The Divine Atmosphere of Purity

Bible Book: Matthew  5 : 8
Subject: Beatitudes; Sermon on the Mount; Purity; Heart Purity
Series: The Beatitudes - The Divine Atmosphere

The Divine Atmosphere of Purity

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

This is sermon 6 in a series of 8 sermons on the Beatitudes.

Today we will consider the 6th Beatitude. As we look at our text for today, we are seeking to understand our need to be pure in heart. The Bishop of Barking related an incident at a Keswick convention some years ago that helps to illustrate purity. He once had a small white Highland terrier, which he kept spotlessly clean. He washed the dog often, brushed it regularly and even powdered the dog. One night a winter storm dropped a fresh blanket of snow on the countryside. As the clergyman stood gazing out his window the next morning, he saw a drab-looking dog walking across the snow. He wondered whose it was until he suddenly realized it was his own well-groomed terrier. It was as clean as always, but against that dazzling background of the new fallen snow it appeared dirty. If we will draw near to Christ, we can see the dull shade of our hearts compared to that of our Lord. I want us to look at several aspects of the pure in heart.

We begin with...

I. The Holy Life of the Pure in Heart

The word "pure" comes from the Greek word catharsis - which means to cleanse or purify. The purity spoken of in the Scripture does not mean the purity which has always been absent of an impurity. Indeed, the word itself takes into account the need for cleansing. In the light of the last Beatitude, no one could possibly claim to be absolutely pure. Everyone is guilty of judging others in ways they do not wished to be judged. From this fact, we come naturally to the idea of needing purity in our hearts.

The Bible speaks specifically about purity in other passages.
Look at 1 Chronicles 29:17-18:

"I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee."

In Psalm 51:6-10 we read,:

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me"

These passages point out that God is looking for purity, but we take special note of the section in Psalms 51. This passage notes that God can give us a pure heart even when a pure heart is not present. In fact, a pure heart is only possible through the cleansing power of the Lord. Paul points this out.

Look at 2 Corinthians 7:1:

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,  perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

Paul even goes a step further in stating that we can purify ourselves. This does not mean that we can forgive our own sins, but that we can commit our ways to the Lord, perfecting holiness out of a reverence for God. What exactly does this mean? I believe James clears it up for us.

Look at James 4:8:

" Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Purifying ourselves means to get a single-mindedness about serving  God. It means to be all out for Christ. It means to be committed without mixture of inward desire for the world!"

That brings us to the fuller meaning of the word pure. The word means to be one thing without mixture of another. Anything is more valuable when it is pure. Pure wood - solid wood furniture, for example, is very expensive. Gold that has fewer alloys in it is more expensive. You can buy a golf club with a titanium face plate for about $50.00; but a pure titanium golf club might cost as much as $300.00 or $400.00 dollars. Purity makes anything more expensive. You are worth so much more to the kingdom when you have a heart that is not mixed with the world.

A few years ago I had surgery to remove a mole from my face. The doctor used synthetic stitches - which was a huge mistake. It scarred my face with an unsightly blemish for a several weeks while it was healing. He could have, and should have, used the real catgut stitches. When he redid the stitches, he used the real thing. I had absolutely no problem following that procedure. You and I scar our lives when we put into our heart anything that is not pure. We need the real thing and only the real thing.

II. The Hidden Life of the Pure in Heart

Note, secondly, note that this purity is in a hidden place

Look at Matthew 6:1-6

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."

Jesus pointed out that the most important aspect of the Christian life is that which is hidden from public view. Your character is what you are in the dark. You are no better than that which you would do if knew no one would ever discover your deed. This speaks of our hidden life of purity.

God's call is always to heart purity. Look at 1 Samuel 16:7:

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, 'Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Yes, God looks on the heart.'"

Why is God so concerned about the heart?

Look at Proverbs 4:23:

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. God is concerned about the heart because it is the well-spring of life. The heart involves the mind, will and emotions. These must be committed to God or we will fail God and man. This is truly a serious matter."

Again, look at another verse found in Matthew 15:19:

"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. One look at this passage reveals the serious nature of heart purity."

Some time ago, a United States House panel heard testimony that truckers have been known to haul garbage in the same refrigerated trucks that transport food. Part of the problem is that trucks making long trips cannot afford to return empty. According to the truckers, who testified behind a screen to protect their identities, some see garbage as a dream commodity to be placed on their trucks. They are paid to transport something that cannot be damaged. At the same hearings, a Penn State University food science professor compared the situation to serving potato salad from a cat's litter box.

Dear friend, we must not carry the garbage of this world in the same heart with the beauty and holiness of the Lord Jesus. That is what Jesus is saying to us. The pure in heart will see God. If you and I would see God in a real way in our lives, we must maintain a purity within.

Now, consider ...

III. The Honest Life Of the Pure in Heart

This speaks of what we must do when performing religious acts. When we are engaged in worship, service, or testimony we must be careful to be honest. The Pharisees were always trying to impress people with their commitment when in fact their devotion was actually far less than the appearance they sought to present. This was the mistake of Annanias and Saphirra. They lied to the church about their financial gift to make an impression. God used them as an example to show us what He thinks of such actions.

Here is the question? Do you pray for hours and tell no one about it? Have you fasted for spiritual reasons and told no one about it? When we are honest before God, it causes us to be right with Him before we even consider what others think of us.

John Bunyan preached an exceptional sermon, and as he left the pulpit one of his members said, "John, that was a great sermon." Bunyan replied, "I know it, the devil told me that before I left the pulpit."

Bunyan had no illusions about the praise of men. The word from the member could serve as an encouragement, but if it became a source of pride, it could destroy the purity in his heart. Listen to me, dear people of God, this is a serious issue. When our service for God becomes all about our public image or the appreciation people show us, we are muddy up the pure place God wishes to creat in our hearts.

Think with me now about ...

IV. The Happy Life of the Pure in Heart

To see God in the here and now has as much meaning as seeing God in the sweeet by and by. To see Him at work on earth is as important as seeing Him in Heaven one day. This passage indicates that God manifests Himself to those who are pure in heart, and He does so here and now! We must not wait to purify in our hearts. We need the Lord to show up in power and glory in our days of living for Him on this earth.

Let me share something that we hear from time to time, but something I believe is more important today than any year I have been alive - and I'm 76 years old - we need revival. We need heaven-sent revival. This will come only when we have hearts that are single-minded. This will come when we desire more than anything to please Him who called us, saved us, keeps us and will one day come for us. The joy of the Lord accompanies those who experience His manifest presence, and they know the happiness of living with a pure heart.


How about your heart, is it pure before God today? I don't mean to ask what other people think of you. I am asking what I've asked myself - how pure is my heart secretly before God right now?

Let us turn to Jesus, whose heart was and is pure and full of love for each of us - for eveyrone. It is not His will that anyone perish. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. In order to die four our sins, it was required of Him that His heart remain pure every moment He was on this earth. He accomplished that task and was qualified to die in our place - to take our sins upon Himself. He asks of us that we confess our need for a cleansing that we might be saved. Then, after we belong to Him, He asks of us that we continue to bring our hearts to Him that we might be pure in the secret places of our hearts - so that we might see Him - so that we might see Him do all that He desires to do in our generation. Now is the time to respond. Bring your heart - your deepest inner life to Jesus - do it now - do it today.