Monday, February 13, 2017

Small Bites - Philippians 4:8 - Purity

  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your 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

How many of you want to be more Christlike?
How many of you want to house 
the fullness of the Holy Spirit?

Paul gives us the door which will take us into the presence of God:  purity.  Purity carries some other definitions, but at the heart of its biblical meaning is this:  a complete devotion to God.  It involves an undivided heart; no conflict of loyalties, no mixed motives.  It is a condition of the heart.
In the New Testament, the sanctity of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit weighs in on the definition.  It is a spirit of desire of unification and obedience which brings every thought, feeling and action into the subjection of Jesus Christ.

One of the problems of modern, western thinking is the concept of dualism – where we see ourselves with separated dimensions (heart, soul, mind, body….social, work, etc).  These concepts were not as delineated in New Testament thinking.  That is why purity is a complete devotion – no words without action, no thought without passion.

What are examples of purity you can think of?

In  1 Timothy 1:3-6  Paul means to have his young mentee to stay true and focused on correct doctrine and not get “off track” of the goal – seeking Jesus.  Notice purity’s “context:”  vs. 5 - All Christians should be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, clear conscious and sincere faith.”  Paul did not like endless arguments;  he wanted people focused through love toward a single-minded lifestyle.

What are examples of this picture of purity?

Purity also has the obvious notion of protecting oneself from sin.  1 Timothy 5:22b – Do not participate in the sin of others.  Keep yourself pure.  2 Timothy 2:22 – Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust.  Follow anything that makes you want to do right.  Pursue faith love and peace.  Enjoy the companionship of those who call upon the Lord with pure hearts.  

 It becomes obvious that sin/faithlessness defiles the heart. 

What might it mean to keep one’s heart motivations
consistent/undivided/free of conflicting motives?

The disciple, John, then gives us the ultimate purity picture:  1 John 3:1-3 
 All who believe the following will keep themselves pure just as Christ is pure…  we are named as God’s children.  We will be like Christ when we returns… We will see Christ as he really is.
This makes purity not the goal, but the vehicle which will take us into the presence of God.  Another analogy might help:  you want to go to your favorite destination.  You pay your money.  You arrange everything.  You know to get on the plane – which one and when it leaves.  You carefully plan your day so you can be sure to get on that plane.  You don’t want to miss it!!

 Purity is my "ticket," my "vehicle" to reach my goal
of a life with God.

Carefully plan so as to not miss this vehicle to greater glory.  

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