Summary: More than one million Americans will die of heart diseases this year, so we should be concerned about heart failure. But we should be equally concerned about heart impurity. This type of heart disease, if not "cured," may render a person spiritually dead
Purity-The Way to Happiness
Text: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-8
More than one million Americans will die of heart diseases this year, so we should be concerned about heart failure. But we should be equally concerned about heart impurity. This type of heart disease, if not "cured," may render a person spiritually dead for eternity. Many people who go through the motions of living are in reality dead. They are unresponsive to God’s will, deaf to his call. Such individuals are in touch only with the world. They may attend church, sing in the choir, teach a Sunday school class, or even help conduct a worship service, but they lack the spiritual dimension that only God can create in their lives.
In the beatitude we will study today, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God," Jesus explains that heart disease can be avoided by keeping a pure heart. Three practical questions this beatitude raises are: Who are the pure in heart? How will they see God? And why are they happy?
I. Who are the pure in heart?
The word pure is used twenty-eight times in the New Testament alone. But what does it really mean? Are the pure in heart half-divine, half-human beings? Do they have no normal desires, no healthy drives, no emotional feelings? Are they saints who have lost all contact with the real world? Are the pure in heart perfect individuals who have never sinned?
Of course not. Jesus addresses ordinary people who have ordinary problems, and he gives them an extraordinary way to experience happiness. He offers them sound advice, which if followed, will always lead to a better life.
A. The pure in heart are those who are cleansed. An initial cleansing happens when a person commits his or her life to Jesus Christ. Purity cannot be produced by any human will. In fact, Ezekiel said, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh" (36:26). Such purity is produced only by becoming a new creature, experiencing a new birth.
To be saved, however, is not enough. A pure heart is not the result of a once-in-a lifetime experience. It is produced from daily confession of our sins, which results in continual cleansing from them. Failure to realize this explains the unhappiness in some Christians’ lives. They become cluttered with sin, and happiness becomes a matter of the past. We must remember John’s promise, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (John 1:9).
B. The pure in heart are those who have one goal in life. Purity actually means singleness of mind, to be guided by one purpose.
The farther you expect to go in life, the more important is your aim. If you are not planning to go very far, then you may aim haphazardly. For example, imagine that you will shoot directly to the moon. There is no opportunity for a mid-course correction. If, in the launching of your rocket, the calculations are off by just one degree, you would miss the moon by more than one million miles!
Our aim in life must be extremely accurate. If our heart is out of line, if impurities have pushed us off course, we will surely miss the highest goal God has in mind for us. The pure in heart are those who have one aim in life: to glorify God.
C. The pure in heart are those who have clean thoughts. The 2,35O mile long Mississippi River is the largest river in the United States. As it nears the Gulf of Mexico, it stretches to more than one mile in width. But to understand the river you must also view it as it begins as a tiny, clear stream less than two feet deep, rushing out of the northern end of Lake Itaska in north-central Minnesota.
Just as we must visit the beginnings of a mighty river to understand its majestic flow, so we must look deeply into the source of morality to unlock the secret of a pure heart. That small brook that feeds the noble life bubbles forth from the hidden thoughts of one’s heart.
Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that as a person "thinketh in his heart, so is he." It is what we think, not what we profess, that creates purity within. The pure in heart are those who have clean thoughts and, consequently, a clean life that produces happiness.
II. How will they see God?
This beatitude clearly states that those who are pure in heart will see God. But how? The pure in heart will "see" God by experiencing his reality, not by beholding him with physical eyes. During our Lord’s earthly ministry, multitudes looked at him but saw nothing, unaware that they had viewed God in the flesh. To see God is to experience God and become sure of him. Purity removes obstacles that blur and distort his true image. That is why the pure in heart will see God.