Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the Pure in Heart
““Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8 NASB1995
I love this photo of a young boy taking delight in the Word of God. He sees the words in his Bible with a purity of heart that has not been corrupted by a fallen world. In this Beatitude, Jesus blesses those who can attain that purity of heart and promises the ultimate reward: They will see God.
The poor in spirit, who are those who mourn, and are meek have a hunger and thirst for righteousness. That righteousness leads to mercy for others and now to a purity of heart that removes our double-mindedness and the masks that cover our inner lives from others. Jesus does not look at the outward appearance or pretensions of holiness; He looks directly at our hearts. Our hearts are unholy, full of deceptions and lusts and distractions and secret angry thoughts and frivolous judgments about others. Purity of heart is a joint project with the Holy Spirit. We can never attain this state on our own or through force of will.
Jesus called out those who pretended to be pure of heart during His time on Earth. From a Sermon by Brian Bill (Keep Believing Ministries, linked from Precept Austin), these are the ways that attempts to achieve purity fail, over and over and over again, in our churches:
• Legalism. This can be defined as a harsh set of rules that one must follow in order to gain favor with God and impress people. An example of this was the PHARISEES. This system doesn’t work because it doesn’t deal with the heart.
• Modernism. This is the opposite end of the spectrum as some people have thrown off Scriptural standards and beliefs. The SADDUCEES rejected key doctrinal truths during the time of Jesus, as they just picked and chose what they wanted. This is very popular today.
• Activism. Some people believe that the only way to bring purity into our world is through political change. While we certainly need to participate in the democratic process by voting, only a change of heart will bring about a change in our society. The ZEALOTS of the first century believed a political change was needed and were willing to do anything to bring it about.
• Monasticism. Some individuals believe that they must totally disengage from society in order to be pure. The problem with this is that sin lurks in the heart, not just in the world. The ESSENES practiced this withdrawal from the world and gained popularity about 150 B.C.
Purity of heart is achieved by following the Word of God, to the fullest. From that same sermon on Matthew 5:8 by Brian Bill, here is a quick checklist of ways to work on inner purity of heart:
Admit our sinful impurity.
Ask God for a new heart.
Pray for purity
Draw close to God.
Memorize and meditate on the Word of God.
Avoid complaining and arguing.
Watch what we watch (cultural distractions and entertainment that emphasize temptations/sin).
Waiting is wonderful (for marriage).
Find a faithful friend.
Focus on future hope.
Can you imagine seeing God unfiltered by the corrupted world? What a splendid sight that would be!! Pray for a pure heart today!
My next Sermon on the Mount devotional will examine Matthew 5:9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Sermons by Brian Bill Copyright 2020 Keep Believing Ministries