Nathan Collett - Sanctified - Sydney - 2006

II Timothy 2:21, "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." It is in us to feel needed and to feel that you can fill a useful place.  But how much better it is to understand that God needs you, that He wants you to fill a useful place in His kingdom, and that He has a life for you to live to be an example for others and to point to His Son, so that others wouldn't just see a natural person with correct morals and standards, but they would see past you and see Christ.  A vessel unto honour is a valuable vessel, one that is useful.  It is a vessel that doesn't have leaks in it, it will hold what you put in it, it is also clean and can be re-cleaned, it can be filled and can overflow and it can be used to pour out to others.  God uses valuable lives to clean, fill, and overflow or pour out to others.

This word sanctified really means separated unto a holy purpose, or set apart for God's special use.  To be sanctified means to be made holy.  To be clean is part of it, but not all of it. Luke 11:24, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, 'I will return unto my house whence I came out.'  And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself .. And the last state of that man is worse than the first."  Cleaning up the house didn't make him sanctified.  It wasn't dedicated or committed for God's special use.  Anything that was going came in and took possession.  Friends, if we don't give God possession and commit our lives to His use, other things will take possession and we will be ruled by things that will be just like devils, they will do whatever they want.  We have the choice of who we give control to.

Maybe you could say there was a separation.  Sometimes religious people want to be separated from the world and that is not a bad thing.  You could isolate yourself from the influences of the world, but that doesn't sanctify you.  Separation is part of it, but it is not all of it.  James 1:27, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this:  to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  When we have the Christ life ruling, these things will be done as a result.  Yes, I could shut myself away and have nothing to do with the world, but will that sanctify me?  No, I still need a commitment for God's special use.  How could we prevent other things entering in and controlling us?

John 17:16, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth:  Thy word is truth.  As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."  Jesus was speaking of being sent and sending others, and said, "They are not of the world."  They were in it, but not of it.  Sometimes people use the expression, "out of this world," and that is right — that is what God's people should be!  His word is Truth and when we feed on that Truth it can govern, and the new life within can be sustained and it can sanctify us.

We also read of being sanctified by the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour .. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." What has God called you unto? I don't just mean being called into the role of a saint or a servant.  That is a calling, and it is important to hear the call of God to the role He wants us to fill.  But daily there is a call to holiness.  Because we love Him we feel this pressure, this calling unto holiness, to be separated unto His special use.  That also means that I am not available for my own use, or to serve the whims of anybody, or to serve what the world would have me to do. We need to be sanctified by the Truth and possess this vessel in sanctification and honor so His work can be done.

Recently I have been glad of the privilege of seeing people who don't have much, yet they make an effort to be sanctified.  In some ways it frees them from a lot of battles that you folk have, but if doesn't make it any easier for them.  There are a lot of cultural and family pressures.  A young woman made a step to separation.  She was engaged to one of our friends and she wanted to make it clear to both families that she was no longer going to follow the religion of her family, but she would follow the belief of her husband-to-be.  She came up with a lot of opposition immediately, and one of the first things they said was, "Where are you going to be buried?"  It was very important to them because of ancestor worship to have a good burial place.  Well, you and I know that it doesn't matter so much where we will be buried.  What matters more is how we live and who we are living for.  She was now conscious that she wasn't serving the ancestors, but her service was before God.  While she was getting more conscious of that, she hadn't yet made a commitment.  Later at special meetings she testified and made a commitment, and now there is the dedication.  So now she is someone that God can use, a vessel of honour.

I have been very thankful to have time in Singapore and see the effort people make to get to meetings.  They have the pressure of working twelve hours a day plus six or seven days a week.  So, it is a big effort for them to take a stand and say, "No, I cannot work on Sunday."  Also, there are traditions like not leaving work until your boss leaves, and if your boss chooses to stay until 11 o'clock at night, then you stay until he leaves. But it is wonderful when people can break with tradition and say, "I have a meeting that is very important to me and I want to be there."  I love to see evidence of people growing, being prepared to sacrifice for the sake of their commitment to the One they love the most.  So, that is what Jesus was talking about, being in the world but not of it. They were different, not because of their own ability, but because of the life of Christ and His work within.

Hebrews 10:5, "Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin, Thou hast had no pleasure .. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. " Verse 14, "For by one offering, He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."  Until we are willing for His work in our lives, how could we be sanctified?

Verse 16, "This is the covenant that I will make with them .. I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."  The way God works is from the inside out, not with a show of making the outside clean.  So we understand that sanctification is an inward work.  Firstly, God wants to change your desires so you desire to please Him and want to be cleaned and commit your life to His keeping.  Then He can do a further work.  That will be firmly written there so you will be very conscious, "I am not available for anyone else, and my life is dedicated for His special use."

 I hope we will all keep our lives on the altar of sacrifice and service.