Two Things The Lord Laid On My Heart
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:12
I read an article sometime back that said the modern church doesn’t even know what sanctification is. Consequently, it’s very seldom mentioned anymore in any church. The church has tried one fad after the other to sanctify itself—wearing certain clothes or not wearing certain clothes, or whatever the case—but you can’t sanctify yourself; it’s impossible. It’s the same thing as justification; you cannot justify yourself—the Lord Jesus Christ has to do that.
But I’m going to tell you how to be sanctified; how you can be instantly sanctified. We have been sanctified, we are being sanctified, and we shall be sanctified. Whenever you place your faith exclusively in Christ and the cross—and maintain it exclusively in Christ and the cross—the moment you do that, you are sanctified because it’s faith that God operates on—faith on our part—but it’s faith in the correct object and that is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
“Sanctify the people with his own blood”—that’s the cross, ladies and gentlemen. You can’t sanctify yourself. But once your faith is placed exclusively in Christ, then you are instantly sanctified, and then the Holy Spirit, who is God and can do anything, will begin a work in your life to rid you of things that are not good for you and emplace in your heart and life that which He wants placed there. We try to do it ourselves, which frustrates the grace of God. It frustrates Him; it won’t work, but we keep on trying, don’t we?
Now, heretofore, it’s been because of ignorance—we just did not know. But not long after the Lord began to open the great message of the cross to me, I was so hilariously thrilled and happy; I thought the church would jump up and down with joy when it heard this. But I found out that the church was none too very interested. And, I found out that yes, there was much, much, much ignorance on this subject, but the major culprit was unbelief—they just plain didn’t believe it. As one Baptist preacher said, and rightly so: “The cross of Christ is never rejected on theological grounds (meaning it’s too difficult to understand). It’s always rejected, if it is, on moral grounds.” You think of that. Somebody asked, “Moral grounds? What do you mean by that?” Pride, self-will, jealousy, envy, malice—whatever it might be that causes us to reject the cross of Christ.
Sanctification is instant—it’s a drawn-out process with the Holy Spirit working in your heart and in your life—but the position is an instantaneous position. I’ll prove it from the Word of God: Paul wrote, “But you were sanctified.” First of all, even before justification, that believing sinner is sanctified. How? Well, think about it for a moment. Before a person can be declared clean, he has to be made clean. Justification declares you clean. It’s sanctification that makes you clean. Understand that. Whenever you place your faith exclusively in Christ and the cross—you say, “Well, Brother Swaggart, I’ve got some problems in my life that I’m ashamed of, and I couldn’t be …” Yes, you can.
Whenever you place your faith exclusively in Christ, it’s like the whole burnt offering and the sin offering of old. The sin offering was Jesus Christ, in essence, rather the lamb, taking the sin of the sinner upon Himself. The whole burnt offering symbolized the Lord, the lamb did, giving His perfection to the sinner. The first one, we give our sins to Him—sin offering. The whole burnt offering—He gives His perfection to us, and it’s done instantly. It’s not done by steps; it’s done instantly. And, whenever your faith is in Christ and the cross exclusively, you are immediately sanctified. And then the Holy Spirit, who works exclusively from the premise of the finished work of Christ—and He will not work outside of that—He will begin then to work because your faith is right; it’s in Christ and the cross. And so then the Holy Spirit, who works exclusively in that realm, will go to work in your life to give you victory over that nicotine, that uncontrollable temper, that lust, or whatever it might be. He said, “Wherefore Jesus also that He might sanctify the people with His own blood.”
None of the fads the church is engaged in work. And so, most of the churches, not all, but most of them in this seeker sensitive thing, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating, they’ve totally eliminated all the great doctrines of the Bible—they’re not even trying to live a righteous life anymore. It’s just to keep the people warm in the pews and giving the money—that’s about what the modern church has succumbed to.
God’s way is very similar to the military. A new recruit will buck against what he’s told to do, but his superior, who has been on the battlefield and encountered the enemy, knows exactly what it’s going to take to keep that recruit alive in the fight. That’s very similar to the work of God. The Lord has done it—He has overcome the enemy; we haven’t. And not only that, we don’t even know how to overcome the enemy. The Lord does, and He gets a little perturbed whenever we refuse to do what He’s saying to do. And what He’s saying is simple; it’s not hard, yet we go another direction.
About twenty-five years ago, somebody gave me a book by George Williams, who lived a hundred years ago in England. He wrote that the church must repent not only of the bad things it’s doing, but also of the good things it’s doing because it’s depending on those good things: “Look what I’ve done that’s good. I merit. I deserve. I’m pleased with myself.” It shook me when I first read it because I never heard it stated that way, but it’s a fact.
Romans 4:4 says, “Now to him who works (tries to earn salvation or righteousness) is the reward (righteousness) not reckoned of grace (the grace of God), but of debt (claiming that God owes us something, which He doesn’t!).
In prayer the other morning, the Lord laid two things on my heart to deal with, and we just got through dealing with the first one—the sanctification process. For the second one, let’s look in Hebrews 13:15: “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually (we must understand that we are able to praise God and He is able to accept our praises due to the cross, hence “praise” being linked to “sacrifice”; as well, the word continually proclaims the fact that this will never change, meaning the cross will ever abide as the foundation of all things pertaining to God), that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. (His name is Jesus, which means “Saviour,” and speaks of His sacrificial offering of Himself on the cross.)
Now, this is a totally different subject, but we’re going to have to deal with it: depression. It’s very, very important.
We get more emails today than ever before regarding the problem of depression. And this is not a little game; it’s not something that people shrug their shoulders and throw off—it can kill you. That’s how powerful that it is.
Depression is hopelessness—you see no hope. You see no light at the end of that tunnel; there’s nothing but darkness and there’s no way out, and you think, if there is a way out, it’s in you ending your life. And the problem is worse today. We’re hearing more now about people who are multi-millionaires killing themselves. Actors and actresses who have the adulation of the world are depressed. I saw a young girl (if I called her name, most everyone would recognize it), and she’s known all over the world for her singing ability. On the news one day a reporter asked her, “Why do you do the things you do? It’s so bad that the law has had to take your children from you and put them in foster care. You are one of the most famous people in the world. Money is no object. But you go on drunken rampages and endanger the lives of your babies, your children. Why do you do what you do?” And her answer was shocking, surprising. She said, “I do what I do because life is so boring.” Now you think about that. Here is what the world grasps after. They’ll say in Nashville or Hollywood, “He made it.” Made what? And these things they say—money, fame—if you get ahold of them, well that’s your solution, that’s your answer. Well she had it all. And scores are in the same shape today, they have the things of life, but ladies and gentlemen nothing can satisfy except the Lord Jesus Christ. Understand that. That’s not a little cliché; it’s a fact.
The Word of God says this: “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”
The Lord told me in prayer to relate this to you: First of all, if you are a believer, you’ll do this. If you’re not a believer, you’ve got to first give your heart to the Lord. Nothing will work for you going a way of rebellion. If you don’t give your heart to Christ, you’re going to be dead and in a grave with the worms eating your flesh. That’s blunt, but it happens to be true. And that would be bad enough, but your soul and your spirit will be in hell forever and forever. So you must, first of all, give your heart to Christ.
But I’m talking now to believers who have given their hearts to Christ—believers who have said yes to the Lord Jesus. You might say, “But Brother Swaggart, I’m still plagued by this depression, or oppression.” Oppression is like a hundred pound weight on your shoulders; depression is hopelessness, no hope—and all of it is from Satan. But if you’re a believer, and you will start, in your subconscious, praising the Lord, just worshipping Him—you don’t have to do it out loud, somebody standing next to you wouldn’t hear you—but every time your mind comes to this, start praising God: “Lord, I love You. Thank You for what You have done for me. Thank You for this amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” Just go through it, and let me tell you, it will be hard at first—Satan will fight it with everything. But if you’ll keep doing it morning, noon, and night—someone said, “Well that’s boring”—no it isn’t. You’ll begin to see that fear begin to leave; you’ll feel it begin to leave. It will come to the place, I’ve noticed it with myself, whenever the Lord told me this about two years ago, it was very difficult to start with, very hard to just keep praising the Lord—it was like a vice trying to shut me up—but of course I recognized it as the devil. And I kept on; I didn’t stop. Now, I find myself worshipping the Lord and praising the Lord when I don’t even know I’m doing it. Does that make any sense? Automatically, it’s coming from my heart—praises, worship of Him—and I’ll guarantee you this: the oppression and the depression will go. You’ll get victory over it; this is God’s way. And if you’ll do what I’m telling you—somebody said, “Well, I tried it, and it didn’t work”—well, no, you quit. You quit. What did Paul say? “Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.”
David said, in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” I wonder, if Paul was thinking of that when he wrote, “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto his name.”
If you’ll start immediately, just start praising the Lord like I said—it will be hard at first, but keep it up—after few moments your mind will be diverted to something else you’ve got to do; that’s not wrong. But the moment it comes back to you about praising the Lord start all over again. I’ll guarantee you the depression will leave and will not come back. “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7).
Thanking God for past blessings is the key to future blessings. Our prayer life should consist of at least 50 percent of thanking Him for what He has done. He told us to praise Him continually, that’s what He told us. We just read it from Hebrews 13:15, and also the Old Testament is full of it—it’s a running situation, and the Lord does it for a reason. No matter what your situation is right now, every believer should live with the anticipation that God is going to do some great thing in his heart and in his life.