A Clean Heart - Part 5
How to get a Clean Heart
by Ernest O'Neill
This is an excerpt from a longer talk, "A Clean Heart"
You get your heart cleansed by faith, through the Holy Spirit. Faith is belief plus obedience.
When you were born of God, when the Holy Spirit acted upon you and made you aware of Jesus, and made you aware of God and of the realities of Heaven, you know what you did: obedience for you was repentance, it was turning from the things that were wrong in your life, it was stopping them, stopping them there. And then it was believing that Jesus had died for you and God was willing to forgive you.
Now, it's exactly the same for a cleansed heart. It's faith -- belief plus obedience --except that the obedience in this situation is consecration. Not repentance -- not turning away from the things that are wrong, but giving everything in your life to God, consecrating it wholly and absolutely in complete and full surrender, right from the top of your head to your feet. Right the whole way down to the deepest part of your heart.
You need to give all to God.
It's giving it all to God and saying: "Lord, I want the Holy Spirit to come in and to rule my heart and to do what He wants. I want Him to make His wishes my wishes; I want His will to be my will. I don't want to even think a thought or turn an eye where He doesn't want to do it. I want to give myself wholly to you, Holy Spirit. You take over this whole being of mine and even the thoughts that I think are harmless, if you say I have not to think them, I won't think them." It's full consecration, loved ones.
That's such a deep thing because you remember what the Bible said in Jeremiah 17:9? It said that the heart of man is deceitfully wicked above all things. And so it is with your heart. You know the garbage that comes out of there, you know the poison that it is capable of, you know how it spews it up and you wonder "where did that come from?" Then we like to excuse ourselves, you know: "Oh well, like you said, Pastor, it's just something coming in from outside" -- except we know fine well this stuff is coming up like a fountain. This isn't stuff that's coming in from outside, this stuff comes up repeatedly in our lives.
The deceitful heart
Loved ones, your heart is so deceitful that it is actually an enemy of God. That what's Romans 8:7 says: "The flesh is enmity against God, it is not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be." Loved ones, you keep thinking your heart is just a little astray. That's it! That's the error you make! You keep thinking, "Oh well, Pastor, it's just a little in the bottom." Loved ones, that's bluff! While it has that little in the bottom to spread throughout the whole life anytime it cares to. The heart is deceitfully wicked above all things!
It will continue to deceive you and make you think, "Put up with me, put up with me, it's only a little bit of wrong, that won't do you any real harm." Loved ones, it's poison! The Bible says it's enmity against God, it is not subject to God's law and indeed it cannot be. Wouldn't you testify to that? Wouldn't you testify that when you lose your temper, you feel "there's something insane inside me, I can't control it, I can't control it! It's like another person inside me." And that's what God's Word says: It's not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be.
Loved ones, the first step in getting rid of it is consecrating your whole life absolutely to God and giving Him the right to run every part of it, the innermost part of your being. Do you keep that private spot for yourself? Do you? I mean, that's what I did. I kept a private place right inside, which none of you knew about and nobody else knew about and I kept that for myself. Even from God, that was a place where I could do what I wanted to do.
Have you a place like that? That's your unclean heart, and consecration is opening even that up to God and saying: "Lord, I give what seems to be my very self. I give to you my very self, my deepest place, the place where I alone know, I give that to you, Lord, I consecrate that to you, for you to rule as you please. Run it like a cathedral if you want, run it like a nunnery if you want, run it like a monastery if you want, run it like the purest thing in the whole universe if you want. Lord, I consecrate it to you."
After obeying, believe
That's the obedience. And then the belief is BELIEVE that all of that old heart of yours was crucified with Christ as it was. The old heart was crucified with Christ and He has already given you His clean and pure heart. In other words, faith -- like that! -- springs up in your heart, the moment you've consecrated everything to Jesus. That's how, loved ones! And then the Holy Spirit comes in and cleanses your heart by your faith and keeps it cleansed as you continue to have faith that you were crucified with Christ and as you continue to submit to the Holy Spirit -- and it's a miracle, it's a miracle!
And it outdoes all the silly books -- and all the psychological games we’re going through -- and it deals with the heart of things and instead of trying to excuse your anger or justify it or justify your criticism, your sarcasm or your jealousy or trying to justify the things that you know are sin, but you try to make them out to be personality traits -- instead of justifying them, you find they don't even rise in your heart. That's what a clean heart means.
God brings cleanness.
And honestly, you may want to push me on this, you may want to say, "Brother, don't you mean that those things still come up, but you have more power to suppress them?" No, no, no, no... No! I don't care if you get me down here and you kick me to death, I'll still say "no, no!" It is not suppression; it is not repression. That's the old game that we all have been involved in. It is cleaning, cleansing - that's the word that the Bible uses. "He cleansed their hearts by faith" -- the Holy Spirit was given to them and God cleansed their hearts by faith. That means wash the stuff right out, so that it's clean, washed it right out!
Didn't hold it down corked so that it couldn't get out but cleansed it right out, washed it out, so that your heart is clean. So that at last, there's nothing coming up from inside, but beauty and love and purity. Can you then see it's your own fault then if you sin? I mean you're just dumb if you sin then. It's just your own fault! But you know the situation before that. You feel, "well, it's hardly even my fault", but it is still your fault. But you feel, "I can't help it, I can't help it, it's coming up from inside." But, loved ones, the full New Covenant that we have available to us is that God will cleanse our hearts.
Opposition inside you
You've got a clean conscience? Do you want a clean heart? Because the New Covenant is a clean conscience and a clean heart. Loved ones, will you begin to ask God to show you where you stand in regard to this? And I'll try as He gives me grace to explain it more, but would you begin to ask God to show you where you stand? And is there something rising up inside you that doesn't like this? Is there? Is there something inside you that's saying "Oh no, that's not true, it's not true, it can't be, nobody can be like that!" That's your unclean heart! And that unclean heart can take you all the way down to hell, if you don't allow God to deal with it, as He promised.
So, be prepared for it and be prepared for opposition inside you. There will be plenty of opposition because the enemy is within you, even though Jesus is also there -- the enemy is within you -- and deal with him and I would say deal with him according to this dear Word. Read Acts 15:9 and say, "now, does it mean that? Does it mean that God can cleanse my heart by faith? Does it mean that there is a miracle than can happen inside me that can clean me out?" And that's what it means, loved ones.
Let us pray. Dear Father, we realize that we've made all kinds of excuses for ourselves over the years. What harm does a little bit of gossip do, little bit of criticism? Lord, we've always tried to justify it, as somebody needs to put things right, but Lord, we see there is only one who's responsible for conviction of sins and that's the Holy Spirit, and the leaders that He appoints and anoints to use for that. So Lord, we would stop excusing ourselves.
Lord, we've often got used to the low level of holiness and obedience that is present in so many of our churches and our society and we've excused ourselves and said as long as we don't sin to do something wrong on the outside, we are alright. But Lord, we know that it's this stuff in the inside that causes us the pain and the shame in your presence, and Lord it's this stuff that rises from our unclean hearts that makes it so difficult to obey you even outwardly at times.
So, Father, we ask now, that by your Holy Spirit, you will come, dear Holy Spirit and begin to counsel us. We need your counseling. No other person knows us as you do. We ask you to be the Counselor and to reveal to us the depths of our unclean heart and take us to the very bottom of that heart. Take us down to the very end of all the sour spoiled stuff, and then, Holy Spirit, enable us to give that all over to you and allow you to take up your residence there permanently.
We apologize for so often expelling you, when we wanted to do something that we wanted to do. Holy Spirit, we want to come to the place where this is your home and you never need to be expelled, because nothing dirty is ever done there. So, dear Holy Spirit, we ask you to help each one of us these coming weeks to come to a place of full and absolute consecration where we give not only our outward life, but we give our inward heart to you, for your rule and for your leadership.
And now the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us, now and evermore. Amen.
Watch entire talk on video above.