Posted: March 23, 2015 in CORE


Pastor Mike has been on a ROLL!  He as been tackling deep, important theological concepts in our sermons at Manchester United Methodist Church.

But you may be asking, “Why is theology important…especially for teens?”

Theology is vital to understanding our relationship with God.  Theology supports our study of scripture and causes us to develop a solid foundation to grow spiritually.  Which leads us to this week’s term…



Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit transforms a repentant Believer from behaving like the world, to behaving like Christ.  Yesterday, the students of CORE had much discussion regarding sanctification as measured by spiritual growth.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.  

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.  Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness….Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 4:17-24, 5:1-2

We can see here that there is a distinct difference between the behaviors of the world, and the behavior of repentant, justified Christ-followers.  That is a transformation process that happens in the life of a Believer.

Becoming sanctified is a daily process!  It begins when a person repents of his or her sin, acknowledging that we are sinners in need of a Savior, which is Jesus.  “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus, Romans 3:21-24.  Repentance and justification begins the sanctification process.  We are are at peace with God through Christ’s blood (Colossians 1:20) and then called to be imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1).

What a hard calling!  Christ lived a perfect, sinless life.  I know that I cannot–on my own strength–accomplish that calling.  Which is why the process of sanctification (being transformed into the likeness of Christ) is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not be the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Romans 8:1-14

So how do we living according to the Spirit?  I’m glad you asked!  We live in total dependance that the Spirit would take control of our thoughts and actions.  “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want….But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:16-17, 22-25.

When we live by the Spirit, we are asking the Spirit to take control of our life.  We can measure this by seeing the fruit produced by spiritual growth.  Sanctification–being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Christ–can only be done when we yield ourselves to His control and grow in knowledge of Scripture.  In doing so, we give Him glory!

CORE homework for this week:

Since we have been taking about such deep theology, I asked the students to write a brief response to the following questions.  The response can be emailed to this week, or handed in next Sunday.

  • Based on your understanding, what is justification?
  • Based on your understanding, what is sanctification?
  • How do you measure spiritual growth?
  • Read Galatians 5:16-25 and briefly explain what you think this passage means.

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