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Living Pure In An Impure World

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“Only By Grace AND Truth”
February 16, 2014

Some things BETTER work in combination.

During the summer of 1928 while working in his basement laboratory inventor Harry Reese invented a wonderful combination that made our world sweeter; Reese’s PB Cup! I love their commercials.
Here’s one that’s funny: “Ever since peanut butter has hooked up with chocolate, peanut butter still talks to jelly, but the relationship is very strained.”
I like this one too: “Despite constant pressures to pursue solo careers, chocolate and peanut butter have stayed together over the decades to become one of the world’s top-selling acts.”
I hope you enjoyed your little treat this morning!

Some things work ONLY in combination.

Water is ONLY possible with a combination of hydrogen and oxygen; and it’s a very precise combination that makes it work = H2O.

And that applies spiritually too. We will live pure in an impure world ONLY through a combination of GRACE and TRUTH.

Regarding sexual purity GRACE says, “You cannot possibly overcome this power in your own strength, God’s grace will help you.”

But TRUTH says, “If you don’t stop what you’re doing, you are going to destroy everything precious to you!”

I find that some churches only speak the language of GRACE. They are sort of like…
Whatever you do, it doesn’t really matter because God’s grace covers it all. Live like you want. It’ll all work out. It’s all good.
‘Grace speak’ devoid of ‘truth speak’ gives me license to sin.

Romans 6:1-2 “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

That very question was raised by the Apostle Paul 2000 years ago and it continues to be a stumbling block in 2014!

I call it the ‘hyper-grace’ movement. Back in the 80’s we had the ‘hyper-faith’ movement which was an imbalance of scripture, and to me it feels like that again.

Here’s what the Bible says: (SCREEN) Hyper grace without a healthy balance of truth = always leads to sin.

But just as bad as ‘hyper-grace’ is ‘hyper-truth’.

Churches that only speak the language of TRUTH are sort of like….
One slip up and it’s to the back-row for you buddy. Sin is going to kill you, and if it doesn’t, we’ll help finish the job.
The language of ‘truth-speak’ devoid of ‘grace-speak’ is overwhelming and makes you want to give up in despair. What’s the use! I won’t make it anyway. I can’t live up to these rules.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my walk with God. (Screen) Truth without grace is bitter, but grace without truth is syrupy.

God combined grace and truth in perfect balance. I believe it’s sort of like H2O, two parts GRACE and one part TRUTH.

Oxygen without hydrogen = explosion! Hydrogen neutralizes the explosive nature of oxygen. Truth without grace = explosive.

Jesus personified this perfect combination – John 1:14, 16-17.

Did you notice how grace was used TIMES TWO in verse #16; (NKJV) “grace for grace.”

The Amplified Version says; “For out of His abundance we have all received one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor and gift upon gift.”

It’s MORE about grace than it is about truth, but it’s the combination of both grace and truth that wins the day.

So when Jesus confronted the woman caught in the act of adultery He said; “Neither do I condemn you.” (GRACE).

People were standing there ready and willing to throw the big rocks and kill her on the spot.

But the truth is they really were after Jesus and He knew it.
*They knew He wouldn’t follow the letter of the law.
*They knew Jesus would apply an ample amount of GRACE and
then they could charge Him with not being a ‘truth teller,’ of
being a ‘law’ breaker.

But Jesus didn’t stop with “neither do I condemn you.” He went on to say to the woman, “Go and sin NO MORE” (TRUTH).

He spoke grace AND truth.

To the Samaritan woman Jesus said, “You’ve had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband” (Plain TRUTH).

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He said, “I’m offering you living water and if you drink this amazing water you will never again have that nasty thirst which drives you into these toxic relationships” (GRACE).

#1 In Order To Live Pure We Must Have A GRACE Revelation

What is grace? SIMPLY PUT = Grace is what God does for us.

Grace helps us do what we cannot possibly do for ourselves.
We CANNOT possibly save ourselves.
We CANNOT possibly overcome our own depravity and live pure apart from God’s grace!

It’s that simple.

Friday night as Dorene and I were coming home from our Valentine’s Day date I pulled out a packet of Dentyne gum. (Screen) The words just sort of jumped out at me: “Dentyne Pure: Purifies Your Breath.”

When I read those words I turned to Dorene and before I could get the words out she said; “I know what you’re going to say. Don’t you wish it was that easy? Don’t you wish you could pop a piece of Dentyne into your mouth and it would purify your heart?”

In that moment I felt like God said, “Don’t make it harder than it is. My grace IS sufficient for EVERY need!

God does the hard work for us.

But therein lies the problem. We prefer to have victory over the corruption of the flesh by our own will power.

The scripture is clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

There’s something in us that actually wants victory to be by our own goodness so that we can feel proud of our accomplishment.
And this is the very essence of a religious spirit. It’s what makes a Pharisee a Pharisee!
Paul, before Christ, thought he was perfect and could fulfill the law on his own effort. After Christ….Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God it is ONLY through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Listen to me carefully. (Screen) A grace revelation is the deep down understanding that without God we cannot overcome and with God we cannot fail!

There will be a moment when the FULL revelation of the power of God’s grace will be understood by us. It’ll happen when we are get to heaven, and God will make sure that we understand it completely.
Ephesians 2:7 “In the ages to come God will show the exceeding riches of His grace and of His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

(Keep Eph 2:7 up during this) In my mind I can see God making all of us sit down and watch the ‘family video’ together when we all get to heaven. God says, “Watch this kids; this is where Jesus provided your AMAZING GRACE, right there on the cross! And that’s the exact moment when grace entered into this broken, messed up world and gave you the power to prevail over your sinful, fallen nature.” And the place goes crazy chanting Grace! Grace! Grace! Grace! Grace!

Grace gives us the ability to live pure. We need a grace revelation. We need a grace REVOLUTION.

I said last week that a revolution is
1. a violent attempt to end the rule of one law and start a new one
2. an extreme and complete change in the way people think and live

We need to overthrow a “law” and a “works” mentality and change the way we think and live!

I love what Paul wrote to Pastor Titus in Titus 2 [NIrV]
11-God’s saving grace has appeared to all people. 12- It teaches us
to say no to our godless ways and sinful longings. We must control
ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in
today’s world. 14-He gave Himself for us. By doing that, He set us
free from all evil. He wanted to make us pure. He wanted us to be
His very own people. He wanted us to long to do what is good. 15-
Those are the things you should teach. Cheer people up and give
them hope. Correct them with full authority. Don’t let anyone look
down on you.

You can even see grace and truth in verse #15: (Screen)

“Cheer people up. Give them hope” = GRACE

“Correct them with full authority.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you” = TRUTH.

But a grace revelation is incomplete without a truth revelation.

#2 In Order To Live Pure We Must Have A TRUTH Revelation

I think we live in a day and age where grace is embraced and truth is rejected. It’s true.

That’s exactly why the Apostle Paul said to Pastor Titus; when you speak truth “correct them with FULL authority and don’t let anyone look down on you.”

Most of us love grace but we don’t always like truth .
May I remind you Jesus said it’s the TRUTH that sets us free!

Yes, the grace of God TEACHES us. Yes, the grace of God empowers us over sin.

But truth confronts us and forces us to open our eyes to see the outcome of our thoughts and behavior.

Truth finds its authority in the Word of God. Let the simple, plain truth of God’s Word speak to you.

Hebrews 13:4 [NCV] Marriage should be honored by everyone, and husband and wife should keep their marriage pure. God will judge as guilty those who take part in sexual sins.

Jude 1:4 [NIrV] Certain people have slipped in among you in secret. Long ago it was written that they would be judged. They are godless people. They use the grace of our God as an excuse for sexual sins. They say no to Jesus Christ. He is our only Lord and King.

Jude 7 [TLB] And don’t forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, all full of lust of every kind, including lust of men for other men. Those cities were destroyed by fire and continue to be a warning to us that there is a hell in which sinners are punished.

We must never bludgeon people with the truth but we also must never be afraid to speak the truth in love.

Think about this, we do no one any favors by not speaking the truth, because the truth sets us free.

(Scn) God’s Formula: TWO PARTS GRACE. ONE PART TRUTH.

We must give twice as much grace as we do truth!

I have noticed when things are going well in my life, when I’m walking close to God, I’m a lot more oriented towards truth.

But when I’m struggling, when I feel the pull of the world on my heart, I’m more bent towards grace.

I do believe sometimes we forget the struggles we have come through only by God’s grace.

Live in Grace and Truth!

RESOURCES:

Samson and the Pirate Monks – FOCUS class taught by Pastor Ron
Jessica Harris – Beggars Daughter a ministry dedicated to women with porn addictions
Covenant Eyes – internet tool for accountability and various resources
Vicki Tiede – author of “When Your Husband is Addicted To Porn”
Pure Life Ministry

PRAYER LINE

Hey Pastor. It has been an amazing weekend here at snow blast. 81 students, 30 adults. And my team showed up spiritually ready. We have had great conversations and prayer times with these teenagers. Some good breakthroughs. Salvation’s. This is definitely a rebirthing for our youth ministry. Can’t wait to talk to you about it. Thank you for trusting us with your sheep.

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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