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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, June 14 2022

The Doctrine of Sanctuary.... A doctrine is a system of beliefs which you have embraced enough that it becomes part of your lifestyle. 

You might say, wait a minute, if we’re talking about sanctuary, then why are we looking at a life, threatening storm at sea on the screen. I thought sanctuary was a peaceful, quite place, free of the stresses and worries of the world. Well, stay with me today as we unwrap this.                                                                            Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.                                                           37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,                                                                                  “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”                                                                                                                                           Jesus never lets a good crisis go by without turning it into a valuable lesson. Tell someone, “Never waste a good crises”! Jesus and his disciples are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee along with several other boats, when a great storm erupts and begins to rock the boat. As the boat rocks with the waves, the disciples become frightened and wake Christ in an effort to be saved. 

With a word of rebuke, Christ quiets the storm, creating sanctuary.Sanctuary, is defined as “any place of refuge”.. Any time we find ourselves in need of shelter from a storm, be it real or metaphorically, we are able to turn to Christ and, with a single word, his is able to bring us into sanctuary. Paul says that many have not entered into His rest, His sanctuary, because of unbelief. 

Christ not only created sanctuary that day in the storm, but it exudes from him like steam from a tea kettle when things are boiling over.           I know that my greatest desire is for my life to be fashioned into a sanctuary for God’s presence to be seen.

A sanctuary is a sacred place; a consecrated spot; a holy place in me that cannot be violated by sin; a place of refuge and protection; a place of shelter from the wiles and attacks of the devil. It’s a place in God, where I can live the abundant life. It’s a place in God where I am not such an easy prey for every wind of doctrine that comes along. It’s a place of safety from the raging storms of life where I have complete rest because I know that my God is with me.

It’s a place where I can live above sin and above the things of this world. In the world but not of the world.                                                                           The song says....”Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, Pure and Holy; tried and true, With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, Sanctuary for You”.                       God is with us and it is his desire to that we allow Him to build our lives into a sanctuary for him to dwell in.

God made everything in Genesis, but it was only man, that He breathed His own life breath into. But we were made to be much more than “Holy wind bags”.... I remember as a kid, hearing my mom talk about sister windbag......So, I digress......He sent Jesus, to show us what the Spirit of God in us was supposed to look like.... We couldn’t see God, (Jehovah), but we could see the flesh and blood Jesus, who said “Follow me, and I will make you....”When we receive Christ as our Savior and lord, we receive a renewed “Holy wind bag” Anointing. To be containers of His breath. It’s as though mankind was holding it’s breath, until our redemption came and then we are released to pick up where Adam left off....and we can operate once again in what he lost. We were made to have God’s image and likeness on our lives. We weren’t made from spare parts, because we are like nothing God ever created before, and designed and formed for a unique purpose and calling. 

1 Corinthians 6:15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

So, verse 19 tells us that we have become the sanctuary of God’s presence. So, let’s look at what it means to be sanctuary. And we will use the Jewish Sanctuary cities to explore this. 

God set aside 6 cities to be designated as sanctuary cities, and if someone could get to one of these cities, they would be safe from their accusers and persecutors until their case had a fair hearingand they were given a chance to defend themselves. These were safety zones. They are spiritual concepts of what is available to all of us in Christ.

If we are to be designated as places of sanctuary, how safe are people with us? Do we prejudge them, or jump to conclusions, and hold unforgiveness in our hearts. Do we love people, simply because God loves them and gave His only Son to provide redemption for them. Jesus died for us while we were sinners, not when we were deserving of His love.                                                                                                                             Do we insist that everyone measure up to our standards before we will love them.For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave His only son, so they could believe on Him. Do we love with Agape, God love, or with Eros, limited, frail, human love.

So, let’s look at these Sanctuary cities of refuge. Because, without these cities many people would have suffered and died unnecessarily. If it wasn’t for the grace of God, no one would have been able to enter in. The sanctuary cities were all located in high places.                                                  Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”.                                                                                                                      If we look at our next scripture, then we see something remarkable about these sanctuary cities....                                                                                      2 Corinthians 5:20 "We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, Be reconciled to God”.                                                               An ambassador is a representative of another kingdom. An ambassador operates out of an embassy which has it’s own laws and policies, which are different than the laws of the land which it is located in. An Embassy is about reconciliation . For example, the American embassy in China, still operates as under the American government. It is like locating a piece of America on Chinese soil. We are ambassadors of God’s kingdom who operate on foreign soil, under God’s government, by the Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, so that reconciliation can take place, man to God and man with their fellow man.

I realize that one political party decided to borrow the idea of sanctuary cities and then pervert it into something that was never intended, but Every place that a sanctuary city is mentioned in the bible, also asks a question of us.                                                                                                 Sanctuary cities Were Available to everyone...How available are we? They Were Accessible to everyone.... Are we accessible?                                                          They were built on mountain tops so they could be easily seen.....                        Do people know our testimony or are we in the secret service?                        They were always prepared to welcome strangers...Are we welcoming and hospitable, or cliquish and exclusive?                                                                     The gates were never closed.... How open are we to those outside our regular circle of friends and family, and are we willing to be inconvenienced and step outside of our comfort zones?                                  They were a place of safety and security.... Are people’s hearts and hurts, and flaws and failures safe with us, or are we the loose lips that sink ships. How often in the church do the prayer lists become the gossip columns!

The first Sanctuary city we see is Kadesh, which means Righteousness.                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Corinthians 5:21“For our sake He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God”.                                                                                                     The Greek word “Righteousness”, is dikaiosunh (Dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay) which means “integrity, virtue, purity of life, correctness in thinking, feeling, and action”. So as we enter the sanctuary of Kadesh, we leave dishonesty, impurity, toxic thinking, feelings and actions behind.                                                                                                                    You may be a Solomon in wisdom, a David in praise, an Abraham in faith, or a Joshua in warfare, but if you’re not a Joseph in self discipline, you will end up like samson in destruction!                                                                           Romans 6:13 “No longer yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your body as an instrument of righteousness (integrity, virtue, purity of life, correct thinking, feeling and action)”                                                                                      Paul is saying that our actions are about choices, but by making addictions a disease, we remove a person’s responsibility for their own actions. Sanctuary still demands that we take responsibility for our choices, that’s what recovery is..... guns and knives don’t kill people, bad choices do. Drugs don’t force themselves on people, bad choices do. So righteousness is correct thinking and action....                                       The second Sanctuary city was Shechem from the Hebrew                 (dzoo-gos') that name means Shoulder or government.                                                                                                                                                     Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His (dzoo-gos) shoulder; and His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace”.                                                                    We all need a good counsellor, in order to do life well, with all it’s twists and turns and ups and downs.                                                                          Isaiah is saying, “You choose what you want, but I’ll take the Mighty God as my counselor”....                                                                                                   His government provides the guidelines that will keep me from going over the edge, wandering from the truth, and allows me to stay in his will and favor.                                                                                                                The one who made it all, is willing to reveal His plan and His kingdom ways unto me. He’s the Father of Eternity, so He sees what’s beyond what I can see, He knows what’s further down the road that I’m traveling and He can position me in this life and the life beyond. He’s the Prince of peace so He can show me how to stay in peace in every situationand carry an environment of peace with me. He can help me keep my equilibrium when everything is upside down and inside out. He gives me solid footing when all around me is sinking sand. 

The next sanctuary city is Hebron –from the Hebrew (kheb-rone')which means Fellowship. (Here’s something about Hebron.....)                                                                                                                                             Caleb stood when all the rest except Joshua, refused to go into the land, and Hebron was given to him as his inheritance. He inspired a spirit of courage and faith in the fellowship of a nation that day. In the midst of fear and intimidation, he provided a sanctuary of courage and faith.                                                             There is sanctuary in fellowship, It was at Hebron that God showed Abraham the land that he and his offsprings would later on possess and he opened up the way with his faith and obedience. Abraham and Sarah were both buried at Hebron and because he believed God an nation received their promised homeland sanctuary.                                                                        God first set David as king over Judah at Hebron, where he ruled for 7 years before becoming King over all Israel.                                                          Our fellowship is deepened by our history togetherand the testimonies we share with one another.                                                                                                                                        Hebrews 10:25 “Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but continue to exhort one another and so much the more, as you see the day approaching”.                                                                                                                               Paul also mentions in Hebrews that the builder of the house (referring to Jesus) is worthy of more glory than the building itself. So, our coming together creates sanctuary as Jesus remains the center around which fellowship occurs.                                                                                                                                                                                     Notice also that in the sanctuary of fellowship, Paul says that exhorting should take place. To exhort, is to stir one another up by sound teaching and counsel. To give urgent appeal and give warning and good advice. So in the sanctuary there is a stirring up, urgent appeals, warning, sound teaching and good counsel. This provides a place of safety, security, protection and boundaries.                                                                                                         The next Sanctuary city is Be zer – from the Hebrew (beh'-tser) which means Fortress or fortified place.                                                                                                                   Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and they are safe”.                                                                                                              Psalms 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust. He is my buckler, the horn of my salvation, and my high tower”.

Life is full of struggles, difficulties, and problems. Some are bigger than others. But whether the Christian’s trials in life are of the garden variety or more along the lines of major tragedy, there is always something we can do while we’re waiting and believing for God to handle the big stuff. I’m not saying that God is not interested in the little stuff, but is there something I can do until God does what He does.                                                  In 1937 architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a mansion for industrialist Hibbard Johnson. One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining distinguished guests for dinner when the roof began to leak. The water seeped through directly above Johnson himself, dripping steadily onto his bald head. Irate, he called Wright in Phoenix, Arizona. “Frank,” he said, “you built this beautiful house for me and we enjoy it very much. But I have told you the roof leaks, and right now I am with some friends and distinguished guests and it is leaking right on top of my head.” Wright’s reply was heard by all of the guests. “Well, Hib, until I can get someone there, why don’t you move your chair?”                                                                                                       Proverbs 22: 3 “A prudent man sees the evil, and prepares himself: but the simple do nothing, and suffer the consequences.”                                                            Thank God for sanctuary, but is there something God has given you to do in order to fortify yourself and remain in a place of safety, until your breakthrough comes?                                                                                    Strengthen your walls by forgiveness and reconciliation. Kick the devil out of your finances by having a budget and staying with it.                                                                 If it’s not in the budget it doesn’t exist. Cut back on the spending and stop scratching every itch you get.                                                                            If you want to stay healthy, change the way you eat.... I’m working on three things right now, “watch the grain, watch the sugar, and watch the dairy products”.... those are the three biggest problems in body illness and lack of wellness. They are the biggest causes of inflammationin body systems, and the biggest cause system failure.                                     Anyway, what the sanctuary of Bezer is saying to me that God is willing to do all things, and He has provided us a safe place, if we shut the door and keep out the devil....                                                                                        Come on, sing it with me.... “Shut de door, keep out the devil, shut de door, keep the devil in the night. Shut de door, keep out the devil. Light de candle, everything’s alright”!!!                                                                                  The next sanctuary city, is Golan, in the Hebrew, it is (aheekh-mal-o-see) which means completeness or wholeness.                                                                               Colossians 2:9 “ For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”                                                                                                                     This is the sanctuary of His wholeness and completeness. The sanctuaries exist to give anyone accused of anything, a chance for a fair hearing. Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, eternally representing us. When the accuser of the brethren comes before Him, he can’t touch what we’ve put under the blood of Jesus.                       Satan cannot touch anything under the blood, when we have applied the sacrifice of Christ’s finished work on the cross.                                                   Is there something in your life that is not under the blood? The work of forgiveness, and reconciliation is effective to all who have genuinely repented. If you’re holding a grudge, if you have unforgiveness, if there are secret sins which keep cropping up, if anger, resentment, jealousy, or the love of the world have not been brought into subjection and put under the blood, then don’t put it off another day.                                                                                             1 Corinthians 9:27 “I keep control of my body, and bring it under  subjection to Christ, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”. Jesus came and provided a sanctuary, so that we can be whole and complete in Him. 

The last sanctuary city is Ramoth (raw-moth af-an-is-mos'') which means the Heights, or High places. You’re gonna love this one....                                                               Psalm 121:1 ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth’.                                                                                                                Colossians 3:3 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your thoughts and affections on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”.

Paul begins this powerful statement, with the “If” of our faith, hope and trust. The “if” that can determine heaven or hell. The “if” that can make the difference in success or failure. It’s the “if”of regret or the “if” of resolution. It’s the “if” of despair or the “if” of great achievement. It has built within it the highest heights or the lowest lows. How can those with such great potential, be among those who accomplish so little.... it’s all in the “ifs” of life.

Hidden with Christ in God, is a beautiful description of sanctuary. In that place, the high places are available to each and every one of us. The high places of God are not just a possibility, they are the responsibility of every child of God. You are equipped with the wings of faith, the eyes of spiritual sight, ears to hear the voice of God, you have been given the mind of Christ, revealed in his word, and a heart that feels what He feels and longs for what he longs for. 

The greatest question is who do we live to please? If our day to day choices are to please Him, then there is no limit to how high He will take us. Within the sanctuary of the high places, all limits are removed, and we become qualified and empowered.                                                             Therefore, I decree to you by the Spirit, that you have been given the anointing to make a difference, the anointing to be a forerunner and a pacesetter, to open the way and breakthrough so that others can follow. –A greater level of blessings, a greater level of the favor of God upon you, greater results where you have seen very little, a level of achievement that will follow you in future generations. I decree the maximum you are capable of, the top performance you are capable of, and the highest place that God is calling you to. I set you free of any baggage you’ve been carrying, any force, or person, or organization that is holding you back. By the Spirit of the God of Elijah, you are the head  and not the tail, above and not beneath. I declare and decree that you shall reclaim any ground you have yielded to the kingdom of darkness. Every curse is breaking that is affecting you. Generational and ancestral garbage is leaving, and as they fall off, you will be propelled to thethe high places, Into His wholeness and completeness, you have been brought into a fortified place of protection and safety, you shall lift up those around you and bring them along with you, others may sink around you but you shall stand on solid ground, His righteousness in you shall produce correctness in thinking, feeling, and action as you seek those things which are above.... receive it now, in the name of Jesus.

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