Online Worship for Holy Trinity, Sunday June 7th 2020
Sermon for Holy Trinity – (8,20,00) -- Living with your Thoughts
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from the One True Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, But the words of the pure are pleasant.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Whose blood purifies and cleanses us from all sins,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His most precious blood –
One of my favorite comic strips is called “Calvin and Hobbes.” If you’ve ever seen this comic strip, then you know that Calvin is a little blonde-haired boy and Hobbes is his stuffed tiger.
Calvin, like many children, carries out extensive conversations with his stuffed animal. In one such conversation, Calvin asks Hobbes: “Hobbes, which do you think condemns us, our actions or what’s in our hearts.” Hobbes wisely replies, “Our actions show what is in our hearts.” Condemned, Calvin replies in the last panel, “I Resent That!”
Hobbes, the wise old stuffed tiger had it exactly right. In fact, long before Calvin and Hobbes, the LORD Jesus said essentially the same thing when He explained that evil thoughts, words, and actions have their beginning in our sinful human hearts and minds (Mark 7:20-23):
“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
As we walk with Jesus heavenward, we will still struggle with our sinful hearts and minds. We have to daily contend with our own sinful thoughts. Our Father warns us about living with our thoughts, of thinking that they are hidden from Him. He tells us that the thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to Him. He also says that the words of the pure are pleasant to Him. We are truly blessed to study and learn from the Words of the Living God.
We pray that the Holy Spirit, who inspired and gave these very words to Solomon to be written for our faith and soul’s sake, would bless and enlighten us through these words. Amen.
Many young boys go through what some call the ‘gross’ phase. During this phase they do their best to produce animals and objects that ‘gross’ everyone out. When I was growing up this meant purchasing ‘slime’ from a vending machine at K-Mart. We knew it was a success, because when we showed our mother our slime, her only response was, ‘Yuck.’
What do you find truly detestable, sickening, filthy? What would you refuse to touch even in a million years?
If you can imagine such a thing, then you can begin to understand what is an Abomination in the sight of God.
An Abomination is something detestable to God. An Abomination is something that God wouldn’t ‘touch with a thousand-foot pole.’
In the Old Testament Scriptures, GOD tells us in a number of places exactly what He finds detestable. When we look at these things, we find that they all have one aspect in common, they are all things that have the potential to lead His people away from Him.
Those things that make His people physically or spiritually sick and lead to their death are said to be an Abomination. For example, GOD said it is detestable to eat certain animals and birds that consumed rotting flesh and carried disease. We can understand why the LORD wanted His people to avoid them.
In the same way, the LORD also said that Idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:25-26), Human Sacrifices (Deuteronomy 12:31), Consulting fortunetellers (Deuteronomy 18:12), Homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13-14), and other sexual perversion (Proverbs 3:32), Divorce (Deuteronomy 24:4), Unjust business practices (Deuteronomy 25:16), Lying (Proverbs 12:22) and all other sins were (and still are) detestable to Him.
All of these things have the potential to turn us away from the LORD or turn His face from us. So, the LORD tells us: “These things my soul hates.”
Now all of these examples are visible and in some way observable. But a thing doesn’t have to be visible to be an Abomination to the LORD. In fact, the LORD warns us in this proverb that even sinful human thoughts, though they be hidden from our sight, are not hidden from Him.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
We tend to think like CALVIN, that our thoughts are private, secret, hidden and certainly not as bad as sinful actions. However, this Proverb reminds us that GOD knows even the thoughts of men.
We would all be ashamed and embarrassed if others could read our thoughts. I would guess that we would be embarrassed most of the time if everyone could read our thoughts.
Well, surely this phrase of the proverb isn’t speaking of us, is it? It says that the thoughts (i.e. the ideas, conclusions, desires, plans and schemes) of the WICKED are detestable to the LORD.
Are we wicked? In so far as we still possess sinful natures, we are indeed wicked. Sinful thoughts proceed out of sinful hearts – and we all have sinful hearts.
It’s not just that we have sinful thoughts, sadly, we often feed and nurture them ourselves. We thoughtlessly subject ourselves to evil ideas and sinful thoughts. We are most often to blame for putting evil thoughts into our own minds!
“Oh, not me, pastor.”
Well, what kind of music do you listen to, and what is its subject matter? Is it God-pleasing?
What do you watch on television and in movies? Do you watch programming that depicts what God calls sin just another natural choice?
Do you watch programming that promotes greed and lust? If you could see that the meat in the fridge was rotting and could smell it was bad would you eat it?
Why then, if we can see and hear evil, do we still subject ourselves to it?
It’s not just what we put into our minds that affects the way we think and act, it’s also those with whom we associate ourselves. When our friends and neighbors, co-workers and associates proudly speak of the sins they have committed and intend to commit evil thoughts are again put into our minds. If those we associate with are not concerned about their relationship with Jesus, will we be if we continually consort with them? If you are standing in a ring of fire it is only a matter of time before you are burned.
The Lord warns us in First Corinthians (15:33):
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
So why do we allow evil thoughts to be put into our hearts and minds? Why don’t we see the evil that surrounds us and avoid it?
The answer is frightening and simple: We are by nature sinful. So, the LORD warns that evil thoughts are detestable to our heavenly father. In fact, anything and everything that leads us away from our LORD Jesus Christ is detestable to our gracious God. There are many such things.
What then can be done?
Is this proverb recorded to spur us on to greater heights, to move us to try and do better and change our course? If it were within our power and will then perhaps, we would have a chance. But it is not. For our natural minds are opposed to GOD, as it is written (Romans 8:7 NIV84):
“…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
Our natural inclination is not obedience, but disobedience. If it were possible to become good by our own will and power, then Christ would have died for nothing.
If we sinful human beings could produce pure thoughts and deeds to please God, then why did God send His Son to live an innocent life as your substitute and die to atone for your sins? If we could earn God’s favor, then why did God send His Son to do so?
What comfort then is to be found in this proverb?
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.
It is established that we are wicked. This truth we cannot escape. But our hope rests upon two words in our text: the pure. Solomon gives us hope here by making known that there are some whose hearts have been purified, who are speaking pleasant words.
There must be some that are pure in the sight of God. Who then are these pure ones who speak words that are pleasant to God from the heart?
The pure are those who have been purified, cleansed of Sin by GOD Himself. For truly, unless God purifies the hearts of men by removing their sin, they cannot and will not from the heart speak pleasant words.
We will ask the LORD to give us, to produce in us pure thoughts and words, in a few minutes when we sing this prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
LORD, unless you remove my sin for Jesus’ sake, unless you purify my heart, I can only produce evil thoughts and words. Give me a new guide, your Spirit, to lead me on your paths.
We know then, even as we sing these words that our sins have been removed and our hearts unburdened.
For you see, it is Christ who cleanses us from sin. It is Christ who declares us righteous, pure in God’s sight by faith in His living and dying. It is Christ who sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify and purify our hearts through the Word of Sins forgiven. It is the Spirit of God who through the Word fills our hearts with pure thoughts and pure words and enabling us to pass on that purifying word to others.
He creates us anew within, moving us to desire not evil, but good things. He gives us new life and produces in us pure thoughts and desires.
It is only the power of what Christ has done for us that can move us to humbly say in the face of temptation: “How can I do this great evil and sin against God?” If my Savior so loved me that He was willing to be separated from His Father and suffer the pain of Hell in my place to remove my sin – why would I want to surround myself with thoughts, words and friends that could lead me away from Jesus?
Instead, Dear Lord, let this encouragement be my daily guide (Philippians 4:8-9):
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Let us therefore sing and pray:
Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King; Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store; Take myself, and I will be ever, only all for Thee.