Set Apart in Truth

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:16-19)

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The seed of the Holy Spirit and the seed of the woman gave birth to the God man, the incarnate Son of God. Jesus was not of the world but now was in the world. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7) As to what the Apostle Paul said this is the attitude that the Christian follower of Jesus should have that we are in the world but we are not of the world.

Through the love of God the Father He sent His Son into this world we live in that He could pay the wage of our sin, a debt that we ourselves could never pay. God sent His Son to live a righteous life amongst men that He would be the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, and through the disciples that God had given Him He founded His Church. (Luke 6:12) Because of the love of the Father He gave His Son that we can be made holy and be kept holy in the truth of His Word.

Being holy, this consecration into the service of God the Father though His Son Jesus Christ, is not a separation from the world but an immersion into the world for the purpose of telling the Good News of God’s Salvation through Jesus Christ. As Jesus was holy we are to be holy. As Jesus was sent into the world by the Father we have been sent into the world by the Son as His disciples. “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (Verse 18)

Jesus in the sanctity of heaven was untouched by the sins of man and came here to a sinful world of men to remove the blemish of sin that was destroying their lives. Jesus was no less holy by entering into the world and neither are we less holy for living in the world. It is our calling to do so that we may be lights of His truth in a dark world. We are the ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven, representatives of a holy God, that we may show those of the world how they are to live in righteousness. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

As ambassadors of God we are to be strengthened by the power of God’s Word. We are involved not in a battle with men but a spiritual battle against evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places. As mere men we cannot compete with these forces but must be equipped in the power of His Word. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) but we must be alert for our adversary seeks to kill and destroy. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

As God’s ambassadors we have been reconciled unto Him through His Son Jesus that we may carry on His ministry here in the world. The Christian has been given the ministry of reconciliation that we should sow the seed of His truth into every heart that will receive it. This is our mission to be sowers of His Word. This is how we fulfill our mission of reconciliation. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

Some people have a misunderstanding as to what sanctification is. A definition of sanctification is to make holy; set apart as sacred; to consecrate. To purify or set free from sin the heart. Jesus was sanctified but He was not sanctified by separation from the world as He was in the world. Jesus was sanctified by His obedience to the will and work of the Father. Jesus went to the cross of Calvary because of His sanctification. Because of His work on the cross every saint can be assured of their sanctification.

The Christian is commissioned to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19) The Christian is commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The Apostle John has a threefold approach to the meaning of the world. The world is both that which rejects the Word of God, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10) The world is also those who belong to Him. “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14) The world is also the object of the Father’s love. “For God so loved the world.” (John 3:16) Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we should have an ongoing love for those in the world and a desire to complete our commission.

The Christian goes into the world armed with his faith in the Word. The Word of God which was in the beginning, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word has now become flesh and we have heard His Word spoken and have the privilege to speak it. The Christian is guarded and sustained by His Word and are known as a disciple community in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection and fortified by the power of His Holy Spirit, our counselor and comforter. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13)

The Word we have been given fully equips us for the work that the Lord has set before us. By the knowledge of His Word we are enabled to overcome any obstacle that may be placed before us. It is God who goes before us and it is God who has prepared the way. There is nothing in our path that we cannot bear. All things that we labor for are for the glory of the Father. It is for our assurance that we remain rooted in His Word. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Through the work of our Lord on the cross and His prayers for us we are sanctified by His truth. With our faith and trust in Jesus we follow His call with devoted hearts to do His will that we can live holy and blameless lives in the midst of a sinful world. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:19)

Our Lord prayed that we be sanctified as He was. He came into the world for the ministry of the gospel and has sent us into the world for that ministry. We have been sanctified in His truth that though us His truth can set others free from the wage of their sin. Let us be set apart by His Truth. “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, August 12, 2016

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