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The Pure Life #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2023 12:00 am

The Pure Life #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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March 22, 2023 12:00 am

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Would we really walk about in life with an attitude in our heart that says, I want more. I don't have enough. God, you haven't given me enough.

What are you saying? I gave you my eternal son. I gave you the Lord Jesus Christ. What's the matter with you? Christians are called to a life of purity.

But what exactly does that mean? Jesus describes it for us in Ephesians 5, and Pastor Don Green will take us there today on the Truth Pulpit, as he continues to teach God's people God's Word. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, As You Walk with Christ. Don will be presenting part one of a message titled, The Pure Life.

As you'll see, purity extends well beyond just the sexual realm. Our calling is to a purity of mind, body, and spirit. But if we did not have Christ as Savior, we'd be unable to rise to that calling. Have your Bible open and ready, friend, as we join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. Our scripture text we're going to study from God's Word together is found in Ephesians chapter 5, verses 3 and 4. And I invite you to turn there.

It reads this way. It says, But immorality, or any impurity, or greed, must not even be named among you as is proper among saints. And there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. We're going to see two key priorities in this text to help you live a pure life in this wicked world. And first of all, I want to show you this from verse 3, is that Paul calls us to live in purity. To live in purity.

And it will be helpful to set a context as we enter into it. Look at chapter 5, verse 2. Paul says and calls us to walk in love, and then he lays out the sacrifice of Christ for us. He says, Just as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. What you do at this point is you step back and you think on that for a moment. You remember who Christ is, the eternal Son of God. You remember what he did. He offered his life as a sacrifice to God on the cross.

Why? Because you were doomed to suffer wrath, because you were guilty, because you were a rebel and you were headed for hell. And Christ said, No, no, I will intercede on that one's behalf. I will lay down my life, I will bring him to myself so that I can spare him the consequences that his sins deserve.

That's what it says. He loved you. And he loved you not with empty, vapid sentiment, but with an act of self-sacrifice that secured your eternal good. Now, as you move on in the text, what follows in verses 3 and following is a call to respond to that act of self-sacrifice. And what you see in the face of the self-sacrifice of Christ is that a selfish life of self-indulgence is unthinkable. It is something that you cannot tolerate in your own mind, because you realize how utterly inconsistent that continued sin and rebellion is with the self-sacrifice of Christ that was made in order to secure your redemption.

And that he did that in love for you. And so, a life of purity, a life of sincerity, a life of godliness is the only thing that would be a proper life response to such an act like that. It's a way that you should think through it. And Christ's self-sacrifice teaches you to exchange sin for purity in three areas of your life.

And so these are going to be sub-points of our first point. There's a broad call to live in purity that unites these things together. And what we're going to see is that Paul identifies three specific areas of life in which you are to think through these things and apply them. To pursue holiness, to pursue sanctification, to leave behind the old way of life in order to reflect back to Christ a semblance of the purity which he in perfection pursued in order to offer his life on your behalf.

What you're seeing here is something really fundamental. What you're seeing here is what worship looks like. What worship looks like Monday through Saturday. What worship looks like with a life response that says, the totality of my life, the totality of my heart, the totality of my desires are given over to this Christ.

And to stop thinking about worship in a superficial way as if it's only the music that is done from a platform for half an hour on a Sunday morning and then everything else is something different. No, no, your response of life is your reasonable service of worship in response to this great sacrifice of Christ. And you see, beloved, here's the thing, and one of the ways that you can test yourself to see if you're a true Christian or not is whether that's even appealing to you. Because to a true Christian, one who understands what Christ has done for you, you gladly say, well of course Christ gave his all for me. The only fitting response would be for me to give my all back to him and not to carve out pockets of sin and acceptable disobedience because you still want to have at least some things your way.

No, for a Christian, our way is Christ's way, and Christ's way is what's revealed here in Scripture. And so he's going to teach us through the Apostle Paul what purity he calls us to. Live in purity.

Where, Paul? In what sections of life should I apply this? Well, first of all, it is in the realm of sexuality. Live in purity, first subpoint here, in sexuality. Scripture calls Christians to a sexual purity that is foreign to the ways of the world. And the debased nature of all culture today is really not that much different from the circumstances in which Paul wrote this back in the first century. There was the same public display of detestable public sexuality in a way that they would understand that Christians were called out of then and were called out of here today. And that's important for us to realize is that what Paul gave to the first century Christians were things that apply to us here today as well.

Their environment may have been a little bit different in the externals, but fundamentally the sexual insanity that we know today was the same back then. Look at what Paul says in verse 3 here. He says, But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you as is proper among the saints. This word for immorality comes from a Greek word that we can easily understand. It's the same Greek word that gives us the English word pornography and joined with the phrase any impurity.

Look at verse 3 with me there. But immorality could be translated and any impurity. Here we have it, immorality or any impurity. When you put those terms together in the same phrase, it's a comprehensive reference to sexual sin. And what it says is that sexual sin is so diametrically opposed to the reality of what it means to be a Christian that it should be unthinkable in your mind to allow for it in your life.

That's what he's saying. Don't even let it be named among you. What would this include, this immorality of which he speaks?

Sex before marriage, adultery after marriage, all manner of homosexual activity, pornography. All of that, Paul says, is to be put away. Don't even let it be named among you. And when he says don't let it be named among you, the idea that he's communicating here is that there should be a separation in your mind that divides you from that realm. And you say, that realm is foreign to me. That realm is unwelcome in my life because it's contrary to the purity that Christ calls me to.

The call is broad. It should not even be named among you. And so, when we think about it and just kind of work out what that's saying, don't even let it be named among you. Well, what's he saying? He's saying don't do this. He's saying don't talk about this and don't joke about it. That racy humor, even if you're not engaging in it physically, is inappropriate. That that which fills the entertainment venue of our culture and our society is something that we should reject in totality and not find our minds rolling around in the filth that is done in the name of humor and engages in these immoralities and these impurities that Paul says shouldn't even be named among you.

You see, it's pretty comprehensive. The goal here, the purpose of what Paul is saying is that you would think through these things in light of who you are. Think through who you are. I belong to a Christ who is holy.

That's who I am. And now you think through that and say, okay, well, what does that mean in light of the debased culture in which I live? Uh-oh, I'm on foreign ground. I'm declaring war against the very thing that is of the environment in which I'm walking.

You say this has no part in my life. There is no realm of welcome in my heart for this is what he's saying. And our Lord Jesus, he went even further. Turn to Matthew chapter 5. Matthew chapter 5. Matthew 5, 27 says, You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. What's the Lord doing here through his word? The Lord is asserting his dominion, his righteous and rightful lordship over even the inner realm of your heart and saying your desires for adultery and sexual sin are banished.

They are not allowed. They are sinful whether you act on them physically or not. And we see that the searching and pervasive nature of the law of God is such that God commands even what you are to desire and what you are not to desire.

That's how thorough his authority is over the world, over the unsaved and certainly over us as his people. Those lusts are contrary to who you are. When we say the lusts, the sexual desire expressed in marriage, God ordained that. God blesses that.

He appointed that. It's the illicit seeking it outside of realms that he has blessed and provided for us that is condemned and forbidden. And so because you are a new creation in Christ, you align yourself with what God commands and what God desires and what he calls to be holiness and say that has no part in my life.

Pretty high standard, isn't it? We all feel condemned by this. We all realize that we all fall short of this.

Well, there's two things that I would say about it at that point. Welcome to the fact that you need a Savior. Praise God that he gave you one because we all fall short here and the Christ shed blood covers even that sin. And so if the question is asked, well, can these sins even be forgiven? Given how contrary they are to the nature of God? Can they be forgiven?

Yes. That's why Christ came. He came for you to save you. And in mercy have kindness upon you even in what you've swum in in the past. So can it be forgiven?

Yes. But, beloved, let me show you something really important. That's not Paul's point here. Paul is talking about something different here. He's not addressing whether it can be forgiven in the life of a Christian. He had just said in verse 2 that Christ gave himself up as a sacrifice and offering. There's your hope in the midst of your sinfulness that there is forgiveness available for you in Christ Jesus. You rest in verse 2. But now as we move on in verse 3, understand that he's saying something different. And to say that it can be forgiven, to say that Christ died even for those shameful sins that you would not want anyone to know about, that's not his point here. His point here is what you think about them now as a Christian. And what you think about these sins now as a Christian is, is that those are now my sworn enemies, those sins. It's that I set myself against them. And while the temptation might assail me, while the struggle might still be there, it's a struggle that comes from an enemy, not from someone that I'm wanting to embrace as a friend. That's the difference. These sexual sins are your sworn enemy as a Christian.

And whether you stumble in them or not is not the point here. It's that you settle in your opposition against them. Paul says you should not think for a moment that they are acceptable in a Christian life. Look at it with me again.

We'll tie it together here. He says, But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints. You see, you think through your life, you think through who you are in Christ, and you realize when you put the holiness and the pristine sacrifice of Christ up against the debased lusts of this world, you realize those two can't meet together and be reconciled as friends. And you say, Well, I'm on Christ's side now.

Christ bought me. He brought me into his family, and therefore I am settled against those things. And when they present themselves to me, and when they attack me, and when they allure me, they will find me resisting and fighting them rather than running after them to enjoy and to plunge in with them. It's a matter of a heart mindset that Paul is after, that you settle this.

And you see, Beloved, here's the thing. It's at a time like this where you really have to think through these things, because God's Word is strong enough and is powerful enough to help you in these realms, these realms that you have struggled with for a long time. God's Word is strong enough and powerful enough to equip you to resist these temptations. Yes, it is.

Yes, it is. But the key to it is for you to think through things now in times like this, when the temptation is removed from you far, and to think through these things and to settle the convictions in your heart that will steal you, that will undergird you, that you can draw upon when the temptation comes upon you. You must think about these things deeply, and you must commit yourself to them wholeheartedly rather than waiting until the temptation comes and says, well, I'll figure it out then.

No wonder people stumble when that's their approach. Then, when the temptation is on you, it's really too late to start thinking about these things. You need the convictions cultivated in your own heart and mind beforehand under the clarity of God's Word, under the clarity of the influence of His Holy Spirit and says, yes, Lord, that's where I want to go.

Scripture says the way that you can avoid falling is to settle in your mind and to live from a strong perspective that says, there's no room in my life for that. Now, secondly, Paul goes on, having spoken about sexual sin, it's very interesting what he goes on and does here. You know, if we were going to list out a list of sin, if I, you know, I won't do this, but if I were to ask you, you know, write out a list of five major sins. What are the five worst sins that you could think of? And, you know, well, maybe it's sexual sin, anger, murder, you know, that kind of stuff, and you'd write those things out. It's unlikely that very many of you, if any, would go in that list of self-prepared listing of sin where the Spirit of God goes here in verse three.

It's very interesting. And we don't see this one coming, and so it kind of hits us off guard, and we realize, oh, there's a whole realm here that I never even thought about. Look at what he says in verse three. He says, but immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you as is proper among the saints. Paul injects something different here when he uses the word greed. And just to make sure that I don't lose you here in the notes, Paul's called us to a life of purity in sexuality. And now secondly here, we're moving in that he's calling us to a life of purity in satisfaction.

In satisfaction. Because Scripture tells you to be satisfied with what you have rather than adopting a worldly mindset of always wanting something more. It's said of J. Nelson Rockefeller, the wealthy businessman, that he was asked one time, how much is enough money? And he's reported to have said, just a little bit more. Always just a little bit more.

I want just a little bit more than what I have. And Scripture tells us to reject that mindset. Look at verse three with me again. Immorality or any impurity. Notice the word or there. He's talking about something different here. I disagree with those commentators who think it's just talking about greedy sexual desire. It's a disjunctive.

It's or. He's talking about something, he's adding something new to the list here, distinct from the immorality and impurity that went before it. And so he separates out greed as something that likewise is not to be named among you as is proper among the saints. Why would that be so important? You and I are conditioned through lots of church involvement and things we read to have our antenna up about sexual sin. But why greed? Would that have been in your top five list?

Probably not. For Paul, it was right there on an equal plane with sexual sin. This is unsettling.

Why is that so important? What is so bad about greed and unrestrained earthly ambition? What does greed say?

Oh, this is painful, but we need to get to the heart of it. Do you know what greed says? Do you know what that insatiable longing for more in your heart is saying? It is saying that you are dissatisfied with the present provision of God.

God, I have all of this, but I want more. Are you kidding me? Really? That would be your attitude toward God? That would be your attitude toward Christ? Go back to verse 2. Look at verse 2 with me. Christ, who in a complete self-emptying, a complete self-denial, loved you and gave Himself up for you, an offering and a sacrifice to God for your sins is a fragrant aroma? He did that eternal work on your behalf to secure your eternal well-being?

And even by worldly standards, almost every one of us here are living in the upper echelon of what the rest of the world enjoys. And from that position of material blessing, that position of inestimable, unconquerable, eternal blessing, would we really walk about in life with an attitude in our heart that says, I want more, I don't have enough? What is that saying to God? God, you haven't given me enough.

Well, what are you saying? I gave you my eternal Son. I gave you the Lord Jesus Christ.

You have food and covering. You're not content with that? What's the matter with you? This helps us to see that Paul's talking about more than a physical purity when he writes here. He's talking about a spiritual purity. He's talking about a heart attitude that recognizes the goodness and the blessing of God, and in response says, thank you, not where's the rest?

Those of you that are parents, you know what it's like, either from experience or from your friend's experience. You pour out all of these gifts on Christmas morning, and the little kid opens it all up, and it takes forever to get through them all, and then he starts looking around. Where's the rest?

Why isn't there more? Well, what we need to see as Christians is that the purity that God calls us to says that, no, the fundamental cornerstone of my heart reaction to my circumstances is going to be, God, thank you. You've given me all I need. You've blessed me, Lord, and I recognize that, and I'm grateful for what you've done. Greed then opposes the purity of life to which you are called.

The pure life does indeed include the realm of satisfaction, and the key to satisfaction is simply gratitude. Pastor Don Green will explain further next time here on The Truth Pulpit as he takes us further into our series As You Walk with Christ. Be sure to join us then.

Right now, though, Don's back in studio with a special invitation. Well, friend, if you are anywhere near the Cincinnati area and you don't have a good church home, I invite you to visit us at Truth Community Church. I'm in The Pulpit almost every Sunday, and we have a loving congregation that would simply be thrilled to meet you and welcome you to our body.

We are striving to manifest the principles that you heard taught today. Why not come and see us? Bill will help you find us on our website. Just visit for directions and service times. There, you'll also find a link to Don's Facebook page. Once more, that's And by the way, thanks for your support of this ministry. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 04:51:58 / 2023-03-22 05:01:19 / 9

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