Summary: Part 1 of "Heavenly Cleansing" series. God’s Word teaches us how to discern the difference between being "accepted" by God and being made "acceptable" to God.

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Eph. 5:1-11

INTRO. While visiting my wife’s parents, my 4 year old son got the opportunity to play outside. After about an hour, there was a knock on the back door, there was Brandon completely covered in dirt. He wanted to come inside to get a drink. I told him to stand right where he was and wait...I would get the drink for him. It’s one thing to be accepted but quite something else to be acceptable.

Sin is pictured in the Bible as...darkness, disease, distance, death, debt, desolation, destruction, and defilement. What dirt is to the body, sin is to the soul; and apart from God’s cleansing, we can’t enjoy the spiritual health and growth that come when we have a clean heart. Children who aren’t kept clean eventually get sick, and some of them die.

The key words here are accepted and acceptable. Being accepted in Christ is justification; being acceptable is sanctification.

A. Justification means to be declared "not guilty". Concerning sin and salvation it means being declared righteous in Christ. When you trusted Christ as your Savior, you were clothed in His righteousness; thus you were declared righteous and were "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).

1. (Rom. 5:19) - "For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

2. (II Cor. 5:21) - "For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

3. This is your spiritual position in Christ, and it will never change.

B. But our text speaks of being acceptable to God. This is sanctification. This means that our practice on earth should be worthy of our position in heaven because that’s what pleases the Father the most.

So, when we’ve sinned and we come to the door for help, the Father accepts us because we belong to His family; but He also wants us to be acceptable. Therefore, He deals with us to bring us to the place of confession and cleansing. (I Jn. 2:1) -- "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any many sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

I want us to examine three Biblical principles over the course of the next three weeks. They are:...

Wash me, Wash yourselves, and Wash one another.


(Read I Kgs. 15:5) What an expensive exception that "matter" turned out to be.

We don’t have to do what David did to learn the lessons that David learned.

I. David learned the high cost of committing sin. Next to our salvation in Christ, sin is the most expensive thing in the world.

A. There are always painful consequences to sin, not only from the act itself but also from the heavy hand of God’s chastening.

1. Psa. 32 says that he lost his vitality and became like an old man.

2. If David had confessed his sins, God would have forgiven him and ended the painful discipline; but instead, David tried to cover up what he had done.

B. Psalm 51 - David’s entire being was affected by his unconfessed sins.

1. his eyes (vs. 3)

2. his ears (vs. 8)

3. his joy (vs. 12)

4. his mouth (vs. 15)

5. his fellowship with God (vs.11)

6. his inner person was defiled (vs. 2)

7. his heart was unclean (vs. 10)

II. The second lesson David learned was the high cost of confessing sin.

A wealthy king, could have offered many bulls and goats for sacrifice but......(vs. 16).

A. Confession of sin to God is a costly thing because it demands an honest and a broken heart: (vs. 17).

1. We can lie to each other and even ourselves but we can not lie to God...God demands honesty.

2. People who have never comprehended the ugliness of sin or the holiness of God pray shallow and flippant prayers that are more like alibis than true confessions.

B. The Bible commands us to take drastic measures when we deal with sin.

1. lay the ax to the root of the tree.

2. pluck out the lustful eye and cut off the wandering hand.

3. thoroughly wash the dirty vessels and clean out the filthy tomb.

4. take off the putrid and polluted grave clothes and put on clean clothes.

C. We have this assurance: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

1. "confess" = to say the same thing about; to agree with

2. In other words, we judge that sin as God judges it and then turn from it.

D. One evidence that we have truly confessed and judged a sin is that we’re ashamed of it, we loathe it whenever we remember it, and we don’t want to repeat it.

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