Summary: Part 2 of "Heavenly Cleansing" series. When Jesus saves us, He sanctifies us positionally. But it is left to us to maintain our practical sanctification. This requires daily cleansing.
INTRO. Last week we discussed the fact that revival would not come without first recognizing and confessing any unconfessed sin that may be hiding in our hearts. The Holy Spirit moved and many of you were touched and led to clean out the basements of your lives.
But what do we do after we’ve confessed our sins and God has forgiven us and restored us to His fellowship? That is where our text comes in. (explain Isa. 1:16)
"Wash me" is our prayer to God; "wash yourselves" is His command to us. Obviously, we can’t wash away our own sins, but we can cleanse our lives of the things that make it easy for us to sin. (I Cor. 11:31) - "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged (by God)."
(Ill.) - I heard about a pious hypocrite in a church who loved to pray long public prayers, each of which he closed with, "And, Lord, take the cobwebs out of my life!" One of the godly elders of the church became tired of hearing this empty ritual week after week. One evening, after the man had concluded his long routine prayer and had mentioned the cobwebs, the elder stood up and prayed, "And, Lord, while You’re at it, kill the spider!"
It was the spider Paul had in mind when he wrote II Corinthians 7:1 (read). This means, Kill the spider.
I. GOD COMMANDS US TO CLEANSE OURSELVES OF TWO KINDS OF SIN: FILTHINESS OF THE FLESH AND SPIRIT.
A. The sins of the flesh are rather easy to spot, though most of us like to measure these sins by degrees.
1. Gal. 5:19-21
b. Fornication - (from the Greek word, "porneia")-any sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage, set by God.
c. uncleanness - impurity
d. lasciviousness - unrestrained lust
h. variance - quarrellings
i. emulations - jealousy
l. seditions - dissensions
m. heresies - false teachings
q. revellings - (lit.) letting loose
r. AND SUCH LIKE - includes everything else not mentioned here.
2. Now we could all agree that these things should be considered sin and should be confessed and repented of....but Paul mentions another type of sin that should be cleansed.....
B. Our text mentions, not only the filthiness of the flesh, but also filthiness of the spirit. What exactly is filthiness of the spirit?
1. The prodigal son was guilty of sins of the flesh, but his elder brother was guilty of sins of the spirit.
a. Both are wrong but it’s worth noting that Jesus forgave adulteresses and prostitutes but spoke sternly to the proud, self-righteous Pharisees.
b. What were the sins of the elder brother? He wouldn’t forgive his younger brother; wouldn’t attend the feast; angry with his father; pride; boasting; self-love.
2. When David committed adultery, he yielded to a sin of the flesh; but when he covered up his sin and hardened his heart, he yielded to sins of the spirit.
3. Like the Pharisee praying in the temple, we may pride ourselves that we’re better than other people and go home from the prayer meeting in worse shape than when we came.
II. UPON DEALING WITH THESE TWO KINDS OF SIN WE FIND THAT THERE ARE TWO RESPONSIBILITIES WE MUST FULFILL.
A. "Let us cleanse ourselves"
1. We must purify ourselves once and for all of anything that defiles us. It is not enough just to ask God to cleanse us; we must clean up our own lives and get rid of those things that make it easy for us to sin.
2. Too often Christians deal with symptoms and not causes.
a. We keep confessing the same sins because we have not gotten to the root of the trouble and "cleansed ourselves."
b. Perhaps there is "filthiness of the flesh," some pet sin that "feeds" the old nature. (Rom. 13:14) - "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
c. Or it may be "filthiness of the spirit", an attitude that is sinful.
B. But cleansing ourselves is only half of the responsibility; we must also be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God".
1. This is a constant process as we grow in grace and knowledge. It is important to be balanced.
2. The Pharisees were keen on putting away sin, but they neglected to mature in holiness.
3. On the other hand, it is foolish to try to grow in holiness if there is known sin in your life.
C. But still and all, meer reformation is not what we are aiming for. What we are talking about is complete consecration of mind, body, and soul, to God and His will, on a daily basis. How can this be done? On what may we focus that will insure our continued sanctification?