In this sermon, Youth Director Mike Bittenbender continues his series on the Beatitudes. This one is on the pure in heart. They will see God. Here are some excerpts:
Our hearts, from our beginning, are impure. Our hearts are inclined to follow our sinful nature. It takes a divine act for our hearts to be regenerated. It takes an act of the Holy Spirit for our hearts to be turned to God. Prior to this act, our hearts are impure. The pure in heart can see, but when covetousness and other sinful acts and desires get into the heart, it makes the eyes dim or blind. Our greed for money clouds our ability to see clearly. Covetous people, for example, only look for gain and see everything as a transaction, seeking to profit. They have no ability to see straight nor see that their ends do not justify the means. Wrong actions, whatever the motive, are still wrong, and an impure heart will struggle to see that.
Those with an impure heart are blind. Our sinful nature corrupts, distorts, and bends our hearts away from God and blinds us. Those with impure hearts are blind to their need for a Savior. They are blind to their need for sacrificial, substitutionary atonement. Those with impure hearts are blind to God, to all that He has done for us. They are blind to selfless sacrificial living to which we are called. Those with impure hearts are blinded by their sinfulness and unable to see their wrongs. Those that are blind see no need for God and are blinded from the truth. Who has ever questioned the character of Jesus except men who are blind to the truth. It is true that unrepentant or unconverted men have or can acknowledge the beauty and purity of Christ’s life, but, as Sturgeon exclaims, the pure in heart are enamored with it.
Those pure in heart, having been acted upon by the Holy Spirit, realize their poverty of spirit, mourn for their condition, meekly approaching God, seeking Him, hungering and thirsting for Him, have been shown mercy and show mercy to others, now are called to a purity of heart. John Stott says, “The person with ‘clean hands and a pure heart’ (v.4) is one ‘who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.’ This is a person whose relations with both God and other people are free from falsehood.”
The promise here is that “they will see God.” It has been noted that some kings throughout history were rather reclusive, living in seclusion, with only people close to the court able to have access to the king whenever they wanted. Oftentimes, in order to see the king and in so doing draw close to him that you may have his ear, one would need to plot, plan or perhaps use backchannel influences to get an audience with the king. That is not the case with God.
No one can ever scheme or connive their way to see God. There is no conditioning, threatening, back stabbing your way to God. The way is for simple-minded man to humbly approach God, seeking Him, acknowledging our sinful state and our guilt, confessing our sins and pleading with Him to forgive us for Jesus’ sake, whose death on the cross atones for oursins. That is the man who sees God.
Spurgeon points out there are three ways to see God – in nature, in Scripture, and in God’s church. Regarding nature, Spurgeon writes, once one gets the heart right, God can be seen everywhere. To an impure heart, God cannot be seen anywhere, but to a pure heart God is to be seen everywhere. Regarding Scripture, the pure in heart see God on every page of this blessed book. As they read it devoutly and prayerfully, they bless the Lord that He has been pleased so graciously to reveal Himself to them by His Spirit. Regarding the church, he notes that the impure of heart cannot see God there at all. To them, the church of God is nothing but a conglomeration of divided sects. Unclean hearts see little or nothing good among God’s people, but the pure in heart see God in His church and rejoice to see Him there.
If our hearts are impure, we will not see God. We will not see a need for God, we will not see His love, His grace, His protection, His healing or His provision in our lives. Our impure hearts lead us into a blindness that we cannot get out of. Only by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit are our hearts inclined towards God. With a pure heart we see God in everything. We see that it is God who carries us through tough times, that blesses us and provides for us beyond our imagination. With pure hearts we ask to see God, humbly, as a sinner, seeking forgiveness, approaching a Father who delights in loving us.