It's amazing how God lines things up. Because I've been thinking about this topic endlessly in the past 6 months. Purity. The further and further I get down the road of following Jesus, the more thoroughly do I become aware of my own failings. That's a good sign actually. In fact it was Charles Spurgeon who said that a sign of a growing Christian is an increasing sense of our own sinfulness, matched with an increasing comprehension of Christ's ultimate sufficiency.
This painting is from a series by Thomas Cole, created in 1841. He depicts the journey of life along this river in four paintings, as a child, as a teenager, as an adult, and old age. For most of us, we’re here in the rough parts of the river. And you see what the journeyer is doing, he’s praying desperately as he prepares to ride the rapids. Ahead of us it looks brutal, desperate, uncertain, but above is God almighty guiding our way, shrouded, but accessible by faith.
Apologetics are absolutely vital in our modern society. I really think it’s crucial, as young people are trained to disbelieve in God in public schools, that we be that much more vigilant about sharing logical defenses of the faith.
Astronomy: “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way (evolution) is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.” -Fred Hoyle, Hoyle on evolution, Nature, Vol. 294, No. 5837 (November 12, 1981), p. 105
Biology: “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced that any software we've ever created.” –Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
History: “Today there survives more than 25,0000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament. These hand written manuscripts have allowed scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Bible we have in our possession today is the same Bible that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago.” –Charlie H. Campbell
Psychology: "Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.”
–E. Paul Hovey
Time and again, the greatest souls in human history have chosen to trust in God despite what the world said: Noah, Moses, Gideon, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Daniel, David, Solomon, John, Paul, Mark, Timothy, Peter, Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Mother Teresa, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, William Booth, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, presidents, scientists, Nobel prize winners, and everyday, average people like you and me.
In the Old Testament…
The Psalmist cries, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. –Proverb 4:23
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. –Ezekiel 36:26
And in the New Testament…
These words from Jesus, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” –Matthew 5:8.
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Tim 1:5
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed Romans 6:17
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
I tend to see sanctification as a process of lifelong growth. That is the reformed view of sanctification. That is certainly true. I’ve grown out of sin after sin in my life, over time.
But within the Wesleyan view is the idea of the transformed heart, which is entered by the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of glorifying Christ.
That is the first thing the Holy Spirit does when He comes into the heart in all His fullness – He glorifies Jesus. We see Jesus as we never saw him before. We love Him. We adore Him.
We ascribe all honor and glory and power to Him, and we realize, as we never did before, that through His precious blood we are saved and sanctified.”
-Samuel Brengle, Helps to Holiness, pg. 44
“Having received Him into your hearts, continually acknowledge His presence, obey Him, glory in Him, and He will abide with you forever, and His presence will be powerful to you.” –Samuel Brengle, Helps to Holiness pg. 47
-Realize that now is just the right time!
-Be willing to have God show us all the depravity of our souls.
-Acknowledge all the evil within us, and take God’s side against that part of ourselves
-Let our souls die to sin
-Renounce all unbelief & Give up all doubts
-Freely consent to be “crucified with Christ”
A prayer to God for the Heart of Purity: “Give me a heart like Yours, by Your wonderful power, by Your grace every hour, give me a heart like Yours. A humble, lowly, contrite heart, believing, true, and clean.
A heart in every thought renewed, and full of love Divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good, A copy, Lord, of thine.”
"If I were dying and had the privilege of delivering a last exhortation to all the Christians of the world, and that message had to be condensed into three words, I would say, "Wait on God!" –Samuel Brengle, Helps to Holiness, Chapter 8, pg. 61.
This is the text of a sermon originally preached at the Salvation Army of Escanaba on May 1st 2016, by Justin Steckbauer. Thank you for reading!
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