What are you hiding behind yourself there, Mr. Temptation? It is utter destruction. It is exclusion from Christ. It is damnation and hell.
And when you see it that way, then you say, you know what, this isn't so attractive after all. We're so glad you've joined us on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word, we'll continue our series titled, As You Walk with Christ. It's part two of a message called The True Colors of Sin. Last time, Don emphasized what Paul lays out for us in Ephesians 5, that those who practice sin as a habit of life are excluded from God's kingdom.
But there's another group that unrepentant sinners definitely are included in, those who suffer God's wrath. Don will remind us today why Paul writes all this to Christians. So have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit.
Beloved, let's kind of summarize this. We're saying that we hate sin. We learn to turn from it because it results in exclusion from Christ's kingdom. And we realize that Paul is addressing Christians here as he speaks.
Here's kind of a summary of it. You, if you're a Christian, you were saved out of sin. The whole reason that anyone truly comes to Christ is they say, I want to be free from sin. You were saved out of it. You were saved away from it. Well, now that you're a Christian, you don't want to go back and play in that filthy mud again, do you? Why would you do that? Why would you do that, knowing that that is voluntarily stepping back into an evil, wicked realm that leads men to destruction and separates them from Christ? When you say that you love Christ as your preeminent affection, why would you engage that which separates other people from him? That's totally irrational. That makes no sense whatsoever. And you view these things no longer with a sense of, oh, interest, but rather with a sense of revulsion.
Are you kidding me? I know where that leads. I know that people that love this end up outside of the kingdom of Christ, knocking on the door, Lord, let us in.
And he's going to say, I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. This passage is designed to put in you the fear of God. And the fear of God, Proverbs says, will keep you from evil. And so Paul here, as he is helping us grow in holiness, is showing us the true colors of sin. And it's not the pretty neon lights of the horseshoe casino.
It's the dark black drab of death. And when you embrace that and understand it, you're going to have a stronger position to reject it and to live in the holy way that God has called you to live. Now, there is a related perspective, another eternal perspective that will help you in purity. In purity. We said it excludes you. The nature of these sins is that they exclude people from the kingdom of Christ. And to you as a believer, that should just be unthinkable.
That should just be unthinkable. Christ, my most precious possession. Christ, my king. Christ, my love. Christ, my light.
Christ, my Lord. To be excluded from him is unthinkable. I would rather perish, I would rather never have been born than to think that I wouldn't belong to Christ for all of eternity.
And you say, ah, well, these things do that to people. I don't want anything to do with them then because I want to belong to Christ. This is the spiritual logic of it all. Well, there's another perspective that Paul gives. It's not just exclusion from Christ's kingdom. Some people who don't care about Christ, that wouldn't even be an attraction. That wouldn't even appeal to them.
That argument wouldn't matter to them because they don't even love Christ to begin with. Well, there's more to it than that. It's not just what you miss out on. It's what you get in on from a life of loving sin.
And that brings us to our second point. Paul emphasizes that these sins lead to inclusion in God's wrath. Inclusion in God's wrath. You're separated from the kingdom. You're not allowed in when you're a sin lover.
And that leaves you with another realm. A realm that is a realm of God's wrath. Jesus said in John chapter 3 verse 36, Scripture says, He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Scripture warns us repeatedly about the wrath of God and teaches us that God is a God who has anger with sinners every single day, Psalm 7. And the sugar-coated grandfatherly type of God that winks at sin and says all is forgiven, just come on in, it's okay, you little knucklehead. That's a God that doesn't exist. God is holy. God is righteous. And he, although the whole realm of humanity may not take his law seriously, God takes it seriously and God will vindicate his holiness against the violations of his character and of his law. And Scripture teaches us that he will vindicate that by pouring out wrath on those who disobey. And so you see, it's not just exclusion from heaven, not just exclusion from the kingdom of Christ that's at stake.
Someone might not care about that so much, but what they should care about is that there is a certain wrath of God that comes on those who disobey. Look at verse 6 of Ephesians chapter 5 now. And remember, we've got to hold these things that Paul is writing to Christians, even as he writes severely about these issues, we've got to hold those things in balance.
There's a quivering knife's edge that we're on here as Scripture speaks to these things. Paul says in verse 6, let no one deceive you with empty words. He said in verse 5, know these things with certainty. He says now in verse 6, know these things and let no one deceive you with empty words.
Let no one come and teach you and convince you to diminish or deny the strategic importance of what I'm speaking about right here. There is a personal responsibility that each one of you carry to be discerning and to not diminish the warnings of Scripture about these things. If you deny these things, if you walk out and shrug your shoulders and say, hey, no big deal, your blood is on your own head. You're responsible for the consequences of that because Scripture has emphasized, said know this with certainty, let no one deceive you with empty words. You have no excuse if you walk out of this room today thinking anything differently than what Scripture has impressed upon our minds here today. For those of you that are here with tender hearts, this is written to help you. Verse 6, Paul says let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things.
What things? Well, verse 5, the immorality, the impurity, the covetousness. He says it's because of these things. Those things that I was just writing about, it's because of those things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Paul here is repeating himself in a sense.
He's making the same basic point in verse 6 that he made in verse 5 just from a slightly different perspective. He says don't be misled by those who promise you forgiveness without calling you simultaneously to forsake your sin. He says don't be deceived by them. Don't be misled. Those who say just walk down the aisle, sign this card, raise your hand, everybody's eyes are closed.
There's no cost here. Just raise your hand and everything will be great for you for all of eternity. And then never press upon you the fact that you had to forsake sin in order to truly come to Christ. He said don't be deceived by people like that.
They're all around, but when someone tries to diminish or dismiss the spiritual threat of sin to you, understand that Satan himself is in front of you trying to mislead you. Paul says let no one deceive you with empty words. Nothing is more empty than telling someone that they can be forgiven apart from forsaking sin. Those words are empty because they are not true.
It's a lie. So don't take the bait. Don't let yourself be inoculated against fearing God and fearing sin because someone doesn't even tell you about that. I'm telling you, you need to fear God. You need to be afraid of sin because Paul here is showing us this is serious. He says see sin for the serious thing that it is. God will judge it eternally. He says but the people that he will judge are the sons of disobedience, those who by nature, whose nature flows from the very principle of disobedience to God, rebellion against him. Sin flows from their nature.
They embrace it. They do not mourn or repent. Paul says make no mistake. That kind of character provokes the wrath of God. Now, as he's writing to these Christians, he's not accusing them of having this kind of character themselves. He said, we saw that earlier, God has forgiven you for Christ's sake, but that doesn't mean that you don't think through sin and realize the whole thing that it comes with. Remember, he's teaching you to hate sin here, to see its wickedness, and to realize that this whole realm of sin brings forth a wrath of God upon those who love it in such a way that it becomes unthinkable for you to say that's what I want too as a Christian.
It's unthinkable. It's inconceivable that you would love sin, that you would desire sin actively in your heart in light of what Paul says about it here. How could you, knowing that people who love that sin never see the kingdom of Christ, that people who love that sin experience the eternal wrath of God on their souls?
What is it in that that appeals to you as a Christian? There's no answer to that question, is there? There's no justification for it.
There's no room for it. And see, when you see that, then you've gotten Paul's point here. It's something fully alien to who you are in Christ. What will help you to live a pure life? Connect in your mind, join these synapses of your brain together, sin with its consequences. Not sin with its immediate allure, sin with its eternal consequences. See through the temptation and realize the realm that it invokes. Your love for Him and His love for you, for that eternal bond of love that Christ gives to His own where He keeps them.
Make that eternal strong bond that which makes the other passing things unthinkable to you. So that you start to retrain and recondition your heart when the temptation is presented to you. You say, not only is that not appealing to me, that is hateful to me because I've worked through, I've grown spiritually to see where it leads. Temptation, as we sometimes sing in one of the hymns, temptation loses its power when Christ is near. Think about it with me, beloved. Think about the man of the world who's not with us today. His love for sexual sin, His love for materialism, His filthy, her filthy tongue is going to usher Him into hell forever. It's tragic.
It's eternally unthinkable. And the point of this passage is, why would you as a Christian, when you know that to be true, why would you even be attracted to the sins that they love that lead them to that destination? See, this totally reorients our heart.
We start to realize more of the reality of who we are. We are declared enemies of this world, not those who are trying to dabble in it. It's frightening. The results of sin are profoundly dreadful. Paul is saying, think differently about it so that you will turn from it. You know, one of the questions that I wrestled with as I was preparing this message, and I'm glad I had to wrestle with it because it changed the whole tone of this message. There's such a severity in what Paul says here. You know, and he's writing to Christians.
You have to remind yourself of that. Why speak with such severity about exclusion from Christ's kingdom and inclusion in God's wrath? Why speak with such severity to the people of God? That was not immediately evident to me. You know, because we're not, you know, we're not used to, you know, true pastors speaking to us this way, speaking that clearly, that sharply. You know, maybe I'm just reflecting on my own pastoral failures as I say that. I don't know, but here's the point. Why would he speak that way to true Christians?
If this is written to Christians, then why this severity, people like this are excluded from Christ's kingdom, people like this will be included in the manifestation of the wrath of God. Why would he say that? It almost seems almost that the tension of that is great. At least it was to me thinking, how am I going to bring this to you? Here's the point. It's not that he's saying that he thinks you're going to hell. That's not the point. He's writing to Christians.
That's settled. I don't need to say that again, but it does tell you something about yourself all the same. You know why this warning appears right here? Do you know why it is so sharp and severe and he starts talking about the eternal consequences of sin when he's clearly writing to Christians?
You know why? The severity of the principles is here because it gives you a sense of how much there is still a remnant of loving sin in your own heart. He has to speak clearly and emphatically and definitively about this so that you will deal seriously with sin in your life to realize how ugly it is so that you will stop making a little corner in the closet of your life for it. There is no room in your life to love that one pet sin. There's no room in it because that one pet sin is representative of a much greater realm that is in total opposition to being a true Christian. And so you as a Christian should take these things to heart and let them anchor you in an irreversible commitment against sin in your life. That's why it's so severe. It's because you won't easily surrender sin, those cherished pet sins in your life, unless it's confronted directly, unless Paul bursts into the closet with the spotlight and says, that right there, let's shine a lot of light on that right there.
So what can we say by way of application? Men, young and old, do not even desire that provocative woman. Understand that she is representative of a realm that leads people to hell. Just stop and repent and thank God for the clarity of his word that stopped you before you did that. Don't even desire that provocative woman in your heart. Realize that she is a threat to your soul. Ladies, young women, don't you be that enticing woman.
Don't you be that provocative, seductress in your manners and in your appearance. Why would you as a Christian woman want to be a representative of a realm that has cost countless men their souls? Why would you do that if you belong to Christ? It's unthinkable, isn't it?
That woman of the world sends men and women to hell. So does the greed of casinos and the greed of lotteries, the vulgarity of Hollywood, profane speech that some of you have to deal with at your workplace. Just recognize it for what it is and say, I don't even want that. I don't even want to participate in that realm. I don't want to step into it.
Why? Because Christ is too precious to me. To belong to Christ, to have the hope of eternal life is the most precious thing that I have and those things are sworn enemies of the most precious desire of my heart.
And therefore it's unthinkable. You see, so instead of playing with sin, instead of being a Christian like this, of seeing how close can I get to the edge without falling in? And the despicable question that some people ask that shows a complete lack of understanding of Scripture, well how much can I sin then? The answer to that is that sin should be so unthinkable that you don't even want to frame the question that way. No sin is acceptable in your heart.
No sin is welcome because it is a symptom of a greater realm that you have fled when you came to Christ. And this motivates your heart to holiness. Christian, aren't you ready to turn away from that pet sin of yours now?
Today? Aren't you willing right now to express a commitment to God that says, God, thank you for bringing a warning to my attention that will help me pursue holiness? Won't you walk out today with that commitment in your heart?
There's no other answer, is there? You see, God is calling you to a verdict on your own life right now. And you say, yeah, that's got to go. Perhaps in the course of this, God has convicted you that you're not even a Christian at all. And you say, I've never even thought about it this way. I've loved these sins.
You know, this is what my life is. And God is convicting you right now that you don't even belong to his kingdom. I'm trusting the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, to separate in your mind which realm you belong to.
Because I can't tell you from here. But if God has convicted you that for all of your religious external appearance your heart does not belong to Christ, don't resist that conviction. Don't deny the clear word of God in order to justify yourself and to continue living a rebellious life against him. Don't do that. Would you really exclude yourself from Christ's kingdom and seal yourself under the wrath of God simply so that you can continue loving that cherished sin of yours? Why would you do that? Why would you do that? Why would you call God's word untrue? Why would you lie against God's word in order to preserve your sin when that will lead to your own destruction?
Why would you do that? One thing I can tell you for sure, if that's what you do as you walk out of the door today, understand that your blood is on your own head. There is no excuse. You have been warned. You have been told. You have been shown from God's word the consequences of that sin that you love.
Let me instead, let me give you a much better alternative. Humble yourself before Christ. Christ said, I came to seek and to save the lost. He came to save sinners just like you. And he convicts you of sin so that you will turn to him for mercy. He says, I've not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Sinners just like you can come to Christ and be forgiven. Come to him today. Temptation inevitably comes into our paths in this fallen world. And as Pastor Don Green has reminded us today on the Truth Pulpit, whenever it does, dwell long and hard on Paul's warnings in Ephesians chapter 5. Don will continue our series, As You Walk with Christ, on our next broadcast, so be sure to join us then. Right now, here again is Don with some exciting ministry news. Well, my friend, it's always meaningful for me to be able to preach God's word to God's people and to share it with you here on the radio.
Recently, I completed a series that is one of my all-time favorites. It's called The Bible and Roman Catholicism. It was several messages designed to test Catholic teaching by what Scripture says. We'd like to share a copy of that with you, a full complete CD album of 10 messages.
Just go to our website and request it, or you'll find the downloads. We just want you to have this material at no cost as our gift and ministry to you. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com and click on Radio Offers to learn more. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you again next time when Don Green teaches God's people God's word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-27 04:49:53 / 2023-03-27 04:58:19 / 8