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.
- Matthew 5:2-12 - “And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- Psalm 145:3 - “his greatness is unsearchable. “
- Ephesians 1:19 - “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might “
- Romans 11:33 - “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “
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.
- Psalm 16:11 - “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
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.
- 1 Samuel 16:7 – “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
- 1 Chronicles 28:9 – “for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.”
- Proverbs 21:2 – “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.”
- Luke 16:15 – “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.”
- Genesis 6:5 – “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
- Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
- Romans 1:21 – “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
- Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- Mark 7:21-22 – “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”
- Psalm 24:3-4 – “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”
In the context of purity of heart, Jesus is speaking to the singular devotion of your heart. Devotion to whom? God of course.
- James 4:8 – “ purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
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:
- Matthew 5:48 - “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
- Matthew 23:25 - “"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.”
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.
- Ezekiel 36:25-27 - “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
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.
- James 4:8 - “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. “