"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART"
I. THE BIBLE CONSTANTLY EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HEART OF MAN.
A. The controversy that Jesus had with the Pharisee's was due to the fact that they put the emphasis on the outward man, while He put the emphasis on the heart.
1. He said to them:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
[Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
2. Their whole concerns were the actions of a man, Jesus was concerned with the attitudes that provoked the actions.
B. Solomon said:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.
C. The Scribes and Pharisee's came to Jesus one day and were questioning Him as to why His disciples did not go through the ceremonial washing of their hands before they ate. Jesus responded, "Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" God commanded you to honor your father and mother, and if you cursed your father or mother, you were to be put to death. But you say, if you preface the curse with the words, "This is for your benefit, you are guiltless." You have thus nullified the commandment of God by your tradition. You hypocrites, Isaiah prophesied of you correctly when he said, "They draw near to Me with their lips and honor Me with their words, but their heart is far from Me. Their worship of Me is worthless because they teach for doctrine the traditions of man." Jesus then called the crowd together and declared, "Get this straight, it is not what goes into a man's mouth that defiles a man but that which comes out of His mouth that
defiles him." The disciples came to Jesus and said, "The Pharisee's were offended by what you said."
But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is eliminated?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.
1. Jesus is basically saying that true religion is not in outward rituals, but is a matter of the heart.
2. I think that it is important to recognize this because one of the most aggressive cults today is the International Church of Christ. Who as the Pharisee's emphasize the outward rituals rather than the true work of the Spirit within a man. They teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, which is a outward ritual, the true baptism as true circumcision is of the heart.
3. If it has not happened in your heart, the outward ritual is worthless, less than that, it is deceptive for so many have come to trust in the fact that they have been baptized, yet are living and walking after the flesh.
4. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters. What matters is being a new creature." He could very well say the same thing of baptism.
5. I believe very strongly that every born again believer should be baptized, not as a work to bring them to salvation, but as a witness to the fact that they are now saved.
6. It is better to have the right attitude and the wrong facts, than the wrong attitude and the right facts. God can change the facts in a moment, but it often takes a lifetime to change the attitude.
C. David spoke to the Lord about the people who had brought the offerings to finance the building of the Temple.
But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
1. He prayed for His son Solomon:
And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all [these things], and to build the palace, [for] the which I have made provision.
2. In Psalm 24
David asked, "Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place? He answered His own question,
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
3. In Psalm 51
he prayed that the Lord would create in him a clean heart.
D. Paul wrote Timothy, "Now the purpose of the commandments is to cause you to love with a pure heart."
E. James called on the sinners and the double minded to cleanse their hands and purify their hearts.
F. To be pure in heart is not to be of a double heart.
1. We read of Amaziah the king that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.
2. David prayed, "Unite my heart to fear Thy name."
3. The prophet Hosea said of the people:
Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.
4. Was not this the great problem of Israel throughout their history? In theory they were monotheistic, but in practice they were pantheistic. They worshipped the gods of sex, power and pleasure.
5. It was said of the Israelites who returned to Samaria:
They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
6. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
7. Oh how we need pure hearts.
II. THE PROMISE TO THE PURE IN HEART IS THAT THEY SHALL SEE GOD.
A. This is the basic purpose of all religions, to help man see God.
B. It is interesting to me that Jesus did not say, "Blessed are the pure in mind, for they shall see God."
1. Many today are seeking to find God through an intellectual quest.
2. Job asked, "Who by searching can find out God to perfection?"
3. When the disciples came back to Jesus with excitment and the glowing reports of their outreach,
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
C. I believe that when Jesus promised that the pure in heart would see God He was saying that we would see God in the sense that we would apprehend God.
1. We will begin to apprehend the ways of God.
2. We will begin to apprehend the purposes of God.
3. We will begin to apprehend the hand of God in the circumstances of my life.
D. It is true that the Christian sees God where others do not.
1. When we look at nature. In the rustling grass I see Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
2. We see Him in the circumstances of our lives. "To see your hand of love in all that comes my way, to learn to hear your voice each moment of the day."
3. How wonderful it is to have God open your eyes to see Him, His ways and His truth.
4. Paul spoke of how the God of this world had blinded the minds of them which believe not this glorious gospel.
5. Paul said that he prayed for those in Ephesus,
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
E. I believe that the promise of Jesus that we shall see God goes far beyond just spiritual apprehension but that we shall actually one day see God.
1. When John was brought into the heavenly scene in Revelation 4
, he said that he saw the throne of God and Him that sat upon the throne.
2. Paul said that we now see through the glass darkly, but one day it will be face to face.
F. In Revelation as John speaks about heaven and who shall enter he says,
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.
III. THIS BEATITUDE SURELY SHOWS TO US THE FACT THAT OUR ONLY HOPE IS IN GRACE OF GOD.
A. The Bible teaches that I do not have that much control over my heart.
1. It declares that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and asks, "Who can know it."
2. Job said,
[Though] I [were] perfect, [yet] would I not know my soul:
3. David prayed:
Who can understand [his] errors? cleanse thou me from secret [faults].
He that trusts in his own heart is a fool:
5. In Ecclesiastes we read:
This [is] an evil among all [things] that are done under the sun, that [there is] one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness [is] in their heart while they live, and after that [they go] to the dead.
6. Jeremiah asked:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? [then] may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
7. When Jesus prophesied to Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, Mark tells us that Peter
Spoke the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
But Peter began to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not this man of whom ye speak.
8. Paul describes man as God sees Him,
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
9. To this person, God offers His love, forgiveness and grace.
10. Jesus will cleanse such a person and create in him a pure heart. For the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses a man from all sin.
11. He will then present me faultless to the Father.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,