We have to see we were all under the condemnation of sin. We should be so conscious of our own sin before God, like Paul said, we ourselves, once we're like this, that it completely humbles the way that we view others that are still in sin.
A doctor can give you the news that you have some exotic disease, but it's kind of meaningless unless he tells you what the symptoms are and if there's a cure. So it is with human sin. And on this edition of the Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green concludes a message titled Utterly Lost in Sin.
Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. Last time, Don gave us the first three of six symptoms of sin, foolishness, disobedience, and deception. Today, he'll provide the last three. Plus, he'll give us six impacts we should take away as we minister to a desperately lost world. So turn to Titus chapter three as we join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. I'd invite you to turn to Titus chapter three. That's where we've come to in our exposition of God's word.
It's so good to see so many of you out on a rainy morning. There are six characteristics of the unsaved man that we're going to see here. Number one, the first characteristic for you to see is that sinners, referring to unsaved people, sinners are foolish. Point number two, sinners are disobedient. Point number three, sinners are deceived.
They're deceived. Fourthly, sinners are enslaved. Sinners are enslaved. Look at verse three with me again. This is kind of fun in one sense.
Just to go through this verse word by word is what I mean by that. Not fun that we're talking about such dark things and dark topics. But what's enjoyable about it, let's put it this way.
I want you to understand why I said that. What's enjoyable about it is to come to the scriptures and find something that finally tells us the truth. That's a joy. That's a privilege. That's a good thing. To be able finally to drink some pure water instead of from the polluted streams that are offered to us day by day, moment by moment, and anywhere else that we look. For we ourselves also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived.
Here it is. Enslaved to various lusts and pleasures. The Bible describes unsaved people, unsaved men and women, unsaved boys and girls as being under the power of internal forces and internal desires that they can't control. That impel them to think and act and speak in ways that are simply wrong. And yet here they are unable to free themselves from it. Sinners are controlled by their desires.
Why is it, you think, why is it that you think that it is so easy for men to be drawn into online immorality? Why is it that they just go to that and stay there? Why is it? Why is it, especially in speaking of what is particularly true in northern Kentucky, why is it that men and women and young people are so easily brought in to have their first shot of heroin just because it's free, and then watch their lives just self-destruct in front of them?
Why is that? It's because they're slaves to wicked desires. They want that which is sinful. They want that which is illegal.
They want that which will submit their body to chemical abuse. Sinful desires own them. It directs them into wickedness, even if it destroys their lives.
It's entirely the wrong question when somebody is trapped in sin to say, what were you thinking? It's not rational. That's the point. If people were thinking rationally, they would avoid all of this stuff because it's all well known to be so self-destructive. Why do they do it anyway?
It's obvious. It's because they're not controlled by good, clear thinking. They're controlled by wicked desires that make them want sin and to pursue after it. They think it's freedom. In reality, it is slavery. Their innermost man is owned by something bigger, stronger, and more wicked than they.
Let's make something clear at this point. The lusts that enslave men are of various kinds. What controlled you and your unsafe state is different than what controlled me and my unsafe state, probably. The sinful desires, the anger, the resentment, all of those things that were at work in your heart might be different than what was true of the person sitting next to you. Here's the really important point if this is going to humble us like scripture intends it to do.
Here's what we must understand. Here's why we should be humble when we see people enslaved in sin that does not particularly tempt us. You perhaps have not committed their sins. You perhaps have not been into the substance stuff and all of the other things. You haven't done that. That doesn't give you any room for pride because you're not thinking about it right.
If we're thinking about it rightly, if we're seeing ourselves in light of the Word of God, if we're seeing ourselves vertically before a holy God instead of comparing ourselves to men, we'll think about it this way. Yeah, you know what? I haven't committed his sins. You know what else?
There's another side to that equation. He hasn't committed mine. That sinner that you're so quick to condemn because of their profligate lifestyle, if they were given voice to speak, they might very well say, yeah, but you know what? I don't malign people.
I'm not proud of what I've done in life. I'm not unkind like you are. You see, we have to see it this way. This may be one of the most important things I've said throughout the course of the book of Titus is that we have to see we were all under the condemnation of sin.
That umbrella is so comprehensive. It covers us all so much individually and collectively that there's no getting out from under it. The fact that someone is under a different portion of the umbrella of sin than you were doesn't make you better than them. It just means that you're proud even of the way that your sin manifests.
Isn't that a terrible thing to think about? We should be so conscious of our own sin before God, like Paul said, we ourselves, once we're like this, that it completely humbles the way that we view others that are still in sin. You can know that you're starting to grasp this when you find your critical spirit strangely restrained, subdued by a conscious simultaneous recognition, I'm a sinner too. When you find yourself understanding and believing that truly, there but for the grace of God, go I.
We must think that way because sinners are enslaved and we once were slaves too of desires that mastered us instead of vice versa. We ask another question, how can a slave make himself free? How can a blind man see the truth?
How can a deceived man find the truth? How can the rebel become obedient? How can a slave become free? All of these things start to weigh upon us as we start to think through the true condition of lost humanity.
More and more you should start thinking. If you're a Christian, as you start to follow the logic of what Paul is saying here, it should start increasingly dawning on you. There was nothing that I could have done to get out from under that domination of sin.
I didn't save myself. I did not deliver myself from my own sin because the answers to these questions are obvious. Point number five, we said that sinners are foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved. Fifthly, sinners live wickedly.
Look at verse three again. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various less than pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy. This describes a lifestyle of wickedness and jealousy. I won't spend a lot of time trying to expand on this further.
Let's just put it this way. Wickedness wishes evil upon people. That's wicked. That's wicked to wish evil and calamity on other people. I hope he dies.
I hope he gets what he's got coming to him. Envy resents the good that they have. Why does he have that and I don't?
I want that. I know we don't talk that way. What scripture is doing is it's drilling down to that hidden part of the sinner's heart that only they really see and that they would never give voice to because it's still somewhat socially unacceptable, but it's the mark of the sinful heart. Wickedness and jealousy, their disposition at root is selfish.
It's why they so easily curse the other driver in traffic. They resent someone else's success and they try to demean it or diminish it. He's not so good. Who does he think he is?
Why is he there and not me? Wickedness, envious. We ask another question. How can a wicked man become righteous? How can he be righteous? When this is woven through every fiber of his heart, this sinful disobedience, rebellion, deception, enslavement, how can he ever get free from that? How can a man that is in chains, sealed in a casket, buried six feet under, ever get out from that condition? He can't.
It's impossible for a man to relieve himself from that kind of physical entrapment. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we were worse off than that. In our hearts. We were so enslaved, so deceived. Final point here, number six. Final for delineating these characteristics of the unsaved men.
There's two separate words, but I'm going to join them because they're so parallel to each other. Let's look at verse three one more time. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. There is a reciprocal hostility in human relationships. Why is the divorce rate so high? Why is mass murder so common? Why is bloodshed such an easy way to make a movie that will make millions and millions of dollars? Why? It's because that's what they're comfortable with.
It's because it's what they love. Now, if you're a Christian here today, we're making a little pivot now. We're getting into the light after having been in so much of the diagnosis of the darkness. If you're a Christian here today, it can only mean one thing. It can't mean anything else.
It can't mean that you were smarter than the next guy because you were deceived, too. It can't be that you were more inclined to a God of love because you were hateful, too. It can't be that you were more free from sinful desires because, well, we know that's not true.
Let's not even go there. It can't be that you were so righteous because there's no none righteous, no not one. It can't be that you were just so loving and gracious that God just had to have you.
That's not true. And so how is it, then, that you find yourself in the realm of grace today as a Christian? It's because a gracious God, seeing nothing of merit in you but from his own free kindness and mercy, delighted to show kindness to you that you did not deserve.
You could not have done it on your own. That is the point of what Paul says in verse 4. Look at it with me. Here we were wrapped up in the diagnosis of verse 3. This is what we once were, but now by utter contrast, verse 4, not, but by contrast, but despite your sinfulness, something else outside intervened.
What was that? Verse 4, in your sin and degradation, the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared. He saved us. Oh, sweet, blessed words to the ear of a Christian. He saved us. Not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness. That could never be true. Because of what he just said in verse 3, no one will ever claim to be in heaven because of anything that they had done in righteousness.
That can't be it. He saved us, not by what we did, but according to his mercy. We'll look at these verses more next week.
By the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace, we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Do you see the attributes of God on full display? We've got these black curtains in back now.
Anything that was white on them would jump out by contrast. In contrast to the black backdrop of your soul, the mercy of God shines forth by the great contrast of it. In contrast to all of your sin in verse 3, your salvation has put the kindness, the love, the mercy, the grace of God on full display.
Nothing else could explain it. If you're a Christian today, it's not based on anything that you've done or anything that you were. It's because of outside of you, it pleased God to show mercy to you in your undeserving condition. We were formerly lost and degenerate ourselves, but now we've been saved. Some of the world, God hasn't saved them yet, and so they're lost and degenerate, and they fit the profile that Paul has given us here in verse 3. God showed kindness to us.
It's incomprehensible. Now, beloved, here's Paul's whole point in saying everything that he said. Remember how this verse 3 started out. Look at the start of verse 3.
It says, four. He's connecting what we've been looking at today with what he said earlier. What's the bridge?
What's the connection? He says, speak peaceable, gentle, showing every kindness for all men. Here's the bridge, because let me remind you of what you used to be like before the grace of God showered down upon your soul.
You see, a biblical understanding of what you used to be completely changes the way you view yourself and the way you view the world around you. And in closing, I'm going to do these rapid-fire, staccato-like. I'm going to give you six impacts that all of this should have. It's going to take us five minutes maybe to say, and this will take us the rest of our lives to implement them the way that we should. What should we be like when we remember the grace of God poured down vertically upon us as we look out among men around us, an unsaved world, lost, hostile, rejecting everything that we hold dear, seeking to suppress it and flaunting more and more their own depravity for everyone to see? How should we think and respond?
What kind of people should we be? First of all, we should be humbled. We should be humbled, profoundly humbled.
Remember your past and pour contempt on any remaining remnants of present pride that's in your soul. Beloved, it's true. There but for the grace of God, there you go. The world that you are prone and tempted to hate and condemn and judge is where you would be.
You'd be one of them. But for this mercy that God has shown to you. Secondly, we should be humbled.
Secondly, we should be grateful. We have been delivered from that ugly condition and spared of the eternal consequences that it deserved. I am so glad that I'm not the man I used to be. I'm so glad that Christ changed me, made me a new creature because I hate that old Don Green.
I hate him with all of my heart. I'm so grateful and so should you if you're a Christian that you're not what you used to be. Thirdly, we should be realistic. We should be realistic. If this is what the mass of unsaved humanity is like, then we know in advance that we're going to see foolishness and hatred and anger and wickedness about us all the days of our lives. We're going to see manifestations of that. Sometimes from unexpected places. But this is the environment in which we live. Of course we're going to see the products of the environment. Be realistic about it.
Unsaved men are not going to support your biblical morality. They're going to be hostile toward it. Okay, let's be realistic about that and not get so bent out of shape when the expected thing happens.
We're going to be realistic about it. We don't approve of it. We don't like it. But we're not going to wonder why they don't see it our way. They don't see it our way because their mind belongs to a completely different realm. They couldn't see it our way if they wanted to. Fourthly, we should be compassionate.
If you believe the biblical teaching about sin, what you were like, what they are like, it will make you compassionate and evangelistic toward the lost. We're humbled. We're grateful. We're realistic. We're compassionate. We can see the situation clearly.
We understand what's going on there. We see that they're deceived, enslaved, dupes, and in danger of eternal judgment. Christian, brother and sister in Christ, that should well up somewhere in your heart a sense of compassion. This is horrible.
This is horrible. An eternal soul is on the brink of eternal destruction and they won't even listen to that which will deliver them. Can't you find some compassion in your heart for that awful condition that once was the mark of you? Oh, we should be compassionate. We should have emotions of mercy in our heart that reflect the mercy that we've previously received. We should be prayerful.
Number five, humbled, grateful, realistic, compassion, prayerful. This is really where it drives you to these last two points. If what the Bible says is true, that men are so horribly deceived and enslaved and disobedient as we've been describing here this morning, and it is true, that's what the Bible says, can't be false. It's in God's word. God is true.
He can't lie. This is reality. If that's true, then it should make us prayerful. Beloved, I appreciate the role that government has in many ways. The Bible says that government is a restraint on evil.
But understand this. We cannot legislate sin out of existence. We can't educate people out of their sin. We can't intimidate people out of their sin. We can't undo the damage that sin has done to the human heart.
That is outside the purview of our power. And so instead of looking to the weapons of flesh in a spiritual battle, we look to a spiritual solution to a spiritual problem. And we say, oh, God who gave me salvation, won't you have mercy on a few more?
In fact, God, it would be a really good idea if you showed this kind of mercy to millions more. Be prayerful. They need a work of God in their hearts.
Nothing else will help them. Finally, we should teach God's word, because only God's word reveals these things. Only God's word is the instrument of regeneration, of bringing new life to a dead heart.
That's why we do what we do here. God uses his words to work in the hearts of sinners and save them. We must teach them. We must pray for them whether they listen or not, because it's what Christ has called us to do. Go and make disciples. It's what we want to do as the natural response of a redeemed heart. It says, oh, God, if you would just use me as an instrument of a little bit more mercy to some people that are in my circle of influence, then my life would be well lived. You, beloved, were utterly lost in sin. They, beloved, are still utterly lost in sin.
The teaching of sin makes us grateful for the Gospel and gentle toward men. Dr. Don Green will continue our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace on our next broadcast, so be sure to join us then here on The Truth Pulpit. But right now, Don's back here in studio with some closing words.
Hi, friend. As we close today, I just want to make something available to you. As you listen to these radio broadcasts, they have to fit into a 25-minute format, and we're very grateful for the opportunity the Lord's given us to do just that. But the radio messages are born out of a longer sermon message that contains more information, more background, a fuller explanation of the passage than what we're able to do on radio. So I encourage you to go to our website and find the link that says, Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll lead you to a podcast that gives you the full-length sermons from every Sunday and every Tuesday from my pulpit. I really think that it'll minister to you over time to hear the full-length messages, so we make that available for free, and we would love you to join us in that way as well. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from the Truth Pulpit.
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