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Setting the House in Order: Holy Purity with Healthy Doctrine

Setting the House in Order   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As we strive to life out good order as the Church, we must learn to rest on the purity of the Lord, and participate in that holy purity by living out a healthy doctrine that reflects the Lord and not ourselves

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Setting the House in Order: The purifying power of healthy doctrine

Scripture:

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. 2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Tt 1:15–2:1). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Teach Sound Doctrine

2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Proposition: As we strive to live out good order as the Church, we must learn to rest on the purity of the Lord, and participate in that holy purity by living out a healthy doctrine that reflects the Lord and not ourselves

Introduction:

The good order of the Church is connected to our Christian responsibility.
We cannot be responsible without good order, but good order is not just about everything and every body being in a particular place.
Good order is also an internal disposition of the heart. Good order is not just about everything having a place, but about every heart having the right relationship with God so that we can fulfil our right function without jealousy
the good order of the church is there for the healing of the human soul. we must understand that the healing of the soul is rooted in how deeply we appropriate the divine nature and imitate the Lord Jesus Christ.
But the good order of the church has to be lived out, and if it is lived out it with in the confines of opposition within and without the body and rooted in the exploitation of our selfishness.

I. The good order of the Church is important because it strengthens our connections to the holy purity of Christ

Paul makes the comment that "to the pure, all things are pure" what does this mean literally (from the literary context)? from the context of the letter, Paul is expressing that how things are handled and appropriated is directly related to the heart. The purity of our appropriation is connected to the purity of our hearts.
It is to exist in a state of purity that is reflective of God's righteousness and holiness. This is an indication that this is not simply a ritualistic purity or a sense of goodness, but it is to be cleaned and purified of the sin that was previously there. Untainted, this doesn't mean that sin and taint don't try but that sin and selfishness are not successful. This also a state of being a state of living. It is who you are. to be pure in this way is not simply about refraining from doing certain things, but it is about a purity that flows from who you are, personally. We are not clean because of where we are, but we are clean because of who we are. And as believers we are clean because of what God has said about us! God presents us as pure as we participate in Christ, God declares us pure, as we do His will, and then God makes us pure as we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and walk in obedience to the Spirit of God. Our purity then is three pronged. We are presented pure, we are declared pure, and we are made pure- all by God also through our participate in what God is doing, not in God's participation in what we desire. We are cleansed by our participation in God's will, not our own will. We often want God to clean us up because of what we do, but we never link our cleanliness to our obedience to the will of God. When you are in line with the Lord, your purity is reflected in what you do. It is not simply that everything is permissible, but everything is understood. And when everything is understood, from God's perspective- it is easy to operate from a locus of purity. This purity however is rooted in the relationship with God- not in things.
Instead it means that when we are purified by God, our desires change, because we change. All things are pure because we desire to do what is pleasing to God. Purity changes our priorities.
it is the faith in God that purifies. We are pure because of our faith. We are impure because of our disbelief. Disbelief produces an impurity in the heart of a disciple. The defiled is a common noun naming folk who are dirty and marked by a foreign matter. These are those tainted by sin and selfishness. They are contaminated and so are morally filthy. They are dirty by the previous actions of seeking their own way in the community that is ordered by the way of Christ Jesus. When we seek our own way as Christians we make ourselves morally dirty because we internally replace God's will with our own. all sin begins first with the disposition of heart that seeks to love self over loving God, and a movement of the will that seeks to do the will of self over the will of God. In the end we are defiled by our lack of trust in God's will.

II. The good order of the Church is important because it pushes us to reflect on the dangers of defiling unbelief

This unbelief is heinous because it is connected to some within the body who have experienced the redemption of Christ, but they still reject aspects of the gospel that push them beyond what makes them comfortable. This is something that we must understand, the gospel gives us comfort, but it doesn't make us comfortable. The gospel gives us comfort in the midst of uncomfortable situations that come about because we are striving to be obedient to the will of God. But when we seek to be comfortable, we run the danger of missing out on the movement of God, lose sight of the will of God, and be moved from the way of God. There are some who are so desirous of being comfortable, the forfeit God's comfort. When we seek our comfort-ability over the will of God, nothing is pure for us. Why because we have replaced the Lord with ourselves and have removed ourselves from His purifying presence, and entrusted ourselves to the taint of our own whims and wishes.
In this state our minds, our hearts, our nous- becomes darkened and defiled. We develop an inability to think along the lines of God's will. Obedience to God is a muscle that must be exercised daily. We can never slack in our faithfulness to God's will and way, or we will soon find ourselves becoming faithful to ourselves more than the Savior. When we separate ourselves from God through internal self-defilement, we lose the ability to see things and think about things from God's point of view and then our consciences, that spiritual and psychological faculty that helps distinguish between right and wrong becomes self-seeking as well. This is where folks will judge others on their own desires and neglect God's will themselves. Or much worse, assume that they are in God's will while they live out their own desires, wants, and expectations-and have the nerve to hold others in the family of God accountable to alien and unlawful expectations because they are rooted in us and not God. They may seem good to us, not bad, even commendable. But because their origin is us and not God, they are unlawful in the house of God. Because in the end they are moving in self and not the Spirit.
And when the heart is defiled- nothing is pure. It is not the outside, but the inside. too often as Christians we major on the externals, and leave off developing the internals. The externals are means of expressing internal disposition. When the nous and conscience is defiled, we become the defiling agent. Notice that this is just what the Lord says, it is what comes out of us that defiles us, because what comes out shows what is within. But this begs the question who is truly fit to do God's will? None. But we are strengthened by our relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit- who makes us partakers of the divine nature. It is in partaking of the divine nature that we are able to participate with God in His work.
They are called professors of God, but they are not confessors of Christ. To profess is not the same as confess. to confess involves faith, to profess involves information. they declare that they are in right relationship with God, but this is where we must learn to inspect fruit and not simply talk. Because they declare God, but they deny God with what they do. They don't jus deny but repudiate. They refuse to acknowlegde God in their works. But they keep the name of God on their lips. They are the "but" folks. I know God can,...but....! We often have a but, because there are somethings that we feel comfortable handling our way instead of God's way! In the end, we have to deny somebody. either we deny ourselves or we deny God! and sometimes we find ourselves denying God because we desire to do things our way. And often we will have the gall to deny God and when it don't work out, blame God! We blame others, we blame anybody but ourselves. We have to be careful of those movements of the soul that move us to deny God because we trust in our own ability and not the will of God. We cannot please God under our own ability! We must allow the good order of the Church to discipline us away from trusting ourselves, and equating ourselves with God- and instead rest in the will of God and trust in the way of God completely!
when we deny God, we become detestable to God. we run the risk to be loathsome to the sight of God. We don't like to hear this in America. Our concept of God is one who is always there for us. Always coming when we call. Always making a way. But we don't like to hear the whole counsel of God- and the whole counsel cautions us to not play God because we will end up playing ourselves! We don't like to hear the fact that if we deny God we become detestable, loathsome and abominations to God despite being God's people. That our desire to please ourselves makes us detestable to God, plain and simple. We don't like to hear this. But the truth is, disobedience is detestable to God, and as His people, as those sanctified by the Spirit, and cleansed by the Blood of Jesus- we are not immune to the effects of disobedience that flow from God. When we are disobedient- we show that God's loathing is well placed, because to be disobedient is to not comply with the commands of those in authority. A word about disobedience. You cannot be disobedient to folk that have no authority over you. Many of us are running around worried about the wrong folk! often times calls of disobedience are illegitimate. And when we are busy running around worrying about others- we often neglect those who can hold us to the task of disobedience- and ultimately the main one that can claim perfect obedience is God. as humans we can only get relative obedience- or delegated obedience. We can only claim obedience in as much as we are obedient to God. And in the end you can tell folk who strive to be obedient to God because they don't get thrown out of wack when you are not obedient to them. They may be hurt, but at some point they get past it, give it up to God, and go back to resting in His will. but folk who are desirous of obedience because of themselves and not because of their function in the will of God- those folks lose their minds and will tear up what God builds. In the end they are frusrated, because you wont be obedient to them because they have set themselves up as a God, instead of pointing you to being obedient to THE God. This type of disobedience is rooted in seeking to be stable and sure based upon self.
This makes us unfit for any good work. Because every good work in the Church is rooted in seeking to please God more than ourselves, and seeking to do God's will and follow the Lord's way more than our will. Every good work in the Church is rooted in opertating under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and not doing things through leaning to our own understanding. Every good work in the body of Christ is first built on the truth that we need God more than God will ever need us, and that if we are the Church, if we are bought with the blood of Jesus- we are able to do because He abides in us. Because apart from Him we can do nothing! But we make ourselves unfit when we make the assumption that Jesus' abiding is not an absolute necessity!

III. The good order of the Church is important because it allows for the healing of souls with healthy doctrine

Paul admonishes Titus to teach what accords for sound doctrine. This is meant to contrast Titus with those who are disobedient and thus are defiled/detestable, and unfit for any good work. Sound doctrine must be taught, and in order for it to take, part of that teaching must involve ethics- how we live. we cannot claim to know sound doctrine if we don't live a Christ-like life. Also teaching sound doctrine is the responsibility of Titus- teaching what accounts for sound doctrine is the task of every Christian leader in their respective spheres of influence.
And In order to teach sound doctrine we must be willing to be different from the world. Contrast involves reflecting in such a way that one can see marked differences and distinctions. So often we do damage to the gospel by not being different from the world. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have a different concept of everything, including healthy teaching. Sound doctrine provides the vehicle for our transformation and transfiguration.
This is the last Sunday of Epiphany- our celebration of Jesus as the ultimate revelation and self disclosure of God. A right believing and right living Christian (right thoughts about God and right imitation of Christ under the unction of the Holy Spirit) is the greatest testimony to or epiphany of Christ. This is why sound doctrine is so important! This also implies that there is unsound/unhealthy doctrine.
Ultimately unhealthy doctrine does not push us to be like Christ. If it does not make us more like Christ, it must be jettisoned. That is the point of everything in the Church, to make us more like Christ. To push to actively participate in the divine nature that is present through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Sound doctrine does not make us better denominationalists- or better church goers- but better Christians, better disciples, better husbands, better wives, better parents, better sons, better daughters, better children of God.
We forget that aspect of sound doctrine, We have to remember that sound doctrine is not simply about knowing God, but imitating God. Satan knows God, but his doctrine is not sound. Because instead of imitating his Creator, he stands in opposition and seeks to replace Christ. He uses his knowledge to deceive and set up a rival kingdom within God's created order. But those who are disciples are not to do such, but we are to know God to imitate God- because God has desired to give the Kingdom to us!

Celebration

As we seek to be united with Christ, we will be empowered by participation in His purity and holiness. This participation in Christ's holiness is what heals us and strengthens us for every good work. As we participate we are called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ in how we put into practice the sound doctrine we learn
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