Summary: God is concerned with the condition of our heart. We are to seek purity of heart in two ways: (1) be right, and (2) be true. Our words and deeds must be in sync with our heart.
Noticed Jesus did not say “Blessed are the pure…” which is correct too.
• But He said, “Blessed are the pure IN HEART.” The emphasis is right.
• Man concerns the outward – we want to look good, to make an impression.
• We need to place more emphasis on what is unseen – the attitudes of our heart.
Man’s tendency is to put up a good front.
• The Pharisees made that same mistake. “Clean your hands!” they would say.
• They did all they can do to make the outside look good and clean.
• But Jesus says, “Clean your heart!” He reserved the harshest words for those who mask their heart. Matt 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
• Many times, we read in the Gospels, Jesus saw the wicked intentions of their heart.
• That is what He sees and that’s what He is concerned about today.
These Beatitudes remind us that God is not focused on man’s outward performance.
• God is very concern with the attitudes of our heart – what is on the inside.
• We are to take good care of what is inside us. Our attitude determines our altitude – how high can we climb, how far we can grow as a Christian.
• Without the regular maintenance of the heart, we cannot go far.
I’ve seen quite a few Christians falling away, although they look good on the outside.
• Why? How can they backslide so easily?
• It may have been there all along, right beneath the skin, unseen on the outside.
• The person has not been right with God. The problem is with the heart, not the forms.
• Christianity, ultimately, is more than just a matter of doctrine or understanding; it is a condition of the heart. It is not just a matter of the mind, but of the heart.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus forces us to look at our attitudes, the condition of our heart.
• If we want to be a blessed Christian, then we need to check our heart.
• You do not need to prove to me that you are a Christian, but you need to prove to God that you are a true Christian, and He sees the heart.
Samuel made that mistake when he was looking for the future King for Israel (among the sons of Jesse).
• The Lord corrected him, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)
• There is a great proverb - Prov 21:2 “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
• That’s where our attitudes, convictions, and ultimately our actions are shaped. Prov 27:19 “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”
Do you know that when God looks at us today, He pays little attention to our outward appearance?
• I wish He does sometimes, because many of us are quite well dressed-up on Sundays.
• But frankly, that is not His real concern. God looks at our heart because that is who we really are.
We are to be PURE in two ways:
(1) Be RIGHT as oppose to wrong; being righteous, not evil or sinful
(2) Be TRUE as oppose to false; our outward and inward are in sync. Not hypocritical and deceptive.
A pure heart has a clear conscience. We need God for this.
• Only God can grant us forgiveness of sin and a clear conscience.
• We need to humble ourselves and accept His cleansing.
• Be quick to confess and repent. To say SORRY is a very hard thing to do, but we have to make it Second Nature to us.
Learn from the ermine (er-men) – a particular kind of weasel: THE ERMINE
There’s an animal in Minnesota called an ermine. An ermine is a short-tailed weasel with the unique ability to change its dark brown fur to a snow-white in the winter. God created this animal with this feature to protect it from others.
The ermine instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters try to take advantage of this unusual trait. Thus they don’t set a snare to catch them, but instead they find their home, usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow tree, and they smear the entrance with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but refuses to enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, the ermine is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity.