Dealing With Dark Thoughts Part 2

III. The truth of the gospel accords with soundness of mind. 2TI 1:7; ACT 26:25 A. Paul was saved from irrational, dark thoughts about decent people. ACT 8:3; 9:1; 26:11 1. He was ignorantly zealous, a dangerous premise he later denounced. ROM 10:1-3 2. His pre-conversion problem was a false belief about acceptance with God. 3. History is filled with examples of God-fearing people struck down by people with a faulty soteriology. Consider the wrath against those who refused infant baptism which was falsely assumed to be necessary for eternal life. 4. “There is nothing more terrifying than ignorance in action.” (Goethe) 5. Contrast Paul’s former disposition with the way he conversed with the ignorant philosophers on Mars’ hill. ACT 17:22-23 6. “In reasoning with others, we should use soft words and hard arguments.” (Matthew Henry) 7. Being delivered from a lie was the salvation of others from the ugly implications of the lie.

B. The gospel levels men and topples the false idols of the sinner’s righteousness. 1. It declares all under sin and the power of Satan by nature. ROM 3:9-10; EPH 2:3 2. It denies the notion of works righteousness (the reward of God as a matter of debt to the sinner). ROM 4:4 3. It denies the notion of the sinner’s self-righteousness by any means. JOB 14:4; ISA 64:6; MAT 3:9; GAL 5:3; PSA 49:6-9 4. This is important since the self-righteous will have dark thoughts about others. LUK 18:9

C. The gospel denounces pride, self-love and self-exaltation. 1CO 13:4-5; 1PE 5:5-6 1. Those who make much of themselves will have dark thoughts about others. 2TI 3:1-4 2. The prodigal who was full of self was out of his mind until repentance. LUK 15:11-18

D. How important it is that we deliver ourselves by the gospel from the negative influence of our perverse generation. ACT 2:40; PHIL 2:12-16 1. The converts in ACT 2:41 had come to realize that the forces of political corruption and their own ignorant baseness had led them to have dark thoughts about the one pure Man in their midst. ACT 2:36-37 2. Our culture is being torn apart by irrational hatred of our fellow-men that is being driven by godless fear, self-centeredness, and hopelessness. We may not be able to save the culture but we do need to save ourselves from it. In so doing, our hope can inspire questions for which we should be able to give answers. 1PE 3:13-17 3. Consider the relevance of ROM 12:17-21

III. Deal with sin properly by recognition, repentance, confession and accepting the judgment of God against yourself. PSA 51:1-4; EZR 9:13 A. Begin by being honest about what you are, what you have done, and how you will never be able to argue your depraved virtue to a holy God. ISA 6:5 1. Much of our life consists of image-polishing to convince ourselves and others that we are superior examples of humanity. 2. But God sees through the polish. HEB 4:12-13 3. Accept that you deserve no good thing from God and any personal value or improvement of your worthless estate is owing to His gifts and grace. 1CO 15:9-10; 4:6-7 4. This will guard against the “holier than thou” attitude that rules self-righteous sinners. ISA 65:5 c/w MAT 9:10-12 5. The recognition of being polished dung was the turnaround in Saul of Tarsus’ life. ROM 7:8-9

B. Consider Cain who slew his brother, Abel. 1JO 3:11-12 1. Cain’s unscriptural religion was rejected. GEN 4:3-5 2. Instead of humbling himself and repenting, he turned glum in spite of a promise of of dominance. vs. 6-7 3. Since he couldn’t fight God, he slew Abel. v. 8 4. He couldn’t stand that his brother had “shown him up.” This is the dangerously dark thought path of envy that drives one to hate rather than reform. PRO 27:4 c/w MAR 15:10 5. Do not be deceived about this base power of human nature. JAM 4:5

C. King Saul followed a similar path. 1. He should have reformed his ways after the first rebuke. 1SAM 13:13-14 2. But he didn’t, and was told that there was somebody better than himself whom God would prefer. 1SAM 15:28 3. Saul’s thoughts went downhill from envy to fear, suspicion, paranoia, hatred, murder, the occult and suicide --- anything but humility and repentance. 4. Beware the attitude, “It is not my misery that most distresses me; it is another man’s happiness.”

D. Watch out for the fragility of highmindedness. ROM 11:20; 12:3 1. This is one of the worst self-deceptions. GAL 6:3 2. Consider again LUK 18:11; 1CO 4:7 3. Absalom promoted himself as the answer to everyone’s problems but was a manipulating moral degenerate who craved power. 2SAM 15:2-6; 16:21-22 4. His counsellor, Ahithophel, was so full of himself that he committed suicide when his advice was not followed. 2SAM 16:23; 17:23 5. Nobody, save Jesus Christ, is irreplaceable. 1TI 6:14-15

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