The Test #3 Am I Pure?

 


The Test #3 Am I Pure?

Religion has a horrible power to blind you to the state of your soul.  Crazy but true.  Jesus called a group of religious leaders blind guides.  These leaders majored in minors while neglecting the heart of their faith.  Over the past few decades the way Christianity has been peddled and promoted it’s easy to think you’re a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Christ because you believe a couple of scriptural truths, recited a sinners prayer, and keep some man-made rules.  The result is lukewarm Christianity, a compromised faith.  The result is a lifestyle that is no different from someone who has no knowledge of God and His great gift of salvation.  To escape the traps of culture and religion there is a test that you can take, a self-examination, to see if Christ is in you.

 2 Corinthians 13:5–6 (NIV)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

 This self-examination consists of five questions: “Am I Truthful? Am I Honest? Am I Pure? Am I easily offended? Am I selfish?” (E Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p 28).  A well-thought-out answer is required.  Contemplation is the 7th habit of a disciple, and you will need to have that heart-to-heart discussion with God.  We’ve considered the first two questions.  Today we will lay the groundwork for each of us to answer the question “Am I Pure?”

 Purity means nothing mixed, free from contaminants. Purity means that something consists of just one thing.  In Leviticus, the third book, writing, or chapter in your Bible, contains purity laws. Some of the laws seem strange to us, like not mixing cotton and wool in the same garment.  Today 60% polyester and 40% cotton would be considered unclean, and impure because it is a mix of two different things.  The purity laws are meant to symbolize the purity of God.  The followers of a pure God are to be pure, so in the old laws the clothes you wear, and the food you eat, are to be one thing.  An animal that was a mixture of traits was considered unclean.  I am sure the platypus would have been on the unclean list if the ancients knew of its existence.  Jesus taught us that purity was ethical, it was moral purity that a follower of His was to pursue.

When we think about moral purity high on our list is sexual purity.  The Bible lays great importance on sexual purity.  Sexual intimacy is reserved for a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24, Hebrews 13:4). Sexual activity outside the bonds of a marriage sanctified by God is to engage in behavior inconsistent with discipleship.  Living together before marriage or as the old folks used to call it “shacking up” is behavior inconsistent with discipleship (Ephesians 5:3).  Infidelity is inconsistent with discipleship.  Entertaining yourself with pornography is inconsistent with discipleship.  Jesus placed such a high emphasis on sexual purity that to harbor lustful thoughts were inconsistent with discipleship (Matthew 5:28).  In our culture it is extremely difficult to stay pure in thought and deed. We live in such a sex-saturated society that I will assume you’ve been there and done that. If that is the case, then find some wisdom in the words of Jesus:

 John 8:10–11 (NIV)

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 Sex as a servant, in its rightful place in your life, is wonderful. Sex as Master is hell (E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p. 31).  If you realize that you are into behaviors inconsistent with discipleship, then go to Jesus, confess, be forgiven, and leave your life of sin (1 Corinthians 6:18).  Sexual sin is not an easy trap to escape from, you will need help.  There is a list of resources in your notes and later, online with the manuscript of this teaching.

 Now let’s get to the hard stuff.              

Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

 “Purity for the Christian is keeping our hearts, minds, and bodies holy, without moral blemish or stain for the purposes of God.” ( What does purity mean? | Teaching What Is Good )  This calls for a continual daily choice to love God with all your being, heart, mind, soul, and strength.  This fanatical love manifests as obedience to God’s will, God’s way.  We’ve talked about the necessity of bending the knee to Christ, making a sacred vow to be His disciple.  The Apostle Paul wrote it this way:

 Romans 12:1 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

 To be pure, you have to train yourself to be a lover (Matthew 22:27, 1 John 5:3).

 Religion is to be discarded for everything rises and falls on relationships.  You don’t want a religion, you want a relationship with God.  What religion encourages you to do is compartmentalize your life.  You surrender an area but not all areas. You behave like a disciple sometimes, you act like a disciple sometimes, and you live just the way you want other times.  There’s a compartment for church and so-called Christian activities, then there is one for work in which you assume another set of values, maybe you have a separate compartment for your entertainments, maybe enjoying some things that you would not venture into with Jesus by your side  (What does purity mean? | Teaching What Is Good ).  There is a compartment for your public life and one for your private life and one for your alone by yourself life.  This compartmentalization is a mix, a mix is not pure.  Impurity is inconsistent with discipleship. 

 You will have to train yourself to be the same person in every setting of life.  You are to be one way, always. That way is God’s way.

 Purity means no compromise between kingdom values and cultural values when those values are anti-Christ. You are one thing, a disciple of Jesus. We are called to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2).   We are called to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).  Your senses are the avenue of your thoughts.  Be careful little eyes in what you see, be careful little ears in what you hear, be careful little hand in what you touch, be careful little tongue in what you taste. 

 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)

“…dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

 The way we purify ourselves is to keep impurity out of our minds, out of our hearts.  We do so by fixing “our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 (NLT).  The first place you will find such thoughts is in your Bible.  The second place you will find such thoughts is in prayer.  The third place you will find such thoughts is in fellowship.  The fourth place using your spiritual gifts, the fifth worship.  Obedience actualizes purity in your life.  You are called to transform your thinking (Romans 12:2).  You unlearn certain patterns of thought that lead to sin and replace them with thoughts that lead to godliness.  I had to train myself to bounce my eyes.  It’s a well-known fact that men tend to notice an attractive woman.  I was in the Gerald R. Ford International Airport sitting waiting for a flight and across the way, I noticed a row of businessmen who in unison looked up and began to stare in my direction, not at me mind you that would have creeped me out.  I turned and walking down the concourse was a very well-put-together young woman.  I found myself admiring the view also.  I would like to turn a blind eye to that, but I think we guys are wired differently.  What I try to do now is bounce my eyes.  When that attractive woman walks by I look, I don’t think I can help it, “men are such pigs,” but I quickly break off my glance.  I bounce my eyes away.  Husbands, have you ever noticed how your wife has a sixth sense in this area?  Girlfriends too for that matter.  Just saying.  Learning to bounce your eyes doesn’t allow time for an impure thought to settle into your mind.  

 To purify our thoughts, we must get rid of double-mindedness.  Our wishes want, and desires are focused on doing the will of God on earth.  Not my will, but yours (Luke 22:42).  John Wesley described entire sanctification as to will one thing.  That one thing is love.  “Purity must begin in our thoughts because what we think is most certainly who we are. You cannot think impure thoughts and be pure in your life” ( Purity – He Has You).

 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

“…train yourself up in godliness.”  


Train yourself, that calls for self-discipline and most likely an accountability partner.  You are to train in living your life in such a way that you are partnering with the Holy Spirit in His sanctifying grace to transform every area of your life to be like Jesus. It’s cliché now, but still, it can be effective in training to ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?”  You train yourself in obedience every time you say now to temptation.  Our great temptation is to be self-exalting, to do what we want, when we want, to whom we want, regardless of possible consequences because it seems right for us because we deserve it. After all, everyone is doing it anyway.  The Holy Spirit empowers you to be pure, to overcome temptation, or escape from it.  Joseph, when being seduced by Potiphar’s wife, vacated the premises (Genesis 39). If you are feeling that you are being overwhelmed by a temptation look for the escape route, there will be one available.

 I have never found training easy.  It has always meant hard work and sacrifice to achieve the desired goal.   Health clubs and gyms make a fortune off of people who go it alone.  Great start but no follow-through. Friends you need a team to help you achieve your goals.  Gather around yourself like-minded individuals who will train with you, who will coach you, who will encourage you in your quest to be a lover, to be holy, to be pure, to be a disciple.

 We are called to purify ourselves (2 Corinthians 7:1).  This means we must avail ourselves to God's power to cleanse us (1 John 3:3).  When asking that question:  Am I Pure?  If your answer troubles you, it’s a sign that Christ is in you.  If the Holy Spirit was not residing within you wouldn’t care, you would just keep on living the way you have been.  If your answer troubles you, identify the impurity in your character, your thought, and your deeds.  Take that trouble to God, confess it.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  Forgiven you will be able to produce fruit in keeping with your repentance (Matthew 3:8).  You have the power to purge the impurity, to forsake that impure way, that impure thought, power to go and leave this aspect of sin in your life.  

 “Living a pure life is not about being perfect but about being able to abstain from sin and anything that defiles you…” (How To Live A Life Of Purity [That’s Above Sin.] - SaintlyLiving); anything that would deter, damage, or destroy your relationship with God, Others, or Yourself.  Living a pure life is a process of refinement.  Don’t become discouraged by finding impurities, deal with them as the Holy Spirit reveals them.  Living a pure life is consistently choosing to do God’s will in every area of your life. 

 1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

…the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

 Choose to be a Holy Spirit empower lover.  You’ll know that Christ is in you and you will live a life that is fully in the purification process. 


Resources – Pure Desire Ministries

Pure Life Ministries | Start Your Journey to Freedom

CELEBRATE RECOVERY | SeaCoast Grace Church (scgchurch.org)

Find a Christian Counselor near you today (findchristiancounselor.com)

Dr. Clifford and Mrs. Joyce Penner - Focus on the Family



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