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1 Thessalonians: Sanctified-Through and Through (15 of 29)
Series: Through the New Testament
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Introduction: For several months we have closed our evening services with the benediction that ends 1 Thessalonians. Tonight I want to use that passage as the text for our overview of this next book in our on-going journey through the New Testament. Recite it with me:
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Note how those three verses break down into three sentences, each with a slightly different emphasis. They are all part of the same prayer. Each is related to the other two. But each brings a unique and important perspective to the whole.
These three little verses perform a similar function for the whole book of 1 Thessalonians. I think it is no accident that the little letter closes with this prayer. The themes of this prayer provide the handles with which to grasp the message of the entire book.
Verse 23 highlights God's plan for every believer--complete sanctification. The middle verse emphasizes the purpose of our sanctification--to stand blameless when Christ returns. The final verse points to the promise that makes this possible--the faithfulness of God. Let's use this closing prayer as our roadmap for the book of 1 Thessalonians.
The first verse of the pray highlights God's plan for every believer. What is God's plan for your life and mine? Ask that question to a dozen different people and you will probably get a dozen different answers. Rarely will anyone put the emphasis where this text does. Some might say God wants you to get saved. He wants to forgive your sins. Others might say God's plan is for you to be baptized. Or go to church. Or to be obey the Ten Commandments. Others might say God wants you to go to heaven--that's ...
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