INTRODUCTION: “Purer in heart, O God, help me to be. Teach me to do thy will, most lovingly.” Such begins one of the great gospel hymns. It is a plea to God to help us be purer in our hearts in our service to our Lord.
Jesus speaks of the pure hearted in Matthew 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” What can we learn about being pure in heart?
I. PURITY OF HEART IS ESSENTIAL IF WE ARE TO BE PLEASING TO GOD.
A. What is Jesus speaking of when he refers to the heart?
1. In this passage, as with most other Bible reference, the heart is really the mind. It is the center of mankind. It is the thinking, reasoning part of man.
2. Proverbs 4:23 - “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
3. Romans 10:10 - “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
4. Matthew 13:15 - “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
B. What, then, is a pure heart?
1. The word "pure" KATHAROS -- clean (we get our word catharsis or cathartic here) thus the idea of cleansed or purified òb. unmixed (a pure substance -- one not mixed with something else, like oil and water).
a. The same word is used in Matthew 23:25,26 - “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse (“katharos”) first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
2. A pure heart is one that is cleansed, free from the control of wickedness, and dedicated to God. It is a heart that has a singleness of purpose, to serve and worship God.
C. A pure heart is required to be pleasing to God.
1. Psalm 24:3, 4 - “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
2. Psalm 73:1 - “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.”
3. 1 Timothy 1:5 - “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”
4. 2 Timothy 2:22 - “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
5. God requires purity because He is pure.
a. Isaiah 6:3-5
D. Since we have sinned and alienated ourselves from God, how can we be pure in heart?
1. We have to remove that which makes us impure - sin.
2. Ephesians 1:7 - “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
3. 1 Peter 1:22 - “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”
4. Acts 22:16
5. 1 Peter 3:21
II. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN MAINTAIN THAT PURE HEART?6. When we contact the blood of Jesus, our minds are cleansed spiritually. We are forgiven of every sin and stand pure and holy before God.
A. There is preventative maintenance. (Things we do to continue pure)
1. Keep our minds focused on following God.
a. Never forget who we are. We are children of the King.
b. Matthew 6:33
c. Daniel 1:8 - “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
1. Daniel made up his mind to continue focused on serving God and continued focusing on pleasing God, even in Babylon.
d. This is the key. We must not have a divided heart. A divided heart (with divided allegiance) will never be able to be pure before God. We must give all of our hear (mind) to God. There is not a single part of our mind that we can keep back from God to use for sinning or longing to sin.
1. Matthew 6:24
2. Keep our minds on good, right, wholesome things.
a. Philippians 4:8 - “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
b. This requires effort on our part. It is not for those who simply “take their minds out of gear.” We have to work at it.
c. Proverbs 4:23-27 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
3. Draw close to God through prayer, study, and meditation.
a. James 4:8 - “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
b. Psalm 119:104 - “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
4. Always seek to avoid sin as much as we can.
a. 2 Timothy 2:22 - “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
b. Proverbs 4:14, 15 - “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
c. Romans 6:11-13
5. And remember, we keep our hearts clean by a continued repentant attitude and confession of sins before our God.
a. 1 John 1:7-9
B. Corrective measures (when we realize that our hearts are not pure before God) are sometimes necessary to regain that pure heart.
1. We have to come to grips with our sinful condition.
a. 2 Samuel 12:13 - “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
b. Psalm 51:10 - “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
2. We have to confess our sins to our God.
a. Psalm 32:5 - “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
CONCLUSION: What a great blessing! We are going to see God! Who then will be the happiest and most content in this world - those who know their lives are pure and free from sins domination and that they will dwell with God forever. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).b. James 4:8 - “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
Copyright 1999 by Grady
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