The Change of Sanctification

Romans 12.1-5
Last week we began a short four week series entitled the Truth about Change.
We saw last week that Change is inevitable.
For everything there is a season, the Bible tells us, and change must happen in order for those seasons to come.
Many are resistant to change, but we just need to accept the change as a gift from God to mold us into what he wants us to be.
And that is exactly what we want to talk about today.
Sanctification is Transformation
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Sanctification is transformation not conformation - It is not a matter of conforming to what you think a Christian ought to be.
We are transformed by....

I. Giving Over

Presenting your bodies a living sacrifice is an act of defining moment of giving over your will in the desire to accomplish His will.
Verse 1, Paul is begging, beseeching his brethren, by the mercies of God to present their bodies.
That word that is translated mercies is an interesting word, not the most used Greek word translated Mercy or mercies, but this word goes a little further and is the pity or compassion which one shows for the sufferings of others.
God’s mercy sees our suffering, and His answer is…Give me your life, and let me transform it!
Let me make it better!
You just need to give it over!
Sanctification will never happen, unless you give yourself over to Him!
I’m not talking about Accepting Christ as your Savior!
I’m talking about the decision to yield your life to His Lordship!
This is a decision that often comes after salvation.
Once a Christian has gained some maturity and sees the need to be transformed into what God wants us to be.
Are you willing to give it all over to God?
If you hold anything back, you will not be able to see the full transformation that God wants to make in your life!
My Heart: Christ's Home
by Robert B, Monger
One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. Something happened at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire on the hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been silence. He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will.
In the joy of this new relationship I said to Jesus Christ, "Lord, I want this heart of mine to be Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything that I have belongs to You. Let me show you around."
The first room was the study-the library. In my home this room of the mind is a very small room with very thick walls. But it is a very important room. In a sense it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books on the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, and the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable.
Strangely, I had not felt self-conscious about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things I was embarrassed. Some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. On the table were a few magazines that a Christian had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls— the imaginations and thoughts of the mind-some of these were shameful.
Red-faced I turned to Him and said, "Master, I know that this room needs to be cleaned up and made over. Will You help me make it what it ought to be?"
"Certainly!" He said. "I'm glad to help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scripture and meditate on it day and night. As for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have something that will help." He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. "Hang this centrally," He said, "on the wall of the mind."
From the study we went into the dining room, the room of appetites and desires. I spent a lot of time and hard work here trying to satisfy my wants. I said to Him, 'This is a favorite room. I am quite sure you will be pleased with what we serve."
He seated Himself at the table with me and asked, "What is on the menu for dinner?" 'Well," I said, "my favorite dishes: money, academic degrees and stocks, with newspaper articles of fame and fortune as side dishes." These were the things I liked-secular fare. When the food was placed before Him, He said nothing, but I observed that He did not eat it. I said to Him, "Master, don't You care for this food? What is the trouble?"
He answered, "I have food to eat that you do not know of. If you want food that really satisfies you, do the will of the Father. Stop seeking you own pleasures, desires, and satisfaction. Seek to please Him. That food will satisfy you."
There at the table He gave me a taste of the joy of doing God's will. What flavor! There is no food like it in the world. It alone satisfies.
From the dinning room we walked into the living room. This room was intimate and comfortable. I liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quite atmosphere. He said, "This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quite, and we can fellowship together."
Well, as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn't think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in close companionship. He promised, "I will be here early every morning. Meet Me here, and we will start the day together."
So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of the Bible from the case. We would open it and read it together. He would unfold to me the wonder of God's saving truths. My heart sang as He shared the love and grace He had toward me. These were wonderful times.
However, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I'm not sure. I thought I was too busy to spend regular time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand. It just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss days now and then. Urgent matters would crowd out the quite times of conversation with Jesus.
I remember one morning rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. I passed the living room and noticed that the door was opened. Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there.
Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, "He is my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as my Savior and Friend, and yet I am neglecting Him."
I stopped, turned and hesitantly went in. With downcast glance, I said, "Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?" "Yes," He said, "I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your friendship. Even if you cannot keep the quite time for your own sake, do it for mine."
The truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He wants me to be with Him and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don't let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him.
… Workbench - our works for Christ
… Rec room - what we do for recreation
One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered. He said to me, "There is a peculiar odor on the house. Something must be dead around here. It's upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet."
As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. There was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet square. In that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about. Certainly, I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there.
Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed to the door. I was angry. That's the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, "This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key."
"Well," he said, reading my thoughts, "if you think I'm going to stay up here on the second floor with this smell, you are mistaken. I will go out on the porch." Then I saw Him start down the stairs.
When one comes to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense Him withdrawing His fellowship. I had to give in. 'Til give you the key," I said sadly, but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven't got the strength to do it."
"Just give me the key," He said. "Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will." With trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting in there, and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and painted it. It was all done in a moment's time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!
A thought came to me. "Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the management of the whole house and operate It for me as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to keep my life what it ought to be?"
His face lit up as He replied, "I'd love to! That is what I want to do. You cannot be a victorious Christian in you own strength. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But, "He added slowly, "I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine."
Dropping to my knees, I said, "Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master." Running as fast as I could to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities, location and situation. I eagerly signed the house over to Him alone for time and eternity. "Here," I said. "Here it is, all that I am and all that I have, forever. Now You run the house. I'll just remain with You as a servant and friend."
Things are different since Jesus Christ has settled down and has made His home in my heart.
Transformation happens when we humble ourselves and give over our lives, sometimes piece by piece, over to our Lord.
Transformation by Giving Over, and secondly we see that you are… transformed by…the

II. Renewing Your Mind

This is the practical aspects of sanctification.
This is the part that we play in the work of sanctification.
Truthfully it is always only Him that does the work
But Transformation happens when we allow our minds to be renewed by Him!
How can we do this?
How do we allow Him to renew our minds?
For centuries theologians have called this process Christian Disciplines.
They are practices that every needs to practice regularly in order to see growth in the area of sanctification.
It is not a smorgasbord where you can pick and choose which ones in which you want to partake.
Every Christian life ought to have a regular practice of these disciplines in their lives.
These are areas where we need to discipline ourselves and yield to God.
There are 10 regularly accepted Christian Disciplines:

A. Bible Reading

If we want to see consistent growth in our Christian life, we must be consistently feeding upon God’s Word.
Psalm 119:105 KJV
105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path.
Romans 15:4 KJV
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
What is your Bible reading schedule looking like, as we come closer to the close of this year?
Do not wait until January to commit to this discipline.
Start today!

B. Bible Study

This goes a step further than just reading.
we dig into the Word of God, not just read across the surface.
Joshua 1:8 KJV
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
We meditate on what we read, we cross reference, and look up words we do not fully understand.

C. Bible Memorization

We must have ammunition that we can carry with us into the battle that we face every day.
Jesus fought the Devil’s temptations with the Word of God, so must we!
But we must be prepared.
Psalm 119:11 KJV
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 37:31 KJV
31 The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.
Jesus said in John 15:7
John 15:7 KJV
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Bible Memorization is vital to Christian Growth.

D. Prayer

Do you have a regular and purposeful time of prayer?
Having a regular time where you talk to the Lord, and bring him your cares and concerns and praises and thanksgivings is vital to Christian Growth.
No marriage would grow if both spouses didn’t communicate.
Bible reading is God communicating with us, but prayer is our side, our communication with Him.
It helps in so many areas of our lives, from burdens to anxiety.
Philippians 4:6 KJV
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

E. Generosity

Generosity comes naturally to no one.
Some have a motivational gift of giving, where as they are yielded to the Lord they are motivated to give.
It may be easier for them, but everyone needs to be willing to get out of themselves and become generous.
Psalm 112:5 KJV
5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Matthew 25:35–36 KJV
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Matthew 25:40 KJV
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We need to exercise the spiritual discipline of generosity.

F. Fellowship

Fellowship is a spiritual discipline that we all need to practice.
We need to face this life together, the way that God designed us to.
I am an introvert, it doesn’t meant that I can’t be outgoing, if I need to be.
I just get charged back up by my time alone.
But many introverts use their personality trait to excuse their seclusion from others.
It is an expectation of God that we will fellowship with one another.
In 1 John 1:7 he says,
1 John 1:7 KJV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we are walking in the light…we will have fellowship one with another.
We need one another, Proverbs 27:17 says,
Proverbs 27:17 KJV
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
We need the spiritual discipline of fellowship.

G. Fasting

We often think of fasting as being only from food.
But the Bible speaks of different forms of fasting, including marital love...
1 Corinthians 7:5 KJV
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
But there are many examples of fasting from food in the Bible.
But we must be careful that this is not done for show, in fact it ought, as much as is possible, to be done in private.
Matthew 6:16–18 KJV
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Fasting is a very important part of the Spiritual disciplines, it’s focus and purpose is on sacrifice.
Are we willing to sacrifice to hear from the Lord?

H. Silence

With the business of this world around us we need to be willing to pull away and practice silence.
Most people today cannot live in quietness, because they do not enjoy what they are left with…themselves.
The Spiritual Discipline of Silence is not a focus on self, however…it is a purposeful focus on God.
Psalm 46:10 KJV
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
An important part of Silence is Bible Meditation
New Age meditation wants you to remove everything from your mind, but Bible Meditation is the act of filling your mind with Scripture.
Pondering it, mulling it over, silently listening to the Word of God in your heart and mind and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it.
Next is the Spiritual Discipline of...

I. Simplicity

This is the intentional getting rid of things in our lives that hinder our walk with God.
Simplicity in home making is the getting rid of Clutter around the house.
Simplicity in your Christian disciplines is the getting rid of the clutter that tries to distract you from your walk with God.
Every one of us ought to fast from screens.
Our phones, our televisions, our computers, our tablets.
Just walk away and spend time with God in solitude and quiet.
Walk away from the cares of this world, and simply focus on God.
Jesus warns us that we cannot be doubly focused...
Matthew 6:22–24 KJV
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Paul learned of this spiritual discipline in his life as well...
Philippians 4:11–13 KJV
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
And then the tenth spiritual discipline we can welcome into our lives is...

J. Celebration

This is not the spiritual discipline of partying, however it could include that!
The Children of Israel were given a number of feasts where they would gather to celebrate different remembrances.
Each month we come to solemn celebration when we come to the Lord’s Table.
We do not have streamers or party favors, and yet we do celebrate the freedom and the salvation that we have in Christ because of His sacrifice on the cross.
Even as we celebrate special holidays before the Lord we rejoice in what God has done for us.
We celebrate Christ’s coming at Christmas
We celebrate with thanksgiving every November for all that God has given us.
We celebrate the Resurrection and the new life promised to us at Easter.
God commands us to rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 KJV
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
We can do so as we celebrate all that God has done and all that He is for us.
God changes us through Sanctification.
As we yield to Him, and give over to His transforming power, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, through regular practice of these Spiritual Disciplines in our lives.
Let’s take a moment and do just that right now as the men come forward to prepare for Communion.
Let’s take a moment to remember what He has done for us.
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