Pure & Blessed
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Exodus 33:18–33:20, Psalm 27:4, Psalm 86:11, Matthew 5:8, Matthew 23:27–23:28, 1 Corinthians 2:9, 1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Timothy 6:15–6:16, Hebrews 10:14, 1 John 1:8–1:9, 1 John 3:2–3:3
Our Thoughts & Feelings about God
When you think about God, what kind of feelings do you associate with those thoughts? Do you go to places of joy and happiness? Or are your feelings different—fear, obligation, boredom, drudgery? Many of us tend to view God more through the lens of duty rather than delight. “Keep the rules.” “Try to be good.” “Stay out of trouble.” As a result, those kinds of restrictive and confining messages lead us to believe that God is only about morality and being good, but He’s not about joy and having-fun. That kind of mindset misses the mark. Jesus’ message in the Beatitude is that God is a God of blessing and a God of joy. He wants to lead us past rule-keeping religion, and into a place of life-giving righteousness with both growing joy now and endless joy forever.
The Joys We Pursue
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Matthew 5:8 NIV
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Beatitude: Requirement & Reward
Understanding who Jesus wants us to be and what He wants us to do (requirements) leads us to God's deepest blessings (rewards). In this Beatitude, the requirement is for us to be pure in heart while the reward is that we will see God.
Apart from Christ...
We who are flawed, sinful, and imperfect cannot truly see the God of this universe who is holy and perfect.
Exodus 33:18-20 NIV
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
1 Timothy 6:15-16 NIV
15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
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Because of Jesus...
On this side of heaven, the blessing of this Beatitude is very real, but it’s also just a fraction of what awaits us in the future. "This reflection… this mediated experience of us seeing and being with God in this life is great now," Paul says. “But just you wait,” he goes on to say, “because the best is yet to come.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
9 However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen,what no ear has heard,and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—
Psalm 27:4 NIV
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,this only do I seek:that I may dwell in the house of the Lordall the days of my life,to gaze on the beauty of the Lordand to seek him in his temple.
Pure in Heart
There are two aspects to being pure in heart: Clean and Clear.
A CLEAN heart is an unstained heart.
A CLEAR heart is an undivided heart.
Hebrews 10:14 NIV
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
A Clean Heart: Present and Future
What does it mean that "we have been made perfect, but we are being made holy"? When we think about our salvation, there is an aspect where the guilt of our sin has already been deal with completely. In the eyes of a holy God, we are seen as perfect in Christ, where His righteousness covers our sin. The theological term for this is “justification.”
And yet, in addition to our spiritual perfection in Christ, there is also a spiritual progress we make by the Holy Spirit. This is known as our “sanctification,” where as we cooperate with the Spirit’s work in our lives, we are in the process of “being made holy” or “becoming more unstained” in our words, deeds, thoughts, and motives. That’s spiritual growth.
1 John 1:8-9 NIV
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
The enemy of an undivided heart
The opposite of a clear and undivided heart is hypocrisy. It’s being two-faced and living by double standards. It's when we as Christians say one thing, but do another. It's being highly strict and judgmental toward others, and yet incredibly permissive and forgiving with ourselves. Hypocrisy flows from an unclear and divided heart.
Matthew 23:27-28 NIV
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Psalm 86:11 NIV
11 Teach me your way, Lord,that I may rely on your faithfulness;give me an undivided heart,that I may fear your name.
The process of pursuing a clear heart
We’re all still growing as Christians and none of us can truly say that our hearts are completely clear and undivided. If we’re honest, we still possess an inconsistency of faith where we don’t always practice what we preach, and we sometimes treat others differently than we wish to be treated. But even though we’re still in process, this kind of consistency and singular Kingdom-focus remains the goal, where we trust the Holy Spirit to bring healing, restoration, and wholeness to our fragmented lives. This work in us His gift, not our accomplishment, and so we ask the Lord, "Give me an undivided heart."
1 John 3:2-3 NIV
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
As Christians our greatest hope is that "when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." This will be unspeakable joy beyond measure. And yet we do not passively wait around for that hope to arrive. Instead we passionately pursue purity of heart in this life, just as our Savior Himself is pure.
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On Sunday, March 5, we continue our series entitled, #blessed, by looking at the blessing of being a peacemaker. What does a peacemaker look like? How can we live like peacemakers in our everyday lives and relationships? Join us as Pastor Ken walks us through the seventh of Jesus' eight Beatitudes, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."