Evening Service for 10/26/2003
Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Two theological students were walking along a street in the Whitechapel district of London, a section where old and used clothing is sold. "What a fitting illustration all this makes!" said one of the students as he pointed to a suit of clothes hanging on a rack by a window. A sign on it read: SLIGHTLY SOILED -- GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE.
"That’s it exactly," he continued. "We get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a course book, or allowing ourselves a little indulgence in dishonest or lustful thoughts; and so when the time comes for our character to be appraised, we are greatly reduced in value. Our purity, our strength is gone. We are just part and parcel of the general, shopworn stock of the world." Yes, continual slight deviations from the path of right may greatly reduce our usefulness to God and to our fellowman. In fact, these little secret sins can weaken our character so that when we face a moral crisis, we cannot stand the test. As a result, we go down in spiritual defeat because we have been careless about little sins.
A. What does it mean to be pure in heart?
** Two possible meanings that are related.
1. Inner moral purity.
a. Free from mixture or anything that soils, adulterates or corrupts.
a. (2 Tim 2:22 NIV) Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
b. If we apply a magnet to the end of a needle that moves freely on it pivot, the needle affected by a strong attraction approaches as if it loved it. Reverse the order, applying the magnet to the other pole, and the needle shrinks away trembling as if it hated it. One man rushes into impurity; another avoids it with horror. What is in our hearts attracts or repels, is loved or hated.
c. How can we have this kind of inner moral purity?
1) Acts 2:38
2) (2 Cor 1:21 NIV) Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,(2 Cor 1:22 NIV) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
a. As unadulterated water is said to be pure, and gold without alloy is pure gold, so the pure heart is the undivided heart where there is no conflict of loyalties, no cleavage of interests, no mixture of motives, no hypocrisy and no insecurity.
b. (Phil 2:14 NIV) Do everything without complaining or arguing,(Phil 2:15 NIV) so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe(Phil 2:16 NIV) as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
c. Focussed on God, wholehearted devotion to God.
Thesis: What blessings result from being pure in heart?
1. The pure in heart are not niave.
A. Satan will bother the pure in heart.
B. Adam was pure. When he fell, thus losing his purity of heart, he became Satan’s friend. Satan fellowships with the impure, inspiring their actions, but he never ceases to attack the pure.
C. Satan deceived 1/3rd of the angels to follow him. He deceived Eve in the Garden and then Adam.
D. (1 Pet 5:8 NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.(1 Pet 5:9 NIV) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
E. No heart is so pure that sinful thoughts do not arise in it. The purer the heart, the fiercer Satan’s assault. The best fruit in the garden is always the first to be infested with insects. The wasp chooses the ripest and most beautiful fruit. It is always the purest heart that is the target of the first line of attack of sin, Satan, and the world.
F. A heart that is swept and purified never puts away the broom.
G. We are ready to resist the devil, for we are not ignorant of his plans.
H. (1 John 4:4 NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
2. Free from pretending.
A. It is difficult to be a pretender, a playactor. It wears you out; it robs you of joy.
B. The hypocrite is always on the watch, always playing an articifial and mechanical part. Such life is drudgery.
C. The person whose heart is right has no such trouble. It is natural for him to do rightly as to breathe. He is not unduly concerned about his outer walk. He is sure it will be right if he only takes great trouble about his inner character.
D. The blessedness of the pure in heart is also evidenced by the pure company he keeps, for in such company the Lord is pleased. Did you know that if a cube of lead is placed on a cube of gold, the two metals slowly but inevitably begin to penetrate each other? They do so in the same manner that we humans tend to imitate the spirit of those we intimately associate with and spend a lot of time with. Even though we may believe that our gold will enrich their lead, the opposite is far more likely to prove true- their lead will ruin our gold.
E. There is no greater evidence that you belong to God than that you hate what He hates and love what He loves. Your heart gives hospitality to all that is pure and rejects the presence of all pollution.
3. Discern light and dark.
A. To the pure in heart all things are pure.
B. (Titus 1:15 NIV) To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
C. Not that sin is pure; all things that in themselves are innocent are perfectly pure.
D. A liar will never believe anybody, because to him all are liars. The thief will never trust anyone, because he suspects everyone. This is a negative attitude- considering everyone our enemy, seeing nothing but the blackness in individuals.
E. The pure in heart are blessed because they can discern both the brightness and the shadows.
F. In 1925, Betty Stam said, “Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my own desires, hopes, and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I had over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever. To me to live is Christ. Amen.” 9 years later on December 8, 1934, Betty and her husband, John Stam, calmly and bravely laid down their lives for Christ when they were martyred by Chinese communists.
G. The pure in heart never consider that God acts in their lives in any other way than for their ultimate good.
H. As far as the pure in heart are concerned, then, their estate or the loss of it, their prosperity or their adversity, their illness or their health, all that comes into their lives, comes to them from God, is received by them as such- if prosperity, thankfully, and if adversity, endured by them patiently, for Christ’s sake.
A. see God.
B. (Heb 12:14 NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
C. Set apart for God.
D. David Linn- I think the pure in heart can see God even now in things like nature, his Word, and the church, as God is constantly working wonders on a regular basis right in our midst. It’s the impurity of our hearts that keeps us from seeing God now. Ultimately, when we pass from this life to the life we anticipate in His presence, we will see him most clearly with a perfectly pure heart.
E. Howard Dobbs- In Matthew 5:8, I think it means to enjoy his favor now. Of course it has an eternal component to it. But it has a now component also.