My name is John Brush and I serve as one of the elders here in the Broward Church, along with four other incredible men who are elders with me.
We’ve all been blessed with great wives who keep us on the straight and narrow and encourage us and make sure that we are serving the church as shepherds in the best way possible. Now, usually I’m on the other end of the camera here, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing how many people have joined us over the past few months from all around the world, all around the United States, and especially some of you who were members here in the Broward Church before it was called the Broward Church.
And it’s so great to be able to share these times with you and to encourage one another as we worship God. And now we are near the end of a series of lessons on the first part of Jesus’s first sermon in Matthew, Chapter five through seven. And these this very first section of the sermon are called the Beatitudes. The total sermon is found in all three chapters, but we are examining these and then allowing the rest of the sermon explain what these beatitudes really mean.
And so that’s why we encourage all of us to read this sermon at one time. Because we can see the context of what Jesus was talking to when he was talking to his listeners, and it’s very important to understand the context to understand these beatitudes. Matthew four verse twenty three shows us that Jesus began to go around to the synagogues and preach to the Jews the gospel or the good news of the kingdom. Now, the Jews have had been waiting for the re-establishment of the kingdom for centuries, so this grabbed their attention, so much so that large crowds were willing to follow Jesus all throughout the countryside to hear what this message of the kingdom is.
And so in Matthew, chapter five, verse one, we see Jesus finding a place where he could sit down and yet still talk to the most number of people so they could hear this very, very important and exciting message of the establishment of this good news of the kingdom of God. Now, the first 12 verses of Matthew Chapter five are Jesus’s introduction of what it means to be a citizen in this new kingdom that he came to establish and die for.
These are not nice suggestions to make our lives better, the Beatitudes are not meant to be a series of independent ideas that we pick and choose what we want to follow, sort of like when we go to a restaurant and there’s a smorgasbord and we just choose what we want to eat. They are not just somehow to be concentrated on to gain favor with God. No, each one of these beatitudes relies on the one before it and leads to the one behind it.
And so to understand the totality of Jesus’s message about being a citizen of the kingdom, we need to really look at this all together. As one picture. Someone has said it’s sort of like having a stained glass window, you know, stained glass window. You have all your little pieces of the stained glass and independently, they really don’t make sense. But then you put the stained glass together and you get the picture that this stained glass window is trying to portray.
And so Jesus in the Beatitudes is taking each one of these little pieces and tying them and resting them on one another to get a complete picture of him and of the kingdom that he came to establish. So and once we see that picture, we can see that this kingdom is like no other kingdom that has ever been around or ever will be established. Citizenship in God’s kingdom is radically different from any citizenship. In any other kingdom will ever be a part of it is countercultural as it calls us to radically and be completely different in our hopes, our dreams, our feelings, our emotions and our purpose in life.
It is not something we’re just to add to our life like a desert, to make our life sweeter, it is to become our life, see to be pleasing to God, and living in his kingdom calls us to die to ourselves and what we were so that we can become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. See, it’s not about us or me anymore, according to the Beatitudes, and it is so countercultural that most people will not choose to be in this kingdom.
The very last Beatitude, which is a couple of verses down, says blessed are those when they are persecuted and when all kinds of false things are said about you. And later on in this sermon, Jesus would indicate that the way is narrow and not many will find it. And then right after that, he said and several many will go to a false religion. They’ll think they’ll be in the kingdom. But God will have to say, I never knew you.
And this doesn’t follow the popular notion that everyone will like us or everyone will want to be a part of this kingdom, because this great message that we hear from Jesus really divides people from those who desire to follow God above themselves. And Paul would have to remind the church later disciples later in second Timothy, chapter three, verse 12. It says, All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. So when it says that we’re blessed, it doesn’t mean that everyone will like us, that it makes life easier, that life is going to be this pie in the sky and a bed of roses.
It means that God will bless us with the spirit and with all the great gifts of the spirit and his kingdom. And so that’s why it’s important to understand the concept and the whole context of the Beatitudes in this great sermon, which is his very first recorded sermon. So we can see each beatitude rest on each other and it leads, it rests on the one before and leads to the next one, and the beginning we started with being poor in spirit and then mourning and then being meek and hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
And then last week, Chase Denoux, who did a masterful job of talking about what does it mean to be merciful? That having mercy will be costly, it will be costly for us emotionally, it’ll be costly for us spiritually and maybe even spiritually, and that be merciful is not just to take in God’s mercy, but it’s to be given that mercy to other people or it’s not true mercy. And so today we go to the sixth Beatitude, which is blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they will see God.
And this promise of seeing God was so exciting to the Jews of that time because they had been taught all their life that no one could see God or they would die, even Moses got to see God from afar and from behind, but he could not see God face to face. And all of a sudden, the promise of this new kingdom is that we will be able to see God if we are pure in heart. The question that I have is.
Do you remember a time when you were so excited to see or meet someone you’re willing to do almost anything to see or pay almost anything, any price to see them, even if only it was going to be from afar? I see it all the time in concerts. It’s amazing what people will pay to go see an artist or a group and they’re willing to sit almost anywhere in this big auditorium in order just to see this group or hear this person from afar.
I can remember when I was living in Orlando in the mid 1990s. I know that’s old to some of you, but the Orlando Magic was a fairly new basketball team and they were going to be playing a playoff game in Orlando against the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan. And I was so excited to be able to how can I go see the Chicago Bulls? I want to see Michael Jordan, you know, play basketball, not just on TV, but really see him live.
And of course, there are no tickets available. They were all gone. And so I kept hoping, you know, even a short little guy like me who loved to play basketball, who dreamt of, oh, I wish I could play like Michael Jordan. I was wanting to see Michael Jordan. And somehow, someway and I forget even who it was. Someone said, I have press passes for the game. Do you want to take them?
And so, of course, it took no time at all for me to say sure. And I went back and I went and we got to go to the Orlando Magic game against the Chicago Bulls. And it was great. You know, the press section was set up, had its own little special section on the second tier of the seats. And, you know, every once in a while, people would come by and they’d give you the quarter stats and the half time stats and really made you feel important.
And so we were there. But it was obvious to everybody around us that we weren’t press because we weren’t furiously taking notes. We weren’t sending in notes to people and saying, send this off. We were just enjoying the game and really enjoying the fact that someone was giving us all these details about the game. But I remember how excited I was, and it was a fulfilled little dream. That was that that was done because I got to see Michael Jordan in person and we were enjoying the privileges of the press pass.
We could go anywhere in the building and we enjoyed those privileges. Yes, I love the game. And the time to see Michael Jordan. Maybe I should have felt a little more oppositional about pretending to be the press. I don’t know, but I did get to enjoy it. But it fulfilled a dream of mine. And think about it, the promise of this beatitude is that we will see God.
To the Jews back then, it was the fulfillment of a promise and to anyone who desires to be in the kingdom, it’s a fulfillment of a dream come true. We actually will be able to see God and it says later on in John, face to face. And how exciting that is. But Jesus makes it clear. That it is not merely a matter of changing some outward actions or stopping some bad habits merely to look good. See, that was what had happened in the religion of the Pharisees of Jesus’s day.
Look at what Jesus has to say. About those who only are concerned about the outside and how it looks, he says, woe you teachers of the law and Pharisees you hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and dish and the outside will also be clean. Jesus gives a stern warning that this being able to see God is a matter of what’s in our heart.
See later on in Matthew, Chapter five, Jesus will deal with some very, very sinful actions that were occurring among the Jews and in our day to day when he when he talks about you have heard it said do not murder. But I say to you, don’t be angry. He deals with the heart. You have heard it say, don’t commit adultery. But I say to you, anyone who looks upon a woman with lust in their heart has already committed adultery.
You’ve heard it said, do not divorce. But I say to you, you can’t divorce except for unfaithfulness. You have heard it said, don’t don’t give an oath. In other words, stay true to your word. And he says, you have to make a decision to, in your heart to be true to your word no matter what. And then he ends it all with you. I’ve heard it said hate your enemies, but he says, I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute.
You see Jesus’s direction and his teaching here is so much more of what’s in our heart that it’s greater than our knowledge. It’s greater than changing a few actions. It’s greater than our emotions. You know, we live in a society now where the emotions are the king. But he says, no, you have to be pure in your heart. In the Bible, the heart represents your will. What are you going to do no matter what you know, no matter what you’re doing, even no matter how you feel, what decisions are you going to make about your life?
And following God. And this kind of purity is really different than what most people seek. It digs into the deep parts of our lives and our soul, and it talks about our wise and not just what what are we doing? And Jesus said, if we’re willing to be pure in heart, then God will bless us by letting us see him. Himself and I believe t0o will be able to see him in the lives and the faces of our brothers and sisters of other people who are trying and striving to follow Jesus with all their heart.
But what does it mean to be pure well, the Greek word is Katharos, we get the English words of catharsis cathartic. It’s a cleansing. And so the Greek word Katharos here means it means clean and unstained, sort of like when you have dirty clothes and they and you make them clean, you get all the dirt out and you get the stains out of them. And the word Katharos is also used in talking about medals in the Bible like gold or silver, how they’re purified.
And of course, they’re usually purified by fire. The heat and the danger of a fire. And then it’s the Katharos is also means unadulterated or a single minded in its motives. And we can see here that this is a high calling. This unadulterated motives, Single-minded motives, pure and willing to be purified by difficult times, so much so that a famous theologian named Soren Kierkegaard titled entitled A Book This. Purity of the heart is to will one thing.
Think about that is to, will, one thing. Because purity in our heart is freedom from the slavery of a divided loyalty. And being double minded, it is truly making Jesus Lord, Lord of our desires, Lord of our hopes, Lord of our wants Lord of our dreams, Lord of our backgrounds. Lord of our parenting. Lord of our marriages. And the list can go on and on. You know, when we decided to be baptized, we made a decision to will one thing.
And we said it when we said Jesus is Lord as a confession. And we know that we’ll never be perfect, so our hearts have to rest on all the Beatitudes, that’s why all these beatitudes fit together, because the purity of heart is a high calling, but it has the basis of a poor in spirit and mourning and meekness, being teachable and hungry and thirsty for righteousness and showing mercy, because we know we’re not going to be perfect at purity of heart, but we can always rest that God will bless us as long as we’re willing to put this stained glass window together of what we call the Beatitudes.
Now, this purity of heart. Was not a new teaching to the Jews, the Old Testament is full of God calling people to have pure heart. Look at this, the Sheema in Deuteronomy six verse for every day, the Jews, the devout Jews would begin the day by reciting this by hero Israel the Lord, our God is one. And it calls us it says, We love the Lord, your God with one hundred percent, not ninety nine percent, not halfway, but all of your heart and your soul and your thoughts every day.
They would remind themselves that purity of heart was God’s calling, that it wasn’t to be divided between the Baal’s the lords of the time, or worrying about making a living. It was supposed to be one hundred percent of their heart given to God. And then in Psalm twenty four, verse three and four, you know, who may ascend to the mountain of the Lord. Who may stand in his holy place, the one who has clean hands and a pure heart.
Who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false God? David, as he wrote the songs, knew that if we are going to stand with God, if we’re going to be with a holy God, that he’s going to be clean hands. You know, we live in a time now and the covid time where we’re supposed to learn how to clean our hands for 20 seconds to get rid of all the germs. And it takes work.
You can’t just go in and run your fingers under the water a little bit. You have to take the time to really clean your hands, but then also purify your hearts that we don’t trust in any idol. And or swear by any false God. And he would continue this when David committed the sin of adultery and murder. When he had when he tried to cover it up and had to be called down by the Prophet Nathan and God, you know, and Nathan would tell a story and Nathan said to say to David, you are the man who did this.
David’s plea to God was create in me a pure heart of God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. He didn’t say take it away. He didn’t say, hey, I just want an easier way. He said, renew or create in me a pure heart, God. And we knew that steadfast spirit, yes, he had fallen, but God could create this pure heart, and that’s what Jesus I mean, what David was desiring more than anything else.
And in Proverbs, Solomon said, above all, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. You know, the Bible says that what we say flows from our hearts, what we think flows from our hearts. Eventually what we do flows from our hearts, and we’ve got to guard that heart. And Jesus, so Jesus was using a concept that was familiar to his listeners, but he was redefining the criteria for seeing God be by showing that it was what was inside a person.
Is more important than what is seen on the outside, purity of heart is greater than knowledge. Purity of heart is greater than feelings changing our lives. It is the driving force. For who we are as a disciple. The heart needs to determine how we treat people that are unlike us in any way, there are different race, a different culture, different family, different economic status. Our hearts determine that this will determines how we treat people with dignity and concern, even if we disagree with their life choices or their lifestyles.
Jesus was preparing these listeners to respond to people as he was responding to them. He was going to be a living example of God so loved the world that he gave his only son. And he was doing it to demonstrate his love and that while they were still sinners, he was willing to die for them. And if we’re going to be in this new kingdom, that’s the same standard. And we can’t do that based on our emotions. We can’t do that based on what we desire to do.
We have to desire the purity. In heart, so that we can see God in action. And Paul had to write to the Galatian church many years later that this purity and heart was going to be attacked every single day. It says in Galatians five 16 that the sinful nature and the spirit are at war with each other. There’s a great conflict, why, because Satan and using our sinful nature is trying to make our motives impure, it’s trying to put all the pollution in our motives.
And so he had to list them. And starting in verse twenty one, he says, for the deeds of the sinful nature are obvious. And he starts off with sexual impurity. And that seems to be where a lot of people concentrate on. And it is very prevalent. We always have to be on top of it. But he didn’t stop there. He also talked about things like hatred, discord, making idols of people or things jealousy, outbursts of anger.
How do you like that? Some people say I’m just an angry person. No, that destroys and makes our motives impure, creating division factions. All these things, dissensions, they they attack our motives all the time, and then Paul later in Colossians three says and greed is an idle. And what makes it so difficult is because we look out on the world, we see how our marketing. How people compare each other, compare people to other people, profiling of races or culture, our political landscape, economics, all these are infused with attitudes that can destroy the purity in our heart.
Yes, disciples do have the spirit of the Lord, and it promises things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, generous and self-control from Galatians. But I am responsible for what I put in my heart. Would I allow to be in there? And so there is this great war going on all the time about Satan trying to destroy and make our motives impure and the spirit trying to keep our motives pure. And so I know I continually have to ask God for forgiveness.
Because I have to ask myself, do I really have a pure motivation behind what I’m doing? You know, I have to ask God for forgiveness, for his mercy and the power to help me have that kind of heart. And that’s what the Beatitudes really teach and really build on, because you have to be poor in spirit, you know, sometimes it’s way too easy to let the voices of this world and the desires of my own heart to fill my heart.
Instead of the desires and the motives of my Lord and Savior, even though I said Jesus was Lord, that is a battle that has to be fought all the time. And the first battle is in my heart and in my mind. And yet we live in a society and culture that declares, you know, a little bit of a bad thing, not bad, is it? You know, as humans isn’t a little bit of impurity, OK?
Fine, give me give me an amount what is impurity, how much? Or sometimes we can even have the minimum daily requirement, how much can I do and not be impure and stay pure? And we’re going to do that in most things at least, I hope we don’t. You know, most of us want to drink pure water. We we buy bottled water. We do a whole bunch of things to make sure that we drink pure water or we don’t decide most of us to live in a place where breathing the air is like breathing six or seven packs of cigarettes a day.
You know, unfortunately, some people don’t have any choice. But if we have a choice, we don’t live there. You know, we even have one soap product that says it’s ninety nine and forty four one hundreths percent pure. Now, I don’t understand what an important soap would be, but it makes it was a big deal. It was ninety nine and forty four one hundreths percent pure because we all want something that’s unadulterated, we want unadulterated foods, we go on organic foods, we want things that are not filled with impurities.
And so purity is a desire and it’s a good desire, but it is a dangerous thing to think of a little impurity.
Is OK. And the greatest example that I can think of that shows this happened in my lifetime and some of us who are older in our lifetime, back in nineteen eighty two, it was an event that would change the world and how it presented its products, how things are packaged, everything about about especially in pharmacies, but even even in grocery stores to create the need for great safety.
Because here’s what happened. It says here five deaths actually ended up to be seven. Five deaths tied to pills. What had happened in the spring of that year in nineteen eighty two? A nine year old girl had gone to the pharmacy and bought some Tylenol. And so she was having a fever and her parents gave her Tylenol and all of a sudden within that evening, she had died. And then other cases around the Chicago area started popping up and the ages range from nine years old to over 60 of these seven individuals who had died after they had taken Tylenol. And of course, all of us were scared because we think, oh, there’s something in Tylenol that could kill us and everyone started dumping their Tylenol and it was it was it was a disaster for the company, Johnson Johnson, because all of a sudden they had tied it down. All these people had one thing in common. They had gone to the pharmacy, bought Tylenol, taken one Tylenol, and all of them died. And of course, you know, the government, Johnson and Johnson, everybody I mean, they bore down, why is this happening?
They couldn’t find any connection between these people. So it wasn’t like they passed things to each other. So these are random people all around the Chicago area. And they came clear that all of them had taken one Tylenol. And he said, well, what happened? Well, here’s what happened back then. If all of us remember, there weren’t childproof packages, of course, you know. Now, the problem is it says it’s childproof.
And I think it’s adult proof, too, because I can’t get into some of them. But, you know, there was no there was no warnings like if the seal is broken, don’t use. Why because what happened back then is that the liquid gel caps for Tylenol had come out and some demented person and they’ve never caught decided to go into random pharmacies, open up and then put little bits of cyanide in each one of these cap in their capsules and not even all of them in the bottle, but in capsules of the bottle and then closed it back up.
And of course, no one could tell why, because there was no seal to break. So people just bought it and thought, OK, it’s a package of Tylenol and the pill. It looked normal, it looked the same and fact even looked good. And it was a promise of taking care of a fever, aches and pains, joint joint pains. It was a promise. And all these people took the Tylenol thinking that it was going to bless their lives.
And these seven people died. And yet when they found out that they didn’t have to put very much cyanide in these pills, it was just a little bit it was just a little bit it wasn’t enough to make it look different. It wasn’t enough to create any suspicion. But that little bit of impurity. Killed seven innocent people around Chicago, and of course, we’ve seen all the changes now and it all started back then. And they died, why?
Because there was a silent and deceptive killer. A silent and deceptive impurity in Tylenol. See, God knows that it is the secretive and deceptive impurities that will kill ourselves, kill us spiritually and cause most people to leave the kingdom. It’s not going to be the big obvious things, it’s going to be the little things that we hold on to, the little sins, the years that there’s a great song called Heart of God. And one of the lines is Keep Me from secret sins, reign thou my soul within.
Because that purity of heart is so incredibly necessary, so we can see God and it’s the little things that Solomon would put it and he would say it’s the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. He doesn’t say it’s the big obvious things that people will avoid the big obvious things, but the silent, deceptive things that we can hide in our hearts.
They’re the ones that will cause the secret sins now, do we hold on to it from our past lives or beliefs, the influence and pull of our families and cultures to try to get us to love them more than we love God and his kingdom? The impurity kills the soul. And it’s so easy to keep relying on what we already know, what we already believe, and that’s why that phrase Jesus is Lord at our baptism is so incredibly powerful and needs to be thought through before we say it, because we’re saying that for the rest of our life that our hearts are going to be given one hundred percent to God, our emotions are going to be given one hundred percent to God.
And yeah, we’re going to fail. But God, we always have to go back to God in poverty of spirit so that he can forgive us and create in us that pure heart and restore a steadfast spirit so we can be in his kingdom and live to see him face to face. You know, we have a church slogan and it’s called A Church Not for Ourselves is based on 2 Corinthians five.
You see, that needs to be a driving force of a citizen of God’s kingdom. It’s not about me. It’s not about my past. It’s not about who I am. It’s not about my personality. I have to be willing to change all those and have the purity to do it. And it’s a journey that will take a lifetime. I’ll never be there. One hundred percent later on in Corinthians, Paul says that we are being changed from one degree of glory to another.
So a little bit by little bit, we’re being changed to have this pure heart. But that has to be our goal no matter what. Even if we sin we’ve got to go back from the beginning and ask God for forgiveness so we can have that pure heart to be on this journey. But the hard thing about purity is like what they found out with Tylenol. You have to go through tests to find it. In First Peter Chapter one Peter is talking about how great a salvation we have, and he says in all this, you greatly rejoice though now for a little while, we wouldn’t put it this way. He says, rejoice gracefully, but no. But for a little while, you’re going to have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. And that these have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, which is a far greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Now, this is one aspect of purity of heart that can be discouraging. You know, I think all of us want to see God, we want to see God face to face. We want to see God in the lives and faces of our brothers and sisters. Yet I know that the dread, the testing that it takes to do the purifying look, he says gold is purified. By fire. We have to rejoice what we have, but this fire, the danger, the heat of this trial takes all the impurities out and it separates the impurities from the gold so that that gold is worth something.
It takes a lot of work. It takes careful testing, asking a lot of questions, getting help. Because as you think about it, this year, twenty twenty has been a year of testing of the purity of our hearts and motivations more than any other time that I can remember. Twenty twenty is a year that most of us. We’d like to forget. I don’t think in any but five year plan of what they were going to do in five years, you know, to 20, 15, 20, 20, that we would have chosen a pandemic.
Cultural chaos, a crazy election time economics that are that are going crazy. None of us would have chosen this time. But this pandemic and all the changes that it’s required has really tested our confession of Jesus is Lord. When we were baptized, see isolation and distancing have tested the motivation of am I really in this because Jesus died on the cross or was I baptized because I thought I could get something out of it? Friendship, joy, a community and all those things are great, but that that is not the goal.
The the purity of our of our heart is that Jesus Christ and him crucified. And that is going to be the driving force no matter what else is going on in our lives and 2020 is tested, I know for me there are times I just don’t want to answer the phone because I’m tired. But did I really make Jesus Lord when I was baptized on June twenty eighth nineteen seventy three.
Do I have the same decision now? As I did back then as a 20 year old. You know, it’s during this time that because of the isolation, old habits and old addictions can easily be covered up and be hidden from others. And that is a test because these old habits and these old addictions can be the foxes that destroy the vineyard of our in our life. And so it really tests us of are we going to deal with these and be open with these just like we were when we’re meeting together, or am I allowing this testing time to show me who I really am?
I’m really secretive or am I really going to be open with them? I know of some who have left the church because it’s just. When as exciting as it was before, I know people who have left God because they feel like, hey, this isn’t this fun, I’m stuck at home or I have to work from home, I have to work out babysitting for my kids and all the other things, which are very difficult things. But, you know, that’s what fire is all about.
It gets hot and this year has been hot. You know, maybe another way, we’ve been tested, we’ve been merely satisfied with looking good, you know, we’ll show up to all the zoom classes, we’ll show up on line but we’re not using this time to dig deeply into our hearts. You know, and because of that, many even people who call themselves disciples have started to rely on politics, economics, getting back to normal, whatever that is for being for trying to reach for this blessed that Jesus promises.
You know, our focus becomes on what party won the election, who’s what per person, what laws can be created or enforced, when can we open back up living the good life we thought we had before it hit? Instead of the purity of love, the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. We’ve allowed these things to make our motives impure. And it has been very easy to compromise relationships with our brothers and sisters.
You know, the Bible says to love one another deeply. And now that takes a lot of work and creativity. Now, it used to be easy to look people face to face because there is a scheduled time, scheduled time for worship as scheduled time for our community group, scheduled time for mid weeks. And now it takes so much work, it seems to be able to really connect and love our brothers and sisters, as Jesus said, that we’re supposed to do to love as He has.
He loved us. You know, I was so impressed at our Thanksgiving midweek that several people were commended for the way they had been so creative and so self sacrificing to reach and meet the needs of their community group, you know, and it was so exciting to see that. And I pray that all of us who were part of that were inspired, that I, too, can have that. Why? Because it comes from purity of heart. You know, the Lindsays and the Boals and all these other people who are commended so highly by people that they had reached out to and served and helped shows that there was a purity of motive that goes far beyond any trial that we may be facing.
And I thank them for their example and their hearts, it calls me higher because so many times I don’t feel like doing that and yet I have to go back to Jesus is Lord. Covid fog. That’s what they call it. Being tired. Has taken over our emotions. And we have grown tired of all the changes and restrictions. And the wisdom that the writer of Proverbs calls us to live by can be thrown out the window, why?
Because we’re tired of it. We can’t wait for it to be over and we get back to this again, normal. You know, this time has really tested me and I think tested all of us do I really believe second Peter, chapter one where it says everything we need for life and godliness is found in the knowledge of our savior, Jesus Christ. And then we add on the covid, ourselves. You know, the daily testing of my heart by my own sin and the consequences. That everyday relationships I have with brothers and sisters, even outside the church, you know, sinners just like me, how do I what decisions do I make to love them even when it’s hard? And of course, they’re making decisions about me all the time because I’m sure I’m hard to live with to. The pressures of the world. Whether we put them on ourselves or whether the thrust upon us, the temptation is thrown our way, the temptation to believe, as when David wrote Psalm 73, as I look out on the world and they don’t have any problems, they get to do what they want to do.
We can look at the world that way because we think sometimes that having a pure heart is a restriction instead of a blessed. Condition. So it is clear why Jesus had to start this whole discussion and this whole sermon on citizenship in the kingdom, it had to start with being poor in spirit. Morning make being taught. Because then as we hunger and thirst for righteousness, then we are at the mercy. The purity and next week, blessed are the peacemakers.
Because all these things that were to become could not be attained without. The first one is of poverty and spirit and mourning and meekness. And this kingdom is upside down from everything we’ve been taught how to act and survive. It goes against my desires and thoughts so many times and I have to stop and say Jesus is Lord. So it will take an unadulterated, single minded desire to be pure in heart. And that’s hard, that’s difficult. And yet, if we’re willing to do the work and willing to do the test and ask the right questions, God will bless us by letting us see him face to face.
And we’ll see him not only in the life to come, but in our brothers and sisters now. So what will it take to have purity of heart? How can we have pure heart first? You know, David, when writing Psalm 119 said, how can a young man keep his heart pure? By keeping your word. You know, the challenge is, is are you in God’s word every day? Not necessarily a deep theological Bible study, but are you letting the word of God be living and active, you know, sharper than any double edged sword cutting to the, you know, the very joints and marrow and judging the thoughts and intentions of our heart if we’re not in God’s word, if we’re doing only by emotions, we will not have a pure heart of only trying to look good on the outside.
We need to let God’s word do the work. Then it will purify our hearts. And then secondly, ask God to reveal your heart and motives, not just change your outward actions. You know, if there’s ever a need time for prayer for our hearts, it’s all the time, but especially under these unusual trials and circumstances. You know, we can’t say I’m too busy to pray or pray. I’m going to pray on the way to work in the car or I’m going to pray.
You know, there need to be prayers that are that are thought provoking and deeply asking what is the condition of my heart and then asking God to show. And then as anybody has any issues with the heart physically knows, you can’t take care of yourself. God never designed Christianity to be an individual religion. Yes, I know in the Western world, it’s all about individualism, in the individualistic. What can I become, what can I do? But if you look through the scriptures, it talks about teach and admonish one another, encourage one another.
You know, if I have heart problems, I can’t say, oh, I look OK. I feel OK. No, I need to go get the test. A cardiologist or someone trained needs to be able to cut in there. I need someone else to tell me what’s really in my heart. And that’s what we need from each other, too, even when it’s difficult. Why? Because without God’s word, without prayer and without true deep relationships.
We cannot have and we will not have purity of heart. And so that’s why it’s so exciting to know that when he says blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. It’s worth. All what we give and all that we do. And as we now gather to take the communion, it’s a time for us to examine our heart, to remember what Jesus had done. It’s not meant to be just an individual thing. A communion means we do it as a community.
And that we remember not our sins, but what Jesus was willing to do to forgive us and give us these pure hearts. Because the mercy needed to enter this kingdom. Could not come from my own power or my own emotions to change my life, our lives, it comes from his love so much so it says God so loved that he gave his only son. And Jesus loved that he died even though we were still sinners. And so as we take the bread and fruit of the vine, let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus and all that he has given us.
And so let’s let’s pray. Father, as we take this time of remembering Jesus, what we call the Lord’s Supper, our communion. When we take a little bit of bread and fruit of the vine, we are so encouraged and and so challenged by the love that you have for us and what you want us to become in your kingdom. And we’re grateful that we can remind ourselves every week just how great you are, how great a calling you have given us so that your kingdom can be glorified and your name be held up and not our own father, help us to make that decision between you and us individually, but also as a group to always strive for purity and heart so that we can see you one day.
And it’s in Jesus name. We pray. Amen.