Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018
A Man of Moral Purity (Part 1)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
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When considering our moral purity, we must at the outset say that victory is from the Holy Spirit. Those who seek to simply attain a moral clean-up may have some success in some areas, but long-term victory from the heart is only attainable when the Holy Spirit is operational in the believer’s life.

In Matthew 5:27ff, we see this immediately with the instruction from Jesus Christ our Lord:

  1. Sin begins in the heart; it comes out of a man
  • The Pharisees defined righteousness as appearances.
  • Jesus shines the light of truth on the drastic nature of the battle.
  • He teaches that we are to confront our own hearts severely.
  1. We cannot imagine that adjusting externals is enough.
  • External change is the easy part.
  • If we are to rely on the Holy Spirit, and we must, then we must trust what God’s Word says about our nature, the danger, the definition of the sin and the heart work required.
  • Severity is our approach to deal with our hearts.
  1. Holy living requires a heart change; we must deal with the command center of our lives.
  • A holy mind results in a holy heart.
  • When confessing our sin, we must confess the heart behind it.

In Matthew 5:17-20 Christ again confronts false belief about sins of moral purity.

  1. V.17 – Externals do not defile a man.
  2. V.18 – Those things that come out of the heart is what defiles a man.
  3. Christ teaches us three things about moral purity:
    • The source is the inner man (the heart).
    • Victory requires the exclusive trust of the Holy Spirit.
    • We must deal severely with our own hearts.
    • Regularly confess sins of the heart and mind.
    • Confess a thought life that is ungodly.
    • Strive to flee and cut off a thought life that is defiled.
    • Confess: “Lord, I wanted that thing in that moment, more than I wanted Christ and intimacy with Him.”
    • Indict yourself with language that confesses the covetous idol and how you bow down before it.
    • And, repent!

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, we should regularly examine one of the clearest texts in all of Scripture on dealing with moral purity. Paul here is addressing new believers who are having victory. The urgency of his language should create an urgency in us; we cannot let up in our pursuit to be separate from sin.

  • V.1-2: Clearly, this is the Word of God shared with the church through the apostolic ministry of Paul.
    • They have received and have practiced lessons about walking in Christ and pleasing Him with their lives.
    • But, they are exhorted to excel still more. They, and we, must never be satisfied.
  • V.3: It doesn’t get any clearer than this: God’s will for your life is your holiness!!
    • To be holy means that we are to be set apart from sin.
    • And, this passage specifically addresses one area: abstain from sexual immorality.
    • It is interesting that Paul is specifically addressing believers that recently came out of the culture. He is commanding sexual purity.
      • The power to be pure is from the Holy Spirit.
      • It is at the heart level.
      • Striving requires severity as we indict our own hearts with God’s Word.
      • And clearly, it is achievable, or God would not command it.
  • V.4: We are to posses our own vessel, or in other words, hold/control ourselves as the habit of life. We are to be living in sanctification and honor.
  • V.5: Paul compares their walk with the pagan culture. He exhorts them to stay away from the practices of unbelievers. He is recalibrating their minds.
    • When one pursues a life of impurity, they are living like unbelievers.
    • Unbelievers are involved in lustful passion without restraint.
    • Pagans regularly practice fornication/adultery.
    • A believer cannot continue in life patterns that are followed by unbelievers.
  • V.6: Our first priority is to be holy as God is holy, but this verse tells us there is a second horizontal priority.
    • Sin against one’s own body consumes us in certain ways.
    • There are unintended consequences of sexual immorality.
    • This sin holds us in bondage longer than we thought it would.
    • Sin against others “defrauds” or cheats them out of a spiritual benefit while the satisfy ourselves with cheap gratification.
      • Paul solemnly warns the church: God is the avenger!
      • You will answer to the Lord for defrauding another.
      • With the sure promise of God’s judgment or discipline, we must go to war against the thought life.
  • V.7: God has not called us to a life that is associated with anything impure. To the contrary, we have been saved for the purpose of purity.
  • V.8: The one who rejects these clear commands is rejecting the Holy Spirit.
    • We are to flee anything that would be the cause of a reproach against us.
    • There are media moments where we must walk or run away. It is a good thing to honor the Lord with a conviction to flee.
    • And are we do distress about such things? No, we rejoice that the Lord is allowing us to be lights in the culture!

Finally, we must not blame God for our struggle, our temptations or even the immorality in the world. The cause of our struggle is sin. We are corrupt. We birth sin and that child is ours. (James 1:13-15).