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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

DO YOU HAVE A PURE HOME? - IS THERE A HOME IN THIS HOUSE (LESSON 2)


(CLICK TO WATCH SERMON)
THANK YOU FOR VISITING AWAKENED NOW! I want to share a four-week sermon series with you I'm preaching this month entitled: "Is There a Home In Your House?" 


If you (or someone you know) are sincerely seeking help for your marriage and your relationship with your children, please, study and share these four messages.



A BLESSED HOME IS A PURE HOME

Mt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
   
What we're doing in this four-week teaching series is we are looking at what's known as the beatitudes. That simply comes from a Latin word which means Blessedness. In Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus showed us 8 different characteristics of those who are blessed.          

Last week, we looked at "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." Next week, we're going to see that "Peace makers are blessed." In our homes today, we have a lot of people that are peace takers; not peace makers. In our fourth week, we're going to see that those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are blessed.

PURITY IN OUR HOMES (PURE IN HEART)

How many want a blessed home? Yes! Me too! So let’s apply another beatitude to our home. Whatcha say?

Mt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

A blessed home is a pure home! I want a home that is pure! I want a home that is more than Christian in name, I want a Christ-centered home!

I don’t think the number one descriptive word we’d use for most American homes is “pure”. That’s understandable in the world, but a Christian's home should be pure.


1. PURITY ROBBED

Who's ever been robbed before?

We been stolen from several times. A camera. Money. When we were in Florida, we lived in area where we were surrounded by gangs. They robbed us blind. Stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. A lawn mower motor. The wheels and tires right off our vehicle. It was crazy.          

Having your house broken into is very common these days. People have no respect for anyone. Because of the very real possibility of having someone come into my home, I now own a few regulators, fire sticks. No one is going to hurt my family without me at least trying to defend them. Amen?

But what's interesting in our culture today is people are applauded for protecting their kids physically, but make fun of you when you try to protect them morally and spiritually. Even in the church, perhaps even here right now, some of you think I’m a decent man for protecting my children, but you think I’m going overboard for wanting to protect the purity of my children’s hearts.

Just as I have been robbed physically, I believe we have a spiritual enemy who wants to rob our families of their purity, to break in, to kill, steal and destroy their innocence and their trust (John 10:10). And Jesus gave us a very specific beatitude in Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 8, that deals with this.          

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

The word heart in the Greek language is the word cardio. We get our word cardiac from that word. Jesus was using this as a metaphor. He wasn't saying, "Blessed are those that have a pure four-chambered organ that pumps blood through the veins.” He was using it as a metaphor to describe the emotions, feelings, and the inner self.        
     
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God!

Today, everyone thinks everyone has a “good heart”. "Oh, she's got a good heart.” “He's got a good heart." Young, single, girls dating a guy, "Oh, he's not a Christian, but he's got a good heart." No, he's unemployed, lives in his van down by the river and smokes weed for breakfast. "But, oh, he's got a good heart." The reality is it's simply not true of any of us. And let me show you in scripture.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART?

Here's the bottom-line: WITHOUT CHRIST THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PURE HEART!

Without Christ doing heart surgery on us there is no such thing, in any of us, as a pure or a good heart.  In fact, Jeremiah said in:

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.


The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. It is beyond cure. It lies to us and it deceives us. Who can understand it? God says, "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, I examine the mind." The heart is deceitful above all things. That’s some indictment. You say you have a good heart? You say someone else has a good heart? God said their heart is wicked!         

In fact, in Ephesians 4, verse 18 and 19, the Apostle Paul said something really profound to the believers in Ephesus.  He said this of those who were Gentiles, who had drifted from their faith, who were nonbelievers.  He said:

Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
 
Paul said their understanding is darkened and they're separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the blindness of their hearts.
You ever walk out of a lighted place into a very dark place? The darkness just kind of smothers you. You’re staggering around; groping, reaching for something to grab a hold of. But slowly, but surely, your eyes began to adjust to the dark.        

Could it be that our homes, our families, that we love so much are separated from the life of Christ because we've been darkened in our understanding?

Could it be that we’ve gotten so sucked up into the culture of this world that we’re like the Israelites? We’ve lived in Egypt so long we walking like Egyptians, talking like Egyptians, doing what Egyptians are doing, but because every one else is doing it we now think it’s ok? Have we allowed impurities into our families and don't even know it?

In verse 19, Paul said they’d lost something. They had lost all sensitivity. They've given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity. 

I don’t know of two verses that better describe our culture today. Having lost all sensitivity, our culture is giving itself over to all sorts of sensuality and indulging in every kind of impurity.          

We love our families, we want to protect them, we want to guard our marriages, we want to protect the next generation. We would NEVER do anything like give our little babies poison. "Yo, Little X-man. Here's a bottle of poison, drink this baby". We would never do that. We would never tell our kids to go swimming in a pool full of acid. Right?

Yet we'll send our 15-year-old daughters on a car date with some hairy-legged, hormone raging boy that we've never met. That happens all the time. We'll give our children unlimited access to a mobile device where they can get into anything and everything, where they can live in their own world, building relationships with hundreds of people that we don’t even know. And folks call that absolutely normal?!?!


We’ve got to make some changes in our lives and in our homes! What's going to be different in our lives? Well, if you missed last week, we had a key thought that I want to revisit, and we will in the weeks to come. You may remember it, but we're going to have a mind shift, a different way of thinking. And here's what we're going to be:  
WE ARE NOT MERELY A CHRISTIAN FAMILY; WE ARE A CHRIST-CENTERED HOME!

Over 80% of America claim to be Christian. Millions of people “profess” to be Christian, but Jesus isn’t the center of their life. Jesus isn’t just a part of my life, He is my life.

CREATING A CULTURE OF PURITY

Jesus wants to be the center of our family! He wants to be the center of our children’s lives!

"How can a young person stay on the path of purity?" Man, if you've got kids or if you're a young person, that's a great question to ask. How in the world, with all the temptations in this world, can you stay on the path of purity? How can I help my child stay on the path to purity?

Ps 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.


Read and apply the Bible to your life is the first place to start!

The vast majority of Americans make all of the decisions the same way and they give everyone the same advice: "Hey, just follow your heart. Follow your heart, man. You've got a good heart. Only God can judge you, bro! Follow your heart." Listen to me: That's the stupidest advice you could give anybody. Don't follow your heart; your heart is deceitful.          

I've seen so many married couples in my marriage counseling who followed their heart right out of marriage into adultery. Why? Because her heart said, "He's hot." "His heart (and nose) said, "She smells good."

Don't follow your heart.  How can a young person keep their way pure? The Psalmist said, "By taking heed to the Word of God; by living it out every day."          

Here's what I'm going to do:

Ps 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 

I've applied that verse and translated it toward my family.

SINGLE FOLK! Now, for those of you that aren't married and don't have a family right now, you're kind of kicking back, going, "Yeah, Lamb, sock it to them because it doesn't matter to me because I don't have a family yet so I can do whatever I want and then later on, I'll get things right. I mean, right now I can sleep with who I want, I can drink what I want, I can smoke what I want, I can watch what I want. I can say what I want, I can do I what."  "I can hang out with"--man, that sounds like a rap song--"because, I'll get it right later on when it matters, I mean, later on when I have a family." LISTEN TO ME ... What you do today matters tomorrow!

YOU DON'T BUILD A LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ON A FOUNDATION OF SIN.

The old timers said, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE REAPING, THEN CHANGE THE SOWING.”

IF YOU WANT A HARVEST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN YOUR FAMILY LATER, YOU HAD BETTER PLANT SEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE GROUND TODAY. 
 
3 WAYS TO CREATE A CULTURE OF PURITY IN OUR HOMES
   
So let's do this:  Let's acknowledge that just perhaps, in our homes, our eyes have grown accustomed to the darkness, our hearts have been hardened, and we don't even see the ways that we've let impurity become a part of our lives. How can we go against the flow, not just as a Christian home, but as a Christ-centered home, truly wanting to raise a generation that puts Christ first and honors Him in every way? How can we practically create a culture of purity in our homes?
   
And I can give you lots of different thoughts, but I only want to give you three today. Because the first thing we need to understand is it's not going to happen by accident. Right? Someone shout, “Intentional”! You're not going to just get married, raise kids, and then 20 years later be able to say, "Praise the Lord! My children are holy. I don't know how it happened. I only went to church a few times a month. I hardly ever prayed with them. I hardly every read the Bible to them. I let them do anything they wanted to, I let them go any where they wanted, I let them say and wear anything they wanted to, but, WOW,  they are all pure. What an accident." It's got going to happen so let's get intentional.              

As family, you don’t go to bed a blunder and wake up a wonder.

Three thoughts: 
   
1. GET YOUR OWN HEART RIGHT. Let's start there. Whoever you are, get your heart right! Parents, get your heart right. And I don't care if you're 18 or 88, I believe you set the tone in the relationships around you. You set the tone and no matter where you are you lead toward purity.          
       
Pr 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
       
In fact, Solomon told us in Proverbs 4:23, that above everything else: "Guard your heart because everything you do comes from it." Guard your heart. How do we judge what is right and wrong?
       
"LET YOUR CONSCIENCE BE YOUR GUIDE." Now, I’m a strong believer that the conscience, when pure, is an incredible guide. But the problem is the Bible teaches that our consciences can actually be seared, scarred, calloused, numb, without feeling. In other words, we can't trust our consciences for everything because, like our hearts, we can deceive ourselves so easily.          
       
Hollywood has a way of desensitizing you. You’re watching War Room today and a Rated-R movie tomorrow. You started out letting God guide you, but before it's over you're watching movies with your children that uses expletive language, even using God's name in vain, but it doesn't really bother you.   
       
I dare say all of us have been deceived in one way or another at some point in our lives. If there's conversations that I have that are impure, I want God to help me recognize it and convict me. If I'm thinking things that are impure for me, I want Jesus to convict me. If I'm allowing things in my home that are impure, God, convict me. Show me. If I've got relationships or friendships that take me down more than I bring them up, Lord, show me. If I'm being entertained by things that are wrong to you, God, show me. God, help me get my heart right first.
       
2. REACH FOR THE HEART. When you're working with your children, REACH FOR THE HEART. Most of us, we parent toward our children’s actions. In other words, all we want is the behavior to be right, but we forget to focus on the heart.
   
I like what God said to Samuel about David’s brother Eliab, when Samuel was sent to anoint David as King:
   
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
         
In fact, Jesus was a fanatic about the heart. In the Old Testament, Scripture teaches, "Don't murder." But what did Jesus teach? He talked to the heart. He said, "Hey, don't even be angry without a cause. If you've hated, you've committed murder in your heart."          
       
The Law spoke to our behavior, "Don't commit adultery." But Jesus taught to the heart. He said, "If you look lustfully at a woman, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart." 
       
He hammered the Pharisees who had the outward behavior right. I mean, we've got to tip our hats to them and say, "You boys did it." On the outside, they looked good. He said, "The problem is the outside of your cup and dish is clean but inside, where the heart is filthy." 

Think about this: Where do you eat from? You eat from the inside of the bowl or plate. The inside is most important. So, when we're working with our kids,
     
WE DON'T WANT TO JUST SETTLE FOR OUTWARD SUBMISSION WHEN THERE'S STILL INWARD REBELLION IN OUR CHILDREN’S HEARTS!
              
And if you have a couple of kids, I can guarantee you've done it. One kid does something to the other kid and you say, "Go apologize." "Fine.  [Stomp, stomp, stomp], "I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt, you stupid, big baby." Okay? Now, they did what you asked, but is their heart right? No!
       
So we need to push them toward having a right heart. Not just right actions, but a right heart.

I've watched parents scream and yell at their children all day, every day. They creating problems. They yell because the child has caused them an inconvenience. They yell because they don't love them enough to stop what they're doing and minister to them with love and patience.
       
"Well, you can't go to the party." "Fine!" [bam]. "I hate you Mom!" Is that okay? Of course not! Parent ... you can allow pride to take over and shoot to make them never tell you that again, or you do what you are called by God to do and find out “why” they said that.
       
RIGHT ACTIONS COME OUT OF A RIGHT HEART. If they get their heart right, their actions will be right.
                 
Why do you think when kids turn 18 and leave home, they go crazy? Because they've been conforming outwardly, but their hearts want to do their own thing. So, we have to parent to the heart. We're working toward purity of the heart. 
     
3. WE'RE GOING TO PURSUE PERFECT PURITY OF THE HEART
                  
Now, if I haven't offended you or made you uncomfortable yet, or raised the standard yet, the third point is for you.  Okay?
       
First thing is we're going to get our own heart right.
Second thing is we're going to parent to the heart.
         
And number three, which is most important, in our homes as we want to be Christ-centered homes, we're going to pursue perfect purity of the heart.
       
The reason I chose the word "pursue" is because we can't achieve it on our own, but with the help of the power of God, we're going to pursue perfect purity. Why perfect purity? Isn't that raising the standard a little high? Because anything less than perfect purity is not purity. We're going to pursue perfect purity of the heart in our homes.   
       
I can guarantee you that we will fail at times, many times, but we, as a church, are going to commit to the pursuit of perfect purity in our lives and in our homes!      
       
In Ephesians 5:3, Paul said:
       
Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
           
This Scripture doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to say the word fornication or speak to your children about it. That’s what I was told this text means, but that’s wrong.
   
He was saying, "But among you that are saved there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality among you–not even a hint.”
       
POP QUIZ: Let me ask you some questions. Would committing adultery with four people be a hint of sexual immorality? Yes or no? The answer is YES. Would sleeping with 75 percent of the people you date before you're married be a hint of sexual immorality? Yes or no? Yes. Would just looking lustfully at images on a screen, breaking our wife's heart, would that be considered a hint of sexual immorality? Yes. If some hot girl walks by, you're in the gym, and you start worshiping God for what you just saw, "Glory to God on high. Thank you, God, for such beauty.  Mm-mm." Would that be a hint of sexual immorality? According to Jesus, it actually would be. "Not even a hint." We're pursuing perfect purity in our homes. 
        
The question is: HOW MUCH IMPURITY DO YOU WANT TO LET IN?

I like the story I heard recently about a 12 years old kid who wanted to see a pretty rough PG-13 movie. Mom said, "No."
       
The kid said, "Oh, there's not a lot of bad stuff in it." The mom said, "Fine. First, I'm going to make you some brownies." The kid was pumped. She went out in the yard, got a little bit of spoonful of dog poop, mixed them in the brownies, made the brownies, and said, "Here you go. But before you eat them, you need to know there's just a little bit of poop in the brownies."          
       
"I'm not eating that.  That's gross that's gross."          
       
She said, "No, no, no. There's just a little bit of poop in the brownies, just like there's a little bit of bad stuff in your movie."
 
        
My daughters are 15 & 12. I love them very much. I will love them no matter what they do. Dad has their backs in the good and the bad. As of today, they’ve never even kissed a boy. They told me they aren’t planning to do so. We don’t do the American dating game in our home. Date this cat for a week, then that one, then this one, then that one. As of today, they have decided they are waiting for HIM. There’s just one for them and there’s no reason for them to be giving pieces of their heart away to every guy they think is cute. Now, you see how uncomfortable that made you feel? I’ve been amazed at the people that act like that decision is weird or cultic. “Aww .... little holy holy Lamb family. You just wait.” You’re right. We’ll see. I have five children. All five of them are free willed moral agents that will have to make wise and holy decisions.
   
First of all, there is something wrong with someone that looks down on other people for wanting to promote holiness and righteousness in their homes. Secondly, my daughters don’t care what people think. They see how stupid the immature, boyfriend/girlfriend game is AND DON’T WANT ANY PART OF IT. Thirdly, you should pray for us. You should pray for me and April. You should be praying for my sons and daughters that they don’t make the same mistakes that others have made. We aren’t flowing with American dating culture. We are trying to have a Christ centered home! We are trying to direct our children in the paths of righteousness!

I don’t know how this will all pan out. But we have to try!
    

America, by and large, doesn’t care about the Bible. But it should be very different in a Christian home. We are pursuing a Christ-centered home. Our standard needs to be higher than the average God hater in this country. Beyonce will not be my children’s role model. Kanye will not be my children’s role model.
   
We must raise the standard in our homes! If you aim low, you’re probably going to hit low. If you aim high,  you're going to hit a lot higher than if you shoot low. What's your standard going to be? Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. You may not like how the Lamb family does things. You may not like the things I said about how we’re raising our children. But as of today, I see God all over my daughters. I see God using them as they sing under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. I see God answering their prayers. I also see the hand of God on my sons. It’s really the most important thing to us.

How important is raising godly children to you? Will you commit to raising the standard of God even higher in your home?      

WE MUST CHANGE OUR APPETITES!
   
If you will pursue purity, you will see God in every area of your life!
   
Now, some of you are going to go, "Well, great for your little virgin girls. But oh, I've jacked it up big time. My heart is obviously messed up, and I've done things that are wrong, and I'm so far off."  Listen, I relate more to you than I do to my daughters because that's my story. I messed up more than you could ever imagine. My heart is deceitful above all things. That's why I lean on the Word of God.          
   
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
   
God says, "I'm not going to just ask you to make your own heart better." He says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you, and I will remove from you your old heart of stone."
   
Some of you, your heart has grown hardened.
        
Listen, if you're offended today, if you're pushing back, could it be that your heart has grown hard? "I will give you a new heart and remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."          
   
Because there is a standard of righteousness we cannot achieve on our own; it takes the power and goodness of our God through Jesus Christ. And when we seek Him and know Him, we're not just a Christian family, we're a Christ-centered home. And suddenly, the standard rises and the Power of God gives us a new heart and we are different. "Blessed are the pure in heart." 

God, helps us be pure in heart so we can see you like we've never seen you before. 

"Father, we pray today, your Holy Spirit would do heart surgery in all of our lives."

PEACE. LOVE. HOPE.          

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