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Sunday, May 26, 2013 am         Pure in Heart Index

PURER IN HEART (8)
Qualities of a Pure Heart (4)

 We have been examining qualities associated with the pure heart.  Thus far we have discussed singleness, purpose, resolve, integrity, honesty and self-control.  Today, as we continue our study of the pure heart, we want to examine some more qualities we need to develop in our lives.  Today we want to discuss two more qualities - patience and humility.

I.                    A pure heart is Patient –

a.        The next quality we want to discuss is patience.  The word patient means, “1. Bearing pains and trials calmly or without complaint. 2. Manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain; 3. Not hasty or impetuous; 4. Steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.”[1]
The Greek word means, “The capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances.”[2]
Some words associated with patience include temperance, forbearance, endurance, long-suffering, etc. 
The idea is that when one faces less than ideal circumstances, he does not give up or act hastily.

b.       While self-control is a must for developing and maintaining a pure heart (and thus a quality of it), it is NOT easy to achieve.  From time to time you are going to fail, and if you have been living an “out of control” life, your struggles are going to be grand.  Perhaps you have tried in times past to overcome and failed.  It affects your confidence in yourself and leads to discouragement.  But you mustn’t give up!  And that is where patience comes in.

c.        WE sometimes hear the expression, “Patience is a virtue”.  That is true.  When one has “virtue” it will lead to patience.  As a matter of fact, NEXT in the list of qualities of the Christian’s growth (2 Pet. 1:5-7) we find after self-control (temperance), perseverance (or patience).

d.       Another way to understand patience is to consider the patience of God – His patience is demonstrated throughout history in the Bible – 1 Pet. 3:20-21 speaks of the “divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah.  For 120 years, they were warned!  Furthermore, the tumultuous history of Israel is a great testament to His patience.  Even Neh. 9:17 speaks of rebellious Israel refusing to obey, yet God is described as, “But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.
2 Pet. 3:9 tells us why He has not yet returned, even though this world is rebellious and rejects Him at virtually every turn.  It states that He HAS promised one day to destroy the world, but for now He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”   Romans 15:5 says, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.

e.       We need this patience to develop our faith – allowing God to work in His timeframe, not ours!  We need patience in our lives.   Think of the problems Abraham and Sarah would have prevented if they had patiently waited for the Lord to give him the promised son (the hostility between Jews and Muslims traces its origin back to Ishmael and Isaac).
How many become angry, frustrated and lose their temper and sin with their tongue or actions because of a lack of patience?
How many give up and quit because they don’t have the patience to deal with setbacks? Cf. Gal. 6:9.

How many get into trouble with debt because they don’t have the patience to save or wait until they can afford something?
Spiritually, many fail to mature as Christians because of the patience required to grow in knowledge and conduct.  Change is often slow and even laborious, but they don’t want to change!

f.         The Bible and patience:

                                                   i.      Galatians 5:22-23 – a fruit of the Spirit (like self-control in our last lesson).

                                                  ii.      Luke 21:19, “By your patience possess your souls.”

                                                iii.      2 Tim. 2:24, a servant of the Lord must be patient

                                                iv.      Romans 2:7, “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality.”

                                                  v.      1 Thess. 5:14, Be patient with all

                                                vi.      Hebrews 12:1 – “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

                                               vii.      James 5:7-8, Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord…

g.        To develop patience of heart:

                                                   i.      Learn self-control – it complements patience.

                                                  ii.      Pause before you react – THINK about what you are about to do.  A good example of this would be in controlling one’s temper (cf. James 1:19).  We sometimes lose our temper over the littlest things that we cannot control.  What is accomplished by not being patient?  Often more damage is done than good in these situations.

                                                iii.      Realize the good that can come from patience – Rom. 5:3-4 speaks of tribulations producing perseverance which produces character and hope.   James 1:3-4 the testing of your faith produces patience,

                                                iv.      Get organized – this is a preventative step.  It can help you so much.  The more orderly the life, the less chaos which leads to losing one’s patience.

                                                  v.      Thank God for what you have.  Count your blessings - this is just a mental exercise that will help you realize how losing your temper really doesn’t help you.  

 II.                  A pure heart is Humble

a.        What is humility? It is a word that actually means “to make low.”  It is described of one who is meek and lowly in his disposition.  He is non-abrasive in his dealings with others.  It is the opposite of being prideful and arrogant.
IT does not mean one is weak, but with self-control and gratitude he does not seek to exalt himself.
Words associated with it include meekness, modesty, lowliness, servant, etc.

b.       In the Bible there are many examples of humility. 

                                                   i.      Moses - Numbers 12:3 says, “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all who were on the face of the earth.”  It is because of this that the challenge of Korah was unfounded (Numbers 16)

                                                  ii.      John the Baptist – in the wilderness, he lived a lowly life as a servant of God.  He came to declare the coming Lord and he did.  Though he had a following, he worked to dispel the importance of that.  In fact, he directed his disciples to Jesus, including Peter and Andrew (John 1:35ff).  Later in John 3:30 he said of concerned disciples because many were leaving him to go to Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

                                                iii.      Jesus is the greatest example of humility – Phil. 2:5-7.  John 13:1-9 – Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

c.        Verses in scripture to consider

                                                   i.      Matt. 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – humility is where your restoration begins.  This is demonstrated in the tax collector of Luke 18:13).
Further, in Matt. 5:5 we read, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

                                                  ii.      Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

                                                iii.      Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

                                                iv.      1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;”

                                                  v.      James 4:6, 10, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

                                                vi.      1 Pet. 5:5-7, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. “

                                               vii.      Psa. 138:6, “Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.
Prov. 16:5, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.

                                             viii.      Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

d.       Developing humility

                                                   i.      Honesty evaluate yourself – especially in your standing before God.  Realize who you are in the presence of God.

                                                  ii.      Be thankful – count your many blessings (again).  A great way to humble yourself to do a true inventory of what you have (though for some it has the opposite effect – Lk. 12:13-21

                                                iii.      Overcome worldliness – if you want to be humble, be willing to give up the things of this life which stand in that way.  Remember the rich, young ruler – Matt. 19:16-22.

                                                iv.      Do something that will humble you – we must NEVER forget that we are servants.  That is an oft used illustration (cf. 2 Cor. 4:5-7 – “earthen vessels”.  Like Jesus who washed the disciple’s feet, if we will take the time to do humbling tasks, it can help us with our attitude.  While it doesn’t always work, a form of punishment is community service.  Often the intent is to get one to think about his standing in the community and to realize how much he really has.
1 Tim. 6:17-19 is a warning to the rich to not be haughty but do be rich in good works…

                                                  v.      Pray about it! 

                                                vi.      Associate with the humble – Romans 12:16, ““Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

 

And thus we can see more qualities of the pure heart.  As we have already stated, the pure heart is dependent upon us developing these traits in our lives.  And at the same time, if our heart is pure, these qualities will naturally flow from it.   Next week we will examine some more qualities.


[2] 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.