How To Help Disciples Grow Out Of Lukewarmness?

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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
One of my main obstacles in discipling people, is to try to get them to move out of a lukewarm Christianity and become passionate for the things of God. My desire is always to see people regularly growing in character, devoting their lives more and more to the meaningful things in life, to really pursue God's means of grace, etc. I just always really want to see lives changed for the good, but so often, we as Christians just really settle for less.

Do you have any good wisdom on how to really help people pursue the best things in life and become passionate about living for God and others?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
One of my main obstacles in discipling people, is to try to get them to move out of a lukewarm Christianity and become passionate for the things of God. My desire is always to see people regularly growing in character, devoting their lives more and more to the meaningful things in life, to really pursue God's means of grace, etc. I just always really want to see lives changed for the good, but so often, we as Christians just really settle for less.

Do you have any good wisdom on how to really help people pursue the best things in life and become passionate about living for God and others?

People grow in different ways. I am "passionate" (whatever that word means), but if Francis Chan saw me, he would probably think I was a nominal Christian.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I believe the Navigators have a lot of great tools to help in many areas. Scripture memory challenge is a great way to motivate things. I did the Topical Memory System by Nav Press in the early 80's. They also have a lot of tools to aide in personal, one on one, or group bible study. Getting in the Word is the best motivator as a means to stir the soul. Psalm 19:7. Yes, a good ole friend pulling up along side helps a whole lot too.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I believe the Navigators have a lot of great tools to help in many areas. Scripture memory challenge is a great way to motivate things. I did the Topical Memory System by Nav Press in the early 80's. They also have a lot of tools to aide in personal, one on one, or group bible study. Getting in the Word is the best motivator as a means to stir the soul. Psalm 19:7. Yes, a good ole friend pulling up along side helps a whole lot too.
This is really good to know. Thank you! I will definitely look into it.

I definitely agree with the Bible studies. When I do Bible studies with people, we read a passage of scripture and ask four questions: what does this say about God, what does this say about people/me, what does this say about life in general, and how can I apply it?

There is also something called SOS to keep people motivated. With a group of people, this can even be done through text, you choose a verse and talk about: what does this SAY, how can I OBEY, and who can I SHARE it with?

I also completely agree with you about friendship. I try to live life with other believers and be relationship focused, to share in all things with them, and not just make everything about the formal church meetings.

I just really want to see people be all in, and sadly this does not seem to be too common.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
We also use to use a method of ABC Bible Studies. Dr. Roy Blackwood taught it to me back in the late 80's.


17 AUGUST 2011/BARRY YORK

ABC Study​

From my early training under Dr. Roy Blackwood, I was taught the value of an ABC Bible Study. I have found with young and old Christians through the years that God’s people have found this type of study, which is explained below, helpful to their growth. In our church membership class, we teach this basic study as a way of having a devotional time. We also encourage those in a discipling relationship with others to use this study to train them to relate to God through His word. We will also have studies where we ask participants to prepare a study like this so they can participate more actively in the discussion.

The Lord promises that as you search His Word, He will use it significantly in your life (Proverbs 2:1-12). Keeping a journal works well with this type of study.

Analysis – What is God saying in the passage?

The analysis can be done by using ONE OR MORE of the following suggestions.

Remember, the most important thing to do while studying the Bible is to pray, asking its Author to use His Spirit to guide you into the truth (note in Psalm 119 we ask God to “quicken” us that we might be responsive to His Word.)

  • Paraphrase the chapter in your own words.
  • Make an outline of the passage.
  • Compare different versions of the Bible, noting their similarities and differences.
  • Using a concordance, list cross references of important verses with their key thoughts.
  • Take notes from several good commentaries on the passage.
  • Ask the questions “Who? What? When? Where? Why?” and answer from the text.
Best Verse – What is God saying to me in the passage?

From your study, usually the Lord will use a verse or two, or an idea contained in the text, to address particular areas of your life. The Bible is like a sword that can pierce us so deeply that it discerns the thoughts and intentions of our heart (Hebrews4:12). Prayerfully ask yourself, "What is the Lord using His WORD to speak to me about?" Write down the reference and the chief personal thought you have.

Commitment – How does God want me to respond to His Word?

We must always be diligent not to only hear and know His Word, but to obey it. The good fruit of obedience shows that the Lord is truly working in our lives (Matthew 13:18-23, 36-43), proves that we are not deluding ourselves by listening but not responding to God’s Word (James 1:22-25), and reveals that we love God even as He loves us (John14:15, 21). Under the Commitment section of your study, make some practical application to your life based on what you have learned. If you are doing this study with another person or in a group, grow in your fellowship by sharing your commitments, praying for one another, and following up one another’s commitments to encourage each other further in godliness.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
We also use to use a method of ABC Bible Studies. Dr. Roy Blackwood taught it to me back in the late 80's.


17 AUGUST 2011/BARRY YORK
Wow, I love it! I'm very grateful. Thanks! Tools like these are really good in people's hands, as they help everyday Christians be able to disciple others. With a tool like this, it becomes very easy for a person to ask a friend to do a regular Bible study with them, and so God's Kingdom grows.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I always found it important to have people learn about justification first. I would get them to understand the Bridge Illustration first.

NavBridge.jpg

I would then teach the basics of Assurance.

5 Lessons on Assurance Bible Studies

This is a booklet my son Samuel and I use.
Growing in Christ
It includes the above 5 Lessons on Assurance and other important lessons.
Description:
A Bible study classic! Five basic Bible studies on beginning principles for following Christ; plus eight studies on principles for Christian living.
Use in groups or individually. Growing in Christ helps you establish a firm, scriptural foundation for your life as you develop habits of Bible study and Scripture memory. Scripture verse cards included.
Topics: •Assurance of Salvation •Victory over Sin •Forgiveness •Guidance •Putting Christ First •Relying on the Lord's Strength •The Importance of the Bible •Giving •The Church •Good Works •Witnessing

https://www.christianbook.com/growi...ebook/the-navigators/9781615215089/pd/63021EB
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
What do you consider lukewarmness? If we go by traditional Reformed piety and means of grace, that is one thing. If people are lukewarm on that, that is a problem. If we go by Desiring God and Francis Chan, then pretty much every good Christian is lukewarm.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
What do you consider lukewarmness? If we go by traditional Reformed piety and means of grace, that is one thing. If people are lukewarm on that, that is a problem. If we go by Desiring God and Francis Chan, then pretty much every good Christian is lukewarm.
I definitely understand what you're saying. Yeah, I just mean being lukewarm in obeying God. Mainly matters like character growth, making godly choices instead of sinful ones, wanting to study the Bible and pray, and stuff like that. Just the basic stuff.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
Not to be trite etc, but the answer is the gospel. I'm just about to start preaching on Colossians and have read through the book a few times the last few days. This is exactly what Paul is saying. You don't need any other kinds of fools gold or discipleship systems. You need to know who Christ is; what He has done; and who you really are in Him. I know it's what I need.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I always found it important to have people learn about justification first. I would get them to understand the Bridge Illustration first.

View attachment 7987

I would then teach the basics of Assurance.

5 Lessons on Assurance Bible Studies

This is a booklet my son Samuel and I use.
Growing in Christ
It includes the above 5 Lessons on Assurance and other important lessons.
Description:
A Bible study classic! Five basic Bible studies on beginning principles for following Christ; plus eight studies on principles for Christian living.
Use in groups or individually. Growing in Christ helps you establish a firm, scriptural foundation for your life as you develop habits of Bible study and Scripture memory. Scripture verse cards included.
Topics: •Assurance of Salvation •Victory over Sin •Forgiveness •Guidance •Putting Christ First •Relying on the Lord's Strength •The Importance of the Bible •Giving •The Church •Good Works •Witnessing

https://www.christianbook.com/growi...ebook/the-navigators/9781615215089/pd/63021EB
Have you heard of the 3 circles? I really like it.

 

hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
Not to be trite etc, but the answer is the gospel. I'm just about to start preaching on Colossians and have read through the book a few times the last few days. This is exactly what Paul is saying. You don't need any other kinds of fools gold or discipleship systems. You need to know who Christ is; what He has done; and who you really are in Him. I know it's what I need.
I like this.

Read the bible more, pray more, thus know Christ more.
And when His presence is not felt, long for Him and seek Him, trusting in His grace.

(Ps 63.1; Ps 42.1-2; Ps 27.8; 2 Cor 4.6)

Blessings brother
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
There are no shortages of things to stir the heart to more zeal. Of course the caveat is to always temper zeal with knowledge and do nothing only for the sake of being zealous. That would be false fire.

Some things to stir the heart:

- The greatness of God, and how it is only just and right that He receives the fullest service of our heart, soul, strength and mind; and we rob God when we do not give it to Him
- The horrid filth of our own personal sins
- The unsparing love of God, lowly service of the Son, power of the Spirit to save us (nothing less than zealous love could have accomplished such a thing)
- The wondrousness of the gift of salvation received
- The unspeakable joys of heaven
- The severity of the torments of hell
- The shortness of time to serve God in this life
- The multitudes of people who are on their way to hellfire even now
- The awfulness and joyfulness of Judgment Day
- Eternity, eternity, eternity

Reality itself demands full-hearted disciples.

But of course, you cannot muscle it up. It must be Christ living in us, Gal 2:20. Many helps in the Word to zeal, but the way to obtain it is to look to, believe on, pray for, and EXPECT God in Christ by the Spirit to give it to you.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
A solid church will be the best thing to grow disciples. I am not referring to a church with a bunch of programs either, but rather a church that preaches repentance on a regular basis from the pulpit, and preaches bearing fruit worthy of repentance. A church that encourages it's people to pray and read, study, and meditate upon God's Word. And that not only encourages them in these things but teaches them how to do these well. A church with a session who will hold member's accountable, including knowing them personally and visiting them regularly. A church that will call people to worship the living and holy God in a proper manner on a weekly basis.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Not to be trite etc, but the answer is the gospel. I'm just about to start preaching on Colossians and have read through the book a few times the last few days. This is exactly what Paul is saying. You don't need any other kinds of fools gold or discipleship systems. You need to know who Christ is; what He has done; and who you really are in Him. I know it's what I need.
I like this answer a lot. It's very true. A deepening appreciation of the gospel will compel us to deeper obedience/repentance and to passionate engagement in the work of Christ's kingdom. It is our best motivation; indeed, lesser motivations are often hypocritical. (And yes, solid preaching and Bible teaching are core tools for a deepening appreciation of the gospel, so those responses are in line with this. ) The gospel propels us into obedience and mission. It gives us true passion for Christ.

But if I may... There's a corollary to the adage that the gospel propels us into mission—and @Pergamum hinted at it. It is this: Mission also propels us back to the gospel. As we engage in the work of Christ's kingdom, as we resist sin, and as we go out to love others, we will find that this work is difficult and we need more and more of Jesus to sustain us. We will be driven to more deeply take in the comforts, hopes, and encouragements of the gospel. All of this is Christian passion too. You see, it works both ways.

So, why are there professing believers who have little passion? Probably, they have only a shallow appreciation for the gospel. But also, much of the time, they are not very engaged in kingdom work, or they are seldom challenged to any hard obedience or deep repentance. The gospel flourishes where there's a fight. Jesus becomes bigger when suffering looms larger.

Where the gospel-centered movement of the last few decades has become tame, it is usually because the mission/kingdom-work side of it has been lost. People are getting good gospel preaching and teaching, but they're consuming most of it from an easy chair in a still pretty comfortable-to-be-a-Christian place like the US. Teach them the gospel, yes. But also try to get them into settings where there is suffering and struggle, where progress is impossible without prayer, where the gospel becomes their comfort because other comforts have dissolved away.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Not to be trite etc, but the answer is the gospel. I'm just about to start preaching on Colossians and have read through the book a few times the last few days. This is exactly what Paul is saying. You don't need any other kinds of fools gold or discipleship systems. You need to know who Christ is; what He has done; and who you really are in Him. I know it's what I need.
I agree with what you are saying on one level. Not everyone is stirred the same way though. God's Spirit uses many means to goad us into love. I am not sure what you are calling 'fools gold' or what you are implying when you state 'discipleship system' but I will let you know that I had a constant diet of God's word in large portions. I read and reread so much that I even read the whole Old Testament in 3 months one year. The tools I recommended are just that, tools. The main component in those tools is the teaching that is organized to help along with the important ingredient called friendship. No man is an island. I needed my brothers to care and love on me. I came out of a very wild background with a broken home. I needed the element of people along with the categorized teaching to help me mature. It takes much more than just sitting down and reading the Bible. It takes guidance to help us learn to pray, read and understand the word, learn how to behave with each other and learn how to live in a living organism known as the body of Christ. The Church can be a messy place as can our lives and we need a whole lot more than just... It is a multi-fauceted answer that is needed here. There are many means of grace that God has given us to grow in our Union with Christ.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Have you heard of the 3 circles? I really like it.
Ryan, I don't like it. It is too much like the God has a wonderful plan for your life type thing. That is the short and simple of my assessment. I prefer to focus on reconciliation with God even though life is still messy thing. I appreciate the illustrations that focus more on God paid my penalty for sin and I have everlasting life based upon that. The Three Circles is just too rosy and that is deceptive in my estimation. I hope I haven't dishearten your desire for something you may have found beneficial.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
One of my main obstacles in discipling people, is to try to get them to move out of a lukewarm Christianity and become passionate for the things of God. My desire is always to see people regularly growing in character, devoting their lives more and more to the meaningful things in life, to really pursue God's means of grace, etc. I just always really want to see lives changed for the good, but so often, we as Christians just really settle for less.

Do you have any good wisdom on how to really help people pursue the best things in life and become passionate about living for God and others?
My dear brother,

What you have described is the experience of every faithful pastor in Christ's Church. And sadly, there is no silver bullet. There is no secret to effecting the desired change. There is only faithful proclamation of the truth, reinforced by the power of a godly life. As the apostle says, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."—1 Tim. 4:16
 
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Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
As the apostle says, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."—1 Tim. 4:16
Agreed. There is much wisdom in Paul's letters to exhort us to a godly life. I often think of 1 Tim 4:7 "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;"
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
Ryan, I don't like it. It is too much like the God has a wonderful plan for your life type thing. That is the short and simple of my assessment. I prefer to focus on reconciliation with God even though life is still messy thing. I appreciate the illustrations that focus more on God paid my penalty for sin and I have everlasting life based upon that. The Three Circles is just too rosy and that is deceptive in my estimation. I hope I haven't dishearten your desire for something you may have found beneficial.
The last upswing arrow into the encircled heart is a bit over-simplistic (probably a general idea for the unbeliever). I liked everything up until that point. The last step upward (into that heart) should be teased out a bit more so the unbeliever doesn't think his life will be perfect upon submitting to Jesus; that would likely be more difficult to draw out simply though.

..
Read the bible more, pray more, thus know Christ more.
And when His presence is not felt, long for Him and seek Him, trusting in His grace. ...
Yes, the old-fashioned means of grace. And encouraging honesty before God, letting him know (as though he doesn't know already) that you don't feel a yearning for Jesus, but a yearning for worldly things instead. I think an openness toward God is so important in our prayers. Like I said, it's not like he doesn't know the state of our hearts already. So instead of putting on a pretext of devotion (when you just don't feel that devoted), telling him "Look, God, I just don't want to pray today. I beg you to give me a desire for Jesus instead of for these temporal things that can bring me no lasting satisfaction".
...
Where the gospel-centered movement of the last few decades has become tame, it is usually because the mission/kingdom-work side of it has been lost. People are getting good gospel preaching and teaching, but they're consuming most of it from an easy chair in a still pretty comfortable-to-be-a-Christian place like the US. Teach them the gospel, yes. But also try to get them into settings where there is suffering and struggle, where progress is impossible without prayer, where the gospel becomes their comfort because other comforts have dissolved away.
I love what you talk about here, Jack. It does seem, especially here in the US, that many of us have become overly comfort-minded Christians. Jesus seems like an add-on to our comfortable lives. As undesirable as it may be, it seems like much growth comes in affliction. Growth without affliction would be much, much better! But if God wills it for our ultimate good, he will bring it about in his infinitely wise counsel. In the meantime it seems a good way to mature as a disciple of the Lord would be to become more exposed to those who are suffering and struggling in this life and who have only Jesus to cling to.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I’ll add, that every Christian longing to see more love for and devotion to Christ amongst members of the church should pray for repentance and reformation in the ministry, and that God will establish and raise up men who are able to preach experimentally.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan, I don't like it. It is too much like the God has a wonderful plan for your life type thing. That is the short and simple of my assessment. I prefer to focus on reconciliation with God even though life is still messy thing. I appreciate the illustrations that focus more on God paid my penalty for sin and I have everlasting life based upon that. The Three Circles is just too rosy and that is deceptive in my estimation. I hope I haven't dishearten your desire for something you may have found beneficial.
Thanks for the honest thought. It's not disheartening at all as I want to hear other perspectives so I can make the best decisions possible.

Also, thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. There is really good wisdom here!
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
I like a lot of what has been posted here. One thing I would add is to remember that we can say "you have to read more, pray more", etc but unless the Holy Spirit moves them to a deeper walk its going to fall on deaf ears. I think constant prayer for them and walking side by side with them is something that should not be neglected. Show them Christ and teach them Christ but don't neglect praying that the Holy Spirit would work in their lives.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
One of my main obstacles in discipling people, is to try to get them to move out of a lukewarm Christianity and become passionate for the things of God. My desire is always to see people regularly growing in character, devoting their lives more and more to the meaningful things in life, to really pursue God's means of grace, etc. I just always really want to see lives changed for the good, but so often, we as Christians just really settle for less.

Greetings beloved of the Lord,

Allow me to say a few words on a subject that is dear to my heart.

The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit​


Such a topic may sound strange to some of the Reformed. But it shouldn't.
I have found this added blessing of the fullness of the Holy Spirit to be the most life-giving benefit possible for a true believer. God appears, possibly for the first time, as the incredible and marvelous being that He is and fills the saint with wonder and praise to our great Triune God and Savior. It will change your outlook on the whole matter of the Christian life. The Spirit gives us what Peter called "joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8) It just doesn't get any better than this.

I will point you to a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called, Baptism and Filling on the MLJ Trust site. Here's what it says about the sermon:

What does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? This phrase is often misunderstood by many Christians, and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes this sermon to bring clarity to this topic. Many people will say that baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as salvation. Yet, this implies that the apostles were not saved until Pentecost since that is when the Spirit came on them! No, the phrase must mean something else. Dr. Lloyd-Jones defines the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the initial experience of the glory, reality, and love of the Father. Can one be filled with the Spirit repeatedly? Lloyd-Jones presents his argument for why he believes this to be the case and why it is the source of power and ability for the believer in Christian service and witnessing. This filling, he says, differentiates an advocate from a witness. Dr. Lloyd-Jones closes out by offering Scripture's perspective on how to determine if someone is truly filled with the Spirit, and he establishes a foundational principle—revival is the pouring out of God's spirit, and more than anything, that is needed in order to turn our countries back to Him. Christians have a biblical responsibility to pray for this.​

You can go to the MLJ Trust site to listen with this search URL. Or, for convenience, I uploaded the mp3 audio file on my site at this URL.

Skeptics are invited to take a listen.

Ed
 

hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the honest thought. It's not disheartening at all as I want to hear other perspectives so I can make the best decisions possible.

Also, thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. There is really good wisdom here!
Ryan, I don't like it. It is too much like the God has a wonderful plan for your life type thing.

The last upswing arrow into the encircled heart is a bit over-simplistic (probably a general idea for the unbeliever). I liked everything up until that point. The last step upward (into that heart) should be teased out a bit more so the unbeliever doesn't think his life will be perfect upon submitting to Jesus; that would likely be more difficult to draw out simply though.
Think about that 'three circles' thing being preached to a Muslim in Iran or Pakistan: they repent, renounce allah and muhamed, trust in Christ, and days later are put into prison, tormented for three years and martyred. Just thought I'd add an illustration as to the potential dangers of that type of preaching.

You could direct them to preaching of God's law, and God's wrath. For, alternatively, that lukewarmness, so called, could actually be false conversion due to not having knowledge of sin.

There's invaluable material on this found in Ray Comfort's sermon: Hell's Best Kept Secret
And in line with this,
- The severity of the torments of hell

, Sinners in The Hands of An Angry God by Jonathan Edwards, might be a wake up call to lukewarm Christians.

Rev 3.15-16
But of course, you cannot muscle it up. It must be Christ living in us, Gal 2:20. Many helps in the Word to zeal, but the way to obtain it is to look to, believe on, pray for, and EXPECT God in Christ by the Spirit to give it to you.

I think Ephesian is spot on. It is the work of the Spirit which gives zeal.

'"I am crucified, nevertheless I live." Crucified, then dead; crucified, then the old life is put away-- whatever life a crucified man has must be new life. So it is with you. Upon your old life, believer, sentence of death has been pronounced. The carnal mind, which is enmity against God, is doomed to die. "I die daily." Would to God the old nature were completely dead. But whatever you had of life was not given to you till you came into union with Christ. It is a new thing, as new as though you had been actually dead and rotted in the tomb, and then had started up at the sound of the trumpet to live again.' -C.H Spurgeon on Gal 2.20

God bless you @Ryan&Amber2013 , for your open-heartedness
May the materials be a blessing too.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
I agree with what you are saying on one level. Not everyone is stirred the same way though. God's Spirit uses many means to goad us into love. I am not sure what you are calling 'fools gold' or what you are implying when you state 'discipleship system' but I will let you know that I had a constant diet of God's word in large portions. I read and reread so much that I even read the whole Old Testament in 3 months one year. The tools I recommended are just that, tools. The main component in those tools is the teaching that is organized to help along with the important ingredient called friendship. No man is an island. I needed my brothers to care and love on me. I came out of a very wild background with a broken home. I needed the element of people along with the categorized teaching to help me mature. It takes much more than just sitting down and reading the Bible. It takes guidance to help us learn to pray, read and understand the word, learn how to behave with each other and learn how to live in a living organism known as the body of Christ. The Church can be a messy place as can our lives and we need a whole lot more than just... It is a multi-fauceted answer that is needed here. There are many means of grace that God has given us to grow in our Union with Christ.
Amen, brother. You are right, and I was wrong. I didn't intend to use the gospel as a weapon to cause hurt but I think I did just that, and I am sorry. Please forgive me. Yes, we need the tools, just like you said. And your point about fellowship/friendship is huge as well. I myself am feeling the void in this area in particular with the fallout of all the covid stuff. Need brothers in my life helping me to see things in my life I don't and challenge me and remind me of the truth of Scripture.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Associate with sanctified persons. They may, by their counsel, prayers, and holy example, be a means to make you holy. As the communion of saints is in our creed, so it should be in our company. ‘He that walketh with the wise shall be wise.’ Prov xiii 20. Association begets assimilation.

Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity - Section on sanctification
 
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