Ethan Tripodi - Life On Mission Blog

Getting To The Heart: A Guide To Confronting Sin - 1 Cor 10:1-6

Learn from Paul's example of confronting sin by imitating Christ. Rely on God's power through prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship. Target the heart/cause of sin, not just its visible manifestations. Destroy fortresses and strive for obedience.

Life on Mission Blog/From the Pulpit/Getting To The Heart: A Guide To Confronting Sin - 1 Cor 10:1-6

Ethan Tripodi

Sunday, January 02, 2022


Why imitate Paul: Because he imitates Christ! (v1-2)

  • HOW To Confront: Use What God Has Made Powerful. (v3-4)
  • WHAT To Confront: The Heart-cause of Our Sin. (v4-5)
  • WHY To Confront: To Become More Obedient (v5-6)

Unedited Transcript

Yes, the discovery Bible. I started using it several years ago now, and it's really helped me understand God's word more deeply. And so encourage you to pray about us. If anything that was spoken about this morning, or simile, if James, feel free to come up to us talk to us, we, you know, even you can during the session, if I do say something that you don't understand, like Jim said, Just pardon, excuse me, I'm more than happy for that. As well, I'll say something else quickly, to suddenly you can pray about because, especially as we arrived here, and I've been to Africa before I came to Kenya, several years ago, haven't been back since then. But this is my first real African experience. The first one I was it was a school trip. So I was a bit sheltered. We always had people with us, and we were going to certain places. But as I said, you guys, and as I see the sincerity and see the potential, because you know, in the West, people are so used to the not just the abundance of physical things, but even the abundance of biblical resources. And they're very just used to, you know, new things coming out new resources that are available to them. But when we come here, and we see the passion and the desire and the longing for more of God's word, we just, we just get so excited. And so Sunday, we'll have you pray that the discovery Bible, while it is digital, only at the moment, it was actually it's one of the possibly the only Bible software out there that can be meaningfully put into a print Bible. And so almost 50 years ago, 40 years ago, wasn't wasn't a print version for the New Testament. And we, you know, I don't know, the connections you guys have here, or the just in your prayers, I'd like you to think about, if any thoughts come to mind regarding that. We are hoping to get back into print and starting in an initiative of sorts that is able to give away those print bibles to churches, like yourself, right? All throughout Africa so that they can meaningfully see what's lost in translation have a more accurate Bible reading experience and understanding. And so we that's, that's not it's not happening at the moment, I do pray about it. And think about it, because it's on our hearts constantly. We want to be able to reach as many people as possible. So thank you all for having me. I do treat it as a, an incredible privilege to be here with you today. And brother James asking me to share it was a good prayerful experience. And I have a mini confession. As I was preparing, I completely forgot that. It was like the first Sunday of the year. And clearly, it was New Year. So generally, people prepare a sermon and it's relevant to the new year and you guys have been referring to it. I didn't think about it. Oh, we feel like last night. But as I was praying, and looking for a connection, like I want to, we're going through Second Corinthians 10, just the first six verses. So if you want to open up there, please do. We'll just be walking through it. But I was praying about a connection of what people do around New Year's and why. Why maybe God gave me this passage. And the thing that came to mind was New Year's resolutions. I don't know if you get that thing here. Do you have new year's resolutions? Yeah, you address the things you want to change. You write them down if you don't, but you're looking forward to the new year. And you're saying I want to do this, I want to do that I want to make some sort of change. And the word confrontation is going to be very important to today. Paul is talking a lot about confrontation through those first few verses of Corinthians. And as I'm thinking about it, whenever we make a resolution. And so this sermon is, while I'm talking about New Year's resolutions, this is for all year round, because we should always be resolving to change things to do things differently. As we become more like Christ and He opens our eyes to the things in our life that need to change. So the confrontation, when it comes to resolution whenever we are changing something in ourselves, it requires us to confront it. I googled some quick synonyms or similar means words that have the same definition of confrontation so that I want to make sure that no one's left behind. So if that's not a familiar word, we'll, we'll we'll make sure it's understood but when I Googled it, it came up with avoids like conflict, fights, head to head and counter face off meeting. And the actual meaning of it is to interact with the face of something with the front, meaning you're willing to go head to head with, you're not kind of showing back, you're not running away. And Paul in the last section of Corinthians, Second Corinthians, he's, he's needing to confront them about because they are, they're denying his apostleship, or they're questioning his authority. And so he needs to go through this whole process of explaining who he is explaining what God's called him to do. And in this first section of First Corinthians, Second Corinthians 10, Paul explains how he confronts people, he starting off his argument in verse 10, and wants people to know how he's really confronting, why he's doing what he's doing, and the benefit he's trying to bring to them, because he says elsewhere, that the whole reason he's been called to this purpose is for the building up of the church. And so, in this case, here, I mean, you've got Pastor James, who, if you need an example, he's the man of God here that has been sent by God, to be a shepherd, the one who has authority to speak into your lives to feed you the Word of God. And, uh, Paul had that with the Corinthians. But they, they were questioning that authority. And as he explains in this, that he says, this is, this is what I'm confronting. This is how I'm confronting it. This is why I'm confronting it, he's trying to is giving them a rationale. I want us to take a bit of a step back from that, because while it's authority, confronting the members of the church who aren't agreeing with, there's something we can learn from it, because we want to imitate Paul, as he imitates Christ. He says that elsewhere. And so, as we see, Paul confronting them, I want to encourage you guys today that you can actually confront yourselves the things in your life the same way Paul needed to confront them. And so as you're coming up with new year's resolutions or other things throughout the year, these is almost like a total discernment, New Year's guide to confrontation, but it applies all year round. And another another title could be the how, what and why of confrontation. So we're going to look at those three things, the how of confrontation, how we're meant to do it, what we're confronting, because it's not always as clear as what it's not always as clear as it could be, and why we're doing the confrontation. Because when we do that, and we confront the things within ourselves, that's when it has a lasting change. And so as we continue, I want you to write this point down because I some some pastors like to save the big statement for the end of what everyone learns. But I actually want to share with you the summary. So that as we're reading through Second Corinthians together, you can, you can see what we're looking for, you can and this year, I'm going to tell you, the how, what and why, and you're going to be able to follow with me along so this is as I was praying, this is what God put in my heart from these passages. And he wants us to confront whenever it's necessary to confront the heart of the issue by God's power to increase our obedience. So there's three main parts in there to confront the heart of the issue, that's the one by God's power, the how, and so that we can be more obedient the way so those are the three things we're going to be keeping in mind and breaking them down and seeing how we see them in second. Corinthians. Okay, so opened up with me to the first few verses, the main ones we'll be thinking about today, verses two to six verses three to six, sorry, but post sets it up for us the whole context in verses one and two. And so we're going to look at that together. So Paul begins now I'm just gonna read the first two verses. Now I, Paul, myself, urge you through the meekness and gentleness of Christ. I do a meet when face to face with you, but bold towards you when absent. I ask that when I'm present, I need not be bold with the competence with which I propose to be courageous against some who regardless if we walk according to the flesh, it's quite a dense. Well, whenever Paul writes, he's got he frames a lot into a small space. But notice that the very beginning now I pull myself, he only He refers to himself three times because we don't know where he's going yet. If this was the first time you're reading this letter, but I've read ahead, and some of you would have as well in reading this book, and so we know that he is needing to confront them about why they're questioning his authority.

And so he's getting into focusing on him. And he's assuring them, I urge you, through the meekness and gentleness of Christ is a meekness. Here is actually a gentle power. As the authoritative apostle, he could really say a lot, he could speak really powerful into your life and be intense. But rather than always pounding, you know, people, some people can always be, you know, really strong on what you should be doing what you should be changing. He has this gentle approach. And he chooses to be very intentional with how he confronts led by the Spirit, because it's not about just proving a point. He's not just wanting to bolster himself up and seem like this great and powerful apostle, he's being very intentional. The word gentle is reasonable, a sweet kind of reasonable reasonableness where he doesn't, he doesn't do too much of one thing or another. And these come from Christ, and so that he says this at the beginning, because they need to know who he's imitating when he confronts them, because they were questioning him on whether he was doing things by the flesh. And so he starts off I for myself, this is what I'm doing, through the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and urging. And then he says, I am, I grew in me, which is actually humble, when face to face with you, but both towards you went absent. So he's pointing out a reality there, of what he was doing. And later on in the, in the chapter, we won't get there. But this was actually one of the problems that the Corinthians had with him. They kind of accused him of this inconsistency. Oh, well, your letters are so strong, and they're so you know, intense when we read them. But when you're here, you're this lowly, humble guy that doesn't, you know, there's a difference there. And they, they thought that was fleshly. But he's pointing it out as a reality, saying, I actually know that is what I'm doing. And I'm doing it intentionally. He's already established for us that he is living like Christ, exemplifying these qualities in his interactions with them. And then he assures them in verse two, I asked them when I'm present, I need not people with you. He's actually telling him though I haven't been both in person so far. Trust me, I am willing. I've done it before. And then of people with the companies with which I propose to be courageous against some who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. And so born is establishing here for us. The first part, the house that we're going to look at, in verse three, we're just seeing how intentional he is. There's not a, I don't know if you guys use the term a blanket, a blanket statement where it's just the same in every circumstance, a blanket that covers everything. There is no blanket rule. When it comes to living by faith when it comes to confronting the things in ourselves. There's no blanket rule when a Pastor James needs to confront someone in the church or when Paul needs to confront the Corinthians. It requires they every time God divinely leading us as we pray, and as we seek Him, and He is telling them that directly, that this isn't coming from flesh. This is coming from the spirit. I'm listening to God. We're gonna get into the first lesson of this, of this passage here where Paul explains the house. So remember, Paul is needing to confront the Corinthians on certain things, and what I'm encouraging you to do, as you are thinking about things in your life you want to change, you're confronting them. You can apply all these things that Paul does to yourself, and how much sweeter for you to have your own initiative, go to a Pastor James, if you know there's something you need help with something you need to understand something you're unsure about and have your own initiative, say, I want to change this, rather than like a Corinthians who, staying in their disobedience actually needed to be confronted by the one who had authority. And so I'm encouraging you in this new year, Frank through new statutes. This is a guy that applies all year, whenever we want to change something, whenever you want to do something new. This is what Paul would do. If you needed to help someone else do it. And you can do it for yourself. So let's read verses three and part of verse four. He's just said I'm willing to confront you. And then he says, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, For the weapons of our warfare, and not of the flesh but made powerful Five God, in your translation might say a few different things that divinely powerful. In any case, it's coming directly from heaven. God himself is enabling you to do it and he needs to, he needs to reassure. Do we know what placements, he's referring to the flesh, it's not of the flesh. It's a serious thing to accuse someone of doing something by the flesh in the, in the church. Because when we're doing something by the flesh, it means God is not involved in the process at all. It's completely from ourselves, is completely from Pride, near human origin, whatever you want to call it, God is not having his say in it. And so for some who were accusing Paul of this, it's a serious accusation. And that's why he is willing to confront it. But he's not going to just be reactionary, and respond angrily when someone accuses him that he's being intentional or the way he says For though we walk. According to the way though, we walk in the flesh, we do not walk. according to the flesh. And Deborah James, we were talking about this last night, just briefly looking at the words in this verse, and he brought up patient six, with the, with the armour of God, just an example of the things God gives us to be able to overcome the sin in our lives. And we see these throughout all the Bible throughout the whole Bible. And what I'm, I'm not gonna speak particularly about Ephesians six, but I encourage you to go read Berberian find the things that God has enabled you to lay holder so you can overcome sin. But the three things that I spoke about this morning that every, every Christian, every born again, believe in needs to be experienced, this robot will read, at divine, the powerful thing that God has made possible for everyone in this room, you all have a Bible, either on your phone or sitting in front of you. And that's an obvious one is so is prayer. And that's the second one. Being able to exchange with God to know His will, so that we can see the things in our lives. He spoke this morning briefly about people who sin and then and even, doesn't even come to their mind, they don't see it, they don't, they're not aware. But when we're Christian, when God is in us, when the Holy Spirit isn't dwelling in us, we can actually be aware of those things and not the greatest thing. So that we can be different. And so those are the two main ones when it comes to divine, divinely weapons made powerful by God. But there's one more that I feel like people miss out. And we do talk about it. But it's not put on the same level as prayer and reading. And I want to put it on the same level today. And that's actually fellowship. That's actually the connection with true believers, people we can pray with people can we can read with. And with that, we're able to, I truly believe that you need all three of these things. And of course, there may be some circumstances where it's not possible to do one of them whether you don't have access to a Bible, or you're in a country where no one's Christian, but none of us are in that position. And so God has given the opportunity for us to use all of these things, so that we can war according to His Spirit, and not according to the flesh. And one specific thing we spoke about this morning, it was the Our Father. And so I encourage you to come Thursday night, or come on earlier on Sundays when we do the study. Because what's great about the Our Father, we spoke about it as a prayer outline, is that it actually hits all three, just in one, it is scripture, it is the Bible. So we're meditating on God's word, and understanding it better. We're praying it because it is a prayer and might be the only prayer with the mandate to bring the Bible. And then finally, we spoke about it as a way of being able to pray together. And so we broke it down into parts. And when you understand those parts, we pray them. And when multiple of you know it, you can actually pray with one another. You share some parts of the other I do other parts. Spouses do this. When we when we teach it, we encourage spouses to do it, friends, family, I deal with single often a night I did it with James, for the first time, the first night here, which was really special. And it's a way of getting in line with God. And so that's a very specific way we can confront the things in our choosing to be more like God and praying the Father as a specific thing that we can start doing and so that's how

That's how by the things God is divinely empowered. But then there's the what, and this is probably one of the most, the most central part of this. And I'm gonna read the last time I read verse four again and we'll read verse five. This is where we're at, For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful, made powerful by God, for the destruction of fortresses. Then verse five, we are destroying speculations, every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. And we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And I was fascinated with this word fortresses, because it's very, it's very much in line with the language. He's using his walk, weapons, fortresses captive. So these are all words that bring pictures into our mind. But interestingly, it's the only time this word occurs in the whole Bible, the word fortress. So it can be hard to define exactly what it means. I mean, I've heard some pastors refer to the fortresses as the patient's the different things that we can be stuck in addictions, bad habits, not reading, not praying. They refer to these as fortresses which need to come down. And I agree. But I think it goes way further. Because Paul actually explains in this passage, what the fortress is, you see those things that people refer to addictions, bad habits, impatience. Those things are just the beginning. If you put your approaches there, just the walls of the fortress you got, there's always something important in the middle that protecting where it's where people live, or meetings ahead. And then they surround that fortress with walls, towers, barriers, so that they protect the middle. And what I'm telling you today is that those visible sins that you see, and sometimes others see, those are not the whole sports as they are just a wall, maybe two. And unfortunately, people will tear down these walls, and think they tear down the whole fortress. And we're gonna go into how we tear down the whole fortress, because Paul explains here, using the word speculations, we're destroying speculations, he says, and speculations hear the word we can just glaze over, because we think we know what it means. And we just move on. But it's actually refers to the the inner opinions we have on the things we've decided that determine how we value things in this world. So you spend your time on one thing or another. And the reason you do is because you've determined that that's valuable. You always get to the fridge when you need to eat. Because you've determined that your body requires and you're going to bed, and many other things as well. And it also refers to the lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God, I saw these as excuses. When you think about, let's use an impatience as an example. So speculation, maybe you're losing your temper at a certain brother, rather than just focusing on the fact that you lose your temper. What's the what's the speculation that caused that outburst of sin? Maybe you don't value your brother the right way. Maybe you don't value the grace God has given you, which is actually meant to overcome that sin. What about a lot of the things raised up against the knowledge of God, maybe we start making suicide, but he was just so this, so that, but we know from scripture, what God has given us, so that we can overcome these things, whether it'll be the fruit of the Holy Spirit, one of them is literally patients. And so the Holy Spirit gives that to us. But when we make excuses, we're raising up lofty things against the knowledge of God. And so Paul here, rather than just focusing on the visible sins when it comes to fortresses, and I wrote this down to make sure it was understood, but he uses fortresses. Because speculations and lofty things don't just focus on the visible sin directly, because we said those are the walls, but on the reasons in your hands, that cause those things in the first place. The problem is if you tear down just the wall and you don't address the reason that that scene was there in the first place. Then the scenes just going to pop up in another area. And we know this as well because the world is very good at making new year's resolutions. People change things all the time. There are plenty of people without price too, we would say I'm nice. So what's different about us when we make resolutions, what's different about us when we confront the things in ourselves to be different. And what's different is that we have the weapons empowered by God, to target the heart of the issue, to get to the real cause of it, so we can tear down the hole or just the centre. And every sin you think of there is an underlying reason for it I guarantee to you today, sin is never isolated. It's never just one thing. And if I deal with that, it's gonna be fixed. We need to pray and ask the Lord as Pastor, I find that this keeps happening, can we pray about what I'm not seeing? Because I want to overcome this in the right way, rather than just applying when I read in some self help book that so many people use. And so the world is very good at it. But we are different. And I'm still saying that we need to deal with those visible since scripture wants us to live our lives. But we can't forget about the heart. Does that make sense? Have you thought about that? Maybe if you find it hard to read the Bible? Is it really about you just getting into the habit of opening up those Bible every day and reading the words on the page? Or is it the fact that in your heart of hearts, you actually don't see the value of God's word, you don't see the value of what Christ has done for you, and therefore you don't prioritise. So rather than praying helped me tear down this wall helped me read the Bible every day. Ask the question, what, what's causing that. And we need the Bible reading and prayer. But if those are the issue, that you're finding hard to get to the only third option is fellowship. And so people like brothers, that we know people like Pastor James, who are here for that purpose, they can help you with that. So that's what we need to confront. Remember the sermon in summary, we need to confront the heart of the issue, not just the exterior visible things, we need to do it by God's power, we can't use the same methods The world does, because they only get as far as the physical set, not the root cause. And finally, Paul, goes into the why he's confronted, I found both through life at school and university, in the ministry. If I don't know why I'm doing something, I find it very hard to do in the first place. But I see the purpose of it. And we can see the purpose of the loop is so far we, we know that God Jesus has died so that we can overcome sin, so that we can live holy lives. It's not just about the penalty of our sin, being paid where we don't need to experience the wrath. But so we can actually start our eternal life now living in the power of the gospel. Overcoming the power of sin and so forth, explains here. In the last few verses, are read from from verse five. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. And we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We are ready to give out justice to all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. And we're going to spend some time in that last whenever your obedience is complete, because I got to be confused when I first read it. But think about the end of verse five, we are taking. So he said what we're destroying what we're confronting. And then what it amounts to is taking every thought, captive to the obedience of Christ, everything that comes out of your mind. The thoughts you have the things you feel the decisions you make. They're being taken captive to the obedience of Christ when we choose to destroy the whole fortress, not just the heart of it. And when we do that, there's a lasting change. I mean, when we just do it, in part, I already said before it pops up in another area. But this is how we truly overcome sin. And obedience is the we spoke about it briefly. Or maybe that was in the earlier session. But I believe Pastor James was told you about faith.

It's not Just the one time thing you experienced at the beginning, but every day, God is speaking to you about how he wants you to live through the written word and through the living word. And using that, that's what we are obedient to. So the word obedience literally means coming under. So we're coming under God leaving behind the fortresses leaving behind all the pain and the unnecessary things that come out of that. But leaving that behind coming under God, and choosing to hear His voice, that's what real obedience is. And we can only do it if we fulfil those first coupons, if we confront what's important, and we know how to confront it. And that's why we're doing it so that we can be feeding into Christ in the most real way, where we are actually, under him hearing how to live by faith. And then Paul comes to verse six, and we are ready to do our justice. So disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete, and as I was thinking about, about what this means, every god knows everywhere. God knows every sin. And in this case, we have the apostle Paul, he had the authority to confront the Corinthians, to deal with this. And we know there there is church can't remember the word church as a punishment for this way. Elders will deal with people who are not living by faith and if they're causing disruption in the church. But what Paul is saying is we are ready to give justice to all the disobedience is going on, whenever your obedience is complete. So he's still not being reactionary. He's not just jumping in and saying, I'm gonna deal with this as soon as possible. But he's actually given every opportunity for each individual person to be obedient. So it's not about, again, poor proving a point. It's not about you just trying to be a better person. It's you taking hold of every opportunity, the next opportunity, in fact, to obey God in that area of your life that you know, you haven't been whenever your obedience is complete. And while this is a literal example of Paul, and his authority with the church and needing to deal with their disobedience. There's another justices coming. In Jesus Christ treats us the same way. He's still imitating our Lord, through these verses, because Jesus is giving us every opportunity every day, to obey the Lord, to come and interfere him to overcome the fortresses, not tearing down a wall and declaring victory, only to be destroyed by the rest of the things we miss. But actually to tear it all down. And so that opportunity is available. But there does come a point where the Justice needs to be dealt out. The notch that comes when I meant can work. Are we ready for that day? Are we actually just focused on the exterior things? How people see us how people view us? Even Even if there's things that people don't see it, like Bible reading? It's not, you know, we don't all know who's reading their Bible. But are you just focusing on fixing that habit or learning how to value God's word. And so I encourage you today to really take that opportunity. It's meant to be done immediately. And Paul was showing his grace showing his patients, the gentle power and reasonableness because he wasn't going to rush into it. The unreasonable, were people who were going to obey now, they missed that opportunity. And so we want to be like that, and respond to Christ doing that to us. Who's giving us every opportunity today? And I didn't see if there were any new people here. When did you ask or? You asked if there was any new visitors today, and I didn't see but if you're not born again, today, and you've been thinking about what these things mean? And maybe I'm sure every non Bonnington person can actually see these fortresses in their life. And you need to realise if that's you that there is only one thing that can actually overcome the fortress truly, you might be able to give up your addictions and you might be able to become the nice person that you think you should be. But there's only one way to deal with the heart of the issue and that is the blood of Christ. That is submitted to him in every way our heart All eyes becoming obedient. That's the purpose of this. And so it's interesting to think that if we don't get there, as believers or people who are going to become believers, we don't get to that place where we are obeying the Lord in a way that we enjoy. So that's another maybe in a speculation, maybe whenever we talk about obeying the Lord, you kind of get get a bit uncomfortable. And so rather than just saying, I'm gonna change, obey the Lord, pray about what the heart of the issue is, Do you really not value what it means to be led by God in every circumstance. And so that's what I encourage you to do today. The how the what, why of confronting all of this applies, you know, parents, your, you've got children that you managed to confront on some matters. Pastor James, you got to confront people in this church, maybe sometimes, he hasn't told me any stories, by the way, or good things about you guys. But it applies in lots of areas. These are not just principles for the Apostle Paul back in time. It's, instead of a summary, which I gave at the beginning was confront the heart of the issue. They'll just be focused on peripheral things, they use the word peripheral, like your, your peripheral vision is the stuff on the outside, rather than the centre. And so all the things on the outside, we don't want to just be concerned about those we want to pray God, why is this happening in the first place, confront the heart of the issue, by God's power through the means he's provided each other reading prayer, the Our Father being one that incorporates all of them. So if you're saying, even though I don't see a real practical thing for me to do, I'm telling you, it's probably the father, every night and with other people. And finally, the purpose of it the why. So that we can obey the law in an enjoyable way, in a way that we love them. So let's tear down the whole fortresses as we head into the new year. Whatever resolutions you may have written down, I encourage you to actually go and look at those and say, Is this is this the the heart of the issue? Is this the main thing that I'm trying to change? Or is there something deeper going on that I need to, I need to be thinking about so this is the only way to change last. And I hope you all lay hold of that today. God bless thank you for the opportunity.

Ethan Tripodi is a missionary with Youth for Christ Australia and his mission role is made possible through the prayer and financial support from individuals and organisations just like you.

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