We desire it for everyone. It’s strange when people don’t grow. There’s something wrong when someone doesn’t grow from infancy to adulthood.
The spiritual life is ALL about growth, otherwise we’d be scooped up to heaven as soon as we’re born (spiritually). The Christian’s walk OUGHT to be characterized by growth. Change. Sanctification.
Sanctification is just a big word for change or growth. Positionally, we’re sanctified when we’re saved, but practically, God wants SO much more from us in that kind of sanctification. He wants us to grow. To be changed into his image. To be sanctified.
In the Romans series in the Teens of Faith we’ve just come through one of the highest points in Scripture: Romans 6-8. Every week has been a rich, challenging message from God on sanctification… spiritual growth. Basically the point of these chapters is this, in simplified terms: God has done SO much for you and offers you the power through His Spirit to grow.
The sermon on Sunday briefly summed up a few thoughts from these chapters:
- Positionally, we’re dead to sin. 6:1-2
- Positionally, we’re alive to God. 6:11
- Practically, we should be dead to sin and alive to God. 6:16
- Everything fleshly ends up in death; everything good in righteousness. 6:23
- You’re not tied down. Be a productive Christian. 7:4
- The Spirit, through the law, shows me I’m wicked. 7:14
- Contrasting laws: Spirit vs. flesh 7:25
- In the Spirit I’m free from sin and death. 8:1-2
- The Spirit gives us life. 8:11
- The Spirit helps us mortify the flesh. 8:13
- The Spirit makes us part of His family; we can call him Daddy. 8:15
- The Spirit gives us the hope of our future resurrection. 8:23
- The Spirit prays on our behalf. 8:26
- If you live in the Spirit, he works ALL THINGS for your good! 8:28
- The Spirit has an INCREDIBLE plan for us – to be conformed to the image of his Son. 8:29
- The Spirit “takes on” anyone who tries to mess with our salvation. 8:34
- The Spirit seals us in God’s love. 8:37-39
The application is endless. Overall, sanctified people grow. Specifically I challenged the teens last week to be sanctified in three areas.
Sanctified people serve. Bro. Beckum asked the question, “What’s it going to take for you to start serving God?” He told us that it took the death of his wife to wake him up to his need for prayer. I have a friend who’s starting a camp ministry right now, and it took a head-on collision and months of recovery for God to get his attention. What’s it going to take for you to REALLY be sold out on serving God? Sanctified people have NO problem serving. They’re involved. They’re willing. You don’t have to ask… they see the need and take the lead. They’re proactive. They take initiative.
Service can look like a lot of things, but a few simple ideas I gave were 1) pulling weeds at church (always!), 2) volunteering immediately for anything, 3) rabbit population reduction ministry (LOTS of volunteers on that one!), and 4) even working at Pastor’s house (Bill Herhold is a prime example). Serve God. Be involved. Sanctified people serve.
Sanctified people are thankful. There’s a difference between saying “thank you” and being a thankful person. You KNOW which people in your life are thankful people. You’ve been told “thank you” thousands of times, but you know very few thankful people. Purposely being grateful for everything is a result of ultimately being grateful to God for what He gives you every day. What’s it going to take to be thankful for the things we take for granted? Is God going to have to take it away for us to be thankful for it? We challenged the teens to be thankful for EVERYTHING they have: youth, health, strength, limbs, air, salvation…
You’re thankful for AIR when you’re out of it! You’re thankful for health when it’s gone! Be thankful for everything in the midst of everything. Express that gratitude when someone takes you out to eat, gives you a ride, or does something kind. My wife and I even try to thank the bus driver for the Disneyland shuttle when we ride! Seems silly, but it’s the small things that are the difference between people who say “thank you” and thankful people. I love being thanked, not for personal recognition but for the sake of the “thanker.” They’re getting it, God, I think to myself. Sanctified people are thankful.
Finally, sanctified people share. Not sharing toys… sharing faith. If you’re truly sanctified and enjoy God’s blessings, you want that for everyone! You want to spread that fire to everyone you know. God brings us guests all the time, and sanctified teens will want these guests to be able to enjoy God’s blessings too! With a new outreach program we’ll be setting up within the next month, we ought to have a waiting list of teens who want to be involved. Sanctified people want to share that in any way they can, and especially when there’s a system in which they can be used, the line ought to be out the door. “Postcards, texts, emails, visits, welcoming… whatever God wants me to do I’ll do it.” That’s the spirit of a sanctified person.
I hate to leave Romans 6-8, but God has more He wants to teach through the following chapters. God’s done so much for us and offers us SO much power to overcome sin and live for Him through His Spirit… are we willing to put the spiritual discipline in place in order to experience that spiritual growth? Sanctified people are. Sanctified people grow. Be one of those!