The Sanctifying Sword

The Sanctifying Swordbloglove-699480_960_720

“Stand therefore … with truth … righteousness … the gospel of peace … the shield of faith … And take the helmet of salvation,

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Ephesians 6:14-17, KJV

Sanctification—holy, separated, devoted to—are a few of the words Vine’s Expository Dictionary uses to define sanctification. Hebrews 12:14 reminds us of the importance of a sanctified/holy life devoted to the Lord.

“Follow peace with all men,

and holiness,

without which no man shall see the Lord …”

Our sanctification unto the Lord God begins and ends with him. He is mekoddishkem—”I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13*

The Lord spoke those words to Moses to declare to the Israelites, when he explained the purpose of keeping the Sabbath. It would serve as a sign between God and the children of Israel for ever—a sign He had set them apart from the rest of the world for a relationship with him.

“Now therefore,

  • if ye will obey my voice indeed,
  • and keep my covenant,
  • then ye shall be a peculiar(special) treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
  • And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,
  • and an holy nation.

These are the words which

thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Exodus 19:5,6, KJV

The Lord, also spoke similar words to us, his church.

  • “But ye are a chosen generation,
  • a royal priesthood,
  • an holy nation,
  • a peculiar people;
  • that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
  • Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9,10

We, the saved, the redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ are the church of Jesus Christ. We are the called, the people of God. We are separated unto God’s glory— by grace through faith in the power and promises of God—when we receive Jesus’ sacrifice as our debt payment for sin.

“By the which will we are sanctified

through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all …

For by one offering

he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified …”

Hebrews 10:10,14

The performance of our sanctification has already been done and will be completed. It is an immediate state of being when we receive Jesus Christ as our savior. It is a completed process when we stand before him and hear the King say,

“Come, ye blessed of my Father,

inherit the kingdom prepared for you

from the foundation of the world …”

Matthew 25:34

The sword of the Spirit, the word of God is the path to sanctification found in the living Word of God. The KJV speaks of the word in Hebrews as being quick and powerful. Other translations say, living, alive.

The word of God has the power to give us life in Jesus Christ—“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17—a life that is devoted to the Lord, set apart unto him.

He has spoken it. We heard it and believed it—it is done. The sword of the Spirit has the power to effect sanctification—the holiness required of us in order to see God. He activates holiness in us as we receive the word, allowing it to cut away the innate desires of the flesh, as we continue our journey home.

“Husbands love your wives,

even as Christ also loved the church,

and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it

with the washing of water by the word,

that he might present it to himself

a glorious church,

not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;

but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27

Practical sanctification is the process of,

  • Growing in the knowledge of God’s love, thereby growing in our love for him.
  • Daily giving our will, desires, our living to God
  • Staying in the word, allowing it to do its work in us—making us glorious, without a spot of the flesh left in us—holy, devoted to the Lord.

Revelation 19: 11-16 shows us the living and powerful Word of God, when He comes to put all enemies under his feet. I include only verses 13 and 15.

“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:

and his name is called

The Word of God …

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,

that with it he should smite the nations:

and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:

and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath

of Almighty God.”

Until that time, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, stands before the Lord God praying on our behalf as he did for his disciples.

“Sanctify them through thy truth:

thy word is truth.”

John 17:17

Sanctification, holiness, separated from the world, sounds like an impossible goal to reach, and on our own it is. But we are not alone. We have the responsibility to pursue the goal, but God promises to complete his work of holiness in us and take us across the finish line. The apostle Paul was confident of this truth and we can be, too.

“Being confident of this very thing,

that he which hath begun a good work in you

will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

A Prayer For Us the Church of Jesus Christ;

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more

in knowledge and in all judgment(understanding):

That ye may approve things that are excellent;

that ye may be sincere and without offence

till the day of Christ;

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness,

which are by Jesus Christ,

unto the glory and praise of God.”

Philippians 1:9-11

It’s time we the people of God,—”take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13


*The book, Lord I Want to Know You, A Devotional Study on the Names of God, by Kay Arthur, along with the bible, were my resources for this post. I recommend Kay’s book for anyone wanting to draw nearer to the Lord.

Wielding the Sword

Wielding the Sword

a father and sob playing with wooden swords toy
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

“Stand therefore … with truth … righteousness … the gospel of peace … the shield of faith … And take the helmet of salvation,

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Ephesians 6:14-17, KJV

The two boys carefully select just the right stick and stand with legs stretched apart. “ En garde!”  Crack, duck, run, and try for another blow. No expertise here, no certain pattern followed—just hope you’re faster and stronger than the other guy. This strategy doesn’t work well against someone who knows how to use a sword properly. Neither does it work well in Christian warfare against our enemy, which is—

“not … flesh and blood,

but … principalities … powers …

rulers of the darkness of this world …

spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Ephesians 6:12

These enemies are, in truth, one enemy who uses whomever and whatever to deceive, discourage, and devour us. He has one aim. Since he cannot defeat God, he marches against those who belong to God. He even uses a sword that resembles the Lord’s. Remember Pharoah’s magicians who turned their rods into snakes after seeing Moses turn the rod of God into a snake? God’s rod devoured the magicians’ many snakes. The sword of the Spirit given to us is stronger than our enemy’s, but we must know how to use it properly.

Having the word of God in your hand, carrying it to church, or sitting on a shelf at home weakens our weapon against satan, because we don’t have the knowledge to use it against his twisted tongue. We need to hold the Spirit’s sword in our mind, our heart, and our spirit—then take it in our hand, and let the Spirit teach us how to wield it.

If we want to live in this warfare to fight another day, we need a living sword that cuts to the depths of truth and destroys the lies of the enemy, as well as, the lies we are tempted to embrace.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,

and sharper than any twoedged sword,

piercing even to the dividing asunder

of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,

and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

The sword of the Spirit lays open the heart of our enemy with precise strokes revealing his evil nature and intents to destroy. If not used correctly this edge could end up wounding us.

At the same time, the other edge carefully slices through and removes all that is ungodly in the thoughts and intents of the heart. It provides our way of sanctification.

“Sanctify them through thy truth:

thy word is truth.”

John 17:17

The sword of the Spirit is our only weapon of warfare. There is nothing stronger than the word of God.

We have come full circle. Truth is our belt protecting us against satan’s lies, and it is found in our sword of the Spirit to be used to fight skillfully against the enemy. But like the boys, if we don’t know how to use our sword, it’s time to duck and run—and begin to—

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God,

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15


Hopefully, in my next post we will meet Jehovah-mekoddishkem and dive—or maybe wade—into his relationship to the sword of the Spirit and what it means to us. I appreciate your prayers.

Praying for Daily Bread

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Our Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Matthew 6:11, KJV

  • No more and no less but thankful for all.

“Keep deception and lies far from me,

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with the food that is my portion,

Lest I be full and deny Thee and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’

Or lest I be in want and steal,

And profane the name of my God …

Not that I speak from want;

for I have learned to be content

in whatever circumstances I am …

always giving thanks for all things

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”

Proverbs 30:8-9;Philippians 4:11;Ephesians 5:20

  • Increase our hunger for that which feeds our soul and grows us in our salvation.

“But He answered and said, ‘It is written,

MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE,

BUT ON EVERY WORD

THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

Matthew 4:4, NASB

“‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord GOD,

‘When I will send a famine on the land,

Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,

But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.’”

Amos 8:11, NASB

“like newborn babes,

long for the pure milk of the word,

that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

1Peter 2:2,3; NASB

  • May we always be ready to preach your word as you give it to us. Give us ears to hear your truth and turn away from all that is false.

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

preach the word;

be ready in season and out of season;

reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;

but wanting to have their ears tickled,

they will accumulate for themselves teachers

in accordance to their own desires;

and will turn away their ears from the truth,

and will turn aside to myths.”

2 Timothy 4: 1-4 NASB

  • Thank you, for giving us life-giving words.

“It is the Spirit who gives life;

the flesh profits nothing;

the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life …

How sweet are Thy words to my taste!

Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

John 6:63; Psalm 119:103

  • May all who read, receive your invitation.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good;

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

Psalm 34:8

All is asked in Jesus’ name for your glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

For Reflection: Do you have a daily diet of God’s word? Is it a snack? Or a whole meal?

Seeds of Promise

“The sower soweth the word.” Mark 4:14

“I have 6 cabbage plants and 6 cauliflower plants,” announced Tom.

I frowned at my husband. “They look a lot alike.” Tom nodded in agreement and we proceeded to plant.

You guessed it. Someone had marked the new plants wrong. We had an abundance of cabbage that year.

Another time we unknowingly planted bad seed which produced nothing but frustration. Other years we’ve planted, fertilized, and watered when rain didn’t come, and enjoyed a good crop of everything. We planted corn and got corn, beans and got beans. It’s the basic principle of life the apostle Paul talks about in Galatians 6:7.

“Be not deceived:

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Tom was deceived by the packaging on the cabbage plants. The words written were not true. Paul and James through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tell us –

“Be not deceived”

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience …

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness,

and receive with meekness the engrafted word,

which is able to save  your souls.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,

deceiving your own selves …

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue,

but deceiveth his own heart,

this man’s religion is vain.”

Ephesians 5:6; James 1:20-22,26.

We need to be careful the words we receive into our hearts as truth – being certain it is the good seed of God’s word that is able to save our souls. Just because something looks right or sounds right doesn’t make it right. Absolute truth is found only in the word of God. He tells us to guard our hearts against false packaging.  For he looks at the heart and cannot be fooled.

“God is not mocked”

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:

for the LORD seeth not as man seeth;

for man looketh on the outward appearance,

but the LORD looketh on the heart …

I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart,

and hast pleasure in uprightness…”

1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 29:17

In Jesus’ parable, the sower planted the word. The seed was good and should have produced fruit in the hearers. It was the ground, the heart of some of the hearers that was faulty. What is sown in our hearts bears fruit in our lives – fruit for eternity.

“for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption … For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die…

but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting … but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:13

Jesus told his disciples to –

“Say not ye,

There are yet four months and then cometh harvest …

Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields;

for they are white already to harvest.

And he that reapeth receiveth wages,

and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:

that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”

John 4:35-36

Tom plowed and tilled our garden spot. It’s ready for the seed. We won’t reap the full reward until harvest time. But the harvest Jesus spoke of is ready for reaping. There will be joy and rejoicing for those who have received the engrafted word of God into their hearts. But until the harvest is completed there is still plowing, tilling, and sowing of seed to be done.

May we be found laboring –

“not for the meat which perisheth,

but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,

which the Son of man shall give unto you:

for him hath God the Father sealed.”

John 6:27

Are you planting a garden this year? What is your favorite fresh vegetable or fruit? When you bite into it give thanks for the harvest and pray for the harvest to come.

Are You Forfeiting Your Greatest Blessing?

Are you blessed with ears that hear? Any who will, can hear these words and be blessed. In fact many who have their hearing refuse to hear, forfeiting their greatest blessing.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

Our word of blessing this week comes from Luke 11:28:

“But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

“…Blessed are they that hear…So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God… Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures… For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world: and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it and knew the grace of God in truth… (Rom. 10:17; James 1:18;Col. 1:5,6).

…the word of God…In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God… While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him… Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ…Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said…Men and brethren what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (John 1:1; Matt. 17:5; taken from Acts 2:36-41).

Did you notice in the above scriptures where your ears for hearing are located?  Check it out.

…and keep it…Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go, O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea…. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth, therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed… Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.”( Isa. 58:17,18; James. 1:25; Matt. 7:25).

The greatest blessing is yet to come for those who hear and keep the word of God:

“Blessed are they that do the commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev. 22:14.

I will leave you with a few words of an old song: “Have you heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus saves?”

And a prayer: Father, thank you for the living Word that not only spoke your word but lived it out that we might know you. Give us each ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts to receive your word. For in it is the power that saves.

How has the word of God changed your life?

 

My First Book Review

Would you like to begin and end the week blessed? Do I know the book for you!IMG_0069

Some who know me personally think this is where I introduce you to my daughter’s recently released book, Faith’s Journey, by Heather Greer, available through Amazon. They would be right and wrong. I did introduce it but it’s not the book I’m going to review, at least, not today. I’m sure if you read it, you will be blessed but I can promise you’ll be blessed by reading and heeding the book in my first review.

 

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courtesy of Pixabay free images

“But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28. John writes in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

I’m not going to include all 176 verses of Psalm 119 but David begins the Psalm with these words: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.”  David then continues to list many of the benefits of the word of God. We’ll probably look at some throughout the week.

Many books we read touch our lives in special ways. But the word of God when read, believed and heeded guarantees to change our lives and bring us blessing.

Because it is:

  • Divinely inspired: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works…For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Tim. 3:1617; 2Pet. 1:21).
  • True and Sanctifying: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth… And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth …Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that is should be holy and without blemish. (John 17:17,19;Eph. 5:25-27).
  • A guide for living: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (Ps. 119:105; John 16:13).
  • The source of wisdom, understanding and salvation: “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies…Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way… And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (Ps. 119:98,104; 2Tim. 3:15).
  • The source of joy: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jer. 15:16.

This is the short review. The Bible is filled with the accounts of men and women who have embraced God’s word and walked with our extraordinary God ever growing in His grace and knowledge. His book is the main source of knowing Him. I encourage you to spend time reading and studying His word for nowhere else can you find the words of life, eternal life, the blessed life.

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:68.

What verse or book of the bible do you go to the most?