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Summary: Take a bath! You smell like a hypocrite! Better to live like the unbeliever you are than to act like a Christian on Sundays. Because at least you won’t be deceiving yourself. Take the Purity in heart test from Matthew 5 and examine your motives!

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Matthew 5 - Take a bath! You smell like a hypocrite!

I don’t know about you but I don’t like the term "pure in heart". It seems like woose talk or I think of someone with an intellectual disability or so totally naïve they don’t see bad things happening all around them. Maybe even children, up to about 1 year old, because frankly they are the only ones who seem to have any real purity in our world, and even then you see evidence of their sin showing through.

"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART - for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)

My immediate translation "If you keep talking about being pure and holy all the time, someone’s going to take you out and that will solve everyone’s problems" but somehow, I don’t think this is what it is saying.

Nevertheless, from my immediate point of view, I can’t see how anybody will ever get to see God on the basis of this verse, because no-one has a totally pure heart, except Jesus Himself!

If you are giving a leadership talk would this be one of your main points? What is Jesus trying to say to His disciples? Become wooses? Naïve? You’ve got to be a child under 1 or have an intellectual disability to see God? Jesus was no woose, so what is He trying to say here?

The word "Pure" (katharoi ) means "to have a clean heart" as you would expect, but the idea also means "to be cleansed and forgiven" and also has the idea of having a single purpose in living - to honour God. It means taking a bath to get rid of the smell of any hypocrisy in our lives.

1 Peter 1:22 (NLT) says

"You were cleansed from your sins (or "purified your souls") when you obeyed the truth,..."

That means that being "pure in heart" is related to putting God’s Word into practise in terms of believing in Christ and accepting His cleansing and forgiveness. God sees me as pure when I trust in what Christ has done for me on the Cross in paying the penalty for my sin. But of course that forgiveness then translates into my everyday life. If not then I’m just a hypocrite.

James 1:27 (NLT) says "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." So to me that says that purity involves an outward focus, seeing that there are people who need my help out there and then actually doing something about it. I can be so self centred at times, I don’t notice other people with genuine needs. But notice the last part of that verse "refusing to let the world corrupt you". Sometimes Christians are even more hypocritical than their unbelieving mates. Might as well stop pretending to be a Christian than give the impression you are one on Sundays. Do you need a bath to cleanse you from the corrupting influence of the world. It doesn’t come in Sunday doses. It comes in genuine commitment to Christ.

2 Peter 3:14 (NLT) says "...make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in His sight."

Now that last verse gives me some hope - "Make every effort". So this means I make a choice each day not to be corrupted by the world’s thinking, that I seek continually to obey God’s Word for my life, and that I have a single purpose in honouring God in my life. I’m not talking of doing this out of some kind of obligation but from the heart.

I don’t get it right every day and so I need to pray as David prayed in Psalms 51:10 (NLT) "Create in me a clean heart, O God...."

How is it that the pure in heart see God? I suppose it has to be by faith. I like the way it is expressed with Moses. It says in Hebrews 11:27 (NLT)

"It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the One who is invisible."

And of course the "pure in heart" get to see God in eternity.

God bless you Church as you make a choice not to be corrupted by the world’s values, and as you choose not to live like a hypocrite serving your own selfish desires and thinking you can live the Christian life on a part time basis. God bless you as you seek to obey God’s Word, and as you make it your focus this year to honour the Lord Jesus Christ.

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