Clean House: Way Out

Clean House: Way Out

Today, we’re continuing our message series entitled, “Clean House.”  In it, we’re learning how to do some spiritual spring cleaning in our lives so that we can live them to their fullest without all of the clutter that weighs us down and trips us up. 

We’ve learned about what sin is; missing the mark.  We learned how to understand not only our God-given purpose in life, but that God has a purpose for everything.  To sin is to use things outside of their intended purpose by God.  To begin cleaning house spiritually, we need to know what those purposes are so that we can recognize what needs cleaned, thrown out, brought in, or reprioritized our lives. 

When we consider sinning, we call this temptation.  It always begins in our minds.  This is where the battlefield truly lies. 

Just like when we throw our socks on the floor and only think about picking them up and putting them in a clothes basket.  Or when we walk into the house to grab a glass of water while outside working and only think about taking our shoes off first.  It’s seeing that sink full of dishes and only thinking that we’ll do them later. 

When we know what is right and choose not to do it, our lives become cluttered and messy.  It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at first, but if we continue down that path and never stop and choose to do what is right, those little messes turn into big messes.  Eventually those big messes really begin to impact our lives in a big way stealing away from them. 

When the garbage that we keep putting off taking out begins to stink or bugs or mice begin to invade.  When we run out of clean dishes to eat off of.  When we run out of clean clothes to wear.  When we begin to have a hard time opening our door or keep tripping over things.  These are all natural consequences that set off an alarm that something needs done soon! 

God has given us a whole lot of internal alarms that tell us that it is time to do some house cleaning within our lives as well.  We may be able to ignore them for a time, but it will only be to our own downfall and detriment to do so.  It’s far easier to deal with issues when they are small and manageable. 

It’s easier to do one load of laundry than to wait and take up every machine at the laundromat to catch up.  It’s easier to wash dishes every night than to wait until the sink and counters are full of dirty dishes.  It’s easier to clean up that spill as soon as it happens than after it has had time to set in and becomes a stain. 

If a house is let go long enough, it will have to be stripped down to the foundation and rebuilt entirely.  It’s far easier to patch a simple hole in roof as soon as it is revealed than to put a bucket under it and let it continue.  As we well know, it won’t remain that small hole for long and the destruction that it brings will not end until there is nothing left to destroy. 

We have an enemy whose purpose is to wreak havoc and destruction in our lives.  Deceitful as he is, sin often enters our lives small and in a way that seems innocent and right.  That may be how it begins, but its ending is always death and destruction. 

When God points out a little drip in your life, praise Him for revealing it and let Him seal it up quickly!  Do not excuse it away or ignore it!  Ignoring sin our life is to ignore God and the more that we get into the habit of ignoring God, our hearts harden toward Him.  The more that we are hard-hearted toward God, the more danger we are prone to in life! 

Our lives are built by God just as a house is designed and built by someone.  He knows what is best for it and what it is purposed for.  His word of warning is one for our good and benefit, NOT for our shame and condemnation! 

Hebrews 3:3-13 

3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. 

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: 

“Today, if you hear his voice, 

8     do not harden your hearts 

as you did in the rebellion, 

    during the time of testing in the wilderness, 

9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, 

    though for forty years they saw what I did. 

10 That is why I was angry with that generation; 

    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, 

    and they have not known my ways.’ 

11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 

    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” 

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 

Hebrews 4:1-3 

1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest… 

It sounds like a double-talking paradox to think that to enter into rest, we have to do work.  Our work, however, is simply to believe what God says and to cooperate with Him.  This is faith.  Believing in what God says and cooperating with what He wants to do.  God truly does the hard part!  When He points something out as an issue to us, either sin or something that is going to lead us into sin, then we would be wise to listen and obey. 

If God reveals it, then it’s something that He wants to deal with.  He’s simply prompting us to give Him permission to take the lead in that area of our lives.  To enter into the Lord’s rest that He wants to give, we first need to allow Him to do some work on anything that would prevent us from entering in. 

To turn Him away is to enter into sin.  It is to lack faith in Him.  It is to have an unbelieving heart. 

We do not want to be the Moses generation that died in the wilderness because of their refusal to believe and trust God.  We want to be the Joshua generation that sees the same opposition that the previous one did, but believe that God is greater and that He will remain true to His word!  They let Him clean house through them to take hold of every inch of God’s promised land to them. 

They believed and, as a result, they inhabited God’s promise.  Because they allowed God’s promise to fully inhabit them; they fully inhabited the fulfillment of the promise.  How awesome is that? 

In the same way, it’s easier to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within us and be quick to obey than to get delivered and healed from years of bondage and hurt and oppression that come from disobedience.  It’s better to obey than to be forgiven.  It’s better to be blessed and to receive the promise than to be forgiven and to fall short. 

Yes, God can and will heal and restore us no matter what our condition.  However, it’s much easier to deal with one bad moment shortly after it happens than it is to restore very damaged and broken relationships after years of letting bad moments repeat themselves! 

It’s easier to remove a single seed from our yard than it is to remove a huge group of viny jagger bushes from it!  That’s why this simple admonition that James gave is so life-transforming if we put it into practice!  It helps us to maintain a clean house and to live a full and abundant life of peace! 

James 1:19-21 

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 

God’s word comes to us in seed form just as Jesus explained in the parable of the sower.  It’s up to us to be good soil so that God’s word can grow and mature well and bear fruit in our lives.  It requires humility to live life God’s way and not our own. 

God’s word not only teaches us how to live life to its fullest and to avoid sin, but it also can be used to wash us clean anytime that we do miss it.  In fact, this in one of the roles of a godly husband! 

Ephesians 5:25-27 

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 

So, the next time that your husband invites you into the shower, I’m sure he just wants to do some studying with you…  😊  You know, washing you with water through the word, that’s all! 

Anytime that we consider using something for a purpose other than what God intended, we call that being tempted.  Just because we are tempted, that does not mean that we have sinned.  Jesus, Himself, was tempted in every way that we can be and yet did not sin. 

Hebrews 4:14-16 

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Whenever we’re tempted, there is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed or afraid to talk to God about it!  In fact, whenever we’re tempted, we should confidently go running to God to receive mercy and grace for our time of need.  He is not surprised by our temptation and He wants to help us out of it.  He wants to help us keep a clean house of a life spiritually. 

Our temptation isn’t coming from God, either! 

James 1:13-17 

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

Temptation comes from our old selves; from our evil, fleshy desires.  Sure, the devil and the demonic realm tempts us, but by appealing to our evil desires.  That’s why we are called several times to crucify our flesh and embrace the new creation that we have been born again into. 

Again, just because we have been tempted, that doesn’t mean that we have sinned.  Just as when God told Cain that sin desired to have him, but God called him to rise up and to rule over it.  Unfortunately, Cain gave in to temptation and killed his brother. 

When we’re tempted, God is in our corner.  He is with us and for us.  He is cheering us on to rise up and to rule over it.  He will faithfully make sure that we’re never tempted beyond what we can bare and that there is always, yes always, a way out of it. 

Within the context of this reminder is first the reminder of what happened to Israel back in the season following their deliverance.  They saw firsthand the miraculous works of God, yet they still gave into their fleshy desires instead of God’s desires for them time and time again. 

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 

1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.  (None of us ever grumble, right?) 

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

We will all be tempted, but so was Jesus.  God will never let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.  God is on our side and is with us and for us.  He will also always, always, provide a way out of that temptation.  We are never with a valid excuse before God for falling into temptation. 

Yes, God will forgive us if we do fall into temptation if we confess our sin and ask Him to forgive us.  However, God would rather bless than forgive.  God would rather let us enter into rest and His promises than just His forgiveness. 

Lastly, God wants us to have a clean house from the inside out.  He doesn’t care what people think or say about us.  He cares about who we truly are and does not judge by outward appearances. 

Luke 11:37-42 

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you – be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 

Matthew 23:27-28 

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 

We don’t want to look good on the outside, but dead on the inside.  We want to be truly and completely alive from the inside out!  We want to take the way out of every temptation and live a full and abundant life of freedom ruling over sin and any temptation that the enemy brings our way! 

Right now, let’s surrender our all to Jesus!  Let’s confess all of our sin so that we can be completely forgiven and free!  Today is a new day and today is the day of our salvation!  Today, all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength belongs to Jesus!