“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Holiness is an essential, a divine command and not a suggestion.
God is a God of order. Throughout His Word There are pictures and patterns and you are about to behold one in this message and consequently, never be the same.
We are going to see that purity of heart is a divine priority for God’s people which precedes His answering prayers, power, and pure praise.
MEN of God obey God and therefore see HIS results (produce fruit). They do not compromise (Galatians 1:10). They are on mission for Christ (John 5:30). They upset many. A few repent! Did Jesus crack the whip He made and flip tables in the religious temple? (Matthew 21; John 2) Did Christ’s apostle Paul call a false prophet a “child of the devil”? (Acts 13:10) Yes or no please.
As an eternal memorial of His zeal for holiness among His people, the LORD Jesus violently cleansed the temple of the false leaders who were making merchandise of His people by making a business out of the ministry (2 Peter 2:1-3). Jesus cleansed the temple, making the way for the pure prayer, power, and praise He desires. Watch the sequence here beloved:
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves (PURITY), 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of PRAYER; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them (POWER). 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected PRAISE? 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” Matthew 21:12-17
Jesus here purifies His temple, the people are returned to praying, and then His power and praise are manifested!
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to PRAY, not PREACH (Luke 11:1).
Is your temple being cleansed as you present you life a living sacrifice to Jesus every day?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
Rich Brown writes:
“Everybody wants Jesus to answer their prayers, fix their mess, show them a miracle, allow them into heaven, but nobody wants to serve Him, spread His Gospels, obey Him, serve others, save souls, pray and fast, take up their cross daily and follow Him.”
Purity begins in our own hearts and when we cry out for and submit to the LORD, He is going to bless us to be cleansed. With that cleansing comes discernment so we can see the merchandising wolves for the enemies they really are.
“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail (that blinds) shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:14-16
Did you catch that? Read that passage again and notice that: Blindness will remain over out hearts until we truly turn our hearts to the LORD. When we do, He removes the darkness and grants us clarity of vision and discernment.
All who truly know the LORD, desire that He would use them (Matthew 4:19). We are beholding in His Word that there are conditions or a condition to being used of the LORD – a pure heart.
Are we crying out to the LORD for a pure heart? Such precedes and is a requirement for His to truly use us in this life.
When we truly submit to the LORD, His presence, purification, prayer, power and praise will manifest. Now that is the biblical definition of revival and it begins right here in our own hearts.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, divine healing comes exclusively to those who:
- humble themselves
- seek His holy face
- and repent, turning from their wicked ways
Jesus says that only “the pure in heart” will see and be with Him in glory.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Holiness and purity of heart are is the work of Christ through the yielded saint who does things HIS way and no other way.
“The LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) and here is a biblical prayer for purity of heart. I love to pray this every single morning:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24
God works from the inside out. The false religionists of Jesus’ day cleaned the outside of their lives – to appear to be holy before mere men – but Jesus rebuked this and taught us that holiness begins in the heart, where He is allowed to purify our hearts:
“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. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” Matthew 23:23-25
The counterfeits of Christ’s day and ours, did not truly and sincerely seek the LORD and were therefore void of the true understanding and revelation of God – that a pure heart is a must and outward works were of no value to Him unless they were proceeding from a heart He’s purified.
Lest we are deceived into the notion that purity of heart and true holiness are a work of the flesh, let’s touch on the work of Christ in purifying His cross-abiding saints. Addressing this very issue of how God works from the inside out, cleansing us from all evil, including the sin of self-righteousness, Travis Bryan III writes:
“Satan has a strategy that sometimes works: turn the dying to self mantra into legalism/asceticism. This is why we must remember the gospel (dying to self then being raised with Christ) is not something we do. It is something that happens to us and we faith through. Then Satan will not be able to turn ‘dying to self’ into a law to keep by human effort.”
Brother Rich Brown writes:
“Let’s make sure that our humility and self-denial are motivated by submission to Christ rather than a self-made strategy for personal profit just like false teachers who appear to be very religious and very humble but who were really satisfying their own desires by calling attention to themselves. Col. 2:16-23.”
There is a divine order in the house/among the people of God. Jeremiah 1:10 once again establishes this:
“See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10
Notice the divine pattern and order revealed to us here:
- a rooting out
- a pulling down
- a destroying/destruction…..
As we saw in the Matthew 21 passage where Jesus first cleansed the temple before He brought His blessings, we see this same divine order in Jeremiah 1:10. Please pour prayerfully over this verse of divine truth, making it a life verse for God’s glory.
This verse of truth shows us that God first cleanses away that which is evil in His holy eyes and then He builds and plants in that person’s life His truth, character, and fruit.
The Death of Ananias and Sapphira and what Ensued
After the LORD, killed Ananias and his wife Sapphira, there was a cleansing and many signs and wonders were done.
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” Acts 5:12-16
As usual the moving of the LORD did not go unanswered by the enemy of souls. We are in a war. Persecution followed and so did the flourishing and teaching of God’s Word – revival:
“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
Do we see this type of true Christianity today or a false form? What is the difference? Is Jesus our “first love”? (Revelation 2:4-5)
John Atteberry writes:
“The number one problem with so many who claim to be Christians today is that there is no fear of God, no true desire for heart holiness, no sincere heart worship, no fervent prayer, no reading and studying the Word of God, no pure praise … then guess what? You’ve got the Devil as your god, and you love to do what he wants you to do—which is to sinfully slide back into his arms, and he’s right there with you. His evil, seducing arms are stretched out for you in place of Jesus Christ whose arms were stretched out for you on the cross where He died for you! OUCH! WOW! That rips my heart and makes me tear up. What about you? Makes me want to read God’s spiritual, purifying, and healing Word to fall in love with Him and fall into His arms again and again and again – as my one and only ‘first love’. This is the only way to not backslide ever again! AMEN.”
Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord – Cleansing the Commission
Notice here with Isaiah, as it is with us, that when He sought the LORD and the presence of God was manifested, he then and only then realized his own wickedness of heart. Isaiah cried out to the LORD for cleansing and only then was he ask the LORD to send him forth to be used.
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.” Isaiah 6:1-9
So many today who hold positions of ministry are not fruitful. They have refused to cry out to the LORD and have rather relied upon the flesh – their degree, position, expertise in running a church business, or charisma. Be sure that God will judge.
“And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” Joel 2:13
In rending our hearts, our innermost being, our hearts are circumcised, stripped of the religiosity and we are made authentic, real, broken, and humbled as only the LORD can accomplish.
“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jeremiah 4:4
Now see if you can catch the divine order and pattern here:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
In the above passage, prayer, did you note that first and foremost, David cried out for a clean heart and a renewed/refreshed spirit. He then cried out to the LORD to not be severed from Him. Then David asked the LORD to restore in his heart divine joy and to be upheld with His Holy Spirit. The result? Ministry fruitfulness. Please read that prayer of David again before praying the prayer below:
PRAYER: Holy Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I cry out to You this moment, to cleanse and circumcise my wicked heart. Clear away all evil from my heart. Probe and cleanse me to the very core of my being. Convict and wash, and purge my life of all that displeases You. Grant me a pure heart Jesus. Please fill my heart and life with the fruit of Your Holy Spirit and use me LORD. In Jesus’ name, amen.