Summary: This is the first in a series of two sermons about how to implement Psalm 51: "Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me." This sermon focuses on the importance of veracity.
If you brought your Bible please open them to 2 Timothy Chapter 3. Today we’re going to go completely through that chapter, and today we’re beginning a new topic...Clean Living.
It’s inspired a little bit by David’s words in Psalm 51....Create in me a Clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.
I saw a billboard that said, "If you have an engine, you have sludge." I think it was an ad for oil or oil filters. But it showed a picture of the inside of an engine, one that hadn’t been taken care of properly. One that looked pretty gross. Disgusting actually. But I thought it was pretty effective ad in this respect. It made you think about what’s going on under the hood, in places that are unseen, but nevertheless real and impacting. Parts that are going to have consequences if not addressed.
I wish I could come up with a billboard that got people thinking about the unseen places in their own hearts. Maybe "If you have a soul, you have sludge." Our hearts can end up dirty and disgusting, which is why David’s prayer is so inspirational. There’s a corrosive build up of crud from this world.
Well this stuff is not in the big cities. It’s all around us. A couple months ago I heard a presentation on crime in Skagit County. In 10 years the number of crimes committed in Skagit County has gone from 4800 to 6800 -- an increase of nearly 50%.
The most recent tallies for the last year in our fair county...
Aggravated Assault 62
Larceny - theft 4,615
Motor vehicle thefts 317
And a dramatic rise in drug related incidents and gang-related incidents...
Oh, and it could get worse before it gets better. That forecast is not from the sheriff’s department, that’s from the Bible. Listen to these words from Paul:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self‑control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Let me stop right there and say, it doesn’t have to be like this. Christ calls us to a higher life.
But it’s not just Christianity that calls us to a higher life. There are various wisdom traditions that call us to a higher life. For instance there’s a Tibbetan Monk called the Dalai Lama you may have heard of....(I feel like I’ve heard so much about him I should just call him Lama) Actually, I call him Dalai Lama ding dong.
He’s spreading a message of peace and reconciliation. A message that’s hard to argue with. "Dave, is he a Christian?" No, but other religions are not wrong in every respect. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
As is typical of other wisdom traditions, there are places where they intersect with God’s truth -- all truth is God’s truth.
In fact, there are three areas in which nearly every tradition -- every religion -- every philosophy -- ends up agreeing, and it’s on the makeup of what I’m calling Clean Living.
The three virtues which the wisdom traditions identify are: veracity, humility and charity.
Veracity -- that we are true...that only one of us is showing up
Humility -- that we see ourselves as part of a bigger whole, on the same level as others...not greater than, or less than, but equal
Charity -- that we get outside of ourselves to love others, to bless them.
The first one that we are going to look at from a Christian perspective is Veracity. Here’s a couple definitions to work with.
1. the truth, accuracy, or precision of something
2. the truthfulness or honesty of a person
Clean living means veracity, and Paul sets the context for it in 2 Tim. 3 in the passage that we already read.
There are four characteristics of the opposing culture....
The context of veracity
Self-centered individualism (1-4)
In the verses we read before Paul talks about people who are in love, but not with God, or people.
Verse 2, lovers of themselves, lovers of money,
Verse 4 lovers of pleasure
Three loves: themselves, money, pleasure
I think that pretty much sums it up. (that is dead on!) Don’t worry so much about understanding the Bible, the Bible understands you.
Paul realizes that people are into....
Themselves -- individualistic -- selfish, self-centered
Money -- we have a saying in America- it’s all about the Benjamins
Pleasure -- how do I get my next fix, adrenaline, endorphin, the blood pumping