Sunday, August 25, 2013 am            Pure In Heart Index

Dangers to the Pure Heart 1
Lust - Sensuality

     Throughout 2013 we have been addressing the subject of the pure heart in the life of the Christian.  Today we continue our study of the pure heart.  The importance of the pure heart is seen in the teachings of Jesus when He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)  David in Psalm 24:2-3 spoke of the one who will ascend the holy hill of God and stand in His holy place, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart...”

     In our studies thus far we have examined what the pure heart is – the heart being that part of the inner man where our intellect, emotions, attitudes, thoughts and will reside.  It is that which governs the soul that will spend eternity somewhere based upon how we conduct our lives.  As Christians we are expected to have a pure heart.  There are a number of passages that speak directly of the pure heart and numerous others that address the importance of the heart.  Prov. 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22, NKJV), “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,” (1 Peter 1:22, NKJV)

The idea of purity involves two things: Being undiluted and unpolluted.  WE need both if we are to be pleasing.

     The bulk of our study has been directed toward qualities of a pure heart.  These qualities include: priority, resolve, integrity, honesty, self-control, patience,  humility, contentment, kindness, dignity, confidence and love.  We examined each of these qualities and saw how they relate to our purity.  In 2 Peter 1:5-7 Peter described qualities that we are to with diligence add to our faith – virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.  Mastering these qualities will help us to live with full assurance and the ability to overcome every temptation that comes our way.

     In our lesson today we want to begin another aspect of our study of the pure heart.  Today we want to begin discussing some things that present a danger to the pure heart and discuss some things we can do to avoid these dangers.  There are many things will taint or even damage the pure heart.  These are influences that we deal with as we strive to live godly on a daily basis.  So let us begin examining some of these dangers.

 I.                    Warnings

a.        The Bible is filled with warnings about dangers to our hearts.

b.       Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”

c.        Gen. 6:5 – the world was destroyed by flood, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

d.       Proverbs 15:11, “Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.

e.       Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:34–35)

f.         Speaking to His own disciples about a parable similar to our previous verse Jesus said, “So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”And He said, “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.”” (Mark 7:18–23)

g.        Titus 1:15, “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”

 II.                    Lust

a.        The word ἐπιθυμία (epithymia) translated “lust” in our English New Testaments is actually a word that indicates a strong desire for something.  Within itself, the idea of strong cravings is not wrong – in fact at times we ought to strongly desire good things.   At times the word is used in a good sense, but a different English word is used, such as “desire” (Phil 1:23, 1 Thess. 2:17, Luke 22:15) or something similar to that.
 But the word, when translated “lust” is always bad.  It portrays the idea of a strong desire to have that which belongs to another or that which you are not entitled to have.   

b.       Lust will very quickly taint the pure heart.  By its very definition, it is craving something (in your heart) that is contrary to the qualities of purity.

c.        Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” (Romans 6:12)

d.       But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:1)

e.       But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14–15)

f.         Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” (1 Peter 2:11)

g.        For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;” (2 Timothy 4:3)

h.       1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

 III.                Sensuality - The Lust of the flesh and eyes

a.        Our society is driven by lust.  Often times when lust is mentioned, one thinks of sensuality.  It is found everywhere – on television, at the movies, on the radio, books, magazines, in music, on the billboards, etc.  The dress code of many leaves little to the imagination and exposes more skin than it covers up. 
It seems that you cannot avoid it. In fact, the greatest purveyors of lust are now found in our homes – our televisions and computers.   And society is craving more and more.
For example: Recently, the Today Show[1] aired a short segment on the decline of “G” rated movies.  It noted that more and more family oriented movies are seeking a PG rating because it is “the new G”.  One expert noted that what is now tolerated in an “R” rated movie would have been “X” when the ratings were first created.  “PG-13” now shows what would be found in “R” rated movies, etc. 
When we allow lustful images to enter our eyes, it will rapidly taint the pure heart.  Recall that purity of heart involves both being undiluted and unpolluted (not contaminated).   When one is lusting he is not focusing his heart on matters that will purify it. 

b.       Jesus taught, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22–23)  He was saying that what we allow into our bodies through our eyes will affect our hearts.

c.        On the same occasion, HE also said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

d.       Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,” (Romans 1:24, NKJV)

e.        And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

f.         Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

g.        IF we are to keep a pure heart, it is imperative that we recognize lust and avoid it.

                                                   i.      Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes, why then should I look upon a young woman?”(Job 31:1)

                                                  ii.      1 Pet. 2:11 warns us “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,”
2 Tim. 2:22 – Timothy was told to “flee youthful lusts.”

h.       Developing self-control will help one overcome lust.

IN our Next lesson we will continue studying the danger of lust - noting the lusts of covetousness and pride


[1] The Today Show, NBC, 7/19/13 – 8:30 am hour.