17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
The tool used by God in the sanctification of His people is the truth of His word. In John 17:17, Jesus prays that the Father will sanctify His people with the truth. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones unfolds this text, he asks and answers two important questions: “What does it mean to be sanctified?” and “What is the first truth or doctrine the Christian must consider and study to be sanctified?” In this sermon on John 17:17 titled “Godliness,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ. The believer is striving to live a holy life and growing in godliness. This godliness that reflects the holiness of God is not just a removal or avoidance of sin in the believer’s life. Godliness that truly demonstrates sanctification is a life that loves God with all of one’s being. If that is the case, then what is the first doctrine or truth to be considered? It is the doctrine of God. The Christian cannot assume the truth about God. The truth or doctrine about God is the starting place of sanctification. As he explains from Scripture, Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates that this first truth is what ultimately leads to godliness.
- The truth that sanctifies is the truth about God himself. There is a tendency to take God for granted and forget about God.
- The Bible starts with God in every respect. The Bible is primarily a revelation of God, designed to bring us to a knowledge of God.
- We must be careful to take the whole truth about God, not just as savior but also as creator, judge, etc. We tend to be subjective and only interested in aspects of God that meet our needs.
- There is a tendency to pray more to Jesus than to God the Father, due to compartmentalizing the truth. Prayer in the Bible is generally addressed to God the Father, in the name of Jesus, by the Spirit.
- The essence of sin is to forget God. The essence of sanctification is to live consciously under, for, and to the glory of God.
- Sanctification means God is at the center, before considering what we do or don't do. The main characteristic of the sanctified is God is central.
- We tend to start with ourselves and our problems, rather than starting with God. We must start with God, not ourselves.
- The condition of sanctification is the opposite of the condition of sin. Sin is self-centeredness, sanctification is God-centeredness.
- The truth about God's holiness, justice, righteousness, and judgment must be preached, not just for evangelism but for sanctification. God is a consuming fire.
- Salvation is God's plan, not man's. It originates with God, not us. God's purpose is to separate a people unto himself, zealous for good works.
- We must see ourselves in God's plan, not start with ourselves. Our greatest need is humility.
- The essence of the Christian life is fellowship and communion with God. To be sanctified is to walk in the light, in fellowship with God.
- We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, meaning reverence and godly fear, not craven fear. Fear of wounding God's holiness, love, purpose, and work in us.
- The Bible describes sanctification in terms of godliness, holiness, and righteousness - not primarily victorious living. Sanctification means God-likeness.
- If we focus only on victory, we risk being self-satisfied and superficial. Godliness keeps us striving and dissatisfied in ourselves.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.