Summary: 6th sermon of eight on the Beattitudes.
The Perfect Standard For Life
A Change Of Heart Affects Our Eyesight-Part 6 of 8
Reading: Matthew 5v8
The true story is told of Anny Pennica, a 62 year old woman who had been blind from birth.
At age 47 she married a man she met in her Braille class and for the first 15 years of their marriage he did the seeing for both of them until he also became completely blind.
Anny had never seen a tree or a sunset or the ocean in her entire life, yet she had grown up in a loving and supportive family so she was never resentful about her physical position in life.
Then in 1981 a certain doctor performed surgery on her eye to, remove a cataract from her left lens., and for the first time in her life Anny could see.
She said that she found everything so much bigger and brighter than she had imagined.
…and since that day Anny has hardly been able to wait to wake up in the morning to put on her glasses and enjoy the rising of the sun.
Now, just for a moment, just think how wonderful it must have been for her when she saw for the first time in her life?
Just imagine seeing the ocean and trees and a flying bird for the first time at 62 years of age?
I think sometimes we take the gift of sight for granted, because physical sight is something wonderful.
The miracle of seeing for the first time can hardly be described I think.
…and yet if you think about it, there is a seeing that is more exciting than that, - and that is seeing God.
I think that day when we see Christ’s face we will be overcome with so much excitement and joy,…that we cannot even compare what Anny must have felt like when she could see for the first time.
…and this is what the sixth Beatitude is all about, seeing God.
Jesus says, “Blessed [approved of God] are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
In other words, Jesus tells us here that a change of heart will effect your spiritual eyesight!
If you want to see God, then this is what you must do.
But here’s the question, “Do you really want to see God?”
What Does “Blessed are the pure in heart” Mean?
There are two things we have to look at this morning.
a. It Means Internal Cleansing.
The Old Testament often speaks about this.
I think when Jesus speaks about being “pure in heart”, He’s referring to Psalm 24v3-4, “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord and enter where he lives? Who may stand before the Lord? Only those with pure hands and hearts, who do not practice dishonesty and lying.” (LB).
Even the Old Testament Prophets looked forward to a time when God would give His people clean hearts.
Ezekiel tells us what God said (Ezek. 36v15-26), “Then it will be as though I had sprinkled clean water on you, for you will be clean—your filthiness will be washed away, your idol worship gone. And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.” (LB).
Jesus Himself spoke of having a clean and pure heart when He spoke to the Pharisees about their fake spiritual lives.
He says in Matthew 23v25-18, “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean. “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders! You are like beautiful mausoleums—full of dead men’s bones, and of foulness and corruption. You try to look like saintly men, but underneath those pious robes of yours are hearts besmirched with every sort of hypocrisy and sin.” (LB).
What Jesus was calling for here, was radical inner purity of heart, Why?, because only people who live like this will see God, - no-one else!
b. It Calls For Purity In Our Devotion To God.
The word that is translated “pure” has two basic meanings, “clean” and “unmixed”.
It can be used in the sense of pure water or metals without alloys in it.
In other words,…it speaks of the idea that no person will ever see God whose heart is divided between God and the world.
…and this is what God has to say about that in James 4v4, “Don’t you realize that making friends with God’s enemies—the evil pleasures of this world—makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God.” (LB).