Only Transformed People Inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians Sermon 20)
March 03, 2019 | Andrew Davis
A New Creation, Sexual Immorality, Universality of Sin
Nothing New Under the Sun
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. We Christians live in an extremely distressing time in our nation, in our world, when it seems like wickedness is waxing stronger and stronger, and the church of Jesus Christ seems to be getting weaker and weaker all the time. Like we're living spiritually in a time of the plague, the Black Death that swept across the continent of Europe and took out in some communities up to a third of the population. In the same way, it seems like morality in our popular culture is contagious and the church itself has caught the disease. We see the signs everywhere, and it's rightly a cause for deep concern and relentless vigilance on our part. But we should not suppose that any of these things are new, as though we're the first generation of Christ people that has had to face the kind of wickedness and immorality, that is assaulting us.
As we come this morning to this text, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, we are stabbed broad awake by its fierce words and it's severe warning: The wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God! And then we read carefully the sin patterns that Paul delineates here, fornication, idolatry, adultery, effeminacy, homosexuality, robbery, greed, drunkenness, reviling, swindling, and we realize we could have taken this list off the news feeds that our smart phones report in the 21st century. We realize there's nothing new under the sun. Satan has been enslaving human souls with the sin patterns in every generation. Our technological prowess through centuries of remarkable scientific achievement and progress has not changed our basic nature at all. Underneath all of it, the sinner who stands transfixed by his smartphone, is at core the exact same person that stood outside the pagan temples of Corinth ready to go in one more time.
And when our spiritual father, the Apostle Paul, is warning us I think with tears that we will not inherit the Kingdom of God, if we're not transformed from those sins by the power of the Gospel of Christ, and by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, we must be roused by those words that seem to kill but actually bring life. I've been spending a lot of time in scripture memorization in the Book of Hosea and it has been powerful for me. And at one point, God says through the prophet, "Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth. My judgments flash like lightning upon you." It is God who wounds that He may heal. It is God who kills that He may bring to life, and He does all of that through words, the words of scripture. It is the work of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to rescue us from sins that will sink us to hell. And He strikes us now with words, He swings the sword that comes from His mouth, the double-edged sword, sharp and gleaming, to kill us in our sin that He may bring us to life in His holiness.
Paul's warning here contains the genuine work of the gospel, it is basically this; when God rescues people from Satan's dark dominion, He does it by transforming their hearts from within, by the power of the Holy Spirit, causing them to love righteousness and hate wickedness. From this transform heart, comes a transformed life. If that transformed heart as signaled by a changed life, doesn't happen, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Now a church that doesn't understand this truth and embrace this truth and live out this truth and proclaim this truth to the enslaved sinners that surround us in the community in which we live is no church at all. It's salt has lost it's saltiness and it's no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by people. But a church that understands and lives out and proclaims boldly the transforming truth of the gospel as I've described it here, now that is a true church. And Paul says here, and we're going to walk through this, "Do not be deceived..." And he lists a whole set of sins that people must repent from, including fornication and greed. These are soul-killing sins but he also lists homosexuality, effeminacy.
Hope for Sinners: "Such were some of you…"
And he gives hope to all sinners of these various categories and all sinners in categories not listed here, for he says, "Such were some of you..." Now there are other categories of sins but all sin kills the soul. And he gives hope to us through the Gospel. By saying, "Such were some of you," you can be an ex-fornicator, you can be an ex-adulterer, you can be an ex-thief, you can be an ex-drunkard, you can be an ex-blasphemer, you can be an ex-swindler, and yes you can be an ex-homosexual.
Now I had thought to address homosexuality within the context of this general list, but there isn't time in one sermon, because I want to do justice to the whole text and all the sins that are listed here, so I've decided to address the special problems of homosexuality next week. And we need special help in this area, because unlike most of the sins on this list, it's under special attack by Satan and therefore requires special attention. But I've already spoke cultural Heresy this morning when I say ex-homosexual. To some people that'd be like, for me, becoming an ex-Caucasian. It doesn't make any sense to them, but I want to speak the truth that comes from this text, that say you can be an ex-homosexual. And you can be an ex-fornicator and you can be an ex-adulterer, and all of the sins that you committed in those patterns can be completely forgiven by the blood of Christ, as the text clearly says. So may God grant us as a church, the grace to see this passage, these words straight on and honestly as they were given to us by the Holy Spirit. May God grant us the grace to accept this message no matter how much it marginalizes us in Durham, and it will. And in our world. May God grant us the courage to speak the truth first to ourselves to be honest about our own lives, our own sins, to be honest and humble, and then honestly help those that are drowning in sin around us, with the only thing that can save them and that's the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Last night, I got an image that came in my mind, I've beta tested it with a few friends, I hope it works, but I'm going to go ahead and share it with you now. It's an image that I think fits this text. And it comes from the days when the gospel is beginning to spread in China through Hudson Taylor and others. During a time in which opium addiction was a massive problem in the Orient, and there were opium dens where addicts would go and lay down on beds and smoke the drug or take the drug in and this was their life. And so I want to establish that picture in your mind of Satan's dark kingdom like that, and you walk in and there are labels over different rooms, and the fornicators can lie down in beds and get IV drips of opium there and drink in that poison. And the adulterers can go over in this room and they can lie down and they can drink in that poison and the homosexuals can go in that room and they can lay down and drink in that poison, and the thieves can drink in that, and the covetous idolaters can drink in that poison and the blasphemous can drink in that, and there are other labeled rooms. And it's as though God having roused us up from a bed of sin addiction, and we still have the effects of the drug, but we in our bloodstream, spiritually, but we can see where this is all heading. And we are called on to rouse dying sinners up off their beds of sin and get them out of that place, because if they don't they will die and that eternally. So it doesn't matter that much what room you're in, drinking in the poison of sin, the sin will kill you.
Now, there are some distinctions and differences and we need to deal with that. And as I said, I'm going to address that more clearly next week. So let's walk through this text now and see what the Lord would say to us.
I. Paul’s Warning: Do Not Be Deceived
Paul begins with a warning, "Do not be deceived." Look at verse nine. "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, do not be deceived." So this is a warning against deception. Paul is urgently seeking to cut through the danger of satanic deception on these matters. Jesus said in John 8:44, "He [he devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies." You must put the two images together, he is a murderer by his lies. He kills souls by his lies. You have to put the images together. Sin also in the New Testament is personified. It's given a conscious identity. And it's perceived or it's presented as a deceiver, that sin is a deceiver. So in Hebrews 3:13, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hardened by sin's deceitfulness. That means progressively changed in your hearts to become more and more rebellious against God. Hardened means less yielded, less submissive. Less sensitive to the issues, like a calloused hand that can't feel pain anymore. Sin deceives us into that hardened state. It's deceitful like it's father the Devil.
Sin lies to us, it promises us pleasure, it promises us happiness, it promises us success and prosperity, but it actually is assassinating our souls. It means to take from us everything we value in life, to make our body's sick, to make our minds racked with sorrow and anguish and anxiety. Sin means to plunder our resources and leave us penniless and suicidal. Sin approaches us in disguise. It never tells us the truth about the journey it intends to take us on. Sin deceives. And worst of all, here is the danger of being self-deceived. We can actually lie to ourselves, we have the ability to make excuses for behaviors and attitudes that the Bible clearly condemns. We can say things to ourselves like, "It's not so bad," Or, "I only did it once." Or, "I can stop any time I want." Or, "No one really cares anyway," or "Everyone's doing it," Or, "God loves me no matter what I do. God understands me. He understands my weaknesses." We can lie to ourselves like that. This is the basic deception that Paul seeking to address. I can be a Christian and still live in these sins. Matthew Henry said this, "Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that God is just like me. And that they may live in sin and yet die in Christ. That they may live the life of the devil's children and yet go to heaven with the children of God. But this is all a gross cheat."
The Context of the Warning
Well. The immediate context here, we saw it begin to see it last week as I preached on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11, and extended last week sermon to include these three verses, but touched on them only lightly. The context Paul has been addressing lawsuits among believers. You remember how we had brother A and brother B. And that seems like brother B swindled or cheated Brother A in business out of some money, brother A was incensed and took brother B to court before the pagans, thus airing the church's dirty laundry, in front of people they were supposed to be winning to Christ. Paul basically hammers on Brother A the plaintiff, the wronged one, for doing this, for most of those verses. Culminating in verse seven, "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you, means you've been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?" Than to take this brother to court in front of the pagans.
But here in this text, as I mentioned last week, he gives an even more severe warning to the swindler, to the cheat. The one who swindled his brother for money. He lists very grievous sin patterns, many of them as we've already seen, that cannot be practiced by people who hope to go to heaven when they die. And the final one on the list was swindling. And he's saying you may get away with it, you may get a better lawyer than brother A and you may win your case and you may keep the money, but your soul is in danger of hell. That's the context, that's what he's saying. So the issue there was swindling.
II. Paul’s Doctrine: Only Transformed Sinners Inherit the Kingdom
Now, Paul's doctrine here is this, only transformed sinners inherit the Kingdom of God. Look at verse 9, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God?" This is a very strong assertion. And then he repeats it, "Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God." It's one of the translations of the list.
He says, "Do you not know that the people who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God?" So he begins with what they know. It all comes down to doctrine, doctrine primes the pump for everything in the Christian life. Comes down to the knowledge that the faithful teaching of the Word of God can give. Do you not know? What we know then must drive how we live. Knowledge feeds faith, Knowledge plus faith transforms the heart, and out of that transformed heart must come an obedient life of good works. That's Christianity, and it all starts with the knowledge of the Word of God. You can't live what you don't know. So he starts there, "Do you not know this?" And he seems to be going back to his pattern of teaching when he was with them in Corinth in Acts 18, where his usual pattern was to settle into a city for a while, maybe a couple of years and teach them faithfully the Word of God, and he's just reminding them of the things that he had instructed them. The Corinthians when he arrived there, were enmeshed in patterns of pagan wickedness. And he was with them in weakness and fear and much trembling, and he resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified and he preached the gospel to them, and his preaching was a display of the power of God because God blessed his faithful preaching of the word with the planning of a church. People were converted, they were transformed.
Now those Corinthians had been visiting pagan temples and sacrificing to the pagan deities, by having sex with temple prostitutes both male and female. There's no doubt that Paul called them to repent from their lives of sin and to believe in Christ for the salvation of their souls. A culture of repentance is essential to the true preaching of the gospel. Jesus, in Mark 1:15 said, "The time is at hand and the Kingdom of God is near, repent, and believe the gospel." So they're coupled together in mark 1. And so also the Apostle Paul, everywhere he went, he preached repentance and faith in Christ. So in Acts 14:15, he says to pagans in that city. We are bringing you good news, the gospel, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God who made heaven and earth the sea and everything in them, turn from these wordless things to God. That's repentance.
What is the Kingdom of God?
And he says, "Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Now, what does that mean? Or What is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is the realm where God is the king. And he rules actively over people who are delighted to have Him as their king, that's what the Bible means by Kingdom of God, it's not referring to his bare providential control over rebels. He does that, but that's not the kingdom of God. People can enter the kingdom of God, tax collectors and prostitutes Jesus said, We're entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the Pharisees. So to enter it means to come under with delight the rule of God the King, that's what it means, the Kingdom of God. But here it has more of an end time or eternal meaning, an eternal meaning, when it uses the language of inherit to be an heir of the kingdom, so that speaks of the future world, Jesus said in the Beatitudes, "blessed with the meek for they will [in the future] inherit the Earth."
So this speaks of the future, it speaks of eternity. The new heaven and new earth. What Peter calls "the home of righteousness." The new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven pure and beautiful like the bride for her husband. That new world that's coming, that's what he means here, when he says, inherit the Kingdom of God. That is a world with no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, and no more sin. We'll be set free forever from all of the sins that afflict us and trouble us. It's a world of Radiant Beauty. Where the glory of God and of Christ illuminates that world and makes it radiant and beautiful. It's a world so overwhelming with the brilliance of God that we could not handle it if we were not given resurrection bodies for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. It's world filled with God, that's where we're going.
So to inherit the Kingdom of God, means to be welcomed into that place and in some sense to become owners of it, through Christ, co-heirs with Christ. To inherit the Kingdom of God, means to be qualified for Heaven. As it says in Revelation 22:14-15, "blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." So to be washed and to be made pure and holy, so that you can enter that place. That's the exact teaching that Paul's giving here just in different language. Only if that happens to have your robes washed and made white will you enter heaven. And that happens when we truly believe in Jesus Christ, turning away from our good works, any works, just by simple faith in Christ, trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, by that way alone are we justified.
Now, if that happens, if we're transformed then by the Spirit and begin to live that new life. Then we have the right to enter the kingdom of God. As the next verse, in Revelation 22 makes plain; outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolater and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Same teaching, outside they don't inherit the Kingdom of God. So when Paul says the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, he means they will not go to heaven when they die. The wicked must be redeemed they must be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit to be fit for Heaven. Now, the danger here, if a person does not repent from these soul killing sins, they will hear these terrifying words in Matthew 25:41, from Jesus the judge, "Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." There's only two destinations, there's only two outcomes. There's life and death, there's heaven and hell, that's all there is. And so if you do not inherit the kingdom of God, you'll be condemned to eternal conscious torment, that's the danger.
And the most compassionate thing that we Christians can do to the unredeemed sinners around them is to tell them the truth. To warn people to flee from the wrath to come. All sin is deadly poison, to see someone drinking in that deadly poison and say nothing or even somehow celebrate the poison they're drinking is to be a partner in their spiritual suicide. When it comes to homosexuality and I'll say this more next week. We are under intense pressure to not tell this truth. And those who would say this to us think they're taking the moral high ground. But how is it loving for us to believe this and not say anything. We have to tell the truth, even if it costs us.
And our demeanor, should be one of urgency and grief, as Paul says in Romans 9, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart." We must put aside what the world thinks of us and tell the truth. Just as Christians and Islamic countries do. To tell the truth to their unsaved brothers, fathers, mothers, cousins. To tell them the truth that Islam is a satanic lie, Christianity is the truth, Jesus is the only Savior, He died on the cross, He Himself died in our place, He was raised from the dead. And that if you believe in Him, all your sins will be forgiven not by works but by faith and by grace. What price do our brothers and sisters have to pay in Muslim countries to tell that truth to their unsaved neighbors, and government workers, brothers and sisters, they pay a very high price and they're courageous and they do it. So must we in America tell the truth. Only transformed sinners inherit the Kingdom of God.
III. The Representative Sin List
Look at the representative sin list, and that's all it is, just representative. Sin has morphed and metastasized into so many different versions that this is not a complete list, Paul is not trying to make it a complete list, it's representative. Look what he says, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, do not be deceived? Neither the... I'm going to re-translate all these words, well I'll just read the translation I've been using, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes. Nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindler will inherit the Kingdom of God."
So look at the list in detail, he begins with fornicators, pornoi in the Greek. Fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The way that this word has usually been understood, most commonly is unmarried people who have sexual relations with each other. It's so common in our culture today that people think of it as strange if a young man or a young woman speaks their pledge and their commitment to be virgins until marriage. It's mocked, mocked, seemed to be strange like a form of mental illness or something's wrong with you. But the Bible has a name for those that don't keep that commitment and the name is fornicators. And it doesn't really matter what the morality of the campus or the culture is, what matters is what will it look like on judgment day. What will Jesus say about it? That's what matters.
Bible standard for sexual activity is simple and clear: One man, one woman in covenant marriage for life. That's it. Everything else is sin. I remember years ago, Elizabeth Elliot was asked to write a book on sex and the single Christian. She said it's going to be the shortest book in history, I accept the book contract. Not much work to do there. Now, there's a lot of work to help single Christians be holy and we'll get into more of that in 1 Corinthians 7. But fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God, do not be deceived.
Secondly, idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who worship and served created things rather than the creator who's forever praised. Best definition of idolatry in the Bible, Romans chapter 1. We think Paul's first, meaning probably was of false religions, people who follow the pagan religions of Corinth, of Greece, of the Gentile world, and that's fair enough. And that would extend then to the false religions of our day, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the cults, they worship false gods. And if they continue to do that, if they're not transformed out of that, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That's why we do missions. But in Colossians 3:5, Paul also says that Greed is idolatry. So in our day and age, the driven materialist, the Fortune 500 Executive who lives for money, or even the medical student who wants simply to be a doctor to make as much money as possible, or any kind of materialist who really truly is living for money and the things money can buy, is an idolater and if they're not transformed they will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Adultery is when one or both of the partners, sexual partners is married to someone else. Most people in our culture, I would say, still acknowledge that adultery is sin even though it's prevalent. I don't see any similar effort made like to homosexuality to get us to think differently. What can be done for it? It devastates people. The sense of betrayal is beyond calculation what adultery has done in our culture. A common place portrayed in movies and in songs and in the media generally though.
The next word, and were going to talk more about the next two words much more next week. But the next word should be translated, the effeminate. The effeminate will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Robert Gagnon is a Bible scholar who's done excellent work on the topic of homosexuality, wrote a book called the Bible and homosexual practice, he spends a great deal of time on this verse and on the words here. And the word malacoi, the effeminate, he thinks should be translated effeminate males who play the sexual role of females. So the KJV has effeminate, and the KJV translators are really sharp and excellent at Greek. It's literally soft ones, that would be a home base for the word, so it would be males to dress like Women. Affect feminine behaviors, they were make-up long hair with jewelry like women to prepare themselves for the sexual role of a woman with another man.
In our culture, we have seen these kinds of people portrayed very positively in the media for decades. Usually are sympathetic figures. Hollywood has been boiling the frog on this for years, getting us to accept homosexuality by delighting and these kinds of effeminate men. So also we can see them in certain settings in society, there's certain jobs that it seems that attract effeminate men, and they carry themselves plainly people don't wonder what's going on and, this for a very clear reason, they're sending out signals to other people that they want to be seen.
Now the ultimate end of this approach is the massive confusion known as gender dysphoria, where people are actually challenging their birth gender, and think that gender is a matter of choice. Satan is laughing at the human race on this. The transgender movement. We'll talk more about these things next week. But the effeminate will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It's part of this list. The next one is Gagnon would translate it, males who take other males to bed. That's a simple kind of mechanical translation of malacoi.
It's a term that Paul seems to have invented. No one else uses it, it's not used in Koine Greek, it's just Paul's. He made it up. But it comes from I think the Septuagint reading of two key texts in the Levitical code. Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. Let me read 18:22. "Do not lie with a man, as one lies with a woman. That is detestable." The previous term had to do with the one who played the feminine role in a homosexual relationship. This term has to do with the masculine role in a homosexual relationship. How can we allow ourselves to be deceived in this issue? We have to just read the text and tell the truth, believe the truth, and tell the truth. To think that we're being unloving when we do that. You just have to throw that off and tell the truth. Many Christians have bought into this brainwashing by the secular media and the Hollywood elite that we are homophobic. We'll talk more about that term god willing next week, or unloving or vicious, or immoral even if we believe this doctrine. You have to cut through all that for the sake of key individuals, elect, unconverted-elect people who need to be rescued.
Thieves will not inherit the Kingdom of God. No one in our culture as far as I can tell, is advocating overturning laws on property. Thieves are criminals, thieves are sinners. It's in the 10 Commandments. You shall not steal. No one's questioning this. But what he's saying is, This is your lifestyle this is what you do, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The greedy will not inherit the kingdom of God, covered that earlier in idolater, but those who live for material possessions, those who live for money, if that's what you're all about, you'll not inherit the kingdom of God.
And here I must speak a clear warning about what's commonly known as the prosperity gospel in our day. The prosperity teachings that Jesus is a means to the end of health, wealth and success, defined as any pagan would. Jesus is a means to that end. And if you believe in Jesus so you can get money, then Jesus isn't your God, money is. Quoting Shai Linne. So that's it. Covetous people will not inherit the kingdom of God. Drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God, people who are addicted to wine. We could extend it to drugs. People who are addicted to substances. This word may come as a shock to some people, many have come to think of alcoholism as a disease, no different than cancer. Paul listed here is a voluntary habit pattern that must be broken by the power of the Spirit.
Revelers, blasphemers will not inherit the kingdom of God. These are people whose filthy mouths assault the ears of people around them. But specifically zeroing in on blasphemy, words spoken about the Father the Son and the Spirit. Jesus is without a doubt, the most blasphemed individual in history. And Jesus said all manner of sin and blasphemy against the Son of Man will be forgiven. He is so gracious to do that, but that's what reveling is. And then, swindlers those who take advantage of other people through corrupt business practices. We've come full circle now on the whole list. I heard of a roofing company that was in one community, and got a widow's money, began the work on her roof by tearing her existing roof off, and then left town. With her house exposed to the elements, no trace in the community, all of the things led nowhere. They swindled her out of her money and probably others besides, people who live like that will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Now it's important for us to see the whole list. That's why I gave you the image of one opium den with different rooms. Satan doesn't really care which of these you die with, all of these sins can kill your soul. Now, I believe that there's a unique focus on homosexuality, and it has its own unique aspects. And we'll talk about how homosexuality is the same and different as other sins next week. But any of these sins can kill us and deprive us of the kingdom of God.
IV. The Transforming Power of Jesus and the Spirit
Now we come to the good news, the transforming power of Jesus and of the spirit. Look at verse 11 "and such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God." Now here is the good news of the Gospel. Here is the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus, and by the Spirit, the Gospel has the power to transform the human heart. 2 Corinthian 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ he's a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come." When Christ comes to save you, He comes to save you completely, by the power of the Spirit, He can take out the heart of stone and give you the heart of flesh. You can see things differently, think about things differently, He can change your mind and make you a new person. Indeed this must happen, that's the point of the text or you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This is not one of many routes to Heaven, this is it, This must happen to you, you must be born again or you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. So you can and must be, if any of these describe you, a former fornicator, a former idolater, a former Adulterer, formerly effeminate, formerly homosexual formerly a swindler or blasphemer or reveler. God has the power to change you. And you're going to spend eternity not that person.
Praise the Lord. An eternity. Because it says such were some of you, that's what you used to be. But now, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. The name of the Lord Jesus is central to this work, Jesus, who was born of the Virgin Mary, who is wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger, grew up to be a holy man, who never sinned, who did amazing miracles, who fed the 5000, who walked on the water. Who could cure any disease and sickness among the people, raised Lazarus from the dead after 4 days. This Jesus came primarily to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for sinners like you and me, His blood was shed under the wrath of God, He took all of this filth on Himself and died the just punishment that sinners deserved.
And the name of Jesus is everything here. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. Where as Peter and John said, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to men, by which we must be saved, Acts 4:12. So then Name of the Lord Jesus, his reputation, his achievements, his story, trust in that Jesus and you will be forgiven of all your sins. So also He mentions the Spirit of God, and the power behind the saving work of God, you were washed sanctified justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God. They have equal billing here. If it weren't for the spirit Jesus would mean nothing to you, you wouldn't even know His name, you would never have even heard of Him. And if you're a Christian today you owe your salvation as much to the Spirit's working in you as Jesus working on the cross for you? They are equally vital.
So you are washed. Isn't that a beautiful word? Cleansed from a guilty conscience, a brain that is washed now pure and free from dark wicked thought, washed our filthy mind, washed from dark thoughts, our body stained with sin, washed and made clean, even the garment stainless sin purified and made white by the blood of Christ, applied by the Spirit. We are sanctified. Set apart unto God as His holy possession, He owns you, He calls you His holy possession, and then progressively makes you more and more like Jesus, you were sanctified, you are being sanctified, you're going to be sanctified from now until the day you die or Jesus returns, He's going to be making you holy, if that's not going on. You weren't justified. You were washed, you were sanctified, and then He said you were justified. It's not the chronological order but all of these things happen to you. What that means is you are made righteous in God's sight. Declared righteous, you ex-fornicator, you ex-adulterer, you ex-idolater, you are justified, you are seen by God to be holy. And also practically you are forgiven for all of those sins, and reconciled to God.
Now next time we're going to talk more about the issues connected with homosexuality, and the best way we can minister in this present cult climate.
Let me close with just some quick applications. Central application is come to Christ, I pray this morning that God would bring some people here who are lost, and that you would hear the gospel. You've heard the gospel, you've heard it this morning, and you've been urged by me, begged even to come to Christ. But now I say to you who... You do that years ago, now you're like the Corinthians getting this letter, reading a letter from Paul. So I want to say be warned. Read the list and be warned. If these habit patterns are characterizing your life, don't deceive yourself that you're a Christian, that's the point of the text. Be warned.
Secondly, be amazed at Christ, be amazed that he would take this kind of sewage on himself on the cross, He who is holy, as holy as God the Father, He took this sewage on Himself, so you wouldn't have to bear it into eternity. So just be amazed at Jesus, and along with that be thankful to Him, thank Him for saving you. And be honest about yourself. Be honest, look at this list. No, it's not exhaustive, you say, you know, I may not have committed adultery, but Jesus said if I looked lustful at somebody I have committed adultery in my heart, my heart still is twisted it's still angled, I still sin in my heart, in my mind, so I just need to be honest. I am not there yet, I want to be holy, I want to be pure. Be honest and be humble toward unconverted sinners who have not yet found Christ. Don't think of yourself at all as morally superior to them. God is able out of the same lump of clay etcetera, to work. You're the same as them, you are made out of the same lump of clay. So be humble, and be compassionate to them, as they're still in their drunken stupor laying in that opium den, be compassionate, and then be bold and tell them the truth about Jesus. Close with me in prayer.