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.

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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...

Murder 4

Rape 36

Robbery 39

Aggravated Assault 62

Burglary 998

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:

2 Timothy 3:1-5

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.

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