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Love Does Not Rejoice in Iniquity But in the Truth: Agape Love Series - Part 10

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Love Does Not Rejoice in Iniquity But in the Truth

Agape Love Series - Part 10

MP3 Audio (25.79 MB)


Love Does Not Rejoice in Iniquity But in the Truth: Agape Love Series - Part 10

MP3 Audio (25.79 MB)

Discover three ways we as Christians rejoice in iniquity without realizing it.


[Gary Petty] You know, you, we do these blessing of the little children. It’s amazing when you see a child and, you know, it doesn’t take long. Sometimes at birth, it’s like, oh, we know what family that child comes from. Chris, my wife sees that all the time. Oh, it looks... As I’ve said before, I’m sorry, 90% of little babies, if you just put a cigar in their mouth, they look like Winston Churchill. “We shall fight in the streets. We shall fight.” You know, it’s just, it’s just, I’m sorry. I don’t see, “Oh, he looks like Uncle Henry.” No, he looks like Winston Churchill.

But anyways, they get a little older and I start, okay, I start to see what people are talking about. But it’s more than just the way they look. It’s their mannerisms, the way they talk. Sometimes you’ll see a father and a son and it’s like, you know, the father is 60 and the son is 30, but you can tell that’s father and son. Well, God has called us to be His children. and we are to become recognizable as His children. So the people should be able to look at us and say, “You know what, you’re one of those Christians, aren’t you? You believe in God as Father and you believe in Jesus Christ as your brother.” About a year ago I started a series of sermons. We haven’t finished them yet. We still have two more to go on agape, 1 Corinthians 13. And I would do one or two then take a break and do one or two and take a break. But we’ll finish hopefully the last two here this month.

Agape, the very character of God as explained by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 and how we must, if we’re going to be like Christ, this agape has to become part of our very being. Most of what we’ve covered so far has to do with how we relate to other people. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 13. But today we’re going to look through here and take a little different tact. Paul takes us a little different direction here and in some ways an unexpected direction. We started with how agape suffers long in verse 4. It has long suffering towards others. It is kind. We talked about how we have to be kind to people, even our enemies. It does not envy, it does not parade itself, it does not puffed up, it’s not rude. What’s that have to do with Christianity? According to this, these are the attributes in how we treat other people that will obviously show that we are becoming the children of God. We’re not rude.

He says, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and thinks no evil. And then he seems to go in a whole different way here, a whole different direction. Because so far it’s about basically how we treat others except thinks no evil. That one, okay, that has to do with the very...we are what we think. And that’s what we talked about the last time we covered this subject back before the feast. We are what we think.

1 Corinthians 13:6 And now he says, “does not rejoice,” it’s verse 6, “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”

Suddenly this isn’t about just how we treat other people. But it’s about a certain aspect of our relationship with God. We do not rejoice in iniquity but we rejoice in the truth. This is where we find our happiness. This is where we find our joy. Not in iniquity, but in the truth.

So what does it mean? We’re going to break these two phrases down. What does it mean to not rejoice in iniquity? I mean, there are people who absolutely rejoice in sin. There are thieves who love to steal. They like what they get. They like the thrill of the steal, of stealing from people. They like being a thief, and it’s their identity, and they actually rejoice in it. There are people that rejoice in all kinds of sins. Now, I don’t think any of you are rejoicing in being a thief. You’re not rejoicing in your sinful lifestyle. Oh, you’re just, you’re so, you can’t wait to get out of here, to go out, to get into the casino, because all you do 24 hours a day is gamble, right? That’s not a Christian lifestyle. You’re not waiting for the Sabbath to be over so you can go down downtown Nashville tonight and get drunk. And oh, I’m just looking forward to it. So you’re not rejoicing in a lifestyle of sin. But how can we, in a much more subtle way rejoice in iniquity, much more subtle? We’re going to talk about three ways that you and I can rejoice in iniquity in a subtle way.

The first one, and you’re going to have to think about this one a little bit. We still think that the forbidden fruit will bring us some happiness, that somehow we’re sorta missing out. We secretly desire forbidden fruit. I mean, I’ve literally had people say, “I wish God wouldn’t have called me now so I could have more fun and He could call me later.” I mean, you can have more fun. I could live my life however I wanted, as if there’s no consequences to that. We can, in a very subtle way without realizing it, actually rejoice in, oh, if I could just... I don’t want to eat the forbidden fruit. If I could just touch it. Because it’s an aspect of human nature, corrupted human nature, that we’re missing out. It’s how Satan got to Eve. What he told you isn’t true. You’re missing out on something better.

And when we’re very young, that’s what we really fight, especially as teenagers and in our 20s. I’m missing out because the forbidden fruit really can bring me some happiness. I can really rejoice. I just sort of want to get close to it. I’m not going to taste it, God. Just let me smell it because it, oh, that smells good. Now, there’s a perfect example of this in the Scripture. It has to do with a young girl who does not understand the fruit looks good. She has no intention of eating the fruit, so to speak. But the unintended consequences are horrible. Let’s go to Genesis 24. I haven’t gone to this Scripture in a number of years. I gave a sermon a number of years ago at the Feast of Tabernacles on this story. Genesis 34, I’m sorry, did I say 24, 34. Dinah. Now here’s a young girl. And this is a terrible story. But she had no intention for any of this to happen. But we can see her motivation.

Genesis 34:1 “Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had born to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.”

She did not go out to participate in sin. Here she is, part of a nomadic tribe. And here’s a town, big city life. It’s not a big town, but it’d been big to her. And you know what? All the girls she hung out with smelled sorta like sheep. But you go into town and they seem to smell so good. And they have really nice clothes, nicer than what I have. And they have jewelry like I’ve never seen. And the boys, they always, you know, man, they get to talk to the boys. We seem to be so strict in our little tribe here. All she wanted to do was go see how other girls live. Because why? Deep inside there’s a feeling I’m missing out on something. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t want to do anything bad. Dinah, it doesn’t say she was a bad woman or a bad girl. She just thought the forbidden fruit seemed so exciting. If I just see it one time.

Genesis 34:2 “And when Shechem the son of Hamor, the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her and violated her.”

Now this is mentioned through here that he lay with her. The Hebrew implies that he raped her. So this isn’t like, at best case, it’s not like, oh, she went in and like, “Oh, good, I’m going to get a guy to pick me up.” Okay, that’s not what happened here. The best-case scenario is he forced her into something she really didn’t want to do. Or it actually could have been rape. Okay? So that’s the best-case scenario. That wasn’t her intention. Her intention was, just let me see the forbidden fruit one time. Let me go wander around the streets. You know, they actually have bazaars there where you can walk through the streets and buy clothes. It’s so wonderful to go through towns. We’ve sort of gone through them before, but I just want to go see how the other girls live. That’s all. And she ends up in this situation.

When you read the rest of the story, of course, Jacob is furious. And it says that Shechem, the young man, says, “You know, I really love this girl. I want to make this right. I want to marry her. I want to make it right, I want to marry her. And I’ll take care of her.” And it actually says he loved her. He was drawn towards her. He went to his dad, who was the king of the little village, and said, “I want this girl.” So dad set off and they went and they tried to visit with Jacob. Now it says that the sons of Jacob met with him. It seems to be in patriarchal times. The father gave the permission, but to negotiate the dowry for the girl, you negotiated with the brothers. So that’s a tough group to negotiate with. So they go in, of course, the sons of Jacob are furious. What this man had done to their sister was a crime and something needed to be done.

So they said, “Okay, if you want to marry her, here’s what you have to do. You have to be circumcised. Our God demands us to be circumcised. And your dad has to be circumcised. In fact, everybody in your village has to be circumcised.” And the young man said okay. Now, this man has to have some motivation towards her because that’s not normal motivation for a grown man, right? Okay. And dad said, okay. And then he got all the men in the village together and said, “By the way, we’re going to have all of you circumcised because my son is going to marry the queen or the princess of this nomadic tribe.” And then he explains why. Because when this happens, we can share our daughters back and forth and have all kinds of marriages back and forth, and we can make a covenant of business.

Now, I can see why he would see this as a good thing. You have a very wealthy tribe out here that moves all over the place. And when it shows up, that tribe has lots of wool and meat, all kinds of things to sell. What better place to sell it in the marketplace of my town? So we’ll make an agreement where you’re the supplier, we’re the seller. We’ll clean up on this. Everybody from every village for miles around will come here to do business with us. This is the best agreement you can even imagine. And to make sure that it works, my family and your family, my village and your tribe, will just marry each other, which was of course against what God had said. But they go ahead and they actually circumcise every male in the village. And then while the men are incapacitated, Jacob’s sons go in, a couple of them, and they kill every man in that village. They kill every... Jacob is horrified. Jacob says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, you made an agreement with them and said you have to make a covenant with God, you have to be circumcised, and then you killed them?” I mean, this, he just...he can’t believe what they’ve done.

So he says, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re moving away. We got to get as far away from here as we can because every village in the area is going to come after us.” And so he herded his people up and he moved. Now whether the young man deserved to die, if he raped her, that’s a whole other question. That was a legal issue. This wasn’t legal. This was, we’re going to make an agreement with God and then kill you in your agreement with God. Dineh had no idea. She didn’t, her part in this was I want to go see how other girls get to eat the forbidden fruit. And so the idea that I would be happier...I would be happier if I didn’t have all these godly restrictions on me, is a way of rejoicing in iniquity, or thinking we will rejoice in iniquity. See how subtle this is? She wasn’t out doing a sin, but she got caught up in all this sin and it snowballed and the unintended consequences were horrifying for everybody.

We have to understand that we can’t live in this gray area. God, I’m not going to eat the forbidden fruit. I’m just going to touch it and smell it once in a while because it feels nice to touch and it’s nice to smell, but I won’t eat it. All you said was don’t eat it. You didn’t tell me I couldn’t smell it. I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t just stare at it because it’s so beautiful. Just let me stare at the fruit for a while because it’s so beautiful. And we live in that gray area thinking that’s better. And we have to recognize what’s actually happening. We’re rejoicing in iniquity.

It’s interesting how many times we talk about the fruits of the Spirit. All the time we talk about the fruits of the Spirit until they become a cliche. But you know what’s really interesting is when you read the fruits of the Spirit in context with the verses that are before it. When God says, these things here are not the fruits of the Spirit and these are. Let’s go there. Let’s go to Galatians 5, Galatians 5. See how subtle this is? Does not rejoice in iniquity. Well, I doubt if any of you, if you say, “You know, I committed a sin this week. Oh, I’m just going to rejoice in it. Oh, good. I mean, do that sin 10 times next week.” That’s not, that’s... We’re going to talk about that in a minute. That’s that’s way beyond what God’s here. He’s talking about the subtle rejoicing, being on the edge all the time, sort of trying to get a piece of the cake and eat it too in the way that we live our lives.

Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are,” now he starts listing, and it’s a long list, it’s a depressing list of normal human activity: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry.”

Now, you’ve heard sermons on idolatry. We know that the worship of idols is wrong. We can stand up and be totally against the worship of idols. Yes, yes, we’ve drawn the line. We’re not going to do that. But in our lifestyle, we can be worshiping money. We can actually be worshipping money. We have an idol out of money and things and wealth. So see, we can enter into that gray area where we’re doing it, but not doing it. We think it’s gray, it’s not. Sorcery, hatred, you know, you and I live in a country that is absolutely driven by hatred. People just hate each other over everything. It’s amazing how much they hate each other over everything. And of course, we battle that, and we’re going to talk about that in a minute too, because you and I live where there’s things we won’t compromise on. And by not being willing to compromise, we will be hated. It’s just that simple. By not being willing to compromise, we will be hated. That doesn’t make me happy. I wish I didn’t have to say that. Unfortunately, it’s what the Scripture tells us.

Galatians 5:19-21 He says, “contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, which is just having parties and the like in which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So he gives this list and there’s other lists that Paul gives where he goes on and on and on. These are things that are absolute iniquity and there are people who rejoice in these things. But then he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is.” This is the opposite of those things. It is not enough not to commit adultery. It is not enough not to have selfish ambition. It is not enough not to be committing adultery. It’s not enough. Christianity is more than that. Christianity is replacing that with this list. The first thing on, here’s agape, the very thing we were talking about and have been talking about off and on for a year. This is the fruit of giving up these other things. Joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That is where our lives must go. And the more we’re in that every day, the less we’re going to have any kind of I bet you it would be fun just to let God let me to do this or this or this or this because we will have these things in our lives.

So we have this subtle I don’t rejoice in iniquity, but I sure could. I don’t want to eat the forbidden fruit. I just want to stare at it and touch it and smell it and get as close to it as I could, can. But I don’t want to eat it, okay? I don’t want to do that. And in a very subtle way, we’re rejoicing in iniquity. Now another way, a second way is that this is even more subtle because we can do it and not even know it. And that is we approve of sin. We don’t do it, but we approve of it. Now, what does that mean? You know, we live in an impressive, sinful world. And if we’re not careful, how do we live with it? The ugliness of it will overwhelm us. I mean, maybe you work in an office and you go into that office, and every day you know that two of those people in there are absolute liars. They will cheat, steal, do anything they can for a buck. Maybe two more of them are committing adultery. And you know it. But you have to interact with them, right? Then these two over here, they’re homosexuals. And you know it, they let everybody know. And after a while, it’s like all these people you live with, and what do you do? You have to ignore that in order to work with them, right? You can’t walk up to somebody and say, “You know, you’re a thief.” So you just you ignore it.

And what happens is, if we’re not careful, because we have to do that, we sort of started getting numb. You get absolutely numb to the sin. We don’t hate the people but we become numb to the sin. In fact, you may even like some of them. The big talker who’s the thief, who cheats and steals. You know, the salesman that does anything for a sale. And you know, he’s sort of a fun guy to be around. And yet, he lives a lifestyle that’s totally and completely anti-Christian so we become numb to it. Now what happens is, in that numbness, if we’re not careful, we begin to tolerate it. We begin to excuse it. Oh, I know this person is, you know, totally immoral. I know this person lies about everything. They just pathologically lie, but you know, it’s not that bad. I mean, they’re a nice person. You hear that all the time. They’re a nice person. Being a nice person isn’t the issue here. The issue is are we tolerating sin to the point where we excuse it and to the point where we approve it?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, you know, I know they had the sex change. But that’s because they were really born that way. They were really born a man in a woman’s body and they needed to go through the sex change.” I’ve actually had people say that to me. No, you are now approving sin. Now, you can have compassion on the person and absolutely hate the sin. But if you approve the sin then you are watering down God’s viewpoint of sin. And we are starting to rejoice in iniquity. We approve it.

I’ll show you what I mean. Romans 1. Because what happens is if any of us approve sin long enough, we will begin to vicariously live it, in the entertainment that we allow, in the videos that we watch, in the books that we read. We’ll just get to the point, it’s really not that bad, right? I know on my Netflix account, if you pulled up my Netflix account, you would see about 30 movies that I watched, Kim and I watched maybe six to eight minutes because that’s how long it took to the first sex scene. “Oh well, let’s turn it off.” “Okay.” Because you watched them long enough. It’s just normal, it’s okay. It’s okay. Because, well, I’m not doing it. No, we shouldn’t watch that either. Because we’re approving it to come into our homes. Verse 18. Paul here, it’s very interesting to Romans, he confronts Jews in chapter 2 for their hypocrisy. He confronts Christians who weren’t truly being Christians, and in the first chapter he confronts the entire Roman world. I mean, Paul’s on a roll in Romans. He just, well, I’m going to come after everybody. In this first chapter, he confronts the entire Roman world.

Romans 1:18-19 He says, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in righteousness.” Suppress the truth. We have to talk about truth in a little bit, right? As we remember, he said, rejoices in the truth. So we’re going to come back to this. “Because what we may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has chosen to show it to them.”

How can the Roman world, God say, whatever punishment I do to you, you deserve because you should know better? How could He say that? They were pagans, right? They had never had God show up and give them the Ten Commandments. Jesus Christ didn’t walk among them.

Romans 1:20 Well, here’s why He says this. “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse.”

This week I saw an example of this. I watch, as I told you before, my news watching is very strange. I go on YouTube and I have it set up so I get to watch, you know, a story from the BBC and one from CNN and one from Fox and all these different news sources, including Al Jazeera. It’s amazing. Al Jazeera, every once in a while, has a good news program. I mean, story. But you get all these different viewpoints, right? So I watched, it was a story about a university in which they had four professors sitting up on stage. One I think was a dean of some, you know, someone obviously that had some authority. The other three were professors. And they introduced the one professor because the dean got up and said, “The purpose here today is to discuss and understand that science helps us see reality. And so we have to understand that there are certain realities that we have to accept.”

And so the first woman, the first professor, was an evolutionary biologist. Now, I’m not sure what that means, except I think it must be a biologist who believes in evolution. That’s the only thing I can figure what an evolutionary biologist is. And she said there are certain things that science teaches us that are factual. We may not like the facts because of maybe some kind of political viewpoint or emotions we have, but they’re just facts. She said, “Let me give you an example. If we compare men with women, most men are a little taller than most women. That’s a fact. If you took 1,000 men, 1,000 women, there would be more taller, the average would be taller. Most are heavier. Most have more muscle mass and more bone density. See, that’s fact.” She said, “Women can lactate and women can give birth. Men cannot.” And all of a sudden they started to boo. The students started to boo her. She said, “This is reality.” Now, she’s not coming from any religious viewpoint. She just did, look, biology. There’s a man, there’s a woman. There’s difference in chromosomes. There’s difference in molecular structure. They’re different.

She didn’t get to talk much before there were students up yelling and screaming. They ran over and one of them knocked the sound system off the table it was on so that she could no longer speak. And they’re marching out. And so someone had their camera on out as they were marching out of the... Finally, the dean or whoever he was got up and said, “Look, this is a university. This means that we have freedom of speech here. And if you don’t want to be here, get out.” You know, so he wasn’t that blunt, but you know, he just told people to leave. So you have all these people leaving. As they were leaving, they’re shouting, shouting, “Fascist. Power to the people.” Fascist? Just because a woman has a womb and a man doesn’t and someone gets up and states that fact, they’re a fascist? I guess that’s what I am.

They have no excuse for their ignorance. So God says whatever punishment he does on them. Now we know there’s a second resurrection and we know what that means. But understand, a second resurrection doesn’t erase the sins that people are committing now. Only their future repentance will erase the sins they’re committing now. And some won’t repent. We know that because there’s a lake of fire. There are people who won’t repent. Why? Paul goes through here and talks about how these people worship the...they worship nature instead of the Creator. They, he really gets into the LGBTQ, you know, which was big then too, and explains why that is wrong. And then he just attacks the whole basis of morality that was common in the Roman world. There’s everything from sexual immorality and covetousness and maliciousness and envy and murder, and he goes on and on and on, I mean, just verse after verse. And then verse 28 is interesting here.

Romans 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind to do things which are not fitting.”

God said, “Okay, you want to go that direction, go.” The word debase there, this is the new King James, is very interesting. In the old King James, it just sounds like a stronger word. It’s reprobate. He gave them over to a reprobate mind. This is interesting in Greek. The word translated reprobate means, and it was a term they used when they were making something out of metal. Say you’re making a metal pot, okay? And a metal pot would be formed and made, and then you would test it. So you put something in it and the bottom falls out. You say, okay, this pot is reprobate. I mean, they’re translated in English. That means it’s been tested, found useless, and rejected. So that’s what this means. God looks at them and says, “I’ve tested you, you have been found useless, and I reject you.”

Now you and I can’t declare anybody useless, and you and I can’t declare anybody rejected. Only God can do that, but God does that here. Does not rejoice in iniquity. We can’t become so overwhelmed by this world and because we’re told not to hate people. We, you know, we’d hate them, now we become like them, right? Remember one of the, not the fruits of the Spirit, not fruits of the flesh, but the works of the flesh, was what? Hatred. Now we go around hating people. Oh, we hope God fries you. Now we’re in a really bad situation. We’re becoming like them. But at the same time, we cannot get to the place where we are not appalled at the sin. And I’m afraid we’re becoming too soft to it. We’re becoming too soft to it. We’re not appalled by it.

Romans 1:32 He says, “Who knowing the righteous judgment of God,” he says, because we know those who understand the Scripture, the righteous judgment of God, “that those who practice such things are deserving of death.”

Well, everybody’s deserving of death. The only reason you and I are deserving of death is because God called us, God opened our minds, we repented, and God gave us His Spirit. That’s it. If it wasn’t for that, we’d be deserving of death too. So we can’t say, “Oh, they’re deserving of death, I’m not.” Well, that’s only by the grace of God. And the grace of God has to be offered, but the grace of God has to be accepted. This word reprobate is a very strong word. In other words, when Christ comes back and God pours out His wrath on the world, that’s exactly what it is. It’s God’s wrath on the world. We can’t soften that because He hates what they’re doing.

You say, “God doesn’t hate anything.” There’s lots of scriptures that talks about God hating something. But here’s what I want to bring this in on, because you and I said, “Well, okay, we’re not doing this,” right? We’re not committing abortions. We’re not supporting transgenderism. We’re not out stealing. We’re not out cheating. We’re not committing adultery. Okay, so we’re not doing these things, but notice what it says.

Romans 1:32 Not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. See, we can get to the place we’re so soft on sin that we’re actually approving the sin of others. It’s not that bad. It really isn’t that bad. When God says it’s a reprobate mind, tested, found useless, and rejected by Him. By him.

What does it mean then to live as a Christian in this world? 2 Peter. This is uncomfortable. This isn’t what I like. This isn’t what I want to read. This isn’t... Every day, I’m less and less a citizen of the United States. Every day I realize more and more I’m a citizen of the kingdom of God and they are not the same thing. They are not the same thing.

2 Peter 2:6 Middle of a sentence here, but Peter says, “and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemn them to destruction, making them an example to those who after would live ungodly.”

So here, God says, or Peter writes, God took action. He found these people reprobate. He tested them, they failed. They were useless in His mind, okay, we can’t call anybody useless, in His mind, and they were rejected.

2 Peter 2:7-8 “And He punished them and delivered though righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked. For that righteous man dwelling among them tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds.”

You and I must settle that in this world, you and I will always be out of place. That’s what it is to be a Christian. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life. See, I don’t think the gospel is, oh, bad news, bad news until Christ comes back. I think we can enjoy life. I mean, to have love, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, mercy, faith, to have all that is a good life. That peace, that’s a good life. We can have a good life. You and I actually have a physically blessed life. There’s nobody in this room that doesn’t live a physically blessed life. The blessings of God. So all of us have a good life. But all of us will feel more and more oppressed as we become filled with more and more agape. I’ll just feel more oppressed. Because we just don’t fit.

It’s one of the reasons why I picked out Romans. There’s a couple of verses in Romans that I want to be our focus verses for the next few months as we head towards Passover. I want that to be our focus as we head towards the spring holy days, where God rejuvenates us. So this isn’t a message of gloom and doom. It’s a message of how to have a stable life, rejoicing in an unstable, sick world, because it isn’t going to get any better. If you think this red wave is going to fix it, it’s not. It’s not going to it. It’s a broken world. It’s Satan’s world. It’s been broken since Adam and Eve got kicked out of Eden. And you and I had this remarkable opportunity to become unbroken. That’s what’s supposed to motivate us. We’ve been called to be unbroken in a broken world, but only God can do that.

Our third point here about not rejoicing in iniquity. And this is another little subtle one I’ll just mention just for a couple minutes, but agape doesn’t rejoice in the sins of others. This is interesting. This is what we do in our society. We make everybody a hero, right? Oh, the latest pop star, the latest movie star, the latest person with a podcast, the latest NFL star, that whatever it is, and we make them our heroes and we worship at their feet. And then we find out the scandal. And it’s like, “Did you hear?” And everybody sort of likes the scandal. It’s like we like building them up and we like bringing them down. I haven’t been covering or watching too much of the NFL this season, just haven’t had the time to do so. But I do notice that the lead story seems to be that Tom Brady is getting divorced. So you know what’s going to be now for months? Whose fault is it? Did someone commit an adultery? Oh, we get secret information about the trial. This is going to come out over and over and over again as what?

Well, six months ago, he was the greatest player that ever lived. Right? The GOAT. The greatest of all time. As a quarterback, he is. And now everybody finds out, you mean he’s just a rotten human being like the rest of us? Good. Good. That’s remembering for that. We rejoice in the sins of other people because it makes us feel good about ourselves. That’s a little subtle, isn’t it? Oh good, did you hear this one? And so we love our heroes when they fall. See, they weren’t so good after all. We rejoice in iniquity.

Now we have to go to that next point. Agape rejoices in the truth. So we’ll cover this one quickly. I want to go to 2 Thessalonians 2. 2Thessalonians 2. Now this is a prophecy, we know the prophecy where there’s this man of sin that comes on in the last days and sits in the temple as God and deceives the world. But it’s very interesting here what Paul says, why people are attracted to this man.

2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 “And when the lawless one will be revealed,” he’s sitting in the temple, and the verses before this state that, “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” So he’s going to convince people because he can do what appears miracles. Satan’s going to give him a certain power. “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie, that they may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

They did not rejoice in the truth. They did not want the truth. They do not, they find pleasure, they find joy, they find happiness in unrighteousness. That’s their motivation. And so he deceives them. You and I, we’re given this book. And you and I have been given something. I know this sounds... Boy, it sounds prideful or something, but it’s either true or it’s not true. You and I, through God’s Spirit, have been given some revelation and insight into this book. It’s either true or it’s not true. I think you’re here because you believe it’s true. Do you realize what a miracle that is? You know, God heals somebody of cancer, that’s child’s play. That’s God manipulating some molecules. Taking a human being and bringing them to repentance and having them repent and then giving them His Spirit and developing in us agape, now that’s a miracle. That revelation has been given to you, that miracle is being done in you.

And how lightly are you taking that? Do you love the truth? Do you rejoice in the truth? Is this book something you can’t stay away from? Does this book give you meaning and life and purpose? Or do you just sort of go through life aimless and come to church once a week and say, “Oh good, I got my spiritual fix?” If this is your spiritual fix only once a week, you’re in trouble. This is about God taking you and changing you so that you do not rejoice in iniquity and you rejoice in the truth, the truth of God. Now we don’t know all truth. I don’t know everything in this book. I don’t think I will. Ever. Well, until Christ comes back. Maybe I will then. Maybe he’ll give me something I don’t have, because I don’t have it now.

Last night I called my 14-year-old grandson. It was his 14th birthday. So I called him, and last night we’re talking about video games, you know, just 14-year-old stuff, going on and on. And then something comes up about the Bible. I forget what he said. And he said, “You know, Grandpa, we’ll never really understand all of the Bible, will we?” I said, “Not in this life.” I said, “That’s because it’s the mind of God. Do you think you could understand the mind of God?” And he said, “Nope.” And then we went on to start talking about other silly 14-year-old stuff. But in that little moment, for whatever triggered his mind, he asked the question. And we had the little comments. You know, there’s little things I wait for to happen.

By the way, we came up with it. I think we could be millionaires. If there’s anybody here that can design a video game, we came up with an idea for a video game, I think we’d be millionaires. But anyways. We don’t know all truth, and if we pretend to, we’re wrong. But the bottom line is, we’ve been given something that’s unique from God and a love of truth so that we rejoice in it. You know, I wonder that we go to the Feast of Tabernacles, rejoice in all the physical things, and that’s good. But you know what’s more important than that? Rejoicing in the truth of the Feast of Tabernacles. That’s what’s more important. Are we rejoicing in that truth being here today? Do we rejoice in this day? Do we thank God every Friday night as the sun goes down? Thank you for this holy time that you have set aside for me so that I can come to you. Do we rejoice in it? Or is it like, oh man. Sun’s coming down, I got things to do still. Are we rejoicing in the truth? Because that is one of the things that agape produces, rejoicing in the truth.

Let’s just end by going to Psalm 119. I’m not going to read much of this chapter. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible, but David here talks about over and over again, it’s a Psalm about how much he wants to learn the truth, the truth of God.

Psalm 119:1-8 Says, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who keep Him with the whole heart, or seek Him,” I’m sorry, “seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity. They walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed to keep your statutes.” He says, “This is what I want to be. And I’m not even there yet. I want to learn, I want to know. I want to obey, but I still don’t know how. Just keep teaching me.” “Then I would not be ashamed,” he says, “when I look into all your commandments. I will praise you with the uprightness of heart. When I learn your righteous judgments, I will keep your statutes. Oh, do not forsake me utterly.” Don’t give up on me. Just keep teaching me. And you read through this and you see how much he loved the truth.

Psalm 119:33 “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.”

David rejoiced in the truth of God. And even when he went wrong, God always brought him back to that truth. If you and I don’t rejoice in the truth of God, someday we can drift and drift and drift, and well, He doesn’t bring us back because we’ve lost sight of it. It’s not that important to us. It’s just sort of what we did. We were sort of religious. No, we have to rejoice in the truth, the truth that God has given. Now, sort of a last point on this is that means we have to try to apply truth to all situations. And here is the reality. The reality is there’s many things in life we don’t know what the truth is. Just watch the news. We don’t really know what the truth is and you won’t know. Oh, you might when something gets figured out later, but I mean, overall, we live in a world of confusion, in a world of lies and half-truths.

I read an interesting article this week that a minister sent to me in the region. And he says, “I thought might find this interesting.” It was a man who said, “I have spent years and years trying to figure out who’s driving this bus. The world is headed towards a cliff. Who’s driving the bus?” And he says, “Well, for a while I thought it was this group, and then I thought it was this group, and then I thought it was these leaders, and then I thought it was this, and I thought it was that and the other.” And he says, “After years of studying and looking and doing all this research, I’ve come to the conclusion, there’s nobody driving this bus, and we’re still going to go off the cliff.” And what was interesting is in the comments below, someone said, “Oh no, there’s somebody driving it. It’s Satan. It’s Satan.”

What was interesting were all the other comments was, “What an idiot you are, Satan doesn’t exist.” So the whole attack was on this idea that Satan’s driving the bus. But I just found it interesting, a man who, I’m searching for the truth, I’m searching for the truth, I’m searching for the truth, and the thing is, there is no truth. Yes, there is. You’re missing who’s driving the bus. That’s what you’re missing. So we have to understand, we make judgments all the time, we only have bits and pieces of truth, half truth, this, that, and the other. But you know what we know that’s true? If you believe it, your faith, this is your faith, you have to believe this is true. If your faith is this is true, this is the word of God, it changes everything. Because you’re not going to know all the truth in this confused world. But you know what this says, and so we can rejoice in it.

Agape doesn’t rejoice in iniquity. It rejoices in the truth. What a simple statement, but it’s immense. It’s immense. We have to look at our lives and see if we are secretly wanting to sort of touch or smell the forbidden fruit. Not eat it, but experience it somehow. We have to see if we are vicariously rejoicing in sin by approving it. And then we have to really ask ourselves, do I enjoy the reports of sins of others because it makes me feel better about myself? Because all of that are subtle ways of rejoicing in iniquity. You have to ask God to stir up your spirit in you so that you can rejoice in the truth. And we’ve got to get back into this truth. That’s why, that’s why the scripture that I said is our marching orders between now and Passover begins with the scriptures. It starts with the Bible. We’ve got to be in this every day, letting God talk to us, letting God lead us, seeking His will in our lives. Much of it has to do with our personal conduct then, how God is leading us, seeking his way, and then seeking the truth. in every aspect of our lives. One little piece of truth is there is somebody driving the bus and it’s Satan. But the great truth is, he doesn’t drive it off the cliff. Jesus Christ comes back and stops it. It’s a simple truth that gives us hope. Agape, it doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, but it does rejoice in the truth of God.