Yesterday we talked about the power of being sanctified. Sanctification is not a goal you set to accomplish in your own power, although by submitting yourself to serve Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, sanctification will take place. Unfortunately we are in a time were God has turned His face and no longer empowers His people but that doesn’t mean we stop seeking Him wholeheartedly. He has promised David that there will always be a remnant and there will be a remnant. Sanctification has different names depending on what theological distinctive you are involved with. The holiness movement called it entire sanctification while the charismatic movement calls it baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others who only believe in water baptism refer to it as salvation, justification and sanctification together. Once baptized, they believe they have also been filled with the Holy Spirit, thus sanctified.
                Here is the problem. Since God has turned His face from shining on us, the act of being sanctified isn’t happening. You then must also question the legitimacy of salvation. Whether you refer to sanctification as entire, baptism of the Holy Spirit, or positional, progressive sanctification, this is not happening because satan is reigning in the church just as we were warned in Daniel and just as we were warned by Jesus and Paul. We were warned do not be deceived and truth would be thrown down. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” Jesus said Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” Paul said, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Paul when referring to the end said 2 Thessalonians 2:2 “not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” So because of the warning Jesus gave us, the end is close. Jesus was asked, “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” His answer was Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Claiming to be the Messiah also means changing the words of Jesus, thus making the bible say your own words. Which is why we must pay close attention to this verse. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” So the end is coming soon because the church has been deceived. You can refer to yesterday’s sermon for more about false prophets and teachers. I do realize that each group will say they are the way, truth and life but just as we proof yeast to see its power, there is no proof in any of the denominations or groups of like minded where the resurrecting power is at work. Everyone thinks their way is right while the others are wrong.   
                Sanctification also refers to perfection and holiness. Yes you have probably been told that is not possible and you are right from mans perspective but the bible says it is possible just as the bible tells us not to go on sinning. God tell us 1 Peter 1:15 “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 1 John 3:6 “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” When church is built by mans hands, these are impossible but if we were truly saved and sanctified, holiness, perfection and not sinning is possible but only in Christ. It sounds like there are works but not really. You can’t work your way into heaven or be sanctified but there is work. James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” We must follow wholeheartedly and we can be perfect. Matthew 19:21 “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”  28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Following the traditions and rules of those traditions is not the work talk about here. Mark 7:6 “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! ”
                I grew up at the tail end of the legalistic holiness movement. If you follow God’s word wholeheartedly, that is holiness. If you follow man’s words about holiness that is legalism. At the time there was a dress code, wedding rings were wrong, etc. At one time it was a sin to wear a tie and then it was a sin not to wear a tie. Jesus said Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” It basically boiled down to do not…! Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Yes we need to be discerning has to how we dress, both men and women but legalism equates how you dress with holiness. The more holy you are, the stricter you have been at adhering the rules and regulations. There was also this huge emphasis on discipline and method, hence the name Methodism. There are people that know the bible inside and out and quote any passage yet oddly some of the most intellectual people in the church have no idea they have been deceived. You can hear them in almost every denomination or group. They teach for example a topic like ceasationism with all they have yet they teach a false gospel. The answer just in case you were wondering is the bible states no such thing. The only proof of ceasationism is the lack of power in the church not because it stopped after the Apostle Paul but because God turned His face from us because of our disobedience.
                When I said I grew up at the tail end of legalism I also was part of the church that rejected true holiness because of the legalism and the church ended up further away from the truth than those who, they wanted not to be like. Man then took over and the church growth movement became the focus. Since most had no idea what entire sanctification meant it was set aside and the ways of man were lifted high. It works for a while but not for eternity. What you end up with is a powerless, lukewarm and pathetic church, which has been clearly exposed during this pandemic. Church just never made sense, as there had to be more than what we were seeing.  Recently thanks to the news, I was made aware of another group who has retained this legalistic façade of holiness. You may have noticed lately a church in Aylmer called the Church of God (Restoration) meeting in their cars on Sunday. If you go to their website you will immediately see what I mean. Take a look at some of the pictures. This particular group believes God has chosen them to redeem the church, not just their own but everywhere. Yet they have taken the dress code too far. I am not going to get into it but this is not God’s chosen vessel. When legalism reigns, satan reigns also and there will be massive contradictions. They think they are separate from the world by dressing the way they do but I’m looking at their site on the Internet. There is nothing more worldly than the Internet. Or if you look at the picture of this solemn group dressed in black with beards and the woman dressed as they are, yet look at the pictures of their Sunday gathering and the cars they drive. Separating from the world is not about looking different and acting as if you are more holy because of it. Paul when dealing with issues in the church said, 1 Corinthians 5:9 “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.”
                Man cannot make you holy by obeying their rules and regulations. Almost every church does this to some extent. You go to church, get saved and then do as they do. There is a huge variance in that doing. You have to ask yourself what are you being saved into if it is not Jesus Christ you have modeled your life after. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” That didn’t mean everyone looked exactly the same. They imitated the gospel and did not worship in vain. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.”
                If you are going to say you are entirely sanctified or filled with the Holy Spirit, then there will be evidence of the filling. The charismatics were deceived thinking they had the anointing because they spoke gibberish (nonsense). What exactly were they filled with? Acts makes it abundantly clear that speaking in tongues is a language with a purpose of promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 4:4 “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?” This is preaching just as Saul was preaching after being anointed. 1 Samuel 10:5 “As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” “Is Saul also among the prophets?” To prophesy is to speak the word of God, even today.
                The evidence I am talking about is not only tongues but the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only did they preach at Pentecost but healing and casting out demons followed. The evidence of being sanctified will be the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. The evidence is not someone telling you what to wear or do according to their doctrines and distinctions but being made new in Jesus Christ and being led by the Spirit of God. If that happens then there will be a oneness like no other. No you won’t all look the same but you will go out with the same exact purpose. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will be filled through and through. The confusion with doctrines comes when the evidence is lacking. That is why entire sanctification never made sense; it wasn’t happening. This is why the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the charismatic circles doesn’t make sense either. I saw lots of people babbling and even slain on the carpet (not God) but they got up the same and preached to no one. Those who heard them at Pentecost didn’t hear them say I am entirely sanctified, their heard the gospel in their own languages. The key is that those who heard were those who Acts 2:5 “were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” They heard the gospel in their own language. As Peter preached (remember he was still speaking to those of other languages and they were hearing) he said Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
                Man cannot sanctify themselves with their traditions and rules and regulations. Unfortunately for many they will have heard and then are worse off than they were before.
    2 Peter 2:8 “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
                The only way to be truly sanctified is to surrender to Jesus Christ and turn from your wicked ways as directed in Chronicles. Is it possible to be holy and perfect before God? The answer is yes but not in your own strength or with your own rules and regulations. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “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. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”