The first public message I ever gave was a Mother’s Day when we were pastoring in Vallejo, California … Church on the Hill. This would have been in the early 70’s.
I never wanted to be a public speaker. I always wanted to marry a preacher and be in the ministry but felt my ministry was to my husband, children and home.
Ronn had asked our women’s ministry director at the church to plan the service for Mother’s Day. Then she did the unthinkable … she asked me to deliver the message! I did the “proper” thing and said I would pray about it. I could say that because I felt safe in knowing that the Lord would not require that of me!
A couple weeks before Mother’s Day she asked me if I was prepared and I said, “Oh, no … that is not something I can do!” Then she looked me in the eye and said, “Have you really prayed about it?” Ouch! I knew the answer to that one! I really had NOT prayed about it because my mind was made up. So I told her I would pray one more time!
I was working part time in the church office and the next day or so it came to my attention that two married people in the church were having an affair.
I was so angry and upset over this that I left the office, got in the car and went off on some errands crying as I went. I was asking the Lord, “Why? How can this happen with Christians?” And as plain as day the Lord dropped into my heart … “It’s a matter of purity. Purity of mind, heart and body.” I almost stopped the car as I responded to the Lord, “Lord, that’s not fair! You just gave me a sermon outline and now I know I have to speak on Mother’s Day!”
Well, perhaps it wasn’t a normal “Mother’s Day” message but here is how the Lord helped me to flesh out that message …
As I look at the church today I don’t see much difference from the worldly way of doing things. Yet in Ephesians 5:27 (KJV), Paul tells us that Jesus wants “…a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Can any of us qualify?
The Living Bible puts Psalms 96:9 this way, “Worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives.” Hebrew 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” The Bible consistently tells us to be holy even as He is holy. How do we stay “holy” in this sinful world?
In some churches and in some places holiness is considered to be how long our hair is, how long the clothes are, no make-up and lest you guys think you are getting away with this … I knew a preacher once who thought it was unholy to wear a tie because it was an adornment! But being holy is so much more than that.
God would not have commanded us to be holy if it was impossible to do so. In ourselves it IS impossible but with Him He makes all things “Himpossible”.
Eve’s first sin was not that she ate of the forbidden fruit. She listened to a lie (that being what Satan told her was not what God said or meant) and then she entertained that thought and bought the lie. If Eve had immediately refused the thought the act of sin would never had occurred.
So right there entered MIND IMPURITY. All of us will be temped and threatened with impure thoughts. Even Jesus had those in the desert when Satan came to tempt Him. But Jesus DID NOT think upon those things. He immediately used the Word against Satan’s temptations.
Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you begin to think upon the thought, as you entertain it in your mind then it slips down into your heart. Once we begin to let our mind dwell upon the evil suggestion from Satan then it enters our heart or soul. Matthew 15:19 then tells us, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh!
We cannot stop evil thoughts from entering our mind because there are impure images, sinful suggestions, sexual innuendos all around us. Satan is the prince of the power of the air and he is going to do all he can to make us sin.
So our first responsibility lies in the area of the mind … put on the mind of Christ, resist the enemy, bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Be careful what we watch, where we go, what we read … garbage in, garbage out! What you put inside your mind will come out!
Now that it is in our heart we are facing HEART IMPURITY. We criticize, complain, bicker, gossip, envy, jealous, fantasize, impure sexual thoughts — the list could go on and on but you get my point. Our hearts get hardened and we reach a point where what we once believed was sin no longer condemns us. We think we can get by with sin.
Matthew 15:19 (ESV), “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
Others may not know the things that are in our minds and hearts, but God sees all. Mark 2:89 tells us that “Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves …” Psalm 95:8 instructs us not to harden our hearts. When we consistently disobey the voice of God then our hearts do become hardened to the point where we don’t see anything wrong with the way we are or the things we are doing. Just because no one sees the cancer inside us doesn’t mean it isn’t hurting us. Maybe you don’t even know you have a weak heart until suddenly you slump over with a heart attack.
God demands total repentance … Joel 2:12, 13 (ESV), “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
God’s heart cry is, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, the it might be well with the, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29, KJV).
Have you ever considered the effect of your sins on the lives of your children, grand children and even great grand children? The Bible speaks of the sins of the parents being passed on even unto the third and fourth generation! Oh, what a responsibility we carry!
There is victory if we repent … Jeremiah 24:7 (KJV), “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”
If our minds and hearts are impure it won’t be long until the BODY follows. Even in the Christian community there is sex before marriage, pregnancy out of wedlock, alcohol and drug abuse, all kinds of sexual sins, physical abuse, etc. And we wonder WHY?
The body does not act independently of the mind. Your body does not suddenly shoot your spouse, rob a bank, start an affair. The thought comes, the thought is entertained, it flows to the heart and if not repented of the body will act. We cannot think one thing and expect fruit of another kind.
Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (NKJV)
I Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV), “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 13:14 (KJV), “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
There are tragedies to the impure life … after Miriam spoke against the man God had ordained as leader, she became leprous. After David had his adulterous affair with Bathsheba he saw his child die. Ananias and Sapphire made a joint decision to lie and their death was immediate.
How can we triumph over impurity? Christ came to set us free but freedom is not the right to do what we want but the POWER to do what we ought!
After David’s sin with Bathsheba he cried out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 KVJ).
To live triumphantly we need to hide God’s word in our heart so we won’t sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). There is a quote that I have often used when talking about the Bible, “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”
God’s Word is our BEST PROTECTION against sin.
There are rewards for a pure life … Psalm 24:3,4 (KJV), “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? … He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart …”. Matthew 5:8 (KJV), Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
And finally, Galatians 5:16 (KJV), “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Be filled with the Spirit … live your life to please Him!