Sunday, November 17, 2013                        Purer in Heart Index

Creating and Maintaining a Pure Heart - 2
Sanctify the Lord in your Heart
Deal with your impurities

 We are continuing our study of the pure heart.  We have begun discussing how to maintain a pure heart.  Last week we noted that you need to make up your mind.  Once you have done that what is next.  In this lesson we want do discuss the need to sanctify the Lord God in your heart.

 I.                     Sanctify the Lord God

a.        1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you.” (NKJV)
The NASU says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB95)
NOTE: In examining the various Greek manuscripts we have available, some render it one way or some the other way.  Older manuscripts lean toward the latter reading (NASB95).  Whether the text has reference to God or Jesus, regardless of the difference, the point we are dealing with is the same – we need to sanctify them (both) in our hearts.

b.       1 Pet. 3:15.  The word “sanctify” is defined as, “to feel reverence for or to honor as holy.  To hallow, to regard as holy, to honor as holy.” (L&N, 88.27).  “1 to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow. 2 to separate from profane things and dedicate to God. 2A consecrate things to God. 2B dedicate people to God.”  (Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon) Its root is from the same Greek word from which we get the words, holy and saint, and chaste (1 Pet. 3:2).

c.        Consider the character of God.

                                                   i.       He is a God of purity - Again, I am fearful that many in our society do not hallow God enough.  The reason so many are caught up in sin is because they do not truly recognize the majesty of God, how awesome He truly is. 
1 John 3:3 says after speaking of how when the Lord returns we shall see Him as He is and shall be like Him.  Then we read, ““And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.   Notice how God is pure!

                                                  ii.      We must NEVER forget that we are in His presence!  Heb. 12:28-29 says that we serve Him acceptably with “reverence and godly fear.”

                                                iii.      Consider His majesty.  In Revelation 4 & 5, we find a scene of the throne of God in heaven.  Its majesty is described as well as the reverence of all creatures around the throne.  They bow down and worship Him.  The four angelic beings said, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!  (Revelation 4:8) WE see the majesty of God!
 In Exodus 19 we find the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.  Exodus 19:10-20 describes the awesome scene as the Lord came down on Mt. Sinai.  Think of how awesome that scene was.  Friends, we must realize that we are in the presence of Almighty God!  Serious contemplation of who He is and who we are will help us to prepare our hearts for Him. 

d.       Understanding these things, the idea of sanctifying God in your hearts means that you set up His throne in your heart.  As one source says, this does not mean to make Him holy because He already is, rather it means to REGARD Him as holy and treat Him as such. 
IN Leviticus 10:3 after killing Nadab and Abihu for offering “strange fire” the Lord spoke saying, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.”
It means that you let Him RULE your life.  1 Cor.  6:19-20 speaks of our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We sometimes hear people in the religious world say, “Let Him be the Lord of your life.”  While there may be misunderstanding as to how this happens, it IS EXACTLY the sentiment we have in mind when we speak of sanctifying the Lord God in your hearts.  The idea is SURRENDER!

e.       Draw near to God and He will draw near to you - “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

f.         Let Him dwell within you.  Romans 8:9-11, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  
While this “dwelling” is misunderstood by many, it is a fact to be considered.  He IS to dwell (influence) within us and that will only happen if we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. 

II.                  Deal with your impurities –

a.        To sanctify God in our hearts, we have to make room for Him.  That means clearing out everything that stands in His way.  All the dangers we have discussed.

b.       Isaiah 66:1–2 says, “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.  If we invite God in it means the right things are in our heart, and these cannot exist with those things which tear them down.

c.        Continually we emphasize, Psalm 24:3-4 speaks of the one who ascends to the hill of the Lord and stands in His presence.  He must have “clean hands and a pure heart.”  A part of sanctifying God is dealing with the impurities that keep one out of God’s presence.

d.       2 Cor. 7:1 says, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

e.       Repent!  Having made up your mind, you have to put away your idols –

                                                   i.      Think of Israel (Jacob) as his family returned to Canaan – Gen. 35:1-4, they were instructed by the Lord to go to Bethel and dwell there.  Jacob’s instructions were, ““And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.” (Genesis 35:2)   The gods were buried there. 

                                                  ii.      This of Joshua’s challenge to Israel to put away their idols – move ahead.  Joshua 24:14, before issuing the challenge to choose (make up their mind) he told Israel to put away the gods of Egypt and other lands.

                                                iii.      1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  A passage that might have been dealing with actual idols that were prevalent in Corinth, the point is worthy of further pursuit. 

                                                iv.      We have to deal with our IDOLS.  By an idol we may not mean a statue of a supposed god (though that would be included).  An idol could be anything that stands between you and God.  Anything you choose to serve that hinders your putting God first.

1.       Paul said that covetousness is idolatry.    Col. 3:5

2.       For some it might be your wealth  (like the rich young ruler it was his wealth – Matt. 19:21-22)

3.       For others it might be your pride and arrogance

4.       For others it might be your entertainment

                                                  v.      IF we have anything that is standing in the way of being pure in God’s eyes – DEAL WITH IT!  Many of us need to face some honest and hard decisions about what we are doing with our time and resources.  We may need to give some things up.  We are going to talk more about this in our next lesson.  2 Cor. 6:14-17 – what accord has God with Satan?
1 Cor. 10:18-22 – Paul admonishes them to not drink the “cup of demons”.  He notes you CANNOT drink both the cup of demons and the cup of the Lord.   While dealing with real idols, the point is to serve God you have to get rid of your idols!

                                                vi.      1 John 5:21 fittingly ends, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

f.         Declare war on the devil 

                                                   i.      To the degree we reverence God we need to despise the devil. 
I am fearful that a problem that stands in the way of a pure heart is that we don’t truly despise the devil as much as we ought to.  We need to remind ourselves of the damage he has done.   Brethren, it is time to become indignant.  It is time to become angry with intense feelings.

1.       Why is worldliness such a problem in our lives?  IT IS BECAUSE OF SATAN!

2.        Why do we not do right when we want to?  Why do we give into temptations?

3.       Why is it that when we try to do right, Satan always places an obstacle in our way?  IT IS BECAUSE OF SATAN!

4.       Anytime you suffer, it is because of him.   When we say goodbye to our loved ones it is because of Satan. (NOTE: NOT discounting our personal responsibility)

5.       When the church has to withdraw from someone it is because of the devil.  When we lose our children and loved ones to the world, it is his work.

6.       When we see a society that hates God and you because you believe in Him and try to do right it is because of the influence of the devil in their lives.  The world lies under his sway! 1 John 5:19

7.       BRETHREN, if you are not the Christian you ought to be IT IS BECAUSE OF SATAN.

                                                  ii.      BUT, DO YOU DESPISE HIM ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?  Realize the threat he poses to your life.  He does not want what is best for you or the world.  He wants to own you.  He promises you pleasure but at a cost. 

                                                iii.      It is time that you get indignant about his influence in your life.  Despise him and everything he stands for.  Resist him with your all. 
Eph. 4:27 tells us to not give place to the devil.
1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us to be sober and to resist him.
James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.


And thus we can see some more things that will help us to maintain a pure heart.   Hopefully, we will make up our minds to fully serve God.  And with that resolve, may we pursue the sanctity of God in our hearts and remove whatever impurities hinder that.  But there is more.  We will continue our study next week.