Singleness of heartBro. David Chancellor
12/15/2002 11:00 AM
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
This describes the condition of God's people after the day of Pentecost. They "did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God..." If you would have gladness you need to have things submitted and committed to God. Have your focus set on God. If your focus is on God you won't be torn between God and the world. Being pulled in two directions won't bring happiness. Trying to serve God and mammon is where many people are at. Many people realize that there is a God and he has a reward and judgment, but they also see the world as pleasures to be sought after. Gladness is not found in this state. Many people try to find out how to get around the problem of God to enjoy the pleasures of the world. If you would have gladness, find singleness of heart - that would live for God and his purpose.
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
This is speaking to servants. While we don't have servants in this same way, this advice can apply to us as well. When you work, be obedient and cooperative. Do what you've been given to do. Whatever you do, don't do it just because someone is watching, but do it to please God. This should be our motivation. Singleness of heart is seeking to please God in every aspect of our lives. Whatever you do in life, do it with the idea of pleasing God. We do a great deal that is done unto men, but we don't want to do it just to please men. We want to do what we can do for God. Our mission should be to serve Christ and to accomplish his purpose. Whatever you do, do it heartily. It may be a drudgery, but do it with the thought of pleasing God and laying up treasure in heaven.
The light of the body is the eye; therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, they body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Our spiritual understanding is the light we have. The eye that has 20/20 vision is an eye that has good focus. When our spiritual life is focused on God and serving him, our understanding will be clear. "... having no part dark..." We don't want some of the world reserved. Our whole eye needs to be filled with the light of God. He's describing the heart of one that is totally committed to God, which has been purged of everything that isn't like God. Everything that is unlike God must be purged from the heart. If you're pulling in the wrong direction, you don't need more law laid down. You need to have your heart cleansed. The Stoics believed that life should be all hardness and difficulty. Jesus didn't teach this. We can find happiness in pursuing God. Life will have hardness, but it won't be all hardness. Those in Acts were pursuing a life focused on God. We will put some things away and find gladness in it because it hinders our focus on God. We don't want to be "part dark." If you want confusion, try to hold on to the world a bit and still serve God. Confusion will be the result. A lot of church-going people are seeking the acceptance of men. Singleness of heart is seeking to please God. There's a difference when the eye is single and the heart is full of light, trying to please God.
2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
"Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience..." It's hard to rejoice with a guilty conscience. A godly person is simple-minded in this regard: God comes first, and everything else falls in place around that. You have a way of finding what is most important. This simplicity includes the deep things of God. The deep things are found in trying to live life and make decisions in the way that pleases God. This is something worked by the grace of God. Your life won't be lived this way without the Spirit of God in the heart. Everything described is dependent on the Spirit of God at work in the heart of man. The grace to live pure and holy is from God. The effectiveness of your life for God is dependent on your being committed to him yourself.
2 Corinthians 11:1-4
Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Paul was concerned and interested in the well-being of these. We're married to one - that is, Christ. We can, as God's people, be the bride of Christ. He was concerned that they would be turned away from seeking after Christ. Christ needs to be first. Christ is the one. There's a singleness in Christ and in our worship of him. There's a simplicity, a singleness. He is the one. Paul had written to these because the Judaizers were trying to take these to a menpleasing religion rather than a God pleasing religion. The real essence of Christianity is to worship God in all. People need a total commitment to Christ; the understanding will follow. God needs to be the first and only purpose of our lives.
Christ was preparing the ones he spoke to for the day of Pentecost. There's gladness in having singleness of heart. There's gladness in having our focus on God first and foremost. Everything that doesn't fit with God will be thrown away.
Paul didn't want these to be turned from having a focus on God. He didn't want them to be turned aside to something else. Christ is the means we use to measure everything else. There's happiness when we serve God and God only.