"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."--Matthew 5: 8.
I. What is purity of heart? Naivete'? Absence of knowledge of anything "real?"
A. See Luke 11: 24-26. Purity involves
1. Cleaning out the old bad stuff, and
2. Filling up the space with the best things in life--the things of Christ. It's like James 4: 7-8.
3. Impurity comes from within. Mark 7: 14-23. It's kind of like the plaque that forms on our teeth: We make our own.
4. Purity is not stupidity. Purity is knowing what the sin is but still not getting involved in it. Jesus said to "Be ye wise as serpents, but harmless as doves" Matthew 10: 16
B. Sexual purity is like the awarding of the rose. What are you going to do when many of the petals of the rose have been awarded and then that special person comes into your life? How then will you "re-give" the first petal?
C. Emptying and filling. We must have both to have purity. Empty clean space will get filled up with impurities fast. It's almost a facet of nature. Hoe a patch of grass and weeds, fail to plant anything, and watch what happens. Within a month it'll be covered with greenery again--and it will be Nature's choice of what grows there.
1. Colossians 3: 1-17.
2. Ephesians 4: 17-32; 5: 1-11 for a second look.
D. In the world but not of the world (I Corinthians 5: 9-10).
II. Preserving the purity--the best and first choice.
A. Meet one of the greatest men of all time--Joseph--in mid-stride. Purity in sexual matters. Genesis 39: 6b-23. Joseph, one of the greatest men who ever lived, ran from passion, and he was great for it. This is one of those things you just don't argue or reason with. RUN from it. This is one set of glands talking to another. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" Jesus said in the garden about the fear that the disciples would soon experience. The saying applies to many situations.
B. Purity of thought and words towards a kinsman--Abraham--Genesis 13: 1-18.
C. God enjoins us to be pure about bloodshed. Proverbs 1: 10-19. Matthew 5: 21-26
D. God wants us to be pure about material things. He didn't say not to have any, just don't let material things take over your life.
1. Abraham, the great man of faith, was wealthy (Genesis 13:2).
2. So was Isaac, his son. Genesis 26: 12-14. And Jacob, his son (Genesis 31: 17-18; 35: 9-12).
3. It was a rich man who had the wherewithal to bury Jesus and to fulfill the prophecy (Matthew 27: 57-61).
4. It is not a sin to be rich. But riches can accelerate our impurity of heart if we as the rich of the world do not WORK at humility and servititude (I Timothy 6: 10; 17-19).
E. Preserving the purity of thought about our brother and sister in Christ, and towards our fellowman.
1. The greatest includes loving the Lord with all our might, and loving our fellowman as ourselves (Luke 10: 25-28; Luke 6: 27-36; Romans 12: 9-16.
2. Be HAPPY and never envious when our brother or sister in Christ does something better than we could have done it. This "something" that they did represents another ability that the church has, and all own it to some degree.
3. Wish good on your fellowman. Be happy when it happens.
III. Regaining the purity--the fight isn't over 'till it's over.
A. What if you've already made the mistake? Of whatever kind, sexual, material, bloodshed, thought, words?
B. There is forgiveness. Repent and pray (Acts 8: 18-24).
C. The Master to whom we pray is a forgiving one. John 8: 1-11; Revelation 3: 20, 21. We should pray about the specific sin, but there is an ongoing forgiveness that covers a multitude of sins (I John 1: 6--2:6).
D. Like Paul Faulkner of Abilene Christian says, "Learn to cut your line when it's tangled." Cut it off! You are no longer what you used to be!
You are a new creature (Romans 6: 12-18)--live like one! Don't listen to Satan when he says "You used to do it with us; do it again. You're still a thief/druggie/ adulterer/fornicator/murderer and always will be . . ." This simply is not true. Jesus is all about transformed lives. It's not over until this life is over. After then comes the judgement (Hebrews 9: 27).
IV. Planning ahead for purity.
Purity is not a stimulus-response reaction. We can plan today to overcome the temptation that will arrive five years from now.
A. Planning for sexual purity. Proverbs 7: 6-27. Matthew 5: 27-32.
B. Planning for purity of thought and words towards our fellowman. I John 3: 11-18; Romans 12: 3-10.
C. Planning for material things. Philippians 4: 11-13.
In summary . . .
Purity is not some mystical quality that is found in a few really weird people that live their lives totally detached from the world. It is a product of plain hard work, self-discipline, prayer, and of leaning on our Lord Jesus.
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