Summary: What is this purity that we are called to? It goes way beyond the surface all the way to the heart. This purity is essential if we are to see God. What does this purity entail? How can we achieve it / recieve it?
Heart Matters - Matthew 5:8 - August 28, 2011
Series: Kingdom Life – A World Turned Upside Down #6
*** Set up before hand 3 (clear glass) glasses of water. Hide glasses out of sight.
1. Glass and water are both dirty.
2. Glass is clean but water is dirty.
3. Glass and water are both clean.
Take your Bibles in hand this morning and turn with me, please, to the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. We are continuing in our study of the Sermon on the Mount today, specifically of the Beatitudes themselves. Every one of those Beatitudes starts with the same word, the word, “Blessed,” which, we have learned, refers to a deep seated happiness that we can experience, that we can know, in the here and now. The world around us runs after such happiness, we chase after those things we think will bring us happiness, but Jesus tells us where true and lasting happiness is going to be found and friends, let’s be clear, if you’re looking for that true and lasting happiness in the things of this world you are going to be disappointed. You will not find what you’re looking for. Instead, turn your eyes towards Christ that you might find that which you seek!
And yet the Beatitudes are so much more than some formula for happiness. If that’s what you think they are, then you’ve missed the point of Jesus’ teaching entirely! If that’s the case then get back into the Word of God and read it again and again and again until the truth of His Word is made clear to you. For these Beatitudes reveal to us the heart of God, they unwrap for us the character of Jesus, and they unveil the work that the Holy Spirit would bring to life within us. This is what the kingdom of God is all about.
Someone asks us today what we must do to be saved and to our shame we tell them to say the sinner’s prayer. Not Jesus. Scripture tells us that when Jesus began His ministry He went forth, calling people to repentance and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. He laid it on the line. He called people out of the comfort of the sin, the way of living that they had gotten used to, and He called them to put those ways behind them and to live for God. He called people to believe – not just with head – but with heart. He called not for change, but for transformation. He declared that we must be born again, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit, otherwise we would not enter into the Kingdom of God. How very empty is the message that so many preach today when compared to the life giving words of Jesus!
I read about a bumper sticker the other day with these words written upon it: “Live so the Pastor doesn’t have to lie at your funeral.” That’s good advice! But it points to an underlying reality. Many times the way we live our life doesn’t coincide with the life that Jesus is calling us to, and that the Holy Spirit has made possible for us. When Jesus preaches the Gospel His call is to repentance, it’s to new life, it’s to transformed values and realities and priorities. We don’t see the transformed lives we ought to be seeing because we’ve gotten hung up on this easy believism that declares it doesn’t matter how I live as long as I believe in Jesus. But a belief that doesn’t result in action isn’t really a belief at all! That’s why James says that faith without works is dead. We are not saved by our works – our works are the natural outflowing, result, consequence, of our salvation. If you say you believe, but that belief doesn’t touch your life – the way you live in the day to day – then you’ve got nothing!
Which brings us back to the Beatitudes. They are all about God’s work of salvation within us and the outflow of that salvation into the world around us. I invite you to hear them again as I read the Word of the Lord from Matthew, chapter 5 …
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:1–7, NIV) And then read verse 8 out loud with me: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NIV)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. When Jesus speaks of the heart He’s not talking about the organ that pumps blood. Usually when the Bible talks about the “heart” it refers to the centre of a person’s being - that place from which thoughts, and actions, and words flow forth. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 warns us with these words saying, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV) And it’s why in Matthew 12 Jesus says, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34–35, NIV) The heart matters. That’s why Paul writes these words in the book of Romans, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9–10, NIV)