Sunday, March 17, 2013 am                        Purity of Heart Index

God’s Part in Purifying the Heart

     In our study thus far we have examined what the Christian heart is and discussed the subject of purity and how it affects the heart.  Today we want to take a look at God’s part in purifying our hearts.  This lesson is what you might describe as the doctrinal aspect of our study.  Our goal is to learn what we can about the pure heart and apply it to our lives.  An understanding of God’s part at the beginning is important in providing proper motive and motivation toward developing the heart we need as Christians.

 I.                    Why we need God for pure hearts

a.        Because an impure heart will keep us from God’s presence or even approaching Him.  In our last lesson, as we began to make application to the pure heart we noted that a pure heart lives to serve God.  That is a fundamental motivation behind a true heart.  But why is that so?  That is the focus of this lesson.

b.       Because sin separates us from God – Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  We know that we are sinners.  To deny this is to deceive ourselves and to make God a liar (1 John 1:8, 10). 
Rom. 3:9 says, “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
One of Paul’s points in Romans 3 was to show that all are sinners and how mankind continually sins.  He actually quotes a number of Old Testament passages that demonstrate the depth of sin in our lives.
Galatians 3:22 says, “But the scripture has confined all under sin..”
Gen. 8:21, after the world was destroyed by flood God promised to never again destroy the world in that manner, “…although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”   (Notice how in this text it does NOT say, he is born that way.)
Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

c.        “The glory of God” - WE have established the purity (holiness) of God) -
Notice the consequence of man’s sin in Rom. 3:23 – we fall short of the glory of God.
Previously we have discussed Psalms 15 & 24:3-5 which both describe the quality of one who dwells in the presence of God.  It involves “clean hands and a pure heart.”
Consider Habakkuk 1:13, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness…”
Prov. 15:29 says, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
Ps 5:4-5, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.  The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.”  The idea of dwelling with God and standing in His sight indicates that the wicked will NOT appear in His presence.
God’s holiness is demonstrated throughout scripture – He always knows what is right, does what is right, acts consistently. Isa. 6:1-6 records the call of Isaiah.  He sees a vision of the throne of the Lord and beings crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of his glory.”  Isaiah was fearful of this vision because he had seen the Lord as one of unclean lips among an unclean people.  THEN in vs. 6, a seraphim takes a live coal and touches Isaiah’s mouth with it saying, “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”  NOW, Isaiah is ready to stand before God. 
AS you read the prophets (including Revelation) and the psalms you frequently find language like this describing the grandeur of God in heaven.
It behooves us to seek to understand the holiness of God.  That is where purity begins.  As we have noted earlier in this study, God does not just demonstrate purity, He IS pure (1 John 3:3, 1 Pet. 1:16 – “Be holy, for I am holy.”
IT IS BECAUSE OF HIS PURITY that He cannot allow sin in His presence!   Therefore…

d.       Before we can approach God our sins need to be taken care of – Romans 7:24 says, “O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from the law of sin which is in my members?  Paul’s dilemma in this text is a realization that he has sin and he cannot take care of it.  Even the Old Law under which he was raised was inadequate to fully atone for sins.  IT leads to a state of despair.
Paul realizes that there are things we cannot do for ourselves to take care of the problem of sin so that we can approach God “with clean hands and a pure heart”. 


 II.                  God and our purification

a.        Thankfully, God reached out to us and did what we cannot do for ourselves.

Romans 7:25 says in reference to “who will deliver me from this body of death, “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

b.       He sent His son

                                                   i.      John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Rom. 5:6-9 says, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.   But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

                                                  ii.      In Hebrews 9-10 as the writer (probably Paul) discusses the sacrifices of the Old Law he addressed the problem of sin.  Heb. 9:22 said, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”  But then he discusses the sacrifices God commanded and notes that “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4)  At best they were a temporary solution that God accepted, but after a length of time they EXPIRED and more sacrifices were necessary.  Because of that a better sacrifice was necessary.

                                                iii.      Jesus provided that sacrifice – Heb. 10:10-14 describes the “once for all” sacrifice of Jesus that satisfied the demands of God.  IN vs. 14 we read, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”  The idea of perfection in this text is that the sacrifice accomplished permanently what God demands for us to be able to approach Him. 

                                                iv.      His blood PURIFIES us – Heb. 9:14 in speaking of those Old Law sacrifices says, “For if the blood of bulls and goats…sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Eph. 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  NOTICE how we have been discussing what is necessary to be in the presence of God!
Rev. 1:5 describing Jesus says that He, “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.

                                                  v.      HOW do we come in contact with His blood – Acts 22:16 says, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
Rom. 6:3-4 – when we are baptized into Christ we are baptized into His death, raised to walk in newness of life.
1 Pet. 3:20-21 where Peter discusses how Noah and his family were saved through water he then says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  In discussing baptism, Peter contrasts it with taking a bath which cleanses the body.  He talks about how baptism is “the answer of a good conscience toward God” – i.e. THE HEART!

                                                vi.      OF COURSE we understand that obeying the gospel requires faith.  Rom. 10:10 says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Also Acts 15:9, “purifying their hearts by faith.”

c.        He sent His word

                                                   i.      The word of God (i.e. whatever He speaks and delivers to man) IS pure

Psa. 12:6, “The words of the Lord are pure words.  Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Psa. 119:140, “Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.”

Prov. 30:5, “EVERY word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”
2 Tim. 3:16-17 speaks of how the writings of God (i.e. His word – cf. 1 Pet. 4:11) is profitable to make us complete.

Psa. 19:8, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure enlightening the eyes.”

                                                  ii.      It can purify us when we keep it. 
Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.
Psa. 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
1 Pet. 2:2, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.”
James 1:21-25 calls for us to lay aside filthiness and overflow of wickedness (impurities) and “receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.”
John 17:17, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”

                                                iii.      It is through His word that we learn HOW to be saved and how to STAY saved.

d.       He has given us a conscience –

                                                   i.      It is no secret that man is different than all other living things.  What makes us different is that we are created in His image (Gen. 1:26).  Furthermore, we have a soul that will live eternally whereas all other creatures will die and perish (Eccl. 3:21, 12:7).

                                                  ii.      Being in the image of God we have superior intelligence (though certainly not as great as that of God) but much greater than the animals.  We can think, reason, communicate exact thoughts, and feel guilt and hope.  We have a conscience. 

                                                iii.      The conscience works – we speak of training the conscience (which is true in a sense), but actually it just works!  Therein is how it helps us.  However, it must be guided in the right direction with truth!

                                                iv.      Too much of the world see guilt as a bad thing. It is not!  While, like other things, we might fail to manage it properly the truth is guilt brings us to God, helps us change and can purify our hearts.

                                                  v.      God gave us our conscience – Romans 2:13 speaks of Gentiles who are pleasing to God “because of the law written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing themselves.”  While we will not discuss the text of this passage (which deals with hope of the Gentiles while the Law of Moses applied to the Jews) it identifies the working of the conscience.

                                                vi.      Rom. 13:5 tells us to be subject to governing authorities “for conscience sake.”

                                               vii.      1 Timothy 1:5, “Now the purpose of the command is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.”

                                             viii.      The conscience works.  It is a gift from God that will help us purify our hearts.  More on this at a later time in our study.

e.       Continually needed purification

                                                   i.      Even after we have been purified by God through obeying the gospel, we get soiled again from time to time with sin.  1 John 1:8 & 10 is speaking to believers.  WE all know that we are going to sin over and over.

                                                  ii.      We again need to be purified.  1 John 1:7 tells us that if we are walking in the light, His blood will cleanse us of all sin.  Of course we need to repent (Acts 8:22) and pray (1 John 1:9) about it, but the point is we have a source to turn to even after we become children of God.

f.         Ephesians 1:3-10 is a good summary of what God has done to purify us – to make us holy and without blame before Him in love.

 III.                What does this mean?

a.        We can have hope – there is a solution to the problem of sin in our lives.  God took care of all the things we cannot!  Rom. 3:24-25 speaks of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.”
Ephesians 2:8 tells us it is by the grace of God that we are saved.  That grace is God doing His part – cf. vs. 4-5).  As Isaiah said, “Come let us reason together’, says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18)

b.       Our life can be lived with real purpose – serving Him in hope of our eternal reward in heaven

c.        We OWE Him!  Considering what God has done for us, it is not too much to serve Him with purity of heart.  Heb. 5:9 says that Jesus, “having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
 1 Pet. 1:15-16 – as He is holy, you also be holy.  His holiness is our goal!


God has done His part in our purification.  It is now up to us to reciprocate by take steps to purify our hearts so that we can live for Him.  The purpose of this entire study is to show us what we need to do both to purify ourselves and to stay pure. 

2 Pet.3:14, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found in Him without spot and blemish.  Is your heart pure?