Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Religious Terminology


One Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I got wound up while I was preaching and began passionately verbalizing some of my deeply held convictions. Although I was speaking honestly, right from my heart, I realized during the middle of the discourse that I was using some religious terms with which I am very familiar, but nonetheless terms which are for the most part religious in nature and perhaps everyone listening did not know exactly what I was talking about.

Let’s take a look at a clip of about 25 seconds worth of that sermon where I use another religious term.

Production Note: (Clip from Sunday, 9-11-11, “Lest We Forget”, Time Mark: 38:05 thru 38:30 ~ “I want you to know … filled with the power of the Holy Spirit”)

You may have noted that I used the word, “Sanctified”. Religious terms such as redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, justification, glorification, and the like have gone aside from the modern church language used in many pulpits today.

Tonight, I want to bring us up to date on the three main terms I used on that Sunday in hopes that I can explain these doctrines in an understandable way this evening.

My familiarity and comfort ability with religious terms began over 40 years ago when at the age of 14 I decided that I wanted to learn to play the guitar. My uncle, Travis Hammonds, whom many called Preacher Hammonds, was a Church of God pastor in a small country church of about 20 people. He and his wife Beatrice had 5 boys, 3 of whom were about my age so we hung out together. Uncle Travis played the guitar in the church and led most of the singing. He wanted more musicians so he decided to give guitar lessons.

Well it wasn’t very long until I started attending church there so I could practice what I was learning. Marshall, James Ray, Mack and me would often be the backup music, all playing guitar, using all three chords, listening for the changes, while most of the people in the church stood on the small platform leading singing to a handful of people sitting in the congregation. The songs we sang came right out of the little brown paperback, “Heavenly Highway to Hymns” book. I’ll fly away, By and By and The Old Rugged Cross were some of the favorites.

Playing guitar in that Pentecostal, Holiness, Church of God meant that I had to stay for the preaching and man could my uncle preach. Wow … usually he’d preach himself into a sweat and such a fervor that he would begin to jerk a bit and take two or three high steps, throw up a hand and began dancing a jig and speaking in tongues. At that time I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew about when it was going to happen and it sent chills up and down my spine.

Sometimes other people would jump up and run or get out into the aisle and begin to dance around or kind of cramp up, hold their stomach with one hand, lift the other and start shouting often repeating the same thing over and over, words I could not make out. When it caught on, there might be 5 or 7 or as many as 10 people doing it all at the same time like a chain reaction.

Although it unsettled me most of the time I never felt afraid. But, that was not the testimony of my girlfriend that I wanted to impress with my guitar playing the first, and the only, time I took her to church with me. Right smack dab in the middle of my uncle Travis preaching he got touched by the spirit and when he began it caught on pretty quick. Since there was a new girl visiting in the congregation that night, and since that new girl was wearing make-up, jewelry and a short blue dress, one of the ladies of the church thought that the girl might need to go to up to the altar and pray through.

That lady, a wonderful woman whom I had known all of my life and knew till she died, a precious lady who meant well, came from dancing under the power of the spirit around the altar and tried her best to get, or shall I say – drag – that girl up to the altar for some serious laying on of hands and prayer.

Well, if you want to know how that 17 year old girl felt that night, you can ask her – she is sitting right here on the front row. I ended up marrying her a couple of years later but it was after the conversation where she made me swear that I’d never take her to another church like that ever again. And … I did not, not at least until she got born again some half dozen years later. Looking back on it now – I wish God had sent a bigger lady to drag here up there and get her prayed through before I married her. It would have saved several years of fussing and fighting.

Well, it was those early years sitting there hearing my uncle Travis preach the Holy Word of God that I first got introduced to these timeless and powerful words – religious words – words such as sanctification.

I can still hear him say, “I’ve been saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost – and that with fire!”

I heard him say it so much that I started saying it myself, only now in my sophisticated, polished approach to help create the image that I am somewhat educated and perhaps a little less scary, I have learned to say it in more a more palatable way.

Now don’t be thinking that I am making fun of those days or those powerfully precious people – I am fondly reminiscing of a time gone by in my life, a day I wish I could revisit, a life and ministry I only hope I can one day measure up to.

In the clip we just reviewed, the whole time I was preparing in my head what was going to come out of my mouth, I was hearing my uncle say, “I’ve been saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost – and that with fire!” On the inside I was thanking God for such men who helped to shape the man I now am.

In case the anointing of the Holy Spirit ever moves me to say that phrase again, I want you to know what it means. So let’s look at it now:


Comes from the Greek word: Sozo – to be made completely whole

Ephesians 2

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Salvation is a spiritual re-birth which makes us a new creation in Christ Jesus and we become a Child of God.

How does a person get saved?

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Relationship is God’s purpose, forgiveness is His character – salvation is His plan – repentance is man’s opportunity.

Salvation is great … the greatest … but there is so much more.

1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

We have been saved and called – saved to come to the knowledge of the truth. We have been saved and called to a sanctified life.


John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Ephesians 5

26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The Word of Truth is a cleansing agent, a spot, wrinkle and blemish remover. When we wash ourselves with the pure water of the Word, we are made clean.

Just as salvation is a birth, sanctification requires a death - death to self – carnality – the old way

This is an ongoing process where we put off the old man and put on the new so that we continue to be renewed in our minds as we embrace the word of God, obey Him and walk sanctified, separated, holy and dedicated in His will.

Holiness is God’s purpose, truth is His character – sanctification is His plan – obedience is man’s opportunity.

Filled with the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit if you prefer, is all about ‘Power’.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

(Quote the Acts trail concerning the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:1-4; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-6; Acts 5:32; Luke 11:13)

The Baptism is an activation of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12.

Just as salvation is a birth and sanctification requires a death, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a resurrection. In these things we follow Christ in birth, death and resurrection. These are not the only things we do, but these are important and symbolic of our oneness with Christ.

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Power is God’s purpose, charity is His character – the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is His plan – submission is man’s opportunity.

Suffice it to say that God wishes all men to be saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Born again, dead to this world and manifesting resurrection power as a witness to the Gospel of the eternal Kingdom of God.