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Avoiding Contamination

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2021 1:51 pm

Avoiding Contamination

The Verdict / John Munro

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March 29, 2021 1:51 pm

Dr. John H. Munro March 28, 2021 Matthew 15:1-20

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There's a lot of contamination and pollution in our world, isn't there?

We've been wearing masks, and by the way, you can take your mask off if you like during the message. We wear masks to minimize the risk of getting or giving COVID-19. Experts warn us over and over again of the harmful pollutants that are in the food we eat and what we drink and even what we breathe. Our atmosphere, our oceans, our seas, our rivers, our parks, and our forests are increasingly become contaminated. I know that three or four years ago, Gideon and I were on a cruise in the Caribbean and we were saddened to see the pollution in the beautiful Caribbean sea. Our world without is becoming polluted, contaminated. And it's right that we should be concerned about that.

But that's not my subject this morning because there's a pollution far, far worse than the pollution around us in our environment and our creation. I'm referring, of course, to spiritual contamination. I'm referring to spiritual defilement. I'm referring to the defilement of the heart, of the mind, of our very soul. In our study of Matthew, some of you will recall the beautiful words of the Lord.

In Matthew 5, we call them the Beatitudes. And one of them says this, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Now, we've been singing about God and our hearts have been moved as we've been brought to the throne room of God this morning. But I wonder if your heart is pure. Jesus is saying that it is the pure in heart who will see God.

We live in a very dirty world, a world of moral and spiritual pollution which impacts us. And so my question to you is, how is your heart? Do you have a pure heart? What about your mind?

Is your mind pure? In our passage today, the religious leaders accuse the disciples of Jesus of eating with unwashed hands. And the accusation then is one of defilement, is one of contamination. And Jesus takes the opportunity in this very important passage to give a succinct exposition of what constitutes spiritual defilement. And in doing so, he gives us a warning about ritualism without reality, of formalism without faith, of legalism without life, of ceremony without Christ, of religion without relationship. Well, you turn with me in your Bible to Matthew chapter 15. I encourage you to come with your Bible before COVID with Bibles in the pew, but it's even better if you have your own. If you don't have a Bible, we would be delighted to give you a Bible. We also have a word room where there are Bibles there. Matthew chapter 5, we're going to be looking at the first 20 verses today. But first of all, I want to read the first nine verses.

Here is the word of God to you and to me today. Matthew 15, then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat, he answered them. And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, honor your father and your mother, and whoever reviles father or mother must surely die. But you say, if anyone tells his father or his mother, what you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you've made void the word of God, you hypocrites. Well did Isaiah, the prophet of you, prophesy of you when he said, this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Think of the cutting, penetrating truth of Jesus, as once again, he and the religious rulers are in conflict. I want us to learn, first of all, that religion cannot erase personal contamination.

Religion, and it comes in thousands of ways, whatever you describe it, it cannot erase personal contamination. We could describe religion in many ways, but religion is always man-made and man-centered. It focuses on man. It exalts man.

It is made by man. And here in this passage, as we read, the Pharisees and the scribes are emphasizing their traditions, their traditions which had been handed down orally from generation to generation. The Pharisees are the leading Jewish sect. The scribes are the legal experts. They're the lawyers. They interpret the law. They expound the law. They spend their time in the minutiae of the law. These two groups call Israel to adhere to their strict, their very strict and their very pedantic interpretations, which they regarded as almost of equal authority to Scripture.

This is key. They have their tradition. Do they deny the Word of God? Do they say we don't believe the Old Testament, their Scripture, the Torah?

Of course not. They uphold the Scriptures, but as their interpretations and the rules and the regulations have developed down through the centuries at the time of Jesus, their traditions and the Word of God are almost of equal authority. And the conflict arises as the disciples of Jesus are not following their legalistic interpretations and traditions. See, there always have been two ways, two basic ways of approaching God. There's religion or there's the grace of God. As I say, religion is man-made. Religion loves the pomp, the splendor, the rules, the regulations, the formalities, the ceremonies, the hype, the excitement. It is ultimately man-centered, trying to please God or reach God by our own efforts. Religion says in some forms, do the best you can. Follow the rules. Comply with the rituals.

Be good. Grace, the grace of God, biblical Christianity, is always God-centered and God-exalting. A good test of a religion is, who is it exalting?

Who is exalted as we worship God? Now, what about you? You're here. You're here. You obviously regard yourself to a greater or lesser extent as a spiritual person. You find yourself in a church service early in the morning here in Charlotte, North Carolina.

What about you? You cut up in an outward form, whatever that is, or do you have an inward faith? Do you have religion or do you have a true relationship with God? Biblical Christianity looks not to the externals, it's not that there are not externals, but true Christianity looks to what God has done in Christ Jesus. It looks to the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. So Paul can write in Titus 3, verse 7, so that being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. What is it that saves us? It is the grace of God. And religion can do many things. Religion can make you look and can make you feel very, very good. We can say in this context, religion can cleanse your hands, but it can never, ever, ever cleanse your heart. Now, we read here in verse 1 that the Pharisees and the scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem.

This is, in a sense, a kind of official delegation. And they come and they criticize as they've done before. They criticize the disciples of Jesus. They say there's a breach of our religious traditions, ceremonial washing.

Verse 2, why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat. Now, this is not a matter of hygiene. It's not a matter that you've got actually dirt on your hands and your mother would say, make sure your hands are washed.

That's not the point. It is religious defilement. It is a ceremonial washing.

Defilement was obtained in many ways. Contact with an unclean animal, eating unclean food, touching a dead body, touching a dead animal, coming into contact with a Gentile and purity after any defilement is restored by a ritualistic washing. So the issue here is not one of hygiene, it's one of ceremonial cleanliness. And the Pharisees and scribes as they do here, they take this to ridiculous lengths. Religion loves the externals, the ritualism, the ceremonialism, and it equates these things with true spirituality. And there's a certain comfort with religion, isn't there? But such ritualism and such legalistic observance leads to pride. It leads to hypocrisy, which is the accusation Jesus makes against the religious leaders and it leads to judgmentalism. Have you ever been part of a group that judges you by the externals?

Very easy, isn't it? Now Jesus responds by demonstrating their hypocrisy. Notice what he says in verse 3. He says in effect, you're accusing my disciples of breaking the traditions of the elders. You have broken the commandments of God.

What's greater, your traditions or the commandments of God? And then in verses 3 through 6, he gives an example of this. First of all, he reminds them and they knew the scripture. He quotes from Isaiah 29 verse 13 in verse 7 in verses 8 and 9. He says, you hypocrites, verse 7, well did Isaiah prophesy of you. That prophesy 750 years ago, Mr. Pharisee and Mr. Scribe, was directed in fact to you, because you honor God with your lips, but your heart is far from God. In vain do you worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of God. Notice in verse 9, he describes their worship as vain, as empty, coming from the lips but not from the heart.

That's terribly convicting, isn't it? Because here we are this morning and we're singing and we're praying and we are presenting our worship to the Lord. Is it possible that all of that could be in vain?

Yes, very possible. If it's not from your heart, because what God is concerned about is not just your profession. Religion makes you look good.

Religion makes you feel good. But Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, you are in fact hypocrites and your worship is absolutely empty, it's hollow, it's hypocritical, because what you say sounds so good but your heart, did you notice it in verse 8? Your heart is far from me. You're sitting today, you're listening on live stream, Facebook, and your heart is far from God. That some of us here are worshiping, perhaps even standing on this platform and our hearts are far from God. See, there is the outward profession.

Is that unimportant? No, it's not unimportant but it is very, very secondary what God is concerned about is not your outward profession but the inward reality. And religion is always more concerned with the externals rather than a correct, a true, a living, and a vibrant relationship with the living God. Now you say, how do we know whether we've embraced a form of cultural religion here or whether there is true worship? Whether there is authentic Christianity? Calvary Church says that our mission is being and making authentic followers of Jesus Christ. Not hypocritical followers, not people who just sound good on Sunday morning and then live like the devil during the week, but that we are authentic followers of Jesus Christ.

I'll give you a very basic test. In fact, the one which Jesus gives us in the passage is that religion always displaces the Word of God. Have you noticed that? Pick any religion. Religion displaces God's living Word. Here, the Pharisees and scribes are teaching their traditions with the authority of God's Word. And Jesus gives an example of their tradition making void God's Word in verses three through six. Verse three, why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

In fact, your tradition is being demonstrated in such a way that the very commandments of God are broken. Verse six, so for the sake of your tradition you have made void the Word of God. Now please notice the scribes and the Pharisees are not outwardly denying the Word of God. They would say we believe the Word of God. We honor the Word of God. We're scribes. We spend all of our time reading and dissecting and expounding the Torah, the Hebrew Scriptures. And Jesus said, no, you've made it of no effect. And he gives an example. He gives an example from the Ten Commandments. One of the Ten Commandments is you shall honor your father and mother.

Do you hear that? Children, students honor your father and mother. Do you hear that moms and dads honor your father and mother?

You've got an older father and older mother, perhaps they're very old, perhaps in their 80s or their 90s. Do you stop honoring your father and mother when you reach 18? No.

No. There is a time when you get married when you leave them, when the primary responsibility in your life is to your spouse. That is true. But as followers of Jesus, we are always to honor our father and mother and the scribes and the Pharisees. We would agree with that.

But here's the point. Here's an older couple and they find themselves financially destitute and their son or their daughter are quite well off. Now, honoring your father or mother would mean that if you're in a position financially to help them, you should do so. Here's my mother in Scotland. She's now with the Lord, but when she's in her 80s or her 90s, I remember having a conversation with my brothers, how is mom taken care for financially? We are her sons. We all had more money than our mother had. Are we able to take care of her?

Yes. We're going to take care of mom. That's what it means to honor your father and mother, isn't it?

Along comes the Pharisees and the scribes. What you do is you go through a formality of saying, Corban, you're going to give a gift to your parents, but you're not going to give it now. You're going to give it to the Lord in an act of worship. You're going to say, God, here is the money I'm going to give to my parents, but you don't give it now.

It's delayed. And of course, it may never be given to them. And in that way, you have manipulated the very commandments of God and your traditions and your legalistic interpretations of the Ten Commandments have resulted that the clear word of God, honor your father and mother, is rendered null and void. This says Jesus, verse 7, it is hypocrisy. He says in verse 14, very strongly, leave them alone. Have nothing to do with these hypocrites, with these scribes and Pharisees. Now let me ask you, is there anything added to the word of God today in religion? Do you think I have any examples?

I'm going to give you three examples. One, the example of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome, and I'm going to quote from its catechism, I'm not making this up. This is not anti-Roman Catholic, it's just stating what they believe. The Roman Catholics add what they call the magisterium, the traditions to Holy Scripture. Here is a quotation from the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. Here it is, as a result, the church, they mean the Roman Catholic Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of revelation is entrusted. Notice that. Does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone.

Underline the word alone. Both Scripture and tradition must be accepted and honored with equal, underline the word equal, with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. So in Roman Catholic theology, in Roman Catholic practice, do they believe in the Bible?

Yes, of course they believe in the Bible. But they also believe in the tradition, the magisterium of the church. And they, as the statement says, are to be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. So their tradition is added to the authority of Scripture.

Here's another quote from them. The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely, notice the word solely, to the magisterium of the church, that is to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him. In other words, not only do we have tradition and Scripture on an equal footing so that the Bible and tradition are two streams, as it were, flowing into the fountain of the Word of God, that's Rome's position. Not only that, but we the church will interpret because we alone have been given the task of interpreting the Word of God. Adding to the Word of God, their tradition.

Here's another example, number two, the example of Mormonism. I remember walking the street and these two young Mormons approached me and they said to me, do you ever read the Bible? I said, yes, I sometimes read the Bible. And they then said, do you ever wonder why God didn't give us another book? Now you know where they're going with it. And I said, no, I've never wondered that.

Oh, they said, why would you wonder that? I said, when God has given us one perfect book, why would we need another one? If the Bible is perfect, if it is God's Word containing all we need for our salvation and our sanctification, why would God add something else? But in Mormonism, you talk to a Mormon, do they believe the Bible?

Oh yeah, we believe the Bible, but we also believe the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, because Joseph Smith, because Joseph Smith with his magical glasses, with this wonderful angel, Moroni, gave him these other scriptures. And so the Word of God is being displaced and another authority is being added. I'll give you another example, perhaps a more controversial example, but we have more and more today self-professed prophets.

You heard about them? Prophets, people who call themselves apostles. We had a number of them prophesying very, very strongly that Donald Trump was going to win the election. It wasn't going to be Joseph Biden, but God had given them these revelations. I am a prophet and they're prophesying to their congregation that Donald Trump was going to be, was going to be elected again.

They got it wrong. They got it very, very wrong and at least one of them had the grace to admit that he had messed up, although he continues to call himself a prophet. Or you get these preachers who claim these revelations, these visions from God, extra biblical revelations that God told me to tell you. And so what we have in these cases, is revelation, so-called, being added to the Word of God. The magisterium of the church, the Book of Mormon, someone's prophecy, someone's vision, and in all these cases, when anything has been added to the Word of God in practice, what becomes important is not the Word of God, but to what you've added. And so in Rome, the tradition becomes more important than Scripture. Certainly in Mormonism, the continuing revelation which goes on today becomes much more important than Scripture. So it is in churches which are emphasized by celebrity preachers and prophets and apostles, what they say always becomes more important than Scripture. That's religion, displacing the living Word of God. And that, of course, can never, ever, ever deal with your personal contamination.

Thank you. Now personal contamination, secondly, comes from within, not from without. Let me read what Jesus says. Matthew 15, verse 10, He called the people to Himself and said, hear and understand. Are you hearing? Are you understanding?

Here it is. It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person. Did you get that? Then the disciples then came to Him and said, do you not know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this? Understatement, right? You say, John, today someone's going to be offended. Should you say these things? Yes, people are offended. We don't stop preaching because someone's offended.

Thank you for your emails which will follow. Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? He answered them, notice this, every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.

Let them alone. They are blind guides, and if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. A warning against the false teacher, a warning against the false religion. But Peter said to Him, explain the parable to us. And He said, are you also still without understanding?

Have you not yet got the point? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone. What an incredible teacher was the Lord Jesus, wasn't he? Don't you love His teaching?

Although this is terribly convicting, isn't it? Basic point, the externals do not contaminate us. Failure to adhere to religious traditions such as eating with ceremonially unwashed hands doesn't result in spiritual pollution. Spiritual pollution, spiritual contamination is not an external problem, but is an internal problem. It's a problem of the heart. Contamination is not what is outside coming in, it's what is inside going out. Verse 11, it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person.

Now this is a very, very important passage for all kinds of reasons. Understand this, your basic problem and my basic problem is not the family you came from. You may have come from a dysfunctional family.

You may have had a horrific past. Your basic problem is not that. Your basic problem is not your lack of self-esteem as we're told today. And your basic problem is not your unhappiness or your unfulfilled dreams. Your basic problem, I'm talking to you, each one of you, your basic problem is the defilement of your heart. I hope you recognize that. You have a heart problem. Jeremiah in the Old Testament said in chapter 17 verse 9, the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

Your heart is desperately wicked. And Jesus in verse 19 gives a list of things which defile us. I'm going to go through it.

This is very, very convicting. This is going to hit every single one of us, I guarantee it. So as I go through the list, I'm asking you, yes you, I'm asking you to pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal where you are spiritually contaminated.

Will you do that? What's the first one? Verse 19, for out of the heart come evil thoughts. Evil thoughts.

You see, the outward act is preceded by an inward thought. So what do you think about? What do you daydream about? What do you fantasize about?

What do you think about? As you're exercising in the gym, as you're driving, as you're about to go to sleep in your free time, where does your mind go? Evil thoughts. Any evil thoughts that you have?

Do you? Paul tells us in Philippians 4 verse 8, he says, finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Are your thoughts pure? Are your thoughts lovely? Are your thoughts honorable?

Jesus said this is a problem. Out of the heart come evil thoughts. Here's the second one, murder.

You say, well, I'm OK with that. I haven't taken any innocent lives. Murder is the taking of innocent lives. Well, have you forgotten the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5?

Let me remind you. Matthew 5 verse 21, you have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. Back to the Ten Commandments. You shall not murder. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the counsel.

And whoever says you fool will be liable to the hell of fire. Oh my, anger. Yeah, it leads to murder, doesn't it? The murders in Atlanta and the murders in Colorado, what do they begin with? They begin with hate in the shooter's heart. Anger regarding people as fools, rage. There's so many people angry, aren't they? Rage. No, you may not actually go out and commit murder. You may not actually take innocent life but there is anger in your heart.

What's the next one? Adultery. Adultery begins not with love. People say, well, I love that person. Oh, I never experienced such love until I met so and so.

No, no, no. Adultery didn't begin with love. Adultery begins with lust.

Lust in the heart. Listen again to Jesus in Matthew 5 on this very subject, Matthew 5, 27. You've heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is saying that's the problem. Before there is the outward act of physical adultery, there is adultery in the heart. Anyone guilty of that or your heart? Adultery in the heart. What's the next one? Matthew chapter 19, I'm still in 5 there, Matthew 19.

The next one? Matthew 15 rather verse 19, for out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality. There's a lot of that in our society, isn't there? This is a translation of the Greek word porneia, translated here in the English standard version as sexual immorality. Porneia, we've all heard of pornography, comes from this word. This word porneia is a general term for all sexual activity outside of marriage. That begins, says Jesus, again not with the act, it begins in the heart. It begins in the inner heart, immorality, sexual immorality.

Any of that in your heart? This is why, please hear me, pornography is so deadly. It's an epidemic we are told in our society. Why is it so deadly? People say it's harmless. There is no victim to it.

If I want to look at certain pictures on my computer I can do it. There's nothing wrong with it. There is everything wrong with it. It is inner pollution of the heart. It is a sin of the heart. It leads to lust, it leads to immorality. It is porneia, sexual immorality. Now scriptures tell us that women are to dress modestly, but men don't blame how women dress for your own sin. I've heard men blaming women.

You know, the real problem isn't out there, the real problem is in your heart. It is true, women are to dress modestly, but the main problem then is in your heart, sexual immorality. Here is another one, theft. You say, well I wouldn't steal something from a shop, a store.

Well I've known Christians who have. I've known a pastor who stole from a store, unbelievable isn't it? Dishonesty, the desire for something which doesn't belong to you. See dishonesty in your heart.

See that greed, that covetousness then results in action. Not paying your taxes, we're coming up to tax season aren't we? The government has given you an extension and some of you are thinking how you can fiddle your taxes. In fact you may boast about how you are able to defraud the IRS and you say well they're going to misplace my money, my money is hard earned, I'm not going to give it to the government.

Yes, you are to pay, you're to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. And if you're not doing that, it is theft. How about taking property from someone else?

How about at work but not working the hours for which you're paid? What about thinking of how you can swindle people? I've heard Christians brag how they were able to swindle someone in some negotiation, in some business transaction.

Don't do that, it is theft and it begins in the heart. Here's another one, false witness, lying. Giving false testimony, perjury is giving, is lying under oath, cheating, lying. You cheat, lying.

You're thinking how you can get better grades at school by cheating. You're thinking how you can work that business deal, deal with that customer but you have to bear false witness, you've got to lie about something material and it's in the heart isn't it? And you wonder how is God going to bless you when there is this evil in your heart?

Here's the final one, slander, abusive speech, defamation. All speech which harms others doesn't begin with the mouth, it comes out of the mouth but it begins in the heart. You see, your heart is your basic problem. Sin pollutes, it corrupts, it defiles, sin contaminates us and we think we can contain our sin. We can contain the sin in our mind.

No, what is in the mind is going to come out. That's what Jesus is saying. You have to deal with the root of the problem.

The problem isn't out there, the problem is in here. You say, well how can I deal with this spiritual contamination? Only Jesus Christ can cleanse your heart. This is the good news of the Gospel.

This is incredible news. You can go through religion, you can go through all of the trappings of religion but that will never, ever cleanse your heart. Only Jesus Christ can cleanse and change your heart. Religion is powerless to cleanse your heart. Legalism is powerless to cleanse your heart.

Ritualism is powerless to cleanse your heart. They deal with the externals. But we're saying that the real problem is internal. Are you, are you convicted of this this morning?

I hope so. You see, before there's going to be cleansing, there's got to be an admission by you that you have spiritual contamination. Will you admit that? You know, pigs never complain about the dirt, do they? They enjoy the dirt. They don't know they're dirty.

They don't know they're smelly. They're quite happy in their filthy condition. I hope you're not happy in your filthy condition. I hope through the Word of God today that God is convicting you. That you realize, yes, in my heart there is defilement.

I hope you don't enjoy your, enjoy your dirt. You see, God sees your heart. And unless you realize before God that your heart is defiled, and unless you confess that sin, you will never know the cleansing power of our Lord Jesus Christ. David was a king who sinned very, very badly, but he was a man after God's own heart.

Listen to what he says regarding his sin in Psalm 51. He begins it by saying, have mercy on me, O God. That's it.

That's it. Mercy. You need grace.

You need mercy. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love that God loves you in spite of this sin. According to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. David realizes he's a sinful heart which has manifested itself in very sinful deeds. And now he's asking God in this great prayer of repentance and restoration for God to have mercy on him and God's grace to be on him. He doesn't deserve it, and he wants God to blot out his sin and to cleanse him from his transgressions. That's it. That's it.

So how is it? How is it that a holy God, and we began by singing of the holiness of God, how is it that a holy God who dwells in light, who hates the darkness, how can this God who knows my heart, how can this God cleanse me so that I can walk out of Calvary Church this morning totally cleansed, totally forgiven? Listen to the words of Jesus, or the words of John regarding Jesus, 1 John, 1 John 1 verse 7. This is the Gospel.

Listen to it. These are wonderful words. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. You're saying, well, there's no defilement in my heart. You're deceiving yourself. Your heart's so hardened, you don't realize it.

You don't realize how dirty you are. You deceive yourselves, and the truth is not in us, verse 9, if we confess our sins. That's it.

Are you going to do that this morning? If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That the power of Jesus Christ, it is so powerful, the blood of Jesus Christ is so powerful that however deep your sin and however far you have strayed, that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which flowed from the cross, that blood is so powerful that it can forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Isn't that beautiful? To be cleansed, to be forgiven. I have to have a humble heart. I have to come to Christ. Some of you are followers of Christ, but you've allowed that evil to be in your heart.

As we've gone through that list, you've said under the conviction of the Holy Spirit that that's me. I've been dishonest. I've had immoral thoughts. I've had evil thoughts.

I've had angry, slanderous thoughts about a brother or sister, about someone, perhaps a neighbor. That has to be confessed. And as we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive you of all of your transgressions and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Here is Isaiah, the prophet, chapter 1. Come now, he says, quoting the words of the Lord. Come now and reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Is that your sin? It's as red as scarlet. You come to Christ, He'll wash you and you'll be as white as snow. Though your sins be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. We're sometimes saying sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it. How did He wash it?

White as snow. I'm saying to you this morning that the very center of our being, of our heart, there is this spiritual contamination, this defilement which only the blood of Jesus can cleanse. Sin cannot do it. And the stain and the guilt of our sin was taken by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the cross for our sin.

He took our guilt, He took our shame, He took our defilement on Himself. He, the sinless Christ, He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Therefore, come to Christ. Therefore, kneel at the foot of the cross and confess your sin and experience that forgiveness so that you can leave totally cleansed. Will you come this morning to Jesus for cleansing and restoration?

We're going to sing an old Gospel hymn. One of the verses says this, nothing in my hand I bring. That's when you come to Christ. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross.

Look at it on the roof. Simply to thy cross I cling. Naked come to thee for dress. Helpless look to thee for grace. Foul I to the fountain fly. Wash me Savior or I die. That's it. Here is the only place, the only place of forgiveness, the only place of cleansing is to humbly come to the cross of Christ and confess your sin and ask Christ to forgive you and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

Will you do that? Let me pause and ask you to pray and then we're going to stand and sing this old Gospel song that I trust will speak to you. Holy Father, we bow before You and Your Spirit has convicted us through Your Word of the contamination of our heart and perhaps we've hardly been aware of it until we've been confronted by Your Word and we thank You for it. We look not out, we look not at others. Search us O God and know our heart.

Try me and see if there's any wicked way in me. Lead us in the paths of righteousness we pray. There's some here and have never yet come to Christ. They've embraced a form of religion, they've put their trust in some ritual and some experience and some feeling but they've never yet come to Christ. Father I pray that Your Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and we'll show them the sinless Christ who still stands and says come and I'll give You rest. May each one of us come and find rest, find cleansing, find forgiveness we pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 05:40:48 / 2023-12-10 05:56:25 / 16

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