This was a Word Kerrin felt God gave him for our Church back in our prayer and fasting in February. This has been something we have been looking at and working on as a leadership, teams, focus etc.
He felt God speak to us about the fact that when we embrace:
- Unity together as a Church and people,
- Purity in our hearts, lives and spirits,
THEN we can believe God for the WONDER of MIRACLE POWER in and through our Church and people’s lives.
Psalm 133 – where we dwell together in unity, God commands a blessing
Joshua 3:5 (NLT) – Purify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among us.
GOD does the WONDER, but we prepare with UNITY and PURITY.
As we come to our Miracle Offering on Sep 15th, Kerrin wanted to share what he feels is a powerful and prophetic message for our Church, which is far bigger than an offering, but part of God’s call on us together and something that will unlock the power of God corporately and in our own lives.
Kerrin talked last week about Unity and the need for it:
- Personally and corporately.
- The incredible power of it – nothing will be impossible.
- What it takes, what the Bible instructs as our requirement to make every effort.
Today Kerrin spoke about the second part of this which comes from
Joshua 3:5 (NLT)
5 Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”
This is our part to play!
Sometimes we want God to do everything, but His Word gives us instruction that unlocks God’s ability to work in our situation.
We see this firstly in the wording – ‘Purify YOURSELVES’, an onus on us to live in PURITY.
PURIFY – comes from sanctify – “to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean/purified. This is important because we know in our own efforts we constantly fail and fall short of Gods best.
The initial problem with Kerrin’s message this morning is that he is talking about PURITY and then saying ‘it is OUR PART to play’ and everyone hangs their head in defeat. It’s like asking a class who did their homework last night.
That is why it’s vital to note that the meaning is:
- “to be pronounced or observed as clean!”
When it says to Sanctify ourselves, it isn’t:
- Tidy up our act’
- Get your stuff together man’
- A big stick of ‘I am not good enough’’
- We are all in the same boat.
- None of us is perfect. We have mess to work through.
Kerrin read a famous Psalm that helps frame the correct understanding of ‘purify ourselves’.
But before he read this Kerrin said that we need to understand the context in which this was written.
- This Psalm was written after King David had gone out, committed adultery, taken another man’s wife and acted with absolute dishonour.
- It was after he was publicly rebuked for it and had it made known in front of everyone.
- We might think he will be filled with shame, guilt, self hatred and feel rejected by God.
Psalm 51 (NLT)
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.
(Are you getting the idea that David knows he is not perfect?)
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
This is the understanding that it is God who purifies us when we come to Him with a humble and repentant heart… HE MAKES US CLEAN AGAIN!
Kerrin said that the understanding of ‘sanctify ourselves’ first and foremost means coming to Jesus with a repentant heart and knowing that HE is the only way we will ever be purified, not by our own efforts!
Psalm 51 is David coming to God saying, ‘God help me.’ then trusting in His forgiveness and knowing HE then SEES us as PURIFIED!
Kerrin has been doing a few trips up into the snow this winter.
As you get further into the snow season and drive up through the mountains you can see where there was once beautiful white snow but it is dirtied by cars driving through it, mud splashing up on it and exhaust fumes leaving a black sooty colour.
You only need another good clean dump of snow and it’s all WHITE AGAIN.
Maybe our lives look a little like we have some ‘stuff’ that has muddied up our life.
- Allow Jesus to come and make it ALL WHITE AGAIN!
- Let’s PURIFY ourselves so we can once again open to the WONDER of God in our lives. Come with a repentant heart.
It’s not about our own efforts, but our turning to and having good relationship with Jesus!
- PURITY COMES FROM FAITH IN JESUS.
We need to surrender to Jesus.
Another challenge is the fact sometimes people hear ‘purity’ and think in our head ‘perfect’.
Jesus never asks for perfect, just for surrender!
- Our relationships may be broken.
- Our finances may be not good.
- Our past might be terrible, or could be amazing.
- Our life might be filled with mess, or pretty sorted.
- Our feelings might be all over the place, or right on track.
But it’s not about having our lives perfect – but being surrendered to God!
- God never asks for perfection – but He does ask for surrender!
- Our PURITY is not found in perfection – but surrender to God!
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Sounds in line with last week.
- How GOOD and PLEASANT it is when God’s people live together in unity.
- When we surrender our lives, UNITY and PURITY go hand in hand.
Because we can say it’s not about me – woohoo – I can live however!
- But it is about OUR SURRENDER!
- Living Sacrifice – means I live wholly SURRENDERED to GOD.
Is our life surrendered to God, or do we just lend our life to Him occasionally?
- I like being a Christian, but I don’t tell anyone.
- I like coming to Church – when it suits me.
- I like coming on Sundays, but don’t make time to spend in prayer and reading God’s Word through the week
- I want God’s blessing, but I am not willing to forgive that person.
- This Jesus thing is good while it serves me, but I am not serving someone else.
- I like the vibe of church, but this tithing thing/ Miracle Giving is too much.
- I will receive Jesus sacrifice, but don’t ask me to worship passionately about it.
- I will receive Jesus sacrifice for me, but don’t ask me to sacrifice for HIM.
Church if we want to see the WONDER of God it requires a Church of LIVING SACRIFICES.
- People who make space for God.
- Daily surrender to His plans, purposes, people, ways.
- Daily choose His ways over our feelings or circumstances.
- Daily are obedient to the Holy Spirit
This is why it is so linked to UNITY and PURITY!
- We can never have TRUE, POWERFUL UNITY until we are willing to surrender daily to God and put His people, plans and purpose before our own!
- But when we do – IT IS POWERFUL! When we purify ourselves and surrender.
Psalm 119:9 (NIV)
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
Here we see that PURITY is not achieved through perfection,
- but trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness and who He sees us as.
- by choosing to live by God’s Word and understand how God sees you.
God SEES us as PURIFIED, then we BECOME PURE by refusing to allow this world to dominate our:
- Purpose etc.
We need to input God’s Word into our hearts and minds and His Word purifys us into WHO WE ARE!
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) puts it like this:
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
When we approach PURITY with surrender to Jesus and an attitude of a living sacrifice. When we offer/approach our:
- Attitudes with surrender
- Daily choices with surrender
- Finances and giving with surrender
- Our purpose and pursuits in life to surrender
- Our ways to His ways
- MY WILL for HIS WILL
- My personal wants for HIM and HIS PEOPLE
- Purity in love and relationship together as HIS people.
Jesus shows us a purified heart with His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
- “Not my will but yours be done.”
- His commitment to God’s Word was far more important than anything He would face as a result.
With allowing God’s Word to continue to PURIFY who we are regularly and not allowing this world to shape us but allowing God’s Word to change us.
- PURITY COMES FROM GOD’S WORD
- WE can have CONFIDENCE and APPROACH GOD BODLY and believe for the WONDERS of GOD in our lives!
Joshua 7:13 we see this word again and it is in a situation where a person has refused to be pure and purified. God will not allow the victory until it is dealt with! This is a powerful lesson in the Wonder of God requiring the commitment of PURITY from His people.
- PURITY IS FOUND IN THE BATTLE!
Joel 3:9-21 (NLT)
9 Say to the nations far and wide: “Get ready for war! (KJV – Prepare war = sanctify/purify for war) Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack. 10 Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors. (NKJV-Let the weak say I am strong) 11 Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.” And now, O Lord, call out your warriors!
We need to PURIFY ourselves for war to win people of Bendigo. It is a call to war for the Church. Go to war for our city.
The passage goes on to describe the WONDERS of GOD.
“…14 Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive.” 17 “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, live in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy forever, and foreign armies will never conquer her again. 18 In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias.
- NEW WINE flowing into dry and arid places.
- Fountains bursting from the Lord’s Temple.
Purity is linked to our ability to fight the fight of faith and possess. In fact God’s pattern is that He will fight for us if we will live purified lives and live surrendered to Him and be obedient to His Word. He fights on our behalf.
Here is a final link with all this and Psalm 51.
2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
David was supposed to be at war, but instead he chose the safety of his home.
It would seem that our Purity comes under threat when we stay away from the battle we are supposed to be in!
The reason God says ‘Purify for War’ is because we are in a battle and if we forget that, it is easy to lose that hunger for purity and begin to focus on self and earthly pursuits/pleasures rather than focus on God.
Sadly too many believers live more for this life and themselves, than they do for eternal life and serving Jesus in this one. They are confused at the lack of the wonder of God in their life, but God brings Wonder and Victory in response to unity and purity.
As a Church, let’s never be the person who stays back from the Battle God has called us to!
- Let’s Commit to UNITY and PURITY!
- Pursuing relationship with Jesus and realising that it is in Him we are made pure.
- Let’s live surrendered to God and His Word.
- Let’s choose to join the battle with God and fight the good fight.
Some of us have been up on the rooftop instead of being at war.
We are consumed with self.
Step up and fight with God for His Kingdom. Don’t live for yourselves.
Don’t walk away from His plans and purpose.
Purify for war.
Get off the roof and join the army of God.
Pursue the Kingdom of God.
Get hungry for purity.
Suggestions for Discussion Questions
- Discuss PURITY and the saying ‘it is OUR PART to play’. Do you agree with this?
- God purifies us when we come to Him with a humble and repentant heart. HE MAKES US CLEAN AGAIN! What do you think this means to you?
- Purity is linked to our ability to fight the fight of faith and possess what God has for us. Are you fighting the fight of faith?
- Let’s never be the person who stays back from the Battle God has called us to! How do you think we can do this?