Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: To see God is not necessarily seeing God in heaven, but it’s seeing God here and now. The pure in heart will see God in everything. Not just in nature, but also in their circumstances, good and bad, in their family, church, school

Intro: “Earth is crammed with heaven, and every bush aflame with God, but only those who see take off their shoes.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How can anyone look at our world and believe this all happened by chance? With just a glance at the animal kingdom and I see overwhelming evidence of design. Take the polar bear for instance. A polar bear that is tranquilized trapped, and released 300 miles away can usually find its way home. Even across drift ice that changes constantly and holds no landmarks and few odors. For years it puzzled researchers that polar bears never showed up on the aerial infrared photographs used in animal censuses. Yet both species showed up very dark on ultraviolet photographs, even though white objects normally reflect, rather than absorb, ultraviolet light rays. In 1978 a U.S. Army researcher discovered the reason. Polar bear hairs are not white at all, but transparent. Under a scanning electron microscope they appear as hollow tubes, without pigment. They act like tiny fiber-optic tubes, trapping the warming ultraviolet rays and funneling them to the bear’s body. At the same time the fur provides such efficient insulation that the bears outer temperature stays virtually the same as the surrounding ice which explains why bears do not show up on infrared photos.

Transition: To see God is not necessarily seeing God in heaven, but it’s seeing God here and now. The pure in heart will see God in everything. Not just in nature, but also in their circumstances, good and bad, in their family, church, school, job and the list could go on forever.

Let us look to God’s Word to learn of our hearts condition.

Jer 17:9

9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

We cannot even understand our own heart; it takes the power of God to reveal the truth of our heart condition.

Jer 17:10

10"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."

Sin, regardless of how large or small can get into our heart and slowly eat away at our spiritual life. All the while our outside life may seam healthy, but our inner spiritual life is rotting away.

Illustration: SLOW DEGRESSION - After a violent storm one night, a large tree, which over the years had become a stately giant, was found lying across the pathway in a park. Nothing but a splintered stump was left. Closer examination showed that is was rotten at the core because thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at its heart. The weakness of that tree was not brought on by the sudden storm; it began the very moment the first insect nested within its bark. With the Holy Spirit’s help, let’s be very careful to guard our purity. Our Daily Bread

The question of mankind has always been the same – what do I have to do for my heart to be right with God? It’s human nature to feel that we must do some type of work or deed to earn God’s pleasure. One day the crowds came to Jesus and asked Him point blank, without beating around the bush, what they HAD to do to please God.

28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6:28)

In response Jesus made it clear that it wasn’t “works” that God required but it’s faith, and the faith we have in reality is the “work of God”.

29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29)

Salvation begins and ends with God. It’s a gift from God that we simply receive by faith. The faith we have is not something we mustered up inside ourselves. Our faith is also a gift from God, but it’s our decision to use it by applying our trust in Jesus Christ.

The sixth beatitude, like every part of God’s Word, is in the right place. It is part of the beautiful and marvelous sequence of truths that are here laid out according to the mind of God. It is the climax of the Beatitudes, the central truth to which the previous five lead and from which the following two flow.

The HEART throughout Scripture, as well as in many languages and cultures throughout the world, is used metaphorically to represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, and the center of personality. But in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. In Proverbs we are told, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matt. 2:8; 7:21). The heart is the control center of mind and will as well as emotion.

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