These are my sermon notes from a message I spoke at THRIVE Young Adults at CLC. Use it if you want to.
What is the key to purity?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30
Our heart is one of the most important organs in our body, and so is our biblical heart. We often talk about heart, soul, and mind, but what are these things.
The Mind =Conscience
If the information in your brain is bad, it is influencing your mind (deteriorating your conscience), which is affecting the condition of your spirit.
The heart is the very seat of our emotions. Last week we talked about our mind or conscience, today we will talk about the Heart or BRAIN.
2 Samuel 11:1-27
HOW DO I CREATE AN IMPURE HEART?
- Envy Someone Else’s Life, Role, or Character
Some of the strongest emotions we can exhibit are jealousy, envy, rage and hate. These emotions are the root of many of the major crimes we have in society.
Anger, envy, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.
What is envy? Envy occurs when we lack a desired attribute or possession enjoyed by another.
What is the difference between jealousy and envy? Jealousy happens when something we already possess (usually a special relationship) is threatened by a third person.
The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5), this means he does not want to lose us and show himself clear in that. However, the ten commandments tell us of envy, not jealousy.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17
David envied Uriah because of his wife, and so envy crept in and caused David to make plans
- Make Plans Using Your Emotions
Because our heart is the seat of our emotions, we should never make decisions solely based on how we feel.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
The human brain is like a computer that writes code all day, every day. The more we run programs based on our emotions, the more the brain learns to react based on emotions.
David was overcome with lust and desire that he made poor plans at that moment. David could have avoided this by:
- Keeping with the big plans: be king, do what kings do and not be on the roof at night looking at naked women.
- Remembering the blessings and favor he had because he walked with God
- Substituting his desire for flesh with an act of the spirit.
How do we avoid making plans with our emotions? I just told you and especially #3. If we were to make it a habit to overcome our flesh by simply delaying an act of the foolishness by first doing an act that requires us to engage our spirit with God. (e.g.,. Worship, prayer, reciting passages)
This is our hope! This is the message we can bring to the lost and broken! It does not have to be this way. David did what most people do today:
Committing Adultery: 90% general population
Up to 65% of husbands and 55% of wives will commit adultery.
Journal of Psychology and Christianity
So this is why it is so important to practice self-control and spiritual strength now while you are single. We live in a world that is engaging in all kinds of sexual activity before marriage as if it is a race to get it all in now before they say, “I DO”. The problem is they programmed their heart (the brain) to enjoy sexual escapades. It is like a drug addict; you don’t just stop cold turkey except by supernatural healing and deliverance. You stop by coding something else in the heart of man.
So once we want something we should not have and make plans to get it, now we have the choice: hide it or deal with it. David decided to hide it.
- Hide Your Sin and Weaknesses
David committed the unthinkable here, like an awful episode of Scandal. He had her husband killed and planned it all out.
When we hide our sin, we create an atmosphere of shame that corrupts our heart and justifies the worst of actions. Murderers in our prison system are there because of envy, jealousy, and rage. Some felt justified that the person they killed, deserved it or had it coming.
Your sin will find you out, one way or another. Purity is not about perfection or sinlessness; it is about the right heart that deals with sin properly when it comes.
The good news: David was confronted by the prophet Nathan and admitted his guilt. He was punished with the death of his son and strife in his household. Mercy is always right there within our reach, and David experienced it. His son Solomon became king of him from the same woman that he committed the act with. God is not just sitting up there trying to strike us down; God wants the best for us. He is a good Father.
This morning, I had a reckoning moment with God. Even better, God had one with me. I was reading from 1 Samuel 25:12-27 as part of my reading plan and I actually thought it was simple and boring and that I would just get more out of my New Testament reading… I was wrong. I just got back from a wonderful vacation and with Easter and so many things coming down for us at once, I was overcome with an anxiety I was not comfortable with. I immediately went to prayer and I was reminded to pray for my best friend who is in a physical struggle that I can only understand at the surface. God prompted me to re-read 1 Samuel 25:12-27 and so I did just that.
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal[c] is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.
- God is in control
Even when we think something is too hard or if we are the victims of some kind of evil, we must come to grips with the truth that God is in control. God is not surprised with your issue and this may create larger questions and issues for you regarding God, but this is the truth.
- You must get on your face (humility) before you can be free
Abigail came to the king (David) and interceded for her foolish husband. She and everyone in her family and property were spared, the king thanked her in the process, and later God took care of Nabal instead of human intervention.
- Interceding for others includes those that hurt you
This was my toughest hurdle, technically, I am still mid-jump over this one. I had the tendency to walk around praying and shouting for God to save others from the same hurt and to shut down the one who hurt me. I thought I had forgiven when I simply overlooked the pain in my own power. God showed me clearly that I would know when I was healed… when I could come to the King of Kings, much like Abigail, and offer a gift and beg for the very life of the one who hurt me. God was showing me that for years, but for some reason the phone was connected this time, I heard the message clearly.
- Your healing comes at the expense of you
Let me explain, I have to give up my right to be right. I have to give up my need to have a reason for why something happened to me. When I can be joyful simply because God is walking and talking with me, my freedom is at hand. It is good to claim the promises of God and to come to His throne boldly, but may we never misinterpret this boldness. Our boldest moments come when we are empty of our own agendas and we simply bless God and others. Abigail had every right to let David kill as planned, technically she could have asked for shelter and protection, but instead she honored the king with her humility and wisdom.
Victory comes with humility, wisdom and love, but you are not the one who brings it. God brings your victory and when we usher in our own victories, we soon learn that they are short-lived and become bondage in our spiritual lives. True spiritual victory never binds, it frees.
This is Week 1 of THRIVE’s It’s Not About Me Series. Feel free to use these notes for yourself or group. I will be going through Philippians, key verse by key verse.
It’s Not About Me: My Completion
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
The Apostle Paul is most likely imprisoned in Rome while writing this letter to the Philippian church. Paul mentions his confidence in the Philippians and God’s faithfulness to finish every good work he started in us. The key piece that brings context to this verse is “the day of Jesus Christ”. Without this phrase, we can lose site of the journey that feels long, but is short in reflection of eternity. The promise is true, but only at the end.
Sometimes we have dreams, personal goals and aspirations that our all our own and we can become discouraged when they are left untouched, unfinished or even destroyed. Further still, we can easily drive ourselves to see works that were started (churches, efforts, events, plans) by God through us and assume that this verse means that very work will be completed. This is just not always the case, the “good work” he started in is refers to the sanctification launch, after salvation we are on a journey of becoming more like Christ. The more we walk the journey the closer we come to his finished masterpeice, but it is in His time and only God calls it finished.
Rick Warren said this, “Where God guides, he provides. And where God leads, he meets our needs. But he’s going to test you first, because there is no testimony without a test.”
- You need to be sure
What happens when you are sure of something? What changes about your attitude, the way you carry yourself, your effectiveness and your outlook of the future?
What are the things we must be sure of? Who God is!
A.W. Tozer (my favorite author) said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
We live in a day that could care less about God, who He is or what He wants. God has been removed from schools, the workplace and our entertainment. We have confusion about our own identities, genders and marriages. The world hates a God who will judge, define good versus evil and allow bad things to happen. It is tough to be a young adult right now and have a truthful thought about God.
If we cannot get a solid and right idea about God, we must start there. So, let me give you this, We can be sure:
- That God is good and is good to you!
We see this in our salvation
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
We see this in his desire for relationship with us
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a
We see this in His faithfulness
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5
We see this in His provision for us
Matthew 6:25-36 (birds of the air, lilies of the field)
- Jesus began the “good” work, so Jesus will complete the “good” work
True spiritual growth depends on what you believe God has done, is doing and will do.
This does not mean that you will stand back and watch God move your entire Christian life, No! It means quite the opposite.
God expects to do the work, to live the life He desires for us. The difference is the peace and wisdom that I like to call favor. What does favor mean? Walking in favor means that you hear from God, you obey God, and He blesses your obedience. Favor is something that is built over a lifetime, but experienced daily.
- That your completion will not happen until the end
This is actually encouraging! There is no shame in the journey, the bible tells us about the journey
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. – 2 Cor 3:8
Telescope or Hiking
I was called to ministry as a young boy. Without going into my testimony too much, I held onto the call tightly until I discovered sin was fun. When I finally came back to Jesus and walked with Him, I was ready for Him to complete the work. I was making plans to go to school, travel the world, preach and teach from the rooftops. It was in the moments where I cleaned church bathrooms, setup for small groups, operated the computer and led youth games that God taught me some big lessons. My growth towards completion is based on how I learn from the small moments, the humbling ventures, what I saw as the mundane.
You see, I had a bad habit of looking at my purpose and call with a telescope. I can see it so close, as if I could just reach and grab it. However, once the telescope is pulled from my eyes, I see forest, desert, mountains and valleys, fires, storms, fog and more. I have to walk through all of it to get to my fulfilled purpose and calling.
Never Tell Them Early
My wife and I have a rule about telling our children anything about future events. We do not tell our children anything until we know it will happen and even then, only the info they need to get ready or prepared. We want to be a blessing to our children and not fill them with disappointment if we are just dreaming. It;s like out relationship with God, He tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it.
This is a promise we can count on! However, we should never call something “of God” that is of ourselves. If God starts it, He will finish it. Just know that he may use someone else to finish a work, but God is faithful to complete THE WORK that is YOU.
- What comes into your mind when you first think about God?
- What is the biggest worry you have right now?
- Do you know what you are supposed to do with your life? What is your purpose? If so, does slow growth or lack of completion frustrate you?