The need for purity and holiness in the evangelist’s life
In this day and age it is essential for any Christian, but especially the Christian worker and evangelist to be holy and keep himself pure. We hear of so many pastors and leaders who fall into sexual sins and ruin their ministries. King David, Samson and Solomon are examples to us of men who were strong and wise who succumbed to temptation. If these men in the Bible fell into grievous sin, we must not think we are not susceptible to the same dangers! He that thinks he stands must take heed lest he falls (1 Corinthians 10:12).
In order to know God more intimately and be filled with the Holy Spirit continually and see God’s glory, we must remain pure. Jesus said: “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Although God can use and does use people who are clean or unclean to fulfill his purposes, if we want God to use us for honorable purposes we have to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. If we cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable we will be useful to God and be ready for every good work! God does His greatest works through those who live holy and pure lives!
“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:20-22 ESV)
We should ask: How do we cleanse ourselves? What does this cleansing involve? What must I do to cleanse myself thoroughly so that I can be a vessel of noble and honorable use? The Bible gives us the way to be cleansed: Firstly, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus!
If we walk in the light as God is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
No cleansing can take place unless the blood of Jesus washes us. But take note when the blood of Jesus becomes effective. It is when we walk in the light as God is in the light. This statement begs the question: what does it mean to walk in the light as God is in the light? The answer we find later in the same passage:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10 ESV).
We are thoroughly cleansed from our sins when we confess our sins to God, our sins in the past (verse 10) and all the sins that we are aware of at present (verse 8). If we hide our sins from God and keep something in the dark we will not receive proper cleansing. James 5:16 says if we confess our sins to one another we will be healed. The best way to do a thorough job of confessing is to take an inventory of your life regularly and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of any thing in your life, past and present, that causes Him grief. If you do this God will bring sins to your mind that you can confess. Confessing of one’s sins means basically to agree with God about the things that are sinful and wrong in your life. To walk in truth with God it is essential to humble ourselves before God and confess our sins to God. With sins that we struggle it is advisable to have an accountability partner, some mature Christian or pastor and confess your sins to another. I know in my life how God has helped me to overcome sins as I brought sins into the light before a brother. This is not a legalistic rule that always must be followed but a help in a believers life if you find yourself in a rut and unable to overcome your defilement.
But confession of sins is not enough. We must forsake our sins, thorough repentance is necessary.
Proverbs 28:13 states: “if we confess our sins and forsake them we will receive mercy.”
We have to repent Biblically in order to be an instrument of honorable use to our Master. Biblical repentance involves: conviction, contrition and conversion. God has to convict us of our sins. A change in mind must take place. Then we must have a broken and contrite heart over our sins. God must show us and we must feel how we have offended God by our sins. We must have godly sorrow over ours sins, not only in the beginning of our Christian walk but throughout our Christian walk (James 4:8-10; 2 Corinthians 7:10). God must work in such a way that you loathe your sins and hate your sins against God. We must come to realize that our sins caused the crucifixion of Christ. Our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. Our sins were responsible for His death.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10 ESV)
And then Biblical repentance also involves conversion, a change of behavior. Unless we continually turn from our sins we haven’t really repented. God doesn’t only want to change our thinking (Romans 12:1,2) and feelings (Psalm 37:4), but our behavior. God wants us to live in ways that bring Him glory.
To be holy and clean are necessary to be effective for every good work in God’s kingdom. How will a surgeon in a hospital who is about to do an operation be effective if his instruments are defiled and dirty? He will cause great damage to the patient he is operating on. He wouldn’t dare to use dirty and defiled knives and instruments. So God wants to use clean and holy instruments to build his kingdom and church. If we are thoroughly cleansed we will be useful for every good work in God’s hands!
Back to our question: How then shall we be thoroughly cleansed? We said firstly by the blood (atonement) of Jesus Christ. But everyone is not automatically cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It is by faith that we are cleansed (Acts 15:9). Our hearts are cleansed as we confess our sins in truth, as we turn away from our sins (Biblical repentance) and as we believe that Jesus died and payed the highest price for our forgiveness and cleansing! But that is not all! It is believing in the word of God and in the promises of God that cleanses us! Jesus said:
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3 ESV)
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
And the psalmwriter teaches us:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalms 119:9, 11 ESV)
We are cleansed and purified as we meditate on the word of God day and night (Psalm 1:1-4), as we drink in the word of God, as we read it and internalize it and delight in it and apply it to our lives. The word of God washes us and directs us and shows us the character of God. The word helps us to gaze upon the beauty and glory of Christ who transforms us from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we meditate on the word of God day and night and delight in it, God will make us to bear fruit in our season (Psalm 1:1-4) and we will grow and be cleansed from our sins as we accompany the word with repentance and faith in Christ.
Let us therefore make use of this means of grace: read, study and meditate on the word of God and apply the word of God to your life! We will be blessed and purified not only if we are hearers of the word but doers as Jesus taught us! Let us therefore listen to the word of God as it is preached to be honorable instruments in the Masters hand!