The seventh sermon in our series on the Sermon on the Mount giving further consideration to the beatitudes
The 6th, and for many, the most sublime of all the Be-attitudes, declares – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Let’s examine it in detail:-
The heart is what God looks at (1 Samuel 16 v 7); it needs to be guarded and protected (Proverbs 4 v 23) because what is in it will exit via the mouth (Matthew 15 v 18.) Biblically speaking it is the complete person, body, mind and spirit, given over to God (Ephesians 3 v 17.) But what is the nature of such a heart?
After his “fall from grace” King David desired a pure heart (Psalm 51 v 10); Timothy was charged with maintaining purity (1 Timothy 5 v 22); while Jesus himself had many a run in with the religious leaders of his day, who emphasised external purity to the detriment of internal purity (Luke 11 v 39 & Matthew 23 v 27.) The word that is used for purity in this Be-attitude has three probable overtones that speak of:-
1 – Unblemished Purity.
The picture is of a once soiled and stained cloth that has been bleached clean and is now unblemished. How then do we remain pure in heart? By taking personal responsibility for our sin and confessing it, in order that the blood of Jesus might be applied to the stain, forgiveness pronounced, and sin replaced by unblemished purity (1 John 1 v 8.)
Challenge – Are you regularly confessing your sin to God so as to maintain unblemished purity?
2 – Unalloyed Purity.
The picture is of gold passing through the furnace where it is refined and purged of all dross, only to appear unalloyed. How then do we remain pure in heart? By being lovingly chastened and disciplined by God (Hebrews 12 v 6) enabling the pure gold of Christ likeness to glint brightly. Sometimes such a process can be internal (preaching) or on other occasions external (circumstances.)
Challenge – Are you experiencing God’s loving chastening enabling you to maintain unalloyed purity?
3 – Undiluted Purity.
The picture is of undiluted wine that has not lost any of its strength by being mixed with water. How then do we remain pure in heart? Not as some would suggest by withdrawing from the world (John 17 v 14-15;) but instead by being in the world, but not of the world; by having an undivided heart that is wholly devoted to God and does not succumb to the pressures to conform to the standards and norms of the world, thus maintaining our spiritual strength.
Challenge – Are you resisting the pull of the world, instead being “sold out” on God in undiluted purity?
The pure in heart in these three areas, will not only be blessed, but we will see:-
God in the present.
As God partially revealed himself to numerous Biblical characters (1 Corinthians 13 v 12), so he continues to reveal himself today in creation, in history, as well as in personal experience. But supremely God has made himself known in Jesus (John 14 v 9 & Colossians 1 v 15) and so to really “see” God, we need look no further than Jesus.
God in the Future.
One day we shall see him not in part, but in full; in all the radiance of his glory (1 John 3 v 2) and that really will be something to look forward to!
Theme: “A passion for purity”
Reading: Psalm 24
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Richard Sills