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True and False Purity Contrasted #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 7, 2023 12:00 am

True and False Purity Contrasted #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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The false purity of the wolves. And Paul here just takes a surgeon's scalpel and just slices these false teachers and exposes them for everything that they truly are. The apostle Paul says in Titus 1 15, To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. And that verse is key to understanding the difference between true and false purity. That's Pastor Don Green's focus today on the truth pulpit.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. Today Don has part two of his message on purity. Last time Don looked at the true purity of God's sheep. Today he'll contrast that with the false purity of wolves. You'll be reminded that if keeping rituals is put forth as the way to God, beware of wolves. Let's join Pastor Don Green now in the truth pulpit. Paul goes on in verse 20 of Colossians 2.

He says, Why would you do that? Verse 20, It's all external stuff. Verse 22, He says, So don't even start down that path. Rest in the perfection of the work of Christ on your behalf. And realize that what that means is that as you walk the rest of your days in this life, that the call of God is not for you to go back to religious ritual, but rather to enjoy what he has given you with a grateful heart. This is beautiful.

This is beautiful. Rather than being caught up in rituals and religions and festivals and all of that stuff, God says, I have fulfilled righteousness on your behalf. Therefore, what I want from you is not external compliance with man-made stuff.

What I want is for you to receive the gifts that I have given you and enjoy them and give thanks to me. That is the beauty and the wonder of the Christian life. It's a life of gratitude, not slavish obedience to external religious ritual. Look at 1 Timothy chapter 4 and you'll see this all wrapped together.

To the purer all things are pure. We're seeing the purity of the sheep comes from our Lord Jesus Christ, not compliance with the rules and restrictions of men. 1 Timothy chapter 4. Paul goes even further and says that these kinds of restrictions are more than just the commandments of men.

They're actually the doctrines of demons. 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 1. The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith. He says there's a threat to the truth of the gospel in what I'm about to say and I want to protect you from that threat because some are going to fall away paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Paul, I want to stay away from that.

What's important for me to know at points like this? How can I protect myself from that kind of demonic doctrine? And what are you talking about? Doctrines of demons.

I haven't seen a red horned spirit in a long time. What are you talking about? Verse 2. By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own consciences with a branding iron. Verse 3. He gets specific. He says men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods. He says they put these ascetic requirements on your life. They tell you that you have to do these external things and avoid this and avoid that if you want to be pleasing to God. And if you read verse 3 it looks like a catechism from the Catholic Church. Paul says that is not it at all. That is doctrines of demons.

Don't pay attention to that kind of stuff. He says they tell you to stay away from foods. They prescribe things and say that you're not supposed to eat and somehow that makes you more acceptable to God. He says nothing could be further from the truth. He says they tell you to stay away from these things which God has actually created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. He says, verse 4, everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. He totally overturns the traditional way of looking at religion. Talking about rituals, talking about do this, don't do that.

He turns it all over. Spiritually speaking, he's gone into the temple and he's turned the tables of false religion over and said let me clarify for you what the reality of it is here. The reality of it is that God is a good God who has created good things to be enjoyed by His people. And what He wants from us is to understand that and to receive these things with gratitude.

And so when you sit down to that 20-ounce ribeye slathered in butter, you look at that and without pang of conscience from people telling you you shouldn't eat food like that, you look at that or whatever meal it is that pleases you, you look at that and say this is a gift from God to me. God, thank you for allowing us the privilege of sharing in this which you have created. Set it apart to us. We're thankful. We know we can receive this based on what you said in your word. Amen.

Let's eat. The whole concept of spirituality is completely different from what false teachers try to impose upon us. It's not about increasing righteousness by abstaining from food.

How could that ever be the case? And watch this. This is what I really want you to see. Where did our righteousness come from? It came from the work of Christ on the cross. It came from Him shedding His blood, suffering on our behalf, redeeming us out of the deadness of our sin, a great and powerful work by the holy, eternal Son of God. Oh, that is glorious and noble and lofty and holy and makes us love Him.

And then a teacher comes along and says, Let me tell you about how to achieve righteousness. Don't eat this. Don't get married. Do this prayer.

Go through this ceremony. Do these seven sacraments. When you compare that kind of external compliance, that external made-up stuff, to the glory of Christ, I hope that you see that external stuff for, to use a scriptural word in Philippians 3, the real dung that it is. That stuff could never be a means of increasing righteousness when you consider it in light of the glory of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so, because we love Christ, we refuse the teaching that tries to impose that stuff upon us because we are zealous to protect the teaching, the doctrine that has delivered our soul from sin and that has delivered us to joy and a freedom of a pure conscience in the presence of God. And so we reject that stuff. We don't give any credit to it. We don't say, Well, at least they're trying to be religious.

We recognize that stuff for what it is. The Bible says it's doctrines of demons. How can we ever affirm something like that as having some measure of good in it? It is a direct assault on the person and work of Christ is what it is. It's a deception to men lost in sin to think that they can somehow contribute to righteousness, that they can do something to get God to receive them and accept them.

It's all a deception that leads men who are not saved into eternal damnation and binds the consciences of Christians and robs them of the freedom and the gratitude that should mark the life of a true believer. That's what Paul was telling Timothy to rebuke to silence when he wrote this letter. You see, the glory of true redemption is threatened by false teachers who emphasize external ritual based on their own self-appointed authority. It's a threat.

And usually it's a threat from a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. He'll talk about Jesus. He'll point to scripture verses. But at the heart of it, he says, Listen to me, you must do what I say if you want to be righteous before God. And what you and I have to do is see through the smokescreen, look beyond the disguise, tear the mask off, and say what you're really talking about is a works-based righteousness that robs Christ of his glory and would hide the gospel from those who need to hear it.

Sorry, that's not welcome here in this church and that's not welcome within the heart of what I believe. Because to the pure, all things are pure. That's the true purity of a sheep, freed from all of that external stuff.

Freed to rest in Christ and love him and rejoice in him. Cling to that, beloved. Don't ever let that go. For food?

No. That couldn't possibly be right. Now, that's the true purity of the sheep.

Let's look at point number two by contrast. The false purity of the wolves. The false purity of the wolves. And Paul here just takes a surgeon's scalpel and just slices these false teachers and exposes them for everything that they truly are. Now remember, just by way of reminder, Titus was dealing with teachers, false teachers who somehow were emphasizing Jewish traditions instead of true salvation in Christ. Paul doesn't get specific about what he's talking about, but we see that there's a Jewish element in this and the things that he says throughout the letter. Chapter one, verse 10. Chapter one, verse 10. What is it that wolves that Paul was addressing in Titus, what is it that marked them? Verse 10, there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision.

That's a word for the Jews. Look at verse 14. He says, reprove those so that they would be sound in the faith. Verse 13, now verse 14. Not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.

Chapter three, verse nine. Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. There is some manner of teaching about external compliance, external ritual in keeping with Jewish tradition that these false teachers were saying was a part of true Christianity. Paul writes to Titus and says, rebuke that, stop it, silence it.

It is unprofitable, detestable and worthless. How can we recognize that when it comes? What's the common thread that we're going to see as we encounter, brush up against false teachers? Well, Paul exposes the threat, both internally and externally, as he exposes the false purity of these wolves. It's not true purity, it's actually impurity. Look at verse 15 with me. Paul says, to those who are defiled and unbelieving, there they are, they don't really believe in Christ.

They may talk about him, but they don't believe in him in a saving sense with a repentant heart. They're defiled and unbelieving. To those like that, nothing is pure. But both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Beloved, here's the basic principle that you need to recognize. Any teaching, whether it's in a really ritualistic church or whether it's in a church that professes to be Christian but just consistently talks about rules and regulations, do this and don't do that, any teaching like that that emphasizes compliance with external rules is doing this. They are substituting a false purity for the true purity that is presented to us in the gospel. When you walk away from a teacher or from a church with the sense impressed upon you, I've got to do this, this, this, this, and this if I'm going to be acceptable to God, realize that they are turning your head and your attention away from Christ. You should be walking out of the teaching of the Bible, exalting Christ and rejoicing in him and mindful of the fact that Jesus paid it all for me and I am forgiven because of what he did on Calvary. Christ paid it all.

I'm free, I'm forgiven in him. That is the mark, that is the effect of true teaching. When a teacher leaves you walking away thinking about all of the external stuff that you now need to do to be somehow acceptable before God, you've just encountered false purity. That external stuff apart from Christ can do you no good.

It appears wise, it appears advanced, it appears serious, but it's actually worthless and condemned. God condemns that which hides the glory of Christ. He condemns that which hides the perfection of the work of Christ on the cross. He condemns that which makes you think that somehow you are righteous apart from Christ.

There is no such thing. We're either righteous in Christ alone or we're not righteous at all. Paul dealt with this repeatedly in his ministry and you say, oh, but they're really sincere about it. Turn to Romans chapter 10, verse three and here's what you need to see about what is really going on here. Romans 10, verse two, he says, I testify about them that they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. They're zealous but it doesn't do any good because it's not true. It's not zeal based on truth. Therefore, it's worthless.

What are they doing when they do that? Verse three, not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they do not subject themselves to the righteousness of God for Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Man-made regulations teach people that they can increase their righteousness with God by what they do. That denies the gospel. That's an attack on Christ. It's not innocent.

It can't be excused. And what can we say about the false teachers who promote such things? Very quickly, we're gonna look at their internal impurity and their external impurity. When you see teachers who are wrapped up in that kind of external stuff, you can know that inside they're all messed up. No matter how suave they may look on the outside, inside they're all messed up.

They don't have the faintest clue of what they're doing. That's what Paul says. Verse 15, these boastful teachers are actually completely defiled. Completely defiled! Verse 15, to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. Watch this.

Look at that at the end there. What's going on inside them? What's internally true about them? Scripture tells us their mind and their conscience are defiled. They're impure. They're talking about impurity while they themselves are living models of the grossest form of impurity in this way. Their mind is defiled because it's not thinking rightly about the truth. If you were thinking rightly about the truth, you would be talking to people about Christ, not about keeping rules. First of all, their mind is not thinking rightly about truth. And Paul goes on and says their conscience is defiled. Their conscience is defiled because it employs a false standard to measure righteousness.

It says if you do this, you'll be righteous before God. That's wrong. Their conscience is all mixed up on what the right standard is to determine what proper behavior is. And so they're thinking wrong. Their conscience is defiled.

They're inside. They're a total hypocritical mess. They're not in any position to lead you to God. And at the root of all of it is them trusting in self-effort and teaching you to trust in self-effort rather than the finished work of Christ. They create the impression that God wants ritual from you rather than repentance. That God wants you to go through motions rather than to present to him a heart that is broken and contrite over your sin. Rituals obscure all of that.

They obscure the internal reality for the sake of external compliance. And people can go through the rituals without any true change and just get baked into their hypocrisy. This stuff isn't innocent. It's demonic. It robs Christ of his glory. And the fact that people may be zealous as they do it doesn't rescue it from condemnation. You see, beloved, when that's what's driving a man's view of God and salvation, the whole fountain from which he speaks is polluted. And a polluted fountain cannot produce fresh water to drink from.

Ritual never produces righteousness. A broken and contrite heart. So, we recognize the false purity of wolves by recognizing their internal impurity. Finally, we recognize their external impurity.

And we'll close with this. Look at verse 16. They profess to know God. They not only profess to know God, and if you have any personal experience with them, you realize that they'll carry their attitudes with an air of superiority.

I know better than you. They're condescending toward you and your humble trust in Christ. God gives the verdict on them. What they say is not consistent with reality. Their deeds, by their lives, they deny him.

They're detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. Based on what Paul had said, you can recognize these wolves. You can recognize their inconsistency. They're marked by rebellion. They're marked by empty talk. They're marked by an emphasis on ritual.

They're marked by lives that are inconsistent with the true righteousness that God requires. There's a total inconsistency. Don't listen to their talk. Look at their walk. Don't listen to their lips. Look at their lives.

If there is an inconsistency between the two, say, something's wrong here. Step back before you ever give men like that any position over your conscience or your understanding of who God is. By the testimony of Scripture, men like that, their lives and their ministry. Look at verse 16 with me. Their lives, their ministry.

Paul ends it up. It is detestable. It is disobedient.

It is worthless for any good deed. And Paul can speak that way because he loves the true sheep of Christ. And he says these men are a threat to that. They're a threat to the security of the sheep. They're a threat to those who need to hear the gospel.

They obscure it all. They're a threat. They devour people.

And so, yes, they are detestable. Yes, they are disobedient to the word of God. Yes, their ministries are utterly worthless. Nothing good can come from those who obscure the gospel for the sake of the rituals that they want to put you through. The whole religious system shows that they don't know the first thing about the true purity God requires. And therefore, collectively, as the people of God, it is our prerogative and it is our responsibility to reject their profession and silence their influence when it manifests itself in the church. Beloved, we must protect ourselves and the church. Beloved, we must protect the purity of the gospel. We must protect the purity of the church, not only for the sake of our own freedom in Christ. We need to protect it for our children. We need to protect it for others who have not yet heard. And we can't let men polluted, speaking about external things that have nothing to do with the cross.

We guard against it. True purity is found in Christ and Christ alone. When you confess your inability and rely instead on our Lord's complete righteousness on your behalf, you realize you can add nothing to the equation. Pastor Don Green has presented a message titled, True and False Purity Contrasted, part of our larger series in Titus. And Don, in the Old Testament, we see animal sacrifices and other rituals that men were commanded to observe. That all changed in New Testament times, but that doesn't mean God changed his mind, does it? Well, what you see in Scripture, Bill, is that the Bible says that God requires an innocent blood sacrifice in order to approach him. And the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were simply pointing forward to that final sacrifice of the ultimate innocent victim, our Lord Jesus Christ, when he offered himself on the cross.

Now we approach God, not through animals, but through the living Savior, our Lord Jesus, who shed his blood on our behalf. Thanks, Don. And friend, remember to visit thetruthpulpit.com for more about this ministry. There you'll also find out how to get free CDs of Don's messages. Once more, that's thetruthpulpit.com. Next time, the relationship between good deeds and good doctrine will be the topic on the table. Be sure to join us then on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-07 04:46:35 / 2023-08-07 04:56:13 / 10

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