Faithlife Sermons


Part 3
“The Wisdom of Clean Living”
How to Live Clean in a Pig Pen World
2 Cor. 6:14, 17; 7:1
We’ve been focusing on Wisdom the last couple of weeks—The Wisdom of Discipline and Wisdom with Relationships.
Now today let’s look at God’s Wisdom on the challenge of living a clean life in a dirty, defiled, and godless world.
ILLUS: I remember once reading a billboard that said,
It was an ad for oil filters, and it showed a picture of the inside of an engine that hadn’t been taken care of properly.
It was gross and disgusting looking—black and filthy...
But the ad was very effective.
It made you think twice about what’s going on under the hood of your carin the places that are unseenand how real and impacting those unseen places can be.
And it made you think about the consequences for you and your car if you didn’t address the issues.
The heart is the same way.
It is unseen.
Most of our thoughts are unknown to others.
But what happens in the heart (under the hood) reaches out and touches every area of life.
Proverbs, the book of Wisdom, tells us:
Prov. 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Jesus said:
Matt. 15:19-20 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person…”
So the challenge is—In a dirty world filled with hatred, prejudice, lust, doubts, and uncleanness, how can we live a clean life?
In the passages we read today, Paul gives us 3 principles that will help us stay clean, even while living in the midst of a pig pen world...
First, Paul says:
Avoid close contact with unbelievers
"Do not become unequally yoked together with unbelievers."
We talked about this last time, but it deserves a second look.
The concept of “unequal yoking” goes all the way back to Deuteronomy 22:10
"Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked (or harnessed) together."
The ox was a clean animal to the Jew and the donkey was not, therefore it would be wrong to yoke them together.
And besides that, they have different natures and would not work well together.
The OX is usually hard working and cooperative, but the DONKEY is stubborn, feisty and rebellious.
The OX eats only grass—that which is good for him.
The DONKEY will eat a tin can—they eat anything.
The ox happily obeys the promptings of its master.
The donkey is wild and will fight the harness.
The ox symbolizes the BORN AGAIN BELIEVER.
The donkey symbolizes the WORLDLY, LOST PERSON.
The Bible is saying that certain things in life are fundamentally incompatible, like oil and water.
They were never meant to be joined together.
This principle applies to the Christian and the non Christian.
The born again nature of the Christian and the worldly nature of the LOST were never intended to run together in a double harness.
When we become a Christian we receive a new nature, "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come" (2 Cor 5:17),
PETER SAYS in 1 Peter 1:4, "We (as Christians) participate in the divine nature."
In the New Testament, Christians are called "SAINTS", which means, "set apart", "called out".
Christians, by definition, are called out from the world, and set apart to serve God and do His will.
PRINCIPLE: We are to be IN the world, but not OF the world.
The Bible says we should:
Eph. 5:11have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
FELLOWSHIP: To be a partaker with, to be an accomplice in, to be invested in or involved with; to be a participator, not just a spectator.
But at the same time, we are not to shun the lost. Listen to Paul:
“I wrote to you in my earlier letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 But I wasn’t talking about the sexually immoral people in the outside world by any means—
…or the greedy, or the swindlers, or people who worship false gods—otherwise you would have to leave the world entirely!”—1 Cor. 5: 9-13
So the Christian is not to DO what the LOST DO, nor are we to SHUN THEM.
Then what is the balance? Where is the line in the sand?
We must learn how to practice CONTACT without CONTAMINATION;
INSULATION but not ISOLATION, moving in the midst of evil but untouched by it.
Separation from the world means CONTACT WITHOUT CONTAMINATION.
We are told that Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26), yet Luke tells us He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34).
Second, to stay clean in a pig pen world we must also learn to:
Avoid close contact with the THINGS of the world
Touch no unclean thing,” the Bible says, “and I will receive you.”—vs.17
The word “receive” means “to treat with favor”.
God is saying, “If you will be separate from this world for my glory, then you will enjoy my favor. My smile will be upon your life!
He didn’t say, “Don’t touch anything.”
He said, “Don’t touch the unclean thing.”
There are movies, videos, magazines, music and places a Christian should not go to, hear or see.
Right about here is where Christianity is often misrepresented and misunderstood.
People say, SEE!
Christianity is all about what you cannot do!
You can’t have fun, can’t enjoy life.
Can’t go here, can’t go there.
Can’t do this, Don’t do that.
It’s all a bunch of “Thou shalt nots!”
But God is saying that there are certain things that break our fellowship with Him and that destroy us in the process.
These are the unclean things we are to avoid!
Again, always practicing contact without contamination, insulation but not isolation.
We’re IN the world, but not OF the world.
Third, to live clean in a pig pen world, we must:
Think consequences
“…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit…” 7:1
Contamination is the consequence of a wrong decision.
Paul is saying that, Rather than focusing on whatever benefits you think you’re going to reap, think consequences instead.
What will happen if I do this?
What will the long-term consequences be?
Who will this affect?
Can this decision bring Contamination, broken fellowship with God, a bad day of reaping.
Satan’s job is to minimize consequences and maximize the benefits.
God’s job is to maximize consequences and minimize the benefits.
The Bible always maximizes consequences and minimizes benefits.
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap.”—Gal 6:7 CONSEQUENCES
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”—Ezek.18:20 CONSEQUENCES
Watch out, warns Proverbs, for “the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words, who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; none who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life…”—Prov.2:16-19 CONSEQUENCES!
When tempted, always think CONSEQUENCES.
David’s once asked the question,
How can a young person keep his life pure?”—Ps. 119
And he answered his own question:
“By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]” (vs.9).
By trusting in Him. “I trust in you with all my heart” (vs.10).
By not wandering into places with people we can’t handle. “Don't let me wander away from your commands” (vs.10).
By living in His Word. “I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won't sin against you” (vs.11).
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