Selective sanctification – Luke 11:33-36

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

There are really two lessons here:

1. Don’t hide the light you have.
2. Make your whole self full of light.

Most often, when I’ve heard this passage taught, the focus is on the first lesson.  I also cannot read it without hearing a cheerful melody resonating in my head.  

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

So let’s focus on the second one:  Make your whole self full of light.

In other words, we need to beware of what we might call Selective Sanctification.

Let’s read Luke 11:35-36 again.

35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.

Sometimes we can want to be holy, but only in the ways that we like best.  Then at the same time, we leave a little room for a few other things – maybe things that are not really holy at all.  We can have our favorite (little?) sins.  We can have the ones we don’t yet realize we have and maybe don’t really want to even know about.

Leviticus 11:44-45 says,

44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy … 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

A few chapters later, in Leviticus 20:26, we read,

You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

Then in the New Testament, Peter reminds us, in 1 Peter 1:14-16,

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

We need to be holy all the way through.  And if you think you are there yet, think again. Beware of selective sanctification; just be holy.

A Prayer Prompted by Luke 13

Heavenly Father,

At present, we see that good and bad things happen to both good and bad people.

We accept the way that you maintain your control over the world, allowing evil and tragedy to exist side-by-side with everything that is good.  Even within the church, the living expression of Christ’s life on earth, we see that there is corruption.  Help us not to be a part of that problem, but rather be part of the solution.

Help us not to trust in ourselves, in our own goodness, merit or virtue or righteous works.  We see that before your holiness, the only safe way to approach you is in humility, admitting our guilt and seeing our need for repentance.

Forgive us of our sins, fill us with your Spirit.  Help us to live completely for you, relying on your power, the power of Christ’s resurrection life at work with us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Luke 11 – Verse by Verse

Photo for Luke

Jesus often taught off the cuff as people asked questions or made comments.  We get several examples of that here in Luke 11. Some of them may be familiar to us.

Luke 11.pdf

Luke 11.mp3

What’s inside? – Matthew 23:27-28

As Jesus cuts into the religious hypocrites of his day, one of the “woes” he pronounces on them is this:

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

It’s a graphic picture.  Rotting corpses lying behind clean, newly painted, white outer walls.  The smells of fresh paint and decomposition combine in an oddly unpleasant mixture.  We might only wish the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus referred to were the only ones ever to be found guilty as charged.  

Unfortunately, as long as there shall be religion in a fallen world, we can count on the existence of religious hypocrisy.  If the world, the flesh and the devil can’t get us to fall headlong into sin and drown, they will keep trying to find something for us to dip our toes in when no one is looking.  It may be some secret dishonesty or indiscretion.  It may be a smug self-satisfaction that we are not as evil as someone else.  It doesn’t matter what the rottenness is caused by, it only matters that it is there.

The starting point in reversing the process is simple honesty that hypocrisy is real, wicked, and consistently knocking at our door.  Basic honesty with ourselves and others removes the need for religious hypocrisy and is almost already its opposite.  We don’t have to clean up the outside to impress anyone and the inside will not deteriorate beyond a certain point.  The Holy Spirit, if he dwells within, will see to it.

It’s the confessing sinner that is able to repent of sin and the humble servant that can somehow live with an outward flaw.  Hypocrisy is an obstacle in the way of genuine spiritual growth.  The highway toward true holiness has many off-ramps that lead to hypocrisy.  We need to be sure not to take any of them.  When our inside and outside are in harmony, both trending toward a Christlike end, all is well.  One day we shall be inwardly and outwardly pure.

Make Disciples. Week 9: Holiness

make-disciples

Tomorrow, we will get together for Week 9 of 12 in our “Make Disciples.” series. Below you will find links to an overview of the full 12 weeks and for the ninth area on the map, Experiencing God’s Power: Holiness.

Overview

Make Disciples. Week 09

During the 12 weeks, we are addressing areas on a comprehensive discipleship map.  After discussing each area, we will try to establish Milestones that would provide evidence of personal spiritual growth – markers that we work toward. 

Central Streaming: Waiting for Jesus

The Letters of Paulapostle-paul

Paul writes to encourage an exemplary church.  Despite their affliction, they need to stand firm and continue waiting for Jesus.

                     1 Thess.pdf              1 Thess.mp3

Central Streaming: Commissioned

Logo 1

Isaiah goes into the Temple with unexpected results.

Isaiah 6.pdf                    Isaiah 6.mp3

The Prophet Isaiah