Summary: Message 10 in our series on the essential directives for every believer. This message begins exploration of the third directive (R) namely Restore Righteousness and Resist evil.
“CPR for a Healthy Walk Part Ten – “Resolutely restore Righteousness and resist evil – Purify our heart”
I. Continually cultivate a dynamic relationship with Him.
II. Persistently Pursue, develop and maintain meaningful community within the body of Christ.
Our final section has to do with resisting evil. In order to consistently keep our spiritual focus vital and fresh we must not only address our relationship with Christ and each other but also address our relationship with evil. The main response toward evil is to resist it. How we win the battle in resisting evil from every source involves five areas.
III. Resolutely Restore Righteousness and Resist the world the flesh and the devil
A. Renew and purify Your heart
Renounce the flesh
Refuse conformity with and love for the world
Resist the Devil
I want to make an observation concerning the 5 elements of a healthy focus. These are not intended necessarily to be chronological. A better approach might be to view them as simultaneous or continuous as a life style.
1. The Need for cleansing
Scripture addresses the issue of cleansing, purification, holiness, and sanctification throughout. The Old Testament pictures an elaborate and extensive process of continual purification and washing. Physical, spiritual, moral cleansing was practiced as well as geographic and material. The children of Israel engaged in a nation wide cleansing before entering the promised land.
Then Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you." Joshua 3:5
Vulnerably to disease increases by neglecting good hygiene and health, so vulnerability to spiritual disease increases when we neglect good spiritual hygiene. The call for initial and periodic cleansing assumes the reality of defilement or evil. We live in a fallen, evil world where we face the possibility of defilement every hour of every day. King David said, “In sin my mother conceived me.” We were born sinners into a world of sin. Whether physical, spiritual, moral, mental, emotion, willful or unintentional encounter evil and practice evil which defiles the man.
God has made provision for cleansing which is the subject I wish to explore this morning.
God instructs us to renounce and resist evil from all spheres of life wherever it is found. Several possible sources for defilement incite exploration. The ultimate source of evil is the Devil. The devil designed and directs a world system that continually perpetuates his evil ways. Every human enrolled into this defiled world with a defiled flesh. Every Christian struggles with a soul torn between a divine spirit and a defiled flesh.
What does this defilement look like?
All defilement comes under the various descriptions of sin and trespass in the Bible. Any violation of the heart, character, word and ways of God defiles the soul. Whether big or small, any sin, any violation of God’s revealed instruction for living and relating to Him defiles the soul and requires purification.
Steal a quarter or a quarter of a million, the soul defilement and damage are the same. A little lie or a big lie, the soul defilement and damage are the same. A small act of disobedience (failure to pray) or outright willful defiance (breaking one of the Ten Commandments) both bring about the same defilement.
Left unaddressed, these pockets of “dirt” effect our entire being and others as well.
"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? " Jer17:9-10
In a discussion about clean and unclean food, and such, Jesus moved to the core of the issue of defilement.
And He(Jesus) said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him; because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications (pornea), thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." Mark 7:18-23
Jesus calls our attention to areas in the heart that needs purification, as does Paul in Galatians and Romans.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32