Sermon: God Will Surely Do It 1 Thessalonians 5:22-28

God Will Surely Do It

1 Thessalonians 5:22-28

Truth Taught- God Himself will sanctify all His people. He will surely do it!

Introduction

In this final section, often called a benediction of peace, we see the Apostle highlighting three of his main themes throughout the letter. This benediction is classic Paul in the sense of reminding his readers of what he has already taught them, telling them that he is praying for them, and asking that they pray for him as well. Paul was a man of prayer, he prayed without ceasing. He was a man of prayer like our Lord because he knew if anything was going to be accomplished through his ministry it had to be empowered by God. God’s power is available to us by prayer acknowledging our complete dependence upon Him.

Paul knew by experience that the Christian life is a life lived in complete and utter dependence on God and His grace. That’s exactly why we pray so much. We learned last time that we are to pray without ceasing, living in dependence on God 24/7. When we pray we are showing our dependence on God and asking Him to do for us what we cannot do ourselves.

The emphasis in this closing section is Paul’s prayer to God for the saints in Thessalonica that He would do something in them that they could never do for themselves. Paul prays that God would sanctify them completely.

Now the word “sanctify” here, the verb, is a common one, hagiazo.  It is used a number of times in the New Testament because this is a very common and basic principle of Christian life.  Noun forms of it appear also.  The noun form hagios translated usually by the word “holy”.  The verb means “to separate,” to separate, to set apart from.  And in this case to set apart from sin to holiness.  So when we see sanctify or sanctification or holy or holiness, all of those come from the same root.  They all have the idea of being separated, set apart.  Sanctification then is the process of being set apart from sin unto holiness.[1]

God’s ultimate priority for His people is that we are being set apart from sin and are becoming more and more like Jesus. It is His desire and will that we be sanctified.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (ESV)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification.

Here is a wonderful example of God’s sovereignty and man’s prayers at work. Often times people will say, questioning God’s sovereignty, if God is sovereign then why do we pray? If God is going to do what He’s going to do then our prayers are pointless. To that I respond that God’s sovereignty and our prayers work together in an amazing way. It’s God’s will for the Thessalonian Christians to be sanctified. So, God wants to do this in them. He wants to make them more like Jesus. He places this in Paul’s mind and heart so that he prays for their sanctification, which is the exact thing God desires to accomplish in them. This is what praying in God’s will and in Jesus’ name looks like.

We can be sure that when we are praying for holiness and righteousness in our own lives and for other believers that we are praying in the will of God and those prayers will be answered because God desires to do this already.

John 14:13–14 (ESV)

13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Prayer is not hard to figure out. If your prayers are not answered then you’re simply not praying in the name of Jesus and for the things He wants to accomplish in and through you. If your prayers are answered then you are praying in Jesus’ name and for the things God desires.

The real issue is that our prayers are more immature and selfish. God give me something or God I don’t like this thing please take it away. Instead we should be praying for things like sanctification while seeking Christ’s righteousness instead of most of the things we pray about.

Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:23–28 (ESV)

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

  1. Prayer for Complete Sanctification

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

  1. Who Sanctifies Us?

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely…He will surely do it.

The Apostle is very clear that our sanctification like our salvation is not by works. We cannot in our own strength make our self like Jesus. We cannot be holy by hard work. We cannot achieve the Christlikeness by our self. So, Paul prays that God would make them holy.

His prayer is directed to God Himself. He uses a title for God here that is extremely fitting… the God of peace. The God of Peace denotes our God because He has brought peace between Himself and His people. He has taken the steps necessary to reconcile His elect to Himself.

2 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)

11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Some here today need peace. You try so very hard at various endeavors and it seems you come up empty handed. You’re frustrated, tired, and hopeless. The reason is you are not seeking the things God has for you and instead you’re seeking the things you want. God is the God of peace and if you don’t have real peace in your life then something is wrong somewhere. How long will you continue like this? How long will you seek happiness and worth in fleeting things when God has His hand out ready to give you peace freely in Himself? He stands ready to freely love you and give you eternal peace. I believe I’m supposed to pause here for a minute and press this issue. You may have lived all your life seeking peace and you know whether you’ve found it or not.

Paul prays that God would go ahead a do what His will is…to sanctify His people. He will surely do it. I’ve had this word bouncing around in my head for a while now from our Genesis study. The day you eat of it you will surely die. Satan’s rendition went, you will not surely die but…When Paul says to us God will surely do it he means that it will happen and we must pray it happens.

Let’s pray and ask God to sanctify us.

Our Prayer for Sanctification

Father when we consider verses like this we want to shout for joy and weep at the same time. We’re joyful for all Your promises that find their yes and amen in Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to be Your children called by Your name and for Your glory. We weep because we realize how much more we need to be sanctified. We also weep over the years we spent in gospel-ignorance—strangers to the ways of grace. We suffered much under the hands of bad theologies, man-centered remedies, and Christ-less formulas, for maturing as believers.

But this one passage, alone, affirms that you didn’t just justify us, you’re also the One who’s sanctifying us. You called us to life in Jesus; you’re thoroughly transforming us to be like Jesus; and you’re keeping our whole being blameless, until the Day you send Jesus back to finish making all things new. No wonder Paul calls you the “God of peace.” Where else can such peace, joy, and assurance be found?

Father transform us from sinners into saints from those who dabble with sin to those who disdain sin. Make us like Jesus; transform us by Your great power into those who love Jesus and His righteousness more than we love our idols. Give us Your peace as You and You alone mold us into the image of Christ. We are tired of living on the fence with one foot in this world and one foot in Your will. Push us over the edge, grab hold of us and transform us through and through body, soul, and spirit for Christ’s namesake, We know this is Your will. Father bring Your will, our sanctification, our holiness to come to pass in our lives, Amen

We looked at Who sanctifies us, now lets look at why…

  1. Why Will God Sanctify Us?

may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The goal/purpose for our complete sanctification is so that we will be found blameless when Jesus returns.

Paul mentions the human’s body, soul and spirit not to stir up the popular arguments about man’s being but to emphasize the fact that God is going to wholly and entirely sanctify each person who is in Christ when Jesus returns. Complete and full sinless Christlikeness will happen when Jesus returns.

may your whole spirit and soul and body…

Here’s the purpose of this amazing work of God…
God will keep us blameless so that we can stand before Jesus without shame or guilt. The complete work of salvation, planned in election, effected in our calling, made evident in our conversion, will be brought to completion at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When Jesus returns He will come back to find His bride, the church, dressed in radiant white righteousness. He will return to a pure glistening radiant sinless and holy bride completely suitable for the sinless Son of God.

We see, that our sanctification is for us but it’s also and maybe even more for Jesus Christ. His death is still working to accomplish perfection in His people. Not only are we justified but His death is transforming us.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Jesus will return to a glorious bride and this will be accomplished by God…He will surely do it.

God will complete our sanctification when the Lord returns. This is what Paul wanted to leave those early Christians with and God wants to leave us with a boost of confidence.

  1. Who Will Be Sanctified?

24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Those who will be sanctified are those God has called to this very thing.

2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

To answer who will be sanctified is to say that God’s elect, those whom He has called will be sanctified. There will not be one called saint who is in Christ that will not be fully and completely made holy like Jesus. All will be made holy and perfect.

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I pray this benediction gives us confidence that God will surely do it. He will do it not because we deserve it but because His Son deserves it.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be included in God’s people and to know that someday each and every person who loves Jesus will be made perfect. Can you imagine the day when we no longer sin?

Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

  1. Paul Seeks Their Prayers

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Here the Apostle says that all the things he has prayed for them, they should also be praying for him and his team. Paul also needed to be sanctified fully just like they did.

He charges them to greet one another with a holy kiss. Brotherly affection in the ancient world was often signified by a kiss on the cheek. The key part here is to greet one another with love and kindness…we shake hands or perhaps hug.

Finally his charge is to read this epistle to the churches. Early, it was passed and copied and read. It was taught just like we do today. This was from the earliest times considered God’s Word with divine truth fixed to it.

The Early Church immediately began to read and teach God’s Word in worship and this practice became the practice of the Reformers such as Calvin and Luther.

What surprises the modern reader of Calvin’s sermons is the simplicity of his sermons. We find no engaging introductions, no illustrative stories nor anecdotes, no quotations from great authors, no stirring conclusions. Although Calvin was one of the most literate men of his age and a master in the use of language, his sermons depend not at all on literary elegance. The forcefulness of his sermons is to be found in the clarity of his analysis of the text. Calvin seems to have no fear that the Scriptures will be boring or irrelevant unless the preacher spices them up. In fact, Calvin seems to have a horror of decorating the Word of God. Scripture does not need to be painted with artists’ colors! So confident is the reformer that God will make his Word alive in the hearts of his people, that Calvin simply explains the text and draws out its implication. The simplicity and directness of his style is based in his confidence that what he is preaching is indeed the Word of God. This simplicity is an expression of reverence.[2]

Then Paul ends his letter with a blessing…

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

 

*Resources Used:

John Stott, The Gospel and the End of Time

1 and 2 Thessalonians by Robert Cara

1 and 2 Thessalonians by G K Beale

1 and 2 Thessalonians by Leon Morris

1 and 2 Thessalonians by FF Bruce

1 and 2 Thessalonians by G L Green

 

[1] John MacArthur   https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/52-35/a-prayer-for-complete-sanctification

 

[2] Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship: Reformed According to Scripture (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 76.

 

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