Purity of Heart
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Andrew Shreeve Ministries
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Partner Letter – February 2016
Andrew Shreeve Ministries is working amongst a population base of over 600 million people, and provides you with the opportunity to be involved in the establishment, growth and fruit of the Lord's eternal kingdom, among foreign, ethnic peoples in many nations. You can be empowered to love people, and to have eternal rewards, among different tribal groups! Sow a seed this month to realise this opportunity!
- Teaching – Purity of Heart
- Resources / Study
Dear partners and friends,
This month I returned to Australia and joined with my family to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday. It was a wonderful reunion and great to see my dad and mum both enjoying good health in their old age. I am reminded of the Scripture: honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee and thou mayst live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:2-3). I know my dad always speaks respectfully of his parents, and faithfully visited and honoured them through the years.
This month’s teaching is a great blessing as it encourages us to be pure in heart, and also reveals that a necessary discipline to keep our heart pure is biblical reading and meditation. I pray you will be strengthened, blessed and purified! With love, Andrew.
Teaching – Purity of Heart
Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2016
Have you heard the 1971 song by Neil Young called “Heart of Gold” (better cover by Johnny Cash)? The song goes, “I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold… keep me searching for a heart of gold… I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold”. Gold has the idea of purity. We desire to know people who have pure hearts, a heart of gold. This month’s teaching will help us to purify our hearts so that we can be that person Neil Young and Johnny Cash sang about crossing the ocean for, the person with a heart of gold.
Purity of heart is similar to integrity or honesty, and is akin to good character. As a born again Christian our spirit is new and pure, as it is recreated by the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21, Ephesians 4:24). However, the other part of our heart, our soul, is not 100% pure; thus the need for daily, continual mind renewal with the Word of the Lord (Romans 12:2). There is great reward for developing a pure heart, not least the avoidance of a shipwrecked Christian life.
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck
1 Timothy 1:19
If we continually violate our conscience, with poor, ungodly moral choices our Christian life is headed towards shipwreck.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
The word ‘pure’ is this verse has the idea of being clean and clear (Strong’s Dictionary). A pure heart is a heart which easily receives the Word of the Lord and doesn’t twist the plain meaning of Scripture to fit one’s own ambition or prejudice. A pure heart is one which doesn’t select only those Scriptures which fits one’s vision of life, or makes one popular with political correctness, but rather allows all of Scripture to fashion one’s vision and place in life.
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure
2 Samuel 22:27
From this verse, we can see that an advantage of being pure and clean of heart is that the Lord will reveal Himself clearly. If we struggle to see the Lord clearly it may be because we have not yet purified our heart with the cleansing Words of the Lord.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true… honest… just… pure… lovely… of good report; if there be any virtue… if any praise, think on these things
The apostle Paul instructs believers to think and meditate upon pure things, rather than the sins, catastrophes, and problems of this world. The word ‘pure’ in this verse has the meaning of innocent, clean, modest, perfect and chaste (ibid). This would rule out many TV programs and movies. My life changed dramatically when I acted upon this Scripture to give high priority to meditate upon the promises of the Lord in the bible, which are pure. The Scripture says that through the knowledge of God’s promises we can receive all things that pertain to godliness and that we can partake of the Lord’s divine nature which is pure (2 Peter 1:3-4).
The apostle Paul sums up the commandments of the Lord in his letter to Timothy by saying, we should love all people with a clean and pure heart, with a good conscience and sincere faith, not in hypocrisy. Hypocrisy means “feigning to be what one is not… concealment of one’s real character or motives… deceitful appearance, false pretence” (Webster Dictionary).
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
1 Timothy 1:5
Many times in the gospels Jesus describes the religious leaders of His day, the Scribes and Pharisees, as hypocrites. They were like actors, not being sincere and genuine. They pretended to care for, and love, people through giving offerings; to be seen as pious by praying in public; and to fast with a sad face; but really they just wanted to be seen and rewarded by men, and they omitted the more weighty matters of judgement, mercy and faith (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16, 23:14, 23). On the outside the scribes and Pharisees looked clean and righteous, but inside they were full of extortion, excess, hypocrisy and iniquity (Matthew 23:25, 28). They honoured the Lord with their lips but their heart was far from the Lord (Mark 7:6).
Maintaining a pure heart is a constant challenge as there are many temptations in life to not act sincerely, to pretend to be someone we are not; or to twist the Scripture to advance our cause or make our position more popular.
In 1st Timothy chapter 3 the apostle Paul outlines the characteristics of the man who desires to be a bishop or superintendent of the Lord’s church. One of the qualifications for a bishop is for a man to hold the truth of the gospel with purity
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience
1 Timothy 3:9
In addition, the apostle Peter understood that a true Christian is one who has had their soul cleansed by obeying the gospel, the Word of the Lord. Therefore, the Christian is to love others with sincere affection, and to have a genuine and intent interest in the wellbeing of others, especially the body of Christ:
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
1 Peter 1:22
How to purify our heart?
Sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word
The apostle Paul instructs husbands to love their wives even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. This Scripture reveals that God’s Word cleanses us, or assists in making our heart pure. A way we improve the purity of our heart is to wash it with God’s Words. We do this through reading and meditating Scripture in the Holy Bible:
The Words of the Lord are pure Words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times
God’s Words in the bible are clean. As we read and meditate the Words of the Lord our heart is cleansed.
The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes
God’s commandments are clean and straight and they make our heart glad and give light to our eyes and vision.
Thy Word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it
Every Word of God is pure
The Words of the Lord are very pure and clean, therefore we have great affection for God’s Word. If we are not delighting in God’s Words in the bible we need to check our heart, possibly our heart is not pure. If we have an impure heart, we need to discipline ourselves to read and meditate God’s Word, as this in the only way we can cleanse our heart and make it pure.
Even in the apostle Paul’s day it was rare to find Christians, and even Christian leaders, with a pure heart. Timothy was an exception as he had developed his soul (mind, will, imagination and emotions) with the Word of God to genuinely love the body of Christ:
I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s
Do we genuinely care for and fervently love the body of the Lord Jesus? This includes the poor person in our midst, or the Lord’s people in the poorer countries of the world. Or, are we more interested in seeking our own, sometimes exorbitant, prosperity, comfort and luxury? This is a continual challenge, to keep our heart pure to sincerely love the Lord Jesus and His body, both in our midst and also globally.
- our heart is made up of our spirit and soul (mind, will, imagination and emotions)
- our born again spirit is pure BUT our soul is impure to various degrees
- an impure heart can lead to shipwreck in our Christian lives
- Scripture from the holy bible is pure
- we can cleanse, wash and purify our heart (soul) through reading and meditating biblical Scripture
- a Christian hypocrite is one who pretends to be a devout Christian but has neglected to continually wash and purify their soul with God’s Scripture, subsequently their heart is impure
- the pure in heart shall avoid shipwreck and shall see the Lord
To see the Lord clearly we need to have a pure heart. This means our soul (mind, will, emotions and imagination) needs to be constantly purified, or washed, by the Word of the Lord. A pure heart is one which sincerely and genuinely loves the Lord and the Lord’s people – His church. In today’s global village, this means also having a genuine interest in the well being of the Lord’s church in the poor and oppressed nations of the world. A hypocrite is one who acts piously and looks sincerely virtuous on the outside, but on the inside they are really more interested in their own personal gain, comfort and success. We can be delivered from hypocrisy through reading and meditating all of the Scriptures in the Holy Bible and allowing God’s Word to cleanse and change our soul and heart.
Dear Lord, thank you for this teaching on purity of heart. Please forgive us for the times when we have been hypocritical, where we made out we were sincere and loving when in our heart we have wanted personal gain or improved position. Thank you that your Scripture is pure and it can cleanse our heart and make it pure. Please strengthen us to give a higher priority to the reading and meditation of your Scripture, so that we can truly be the pure in heart. We pray this in Jesus Christ name. Amen.
Resources / Study
More than 11,000 of Andrew's meditation books have been distributed internationally in 8 languages. The meditation books - "Strength and Power", "The Sword of the Spirit", "In Christ Meditations", and "God's Covenant of Healing" are available in hard copy through our website SHOPPING CART: go to - www.andrewshreeve.org. "The Sword of the Spirit" is also available as a multi format e-book: go to - http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/24226
Andrew's YouTube videos have more than 19,000 views. Freely view more than 130 short videos (mostly 10-15 minutes, maximum 28 minutes) by Andrew: go to - www.andrewshreeve.org or http://www.youtube.com/user/AndrewShreeve
Andrew has preached internationally over 1,400 times in more than 20 different countries since 2000. Freely listen to some of these anointed audio teachings in the following 13 languages: Burmese, English, Indonesian, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Malaysian, Mandarin, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese. Go to - www.andrewshreeve.org home page - Audio Messages.
More than 175 short written teachings, categorized under 40 topic headings, are freely available for study under the written teaching section of www.andrewshreeve.org. You may freely copy and print the teachings for easier study.
This itinerary is subject to change without notice. For security reasons some details are undisclosed.
1-3 April 2016
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