SANCTIFIED BY THE SPIRIT AND TRUTH
A. Introduction: Before Jesus returned to Heaven, He warned that prior to His second coming, false Christs
and false prophets will abound and deceive many. Matt 24:4-5; 11; 24
1. Jesus’ return is drawing near, and we are living at a time when there are multitudes of false teachings
about who Jesus is and why He came into this world abound, even among professing Christians.
a. For example, in recent decades, the idea that Jesus came to bless us with material abundance and
fulfill our all our dreams and desires, has permeated much of the Christian world. However, these
ideas are contrary to what the New Testament says about why Jesus came.
b. It is vital that we have an accurate understanding of who Jesus is and why He came so that we won’t
be deceived, and so that we can accurately communicate information about Him to others.
c. In these lessons we’re examining what the New Testament says about Jesus. Remember, that the
New Testament was written by eyewitnesses of Jesus (or close associates of eyewitnesses).
1. They report that Jesus came to deal with our greatest need and our biggest problem. All of us
are guilty of sin, separated from our Creator, and on our way to eternal separation from Him.
2. Note what Paul the apostle wrote: This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the worst of them all (I Tim 1:15, NLT).
2. All humans have broken God’s moral Law and are deserving of punishment. Jesus, through His death
on the Cross, paid the penalty for our sin, and opened the way for men and women to be restored to
relationship with God, through faith in Him. Rom 3:23; I Pet 3:18
a. When a person bows their knee to Jesus as Savior and Lord, on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, God can
justify that person, or declares them not guilty of sin and restored to relationship with Him. Rom 5:1
b. But there is more to it. Justifying sinful men and women is a means to an end. Once a person is
justified, God can then indwell that person and, by His Spirit in them, fully restore them to their
created purpose as His holy, righteous son or daughter. Eph 1:4-5; John 1:12-13
1. This initial encounter with the Holy Spirit is referred to as being born of God. The entrance of
this new eternal life changes our identity from sinner to son or daughter. I John 5:1
2. God’s ultimate plan is that we become sons and daughters who are like Jesus in His humanity—
like Him in holiness, love, character, and power—or conformed to His image. Rom 8:29
A. God wants sons and daughters who are holy. Holy means separated from evil, clean, and
pure. Holiness in a human being looks like Jesus, who, as a man, perfectly expressed His
Father’s character and will. Holiness is Christlikeness—His character expressed through
our thoughts, words, and actions.
B. The entrance of God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit), this new birth, is the beginning of a process
of transformation that will ultimately restore our entire being (inward and outward) to all
that God intends us to be.
3. Jesus came to save sinners. Salvation is the purification and restoration of human nature by the power
of God. The Holy Spirit is the one who carries out this process of transformation and restoration. The
process is not instantaneous or automatic, and we have a part to play in it.
a. We must put forth effort to change the way we think and act, and bring our attitudes and actions in
line with God’s will (as expressed in the Bible)—with a dependence on and an expectation of the
Holy Spirit’s help to do the will of God in every area of our lives.
1. This progressive process of transformation (becoming more and more like Jesus in character
and holiness) is called sanctification. Sanctification is God’s will for us. I Thess 4:3
2. Sanctification is translated from a Greek word that means to purify. The root word means to
make holy. Sanctification and holiness are two sides of the same coin.
b. In this lesson we’re going to talk more about what the Holy Spirit does in us and for us, and how we
cooperate with Him as this process of sanctification (or being made like Jesus) is underway.
B. We are sanctified by the Spirit of God through belief in the truth: II Thess 2:13—But we ought always to
give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be
saved (purified and restored), through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (ESV).
1. To cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we need to understand that He works through the Word of God (the
truth) to produce salvation in our lives—both our initial new birth and increasing Christlikeness in us.
a. John 3:3-5—While on earth, Jesus told His followers that to see or enter the kingdom of God, a
person must be born again (literally, born from above), born of water and of the Spirit. Water is a
reference to the Word of God and the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit. Consider these verses.
1. Eph 5:25-26—(Jesus) gave himself up for (the church) that he might sanctify her, having
cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (ESV).
2. I Pet 1:23—You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the
living and abiding word of God (ESV).
3. Titus 3:5—He saved us, not because of works done in righteousness, but according to his own
mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (ESV).
b. When the Word of God about salvation from sin through Jesus is proclaimed, and a person believes
it, the Holy Spirit produces the effects of Jesus’ sacrifice in that person. The Holy Spirit imparts
eternal life to them and they are born of the Spirit. They become a son or daughter of God.
1. Remember, each word picture used in Scripture to describe how the Holy Infinite, Almighty
God interacts with finite, fallen humanity, gives us some insight, but all of them fall short.
2. The point of these descriptions is to convey the point that when we believe, God comes into us
by His Spirit and life to restore us to our created purpose as—sons and daughters who are like
Jesus in holiness, character, love, and power.
2. Once we are born of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit continues to work in us through the Word of God. We
are sanctified—made increasingly holy, (Christlike) by the Spirit and belief in the truth (God’s Word).
a. The Bible is a supernatural Book. It has a cleansing effect on us as we read and believe it. Note
what Jesus prayed for His followers the night before He was crucified: John 17:17—Make them
pure and holy (sanctify them) by teaching them your words of truth (NLT).
1. The Greek word that is translated truth means the reality lying at the basis of appearance (Vine’s
Dictionary) or that which corresponds to reality (Webster’s Dictionary)
2. The Bible was inspired by Almighty God, who is Omniscient or all-knowing. He knows the
way things really are. God’s Word is Truth. It shows us the way things really are.
b. Our view of reality is skewed, in part because of the effect of sin on us, and in part, because as finite,
limited people, we don’t have full understanding or complete knowledge about anything. Our view
reality is subjective, or based on our personal experiences, feelings, and opinions.
1. To become increasingly Christlike, our view of reality must come from Truth (God’s Word).
Truth is objective. It exists in a concrete manner, independent of anyone’s feelings or opinion.
Two plus two is four, no matter how I feel about it, or what my personal opinion is.
2. We don’t deny our feelings, circumstances, and opinions. We recognize that there is more to
reality than what we see or feel at any given moment. We recognize that our opinions about
everything are based on incomplete and subjective information. God knows and sees all.
3. Our view of reality must come in line with the way things are, according to God. We could do an entire
series on this topic, but for now, consider the point that directly relates to our present discussion. The
written Word of God, the Bible (the Truth), is a vital part of the process of sanctification. From it, we
find out what sin is and what holiness (purity) looks like.
a. Paul the apostle wrote: The Law (God’s commandments, His will) showed me my sin. I would
never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, Do not covet (Rom 7:7, NLT).
b. God’s written Word also functions as a mirror that shows us what we are and what we are becoming.
The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures (which He inspired) to expose things in us that aren’t Christlike,
so that we can change, and bring our attitudes, thoughts, and actions in line with God’s will.
1. II Tim 3:16-17—All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to
make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do right. It
is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to
2. As we read God’s Word it changes our view of reality—how we see God, ourselves, our lives,
and other people. It changes our perspective and our priorities. As our view of reality
changes, along with our perspective and priorities, we are increasingly sanctified.
4. The Bible shows us what thoughts, attitudes, and actions are Christlike, as well as those that are not.
God’s Word helps you become aware of what needs to change, and it assures you of the Holy Spirit’s
help as you commit to doing God’s will in every area of your life.
a. Remember, Jesus summed up God’s will for us in two commands: Love God with all your being,
and love your neighbor as yourself. All His commands are summed up in these two. Matt 22:37-40
b. This love is not an emotion. This love is an action that is expressed through our obedience to God’s
moral will and our treatment of other people.
1. Do you think in these terms: I can’t engage in this behavior because it is offensive to Almighty
God who is holy. Are my words and actions glorifying to God? Is my behavior an accurate
representation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus? I Cor 6:19-20
2. Do you think in terms of: I’m here to serve and glorify God, and I’m here to serve other people
(love God with all my heart, mind, and soul, and my neighbor as myself)? II Cor 5:15; Col 3:23
c. When we look at Jesus (the pattern for God’s family, our example of holiness) we see that His
attitude was one of obedience to His Father and service to His fellow man. Consider these points.
1. Jesus said—My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to
accomplish and completely finish His work (John 4:34, Amp).
2. Jesus said that He came to serve—For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to
serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45, NLT).
3. Paul wrote that Jesus humbled Himself and became a man so that He could die for humanity, in
obedience to His Father’s will. Paul told Christians to follow Jesus’ example.
A. Phil 2:5-6—Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,
he did not demand and cling to his rights as God (NLT).
B. Phil 2:3-4—Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble.
Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are
1. I realize that our unchanged attitudes and thoughts recoil at this. Won’t people walk
all over me if I see myself as a servant? Note that nobody walked all over Jesus
2. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, will help us navigate the challenges of
relating to people as a servant, as we choose to obey God’s will.
d. The Holy Spirit helps us (strengthens and empowers us) to obey God’s Word in our thoughts,
attitudes, and actions when we are committed to: Not my will but your will (even when it’s hard). 5.
Jesus said that His words are Spirit and life (John 6:63) Consider this paraphrase of that statement: All
the words through which I have offered myself to you are meant to be channels of the Spirit and life to
you, since in believing those words you would be brought into contact with the life in me (Riggs).
C. Conclusion: These kinds of lessons can seem overwhelming because we all fall short. How can anyone
possibly live like this—live a life that is glorifying to Almighty God by expressing the character of Jesus?
1. First of all, we need to know that that is what we are supposed to be striving for. And, then we need to
become God-inside minded. This means that we live with the awareness that God (the Holy Spirit) is in
us to help us, strengthen, and empower us.
a. In the context of avoiding sin, Paul wrote: Are you not conscious that your body is a temple of the
Holy Spirit that is in you, whom you have as a gift from God (I Cor 6:19, Williams).
b. While describing the many trials and dangers that he and his ministry team faced as they preached
the gospel (II Cor 4:8-9) Paul wrote: But we have this treasure in jars of clay (earthen vessels) to
show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (II Cor 4:7, NIV).
1. He went on to describe some of the many difficulties they encountered and stated that although
they faced death, the life of Jesus (resurrection power) shown forth in their bodies (II Cor 4:10).
2. Paul said: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me—I am ready for anything
and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me (Phil 4:13, Amp).
c. Too many of us have the mentality that, in times of trouble, God is far away from us, and we have to
beg Him to come and help us. But He (the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Greater One, John 14:16; I
John 4:4) is in us. Note how Paul prayed for Christians:
1. Eph 3:16—And I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner
strength through his Holy Spirit (NLT).
2. Eph 3:20—Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to
accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope (NLT).
2. The Holy Spirit is an inexhaustible fountain of life within us. He has indwelled us to give life (the
uncreated life in God) continually to our entire being as we cooperate with Him. John 7:37-39
a. The Holy Spirit is a continuous source of supply. In the Book of Acts we see people who were born
of the Spirit and filled with the Spirit referred to as being filled with the Spirit again and again. Acts
4:8; Acts 4:31; Acts 13:9
b. They didn’t receive something or Someone who wasn’t already there, nor were they “refilled”.
They experienced the effects of His continuous supply (the wellspring within them).
c. Eph 5:18—Paul told Christians who have already been born of the Spirit and filled with the Spirit
(Acts 19:1-7) to be filled with the Spirit.
1. Filled is present tense: (Be) ever filled and stimulated with the (Holy) Spirit (Amp); but be
constantly controlled by the Spirit (Wuest).
2. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to impart to us continually the actual life of Jesus who is the true
source of life, both for the outward and the inward man (every part of our being). II Cor 4:16
3. At the new birth, the Holy Spirit gives life to our innermost being, and the process of being purified and
restored in every part of our being begins. The Holy Spirit now dwells in us to give life (ability, power)
to our mind, emotions, and body as we choose to obey God.
a. Take time to think about these truths from the Word of God. Look into the mirror of God’s Word
(the Truth): And all of us, as with unveiled faces, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of
God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image
in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes from the Lord
[Who is] the Spirit (II Cor 3:18, Amp).
b. Look to the Holy Spirit to help you make necessary changes in thoughts, attitudes, and behavior as
the mirror (the Truth) shows you what needs to change. When you make the choice to obey God,
look to the Holy Spirit—expect Him to strengthen you in your mind, emotions, and body.
c. Pray in cooperation with the Holy Spirit: Strengthen me, Lord, by your Spirit, by your power in
me. Quicken me. Give me life in my mind, emotions, and body. Restore me by your Spirit to
what you want me to be. Much more next week!!