Share This Episode
The Truth Pulpit Don Green Logo

A Decisive Approach Toward Sin #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2023 12:00 am

A Decisive Approach Toward Sin #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 527 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

March 31, 2023 12:00 am

thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

        Related Stories



If you're not engaged in a repeated pattern of examining your own heart, say, you know what, I can't remember the last time I ever even confessed a sin.

Well, if that somehow resembles your spiritual life, let me tell you, you're asleep and you need to wake up. Thanks for joining 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, As You Walk with Christ. We have part two of a message titled, A Decisive Approach Toward Sin. Last time, Don showed us Paul's prescription for dealing with sin, refuse and rebuke it. Additionally, he pointed out why we deal with sin, because sin is shameful and godliness has an enlightening impact on others. How then should we proceed knowing these things?

Well, our teacher will answer that question today, so let's join him now in the Truth Pulpit. When people who are in darkness see your faithful life, it exposes the sinfulness of their own life. When you show a Christ-centered approach to life, it exposes the fact that they are not of like affection.

It shows them that they are in love with themselves and they are in love with sin when they see that you're not like that. The contrast can't be helped. What happens when you walk into a dark room and flick on the light switch? Well, yeah, the light comes on, but everything that's in the room is made visible as a result.

And you can see the chaos that is in an unkept room when a light is turned on. When a Christian living a godly, humble life steps into a realm of an unsaved person's life, it's like shining light on the fact that their life is ungodly. It is unrighteous as they see the contrast between your life and theirs. Your life makes visible the sin in their own life. Your purity teaches other people about sin. Your life becomes an object lesson in God's holiness. As I was preparing this, it reminded me of a very clear illustration of how this works and you can relate to this.

It reminds me of a friend that I have. He's now in pastoral ministry. He wasn't at the time, but his wife was at a secular social gathering with some unsaved women and these women were crass in their conversation and they were speaking badly about their husbands. They were saying, they were saying bad things and my husband doesn't do this and you should know what my husband does in secret and they were just, they were just running down their husband in a very ungodly way. You expect ungodly women to say ungodly things, I get that, but she's in the midst of this conversation.

Something very interesting happened. Without directly addressing or rebuking their speech, she simply spoke well of her husband to them. You know, my husband is a loving, godly man.

He cares for us and I appreciate what my husband does. Wow. The women that she was with felt the sting of her conversation. They were rebuked inside by what she said.

You know how you knew? It's because they stopped talking that way. Her simple, Christian, godly speech restrained their evil for a temporary time, I get that, but it obviously exposed to them the ungodliness of what they were saying and what they were doing. They felt the sting of disgrace in their lives so much that they had to speak differently while she was in their presence.

That's what this does. This is what Paul is talking about here, is that when, go back to the text, look at the text with me, verses 5, 11, 12, and 13, that when you are mindful not to participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, you say, I'm not joining in in that conversation. I may be in a minority here, but I am not going to talk that way. I will not give my tongue over to ungodliness.

I don't care how funny and everybody else thinks it is. I'm not going to have a part in that. Instead, even expose them and what we see here is the way that godly living has that effect. Light, godliness, holiness shines and the rats of darkness start to scurry in response. Sometimes your godly life will just be a temporary restraint on evil. Other times there will be such a convicting force of your godly life that the sinner will be compelled as God works on his heart through the word of God and the echo of your godly life reinforcing scriptural principles that it becomes an instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit to turn them to Christ.

And it's not just a temporary restraint. They see their sin and they say, I need a savior also. As the Holy Spirit uses your words and your example, some sinners will actually turn to Christ and then really and fully in the greatest extent darkness becomes light because one who belonged to darkness that God has now transferred into the kingdom of light through faith in Christ. And so why do we do this? Well, because why do we pursue this life even though it brings us opposition and spiritual struggle? Why? Well, because sin is shameful.

It's disgraceful. And also we realize that a sanctified life has an enlightening impact around us and we love that. We want that. We want our life to have that kind of testimony. Christ who is the light of the world stepped into our lives and drove out darkness. And we say, oh God, if you would just let me have a residual echoing effect upon others of what Christ did to me. Christ came to me and saved me and drove out the darkness in my soul, filled me with the Holy Spirit.

I get the big picture of that. Well, Lord, just start to use me, start to use us in like manner. And scripture says the way that that happens is when you're refusing evil and committed to rebuking it with your life.

And so the word of God at work in a sanctified life illuminates the truth about sin and leads some to repentance. Now, you and I both know that, you know, that not everyone responds that way. That some resist, some mock, some criticize, some begin to hate us as a result. But you know what? And they'll blame you for it. Say, you know, you holier than thou person. You know, you Jesus freak. Understand what's going on there. Understand what's happening. It's not because you are sinfully self-righteous in those times.

I'm presuming the best about you. It's not because you're sinfully self-righteous that men reject that. That men turn their back on the light and run back into darkness as well.

Look over at John chapter three, the Gospel of John chapter three. This just helps us understand the other side. We've said that on some it will have a convicting impact that will even bring them to Christ. We understand that not everyone will respond that way. Why is that? Is it because of some failure in your life?

No. Why is it that men reject the light? John chapter three verse 19. Speaking with this same light and darkness motif, light and darkness metaphor, talking about how the light exposes darkness in a way that echoes what Paul is saying in Ephesians five.

John chapter three verse 19. This is the judgment that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. They love sin rather than holiness.

They love darkness rather than light and that which comes with an exposing effect upon them they react against. They resist it. They reject it.

They turn away. Why? Is it because they just don't understand?

No. It's a moral dilemma. It's a moral problem with them. The reason that some of you are still resisting Christ and the gospel is because you love your sin and you don't want to give it up. And so understand what you're doing. You're loving darkness rather than light. And ultimately what you are saying with your life is that I prefer eternal judgment and separation from God in hell.

I prefer that rather than forsaking my sin and coming to Christ in repentance. Wow. Really? Is that what you want to do?

Is that really what you want? Oh. You know God brought you here today or maybe over the live stream to graciously invite you one more time out of the darkness. One more time to say sin is offensive and disgraceful.

God's wrath comes upon the sons of disobedience. And when God says that, he's not playing games. He's not bluffing.

It's not like he's playing a card game trying to make you think he's got a better hand than what he does. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No. God has a strong and settled wrath against sin and against sinners. And yet in his grace he offers you through his word today free and complete forgiveness. Simply repent and come to Christ for salvation. Nothing, nothing restrains you. There is nothing in God that is keeping you back. The only reason you don't come is because you love your sin rather than the light. Put it aside. Turn away from your sin. Come to Christ for salvation while there's time. The word of God has exposed the sin and darkness in your life today.

I know that. Your response should not be to put your fingers in your ear and say, I'm not listening. Your response should be one of a broken heart that says Christ, thank you for your mercy.

I receive you now. I lay aside the weapons of my rebellion. So Paul has shown us how to deal with sin, refuse and rebuke it. Why is it that we deal with sin? Because sin is shameful and that godliness has an enlightening impact on those around. Now go back to Ephesians 5 and returning the focus to us as Christians here.

What's the final thing that we should see about it? Well, Paul now calls for a response. Christian, we're talking to you now. We're talking to you now. Maybe in your spiritual lethargy.

Maybe you've drifted into some indifference or patterns of sin, in attitude or word or deed. Point number three here is what you must do now. What you must do now. In light of everything that Paul has said in the first 13 verses of Ephesians chapter 5, he's now bringing it to a climax. He's drawing all of this together in a concluding way. And what he does here in verse 14 is he calls you to obedience. Look at chapter 5 verse 14.

It says, for this reason, it says, awake sleeper and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. This is a quotation of some sorts that Paul is making, but scholars really have no idea what the original source is. You see, the verse says, it says, and then there's a quotation that follows. Some scholars have tried to attach it to passages in Isaiah that have some loose parallels.

Others say maybe this was a non-inspired, non-biblical Christian hymn that was Paul was referring to. They really don't know. But what we want to see here for today is this.

Look at what it says there. Awake sleeper. Paul is calling someone to wake up. When you say awake, it suggests that someone is slumbering. Now, some teachers think that this is a call to repentance upon unbelievers and that it's the unbeliever who's being told to awake and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.

Well, there's truth to that. You could make a gospel appeal using language like that, and what Paul has been talking about in the prior couple of verses is the effect that a godly life has on unbelievers. That's not an unreasonable way to view the passage.

But, you know, and this is really important by way of application. This is important for us as Christians to get this right. I don't think that Paul in verse 14 is issuing a call to repent to unbelievers.

We need to understand why. First of all, this is a letter written to the church. Paul chapter 1 verse 1, Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus to the saints are in Ephesus. He's writing to Christians, generally speaking. And watch this.

Stay with me because this really does have a lot to do with you and me. All through the passage leading up to here, he's been addressing Christians who have been happy to accommodate sin in their lives. He said in verse 22 of chapter 4, he said, you laid aside the old self which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit. Verse 25, chapter 4, he said, lay aside falsehoods, speak truth each one of you. Verse 28, he who steals must steal no longer. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. Verse 32, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.

Talking to Christians. That's really important. Stay with me, would you? I know you are. Thank you. That would be a better way to say. Thank you for staying with me.

I'm so glad. He's writing to Christians. Chapter 5 verse 1, be imitators of God as beloved Christians, just as Christ loved you and gave himself up for us. He's talking to Christians. Immorality must be not named among you is proper among the saints. He's talking to Christians.

Let no one deceive you with empty words. He's talking to Christians. Verse 8, you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. He's talking to Christians. All through this passage, he's been talking to Christians, and rebuking and correcting the Christians of that time, the audience of his letter, correcting them because they had accommodated sin in their lives, and he's calling them out of that.

Stop living in this disobedient way. It makes no sense, honestly, to think that his concluding climactic statement at the end of verse 14 is now going to be a call upon unbelievers. That's totally foreign to the context. This is the grand finale of this section on purity, and all of a sudden he's not talking to the same people he was talking to before?

That doesn't make any sense. No, no, Ephesians 5 is a call to Christians, like you and me, to set aside, watch this, to set aside spiritual sluggishness. It is Christians that he is calling upon to rise to holiness. God's Word today is calling you as a believer in Christ to put your life in order, to recognize the ungodly patterns of thinking and life that you have accepted and compromised on, and to come out of them. Wake up, he says.

Stop slumbering. He's given so many commands in so many different areas, and he comes to this concluding thought and he says, for this reason, because of everything that I've been saying through this whole section of the letter, for this reason I'm going to quote a source and say, wake up, sleeper. Rise from the dead. Come up out of your spiritual mediocrity and embrace and obey the instruction of the Lord that has been laid upon you in these prior two chapters. I agree with S. Lewis Johnson who said this, and I quote, he is telling them that if their lives are not characterized by this purity of which he is talking, they are sleeping morally and they should awake and arise from the dead and Christ will give them light. It is a promise that as we, by the grace of God and the enablement of God, get down upon our knees and ask him to deliver us from the failures of our Christian life, we have the assurance that God will undertake for us and we shall be given light.

End quote. In other words, in other words, the convicting force of this entire passage should be coming upon our hearts in a way that says, Lord, I don't want to be a spiritually mediocre Christian any longer. I myself repent, Father, of the accumulated sin and indifference that has marked my life. I awake from that in response to this teaching from God's Word. I come up, I rise out of it, I want to move forward now in my pursuit of purity because the commands of God have shaken me out of my spiritual slumber.

I want to shake off the dust of worldliness that has accumulated on me and start pursuing this life that Paul has laid out here. Scripture here is saying, Christian, wake up. Christian, come up. Christian, get out of that disobedient patterns that you've fallen into. You yourself repent and rise as it were and you have the promise that Christ will bless you and help you and enable you as you do. Christians can be asleep without even knowing it. Chances are, beloved, if you're not engaged in a repeated pattern of examining your own heart, if you look at your spiritual life, just be honest with yourself. Say, you know what, I can't remember the last time I ever even confessed a sin.

I can't remember the last time that I actually made a conscious choice for holiness instead of obedience. Well, if that somehow resembles your spiritual life, let me tell you, you're asleep. You're slumbering.

You're a soldier in battle and yet you are asleep on the post and you need to wake up. If you look at your heart and you see anything other than the fact that the pursuit of holiness is a great priority, it is the defining priority of my life, if you call yourself a Christian and yet that's not true, you need to wake up, sleeper. You need to rise from the dead and you can do so with the assurance and the promise of the blessing of God on his people, that Christ will shine on you, that the light that is truth and the holiness of Christ as you awaken, as you stir the strings of repentance on the violin of your life, you can be mindful. You can be confident that there will be the blessing of God on you as you do and that your life will become more of this testifying influence that you were saved to become. So the question is, what will you decide?

Will you wake up? Will you refuse sin and even rebuke it with your lips and life? You know what this passage lays out? You know what the totality of everything Paul has said in Ephesians 4 and 5 lays before us as Christians? And I know that you're like me and you get discouraged by the ever encroaching darkness of the world and you see the progress of it, you see some of it even in your own families and it grieves you.

You know what this is saying to you? You can walk in holiness in a dark world. You can. You can live a godly life despite how dark it is around you. Christ did. Christ lived a perfectly sinless life of obedience to God while he walked in the midst of sinners on this cursed sod of ours and it did not compromise his holiness one bit to do so.

You can too. You can walk in holiness in this dark world. Christ indwells us through his Spirit and beloved, he will bless you.

He will honor you. He will help you as you take a decisive approach towards sin. It's tough to confront the fact that we sometimes sleepwalk through life spiritually.

Sin can creep up on us and we might hardly even notice. So as Pastor Don Green reminded us today on The Truth Pulpit, be awake, get in the Word daily, and take the pursuit of greater holiness seriously. We'll continue our series as you walk with Christ next time and we hope you'll be with us then.

Right now though, Don's back here with us with some closing thoughts. Well, hello my friend. I want to thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Thank you for being a student of God's Word.

You are the reason that we do these things. We want to bring God's Word to you in a way that makes it alive and applicable to you and brings you into a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, if you've benefited from this broadcast, we just ask you to do a simple thing. Go to our web page or go to our Facebook page. Look us up on Facebook and and just drop us a little note, just a word that would let us know that you've appreciated today's broadcast or the other aspects of our ministry. We would love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit.

We are grateful to Christ for you. Thanks Don. And friend, don't forget to visit where you can learn more about podcasts and free CDs of Don's teaching. That's I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 12:15:24 / 2023-04-02 12:24:10 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime