Lesson 59—March 22, 2015
Raise the Shade and Let the Sonshine In
Scripture: Matthew 5:8
Lesson Goal: To understand the meaning of “pure heart.”
When I read today’s verse: “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God,” the first thought that comes to my mind and heart is of our own MHBC “Pure Hearts.” The Lord speaks into my spirit through the faces of some of my “Pure Hearts” friends. I see their purity, honesty and innocence. I see their loving trust and pure faith. I see their genuineness in worship and praise. I cannot fully understand, let alone explain, how the Lord allows us to see in their “pure hearts” the work of His hands and His love.
Throughout our lives, we are blessed with many people who teach us of life’s great truths and mysteries. Some of these teachers have stood before us in the classrooms of education; others have taught us by the grace of God as parents, friends, Life Focus teachers, coaches, and a multitude of others.
I have learned from some great and wonderful teachers through my fifty-eight years. I remember Mrs. Nita Carter, in second grade, Mr. Lelton Brown from the sciences of high school, Dr. Abdue Haddi from my college days, Doctors Curtis Vaughn and David Garland from my seminary days, and a host of pastors and Sunday school teachers, as well as grandparents and parents. I have learned great lessons from the teaching of my children, and now I am in the classroom of grand-parenting. And I am loving every minute of it!
Who are some teachers who have made a difference in your life?
Allow me to call your attention to some of our greatest teachers here at Mars Hill Baptist Church. To our amazement, these teachers do not stand before us to expound a Life Focus lesson or to share a Launching Out Discipleship lesson. They do not stand behind a pulpit or lecture in a classroom. The teachers I call your attention to are those who show and teach us the truths of a pure heart. Their smiles, hugs, laughter, and eyes become the very windows that we look through to see the pure love of God. They touch our hearts, our spirits and our very souls with their pure hearts.
If you want to know about “pure hearts,” get a hug from Daniel as he greets at the front door, hear the laughter and see the smile of Abigail as she praises Jesus, notice the joined hands of Steven and Buckshot as they walk down the hall together, check out Billy Redd as he and our children’s workers minister to our precious Nessa. These are but a few of God’s greatest teachers at MHBC. The thing that makes each of these a great teacher is not a PhD or a Masters of Education; it’s not academia or scholarship; it is the simple hallelujah truth of their pure hearts!
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”
The word “pure” is the Greek word katharoi meaning to have a clean heart, to be unsoiled, unpolluted. As Jesus spoke of the “pure heart,” He was emphasizing those qualities of honesty, sincerity, and integrity. He was speaking of devotion and love of God that leads to a moral uprightness.
“The pure in heart are those whose lives have been transformed by the grace of God. They are not yet sinless, but their position before God has been changed. They have the new birth and saving faith” (Hindman). The process of sanctification (not being sinless, but each day having a desire and action to sin less) is at work in their lives. William MacDonald, in the Believer’s Bible Commentary states: “[The goal of the pure-hearted person is] one whose thoughts are holy, whose conscience is clean.”
“Pure heart,” as Jesus made reference to, is simply a heart that is absent of filth or impurities.
Is there any filth in your heart today?
How can the filth of hearts be removed?
Ask yourself: For me to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ, how important is it that I rid my heart of filth?
Any distracting or corrupting influence a follower of Jesus allows into his/her heart makes that person less effective as a servant and witness for Jesus Christ.
Read Psalm 51:10a.
What is in your heart today that keeps you from having a pure heart?
How can your heart be made clean and pure?
“Blessed”—happy, at peace, state of wellbeing. Happy is the person with a pure heart.
“Heart” translates kardia from which we get our word cardiac and similar terms. The heart that Jesus speaks of is not the muscle that makes blood flow through the human body. “Heart” in the Scripture represents emotion and feeling, but so much more. It is the spiritual command and control center of mind and will, as well as emotion.
“In total contrast to the outward, superficial, and hypocritical religion of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said it is the inner man, in the core of his being, that God requires purity” (Mac Arthur).
Please read Proverbs 5:23. How does a person “Keep your heart with all diligence”?
How is purity of heart and prayer life related in the life of a true believer?
Please read 1 Samuel 16:7, and explain the meaning of this verse.
Do we spend more time concentrating on our outward appearance or the purity of our hearts?
What are some of the things we do to enhance or improve our outward appearance?
What are some things we do to have and maintain a “pure heart”?
Please read Psalm 119:1-11.
How can we live a life with a pure heart? John MacArthur offers four very practical helps:
We must realize that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s guidance and power. [Please read Proverbs 20:9 and Jeremiah 13:23.] We do not possess within our own power the strength to have and maintain a pure heart. A pure heart begins with a recognition of our own weakness and inadequacies. In the truth of our own weakness, we reach for the strength of God.
In your own weakness, will you humble yourself and reach for the strength of God?
What do you need the strength of God to help you with, in order to have a clean and pure heart?
Some of us may be thinking I don’t have any big moral shortcomings in my life today. I don’t view computer pornography. I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol. I’m not cheating on my spouse. I don’t use profanity.
So many of us have graded ourselves well, but let me ask you, “What about that bitterness that has been lingering in your heart for years? What about your spirit of pride and selfishness that will not allow you even the idea of forgiving that person who wronged you? What about the gossip and “chats” you enjoy so much and excuse as okay, although not honoring in your life? How about the times you slander or assassinate the reputation of someone with your social buddies, as you drink coffee or sip tea? How many times have you let jealousy rise up in your heart which then led you to think ungodly thoughts or speak unkind words toward someone? How many times have you judged others with a self-righteous, hypocritical pharisaical spirit?
MacArthur continues his practical helps:
We must stay in God’s Word. It is impossible to stay in God’s will apart from His Word. [Please read John 15:3.]
It is essential to be controlled by walking in the Spirit of God. [Please read Galatians 5:16.]
We must pray. A pure heart and a constant consistent prayer life go hand in hand. [Please read Ephesians 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17.]
The Blessing that Awaits the “Pure in Heart”
When we are saved, our new spiritual eyes are opened. Those with pure hearts begin to see the glory of God again and again. Please read Job 42:5.
The cleansing of the heart, purity of the heart, cleanses the eyes of the soul so that God becomes visible to us through the everyday journey of life.
For the follower of Jesus Christ, the impure or dirty heart is like trying to see sunshine through a pulled window shade. In order to see the Sonshine, the shade must be lifted. The filth of the heart can, and will, keep you from seeing God.