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Sunday, February 24, 2013 am                Index

PURER IN HEART (1)
Introduction

 

The Sermon on the Mount begins with what we describe as the beatitudes.   Jesus began this great sermon with a list of 8 qualities that describe how we draw closer to God.  One of the beatitudes says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)  Today I want to begin a study dealing with purity of heart in the life of a Christian. 

As Christians, we continually have it impressed upon our minds that our service to God must not only be based upon following His commands, but it must also come from proper motives.   For many us, the challenge we face in striving to live godly lives is a pure heart.  It is with that in mind that this year I have decided to focus on purifying our heart.  It will be a recurring theme in lessons presented. 

One might ask how much the Bible actually has to say about purity of heart.  In this study we will consider a number of subjects related to the Christian’s heart including:

·         What is the Christian’s heart?  What does it mean to be pure?

·         The pure heart in the Bible – we will examine passages that discuss the pure heart

·         God’s part in purifying the heart – He is the ultimate source of purity

·         Biblical examples of pure and impure hearts

·         The qualities of a pure heart - honesty, sincerity, purposed, virtuous, single-minded, unpolluted, discipline, focus, humility, love, etc.

·         The polluted heart – the antithesis of the pure heart.  What are some things that pollute the heart? Including an examination of the effect of media, words, materialism, poor attitudes, lust, hypocrisy, the teachings of men (false doctrine), etc.

·         How can we purify our hearts?  Sanctification, focus, repentance, prayer, etc.

·         Maintaining a pure heart – reaching forward, forgetting the past, keeping busy, reverence, etc.

·         Purity throughout our lifetime – as youth, the working years, middle age, the golden years, etc.

·         The pure heart in every aspect of our life – our conversation, conduct, relationships, work, worship, homes, etc.

·         Purity in the Lord’s Church

·         The purity of God’s word

·         Challenges to maintaining a pure heart – the conscience, dealing with doubt and guilt, sincerity & ignorance, temptations, forgiveness, overcoming the world, patience, spiritual boredom

·         The rewards of a pure heart – hope, a good conscience, fellowship with God, answered prayers, God’s blessings, etc.

 I.                    Why this study?

a.       The heart of the Christian is at the foundation of everything we do. 
When we speak of the heart, we are obviously not speaking of the blood pump in our chest.  Though I believe that was used as an analogy because of its importance and how we know the heart delivers life sustaining nutrients to every part of the body.  The heart we are concerned about is the inner person, the seat of our intellect, emotions, attitudes, thoughts and will. 
We can do things the right way, but if we do not have a pure heart, our conduct is vain.  Consider as an example how a lack of love renders our faith useless (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
It is my hope that through this study we will better understand the heart of a Christian as it ought to be.  This will be the focus of our lesson next week.

b.       Our need to be close to God (a relationship) calls for a pure heart. 
Matt. 5:8 says that the pure in heart shall see God.  Psalm 15:1-2 describes the one who may abide in the presence of God.  He walks uprightly, works righteousness and speaks truth in his heart.  Psa. 24:3-5 also bears this out.
Often we read in scripture of God or Christ dwelling in us.  Is He not entitled to a pure temple?  In fact we shall see that He demands it.  In Ephesians 3:17 Paul speaks of Christ dwelling in your hearts through faith.  Also Rom. 8:11 speaks of the Spirit dwelling in you.

c.        The heart has a direct bearing on how we treat each other as brethren.  It is my hope that this study will help us draw closer to one another.  1 Peter 1:22 speaks of our need to love one another from a pure heart.

d.       If we truly desire to win others to Christ, it will begin with purity of heart.  Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16).    The way we influence the world correlates to our heart.  Are we doing anything at all?  If so, are we merely going through the motions or is our heart into it?

e.       A pure heart will cause us to live in such a way that we will influence our environment for good – whether it be our community, the work place, our homes or the church – we need purity of heart.

f.        A pure heart is also an important element in our security as Christians.  We can be surer of our salvation and have a clear conscience.  In fact, when we stand before God in judgment, He will look at our hearts - Psa. 7:9, Prov. 17:3, Jer. 17:10,  1 Thess. 2:4 says that God, “tests the hearts.”

g.       It is with such things in mind that I begin this study and commend it to each of us.

 II.                  Purer in Heart in God’s Word

a.        The subject of purity is something frequently addressed in scripture, and so is the heart.  We will address both of these in greater detail beginning in our next lesson.  However, included in these texts   are numerous passages of scripture that directly mention the pure heart or make a clear allusion to such.  As we begin our study let us notice some of these.

b.       The Pure heart:

                                                   i.      Psa. 24:3-5,Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

                                                  ii.      Psa. 73:1,Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart.”  In this verse we find that while Israel was God’s chosen nation, yet HE still expected purity of heart in their service.

                                                iii.      Proverbs 22:11, “He who loves purity of heart And has grace on his lips, The king will be his friend.  Solomon observes yet another axiom of mankind – the pure in heart are usually the ones to be trusted and even desired when trust is needed.

                                                iv.      Matt. 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.  This is the verse we began with.  Jesus declares that he who is pure in heart is the one who will see God.  He will see God for who He is and when this life is over, he is the one who will spend eternity with Him.

                                                  v.      1 Tim. 1:5, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,” In this passage Paul is counseling Timothy as he remains in Ephesus.  His task is to charge the brethren to not quarrel and to seek to build each other up.  That leads to our verse.

                                                vi.      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.  While Paul is challenging Timothy to avoid situations that lead to lust, he describes the types of qualities that one ought to pursue.  These will preserve one from “youthful lusts” but they also are descriptive of those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

                                               vii.      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.”  Peter’s challenge is for brethren to love each other with proper motives.  These will emanate from the pure heart, including “fervent love.”

                                             viii.      James 4:8,Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  Here James challenges brethren to behave (see vs. 1-6).  In vs. 8 you find the solution or formula – Draw near to God, cleanse your hand and purify your hearts.  We will have much more to say about this in the future.

                                                ix.      Acts 15:9,and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  In this passage where Peter is explain the conversion of Cornelius and his household he notes how their faith (obedient) resulted in purified hearts.

c.        Other verses also speak to this heart using other terms

                                                   i.      Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

                                                  ii.      Prov. 20:9,Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”?  Solomon notes that when it comes to a clean heart, we need help.   In our studies we will address this as we examine our God and purity.

                                                iii.      1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your heart, and be ready

                                                iv.      Heb. 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

                                                  v.      1 Thess. 3:12-13, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

                                                vi.      In future lesson we will discuss some of these texts in greater details.

 

And thus we begin our study of purity of heart in the life of a Christian.  AS we have seen in this lesson, God expects us to have a pure heart.  May such be a priority in our lives.  And may this study provoke each of us (and I will begin with myself) to examine our hearts, make correction where needed and live with a more secure hope because our heart is right with God.  It is with this in mind that I humbly present this study.