DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Godliness, Purity and Relationship
 

Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Jesus concerned about our heart.

The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart. It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside.

Matthew 5:27-28
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, when nobody knows but God. And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what you are at the visible branch.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

From the heart are all the issues of life.

What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart...

Matthew 15:18-19
18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.


So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified.

But Jesus comes to us and says, "Blessed are the pure in heart", not first because they change society, but first because they will see God. Seeing God is the great goal of being pure. Abandon that goal and human culture collapses into ruin.

So let's ask briefly in the moments we have the following three questions.

1. What is it to see God?

a. To be admitted to His presence

First, to see God means to be admitted to his presence. After the plague of darkness on Egypt, Pharaoh exploded to Moses with these words :

Exodus 10:28-29
28 Pharaoh said to Moses, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die."
29 "Just as you say," Moses replied, "I will never appear before you again."


So the first thing seeing God means is being admitted to his presence.

b. To be awestruck by His glory

Second, seeing God means being awestruck by his glory - by a direct experience of his holiness.

Virtually all of our spiritual sight in this life is mediated to us through the Word of God or the work of God in nature. We "see" images and reflections of his glory.

His glory will be very light in which we move and the beauty of his holiness will be tasted directly like honey on the tongue.

Revelation 21:23
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

So seeing God means not only being admitted to his presence, but also being awestruck by a direct experience of his glory.

To be comforted by His grace

Finally, seeing God means being comforted by his grace. Again and Again the Psalmists cry out to God that he not hide his face from them. For example..

Psalm 27:7-9
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.


"Hide not thy face from me", is the same as saying, "Be gracious to me!". This means that seeing the face of God is considered to be a sweet and comforting experience. If God shows his face, we are helped. If he turns his face away, we are dismayed.

So, when Jesus promises the rewards of "seeing God" there are at least these three things implied; we will be admitted to his presence, not just kept in the waiting room. We will be awestruck with a direct experience of his glory. And we will be helped and comforted by his grace.

And this we will have - in part now, and fully in the age to come - if we are pure in heart.

2. What is to be pure in heart?

Psalm 24:3-4
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.


You can see what David means by a "pure heart" in the phrases that follow it. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness. Deceit is what you do when you wish two things, not one thing. You wish to do one thing and you wish that people think you are doing another. You wish to feel one thing and you wish that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to "seek the face of the Lord".

Psalm 24:6
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah

You can see this idea of purity in James 4:8.

James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The impurity of double-mindedness is explained in James 4:4.

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

So the double-minded man of verse 8 has his heart divided between the world and God. So if we ask, where in the gospels did Jesus explain purity of heart in this way? The answer would be Matthew 22:37.

Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Not with part of your heart. Not with a double or divided heart. That would be impurity. Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, no divided allegiance.

Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, God's truth and God's value in everything we do. The aim of the pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God. If you want to be pure in heart, pursue God with utter single-mindedness. Purity of heart is to will that one thing.

That leave one last question :

3. How are the two bound together? (Seeing God and being pure)

Jesus only gives us part of the answer here. It is a true part, but only part. He says that the pure will see God. The impure are neither granted admittance to his presence, nor are they awed by the glory of his holiness, nor are they comforted by his grace.

Jesus' point is the same as Hebrews 12:14.

Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

In other words, blessed are the holy for they shall see God. There is a real purity and a real holiness which fits us to see the king of glory.

And of course that leads every sensitive soul to cry out with the words of Provers 20:9.

Proverbs 20:9
Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"?

And with the disciples : "Who then can be saved". Jesus' answer comes back just like it did to the disciples in Matthew 19:26 - and this is the rest of the answer.

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

In other words, God creates a purity for us and in us so that we can pursue purity. And by his grace we must seek that gift by praying with David.

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

And we must look to Christ.

Titus 2:14
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

God is the one who purifies the heart and the instrument with which he cleans it is faith. Therefore, trust in the Lord with ALL your heart.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Will this one thing. And you will see God.

Study Questions

How is your faith concerning the purity of your life today?