SEPARATED AND SET APART

[SW377] 5/4/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Separated and Set Apart”

Text: 2Chronicles 5:11-14, Hebrews 10:1, 19-22, etc.

The Lord has asked me to show you the “then” and “now” of being separated from sin and set apart to God — called sanctification. The first is a shadow of the second. 

Why should you care? If you understand the price Jesus Christ paid for your salvation — His blood — and that He commands you to be sanctified (Acts 1:4-5, Luke 24:49), you will pay close attention.

The “Then” of the Old Testament

The “then” required outward sanctification of the priests who ministered to the Lord. Because they were outwardly separated from their sin and set apart to the Lord, they were able to come near and minister to the Lord. 

Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2). God and sin cannot dwell together. So, outward sanctification in the Old Testament was a matter of life and death! If a priest was not properly sanctified outwardly, and yet entered the Holy of Holies to minister to the Lord, he died in the Lord’s presence.

Per Leviticus 8, the outward sanctification process was as follows 

— they were outwardly washed with water (Leviticus 8:6), 

— they were clothed with special linen garments (Leviticus 8:7), 

— they were given a golden crown upon which was written, “Holy to the LORD” (Exodus 28:36, Leviticus 8:9),

— they were anointed with special oil (Leviticus 8:12),

— blood from a slaughtered animal was placed on the lobe of their right ear, the thumb of their right hand, and on the big toe of their right foot, thereby covering them from head to toe (Leviticus 8:23-24), and

— they were sprinkled with blood, all over (Leviticus 8:30).

This was the “then” — an outward sanctification, according to the Law of Moses in the old covenant. By this means, they were made outwardly separated from sin and set apart to God. With that background, I will go on to the texts for today’s message.

2Chronicles 5:11-14

Verse 11 —

Solomon’s temple was finished, and the priests brought the ark of the covenant into the holy of holies (see Verses 1 and 7). All the priests had outwardly sanctified themselves, because all of them were to minister during the dedication of the temple.  

NOTE: Normally, there was a rotation of priests from the 24 divisions (see 1Chronicles 24:7-8), but this was a profoundly important occasion.

Verses 12-13a — 

The Levitical singers sang and played their instruments — with one voice — standing east of the altar outside the temple. And with them were 120 Levitical priests, each with a trumpet which they blew in unison. They made themselves heard, with one voice, in order to praise the Lord. They sang, “He indeed is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 

Verses 13b-14 —

As they praised the Lord in unity, then the house of the LORD was filled with smoke, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple! His kabod, His weighty, powerful presence, prevented them from ministering.

The “Now” of the New Testament

Jesus Christ has made a new and living way  — inward sanctification of those who obey His command to be filled with His Holy Spirit. When you obey His command to be filled, you are forever separated from the sin nature you were born with, and set apart for the Lord in a moment of time! 

And when you obey His command, you are enabled to stand and minister continually, rather than being unable to minister because of His weighty presence.  Why are you able to stand and minister? His kabod, His weighty presence, splendor and glory, permanently indwells you. As Paul wrote, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 6:19)!

Hebrews 10:1, 19-22

Verse 1 —

For the Law was only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things. It can never make perfect those who draw near, including the priests.  Outward sanctification cannot cleanse us inwardly. 

The sacrificial system was symbolic, a shadow of Jesus Christ, who sanctifies believers inwardly when they ask to be filled with His Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ says that only then can we be His witnesses here (Acts 1:8), so that we not only walk as He walked but also are as He is in this world (1John 2:6, 4:17). And only then can He minister through us! As He says, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him in us, He will minister through us!

Verses 19-20 —

When Jesus Christ fills you with His Holy Spirit, you have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus Christ. You enter by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through His body, sacrificed for our sin on the cross. 

When He fills you, He inwardly sanctifies you. He makes you holy on the inside, so you are always able to stand before Him and minister to Him, for His kabod has filled you!

And when He inwardly sanctifies you, He fills you to overflowing with His perfect love, by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Therefore, you have no fear of punishment (1John 4:18). He has crucified the sin nature in you (Galatians 5:24), and you become a partaker of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4). 

Verses 21-22 —

Our Great Priest, Jesus Christ, who is over the whole house of God the Father, has made a new covenant, a new and living way to be inwardly sanctified, separated us from the sin nature you are born with, and set us apart to Him. 

When you are filled with His Spirit, you are able to draw near with a sincere heart (literally, a heart completely true). There is no more falseness in your heart, because Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), permanently and fully indwells you. 

Therefore, you draw near in faith, fully assured that He has inwardly cleansed you and you will not die as you stand before Him and minister to Him. He is in you, and you minister to Him continually!

Remember the outward sanctification process of “then”? This is the inward sanctification process of “now” —

The Washing — When you first believed, you were outwardly cleansed when you were baptized with water as a symbol of your repentance and faith in Christ. You became a child of God (John 1:12). But when you are filled with His Spirit, He sanctifies you through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23). Your heart is cleansed (purified), per Peter’s testimony in Acts 15:9! It is then that you are separated from your sin nature and set apart to God!

The Clothing — When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are inwardly clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and inwardly clothed with His holiness, rather than outwardly clothed with special outward garments (Leviticus 8:7). 

The Crown — Because your sanctification is inward, you have a spiritual golden crown that is engraved with the words, “Holy to the Lord.” He has made you holy on the inside, by filling you with His Holy Spirit.

The Anointing Oil — You have been inwardly anointed with the oil of His Holy Spirit. You no longer need to be outwardly covered with anointing oil. You are permanently filled with His anointing, His Holy Spirit!

The Blood — You are sprinkled inwardly with the blood of Jesus Christ. He took the punishment for  your past sins on the cross, in order to remove you from being under God’s wrath and to reconcile you to God. And it is by His sacrifice on the cross that a new and living way was opened for you to be inwardly sanctified!

One voice — The unity is not an outward unity of voices praising the Lord, but inward unity of nature with God the Father and God the Son (again, 2Peter 1:4). It is the Father’s “Yes” to Jesus Christ’s prophetic petition, when He spoke of what would come to pass at Pentecost —

John 17:22 “The glory (the Holy Spirit in view) which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one . . .  26  and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Not all Christians Are Inwardly Sanctified

There are many examples in the Old Testament of those who were outwardly sanctified but forsook the Lord. Even many of the Levitical priests yielded to the desires of the people and their desire to worship false gods, whose root is the god of self. 

The Lord said through Ezekiel —

Ezekiel 44:10 “But the Levites who went far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.” 13 And they shall not come near to Me to serve as a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they will bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.”

It is the same today. Many who are in pulpits have been outwardly sanctified, but they have forsaken the Lord in order to please the people in their pews. They teach a gospel adapted to the culture of the day and the false gods their outwardly sanctified people love to worship — even the god of self, which craves outward blessings — success, money, power. 

They teach that it is impossible to be inwardly sanctified until just before your body dies. But that is not what the Bible says!

Beloved, as long as you are sanctified outwardly instead of inwardly,  your sin nature is still alive and well, and you will continue to willfully disobey the Lord in many ways, and you will be judged by Him at the end of things (Matthew 25:24-30).  By refusing His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit and inwardly sanctified, you disobey Him. If you disobey Him, you do not love Him (John 14:24).

You cannot retain your sin nature and at the same time be set apart from sin. You cannot retain your sin nature and be set apart to Him, for your sin separates you from Him!

Therefore, beloved, I pray without ceasing and warn church leaders and believers to obey Christ’s command to you. When you obey Him, He will separate you from your sin nature and set you apart for His Father and Him. He will gladly sanctify you, if you ask your Father in heaven (Luke 11:13)!

Lord, may believers hear and heed the words You have given me to speak. Amen.

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