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January 18, 2022 3:00 am
In Ephesians chapter 5. As believers we are to walk in holiness and purity course. That's a pretty tall order and it's never felt more countercultural in our lifetime. So how do we do it, how can we measure up to God's standards today on Truth for Life Alistair Begg reminds us who we are, why we been chosen and exactly what we need to look at it from three aspects are along three lines. First of all, by paying attention to Paul's audience who is Paul addressing here. Secondly, by considering how high God's standards actually are. And thirdly by understanding hopefully that it is only through the gospel that any allies can ever live in this way. So first of all, then let's notice that Paul is not admonishing the cochair he is addressing the church okay. He is not admonishing the culture he is addressing the church and so it brings us. Secondly, to face the fact that God's standards are absolute and their high is particularly helpful for me to unpack each of these phrases here II did that in my study I I I think we can safely say we get right.
He is not calling the church to accommodate itself to the thinking of the surrounding culture, but he is actually calling the believers in Ephesus to avoid not just the practice but even thinking about and talking about these things, what we put in its place, sexual immorality, impurity, this must not be named among you, as is proper among the saints that there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking which are out of place, but instead let there be Thanksgiving. How is Thanksgiving an antidote to all of this when you think it would have said so there should be immorality there should be morality there should be theirs. There should be purity, but of course, but he doesn't used to sit by Thanksgiving while and I had to sit for a long time chewing my pencil thinking about this. I'm not sure I got it entirely, but it took me back to Romans chapter 1 and you remember in Romans one where Paul is laying out the way in which God has made himself known in the world and he says in the verse 19 of Romans one. What can be known about God is plain to them, that is, to men and women why because he shown it to them for his invisible attributes and namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made, so they are without excuse.
Here we go for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or if things did the missing element taking the good gifts from the creator denying their source and degrading them. By the way in which we abuse you read on. In Romans chapter 1 what is he say God gave them over. As a result of this to idolatry to immorality. In other words, the judgment of God is expressed in an unraveling culture showing itself in the very arena that was so prevalent in Ephesus, which made it so important that Paul would say to these Ephesian believers you want to go out and tell people you love Jesus, let me tell you when we are going to make the greatest impact.
If you yourselves when you gather, make sure that you have no desire to include this in your conversation and in your lifestyle you see what God wants us to do with the gifts that he is given his thank Victorian England was was regarded as repressive in relationship to sexuality and not least of all in terms of the church so people so you know if you're Christian. This is that that's that's definitely out.
And if anything, then you certainly can enjoy it right so the Bible says no you are absolutely wrong. The these are the good gifts of God, including this. Therefore, we don't degrade it by taking it at the wrong time with the wrong person. We thank him for by taking it at the right time with the right person because he the creator knows how this thing works perfectly and he is putting in that framework so that it may be enjoyed in his totality, our culture, the Ephesian coaches is now Diana of the Ephesians is the way to go.
That's why we have the activities all around the temple and the availability of the solar in the temple in the same way that we have before us today is he Paul began his letter by reminding his readers of the purpose of God. He chose is verse four of one he chose is in him before the foundation of the world that we should be noses listen to this that we should be holy and blameless before him.
What is God's purpose in saving you none so that your life is going to work out beautifully. Not so you get answers to all your difficult questions know so that you will be missed. Happy God's purpose in saving us is to make us holy and blameless in his sight. Once we grasp that it helps with a lot of things because if we determined that the reason that God has chosen to include his and his family is in order that all may go well with eyes. What the world we do when it doesn't go well with us. How do we handle the fact that our loved ones die. How do we how we face the challenges and changes in just about every day existence that the jigsaw puzzle is all over the place and we can get it all to fit together. And this is my lot in life and God is supposed to be making me happy know is not he's committed to making us holy that explained CS Lewis in mere Christianity. Remember what he said what he says about God coming to Jesus coming to live in our lives as a house. He says God comes in to rebuild the house and at first you can understand what he's doing basic repairs, but then he starts knocking the house about in a way that hearts abominably doesn't make sense was the explanation you thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it by himself. You see, when I sin I don't sin in isolation from Jesus. It's not possible for me to say I'm taking the Jesus thing off for 15 minutes here so I can go over here and then deal with this now. First Corinthians, what is he saying you if you do this, he says you drag Jesus in there with you. You're not there on your own.
You can park him somewhere going to engage and then return he comes, he indwells you because the reality of our Christian experience is not simply that Christ lives in me, but that Satan lives in me and the propensity of my heart is to go abroad world rather than the narrow to take the easy fix, rather than the right fix to do that which is immediately acceptable to me pleasing to me and I will note that delayed gratification. I wanted all.
Now, after all, I'm supposed to be happy know not God is making you holy painful process radical process concerns not only my conduct but also my conversation concerns not only my Dietz but my desire us there we go Jesus on the sermon on the mound.
I say to you, you know how finishes, so we need to be clear that this is not an admonishment for a culture it is addressed to a church, the saints and the beloved children by the standards of God are absolute and their incredibly high and that when we find ourselves. And I don't think anybody can possibly do this, we finally come to our third and closing point and that is that living in this matter is only possible through the gospel again remembered the balance of the letter. How has Paul begun. He is begun by saying, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has chosen you before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight and the logic of that doctrine. The logic of what that actually means is not along the lines of I have been chosen for salvation so I can live anyway I please. But I have been chosen for salvation and therefore I will live in a way that pleases God see it it it's really all about understanding our identity. You know it we got answer the question who who who are my and our culture addresses all kinds away the moment. Our culture says I am my gender are, I am my non-gender. I am I sexuality or I am my intellect or I am my looks or I am my success. Whatever this who are you tell me about yourself. What is the answer for the child of God I am a new creation no more in condemnation here in the grace of God I stand. I'm not perfect. I'm a sinner.
I am trying to work on my own salvation with fear and turmeric, but this is who I am. I don't always look like it. I don't always act like it. But this is who I am. This is not something I did.
This is something he did. He chose me before the foundation of the world. I don't understand when I push back and back. Why was I born here. Why do I have this teacher why did the person tell me that I finally get back to God. Let God be God my identity. Do you know who you are able to say I am a man in Christ. I am a lady in Christ. Are you able to save yourself talk to yourself.
Jesus came to die for sin.
Sin that still lurks in my heart.
The Holy Spirit has come to indwell my life to deliver me from the sin for which Jesus died. So the way I handle it is not to try and make myself something I'm not, but to remind myself of something that I am by grace through faith.
Christ bled and died for the sin so I'm going to have nothing to do with all but I want to got that part but is your identity easy and I must finish if you lived any length of time, which apparently many of you have, it is clear that all the endeavors of various social and government agencies to fix stuff by education or by legislation, particularly likes to stay in this moral realm. All of their endeavors. They are eventually futile because they cannot change the heart of a manner will education can do.
Otherwise nobody would smoke legislation canned. The courts are are filled with litigation. What we need we need a power outside of ourselves. We need somehow or another. Somehow somebody somewhere who can do this we need Jesus as what we need is what the Bible says if you think about the storms that are raging all around and you and you and you read the Gospels and ended everybody's disciples in the run the boat and they wake Jesus up to telling Jesus. I thought you should know were all dead man were all going to drown. Jerry tell that they tell the creator of the universe that he's about to carpet and he stands up and he says to the winds in the way of peace be still. Either is true, or it doesn't. But only one person I've heard of it can stand up and say stop this right now. Who is he he's the same person who starts the storms and stop the storms.
He's the same person who makes the ice form is the same person that brings the deluge upon the nation.
He is that same Lord and God, and the identity of the believer is wrapped up in him. This is who I am. I am a man in Christ. So what am I to do. While this is where the NRA comes in up in the sound room the reaching for the edit button know you heard it here is where the NRA comes and not the National Rifle Association. Three words number one necessity one of my to do.
I it is absolutely necessary that I do seek these things which are above Colossians 3 Christ is seated in the right hand of God and put to death this and do that necessity. Our responsibility whose responsibility is it mine does do do do do I know just sit on a couch and wait for it all to happen know I have a responsibility to bomb the landing strip to deal with it. A ability ability. Where is the ability come from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to go away and get home and and and read every sample in Romans six for sin will not have dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace.
The grace of God has reached to me and has made me a new creation. But you know what I've discovered I haven't I haven't learned much in the course of my life, but absent learn certain things and one is this people do what they want. People do what they want and you're going to go out here and do what you want as well. You do what you want.
That's why when Jesus comes to the wanted to the people at the pool of silo. He says to the man. Do you want me to make you well.
Do you want me strange quest for the man may have decided I been 34 years like this I'm grown accustomed to remember what Augustine said, Lord, make me pure, but not yet. Maybe start me Monday we had a big weekend coming up made me pure, but not yet two courts were.one from Oscar Wilde and one from JC Ryle, Oscar Wilde before the end of his life said I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or on makes character and that, therefore, what one has done in the secret chamber one has someday to cry aloud on the housetops.
She Wilde finally faced up to that fact. But what Wilde did not know is the wonder of God's word that with you there is forgiveness that with you.
There is the eradication of the record, there is the real writing of the story that is the fresh start in the new beginning. This is the wonder of the gospel that God in Christ reconciles us to to the father and the cord from JC Ryle thinking along these lines. This week I went to his his book on thoughts for young men and he he talks about the fact that God is no respecter of persons, and that God is not measuring eyes in relationship to the things that were tempted to use to measure ourselves intellect, finance, status in society and so what Ryle says to the young men who are his readers.
He says easy.
God is only measuring in relationship to our souls and he says do not forget this. Keep in view morning noon and night. The interests of your soul. Rise up each day deciding that it may prosper, that is your soul using that may prosper, lie down each evening inquiring of yourself, whether it is really got on.
Remember Zucca's the great painter of old never heard of them expire from here. Remember Zucca's the great painter of all when man asked him why he labored so intensely and to such extreme pains with every picture. His simple answer was I pain for eternity. I pain for eternity. Do not be ashamed to be like. Set your immortal soul before your minds eye, and when people ask you why you live as you do answer them in his spirit. I live for my soul. Believe me, the day is fast coming when the soul will be the one thing men will think off and the only question of importance will be this is my soul lost or is my soul.
See, and it is because in Jesus answer is provided, and because in Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The ability is conveyed that those of us who know ourselves to be sinful people are encouraged again and again to look away from ourselves to all that Christ has done for us and is to us in the gospel, thereby enabling us to take seriously. Not only verses one to but also verses three and four is only as we are in Christ were able to walk in love, live lives that are pleasing to God will stink Alistair Begg this is Truth for Life. Alister returns in just a minute to close today's program with prayer. But first, I will say a word of thanks to a group of very important people. We refer to them as truth partners partners support this daily program by praying for us faithfully and giving generously each month.
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Now here's Alister with a closing prayer father, help us, then we pray to guard our hearts to fill our minds and help is not to try and go it on our own, but to find in the family of God.
The people and the places with whom we are able to be honest and and those who will pray with us and for us and help us. We thank you that in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have one who is our Redeemer that he redeems our life from the pit that he crowns us with love and with tender mercies that the good work that he begins in us brings to completion. One day, Lord.
Some others just are living out there on our own and we are not engaged. Help us to understand why it matters that we belong. Some others, Lord, are confronted by the fact that our behavior is just a double standard come to you and asked for forgiveness and for a fresh start.
Some of us have never believed me today be that day. For Jesus sake, we ask Bob Lapine. Many people claim to be Christians but is it enough to simply say we believe fortis faith require something more. Find out tomorrow when a message titled, let no one deceive you. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living