Preached on February 16, 2014 at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA
Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 5. We continue are walk through the beatitudes and find ourselves today in verse 8. For those who have not been with us for the last eight weeks, let me say a few words of review before we get started. The Beatitudes are eight statements made by Jesus at the beginning of his famous Sermon on the Mount. The best way to understand the Beatitudes is to see them as a description the character of a true, authentic genuine, Christian. To say it another way, the beatitudes are fruit hanging from a Christian tree. With that said, we are on the 6th beatitude today, so let us get right to it and read our text, ask God to show us His truth, and then examine it.
If that was not enough, not only is it unfathomable to stand is the presence of such greatness, but his presence is also our greatest treasure.
Jesus says that those who will see God are those who are “pure in heart.” Lets start with the heart. What is the heart? This is a common phrase within Christianity. We read about the heart in the Bible, we sing songs about the heart during worship, we pray that God soften hearts, change hearts, and clean hearts. What are we saying when we speak this way?
Obviously, when we speak of the heart, we are not talking about the biological heart, we are talking about something more. When we speak of the heart, we are talking about a person’s essence, their core. The heart is a description of the center of who we are and why we do what you do. When we talk about one’s heart, we are talking about the real you. When we talk about our heart we are talking about the force that drives our mind, our emotions, our spirituality, and our actions.
This heart of man is a mysterious thing. It is not something that we can see with our eyes. We cannot take it out of our chest and examine it. It is not tangible. However there are two ways that we can know our hearts. First, we listen to our cardiologist, otherwise known as God.
In the context of purity of heart, Jesus is speaking to the singular devotion of your heart. Devotion to whom? God of course.
This is where so many people fall short. Instead of making God everything, they treat Him as an accessory. He is an add on. They spend time with God when it is convenient for them. They may go days and weeks without one thought of Him. They may pray, but only when they have to. The try to read the Bible, but more important things come up, like ESPN or laundry. They try to got to Church, but it is just much work. They would love to do what God requires, if it was easier. Does this sound like a heart devoted to God? Absolutely not! To say one thing and to do another is by definition, hypocrisy.
I love how Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come a die.” To follow Christ, you are to die to self and to live to God. To be a Christian is to have one singular purpose. You are all about His glory, not your comfort. Someone who is pure in heart is someone who entirely sold out God; doing everything that He asks. Purity is perfection. Forty verses later in Matthew 5 Jesus says this:
No, the pure heart takes an act of God. It takes grace. We have found ourselves at this text many times over the last year, hopefully you will see how crucial it is in understanding of God's saving Grace.
Having said that, it is God who does the work, but you must act out the miracle. You are not passive in this transformation. If you sit here today, and your are double minded, and your heart is not pure, do as James states.