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Sunday, November 24, 2013 am            Purer in Heart Index

 

PURER IN HEART (20)
Maintaining a Pure Heart – 3
Choose Your Company Carefully

 

As we continue our study of Purity of Heart this year, we are focusing on some things we can do to maintain a pure heart.   In our previous lessons we have noted the need to make up your mind and to sanctify the Lord God (or Christ as Lord) in your heart and in the process deal with your impurities (because you cannot sanctify God in your heart if they are there).  Today, we want to focus on another principle that will help us maintain a pure heart.  We want to talk about choosing who you associate with.

 I.                    In 1 Cor. 15:33, Who are you associating with?

a.        Paul warned, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”   The NAS95 says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.”  The KJV says, “Evil communication corrupts good manners.”  The ESV says, “Bad company ruins good morals.”  With all these translations we glean what this text is teaching.   Paul was dealing with some were teaching false doctrine concerning the resurrection of Jesus and warned of associating with those who will corrupt the truth and godliness in your life.  What a principle! 

b.       IF we want a pure heart, we need to take this verse to heart.   Having sanctified ourselves to God and given Him the place He deserves, one of the best ways to maintain that purity of heart is by devoting substantial time to those people and things that will promote God in our lives.

c.        It is clearly evident that those we associate with have an influence on what we become. 

                                                   i.      That is why in scripture parents are so strongly admonished to deal with their children.  Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child…”
Eph. 6:4, ““And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

                                                  ii.      Prov. 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

                                                iii.      Proverbs 6:27, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?

d.       Paul noted that evil company corrupts good habits (manners, morals).  The word “habit” is a word that means a pattern of behavior or habitual conduct.  The idea is that WRONG associations will damage the things that OUGHT to be in our lives as Christians.  In other words, whoever OR whatever we associate with that corrupts our godly manner of life is to be avoided.  We are told in Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

1 Thess. 5:22 says, “Abstain from every form of evil.”

 II.                  Pick the right friends

a.        This is the most obvious application to our text and where we begin. 

b.       We all need friends and good friends are valuable.  They can serve as a source of encouragement, companionship, conversation, etc.  Solomon recognized the need for friends. 
Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
The ESV reads, ““A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Prov. 17:17 says, ““A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

c.        BUT, Solomon was also concerned about the wrong friends.  Often times when one gets in trouble it is because they are associating with the wrong friends. 
He told his son, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Prov. 1:10), Vs. 15, “My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path.
Prov. 4:14-15, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.”
The wrongs friends can talk you into doing things you know are wrong or they can keep you from doing what is right.  They can make it more difficult to serve God in many ways.

d.       Prefer your brethren and those who will support you in doing that which is right.  Friends, WE NEED each other!
Heb. 10:24, Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.
Rom. 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.”

 

 III.                Pick the right places and activities

a.        Sometimes a “companion” can be something instead of someone. There are many who devote considerable time to places and activities to the neglect of people.

b.       Where do you go when you are out?
James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is enmity with God.
Romans 8:6-7 says “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

c.        For the most part, we know what is right and what is wrong.  We know the places Christians have no business being (sinful movies, bars, dance halls, casinos, etc.)  and we know the activities we have no business engaging in (immodest dress, profanity, the conduct at the above places, etc.)  When we engage in these things that we know are harmful to our pure hearts, we are choosing evil companions.
And we cannot forget about this in our homes either.  We can waste our time, be unproductive or even engage in immoral activities there.  Is this the companions we have chosen?

d.       Instead, engage in all the activities a Christian should spend time with.  Ephesians 5:16.

                                                   i.      Read your Bible

                                                  ii.      Spend time in prayer

                                                iii.      Devote time to being with your brethren

                                                iv.      Find things that will “build you up” in the faith and give you healthy rest. 

                                                  v.      Make sure the activities you participate in are wholesome.

                                                vi.      As you have opportunity, do good for all men – Gal. 6:10

e.       1 Pet. 4:3 “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

 IV.                Pick the right church – we need to find a pure church.

a.         This is CRUCIAL in maintaining a pure heart.

a.        Christ died to purify the church.  Let us not forget this – Eph. 5:25-27, Acts 20:28 says that the Lord purchased the church with His own blood.   And if that was the cost paid for it, how dare we sully her in any way – whether it be compromising the message, the work or its purity!

b.       Paul dealt with impurity in the church.  1 Corinthians 5 gives an example of impurity in the church – Paul warned them that if they didn’t get rid of their immorality, it would corrupt them – 1 Cor. 5:6 says, “Your glorying is not good.  Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”
In Revelation, the churches at Pergamos (Rev. 2:14-16) and Thyatira (Rev. 2:19-23) had purity issues (polluted) with compromise and immorality.  Ephesus (Rev. 2:4-6), Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) and Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-19) had issues with purity (diluted).  These churches were all warned to repent and were in danger of losing their candlesticks (i.e. their standing with the Lord).

c.        We need to find a church that seeks to be pure in God’s eyes.  That means one that REFUSES to compromise His word, will not allow immorality in its midst and is striving to grow in every true way – closer to God, spiritually, in brotherhood and striving to reach the community.  Friends, if such is our goal in finding a congregation, we will have brethren that will HELP US maintain purity in our lives.

d.       Again, choose WHO you associate with.  Is there a reason John warned the “elect lady” to not welcome into your home one who brings false doctrine (2 John 9-11). 
We are sometimes accused of being overly cautious or intolerant in warning about associating with false teachers, but we must realize that false teachers WILL corrupt you with their false doctrine if given a chance.  They are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and often they have an agenda. They may acknowledge that you believe differently and seek “fellowship” in spite of our differences, but what will they say in casual conversations?  When they get the chance will they try to draw you away with their false doctrine?  Friends, this is WHY purity of doctrine is such a big deal! 
2 Pet. 2:2 speaks of many following their destructive ways. Also vs. 18-19
And let us realize that a church (or individual) that ignores doctrinal issues is also guilty.
 There is grave danger in ignorance!  (cf. Hosea 4:6)  When a generation is raised not being grounded in the truth, the church is in eminent danger of apostasy.  In many churches the youth doesn’t know WHY denominationalism is wrong!  There are many who simply see the church of Christ as one denomination among many, with its own unique doctrines, because they have never been taught any different.
Some don’t know what the Bible teaches about the sanctity of marriage (because churches are afraid to deal with unsanctified marriages), or other moral issues (i.e. modesty, modern dancing, social drinking, etc.).  The reason is these subjects are not being taught.
The result is a spiritually weak generation that cannot “contend for the faith” (Jude 3).  Having never been taught they are easily “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” (Eph. 4:14)
The result is fellowshipping those who teach and practice error.  We are told (again) in Ephesians 5:11, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

e.       Finally, a pure church requires you to be pure.  A church can help purify you and you help to purify the church.  You have to do your part.  Ephesians 4:16 – we all must do our share.

f.         TRULY, the church we associate with is crucial to the pure heart.  If you are part of a church that is not following God’s word, you are in danger.

 

Every day we are choosing who (and what) we associate with.  Are those choices drawing us closer to God or further away from Him?  If we desire to see God, we will associate with that which purifies the heart.  Think about it!