Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Christ has given us a beautiful picture of sacrificial love. Today's message, titled Walk in Love, highlights the clear contrast between pure true love, modeled after Christ, and sin, which is disordered love. Let's dig into Ephesians 5, 1-7 with Pastor Rich today. This is the third and final part of the sermon, first preached on November 5, 2017.
We need to champion what is true and good and beautiful. And in my interactions with others, is your disposition in your interaction with others just on a general basis? Is it more what you can do for me?
Or when you interact others, do you approach them on the basis of how can I invest myself in you? How can I walk with you in a God-ward direction? I challenge you this morning, folks, to let the Spirit of God and the grace of God reorder our thoughts in these things. To champion what is true and good and beautiful is not only to practice what it is, but to promote it, to celebrate it, to encourage it. We should not in any way be celebrating that which is contrary to God's design and His character and purpose.
Not in any way. And in what we do, we should be pointing to Him because this, what is true and good and beautiful, is from Him. He's the author of it. And to the degree that I depart from Him, I enter into darkness and destruction and despair. Number four, let's talk about the object of love. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, who is covetous, that is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of God, in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. What is the object of your love? Because love has an object. Love is not just an emotion.
Love has an object. And it's interesting how he begins verse five here, for you may be sure, that phrase right there is two words in the Greek, oida and ginosko, two words that are translated know. So being sure, knowing, knowing, knowing, so it's an emphasis there, two words in a row, it's almost a redundancy, but he's emphasizing here, you can be sure of this. And what is he saying here? He's speaking of those who are in a state of being, everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous. And some of you are saying, whoa, wait a minute, I'm struggling with some things here. Or, you know, covetousness, how many of us don't struggle with covetousness?
What is he saying? Well, covetousness is the foundation of what ungodly love is, it's self-indulgence. And so what he's talking about is people who are in their natural state, who that's what they know of love. It's simply self-indulgence.
And I will interact with you based on what you can do for me. He says, the natural man, the unregenerate person, they have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God, they are enslaved to sin. Let me give you a paraphrase, if I may, I'm going to quote Rod Dreher here in the Benedict option, sin is disordered love. Sin is disordered love.
I want you to think about that. Sin is disordered love. He says there are idolaters. Why is it disordered love?
Because we worship the creature instead of the creator. Disordered love means that we love and value something or someone more than God. The one who made you for himself and redeemed you to himself, and there is something or someone that you love more than him, sin is disordered love. And so direction and success of your life is about what you love.
Think about that. That's why Paul tells us where we should set our affections in Colossians chapter three, verses one to three. Love is not something that happens to you, but love is what you worship and commit yourself to. To worship something is to serve it, to devote yourself to it. What do you devote?
What do you passionately pursue more than God? It's an idol to you. But here's the good news in this, OK? Your love, your love can be trained, can be informed and trained. Some of you might be saying, nuh-uh. No, man, I just feel it.
No. Then you misunderstand love. If you think love is just something that happens to you, then you misunderstand the love that God designed. True love can be informed and trained because love has an object. What is it that you love most? What is it that you pursue?
What is it that you devote your attention to more than anything else? He calls here, he says, the sons of disobedience, those who do not inherit the kingdom of Christ and God, the sons of disobedience think they know better than God. They are children of unbelief.
That means they are due judgment. Why? Because they do not belong to God. They have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Why? Because they live in self-indulgence. They love things, use people, and the one they love the most is themselves. And that's the problem we're born with.
And Christ came to rescue us from that. The one they love the most is themselves. Because of that, they have an empty future. And their life is a failure because of disordered love and a violation of purpose. They have the wrong object of love and therefore they've been pursuing the wrong thing all of their lives. That's a violation of purpose. Verses, as he calls us in verse one, dear or beloved children of God.
Do you see the contrast there? So what is the object of your love? So we need to inform our love and train our love with the true, the good, and the beautiful beginning with God.
And you have the selective power of what occupies your mind. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And lastly, the object of love. We need to be satisfied with true love as he says in verse seven. Let no one deceive you with empty words. Verse six. Let no one deceive you with empty words.
For because of these, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partakers with them. Be satisfied with true love.
Let no one deceive you. Do not become partakers of these self-destructive counterfeits that the world and the adversary call love. Love is not about self-indulgence. Listen to this, please. Love is not a consumer's activity.
Love is not a consumer's activity. And this is why you need to explore, you need to study, you need to know and meditate upon that which is true and good and beautiful. And that begins with God in his self-disclosure. What is his character? What is his purpose?
All the true and good and beautiful of what he has accomplished for me. And in the outflow of that, how can I invest myself in others beginning with spouse and children or anyone you have a relationship with? To be satisfied with true love. We need to pursue it. We need to develop an appetite for it. Pursue what is true and good and beautiful.
And as you do that, listen, you will develop an appetite for what is true and good and beautiful. Your appetites can even be trained. I know because I like broccoli. And my wife is really working hard to get me to like cauliflower.
And she cooked it in a special way the other day with spices on it. And I ate it and it pained me to say, this is actually good. Listen, folks, your appetites can be trained. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You are not just a machine. Your love can be informed and trained.
Your appetites can be trained. And therein, as you pursue what is true and good and beautiful, you will develop your appetite and you, listen to me, you will find your satisfaction in the love of God and then you will walk in love. That's how grace works. Thanks be to God for that. So walk in love, as Jesus said, love one another just as I have loved you.
We are called to that. How is the Holy Spirit speaking to you this morning? How is He challenging you? Are you opening your heart and mind to Him or are you pushing back?
How does He need to inform your love and train it? Is there anything about your love that is self-indulgent? Is there anything about your love that you are pursuing something more than you are pursuing God? Harsh words, but Paul refers to that as idolatry.
It is. How much idolatry is in your life? That's a hard question, isn't it? But let the Holy Spirit of God challenge you with that this morning. Father, work in our hearts, I pray that you would find us humble before you, acknowledging that our appetites are sometimes taking us in the wrong direction. Father, we need you to be the object of our love because we are the objects of your love. So work in our hearts this morning, I pray, Father, that we would learn to invest ourselves and sacrifice ourselves instead of just being self-indulgent. For therein we reflect the truth and the goodness and the beauty of you, our Creator and our Redeemer. In Jesus' name we pray.
Amen. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
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