Sunday, June 16, 2013 am            PureInHeart Index

Qualities of a Pure Heart - 7

 We have been engaged in a study of the pure heart.  It is my hope that we have seen the importance of a pure heart and the qualities that will be manifest by it.  These are qualities that will be present if a heart is pure and qualities that, as we develop them, will produce a pure heart.   Thus far we have examined qualities of:

·         Determination – undivided, prioritized and resolve

·         Development – integrity, patience, humility and contentment

·         Result - Kindness, dignity and confidence

 As we continue our study of the pure heart, we will notice one final category – qualities of motive – LOVE.   Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,” (1 Timothy 1:5)

 I.                    What is love?

a.        Defined – in Greek there are at least four words translated as love in our English language.  2 of them are used in the NT (agape and phileo).  Phileo is associated with affection and kindness for another.  The word we want to focus on in this lesson is the Greek word agape. 
“to have love for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation, loving concern.” (L&N 25:43)
Thayer defines it, “to love, to be full of good will, to exhibit the same.”
Vine’s describes it as “the characteristic word of Christianity.  Whenever this term is used in a list, it is always presented in a position of prominence (first - Gal. 5:22-23, last - 2 Pet. 1:7, Col. 3:12-14 – above all these things put on love)

A practical definition is, caring enough to sacrifice for what is best.   The emphasis is an attitude of caring about others more than your own desires.
It is the motive that governs our conduct in every relationship – the love of God and Jesus toward us (john 3:16, 15:13, Eph. 5:2), our love toward them (Mark 12:30-31, 1 John 4:19), our love of one another as brethren (John 13:34), our family (Eph. 5:25-33), our neighbors (Gal. 5:14, Jas. 2:8) and even our enemies (Matt. 5:43-44).

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes this love.  WE have alluded to this passage throughout our study.  In this text we are told, love

                                                   i.      Suffers long – is patient; Is kind – discussed last week; does not envy - content, does not parade itself, is not puffed up  - humility; does not behave rudely – dignity;
Does not seek its own – it is unselfish – it cares about others and even places their interests above our own.

                                                  ii.      Is not provoked – as a part of dignified behavior, what this expression is actually saying is that one does not lose his temper.
Thinks no evil – love does not assume the worst in a situation.  We give the benefit of the doubt.

                                                iii.      Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth – godly love doesn’t want to be involved in ungodliness and does not endorse it in any way.   Instead, a pure heart will rejoice whenever God’s will prevails.

                                                iv.      Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things – this again is a process of one who wants the best in circumstances and will even endure wrongdoing if it accomplishes good.

                                                  v.      Love never fails – you cannot quit loving.  You may find yourself in a situation where you have to break fellowship with someone, give up friends and loved ones, but you don’t stop loving them.   I think of Jesus on that cross – you CANNOT out-love Him!

b.       Love must come from a pure heart –

                                                   i.      IF you have a pure heart, this love is going to manifest itself.   You will find your outlook on life is not so much about what you want, but determining what is best (not just good or better).  An examination of the qualities we have studies shows how they will lead to this.

                                                  ii.      The importance of this love is seen in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 – notice the significance of love in what we do.  Our accomplishments are meaningless without love.  This demonstrates the need for a pure heart.

c.        Consider the following passages in dealing with love and our heart

                                                   i.      Matt. 22:37 – you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. 

                                                  ii.      Col 2:2 speaks of hearts being encouraged, “being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding,…”

                                                iii.      2 Thess. 3:5 – “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the Love of God and into the patience of Christ.  It was Paul’s desire that our hearts lead us to loving God as we ought to.

                                                iv.      2 Tim. 2:22 – “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”   Love is one of the pursuits of the pure heart.

                                                  v.      1 Pet. 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,”

                                                vi.      Rom. 5:5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”   Why do we have hope?  Because we have the love of God in our hearts.  The love OF God, which we have noted in several passages could mean, the Love God has demonstrated to us OR it could mean our love FOR God.  Both are true and they complement one another.  Consider 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

                                               vii.      2 Tim. 1:7 – a spirit of love

d.       That pure hearts are the motivation behind love is also seen in numerous passages that describe how love governs our lives.

                                                   i.      Rom. 12:9 – “Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.”

                                                  ii.       1 Cor. 8:1 – “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  The word “edify” means to build up.  (L&N, 74:15) in this verse says the word means, “To increase the potential of someone or something, with focus upon the process involved.”    In scripture the term is always used in reference to spiritual strengthening, rather than social causes.  When we have a pure heart, our interest in our brethren will prompt us to seek to build them up. 

                                                iii.      1 Cor. 16:14 – “Let all that you do be done with love.”   It is NOT just some things, but ALL.  Love is the motive behind our actions.  Imagine the unity that could be achieved if we all acted with love.

                                                iv.      Gal. 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

                                                  v.      Col. 3:14 – “But above all these things put on love, the bond of perfection.  What are the “things” Paul is speaking of?  Co. 3:12-13, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

                                                vi.      2 Pet. 1:7 – the pinnacle of Christian growth in faith.  We have appealed to these verses throughout this study.  Gal. 5:22-23 – fruit of the Spirit it is listed first.


 II.                  How love from a pure heart is demonstrated

a.        By loving God – more than once we are called upon to love God.  This becomes obvious when we consider His love for us.  Again, I appeal to 1 John 4:19. 
But what we need to remember about this love is that is not purely emotional.  It is a RESPONSE to His love. 

HOW do we love God?   John 15:9-10, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

John 14:15,”If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

1 John 5:3, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (2 John 6)

b.       By loving others – we have already see that this love is at the foundation of every relationship we are involved in.  That too is emphasized in scripture.  Matt. 22:39 – the second commandment (second only to loving God) is to love your neighbor as yourself.

John 13:35, Jesus expresses that this is how the world knows that we are His disciples, “if we have love for one another.”
Rom. 13:8-10 – owe no one anything except this love.  IT is the fulfillment of the law, including your neighbor.

1 Pet. 4:8, we are to have fervent love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.  This is not saying that love automatically overlooks sin.  Rather it is saying that love will prompt us to NOT sin and to take actions to overcome sins in our lives and that of others.  It will also PREVENT a number of sins involved in mistreating each other.

c.        Forgiveness – this is actually covered in the above point, but it is worthy of special attention.  When our heart is pure, we are not going to hate others, even our enemies.  And whenever we have the opportunity to forgive, we will! NOT just the deserving, but all.  Jesus was pretty frank about this when He said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14–15)  This does not mean that one does not need to seek to make amends, but it does describe the attitude of the godly – he WANTS to forgive, like the father when the prodigal son returned home (Luke 15:11-31).  He was waiting for him (vs. 20-24).
Jesus said that our forgiveness must BY FAR outdo that of the world – (Matt. 18:21-22- 70x7; Luke 17:3-4 – 7 times in a day)
Col. 3:13, forgiving one another even as Christ forgave you.   Eph. 4:32.

 And thus we can see the pure heart.  It is motivated by love, which is the product of all the other qualities we have discussed.  There is much more to say about the pure heart and as we progress through the year, we will discuss more.  In a few weeks we will begin examining things that corrupt the heart.  Until then let us seek to understand all the qualities we have discussed and strive to develop them in our lives.  What about you?  Is your heart pure?