We see how bad it is, and we realize that letting their stuff trickle in isn't going to win them to Christ.
It's going to win us to them. God, give us purity in speech. Give us purity in satisfaction. Give us purity in sexuality that's reflective of the Christ that we love.
That's what we want. Welcome again to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and we're continuing our series, As You Walk with Christ. Don has part two of a message titled, The Pure Life. Last time, Don showed us why we should strive to live a pure life in this wicked world. And Christ's sacrifice teaches us to exchange sin for purity in the areas of mind, body, and spirit. Today Don continues teaching God's people God's Word. He'll be talking about living a life of gratitude, which leads, of course, to satisfaction. We'll again be in Ephesians chapter 5, so turn there if you would in your Bible as we join our teacher now in the Truth Pulpit. Paul's talking about more than a physical purity. 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, you know what it's like, either from experience or from your friend's experience. You know, 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 circumstance 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. Scripture says that God has given you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. By what measure of ingratitude, of inexcusable ingratitude, do we say, in essence, it's not enough. It's not enough for me to be content.
I need more. Where does that come from, and what does that say in response to our God who has blessed us far beyond what we deserve? Look over at Hebrews chapter 13. Hebrews chapter 13. It's interesting that the writer of Hebrews joins sexual sin and greed together also.
Somehow these are linked in the mind of God in a way that we don't link them until now, but Hebrews chapter 13 verse 4 says, marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Then he goes on and says, verse 5, make sure that your character is free from the love of money. Being content with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me? Scripture beams a laser into your heart and asks about your contentment and tells you, not simply asking the question, but commanding you, commanding me. Be content with what you have. And why?
Why? The reason that the writer of Hebrew gives is for you to remember the sufficiency of Christ. Why can you be content? It's because Christ has said, I will never desert you nor will I ever ever forsake you.
It's a triple negative in Greek. I will never, no never, no ever forsake you. And your Christian heart, your redeemed heart, that new heart inside you should say, oh, then that's all I need.
Christ the Son of God is with me, then I have all that I want, all that I need. And that is why, beloved, it is so convicting to us when we see, when we go to areas of poverty in other parts of the world and we see Christians there and we see them joyful. I remember back in the mid 80s being in Moscow before the fall of the Berlin Wall and walking into a Baptist church and just seeing the joy and the exuberant singing of these people who probably couldn't even get decent jobs because they were identified as Christians. Joyful, glad to see me welcoming me even though I couldn't speak their language.
Nothing to their names, but there it is. Dane's seen the same thing in Mexico. We saw the video. You see that joyful exuberance of people living in poverty and sitting on plastic chairs in an outdoor seating area. And they're joyful.
Why? Because they've got the Lord, not because they've got a fraction of what we have. What's the common thread in sexual sin and greed? There is a common thread to them that joins them together.
The common thread is this. It's a lusting for more than what God has given. Now, I think balance is very important and I want to make this point and hear me carefully on this. This is not a question about what you actually have. That's not the issue here at all. Christians can be wealthy without being greedy.
Poor people can be among the greediest people on earth. It is not a matter. It is not a matter of what you have at all. It's a matter of contentment with what you do have.
The Scripture is calling us to. Stated differently, you could say it this way. This warning against greed, it's not about what you have.
That's not the point at all. The question is, what is it that you love? And Christ says, don't love money to such an extent that you're always wanting more than what you have. Be content. Be satisfied. Be satisfied.
And leave it there. Now Paul shines the spotlight on one more area of purity. Go back to Ephesians 5 now with me. Ephesians chapter 5. He's addressed sexuality.
He's addressed the area of greed. He says, don't let that be named among you as proper among the saints. That word for saints, incidentally, is just a reference to Christians. Those of you from a Catholic background maybe who have thought that saints were these exalted people that had the extra ring of halo around their head, that has nothing to do with the biblical term of saints. A saint is simply someone who has been set apart for God. That's true of every Christian. It's just another word for saying these things are not proper among Christians.
And Paul goes on. He says, and it's not just sexuality and satisfaction that I'm addressing in your life. He also addresses the realm of speech, of your speech. And he calls us to watch our tongues as well, as a proper fitting response to the things of God. Look at verse 4. He says, and there must be no filthiness and silly talk or coarse jesting which are not fitting but rather a giving of thanks. There's three individual Greek words there.
It's translated with more than three words in English. Filthiness, silly talk, coarse jesting. Each of those words only appears here in the New Testament. What Paul is saying here is he's making a comprehensive reference to any manner of vulgar talk, crude conversation, double entendres where at one level it sounds innocent but there's a hidden current underneath it where you mean something different but you can defend yourself by saying, oh, I only said the first part.
I didn't mean the second part right. Profanity. Paul says all of those things are not fitting for Christians.
Joking about sexual matters. It's just not right. It doesn't fit with the Christian life. And whether you're giving it out and defiling people with your words or whether you're letting someone else defile your own mind by receiving it and not resisting it or walking away, Paul says this is not fitting for the Christian life. This vulgar talk, this filthiness, this coarse jesting done in the presence of Christ is unthinkable. We live as those who are living in the presence of Christ Jesus our Lord.
We live as those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling within us. Can you imagine taking the Lord Jesus by the elbow and pulling him into some of the conversations that you've enjoyed in the past and sawing him, so to speak, not honoring his holiness with the presence and entering into those realms of cynicism and coarseness. It doesn't fit. It's like putting on a shirt that's four sizes too small. You just can't make that work. It's not right because it doesn't fit.
Why does it not fit? It goes back to who you are. You were bought with a price. You belong to Christ. He sacrificed himself to bring you into God's family.
You belong to a Father who is holy, a Christ who is holy, a Spirit who is holy. That's meant to permeate what you think and therefore what you say. Sometimes you just need to turn your back on the people who are talking that way and walk away. Don't even say a word. Just walk away.
Get out of it. And certainly don't contribute to it. Watch out for anything that finds humor in sin or delights in degrading the holy things of Christ in Scripture. Well, I'm just engaging the culture.
No, you're not engaging the culture. You're dishonoring Christ when you do that. And that should be unthinkable to you.
And even thinking about the profanity aspect of it, you never know where the conviction of these things might lead. The truth of the matter is, I know that you agree with everything that's been said here in Scripture. I know that none of you are going to step up and argue, no, sexual sin is okay in the life of a Christian. You wouldn't make that argument.
Greed, you wouldn't make that argument anymore. You might not have recognized it before, but you wouldn't argue now that it's okay for a Christian to be dissatisfied with the love and provision of God. You wouldn't argue that. Profanity, sexual joking, and all kinds of coarseness and vulgarity.
You all agree with me. You all agree that those things are inappropriate, are sinful, are inconsistent. We know other people recognize it too, and you never know where the conviction that these things bring might lead.
You never know what might happen. As you're faithful to honor these things, like a friend of mine was many, many years ago, long before I was a Christian, long before I met Nancy. When I was in college, I went to a ball game with a friend, and that friend thought that I was a Christian. I kind of thought that I was a Christian. I said that I was a Christian, but I wasn't.
And as it so happens at this ball game, I remember exactly where I was sitting in the old Bush Stadium in St. Louis. As it happened, my team was not playing well that night, and I'm with this friend. And I expressed my dissatisfaction with my team's performance with profane words which should not be repeated anywhere, let alone in this church from this pulpit. And my friend looked at me and gently said, you don't have to talk that way. The conviction that that simple rebuke brought to me was enormous.
She was exactly right. You shouldn't be talking this way if you're a Christian. I didn't show anything. I didn't respond in any way.
I outwardly blew it off inside. It convicted me, even though I didn't know Ephesians 5. I knew that my profane speech in that moment was inconsistent with my claim to be a Christian. I knew that my profane speech was what was really speaking the truth about who I was, and I was not a Christian, because profane, vulgar speech is not fitting for one who belongs to Christ. And a few simple words, a little 10 or 15 second exchange, was like a surgical scalpel on my soul and exposed the reality of it all. I was a fraud. It was still a couple of years before I came to Christ after that, but here we are 35 years later, and the pain of that is still fresh on my mind. Well, beloved, look, if the pain of conviction on an unbeliever would be that great, shouldn't it pain you to think that your mouth has expressed things like that when you're claiming to be a Christian? Do you see how unthinkable this is? Do you see why Paul says that's not proper?
It's not proper. And it should convict you if you've given room in your life and in your mouth and with your tongue to say these kinds of things. It's time to repent. It's time for you to fall on your knees and to confess, oh God, I know I belong to you, but what I have done with my tongue in recent days and weeks and months, Father, I am ashamed. I repent. I beg you to shower me with the cleansing mercy of Christ that He shed His blood, and I want my mouth to change, and Father, I'm renewing my repentance on this point right now because I see how improper and unfitting this is. In the words of James, that I would bless you with my tongue on Sunday and curse on Tuesday. So Paul has shown us a life of purity and kind of giving us negative tests in sexuality and satisfaction and in speech.
I just wonder, my friend, are these tests exposing your heart? Is it possible that you're a fraud like I was back then and that you're realizing that your manner of life shows that you're not a Christian at all? You see, Christ Jesus was unmarred by sexual sin. He was unmarred by greed. He was unmarred by profanity and coarse jesting. You who are born in His image must resolve to be like Him in response.
And beloved, here's the thing. I'm having trouble controlling myself with what I'm about to say here. The temptation in our profane, degraded society, what certain voices from Christianity would say, what some prominent pastors have done with their filthy mouth in recent years, has basically said, look, we live in a profane, degraded society and therefore we should accommodate that. It's okay for us to enter into that as long as we don't compromise the truths of the gospel.
That's what I think about that. That's wrong. That's the exact opposite of what we should do. What we should do, especially in this profane and degraded society, is to see this standard of Scripture and hold it all the more high and say that's what I want to aspire after, not to look like this degraded world around me. Oh, beloved, settle this in your heart.
Be convicted in your heart and say I want to aspire after that which is holy, not to get as close as I can to the filthiness of the world around me. Don't you love Christ that much? I know you do. I know you love Christ that much. Well, let that filter into your convictions in a way that changes your life into greater purity on His behalf. We don't want to be like the world. We see how bad it is and we realize that letting their stuff trickle in isn't going to win them to Christ.
It's going to win us to them. So we say that's not proper. That's not fitting. God, give us purity in speech. Give us purity in satisfaction. Give us purity in sexuality that's reflective of the Christ that we love.
That's what we want. That's what Scripture calls us to. Those sins are alien to us and therefore we put them aside. Now, that's the life of purity to which we're called. Paul briefly almost in passing shows us the Christian contrast that stands out in our second point here.
And before I say the second point, I just want to say this. You know, if all that Christian purity was was simply to say, I'm not going to do those things. I'm not going to do the sexual stuff. I'm committed to purity in my heart with being content and I'm content and I want to, you know, watch my mouth and all of that. If that's all it was, understand that the Christian purity would simply be something purely negative. By which I mean it would just be marked by that which we don't do. Well, Christian purity is something much higher than that.
Oh, that's part of it. But what's the positive nature of it? It's not just that we're known by what we're against and our heart isn't simply set against certain sins. What is it that we are supposed to be set on? Paul lays it out for us. And our second point when he says live in gratitude. Live in gratitude.
If all of those common sins are inappropriate for Christians, what should fill our minds and hearts? Look at verse 4. He mentions it's just in passing.
It's just a little nugget buried in the ground here. He says all of that stuff is not fitting. What is fitting, Paul?
But rather contrast. But rather giving of thanks. Giving of thanks. Instead of indulging sin, Scripture says, you be a grateful person. You let your heart remember the countless blessings that God has bestowed upon you and you return praise and thanks and gratitude to Him as a lifestyle pattern that you're marked as someone who is cheerful and joyful.
Why? Because you are thankful to God for all that He has done. I know it's easy to lose sight of these things.
I'm just like you are. You forget so quickly. But think with me for a moment. Did God not bless you when He chose you for salvation before the beginning of time? Did God not bless you and have your eternal good in mind when Christ offered Himself on a cross two thousand years before you were born? Has He not kept you thus far through life? And yeah, you've had sorrows.
So have I. And we've had difficulties that we've walked through. Weren't there blessings embedded in those? Didn't you see the comfort of Scripture at times in that and in other times find that the people of God rose and blessed you with their kindness and encouraged you in that? Don't you have an eternal blessing still ahead? The best part of being a Christian is still ahead when we see Christ face to face, when we're with Him in perfection for all of glory and all of the evil and wickedness of this world is banished and we're just there around His throne in glory?
Isn't that a lot to be thankful for? Promised eternal blessings that you're sure to receive? Brothers and sisters, we should be people who are thankful always and the sour complaining spirit should be set aside and replaced with a conscious pursuit of gratitude that is in keeping with the goodness of God that He has shown on our lives.
That thankfulness is what distinguishes us. That positive attitude, that constructive demeanor that says, I'm grateful to God today is the mark of a true Christian. Turn over to Colossians chapter 3.
There are so many passages. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians, this is God's will for you. The giving of thanks is the will of God for you, but we're just going to look at this one parallel passage in Colossians 3.
Colossians written at the same time as Ephesians and bearing many of the same themes throughout the two letters. The Bible says to you as a Christian, let the peace of Christ rule in your heart to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Three times in those three verses, Paul says, be thankful, singing with thankfulness, giving thanks through Christ to God the Father.
You know why you had to say it three times? Because apparently they were just like us. We forget.
We stray away. And so scripture repeatedly emphasizes this and says what's going to mark you in purity is an attitude of gratitude, of thanksgiving, of rejoicing and praising God for all that He has given to you. You see, purity is more than the absence of sin.
Christian purity is found in a joyful gratitude to God that flavors your every word and deed. Let me ask you, who are you? The way you live reflects who you are.
Who are you? Are you grateful? You should be. You know, it's amazing how gratitude can change your entire view of your life and circumstances.
It is indeed an important part of the pure life. Pastor Don Green will have more of our series, As You Walk with Christ, next time on The Truth Pulpit, so plan now to be with us. Right now, though, here again is Don with some closing words. You know, friend, we realize that you may not be close enough to our church to be able to join us as you would like to on any given Sunday, so let me invite you to join us on our live stream that you can find at our website, Sundays at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, and also we have a midweek service on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. We would love to have you join us in that way.
A lot of people do. You might as well be one more to join us for those special studies of God's Word and our church services on Sundays and Tuesdays. Here's Bill with some final information to help you find us. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com, where you can also learn about podcasts and free CDs of Don's teaching. I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you next time as Don Green continues in his ministry of teaching God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 04:51:50 / 2023-03-23 05:00:58 / 9