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The Effective Core

April 8th, 2013

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

Yesterday morning we examined this verse at IBC Stuttgart. To me, in this passage the Lord is explaining what the core of a good church must consist of. The nucleus or central core of a church must be comprised of believers who are living this truth our in their individual lives – sincere disciples of Christ through whom the love of God is able to flow to touch others.

Without this no church can become a truly great church. No church, regardless of how powerful its pulpit, how diversified its programs, how wonderful its music, or how ambitious its leaders, no church can become a truly great and effective church whose core leadership does not honor this verse and apply its truth to their lives.

The heart or core of an effective church is not the pastoral leadership, not the people who give the most money, not those who have been there the longest – though all of these could and should be the effective core, these things alone do not guarantee that they will be. The core of an effective church is comprised those who know the love of God and who are allowing the love of God to flow through their lives to touch others.

The goal of Paul’s ministry was to have the love of God flowing though people to touch others. Three essential qualifications are given help us know how this happens: pure hearts, good consciences, and sincere faith.

A pure heart describes a heart whose affections for Christ and commitment to Him are undiluted and unpolluted. David cried, “Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11, NIV). The idea of his prayer is a plea to God to take the many thoughts and concerns of his heart and bring them all under the central idea of love and devotion to God.

It is easy in our world for our hearts to have conflicting ideas. Every genuine believer has an inner desire to please God placed there by the Spirit, but competing loyalties and priorities can crowd out this desire. We can become filled with lust or anger or pride or any number of impure motives. A pure heart is one that has come to God asking for His help to place all of these aside. We need the help of God to create a pure heart, but we need to ask Him to do this (and His Spirit will give us this desire to do so).

But then God will call us to protect and guard our hearts from impure thoughts – “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23). Is your heart pure today? Are there conflicting values and thoughts? Are you easily drawn away and tempted by your lusts. Ask God to give you a pure heart and work with His Spirit as He does. He will fulfill His part and create in you a great love for Christ. Christ is to be the primary affection of our hearts – to love Him, to follow Him, to serve Him, to worship Him.

The heart that learns this truth and practices it is preparing itself to become a blessing to others – one through whom the love of God in all of its power can flow to touch and transform the world around us.

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