The Way to Purity

Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart . . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man . . . —Matthew 15:18-20

Initially we trust in our ignorance, calling it innocence, and next we trust our innocence, calling it purity. Then when we hear these strong statements from our Lord, we shrink back, saying, “But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart.” We resent what He reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”?

If I will take an honest look at myself, becoming fully aware of my so-called innocence and putting it to the test, I am very likely to have a rude awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I will be appalled at the possibilities of the evil and the wrong within me. But as long as I remain under the false security of my own “innocence,” I am living in a fool’s paradise. If I have never been an openly rude and abusive person, the only reason is my own cowardice coupled with the sense of protection I receive from living a civilized life. But when I am open and completely exposed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis of me.

The only thing that truly provides protection is the redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will simply hand myself over to Him, I will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity.

by Oswald Chambers

Our Firm Foundation

Ephesians 2:1-9

What we believe determines how we will act. To behave in a godly manner, we must embrace biblical truth. So let’s take a look at some basics of the faith:

• Man’s relationship with God is broken, apart from Jesus Christ. When Adam and Eve rebelled, their nature became corrupt and alienated them from God. That “flesh” nature was then passed down to all subsequent generations, separating man from the Father (Rom. 5:12). On our own, we can neither make amends for our sin nor change our nature.

• Salvation comes through Jesus alone (Acts 4:12). God’s justice required a penalty for sin, but only a sacrifice without defect would suffice. Jesus, who lived a perfect life on earth, was uniquely qualified. He bore our sins and died in our place so we might be forgiven and adopted into God’s family. When we receive Him as Savior, we’re given a new nature, and Christ’s righteousness is counted as ours (Phil. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:17).

• The church—Christ’s body—is made up of born-again believers throughout the world (1 Cor. 12:13). All Christians are commanded to worship the Lord, care for one another, and share in the work of spreading the gospel. God’s followers are also given spiritual gifts to use in building up other believers.

If these truths are the basis for our view of life, we will find ourselves growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Forgiving others will become a possibility—and dying to self a more common occurrence. Ungodly traits will fade away and be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Weighty Matters

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

This particular “woe” among the eight in Matthew 23 is often only partially proclaimed. Usually, sermons are delivered about the “judgment, mercy, and faith” that are indeed the “weightier matters of the law”—but Christ’s somewhat offhand remark on the responsibility to tithe is either ignored or downplayed.

Surely the legalistic and public display of “obedience” to the law is condemned by Jesus. He rebuked these same men for their desire to show their spirituality. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men” (Matthew 6:2). But Jesus also said in our text that they “ought . . . to have done” the tithing of their wealth.

The condemnation is that this kind of hypocrite seeks only his name in a bulletin, or a plaque on a wall, or a brick in a walkway, or a wing in a hospital or museum, and is indifferent to the quiet, background work of ministry that doles out judgment, mercy, and faith.

Jesus measures “weightier matters” this way: “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:35-36). “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

If we wish to honor and please our Lord, He expects us to do both—faithful tithes and offerings, and judgment, mercy, and faith. HMM III

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross dally, and follow me

And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross dally, and follow me.—Luke 9:23.

WE pray Thee, grant us strength to take
Our daily cross, whatever it be,
And gladly for Thine own dear sake
In paths of pain to follow Thee.
W. W. HOW.

THE more you accept daily crosses as daily bread, in peace and simplicity, the less they will injure your frail, delicate health; but forebodings and frettings would soon kill you. FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FÉNELON.

We speak of the crosses of daily life, and forget that our very language is a witness against us, how meekly we ought to bear them, in the blessed steps of our holy Lord; how in “every cross and care,” we ought not to acquiesce simply, but to take them cheerfully,—not cheerfully only but joyfully; yea, if they should even deserve the name of “tribulation,” to “joy in tribulation” also, as seeing in them our Father’s hand, our Savior’s cross. EDWARD B. PUSEY.

Take kindly and heartsomely with His cross, who never yet slew a child with the cross. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.

Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness

Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Psalm 97:12

The heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? — Yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm?

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness? — Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.

As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. — Partakers of his holiness.

The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. —What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, … without spot, and blameless?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Job 15:15,16. Job 25:5,6. Exodus 15:11. Isaiah 6:3. 1 Peter 1:15,16. Hebrews 12:10. 1 Corinthians 3:17. 2 Peter 3:11,14. Ephesians 4:29,30.

By faith Abraham, … called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed

By faith Abraham, … called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed. Hebrews 11:8

He shall choose our inheritance for us. — He led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the
LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. —Who teacheth like Him?

We walk by faith, not by sight. — Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. — Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. — Arise ye and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.

Psalm 47:4. Deuteronomy 32:10-12. Isaiah 48:17. Job 36:22. 2 Corinthians 5:7. Hebrews 13:14. 1 Peter 2:11. Micah 2:10.