Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

We can relate to the feeling of being physically sweaty, dirty and smelly. Just those words are probably leading your thoughts to a nice shower, bath or dip in the nearest body of water to get clean. It is amplified when others around us notice it too. Nobody enjoys being filthy from head to toe. The same issue pertains to dirty dishes. Who wants to eat off a unwashed used plate with a piece of old food on it, using a unclean utensil or drinking from a cup with lipstick on the rim or a grimy old glass? Now think about some dishwasher merely running the soapy sponge over the back of the plate, just the handle of the utensil or only the outside of the glass and sending them back out to the customer. 

I’m not trying to turn anyone’s stomach, but these images from the Matthew verse above is an emotional word picture, which states that the emphasis is on the internal heart. The biblical principle is very clear. If our hearts are not right, our lives will not be righteous because the 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines “righteous’ as being “Just”; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice. If what is “inside” is not clean, the “outside” will never be clean.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

One devotional gave a list of the more obvious Bible references to help refocus our commitment.

• “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”(Proverbs 4:23)

• “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” (Matthew 12;34-35)

• “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)

• “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

May our “cup and platter” be as clean as God’s holiness is able to make it and “let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4)

1 John 1:6-7 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

In Christ, Brian

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