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Sunday, December 8, 2013 am                Pure in Heart Index

 

PURER IN HEART (22)
Maintaining a Pure Heart – 5
Meditate on These Things

 As we continue our study of the pure heart, we are beginning to bring it to its conclusion.  The past few weeks we have discussed some practical things we can do to maintain a pure heart.  We have discussed the need to make up our minds, sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, choose our associations carefully, and be zealous for good works.  In our lesson today I want to mention 3 more things to consider and we will be ready to conclude this study.

 I.                    Meditate on these things

a.        Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

b.       What is meditation?  When we hear the word today what usually comes to mind is Eastern thought (associated with eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) in which one seeks to train the mind to achieve an altered state in which you clear your mind so as to “get in touch with yourself “or “get in touch with reality.”  While there is something to be said about clearing the mind of clutter, that is NOT the intended meaning of this word in our text. 
Meditate is actually defined as, “To reflect on, contemplate” or to plan in the mind, intend.
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The New Testament word (λογίζομαι, logizomai) is defined as, “to think about something in a detailed and logical manner – ‘To think about, to reason about, to ponder, reasoning.’” (L&N, 30.9)   
The KJV says, “Think on these things.”  NASU says, “Dwell on these things.”

c.        One of the key principles to a pure heart is what we think about.  As we introduced the heart, we noted that Jesus taught our words and attitudes proceed from our heart (Luke 6:45, Matt. 15:18-19).   In essence He was saying what we think about will govern our actions and be reflected in the way we live our lives.  Therefore, a key to the pure heart is controlling the things we think about. 

d.       BUT can we control our thoughts? 

                                                   i.       According to scripture the answer is YES.
Philippians 4:8 IS a command! (Verb, Present, Imperative – command)
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
1 Cor. 13:5 describes love saying it “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…” (NOTE: “thinks” is the same Greek word as in Phil. 4:8)

                                                  ii.      We understand that thoughts come, often involuntarily, but what we must realize is that they are a reflection of our hearts.  In other words, the way you are going to think when confronted with a set of circumstances is determined by the type of heart you have. 
For example:  A brother says something to you that offends you (not doctrinally wrong, but poor word choice, etc.).  How do you respond?  Do you retaliate in kind or do you bear and endure it in love (1 Cor. 13:7)? 
We hear of people with bad tempers and others who control their anger.  It’s a matter of the heart!
A biblical example of this is found in 1 Peter 2:21-23 – Jesus, when reviled, He did not revile in return.

                                                iii.      So controlling our thoughts depends upon what we allow into our minds (e.g. who we associate with, sanctifying God in our hearts, what we watch and where we go, etc.)

e.       Paul’s point in Philippians 4:8 is that we meditate on “whatever things are”:

i.      True – that which is fact or not a lie.  Eph. 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
Early in this study we discussed the need for BRUTAL honesty with ourselves.  WE need the same type of honesty in dealing with God’s word (in a moment) and with others.  Be truthful in your dealings and assessment of others (avoid prejudice, truthful judgment of motives, benefit of the doubt, etc.)
 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)

ii.      Noble – that which is appropriate, dignified and respectful – It is the word translated “reverent” of deacons, leader’s wives and older men (1 Tim. 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2).  We need to be courteous, honorable and honest in our dealings with others.  Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.” (Romans 12:17)

 iii.      Just – that which is right and fair.  Jas. 5:16 speaks of the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

iv.      Pure – one of the words we have been discussing throughout this study.  It means to be without moral defect or blemish. Matt. 5:8.  1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

 v.      Lovely – that which is pleasant.  Used only here.  We ought to always strive to be pleasant before others.

vi.      Of Good report – that which deserves our approval and/or has a good reputation.  Also found only in this text.  We need to think of things that will preserve our reputation and render us above reproach.  1 Thess. 5:22 says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” – we avoid those things that are the opposite of this word.

vii.      Virtuous – the quality of being morally excellent.  I think again of integrity that we discussed early on in the qualities of a pure heart (2 Pet. 1:5). 

viii.      Praiseworthy – that which is deserving of praise. There are many things worthy of praise – God, Jesus, His word, godly brethren, godly conduct, etc. 

ix.      These are all the things we are to “meditate” upon. 

f.         It involves the direction of God’s word –

i.      Where do learn of things that are of the qualities we just discussed?  God’s word is the standard we are to follow. 

ii.      There is nothing more TRUE and pure than God’s word.  John 17:17 – When Jesus prayed to the Father He said, “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”

iii.      John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

 iv.      Psa. 119:140, “Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.
Psalm 119:97-99 “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.  You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

v.      Psalm 119:15 “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.

 vi.      Col. 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

vii.      1 Pet. 2:2, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

viii.      Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

ix.      FRIENDS, we need to be thinking about these types of things.

g.        If you want a pure heart, you have to work on what you allow to enter your mind!  And this also serves as an indicator of your purity.  Consider the things you ARE thinking about.  If it is worldliness and impurity, you know you have some work to do on your heart.

 II.                  Examine yourself periodically. 

a.        2 Cor. 13:5 tells us “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

b.       David himself said, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” (Psa. 26:2).  Why could he say this?  Read on, “For Your loving-kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth. I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites.  I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.” (2-5) 

c.        A pure heart does not fear examination - We dread audits, but it is a good way for a company to ensure and to demonstrate it is doing what it ought to do. 
And if it is, OR if a person is doing what he ought to do, he should NOT fear scrutiny. 

d.       Examination is no good if you do not apply what you learn.  We need repentance.

 III.                Keep going

a.        Never give up!  Throughout this study, it is my hope we have been motivated to seek purity of heart.  I will be the first to tell you it is not going to be easy.  Especially as you deal with the problems of your past.  For most of us, we cannot simply flip a switch and our troubles, ungodly tendencies, attitudes and actions go away.  We have to work at it!

b.       And we are GOING to fail as we try.  There is a reason we speak of “striving” to enter the narrow gate Luke 13:24. 
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,” (Philippians 1:27)

Our life is a struggle – 1 Cor. 9:24-27 – as athletes we run to win.
We have to “contend” for the faith (Jude 3)

c.        Don’t ever give up – when you give up you are defeated.  1 Cor. 15:58 – be steadfast, immovable, always abounding.  Gal. 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

d.       Keep reaching forwrd – Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

And there you have it.  These past few weeks we have discussed some things we can do to maintain a pure heart.  In our next lesson we will conclude our study by answering the question, “Is it worth it?” or the rewards of a pure heart.  Until then, may all that we do draw us closer to Him as we purify our hearts by the lives we live.