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The Saints part 1

Today, we’re going to start of a study of a very interesting word, the word “saint”.  This word is very misunderstood unfortunately, by many people.  It’s used 13 times in the NT, to describe a people; the word was used by Paul, Peter, and Jude to describe the people to whom they were addressing, so it is used as an adjective of address.

The Greek word that is translated as “saint” is the adjective “hagios”.  It means “separated ones” or “holy ones”.  As an adjective, it describes or identifies a quality or characteristic of the noun that it modifies.

[Mark 6:20]   (For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy MAN [hagios = a SAINT; John was not only a just man, but a saint], and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.)  So, Herod knew that John was a just man and a saint.  Herod knew that he was a just man and a holy man by the way John conducted his life; by the way he lived.  John was not given this title simply because he was a child of God.

It was given because Herod observed him.  [Reread the verse.]  Herod observed him and knew that he was living a different kind of life than the normal life of the normal person would live according to lust and the power of sin that dominates the life of a normal human being.

John separated himself and was different and lived a lifestyle that was different.  John had a holy lifestyle.  You might be sitting there today and thinking, “I fall short of a holy lifestyle.” 

Let me explain what a holy lifestyle is.  A holy lifestyle means that I am separated unto purity.  It does not mean that we live a lifestyle that is sinless.  John was not deity; he was not God.  He was a man, just like you and me.  He was not practicing a lifestyle of lawlessness.  He was very careful how he lived.  He separated himself unto purity.  He separated himself from that which was impure unto that which was clean. 

[2 John 6; not yet]  So, when we talk about walking after a holy lifestyle, we’re talking about walking after the commandments.  [Read]  This verse says that we can walk after the commandments.  It tells us that we should be walking after them. 

When we fall short, we have the precious, powerful blood of Jesus Christ, which will provide for us a washing and a cleansing.  As Christians, when we find ourselves giving in to temptation, we have a high priest who is able to wash us and cleanse us in our walk, and this is part of our walk.

[Ephesians 1:7]  “In whom we have redemption”.  What does that mean?  It goes on to say, “forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace”.  So, it’s the riches of his grace that allows Christians to have a continual redemption.  What does redemption mean?  Any time that I sin as a Christian, I sell myself over to another master.  And I need to be bought back or purchased back to serving God.  I cannot serve two masters.  [Matthew 6.24:  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve (be slaves) God and mammon.  (Mammon is a Chaldee, Syriac and Punic money-god.]  You can try to serve both, but failure awaits you.  So, he provided a way that we can be redeemed from a lifestyle of sin, and that is through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  [2 Corinthians 5:15:  Christ died for all; Mark 14:24:  Blood is shed for many.]

[1 John 1:9:  This is a verse we’re all familiar with.]  He restores us to fellowship.  We’re not talking about people who are sinlessly perfect.  We’re talking about people desiring the commandments of God; desiring to please God. 

[Mark 1.24: this is actually a demon speaking out of a man] (Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I (we) know thee who thou art, the Holy [hagios - saintly] One of God.)  The holy one of God; the saintly one of God.  Jesus Christ was a saint. 

So, John and Jesus lived their lives as saints.  Now, there’s a teaching today in Christianity that just because you’re a Christian or you’re saved or you’re in Christ, you’re given a title as a saint.  No matter how wicked you might be, no matter how backslidden you are, no matter how you live, no matter how unrepentant you are; you’re considered a saint because you’re saved.  This just simply is not true.  There’s no such thing as positional saint.  This is taught because of Calvinism, which is trying to prove the eternal security of the believer.  Now, we believe in the eternal security of the believer (at least I think we all do), you cannot go to the lake of fire forever because you were purchased by Jesus Christ at the cross; He died for your sins on the cross.

Now, we believe that; once you believe, you are saved.  [Expound:  Acts 16:31 and comment on eternal.]  If your position is just, you have no need to lie to prove your point; the truth speaks for itself.  Calvinism tries to defend eternal security to the point that they take away the practical value and the plain reading of the scriptures, and they eliminate all the warning passages to Christians, because they believe that it endangers the security of the believer. 

[1 Peter 1:14-16:  Not yet.]  Now, this position taken by Calvinism is not so.  (That doesn’t mean Arminianism is correct either, just that this position is incorrect.)  Peter was not a Calvinist.  Peter was not one that believed in some sort of positional sainthood.    [Read.]  (As obedient children (not some mystical position), not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance (what’s Peter talking about?  Life before you started living your life the way you should, not before you were saved; as a baby, you only need to know that Jesus died for your sins, and He’s the only one who did so; if you can believe that truth; you’re saved, you’re a part of God’s family.) (When you start reading the Bible, 2 Timothy 3.16 tells us (All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness); The Bible instructs us in right living.  How God wants us to live; after you’re in the family; you’ll read and you’ll find some things of which you’re ignorant; some things that you need to know as a Christian; [reread “don’t conform yourselves to the former lusts”].  Now that you’re reading Scripture, now that you’re learning the Bible and the holy knowledge of God, you’ve got to make some changes.)  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy.

God is holy!  You see in the Bible, you see God in heaven and what are they saying?  You don’t see them saying, mercy, mercy, mercy, love, love, love, grace, grace, grace.  They’re saying, holy, holy, holy!  God is holy!  And all the angels; all the celestial beings are bowing down and saying this one thing about God; he’s a holy god; He’s a HOLY GOD!

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy [be ye a saint] in all manner of (position… no!)  conversation [life style, conduct, behavior, or practical walk, conduct];   16 Because it is written, Be ye holy [be ye a saint]; for I am holy.

So, Peter is saying to Christians here, you can be holy.  You have no excuse.  God has empowered you with the power of grace.  [2 Corinthians 12:9] (My grace is sufficient for thee), and if you take advantage of that grace, you are allowed to obey his commandments and to live holy and then when you do succumb to temptation (while we are in the process of becoming more and more sanctified and being more and more a saint), in that process when you get your feet dirty and you do sin, when you look where you’re not supposed to look, when you touch what you’re not supposed to touch, when you say what you shouldn’t say, you’re allowed to go to Jesus Christ and receive that washing as a Christian and the restoration back to fellowship.

There are two “Be ye holy’s” here in verses 15 and 16.  They’re in the imperative.  He’s commanding us to be ye holy.  This is not a perfect holiness.  This is a relevant, practical holiness.  So, he’s saying here, that the measure that I obey the commandments of Jesus Christ will be the measure that Jesus Christ sets me apart as holy.

And in the measure that I confess my sins will be the measure that I am called a saint.  So, we’re not talking here about holy perfection (being without sin).  And some do teach that today that we don’t sin, but that’s silly and unscriptural.  Does that correspond to the real world?  No.  Christians do have problems with lust and other vices that would trap us just like the unsaved are trapped.  We have to be careful, that’s why we’re warned.  There really is a devil, and there really is the flesh, and there really is a world that wants to see our failure as Christians.

[Romans 5:9]  What I love about the blood is it justifies us.  It justifies us “much more”; beyond salvation, much more now does the blood allow you to stand in the presence of God, justified, now on the earth and also in the future at the Judgment Seat when we have to give an account.  The blood allows us to stand blameless, as Job did.  Job was blameless.  Job sinned; he had times where he failed.  But, he was called perfect, because he knew what to do with his sin when he did sin:  sacrifice.  Now we have a sacrifice for all time, and that was through Jesus Christ shedding his blood and taking it to the mercy seat in heaven, and providing for us an offering where we can receive the forgiveness of our sins. 

I want to make that clear that you’re not going to live perfect, saintly lives without sinning.  [1 Peter 3:5-6]  We have saintly women.  Did you know you can be saintly?  This is not talking about the traditions of men.  For after this manner (adorned with a meek and quiet spirit, v.4) in the old time the holy [saintly] women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 

In the old time – they had less knowledge and examples than we have today.  They had no Bible to encourage them.

([saintly] women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves (with what?  A meek and quiet spirit), being in subjection unto their own husbands.) Oh, the feminists don’t like that.  6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are (if you want to be a daughter of Sara, you’ll have crowns and ruling and reigning), whose daughters ye are as long as ye do well (you are a daughter of sara), and are not afraid with any amazement.  You know, many women have a hard time subjecting themselves to a man.  The reason is, the reason Peter gives, is that they are afraid.  But, he says, don’t be afraid with any amazement.  Trust God.  Trust God for that man, that he will lead you, God will take care of you, because who’s over the man? 

 Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the head of that man.  So, you can trust Jesus Christ to take care of that man to whom you commit.  But, he’s saying here if you want to be a saint, a saintly woman, you wear a meek and quiet spirit, trust God, subject to your husband, and you’re not afraid of what might happen.

[Revelation 14:12]  Patience (endurance).  There are three things here that this passage reveals to us about the nature of a saint.  Saints endure.  What does that mean?  You carry on with your faithfulness to God, right through adversity, hard times, and hardships (2Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.).  Go right through!  It’s talking about enduring and not quitting.  Don’t say, “Oh, why is this happening to me?”  Right here is says endure.  Keep going, don’t quit, keep fighting the good fight of faith. 

Then, he says this:  Saints keep the commandments.  What does that mean?  Keep means to observe very closely, to conform one’s practice to.  So, the saints keep the commandments; they love the commandments of God.  I love the commandments.  I love to search the Bible and find the commandments of God, and say, “Thank you Jesus for being merciful to me and giving me the commandments of God; the knowledge of God.

He never leaves us in darkness and ignorance.  He says, “Here’s what I like and here’s what I don’t like.”  It’s laid out plainly for us.  You can obey if you want to, it’s up to you; you’re not a robot.  The decision is yours.  You can rebel, or you can be submissive and He will give you the grace to keep those commandments. 

Then, he says the saints keep the faith of Jesus.  What’s the faith of Jesus?  The faith of Jesus is not some kind of general faith in God.  The faith of Jesus is the faith that was demonstrated by Jesus Christ when he became flesh and blood and lived as the Son of God, and endured the cross.

What does that mean, “endured the cross”?  It doesn’t mean that just 6 hours on the cross did Jesus endure the cross.  His whole life was enduring the cross.  His entire life was “not my will, but thine, Father”.  That means that he had to die to self, and that means that he endured the cross, and that is the faith of Jesus.  Christians have the faith of Jesus, when they’re reckoning themselves to be dead to self, taking up their cross, and they’re following not their own will, but the will of Jesus Christ.

So, the “faith of Jesus” was demonstrated by the life of Jesus Christ.  He had joy set before him.  That’s what made him endure the cross.  [Hebrews 12:2]  Jesus endured the cross, why?  For the joy that was set before him.  This is why we endure the cross.  People say, “I don’t think I can die to self, it’s too tough”.  Well, Jesus endured the cross with a great motivation.  He had the joy set before him and he despised the shame.

The joy set before him was to be crowned; rewarded and honored; to sit at the right hand of God the father.  Jesus Christ would be given that position as a son.  So, the faith of Jesus is looking for things hoped for, not seen.  [This is not salvation; do you hope for your salvation?]  The faith of Jesus believes that God is a rewarder.  The faith of Jesus believes that Jesus Christ was an overcomer, and I also can be an overcomer.  So can you.

[Revelation 3:21] says that he was an overcomer.  It also tells us that we can be overcomers.  1 John 5:4 says, [For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith (good verse to remember)].  So, the faith of Jesus is a faith that will justify us at the judgment seat. 

[Galatians 2:16]  Keeping the Sabbath, being circumcised, all the law of Moses.  Jesus did away with all those things.  Now, we’re justified by the faith of Jesus.  Meaning that we have an example set before us of how we’re to live as Christians, after we’re saved.  And, the faith of Jesus gives us a righteousness of God by faith.  Our hope is that one day, we’ll hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. 

And those that are justified will one day be honored (we find that in Romans 8:30).  And, those that are honored will also be glorified.  That’s an awesome truth to think about.  (2 Thessalonians 1:10) tells us that He comes glorified in his saints.

[Jude 3]  The kind of faith that is the faith of Jesus is something that has to be delivered to you.  Did you know that?  [Read]  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith (faith of Jesus), which was once delivered unto the saints.  This faith was committed unto the saints.  What does this mean?  How was it committed or delivered?  It’s being delivered to you right now.

It was delivered through a preacher or a teacher.  That’s how it came to you.  That’s how we get faith.  We get faith through the teaching of Scripture.  [Romans 10:17] (The faith; meat of the Word.)  So, the saints are delivered faith; the faith of Jesus.  What’s that?  The faith that Jesus had when he had the joy set before him; when he endured the cross, despising the shame.  It’s looking forward to the reward.  Things not seen, things yet hoped for. (Heb 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.) (Not our salvation:  Do you hope you’re saved?  I don’t.  I know!  And brothers and sisters, you can too.)  God is a rewarder.  God’s going to reward his people who are faithful. 

Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:7 that he was a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.  Paul was a teacher of the Gentiles.  That’s you and me.  He said, “I delivered faith by teaching the Word of God”. 

Now, what is the Word of God?  The Word of God is more specific than just the Scriptures.  The Scriptures are the Word of God, but the “word of God” is even more Specific, just as the faith of Jesus is more specific than just a general faith in God.  The word of God is more specific than just the whole of Scripture.  We find that in [Acts 8:12]. 

12 But when they [the Samaritans] believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God (what are the things concering the Kingdom of God?  The Kingdom of God is the millennial reign when Jesus comes back in Revelation 19:16 as king of kings and lord of lords, he’s going to reign for 1000 years before “eternity”; Revelation 20:6 says, (Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years).  “The world to come”, “the reward of the inheritance”, the “Kingdom of God”…  all refer to the time period of the millennial reign.  This is all before the rest of eternity in Rev 21.

We’re talking about the thousand years, millennial kingdom.  So, the faith of Jesus that was delivered to the saints was in relationship to the Word of God.  And Acts 8:12, says, Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  That gives us some light on baptism.  Water baptism has to do with the things concerning the Kingdom of God.  Not with being saved or just being a Christian people.  (We looked at that a few weeks ago in our studies on John 3 involving seeing and entering the Kingdom.)  “Both men and women”, Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received (what?) the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  The word of God is a synonym for things concerning the Kingdom of God.

Why did they send Peter and John to check out the things going on up there in Samaria?  Matthew 10:5,6 tells us that the Kingdom was an exclusive message only to the Jewish people.  “Only go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.  It was an exclusive message.  But, in Acts chapter 8, by God’s sovereign mercy and grace, He opened that message of ruling and reigning with JC to the Samaritans.

The Samaritans now can also have a heavenly inheritance, and can also be blessed with the Jews in the coming millennial reward. 

Receiving the word of God has to do with receiving the things of the Kingdom of God.  That’s what we’re talking about here.  Do you see that?  They received the word of God, but what was Philip preaching?  Things concerning how to get saved?  No.  These Samaritans were already saved.  They were separated from the Jews, with a doctrinal dispute, but they were saved.  (Sounds like churches today.)

Their father was Jacob; they believed in the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They were saved already.  So, Philip came there preaching, and what was he preaching?  He was saying, now the reward can be opened up to you also.  “Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear?” and they said, “We receive this word from you”.

So, they sent these two apostles, they walked with Jesus Christ, but they sent this authority to go up there and check it out and make sure that God has done this new thing.  The conclusion was, yes He has, He has done this new thing. 

Saints can also bless God.  I love being blessed by God, but isn’t it also great that we can bless God?  God blesses us so much, but we can bless God.  Saints bless the Lord.  You know, many Christians don’t like to hear about the Kingdom of God, you know why?  Because it limits options in their lives.  It’s a narrow road.  When you talk about the millennial reign, it says that few will enter (all can be saved).  It says that many are called, but few are chosen.  Many don’t like to hear it, because it brings accountability to the Christian life.  It makes you have to either want to live by faith or live by the flesh.

So, that’s why many don’t want to teach about it, because most would like to just teach about some kind of mystical, fluffy heaven that we all play violins or harps and float around for the rest of eternity.  I don’t know what that means, I’m not a Buddhist; I don’t believe in mysticism; brother, I believe in reality, and I believe that there is a kingdom coming with Jesus Christ as lord and he’s going to bring it to this earth and he’s going to establish it for 1000 years.  And I know that my Bible says that through much tribulation we enter that kingdom (Acts 14:22).