Attitude Adjustment #6 - The Watchful

Bible Book: Matthew  5 : 8
Subject: Purity; Heart; Lord's Supper
Series: Attitude Adjustment - The Beatitudes
Introduction

Today we come to Attitude Adjustment #6 in our study of the Beatitudes of Jesus found in Matthew, chapter 5. Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with eight Beatitudes, which consists of attitudes every believer is to have and practice as a follower of the Lord. As Christians, we must adapt our attitudes to those of Christ if we expect to live in joy and honor Him with our testimony.

The sixth Beatitude involves being watchful regarding the purity of our hearts. Now let’s look at Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

Wow! Jesus said that we can actually see God! Pray tell, what did He mean by that statement? One thing we can know for sure is that Jesus was not speaking of our merely seeing God when this life is over. He was speaking in the present tense. Also, He was not saying that we can see God with our physical eyes, since the Bible clearly tells us that we cannot see God with our eyes (John 1:18). So, what did He mean when He said that the pure in heart shall see God?

Jesus was talking about keeping the windows of your heart so clean that you can see God's will, purpose, direction, love, grace, peace, and joy in this life. We often miss the true presence of God because the lens of the hearts is clouded with impurity. We must watch carefully what we allow in our hearts; otherwise, we will not be able to sense the presence, power and purpose of God.

One thing that is practically essential these days is a cloth made for the purpose of cleaning the screens of our personal devices. As we touch the screen with our fingers, the oil sticks to the screen. When we swipe across the screen we inevitably leave a long, ugly stretch of dirt from our hand. We use a cloth to wipe away the oil clear the screen. What is interesting is this, you can think the screen is clean when it isn’t. You turn the screen toward a light source and you see the awful accumulation of oil and dirt on your device. Suddenly you realize why it has become difficult for you to see the images that appear on the screen – simply put, the screen is filthy!

In the same way our hearts become murky and polluted with the thoughts, ideas and ways of this world. The sullied heart loses the clear picture of God and His purpose in our lives.

Let me state in the beginning of this message that purity is prized everywhere and in everything. No one wants a doctor to operate with a dirty scalpel. You certainly don't want to drink from a filthy glass. You don't even want to put dirty gasoline in your automobile. You don't want to wear dirty clothing either.

Let me share a personal experience. When my daughter Sherry was born, Mrs. Lloyd (my mother-in-law) came down to Alabama where we lived to help us for a few days. Jayne was in the hospital following the birth, so I went to the airport to pick up my mother-in-law. She noticed some brown spots on the back of my shirt but she didn’t mention it to me at the time. She didn't mention it because she didn't know if she should, but she told Jayne and we uncovered the reason for the spots. I was at home alone prior to Mrs. Lloyd's arrival - 'batching it" as we say - and made myself a chili dog for lunch before going to the airport. I leaned back on the kitchen counter as I ate and I got part of the chili on my shirt from the lid of the can that I had not yet thrown into the trash can. So, there I was, wandering around the airport to pick up my mother-in-law with hotdog chili on the back of my shirt. And to make things worse, I had checked myself in the mirror to make sure I looked nice before going to the airport. My hair was straight - of course, that was not too difficult with the short hair the Army required. My face was clean - I had even washed behind my ears. My clothes looked good - at least what I could see of them. So, I rode off to the airport "looking good," or so I thought. What an embarrassment to learn that hotdog chili graced the back of my shirt and made me look like a street dweller!

This sort of thing can happen to us in our Spiritual lives as well. If we are not watchful, we can think we are pure when we are not. Let's look at what it means to be pure in heart - at what it means to be watchful in regard to the condition of our hearts.

I. The Happy Life of the Pure in Heart

To see God in this life has a completely different meaning than that of seeing God one day in Heaven. This passage indicates that God manifests Himself to those who are pure in heart in the here and now! He reveals Himself to those who qualify through being pure in heart.

We have already learned that the word "blessed" means "happy," or "filled with joy." Jesus said that those with a pure heart will be blessed with a more personal view and experience with God. Do you long for a happier life? Do you wish for more joy in your daily experience? Do you sometimes wonder why God does not seem “real” to you? Have you felt lately that you are not as close to God as you once were?

I am sure some of us can answer in the affirmative. Then we need to know just what Jesus meant by being pure in heart.

Nothing in this world remains pure without care. Our cars get dirty just rolling down the highway and they require being washed. But, have you ever gotten into a car when the owner had to throw seven or eight items into the backseat in order for you to sit down? I have. I got into a car recently to ride with a person and he had to dump stuff in the back seat to clear a place in the front for me to seat down. Rubbish just happens, doesn't it? To keep it out, we have to be watchful.

When it comes to the heart, this is even more important. The heart can become clogged with the stuff of life. I am not talking about the junk that builds up in our arteries when we eat the wrong food. I am speaking of bad attitudes, sinful desires, hateful thoughts, evil lusts, and a number of other unclean things can trash the heart. It is no wonder that this generation is taking more mood altering drugs than any other in history. Our hearts are not clean and we are depressed and unhappy. Trying to change the heart without doing it the right way is like putting on blinders rather than cleaning out your car. Nothing really changes and things just get worse.

You hear a lot today about dysfunctional families. Hey, face it, dysfunctional families come from dysfunctional people. We will never function as we should unless our hearts are functioning as they should.

Blessed ... Happy ... filled with gladness are those who are pure in heart.

II. The Honest Life of the Pure in Heart

In order to have a pure heart we must be honest with ourselves and with others. We cannot lie to ourselves and expect to have a pure heart. Perhaps you have seen the program on television that addresses clutter in the home. I have only seen it in passing - in fact, I think Jayne asked me to take a look at it one day when she was encouraging neatness in our home. On this program a person who is an expert in home neatness goes to a home that looks like a tornado just hit it and tells the owners how to clean things up. What I found interesting when I watched this program was the attitude of the homeowners. The expert asked, "How do you think your home décor looks?" The homeowner replied, "I think it is pretty nice." What? I almost fainted at the answer. Either this person needs an eye examine or a good psychologist. There was junk everywhere in that home. Clothes were thrown all over the place and the closets looked like they had suffered hurricane damage. Stacks of papers, books, magazines and other stuff was piled up everywhere. The expert said, "Well, to me it looks like a pig sty." Whoa! I thought a fist fight would break out right there on television. But all went well and soon the expert had the home looking like Southern Living magazine.

Now, come on, be honest. Just how neat is your heart today? Is there a need to clean out some things that God doesn't want there? Most of us, if we are honest, will admit that we need a heart makeover! We can't have a pure heart without an honest evaluation of our condition. If God was the inspector of our hearts today, what would He say? What you or I say about the condition of our hearts doesn't really matter. We need to call in the expert - the Lord is the only expert on the condition your heart and mine. That is what really matters in regard to this issue.

We can even have some things in our hearts that are subtle but nevertheless unholy. Take pride as an example. Let me give you an example of an honest heart. 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 had the potential to muddy the heart of Bunyan and he knew it.

What I am saying is simple; we must be honest with God about our hearts and the clutter that has accumulated there.

III. The Hidden Life of the Pure in Heart

Note, thirdly, that this purity is in a hidden place. Look, if you will, at Matthew 6:1-6. Jesus is pointing 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 you were certain that no one would ever find out about it. This speaks of the hidden life of purity.

God's call is always to heart purity. Look at 1 Samuel 16:7, "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Aha! God is not really checking out the condition of our clothes in church this morning, not even some chili on the back of your shirt, but He is examining the nature of our hearts.

You see, it doesn't matter what we look like on the outside if the inside is dirty. We can wash our bodies with the most expensive soap and dress ourselves in designer clothes, but if our hearts are impure we appear to God like someone living in a cardboard box on Spring Street in downtown Atlanta. In fact, the person in the cardboard box may be more pure in God's sight than you or I! What is not seen is just as important, and many times more important, than what is seen.

How many times have you learned that someone you deeply respected did some appalling? Sure, we have - it happens all  the time. This occurs because almost all of us have some things hidden in our hearts that should not be there. These secret things may not be visible to others, but they are visible to the Lord. God has declared that the hidden things will be revealed. Isn't it better If I reveal those things to God willingly, rather than waiting for Him to do it publicly? God calls on us to get things right with Him - to have a spring cleaning of the heart - and that can take place at any season of the year!

IV. The Holy Life of the Pure in Heart

The word Pure comes from a Greek word meaning catharsis - which means to cleanse or purify. This purity does not mean that our hearts can be totally free of impurity, but it does mean that our hearts need regular or frequent cleansing. Furthermore, we must keep a watch on our hearts steadfastly in order to avoid cluttering them with things that are unacceptable to the Lord.

We must not allow impurity to reside where God has said it is not allowed. A United States House panel heard testimony that truckers sometimes 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. They are paid to transport something that cannot be damaged. At the same hearings, a Penn State University food science professor likened the problem to serving potato salad from your cat's litter box. Would you want your food delivered in trucks that hauled garbage?

No! Well, God doesn't want His Spirit hauled around in hearts filled with garbage either! When God tells us to be holy, He is speaking of continual cleaning up the unholy places.

In Psalm 51:6-10 we read, "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

There it is! We need to bring our hearts to the Lord and ask Him to cleanse us. Only then can we have a "pure heart" as David prayed for in this passage.

God can give us a pure heart even though a pure heart is not automatically present within us. The idea of a pure heart has at its foundation the concept of being cleansed and forgiven by the Lord from that which is impure. Paul points this out in 2 Corinthians 7:1, "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for 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, "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double- minded." Purifying ourselves means to have a single-mindedness about serving God. It means to be all out for Christ. It means to be committed to him without mixture of inward desire for the world!

Conclusion

Today, we are going to receive the Lord's Supper. Let's purify our hearts before we take the bread and cup of the Lord! Then, let's make a commitment to keep a watch on our hearts so we can SEE GOD!

There are some people here today who need a new heart. That is what God promises those who have never received Jesus as Lord and Savior. What a miracle - a spiritual heart transplant! If you will turn from sin and accept Christ today, He will forgive you, save you and give you a new heart. Just think of how clean you will feel inside if you simply bring your old, sinful life and turn it over to Christ who died for you at Calvary! Come to Him now.