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Sunday, March 10, 2013 am            Purity of Heart Index

PURER IN HEART (3)
What is Purity?

 We have begun a study of the pursuit of a pure heart.  Thus far, we have seen the need for a pure heart and defined what the heart is.  As we continue our study of this theme, today we want to address the subject of purity.  How is purity defined in the Bible?  What is a pure heart?

 I.                    Purity in the Bible

a.        Matt. 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
The word “pure” in that text is from the Greek
καθαρός (katharos) which means, “pertaining to being ritually clean or pure”. (L&N[1], 53.29). 
Vine’s (under the heading of “clean”) defines the word as, “Free from impure admixture, without blemish, spotless… (c) ethically, with the significance free from corrupt desire, from guilt.” 
TDNT gives one description of its usage as, “morally free from stain, shame, etc.”.
The actual idea of the word is one who is acceptable to God or good in His eyes (cf. L&N, 53.29). 

b.       The word is used in such passages as

                                       i.      Physically it is used in reference to clean dish on the outside (Matt. 23:26) and a clean linen cloth (Matt. 27:59)

                                      ii.      John 13:10-11 after washing the disciples feet and Peter requests that He wash his whole body (because Jesus said it was necessary to have a part with Him in), Jesus explains that washing the feet was enough because, “he who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean.  Using that word physically, Jesus then makes spiritual application saying, “and you are clean, but not all of you.  For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, ‘You are not all clean.’  In this text Jesus is identifying pure and impure hearts.

                                    iii.      Acts 18:6, Paul having been rejected in Corinth by the Jews said, “I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.  Paul had done all that he could to try and convince the Jews and was rejected (by most).  Thus the idea of purity includes putting forth due effort to accomplish what needs to be done.

                                    iv.      Acts 20:26, Paul speaking to the Ephesian elders said, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.”  (KJV uses the word “pure”)

                                      v.      Rom. 14:20, “All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.”

                                    vi.      1 Tim. 3:9, speaks of a pure conscience.

                                   vii.      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.” 

                                 viii.      Heb. 10:22 “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

                                    ix.      James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion…”

c.        Other words for pure –

                                       i.         Hagnos ἁγνός

1.        A word that means “pertaining to being without moral defect or blemish and hence pure.” (L&N, 88.28).  As a verb, the word means to take steps purify yourself (cf. L&N, 88.30)

2.       2 Cor. 7:11, concerning the godly sorrow that led to their repentance Paul notes, “In all things you proved yourselves clear in this matter.

3.       2 Cor. 11:2 “that I may present you to Christ as a chaste virgin.”

4.       Phil. 4:8, “whatever things are pure…think on these things.”

5.       1 Tim. 5:22, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily …keep yourself pure.

6.       1 Pet. 3:2, “when they observe you chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”

7.       James 3:17, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

8.       James 4:8, “Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts

9.       1 Pet. 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the sincere love of the brethren….”

10.    1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

                                      ii.         Elikrines εἰλικρινής – which means unmixed.  It addresses one who has pure motives.   It is often translated “sincerity”, but in 2 Pet. 3:1 he speaks of stirring “up your pure minds by way of reminder.” (NKJV)

                                    iii.         Adolos ἄδολος – in the NKJV, NASU (KJV – sincere) it is translated “pure milk of the Word” a word meaning, “without guile”.   L&N 79.98 says, “pertaining to being pure, with the implication of not being adulterated.  It is used only here and is descriptive of the Word of God.  There is no better example of purity than the TRUE word of God!

d.       IN SUMMARY, purity in God’s word means that something is undiluted AND unpolluted.  By undiluted we mean it is not mixed with anything else (even that which might not be wrong within itself).   NOTE: Some versions might translate these words as clean or sincere in some instances.  BOTH are involved in a pure heart.

 

 II.                  What is a pure heart?

a.        Having defined the terms, we now focus on purity of heart.  Putting the words together we find a pure heart to be the inner person (will, emotions and attitude) unpolluted and undiluted in God’s eyes. 

b.       Since man cannot purify himself, it is descriptive of one who has taken the necessary steps to purify himself before God.  That means his sins are “washed away” and he is in a right relationship with God.  TDNT, “Cleansing and remission are synonymous.”

c.        NOT only is his conduct good and noble, but the motives behind that conduct are also clean and proper

                                                   i.      1 Pet. 1:22 – “love one another fervently with a pure heart…”

                                                  ii.      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.”

                                                iii.      1 Tim. 1:5, we address concerns and even error with it, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”

d.       A pure heart lives to serve God

                                                   i.      IF one’s heart is pure, he is motivated by his relationship with God.  It means more to him than anything else.  His service to God is not mere compulsion, but motivated by love and thus WANTS to do the right thing to please Him.
 Again note 2 Tim. 2:22 – after telling Timothy to pursue various godly attributes Paul gives the description of the one who CAN do it – he calls “on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 

                                                  ii.      He will keep God’s moral laws as well as His commands.  He doesn’t question God’s instructions and seeks to live by His precepts both outwardly and with proper motives.

                                                iii.      There is a realization that our body is the temple of God – 1 Cor. 6:19 tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (the text is dealing with purity).  Rom. 8:9 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling in us.  Both God and Jesus will make their home in us IF we are faithful and keep His word (Jn. 14:23). 
As such the pure in heart will seek to keep His “house” clean – that means a pure heart.   Cf. Psa. 24:3-4, 140:13, “The upright shall dwell in Your presence.” 

                                                iv.      He will sanctify himself before God – the word “sanctify” means to set apart and is associated with being holy.  Holiness and purity are related subjects. 
1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…”

                                                  v.      He will live putting God first – this one understands what it means to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33). 
When Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24) He meant that you are either for God or against Him – there is no middle of the road or divided interests.  The reason is because that which is NOT of God is of the devil and WILL pollute (or defile).  The thorns in the parable of the sower diluted the soil which resulted in it being polluted (Lk. 8:14) .
 James 4:4 says “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

e.       A pure heart seeks to keep itself pure

                                                   i.      A top priority is concern about how something will affect one’s heart.

                                                  ii.      Jesus said it is what proceeds from the heart that defiles him (Matt. 15:16-20).   As Jesus conversed with Nicodemus about the new birth, He noted how men of the world are in darkness and love the darkness.  John 3:19-21 contrasts darkness (evil deeds) and light (truth).

                                                iii.      Are we allowing light or darkness into our heart?  What are we allowing to influence us?  What do we listen to?  What do we read?  What do we watch?  Where do we go? Who do we associate with?  One with a pure heart will filter what impacts it – 2 Cor. 6:14-18.

                                                iv.      THOUGHT: Do we WANT to do wrong things? How strong is our resistance?  IF it is weak, perhaps we have heart problems.

f.         A pure heart is not afraid to be examined

                                                   i.      In 2 Cor. 6:11 Paul speaks of a heart  wide open – his.  He is willing to be examined and put to the test.  Because he was living with purity of heart he was not concerned about what others find out.  What about us?  Are we fearful of examination?

                                                  ii.      Are we afraid to EXAMINE ourselves – 2 Cor. 13:5? 

                                                iii.      Rather than fearing open scrutiny, we ought to WELCOME examination.  We dread audits, but it is a good way for a company 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. 
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).
Paul as he stood trial in Caesarea, said, “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying.” (Ac. 25:11)
Even Jesus said, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46)
How many of us are willing to stand before God right now and let Him examine our hearts?

                                                iv.      He has no ulterior motives for his conduct – Jas. 4:7-8 speaks of the double-minded man needing to purify his heart.  When our motives are pure as we do what we do (provided it is the truth), we have nothing to be afraid of!

 

And thus we see what purity is.  What about us?  Is my heart pure?  As we go this year let us resolve to purify our hearts.  Our CHALLENGE with this lesson is for each of us to honestly examine where we stand.  Let us take a few moments and EXAMINE the motives behind our conduct.  Ask yourself if you want God to audit your life.  If not, let us resolve to change so that we can purify our hearts.



[1] Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.