Pure In Heart (Matthew 5:8)

MOTIVATE

–        Friend S told me she would put skittles and m&m’s in the same bowl just to confuse people.

While that amuses me because we share the same humor and perhaps strange personalities, we can all agree that our preference is purity. We’d rather have a pure bowl of m&m’s or a pure bowl of skittles, not a mixture of both; that’s just weird and nasty.

On an infinitely greater scale, God wants purity for our life. Today’s study comes from the beatitude found in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

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EXAMINE

Beatitudes

–        As we study the Beatitudes, some of us think well those are nice traits. But today’s beatitude reminds us that Jesus did not come to live, lead, and die to make us merely turn over a new leaf or make us nice but to make us entirely new. Jesus comes to exchange our dead hearts and make us alive with a new purified heart. In other words, Jesus does not just want us to clean up our thinking, speaking, and weekend extravaganzas, but Jesus wants to transform our heart – our entire being (cf. Ps 51:6, 10; Ez 36:25-26).

o   “A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save. For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people in the here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better, but like turning a horse into a winged creature.”[1]

–        The one who can change a heart is supreme. The world’s governments create laws seeking to promote a standard of behavior for right and wrong. Likewise, the world’s medical and science practices seek to prolong physical life. Yet, both of these are failing. The world is not getting any easier or safer, and we still have 100% mortality rate. Only Jesus has the power to change a heart and give promise for eternal life.

o   Matthew 15:18-19 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

 

Pure in heart are holy to God

καθαρός is the word for purity, meaning without mixture of contaminating elements, and is sometimes translated as clean, clear, innocent.

God’s purity is inherent. The essence of God is purity and perfection. The Bible repeatedly reveals God as holy, which distinguishes between humanity and deity.

–        In Exodus 3:5, God meets Moses and tells him to take off his shoes because the ground is holy from His presence. Later, Moses asks to see God but God reveals His glory is too overwhelming for any human eye to see (Ex 33:18-23).

–        In Leviticus, God’s frequent instruction to the priests was to not treat worship casually because “I the LORD your God am holy” (Lev 11:44; 11:45; 19:2; 20:7; 20:26; 21:8; Deut 23:14).

–        Psalm 24 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”

The purity of heart that God seeks is perfection and sinlessness. Yet, no human can obtain this standard. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Human purity is imputed. Therefore, God provides purity through mercy and grace to remove our sin and exchange it with His righteousness.

–        Justification: God’s legal act to declare humanity not guilty on the basis of another paying the penalty. Romans 3:24-26 “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
–        Reconciliation: God’s forgiveness of sin to remove the hindrance of human ability to approach and relate to God. Gen 3:21 “the Lord God made for Adam and Eve garments of skin and clothed them.”

v  God’s purity has a purpose – for you to see and relate to Him. Trust and walk with Jesus…
v  The opposite of purity is impurity, but also hypocrisy. Jesus rebukes and vomits hypocrites (cf. Mat 23; but he’s standing at the door knocking waiting for repentance / Rev 3:16-20),

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Pure in heart are wholly to God

God’s cleansing grace in our life compels us toward purity and devotion to God. While we cannot justify ourselves, we can purify ourselves. A Christian is not passive in their spiritual growth and sanctification, they are pro-active to pursue God and holiness. In God’s eyes, there is no such thing as a Christian who continuously practices sin (Rom 6:1-14; 1Jn 3:4-10).

v  Therefore, purity must be pursued daily. Purity comes by beholding the glory & grace of God; we become what we behold. Beholding is worship – giving time, talent, and treasure to what we believe brings us pleasure, comfort, and hope. And so, we worship our way into sin and we must worship our way out!

o   2Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”

o   James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

o   1Peter 1:15-22

o   Psalm86:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart [give me an undivided heart] to fear your name.”
–   Importance of corporate worship with readiness (pre) and response (during), and renovation (post)

–   Importance of personal devotion with meaningful reading & memorizing Scripture (-Beatitudes)

 

Purity is passed on. When Jesus healed people, they would often testify to the miracle and work of Jesus. Just as the blessed bless others, so those who have been purified seek to help others experience the cleansing power of the gospel. Further, we have noted the Beatitudes flow inward to outward. Christ’s blessing for those pure in heart is to see God. Isn’t that the church’s aim and mission, helping people see God?

o   SPBC each one, reach one.

 

APPLY/THINK

Intro & Prayer over those who are helping people see God…

Give Us Clean Hands…

 

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 215-216.

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