Purify Yourself

Christianity today and in the early church has greatly changed.  The early church
believed that Jesus was coming back soon and they lived ready.  The church today
has lost that expectation and live thinking they can repent tomorrow, but tomorrow is
not promised to anyone.  The Bible says “Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it
does 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 has this hope in
him, purifies himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:3-4).  Remember “as a man thinks
in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

True purity comes from radical commitment.  God wants us to be pure.  He wants us to
clean up our behavior when we begin a new life with Him.  We must not let the desire
for personal gain distract us from our spiritual purpose.  We must also reject any
objects that reminders of a life of rebellion against God.  Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed
are the pure in heart for they shall see God”.  Purification is the act of making clean
and pure before God and people.  It’s the quality or state of being free from mixture,
pollution, or other foreign elements.  By the time of Jesus much had been added to
the law of purification, making them a burden to the people.  Jesus denounced such
rituals, teaching that defilement and uncleanness came from the inner motives of the
mind and heart (Mark 7:14-23).  He taught that genuine purification is possible only by
following Him and giving heed to His message of love and redemption (John 15:31).

True purity comes from the heart.  The Pharisees strained their water so they wouldn’t
accidentally swallow a gnat, an unclean insect according to the law.  They
nevertheless had lost their perspective on inner purity.  Ceremonially clean on the
outside, they had a corrupt heart.  Jesus condemned the Pharisees and religious
leaders for outwardly appear saintly and holy but inwardly remaining full of corruption
and greed.  “How terrible it will be for your teachers of religious law and you
Pharisees.  Hypocrites!  You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the
dish, but inside you are filthy full of greed and self indulgence!” (Matthew 23:25).  
Living our Christianity merely as a show for others is like washing a cup on the outside
only.  When we are clean on the inside, our cleanliness on the outside won’t be a
sham.  Jesus prayed for us in John chapter 17, verse 17 says “make them pure and
holy by teaching them Your words of truth”.

Many people stand on the promise in Mark 11:23-24, but don’t remember verse 25
“and when you stand praying forgive, if you have anything against any, that your
Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses”.  Carrying
unforgiveness is a trap of the devil.  I Corinthians 13 explains well in verses 1-8 that
nothing works without love.  I John establishes this in verse 2:9-11 “He that says he is
in the light, and hates his brother is in darkness even until now.  He that loves his
brother abides in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  but he that
hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes,
because that darkness has blinded his eyes”.  Walking in love is hard to do, when you
are in the flesh, trying to do it by yourself, but when you cast that care over on Jesus
and pray for and bless that person, you love them by faith.  The Bible says “if we put
God’s name on people, He will bless them” (Numbers 6:27).  The Bible says “the Lord
Yahweh will perfect that which concerns me” (Psalms 138:8).

A lot of people say “we are not under the law, but under grace”, the Bible says “He will
take out the stony heart and write His law in our heart” (Ezekiel ll:19-20, 36:26-27).  
The law being in our heart is stronger.  Jesus said “you have heard that it was said by
them of old time, you shall not commit adultery.  But I say to you, that whosoever looks
on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart”
(Matthew 5:27-28).

True purity comes from God.  A follower of Christ becomes sanctified, set apart for
sacred use, cleansed and made holy through believing and obeying the Word of God
(Hebrews 4:12).  Daily application of God’s Word has a purifying effect on our mind
and heart.  Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renew our relationship
with Christ, and guides us back to the right path.  The purity a Christian should strive
for is spiritual in nature (James 1:27) “pure religion and undefiled before God and the
Father is this.  To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world”.  Jesus said “I only do what pleases My Father” (John 8:29)
and “I only say what I heard the Father say”.  Some people call themselves Christian
because they followed someone down the front of the church and confessed Jesus a
Lord, but the Bible says “repent and be baptized”.  Repent means turn around,
change your mind and ways.  Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this
world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you man prove, what
is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God”.  The Bible tells us many times
“Be you holy, as I am holy”.  And since we know that God is not a liar, we know that it
can be done.  When one falls, they have to be live David in Psalms 51 and ask God to
create in him a clean heart.  If your heart condemn you, you are not going to stand tall
in the Word.  But “beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence
toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His
commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21-22).

Sermon by: Harriet Bond
Date: January 26, 2007
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