Blessed are the Pure in Heart…
Do you want to be blessed?
Jesus says, “You are blessed if you…
- are poor in spirit
- are meek
- hunger and thirst for righteousness
- are merciful
- are pure in heart
- are a peacemaker
- are persecuted because of righteousness
The first 3 are the means with which we pursue the last 4.
#6, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
What is it to have a pure heart?
I might be poor in spirit. I might mourn. I might hunger and thirst for righteousness, but “Pure in heart?”
“For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion.”
“Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.” Psalm 143:2
Purity of heart does not mean we never have a bad thought.
“If we claim to be without sin,
we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
“…where there is a longing for purity and where there is a loathing of impurity, there is purity of heart in a gospel sense.” -Thomas Watson.
2 sides to purity in the Biblical sense: passive & active
1. God’s people are passive in regard to justification
Jesus cleanses his people
“…Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow…” Isaiah 1:18b
2. The Beatitudes are the marks of a Christian.
God’s people are active in regards to sanctification (ongoing purification).
To actively pursue purity, it’s important to…
1. Be Motivated
What do we do if we’re not motivated to pursue purity?
go back to the 2nd step (mourning) and note the cost of sin.
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Try this: Pray these verses over your life and see what God shows you.
2. Ask for purity
After committing adultery and murder,
David asked God for a pure heart.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12
Purity of heart means to be…Undivided
“Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11
David took a step back, prayed for total reliance on God’s faithfulness
(as opposed to anything else for it) and singleness of heart.
#3 meekness - submission to God’s will, word, and people.
This is the prayer of a believer.
Many Christians simply don’t believe change is possible.
3. Believe it’s possible
Think of purity of heart as the promised land…
The spies were sent in to check it out.
Some brought back an optimistic report while others…
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. Numbers 13:31
The promised land is our mission to seek the kingdom.. purity of heart.
Does it seem impossible?
When we ask Jesus to change us we must believe he can and will do it.
“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12b-13
Do you really want to change?
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
The pain of staying the same has to be greater than the pain of changing.
4. Confess and Renounce specific sins:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Confess a secret to another person: We are only as sick as our secrets.
As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
Renounce and vow: “I will could never forgive him for what he did to me!”
5. Renew the mind
Thoughts generate emotions.
Angry thoughts lead to angry feelings.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2a
Do you get your world view from the news, from people at work or from the Word of God?
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7a
get rid of the idols by worshipping Jesus instead of the old things.
Renewal of the mind depends on what a person worships.
In reference to idols…
“Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” Psalm 115:8
We all worship something… interesting, the perspective of this secular author…
“Worship power-you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need evermore power over others to keep the fear at bay.”
“Worship your intellect-being seen as smart-you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.”
~ David Foster Wallace
What are you worshipping?
Review: Renew your mind by worshipping Jesus.
Rings: if you fall off, go back and start again.
Example: Do you pull the weeds from the garden one time only?
Persistence in this one is especially important.
Blessed are the pure in heart is #6. They get harder…
Think of the 10 commandments.
The first 9 are outward actions… the last involves purity of heart.
“Thou Shalt not covet.”
In the pursuit of purity, you WILL relapse and feel like you’ve made no progress. It’s a lie from the enemy of your soul.
Rational Emotive Therapy - rehearsing the truth instead of lies.
Blessed are the pure in heart, “…for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8b
the opposite is true of course too.
“…to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. Psalm 18:26
But what does it mean to see God?
Of course believers have the promise of being with God someday in heaven.
But here on earth, it’s a progression…
Corruption is darkness and immaturity.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12
Interesting the connection Paul makes between childish or immature behavior and an increase in vision.
Ever wonder why some believers change and grow while others just turn into an older version of themselves?
“Are you growing… or just growing older?” - JW
Purity is Maturity.