Sunday, December 30, 2012 pm                Song Index

Sermons in Song
Song #53

 Tonight we want to examine the message of another song as we have been doing from time to time the past few years.  Our goal is to obtain a proper understanding of the songs we sing, as commanded in scripture (1 Cor. 14:15, Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19).

  Purer in Heart, O God was written by Fannie E. Davison, who was born in Cuyahoga Falls, OH 1851.  She died in 1887, in her mid-30s.  She wrote several hymns of which the one we are studying is her best known.  IT was put to music by James H. Fillmore, SR.  who was born in 1849 in Cincinnati, OH.  He was the son of a Disciples of Christ preacher.   He and his brothers founded the Fillmore Brother’s Music house in 1874.  He composed the tunes to several hymns including: The Beautiful Garden of Prayer, I Know that My Redeemer Liveth, We Are Going Down the Valley, I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever, and I Am Resolved.  HE was also the father of Henry Fillmore Jr, who was a band composer who composed such pieces as “The President’s March” “Rolling Thunder March”, etc.  Fillmore SR. died in 1936.

This song is written as a request (or prayer) to God to help us become purer in heart.  In this song we find some things that can draw us closer to God by purifying our hearts.  Let us notice the message.

 I.                    Purer in Heart, O God, Help me to be – 6 times in 3 verses - what it means.

a.        What is purity?  The idea of purity can have 2 meanings.  It can refer to being unpolluted or it can have reference to being undiluted (i.e. 100% pure juice means it’s not diluted with water).  Both principles are found throughout the Bible and are necessary in our lives and our heart.
The premise of our song can also apply to both definitions as well.  It addresses true devotion to God which means we will remove anything that corrupts that devotion, INCLUDING diluting it. Let us keep this in mind as we examine this song.

b.       There are many verses in scripture that deal with purity of heart.

                                                   i.      Matt. 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

                                                  ii.      Acts 15:9, “And made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

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

                                                iv.      1 Peter 1:22 – “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

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

                                                vi.      Phil. 4:8, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true…whatever things are pure…if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.”

c.        Purity of heart involves 2 things:

                                                   i.      God must purify us in the first place – it is the blood of Jesus that purifies our souls.   Heb. 9:22, 9:13, etc.  We need His purification and we need to believe it if we are to move ahead.

                                                  ii.      We must seek to purify ourselves – by living a life that is pleasing to God.  That involves removing anything that pollutes the heart spiritually (i.e. putting to death the man of sin) and filling it with that which IS pure.  Consider 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.”  Our song actually addresses SOME of these things.

 II.                  Verse 1

a.        May I devote my life, wholly to thee – is our desire to fully dedicate ourselves in service to Him?  This is where purity of heart is going to begin.  We sometimes describe it as the decision – we must make up our minds that we are going to do the right thing.
God demands that He be first – Matt. 22:37, when asked what was the first commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.” (emphasis mine – TT)
Paul gives us a good example in Gal. 2:20 where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;…

b.       Watch thou my wayward feet – in this we find the desire for God to watch over us. 
Do we really want Him watching over us?  #1 - He is! (Heb. 4:13), #2 – that means that we are striving to live in a manner pleasing to Him.  David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

c.        Guide me with counsel sweet Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  His word is the source of our guidance.  But there is only one way for it to guide us – if we learn it and study it often. 
And such ought to be a pleasant task - Psalm 119:24 says, “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.  Psa. 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.”

d.       Purer in heart, help me to be.


 III.                Verse 2

a.        Teach me to do thy will most lovingly – Here is a request for learning.  Not just learning facts but learning obedience.    There is a desire to OBEY! IN Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus said to make disciples who not only obey the gospel but, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”
It is also done, “most lovingly” – Do we love and cherish His word?  Psa. 119:97, “O how I love Your law!  It is my mediation all the day.”
Do we love Him as we ought to? 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Is that the source of our obedience?  Jesus said, “IF you love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jn. 14:15  IF our obedience is driven by fear or other motives, it will not be pure in heart.
Consider the example of our Lord - Heb. 5:8-9 says, “Though He was a son, yet He learned obedience by the things which HE suffered.   And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him… As I read this I ask the question, “Am I teachable?” 

b.       Be Thou my friend and guide – In John 15:14-15, Jesus speaking to His apostles described them as His friends.  Why?  Because they kept His commandments.  He has certainly been a friend to us –(cf. John 15:13 – He died for us on the cross.   1 John 4:9-11 – it is the greatest demonstration of God’s love.)

c.        Let me with thee abide – do we desire a relationship with the Father and the Son.  Remember what Jesus told His disciples in John 14:23, “If anyone love Me, he will keep My word; and MY Father will love him, and We will come to ham and make our home with him.” 
This too is tied to keeping His word - John 15:9-10, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

d.       Purer in heart, help me to be!


 IV.                Verse 3

a.        That I Thy holy face one day may see – What is the hope of our purity?  That one day we will be with the Lord living in purity.  
1 John 3:1-3, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 
Is our desire to absent from the body that we may be present with the Lord? (2 Cor. 5:6-8)
Psalm 24:3-5 says, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.”
Do not forget Matthew 5:8, the “pure in heart” shall see God!

b.       Keep me from secret sin – We need to understand that it is sin that separates us from God.  Whether we want to face it or not, we are commanded to remain faithful until death. (Rev. 2:10)   WE must realize that we can become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27) or fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). 
Therefore, we need to strive to overcome sin.  1 John 3:6, 9 tells us that if we abide in Him we will not sin (not that it’s impossible, but rather that we are not to abide in sin).
When the author speaks of secret sin, I think of sin that someone doesn’t know about.  BUT, we must realize that God DOES know (Heb. 4:13). 
There are two ways to commit secret sins – one is ignorance (we don’t know about it) and the other is what we do know about but others don’t – e.g. the temptation, “no one will find out.”
WE ought to try and avoid both!   The request of this song calls for us to live in such a way that we are not fearful of any sin in our lives.  That means we learn as much as we can. 
Psa. 19:12-13, David prayed, “Cleanse me from my secret faults.”  Psa. 90:8, we read that Israel realized that God was aware of their secret sins. 
Psalm 139:23-24 finds David saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
So what do we learn from this?  We need to take care of our sins.  1 John 1:5-9.  We repent, confess our sins and pray to God about it.  Purity of heart will only come to those who strive to overcome sin in his life.

c.        Reign Thou my soul within – Does He reign within us (much like abiding in Him)?
Col. 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” 
1 Pet. 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…”

 Rom. 8:9-10, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purity your hearts, you double-minded.”

 May we continually seek to be pure in heart.  Purity of heart is a state of being.  It can be achieved if we will put forth the necessary effort and if we will turn to the source of that purity – God!  In the coming year, a theme that I intend to focus on from time to time is how to be purer in heart.  It is with that in mind that I present this lesson.  What about you?  Is your heart right with God?-