Sermons

Summary: ONE THING THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN SEARCH FOR IS PURITY. WE SHOULD DESIRE THAT SAME PURITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

THE PURE IN HEART

MATTHEW 5:1-12

ONE THING THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN SEARCH FOR IS PURITY. WHEN WE GO GROCERY SHOPPING, WE LOOK FOR PRODUCE WITH NO MARKS, CANS WITH NO DENTS, AND BOXES THAT HAVE NO TEARS.

I REMEMBER THE COMMERCIALS FOR MAXWELL HOUSE COFFEE, GOOD TO THE LAST DROP, AND FOR IVORY SOAP 99 44/100 PERCENT PURE. A FRIEND OF MINE WOULD JOKINGLY ASK ME WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE LAST DROP OF COFFEE.

CHILDRENS CONCERTS ARE ALWAYS ACCEPTED WITH GREAT JOY I BELIEVE BECAUSE WHATEVER THEY DO ON STAGE, IT IS WITH A PURE MOTIVE.

WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN SEARCH FOR PURITY. THE TELEVISION THAT GIVES THE CLEAREST PICTURE, THE WASHING MACHINE THAT CLEANS THE BEST, THE CAR THAT EMITS THE LEAST POLLUTION, ARE FOREVER ON OUR RADAR SCREENS.

GOD IS SEARCHING FOR PURITY AS WELL, AND IT IS PURITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM. IF THAT REALTIONSHIP IS RIGHT, WE WILL SEE GOD IN OTHERS, EVEN IF THE PERSON WE ARE LOOKING AT IS NOT A CHRISTIAN. THIS IS WHAT JESUS IS REFERRING TO WHEN HE SPEAKS OF THE PURE IN HEART.

WHEN I MENTION THE TERM “HEART CONDITION”, MANY THINGS MAY COME TO YOUR MIND, BUT I BELIEVE THE ONE THING THEY WOULD HAVE IN COMMON IS THAT THEY ARE ALL NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. SOME MAY BE THINKING OF “HEART ATTACK”, “BY-PASS SURGERY” OR “CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE TO NAME A FEW.

THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE RED CUSHIPON SOCIETY OF THE SAINT JOHN REGIONAL HOSPITAL CONTINUES TO GROW, AND HAS MEMBERS FROM OUR OWN AREA.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THOUGH, IF I WERE TO ASK YOU WHAT THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF YOUR HEART WAS? THIS WAS THE ISSUE THAT JESUS WAS SPEAKING OF IN THIS BEATITUDE. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO DO A HEART EXAMINATION AND SEE THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF YOUR HEART, AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT CHANGING IT IF NEEDED.

POINT ONE: CULTURAL HISTORY

JESUS SPOKE IN THE CULTURAL HISTORY OF HIS TIME, SO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND SOME OF THAT HISTORY TO UNDERSTAND THIS BEATITUDE.

WHEN PEOPLE SPOKE OF THEIR HEART IN JESUS’ TIME IT WAS ALL ENCOMPASSING IN NATURE. THE HEART WAS THE CENTER OF EMOTIONS AND LIFE. EVERYTHING CENTERED ON THE HEART.

WE TEND TO DO THE SAME THING TODAY. IF A PERSON IS SAD, WE MAY SAY THEY THEY ARE BROKEN-HEARTED. IF THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT WE JUST COULDN’T DO, WE MAY SAY I DIDN’T HAVE THE HEART TO DO IT. WE MAY SAY THAT A PERSON WHO PERFORMED A HEROIC FEAT HAD A LOT OF HEART.

THE HEART WAS THE CENTRE OF THE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL LIFE DURING JESUS’ LIFETIME. IT WAS THE CENTRE OF THOUGHTS, PASSIONS, AND DESIRES. FROM THE HEART CAME THE NATURE OF THE WILL AND THE ESSENTIAL TRAITS OF CHARACTER.

JEREMIAH SAID:

JEREMIAH 17:10: “I THE LORD SEARCH THE HEART AND EXAMINE THE MIND, TO REWARD EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO THEIR CONDUCT, ACCORDING TO WHAT THEIR DEEDS DESERVE.”

THE PEOPLE OF JESUS’ TIME FOLLOWED THE PRINCIPLE OF LOOKING FROM THE OUTSIDE IN TO DETERMINE THAT PERSON’S HEART. WE CANNOT FAULT THEM WITH THAT, FOR WE DO THE SAME THING TODAY.

WE WILL SAY THAT THIS PERSON WAS A GOOD “CHRISTIAN” PERSON BECAUSE OF THE DEEDS THAT THEY DO, NOT BECAUSE OF THE CONDITION OF THEIR HEART. IF PEOPLE DO THE RIGHT THINGS FOR THE WRONG REASONS, IS IT STILL RIGHT TO DO? OR IF PEOPLE HAVE SINCERE MOTIVATION THAT WHAT THEY DO IS RIGHT, DOES THAT MAKE THEIR ACTION RIGHT? IF THE PERSON WHO SHOT THE PEOPLE IN THE MOSQUE IN QUEBEC FELT IN HIS HEART THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, DID IT GIVE HIM THE RIGHT TO DO IT?

THE PHARISEES AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF JESUS TIME WERE ALL ABOUT THE OUTWARD SIGNS OF THE LAW. THEY THOUGHT THE LAW WAS THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING, SO MUCH SO THAT THEY ADDED 600 LAWS TO CLARIFY THE MOSAIC LAW. THE LAW ACCORDING TO THEM HAD TO BE OBEYED AT ALL COSTS, THOUGH THEY SOON REALIZED THAT NO ONE COULD DO IT.

THEY WOULD MAKE A SPECTACLE OF THEMSELVES PRAYING, FASTING, AND GIVING, IN PUBLIC FOR ALL TO SEE.

LUKE 18:9-14:

TO SOME WHO WERE CONFIDENT OF THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOOKED DOWN ON EVERYONE ELSE, JESUS TOLD THIS PARABLE: 10 “TWO MEN WENT UP TO THE TEMPLE TO PRAY, ONE A PHARISEE AND THE OTHER A TAX COLLECTOR. 11 THE PHARISEE STOOD BY HIMSELF AND PRAYED: ‘GOD, I THANK YOU THAT I AM NOT LIKE OTHER PEOPLE—ROBBERS, EVILDOERS, ADULTERERS—OR EVEN LIKE THIS TAX COLLECTOR. 12 I FAST TWICE A WEEK AND GIVE A TENTH OF ALL I GET.’ 13 “BUT THE TAX COLLECTOR STOOD AT A DISTANCE. HE WOULD NOT EVEN LOOK UP TO HEAVEN, BUT BEAT HIS BREAST AND SAID, ‘GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER.’ 14 “I TELL YOU THAT THIS MAN, RATHER THAN THE OTHER, WENT HOME JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD. FOR ALL THOSE WHO EXALT THEMSELVES WILL BE HUMBLED, AND THOSE WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES WILL BE EXALTED.”

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