This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Nov 14th 2021 byNavaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 6
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD
Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how Jesus came to usher in the Father's Kingdom-We called it an upside, inside out Kingdom.
At the time of Jesus Christ’s coming into the world, Israel was in a desperate condition. Politically, and economically Israel was under the bondage of the Roman Empire. Spiritually Israel was also in great trouble. We want to focus here on the spiritual element because that’s what the Beatitude addresses.
Every Jew feared being excluded from the KOG. That was at Nicodemus' heart as well and Jesus says unless you are Born Again you cannot see the KOG!!! The lawyer’s question is the same – what shall I do to inherit eternal life? The crux of these questions is “how can I get right with God?”. Was not the scriptures clear on this?
And it is that question of the heart that Jesus answers in the Beatitude. How good does a man have to be? What is required? What is the standard? Here it is in verse 8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” What is necessary in order to see God (which is really another way of saying to enter into His kingdom)? What is necessary for a pure heart?
Notice that the beatitudes have a progression. And this is the pinnacle. We first need to be poor in spirit, recognizing your spiritual bankruptcy, which leads us to mourn over our condition, and then we are meek and humble because of that condition and realize we need to hunger and thirst for His kingdom. From that place, we can grant mercy to others because we have experienced it first.
Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom and is describing the heart of the Kingdom, its values, culture and practice.
Jesus is thrashing the theology and understanding of the scriptures of the Pharisees. He is it and showing them the real way, the law needed to be applied.
I would like to correct myself. Jesus was introducing a Right Side up Kingdom and not an upside-down kingdom. The God of the Old Testament was and is always kind and gracious and does not treat us as our sins deserve. If that were not so, Psalm 103 would not bear witness to that.
The human interpretation made is graceless and judging and shaming. Did God shame King David? God always acted justly and even in that there was mercy.
So, this beatitude hits hard at the gut of the Pharisees interpretation of the law-keeping. You cannot understand God’s commands without a relationship of love with Him. When we do that, it gets reduced to rules. We know that God has always been interested in our hearts and not our actions alone. Actions are judged by the intentions of the heart.
Jesus said we clean the inside of the vessel and not the out. What comes out of the mouth is more important than what goes in. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART.
I feel this is at the heart of the Christian life. And I feel a prophetic unction to call us up to higher ground to live from a pure heart: to have a passion to preserve and guard our hearts against being corrupted.
WHAT IS THE HEART?
It is the seat of all our emotions, personality, affections, desires – the very center of our beings. So, God as always looks at the heart (1Sam 16:7) – for out of the heart flows the issues of life. (Prov 15:7, Prov 4:23) The heart is also a lens or a filter from which you understand life.
The heart is where good and evil stem from. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness. (Matt15:19). The Psalms says in Ps 24:4 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord – the one with clean hands and a pure heart.
Ps 51 David’s prayer was for a pure heart – he knew this was the root of his sin and his sinful actions.
1 Timothy 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
WHO CAN HAVE A PURE HEART?
The ones that realize that their heart is not pure.
Here is the FULL GOSPEL that we often fail to preach and follow through with it.
We have been saved; our sin nature has been crucified to the cross. We have been justified and declared righteous – that is our standing before God i.e not guilty, all sins paid for in full. And it does not stop there, but often we stop our presentation of the gospel at this point. Yes, the gospel is being saved by grace, and the gospel is grace that teaches us to say no sin and yes to godliness. AND God is continually cleansing us by washing us with the Word (Eph 5:26 Same root word for clean in Matt 5:8, John 13:10-11, john 15:3 καθαρο Katharoi). God wants to restore us to wholeness in body mind soul spirit.
There is an ongoing cleansing work. How do we know this? Read John 15 – the pruning process.
We are being sanctified – for that we need to be able to recognize the impurities in our heart. You cannot fix what is not broken. We all have the baggage of sin habits that we need to put to death, and we must believe in the power of the finished work of the cross which can deal with that. The only way to have a pure heart is to first realize you have an impure heart
WHAT IS A PURE HEART?
Another word for pure is sincere – without duplicity, without agendas, manipulation, or double-mindedness. We must learn to walk in this manner. And we learn to live like this when we live by the Spirit
Purity of heart is singlemindedness in what we desire
Purity is walking with integrity –
Purity also has a quality of innocence – wise as serpents, innocent as doves.
James talks about us not being double-minded or having our affections and desires divided James 1:8. In James 4:8 he says, purify your hearts you who are double-minded.
John Bunyan has a character in Pilgrim’s progress called “Mr Facing Both Ways.” When you are double-minded you are not blessed. Because with our faith it is impossible to please God.
The pure heart upholds the truth and does not alter it to suit its convenience.
Jesus talks about focus – love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul strength.
“Purity of heart is to will one thing” Soren Kierkegaard.
Purity of heart does not mean we will not sin or be without sin. This would be in contradiction of 1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. and we deceive ourselves. We are like Gold that has impurities that is being refined in God’s furnace of sanctification.
WHAT CORRUPTS OR DEFILES OUR HEARTS?
Gal5:19-25 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual , immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
A cold heart -We are warned that in the last days the hearts of many will grow cold- 1 Tim 6:
Jesus put it another way – no one can serve two masters.
A hard heart – when our heart is clogged with pride, bitterness, being judgemental, unforgiveness etc it can dull the conscience.
A double-minded heart.
HOW CAN WE KEEP OUR HEARTS PURE?
Ps 119:9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
John 15: by abiding in Jesus. Learning to walk in step with the Holy Spirit.
Purity of heart takes being very strict with your conscience – not allowing even a hint of conscious deceit in your life. It is not trying to manipulate situations. It is refusing to deal with half-truths and cover up, lies, dishonesty.
James says this person is unstable in all that he does. Also, you need to hold up the mirror to your soul each day. The Mirror is the Word of God Doing this will prevent your conscience from being dulled, misinformed, or seared.
God is looking for purity. He will come with his winnowing fork. Will you be the wheat or the chaff?
King David knew this. When his sin with Bathsheba was exposed, he realized that he had sinned against God.
At the beginning of the year, we had a prophetic word of the virgins with the oil lamps and that we need to trim our wicks of all the impurities so that there will be no smoke. What have we allowed God to trim from our lives? Are we filling our jars with the oil of His presence that will help us sustain?
When we are single-minded about becoming Christlike, this is the reward – we will see God. This is the goal of everyone who loves Jesus – to be able to see Him and have communion with him. This is what Adam and Eve enjoyed in their pure state. Their only love was God and to delight in His presence. Till they were tempted with something far less and which shut down their ability to see God. That plagued all of humanity.
Moses had one desire – show me your face
David – longed to see God’s face and dwell in his presence forever.
Man has always tried to get closer to God or to become one with Him and have tried to do it in their own strength. Some have tried it by isolating themselves from the world. Some have gone into monasteries. Some have tried to beat evil out of themselves or do some form of penance.
If it were possible by these means we could irradicate the world’s problems. But this is not so.
What does it mean to “see God”?
It is a deeper revelation, illumination, insight, understanding, intimacy, relationship with God. From this follows that we will know His ways, heart, thoughts and will.
Why is seeing God so important?
Without Jesus we have no life. He has the words of eternal life. He is the source of living water which will quench our thirst once and for all! He is the source of our being, our joy, our fruitfulness. It all comes from abiding in Him and growing in intimacy with Him.
Only when we hunger and thirst for righteousness will be develop a pure heart. You cannot have one without the other. That is why we cannot study each Beatitude in isolation. They are all interconnected.
Today I am calling and encouraging us to live the Christian life as it should be: Where Inside and out is the same and it is the Right side up!!
The receive the most wonderful reward. They shall enjoy greater intimacy with God than they could have imagined. The polluting sins of greed, envy, lust, and deceit and lies have a definite effect upon a person.
The reward of an intimate relationship with God must become our greatest motivation for purity, greater than a fear of getting caught or a fear of consequences. Because purity would mean owning up to the impurities in our heart and sometimes that would mean confessing to someone that is affected by your sin.
How badly do you want the fruit of godly living in your life? Then you will seek it no matter what it costs you
Are we willing to let go the need for self-preservation and humble ourselves before God? Purification is a process of pain. Change is pain. When the pain of staying the way, you are is greater than the pain of the process of pain, you will embrace change. But when we allow ourselves to be moulded and purified by the refiner’s fire, we become this pure gold that has this translucent quality like a mirror.
Those who have had a revelation of God hunger for more and more of Him. O taste and see that the Lord is good.
In the same way there is an invitation to come and taste, come and drink (Isaiah 55:1, John 7 :37-39, Rev 22:17) And the more you thirst after the presence of God nothing else will satisfy and everything else will taste insipid, rotten and putrid. You will not be able to stomach it anymore.
There is so much to say about the presence of God and how beautiful it is and how inviting and attractive.
Do you want your life to be sorted? Allow God to rearrange your heart. Then you will see things clearly, you will be able to discern God’s good perfect and pleasing will for your life. And His will for your life is the best and life-giving.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.