We Have Been Sanctified
7th Sunday in Easter
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
May 16, 2021
Readings: Acts 1: 15-26
1 John 5: 9-15
John 17: 11B-19
Today marks the end of the celebration of Easter. Much time has been given these past weeks to show us God’s love and compassion, and how He restored us. We were rebellious and brought “death” into existence in our lives. God’s plan of restoration was carried out through His Son. New life and hope – no longer despair and frustration but peace and joy were given to us.
During the week was the Ascension of Christ. He had finished the work and gone up to be with the Father. He was showing us that He had conquered evil, destroyed the powers of evil and has now risen victoriously to God the Father. God now restores the responsibility of man to cultivate and keep the blessings He gave us in the first place. God brought deliverance to us. John 17:2 “For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to those you have given Him.”
Jesus has completed the task. He has fulfilled all of it. For most of us, when we finish a task, we would say, “whew!” and then leave. Not Jesus. He made sure there was a follow-through. He told the Father in John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” Many people do not understand that the earth is our home. Christ asks God the Father to “keep us in His name.” We have been empowered to cultivate and keep the earth.
When Christ came, the world was in darkness. But He conquered the darkness. Through the Cross, He was passing on the work to those who were left behind to continue doing the work. He did not ask God to take them out of the earth but to stay on the earth and be protected in His name. People who have the defeatist attitude say “we cannot.” Giving up even before ever starting. We live in a time where evil seems to be getting stronger and stronger. But truth be told, we who are God’s fullness are the ones who are stronger. God wasn’t going to let His children be led astray and be destroyed. John 17:9 “I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those You have given Me; for they are Yours.”
Christ showed us in several Scriptural accounts that He was caring. He cared for the welfare of the people. In the midst of the storm when His disciples got scared and didn’t know what to do, He stopped the storm. In the feeding of the multitude, He made sure the people did not go hungry. The world is filled with hatred. Many will go against God and hate Him and His people. But God’s people are filled with peace. God has given us everything. 2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason I also suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard my deposit entrusted for that day.”
Even death cannot control us. Jesus may have “died” on the cross but He lives. We have been put under God’s care and divine protection. We have been given the ability to face the issues and not run away from our problems. He gives to us a special kind of peace. That when we come face-to-face with the enemy, he gives us triumphant warfare. Christ was faithful to those He was taking care of. Jesus has given us the ability to overcome. He came and lived out the principles of God. We are expected to do the same. When we face situations, we should be led by God, trusting in Him to give us the victory. He asked the Father to send us the Holy Spirit.
1 John 5:10 “Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him; whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has testified concerning His Son.
John 17:19 “And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
God has set aside us for a special mission. He has sanctified us to do this mission, by living out the life of God.
Hebrews 9:14 How much more then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.
Why has God redeemed us? So that we can be His servants to restore the world. The world has been scarred with evil, and the scars are deep. We can do our part in healing the world. Little things we do are healing factors. A smile, a word of encouragement, meeting the needs of others. We have been the task to help others.
1 Thessalonians 5: 23 “Now, may the God of peace Himself, sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved, entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The whole purpose of His coming is to lift us out of darkness and bring light into the world. Just a small seed from our part can become a giant tree. God’s love is greater than anything in this world. We should let God be God in our lives.