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Blessed are the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8) by Pastor Youngjae

posted Sep 25, 2014, 1:14 PM by Bowmansville UMC

You must know the story about David.  God sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as the king of Israel.  When Samuel saw Eliab, the first son of Jesse, he thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands before the LORD.”  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance of his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Have you heard of the term “lookism”?  People tend to judge by looks or appearances.  People desire to look good because the world values the looks, or the world values the looks because people pursue that value.  It is like a vicious circle.  Some companies hire only people who look good.  Some parents promise their daughter cosmetic surgery as a graduation gift.  Some societies have a preconceived concept of beauty, and create and advertise cultural stereotypes of look and fashion making people follow that trend.  However, God says to us, “That don’t impress me much.”  God looks at the heart not the outward appearance.  He wants to see “purity” in heart.

What is “purity” in heart?  It may be described in many ways, but there are a couple of focal points about purity.  The first and foremost thing about purity is that it is about “inward being” not about outward appearance.  Jesus criticized the Pharisees and the teachers of the law for their being obsessed with external, ceremonial, or outward purity.  They were always concerned about how they looked to other people instead of who they were inwardly before God.  Jesus said to them, “You hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

Human beings tend to pretend.  They are good at deceiving.  They may be a good person in public, but the same person could be pathetic when alone.   They may say and act nicely, but their hearts may be corrupted with greed, sexual impurity, deception, lying, hatred, love of world, love of money, wickedness, uncontrolled anger, and so on and so forth.  They are good at wearing masks.   Jeremiah 17:10 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

There is yet an opposite type of hypocrisy.  Some people say that they say bad things and act ungodly from time to time, but still think and insist that their hearts are at least pure.  You are outwardly impure, but inwardly still pure?  Do you buy that?  I would say, “I think you love yourself too much.”  Jesus said, “Each tree is recognized by its fruit.  People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” (Luke 6:44-45)  Our Lord Jesus confirms this universal law in his own kingdom of God: “A tree is known by its fruit.” (Or “you reap what you sow” or “If you plant an acorn, don’t expect a cherry to grow from it.”)

If your heart is pure your fruit must be good too. If your fruit is not good then that is the evidence of impurity of your heart.  Your fruit must be actually good not just looking good.  Some deceitful hearts are able to make their fruit just look good when it isn’t actually.  Some grapes looks delicious but they can be sour or bitter as opposed to their look.  Looking good isn’t always good.  Outward-righteousness or rule-righteousness isn’t always righteous.  That is why Jesus teaches heart-righteousness or inward-righteousness.   Purity lies in our hearts.  That is what God looks at.

Another point about purity would be single mindedness of our heart.  Single minded heart seeks God only.  God’s way only.  They know that’s the purpose of their lives.  “No one can serve two masters.  Either he or she will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)   What are your idols?  You cannot serve both God and money.  You cannot serve both God and fame.  You cannot serve both God and luxury.  You cannot serve both God and what’s not.  Your heart becomes pure when you come near to God only.  One direction, but not double or multiple directions!  It is the way not a way.  It is God’s way not my way.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (James 4:7-8)  Love your God with all your heart, not a half, 2/3 or ¾ of your heart, but “all” of your heart.

 Who can purify our hearts?   Not by the law but only by love and grace of God through Jesus Christ!  Only the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross cleans and purifies deceitful hearts and centers our hearts with God’s love.  Only this love and grace of God through Jesus Christ is centered in your heart you gain an integrating holy power to govern over all impure desires and urges in your heart.  “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14)   Only these people who gain this integrating power of God’s love in their hearts will see the purpose and direction of their lives, and the principles of the kingdom of God.  Only these people will see God not in fantasy but in spiritual power in their heart.

How many times do we need to purify our hearts?  God’s love and grace through Jesus Christ is at once and for all.  However, taking his grace and love into our hearts is never going to be done at once.  How many times do we have to change the engine oil?  At least once every 3000 miles.  But how long do we have to do it?  As long as you drive the car.  Do you know how many times we blink our eyes a day?  In general, it is 25,000 times.  Every time when we blink tears are produced and cleans our eyes to see things clearly.  Well then how many times do we have to clean our hearts?  I would say, “As many as we need.”  How long then?  “As long as we live.”  May you live in the kingdom of God with pure heart!

Here is the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)  Amen.