The Most Important
Sanctification is a subject that is little broached in the modern church. In fact, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that the majority of churches in America and around the world have no idea as to what sanctification really is. They can look in a Bible dictionary and get its meaning, but that does not tell them anything. The church tries one fad after another, all to no avail. Sanctification is, without a doubt, one of the most important subjects in the entirety of the Word of God, yet one that is little understood, if at all.
Sometime back, on a Wednesday night, I remember teaching at Family Worship Center, and I made the statement, “The modern church simply does not know how to live for God.” There was a gasp that went up from the congregation. They did not doubt nor dispute what I had stated, but to hear it plainly said presented itself as somewhat of a shock.
Most Christians would ask, “What do you mean, I don’t know how to live for God?”
This question causes one to think a moment and, even though it is a blunt statement, it is the truth—the modern church does not know how to live for God. It has tried one fad after another, all to no avail, yet it keeps trying because it knows that something is wrong. And it keeps trying because, as stated, the modern church does not know how to live for God.
If you ask Christians this particular question about how to live for God, most will come up with some ridiculous things, as the modern church has in the last few years.
The problem is sin. We don’t like to say it that way, but that is the problem.
While the Bible does not teach sinless perfection as it regards Christians, it does teach that sin is not to have dominion over us (Rom. 6:14). And that’s the problem in the hearts and lives of most Christians, sin does have dominion over them. I don’t mean that to be critical; I don’t mean it to cast aspersions; and I don’t mean it to be derogatory. But I do mean it because it is true.
By the grace of God, I do know what sanctification is because the Lord, over a time frame of some thirty years, has opened this great truth to me.
The Holy Spirit
It was back in 1988 on a Monday morning. I had gone out behind our house for a time of prayer.
At that particular time, Satan began to move upon my heart and life in a way that I don’t think I had ever experienced before. It was so powerful that I told the Lord, “You said that You would not put anything on us any harder than we could bear, but with every temptation, you would make a way of escape” (I Cor. 10:13).
I said to the Lord, “No one can stand this, please lift this thing from me.”
I don’t think it was five minutes later when the Spirit of the Lord came upon me in a way I had never known before. It was that powerful. One moment it was as if a hundred pounds was on my back, and the next moment I was floating in midair. Of course, I wasn’t floating, but that’s what it felt like.
Then the Lord spoke to me and said, “I am going to show you some things about the Holy Spirit that you do not now know.” The first thing that entered my mind was “The Holy Spirit is God, and there all kinds of things about Him that I do not know,” as would be obvious.
I had never experienced the presence of God as I did on that morning in 1988. Afterward, days went into weeks and weeks into months, but there was nothing that I could put my finger on that expressed itself in that which the Lord had spoken to my heart: “I will show you things about the Holy Spirit that you do not now know.”
After about a year’s time, I began to implore the Lord in prayer and asked Him, “Why the delay?”
Then, during one of our Friday night prayer meetings, the Lord spoke to me. That evening I had not mentioned this subject in prayer, but still the Lord spoke and said, “You have asked Me why it has taken so long. This is My answer to you: ‘For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line: here a little, and there a little’” (Isa. 28:10).
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord had spoken this to me, but I had no idea as to what it meant. What a strange passage as it regarded the question at hand. How was this about the Holy Spirit and what I did not now know?
I have come to realize as the years have passed (and it did take years) that the Lord had stated that everything must be in its proper place. In other words, it must be scriptural in every capacity.
I remember continuing to throw myself prone on the floor as I sought the Lord that night, asking Him what it meant as it regarded “precept upon precept, and line upon line.”
To be frank with you, I am not certain that I understand it fully even now. But I believe the Lord was saying to me that Friday night so long ago that everything must be totally scriptural. It must be all of His Word and nothing else.
The notes on Isaiah 28:10 in The Expositor’s Study Bible state: “The Hebrew word for precept is tsav and means ‘injunction’ or ‘commandment.’ The second ‘precept’ is from the Hebrew word tsavah, which means ‘to enjoin’ or ‘to appoint, charge, set in order.’ The Hebrew for ‘line’ is qav, which means ‘a rule, measuring cord, here a little, there a little.’ The idea is that everything must be measured by the Word of God. No other measurement will be accepted.”
It was nine years later (yes, nine years), before the first installment, one might say, was given to me by the Holy Spirit. Looking back, I know it was leading up to one of the greatest truths that the church has ever known—how we live for God. But it came little by little. I have more to say on this subject of sanctification, but I’ll save it for another issue of The Evangelist.
FWC Family Camp
The dates are July 20-24, and this is a campmeeting designed for the entire family from kids to grandparents to everyone in-between. God ordained the family, and Satan is unleashing all he has against moms and dads and the children they are trying to raise in the ways of the Lord. I invite you to make this camp part of your summer plans and experience these Spirit-filled services for yourself. We hear from so many parents after this camp how these services gave opportunity for the Holy Spirit to minister to their sons and their daughters as only He can. Praise God. To preregister for this event visit www.fwcfamilycamp.org.
In the Master’s service, yours,