How To Be An Example Of Purity
God looks at us through the perfection of Jesus' sacrifice and sees us blameless. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God purifies our character.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ all right today? Well sure, you know I wait for you to answer. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And you and I are together again by God’s grace, for just a few precious moments where we share the Word of God and try to put a handle on it so that you can get a hold of it for yourself.
We’ve been lingering in a passage that has a, a helpful commentary on a phrase out of 1 Peter 5:3, “Neither is being lords, bosses, over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” And so in order to, to sort of open a window on that concept of what it means to be an example to other believers, I went over to 1 Timothy 4, where Paul says to the young Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” An example.
And so we’ve walked around in those concepts. Word is what you say; Conversations are a phrase meaning ‘lifestyle’; Charity is, is really love – John 3:16 love, agape love, Calvary love; Spirit is a combination of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the, what the Bible calls the spirit of a man – the person that is you, that lives inside of your body, that, that telegraphs through an aura of, of influence like an unseen atmosphere around you telegraphs your feelings – the spirit of you.
Be an example in the attitude that you convey; filled by the Spirit of God, and controlled by Him. An example then, we went on to talk about this word ‘faith’ which is quality of believing God, risking the situation oh God. Paul the apostle standing on the deck of a boat which was soon to sink and, and, and break up into pieces on a rocky shore. He said, “Sirs, I believe God! So, let’s have breakfast.” Faith risks the situation on God and His Word.
That’s about as far as we got the last time we got together. Now you have this word ‘purity’. And that is a rough assignment because any time any of us starts to talk about the Bible doctrine of personal holiness and a pure life, we run smack up against human imperfections. I remember the old story – I heard it when I was a boy and it stuck in my memory. This man stood up in a prayer meeting. He was giving a testimony and he said, “I haven’t sinned for 40 years.” And from the back of the, of the auditorium came a female voice, saying, “Be careful John, I’m here.” (Laughs) Was his wife. (Laughs) Oh yes!
Any of us who lays claim to perfection the apostle John says, is lying – he is pretty forthright about that. We aren’t perfect, and we know it. So, what’re you going to do with this concept, ‘be an example in purity’? Well, you go back to the beginnings of Peter’s le-, letter where he said, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto, ready to be revealed at the last time.” God can keep you. God wants to present you to Himself. We read in another passage, “without spot or blemish.” And another place Paul says, “Present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
Now, there are two ways to look at this, both of which are important. The first is, the way God looks at you through Christ. “We are accepted,” the Bible tells us, “in the Beloved One.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the, is God’s beloved Son. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Here ye Him,” said the voice that came from the heavens that day. And so we’re accepted in the beloved, that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. And God looks at you through the work, and the character, and the attributes, and the perfections, of the Lord Jesus. And He sees then not your imperfections, but Christ’s perfect sacrifice for you. “Christ had once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust; that He might bring us to God. How could you come into the presence of a holy God, spotted with sin and mistakes and failures, unless it were for the perfection of the one who brings you, the Lord Jesus Christ?” I showed up in Court on one occasion many years ago, to say a good word for a young man who had gotten into some scrape with the law. Fine young fellow he was – and is; he’s grown up into a fine, upstanding, young adult.
But in those days it was a difficult situation and everyone was upset, and he was scared, and there wasn’t anybody else there in the Courtroom that knew him. And I showed up, and I said a word for him to the judge. And the judge said, “Well, I don’t know this boy, but I do know you, Dr. Cook.” And he said, “I’m going to give him another chance.” Well now that, that is something, isn’t it? And that’s not to say that I was anything special except that the judge knew me, and knew something about me, and knew perhaps that when I said ‘Good morning’ he didn’t have to wonder what I meant, (Laughs)
So, he looked at the boy through his acquaintance with Bob Cook. I guess that’s how it worked anyway. Well, that’s a very distant and a very halting illustration of what happens with the heavenly Father. He looks at you and me, brother and sister. And we do have our imperfections. And we’ve gone up against the Holy Law of God many a time, haven’t we. “All have sinned,” the Bible says, “and come short of the glory of God.” You don’t have anything to recommend us to a holy God.
The Bible says that “He is of purer eyes than to behold.” That means He won’t even look at things that are wrong. Purer eyes than to behold inequity. What are we going to do with this kind of a setup? We need a savior, we need one who can represent us. And so John says in his epistle, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father of Jesus Christ, the righteous.” He prefaced that statement by saying, “These things write I unto you that you sin not.” It is not necessary to keep on failing God. If you live in continual, deliberate sin, it’s pretty good evidence that you never were saved. But he said, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father of Jesus Christ, the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The Lord Jesus Christ in His perfect life and His perfect sacrifice; His perfect atoning death and His victorious resurrection from the grave, the Lord Jesus is all you’ll ever need my dear friend, to keep you in right relationship with a Holy God. He looks at you through Jesus. OhI’m grateful for that. Aren’t you? I look back over my life – don’t you sometimes wish you could go back and live over some things? You can’t of course, any more than you can unscramble an egg – can’t be done. But you wish you could.
And I look back and see some of the places where I might have done a great deal better had I been more attentive to the will of God. And then as I bring them to my blessed Lord, I find that, that He has covered them all with His precious atoning blood, shed for me on Calvary as God’s Passover Lamb. And I’m free, and I’m forgiven. Hallelujah! God looks at you and me through Jesus, when we trust Him as our Savior. Now that’s what, that’s that side of it. The other side is, God, God by His indwelling Holy Spirit, does work in the direction of purifying our lives. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart,” said the psalmist “that I might not sin against Thee. I though on my ways, and took heed unto Thy testimonies,” said the psalmist again in the 119th Psalm.
“To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” said Isaiah. Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify me.” And Paul said that we have been cleansed by the washing of water through the Word.” The Word of God as it takes hold of your life, does make a difference. The only way that one can permanently modify human character is through the impingement of the Word of God upon it.
When God’s Word has an effect upon you, it makes you different. Now that’s part of the miracle of the Christian life. Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart.” To feed on the Word of God makes a difference, and it makes you a blessed person. The psalmist said that, “God’s blessed man not only lives a separated life,” but it says, “His delight is in the law of the Lord. And in His law doth He meditate day and night. And as a result, He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringth forthHis fruit. In His season, His leaf also shall not wither. And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
The Word of God does make a difference in your character; it does cleanse your heart; it does make you fruitful and non-withering – you don’t have to burn out in a hectic, and frantic, and turbulent world if your life is controlled by the Word of God. That’s, that’s what we’re saying here. And so, there’s another sense then: Not only by faith does your commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ make you appear before God with all of His – Christ’s – virtues by faith… Christ is made unto us – “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1.
And so, not only does your faith in the Lord Jesus present you faultless before the presence of His glory, “with exceeding joy,” as the Scripture says it, but also the Word of God in its impact on you day by day, makes a perceptible, measurable, difference in your attitudes and in your conduct. You follow that? Oh what a difference there is when you live in the Word of God. I love God’s Word. And I’m so grateful that I had a father and a sister older than I, who took over the task of shepherding her little baby brother in those motherless days for us both, good many years ago. Teaching me the Word of God, teaching me verses, encouraging me to learn them.
And then, as the Word of God was in my memory, the Holy Spirit who had led me to trust Christ as Savior when I was not quite six, then began to form in my mind and character the effects of the Word of God. And this continues on through the years. I love God’s Word and I’m grateful for it. Aren’t you? So this matter of purity is a two-fold approach: One, by faith in the Lord Jesus, you take by faith all that He is for you. Second, the other is, is the application of God’s Word so that the indwelling Holy Spirit can do a cleansing and a keeping clean kind of a work in your life.
It’s not enough to just be made clean; it’s only enough to be kept clean. “You who are kept by the power of God through faith and to salvation,” says Peter. Let God’s Word, and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit keep you, beloved, today, in a turbulent and dirty world, clean and shining for Jesus.
Dear Father today, keep us clean through Jesus and through the Word, by the Holy Spirit. I ask in Christ’s name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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