotten" it. They had fully understood what Paul intended and they had turned their lives to Jesus Christ, but they had also entirely consecrated their lives to Jesus Christ and were filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. They were sanctified followers of Christ. This was Paul's goal everywhere that he went and as he would write them letters he would refer to them as the saints. That is because these people had understood that the goal of life was Jesus Christ, himself and his holiness. This was Paul's desire for each and every one of them. But now, he was worried. He would no longer be with them and he knew that there would be those who would step in and begin to devour the congregations. That there would be those who did not really know Christ, but would try to pretend and draw those who were weaker, away from the faith. He wanted them to know what would happen and to be on guard. Then, he explicitly told them how to be on guard, and that was by the word, which was his grace. God's grace would continue to flow to these people as long as they stayed true to the word, and the result was that they would have an inheritance among the sanctified.

Application

Jesus ascended to heaven long ago. Paul died in Rome nearly 2000 years ago. We don't have them among us, teaching us on a daily basis. And yet, there are principles here which are so real for us.

1) Look out for false teachers who will devour. When there are those who are destructive to the body of Christ, beware! Be in prayer and ask for God's discernment as to whether the things that are being said are from the Lord or not. There are many "good" folks who can be very harmful to the body of Christ.

2) Spend time in the word. There is no little devotional book that is a substitute to spending time in the word. The Bible is, for us, the written revelation of the word, or the Logos, or Jesus, himself. How in the world do we expect to get to know him, if we don't spend any time with him.

3) Receive the grace of God. It is by spending time in his word that we are then blessed and graced by God. There is an outflow of his Holy Spirit and grace which reaches out to us on a daily basis when we are in relationship with him. It is this grace that provides us with discernment regarding the things which are happening around us.

4) Be on alert! The truth is that there is spiritual warfare going on around us on a daily basis. We may not want to believe it, but its true and the stakes are high. We are to be on alert to the tricks and wiles of the enemy and be wearing the full armor of God so that we are able to effectively be a part of the battle.

5) Claim your inheritance among the sanctified. Somehow we have come to believe that the ideals of sanctification are simply that -- too ideal or lofty. They are not. It is God's plan for every believer to be sanctified and be made holy to and through him. Christ, who came as the new Adam, lived the life of a human and set things right, creating a path for us to be holy, because he is holy. We are not to fear this, but rather to embrace it. There is nothing humble about refusing to claim your inheritance. We are his children and we are to move on in our spiritual life to a place of entire sanctification and be God's holy people. Don't be shy, child, but come forward and take the inheritance he has promised -- his own holiness.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your promises and the fulfillment of those promises. Use us and fill us this day. Amen.

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