THE BLESSED HEART
1. Our songs indicate something of our longing to see God.
a. “Oh I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace.”
b. “I want to see my Savior’s face; Heaven is a wonderful place!”
c. “Purer in heart, O God, help me to be,
That I Thy holy face one day may see.”
2. When Moses, burdened with responsibility and weary with the weaknesses of his people, asked to see God’s glory, God said, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Ex. 33:18, 20).
3. But here is what our Lord said in the sixth Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). There is a kind of heart that can see God!
1. The Setting
a. This Beatitude speaks of three themes which have always been very difficult for people to keep in a healthy perspective: the heart, purity, and God.
b. It is therefore helpful to observe the wonderful way in which this saying of Jesus is balanced by the others.
i. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (v. 6) keeps us from thinking that “as long as our hearts are right, anything is OK.”
ii. “Blessed are the merciful” (v. 7) reminds us of the danger of majoring in purity in such a way that we are harsh with our neighbors.
iii. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (v. 9) will call us to avoid being so preoccupied with our own hearts that we make no effort to nurture relationships with others.
c. The beautiful balance provided by these sayings is one of the great reasons why they do indeed lead to a life which is “blessed.”
2. The Heart
a. The heart is the control center of a person’s being.
i. It’s the conscious part of you; the thinking, deciding, feeling part of you.
ii. The thought processes which imagine and intend take place in the heart (Gen. 6:5).
iii. What a person wants to do, what his real opinions are, and what he says all originate from his heart (Matt. 5:28; 9:4: 12:34).
b. The heart is what shapes a person’s life.
i. Prov. 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
ii. Jesus’ life and ministry were shaped by the fact that he is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).
iii. The problems and failures that trouble us come from our hearts (Matt. 15:19), and the goodness in human experience comes from the good treasure of our hearts (Matt. 12:35).
c. The heart is what God looks at when he sees a person.
i. 1 Sam. 16:7 – “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as a man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’”
ii. Ps. 51:6 – “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach wisdom in the secret heart.”
iii. In the Sermon on the Mount, and throughout this Gospel, Jesus emphasized that God is interested, not just in what a person doesn’t do outwardly, but in what he really thinks and wants inwardly.
3. The Pure Heart
a. The word for “pure” means “undivided” or “unmixed.”
i. There are two ways it may be taken, both true.
ii. It might refer to a heart without defilement.
(1) This would be the inner purity of a sinless heart.
(2) The pure in heart are clean in thought; they purse “holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
(3) They love goodness and hate evil.
iii. It might also refer to a heart without hypocrisy.
(1) This would be the one-track mind of a single heart.
(2) The pure in heart are completely sincere, without any guile or deceit or pretension.
(3) They have an integrity about them in which what is said or done accurately represents what’s inside.
b. There are obstacles to a pure heart.
i. Unclean thoughts and desires (Matt. 5:28; 2 Tim. 2:22)
ii. Impure motives (Matt. 6:1, 5). Religious activity is one of the most difficult areas for this. We are tempted “to shine, whine, or recline.”
iii. Double-mindedness (James 4:8; Matt. 6:21,24)
iv. Resentment, suspicion and criticism, along with the bitter feelings and ill will they often produce (Matt. 7:1-3; Eph. 4:31)
v. A guilty conscience (Heb. 10:22)
c. Yet, a pure heart can exist!
i. David prayed for it in both the ways we’ve mentioned.
(1) Ps. 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
(2) Ps. 86:11 – “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
ii. Heb. 9:14 – “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
iii. 1 Pet. 1:22-23 – “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”
4. The Blessed Vision
a. The pure in heart will see God in the sense of having the privilege of coming into his presence.
i. “Seeing God” means something more than having the curiosity satisfied about what God looks like; it means appearing before him, being close to him, and enjoying him.
ii. “To see the face” of someone was a way of saying that you were given an audience with someone really important (cf. Gen. 43:3,5; 2 Sam. 14:24).
iii. Psalm 24:3-6
b. The pure in heart will see God in the sense of being able to recognize his hand in the world and to walk with him.
i. We tend to see what we are able to see, and it is cleanness of heart that brings clarity of vision where the providence of God is concerned.
ii. One lady got to tour a great art gallery where several amazing masterpieces had been collected. At question time she asked, “What do you shine your floors with?” That’s all she had been able to see.
iii. Heb. 11:27 – “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.”
c. The pure in heart will see God in the sense of dwelling with him in glory.
i. Our hope is summed by the thought of seeing his face.
ii. Rev. 22:3-4 – “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”
iii. 1 Jn. 3:2-3 – “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we will be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
1. This Beatitude pictures the heart as a kind of spiritual window that must be kept clear if you are going to see God. When it’s clouded by lust or smudged by ambition you will not be able to focus on him.
2. Imagine glancing out your window and noticing that something is blurring your view. You go out and work and work to clean it, but when you come back in the blot is still there – because it was on the inside!
3. There is something that can cleanse us even there, something that is worthy of our single-minded devotion. It is what God has done for us all through his Son.