Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Blessed Are the Pure in Heart ]


Mark 7:14-23

The sixth beatitude says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The word blessed in all these sayings means happy and speak to us how to be happy in this life. Someone said, “When we come to the sixth beatitude, we have reached the holy of holies, the inner sanctuary of the Christian religion.” This is a poetical way of saying it deals with the holiest part of the Christian religion. Paul suggests the same thought in I Tim. 1: 5, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” The commandment here is the ultimate commandment of the New Testament law of God. It means that the ultimate commandment of the Christian religion, the ultimate charge of the Christian faith is “love from a pure heart.” Those who attain such a character have fulfilled what God had in mind by establishing the Christian religion on this earth. Purity of heart and happiness go hand in hand. No one can be truly happy with an impure heart, says the Divine Son of God.

Let us begin the discussion by considering what Jesus meant by the word heart. What is the heart? The heart as used in scripture is far more than a bodily organ. Jesus did not mean that those who have a pure blood pump shall see God. In the scripture reading of the morning Jesus said, “From within, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Such is an impure heart. Paul adds that with the heart man believes to righteousness. Jesus said of the most of His nation that their hearts had become so hard and insensible that their ears were hard of hearing; and they have closed their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them(Matt. 13:15).

The Bible defines the heart as that in a person which believes, understands, desires, purposes, feels, plans and wills. Now what is thqt part in man that can do all these things? The only part in us that combines all these powers is the mind, and the mind consists of the intellect, the emotions and the will. Our intellect contains all the facts of knowledge we have acquired. The emotions contain all our feelings and desires. The will is the power to convert our wishes into deeds. The first thing we have learned about this beatitude is that when Jesus said, “Happy are the pure in heart, “ He meant, “Blessed are the pure in mind.”


Now that we know what the heart is , let us determine what it is to be pure in heart or mind.. What is a pure mind? The word pure as used by Jesus means freedom from a foreign mixture of any kind. Then the word is used to mean cleanness, freedom from foulness or dirt; then freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin. Pure as used by Jesus is a religious term and connected with the Christian religion and the law of God. A pure heart is one that is in complete agreement with the law of Jehovah God. on the subjects right and wrong, good and evil, true religion and false religion. A pure heart is one whose affections, thoughts, wishes and conduct are clean. The pure in heart repels and loathes everything vile and evil. Those pure in heart are not sinless people, but they sincerely desire to do good and hunger and thirst after righteousness. Their desire is to please God, and they strive to be good and do good. They will not compromise with evil. If they sin they are surprised into sin or are overtaken in a sin. Suffice it to say that the pure in heart are those with a clean heart, clean from everything that is sinful, wrong, bad and contrary to God's will. A heart that does not believe in God is an impure heart. All worshipers in religions outside of the Christian religion have impure hearts. They have a defiled understanding.

We have learned what the heart is and we have learned what a pure heart is. The next logical question is, “How is the heart made pure?” It should be observed that nothing is said in this beatitude about how the heart is purified.. We must find out about heart purification from other scriptures. We must start with saying that only God can purify the heart. We must look carefully to His directions. We have learned that Jesus said of Israel that they had hardened their hearts and closed their eyes and ears so that they would not understand the truth. He meant that they were so worldly-minded and prejudiced that they would not see the truth or understand anything contrary to their traditional and preconceived ideas.

The word of God reveals that God devised a plan to give Israel first a new heart and then to all the Gentiles. Israel needed a new heart, and all people of the world need a new heart. or mind. God promised Israel that He would do this. In Jeremiah 31:31-33 God promised that He would make a new covenant with the house of Israel, not like the one He gave them at Mt. Sinai. Then in v. 33 He said, “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts...” He made the same promise in Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” This passage speaks of God giving us new hearts by purifying our hearts, by putting His new law in the mind and writing it on the


heart. In other words God's law was to enlighten people to know His will and to be deeply impressed with it. To accomplish this two things were necessary. The first was to publish His new law in an intelligent and understandable form. The second was to attend it by such infallible truths of its divinity that its trustworthiness was beyond all dispute. . All this God has done and beyond this nothing more is needed.. God sent His son from heaven to reveal the true God to the world. Christ went to the cross and offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. By the Holy Spirit, speaking through inspired apostles, prophets and teachers, God has made His law known to the whole world. In addition, by the terms in which the apostles expressed it, it is written on the mind, and it produces a new heart. This new heart law is the law of Christ as revealed in the Christian religion, and it impresses the mind by God's offer of mercy and forgiveness and by the promise of immortality and eternal life.

God's new law purifies the heart by a twofold process. When God said, “I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, “ He referred to a change that begins with conversion to the Christian religion. The word of God reveals that our hearts were purified when we became Christians. Peter said to Christians, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth though the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart”(I Pet. 1:22). Their souls at one time in the past had been purified, that is when they were born again and received the forgiveness of their past sins. Moreover, Peter said they remained purified, for he said love the brethren with a pure heart. In Acts 15:9 Paul said that God made no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, purifying their hearts by faith. When we obey the gospel of Christ by faith, repentance and baptism, God purifies our hearts by forgiveness, and forgiveness makes us clean. We are clean through the word Christ has spoken to us.

After conversion, we keep our hearts pure by sanctification, by keeping our hearts pure. . We are not a sinless people. We become impure by our associations with an evil world. We sometimes give in to temptation. When this happens, we must avail ourselves of the blood of the Lamb. The word of God says, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(I John 1:7-9). Jesus prayed to God for His disciples, saying, “Father, sanctify them by your truth; your word is truth. Sanctification is a life-long process of keeping our hearts pure. The Holy Sprit keeps us pure by living in obedience to His instructions..


We have one more thing to study about this beatitude. Jesus said, “Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” What is the blessing? What does it mean, “We shall see God.” It is certain that the word “see” does not mean to see with the physical eye. Of course, we shall see God in the world to come, but that is not the primary meaning here. There are two kinds of sight: physical vision and mental vision. Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that the eyes of their understanding might be enlightened so they could have a greater appreciation of the hope of Christian calling and the inheritance that awaits the saints(Eph. 1:18). Just before He ascended to heaven Jesus said, “A little while longer and the world sees me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also”(John 14:19). What did He mean that His disciples would see Him after He left the earth? We see Christ by mental vision, and we see God by mental vision. Christians walk by faith, not by sight. We see God by faith, with the eyes of the understanding.

A teacher explains a problem of mathematics to a boy. As the teacher talks, the boy hears and his mind takes hold of what he hears to the point of understanding. Then he says, “I see it.” What did he mean? He means he understands it; that is mental vision. Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Many saw Jesus with their physical eyes but never saw God. Billions of people cannot see God in nature or in the Bible, even though He exists.

When Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,” He meant that they will recognize His existence and enjoy Him They shall be convinced of His existence and enjoy fellowship with Him in this life. The pure in heart will appreciate God and walk with Him. They shall live with the feeling that He watches over them and they will feel that they are the friends of God. The pure in heart will see God in this life, know Him, love Him, obey Him and enjoy Him. That is the blessing in this beatitude, and it makes for happiness in this life.

I close with the wonderful words of Revelation 21:3, And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” We are told that we shall see Christ as He is when He comes, and this passage declares that we will see God and that will not be mental vision.

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