Sermon on the Mount Series

Episode 7

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8

Most of us like to think that we operate out of the purist of motives.  We tell our selves that so much that we start to believe it. That is unbelievable to me.  How can I so deceive myself? 

Don’t get me wrong.  Before Christ I was much worse.  Like an infant my every thought was all about me.  I would ask myself what would make me happy in the moment and then I would demand it.  If I got my way I was pleased and was pleasant to be around.  However, if I did not get my way I was a tyrant.  I could lash out or in my more “mature” moments I would simply sulk. 

Jesus stated that there is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for his friends.  When I became a soldier, this became true of me.  I became willing to die for others.  This multiplied out when I got married and had children.  Yes I would die for my family.  I would die for those that like me. 

The thing is that I get something from them.  At the minimum I get acceptance but typically I receive love and support in all my moods.  Is my heart really pure when I become willing to lay down my life for them?

What if I lay down my life for my enemies?  People that I strongly disagree with and that I despise?  What if I don’t need to actually lay my life down for them?  What if I simply need to love them?

Purity of heart will require me to say to someone. “I strongly disagree with you, but I love you.”  Now that might be easy to say but it is difficult to really mean it.  I find myself pushing myself to love all of humanity.  I strive to understand them, their positions, their beliefs and their cultures.  That all helps me to love them with a pure heart. 

But what about those in rebellion, those who talk hatefully toward me?  Can I love them the same way? Those that have nothing to offer me but pain and discomfort.  Can I love them with a pure heart?  They have nothing to repay me.  They will not even choose to give me respect.

 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  Luke 14:13-14

My greatest desire is to see God.  As Jesus spoke to this crowd, I am certain that they’re were those that had no idea who they were.  Some would have been put out of the synagogues.  Others were simply villains who were in the crowd to see whom they could fleece. 

I am confident that Jesus knew all about them as He spoke.  Jesus saw God every time that He saw His reflection. 

How do we get a pure heart? 

The church would say that we have to go to church often and read the Bible and listen only to Godly teachers.  All of that is good. 

But I love to listen to Nirvana, Faith No More (how is that for a man of faith?), Mozart, ACDC, Garth Brooks and big band music and others.  Can I still be pure?  Some in the church would say that if I love the homosexual with no other motive than to love them than I am not holy enough.  I love the Muslim, the Hindu and others of multiple faiths only because I see God in them.  (Remember that all humanity is made in the image of God.)  Does that make me impure?

I struggle to love the false teachers of the prosperity Gospel.  Where they look for a reward in this world I desire only a reward is Jesus.  That is where I must get.  No fame, no fortune.  I might die looking like a failure to this world.  Now I preach to myself.  My heart desires success and fame.  I want to know that I made a difference in this world.  My heart is not pure.  But for moments, I can cast all of that aside and simply love Jesus.  In the woods behind my house I walk in the cool of the day and there is Jesus.  Nobody sees me.  Nobody else is there.  Jesus is there though.  That is enough, that is all that I need.  Oh to stay there!

But I must go back out into the world with all of it’s temptations and desires and I get distracted. 

My only hope for a pure heart is to seek more of Jesus so that there is no more room in there for the junk.