1 November 1999

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God"-Matthew 5:8 In our last Beatitude, we discovered a level of maturity that not all of God's people will enjoy: we learned to be "merciful". While many experience the initial exercises of the heart, not all will bear the visible fruits of such a change. As Christ preached this sermon, He was speaking to men that would become Apostles and occupy positions of grave responsibility in the Church. They must be mature and reflect, not only the graces of the first two few Beatitudes, but the outward fruits of the latter ones. Their ministry must not be bound by Satan and revenge. In this fifth Beatitude, Jesus ascends to a higher level of maturity. A level that may only be approached after one has learned to be "merciful". They become "Pure in heart." THE BLESSING To be "pure in heart" does not mean that one is "pure" through and through. It does not mean that one has achieved perfection for "If we say that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us"-I John 1:8. The word "pure" displays the idea of "clear". Pure water is clear, you can see to the bottom of the glass or stream. Concerning the "pure in heart", you can see straight to their heart, the seat of all affections. It is not surrounded by murky waters. Their convictions are read like an open book. They are now swayed by peer pressure or popular opinion. They are the same person in public that they are in the closet. You do not have to ask the "pure in heart" if they are a Christian, if we are around them long enough we will read it in their life. Their motives of the "pure in heart" are pure and their intentions are genuine. They are not ashamed of the principles that they stand for. They are not like the Pharisees who "say, and do not". Though they preached to others, they did not live up to their own standards. They are not the hypocrites that turn so many good people away from Christianity. Their religious endeavors are not self serving, to appear righteous and gain the applause of men. They are God honoring. Therefore, they do not go to church to be seen of men, but to serve Jesus Christ. Here we find a level of honesty and integrity that will not be found in the world; a willingness to be "salt and light" regardless of what others may say. It is a ‘living out' of the convictions that God has placed in the heart by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Though outward circumstances may not be favorable, these will prosper spiritually. When all is said and done, when the dust settles, these will rise above it all and find peace because they are "Pure in heart". THE PARADOX To the world, such a person can not be happy. How can a person whose heart is read like a book be happy? Aren't we supposed to put on a show, hide our righteous convictions, and cloud our hearts with complicated facades? Such a complicated posture will blend in well with the world and gain their accolades. After all, the kindness that God has placed in the heart will be taken advantage of if it is easily noticed. That is why it is such a paradox. THE PARADOX EXPLAINED The paradox is once again explained by the promised blessing, "for they shall see God." Not only will the "pure in heart" see God when they leave this life, but there is an immediate present blessing couched within the words of Jesus. There are at least six ways that the pure in heart will "see God". (1) They will see God in providence. They will observe His kind hand guiding and leading them in the affairs of life. (2) They will see God daily. The "pure in heart" observe God in the beauty of creation and can say "He is alive and not silent". Their experience is daily. (3) The see God in deliverance. Though many may use the word "lucky" when delivered from injury or harm, the pure in heart will say "blessed" because they saw God's hand in the matter. (4) They will see God in all of their blessings. Thanks is given to Him for health, life, food, clothing, freedom, and whatever prosperity they enjoy. (5) They will see God in others. Since their heart is an open book, they focus in on the good in others rather then looking for faults. (6) And finally, the "pure in heart" will see God in prayers answered. They will not forget to give thanks for the many prayers that God has been faithful to answer because they see God in every blessing and answered request. Yes, those disciples who have matured will see God the most in this life. By His own words, Jesus has crowned them with "Blessed". Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor