Michael Youssef - Happiness is in You - Part 6
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". I want you to know, right at the outset, this sixth beatitude caused me an enormous heartache as a young Christian. It really did, because I took pure in heart to mean sinlessness. I don't need to disclose to you all the levels of torment that this wrong understanding created in me. I've reached a point of despair. So, what does purity of heart and seeing God, what is that all about? Turn with me, if you haven't already, Matthew chapter 5, verse 8. We doing one verse at a time. "Blessed, happy, joyous", in Greek, makarios, "are all who are pure in heart, for they shall see God".
In reality, let me confess to you up front, this sixth beatitude actually encompasses the entire Bible from Genesis to maps. This one beatitude, in reality, this one step is as vast as the Bible itself is vast. This sixth beatitude is what the Christian faith is all about, but the first thing I need to tell you about the purity of heart, the fact is it does not mean sinlessness. Purity in heart does not mean sinlessness, as I have misunderstood it. And I'm going to tell you why in a minute, I'm gonna explain it to you from the Scripture, not my opinion, because it doesn't mean anything. In fact, this misunderstanding, meaning that purity of heart means sinlessness, really created what is known as the monastic movement.
You know the term monastery, that's what the monastic movement comes from. This beatitude created that movement, created the building of monastery and nunnery all over the world. It began by an Egyptian, believe it or not. Simply put, these people thought that if they go into a remote place away from the world, they will live pure in heart, they will not experience sin. But as we know from the great monk, the reformer Martin Luther, that did not work and never worked. Escaping the world will not make you pure in heart, and before I tell you why purity in heart does not mean sinlessness, I need to give you a biblical definition of the heart.
When the Bible speaks about the heart, it does not speak about that vital organ on your left side of your chest that is pumping blood all over your body. For if you read the Scripture very carefully, you're gonna find that the word "heart" is used in a variety of ways. In John chapter 14, you remember Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled," meaning that the heart is the center of the emotions. In Mark chapter 2, verse 8, Jesus asked the Pharisees, "Why do you question thus in your hearts"? Indicating that the heart is the center of the intellect. In Daniel chapter 1, verse 8, it says, "Daniel purposed in his heart," which tells us that the heart is the seat of the will and the decision making process.
So, when the Bible speaks about the heart, it means that the heart is the master control switch of you and me. It means that the heart is the command center of all of our life, that the heart is the totality of your being and my being, that the heart is all inclusive, soul, spirit, mind, and body, and that is why Proverbs 4:23 says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the spring of life". And that is why David could pray his famous confession in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me". Jeremiah said in 17:9 and 10, he says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it"?
Jesus in Matthew 15:19 said, "For out of the heart," that is from that master control hub, from that command center comes all sorts of "evil thoughts and murders and adulteries and fornication and theft and false witness, slanders, and all things that defile the person," not from the outside, but from the inside. The religious leaders of Jesus's day, they were so meticulous on cleaning of the outside, but they left the inside in a total mess. They were masters, these religious folks were masters in making sure that they observed the rituals to the minutest details, but inwardly they were filled with all sorts of junk.
Now that you know what the heart is all about, now that you understand what the Bible means by the heart, I can talk about purity. The Greek word that is used here for purity of heart, katharsis, from which we get the word "catharsis" which means to cleanse or to empty or to make pure. When psychologists use this word, they mean, on an emotional level anyway, that a person needs cleansing from destructive attitudes. But also the Bible gives us a second meaning for that word "catharsis". It means unmixed, it means unadulterated. In Acts 15:9 it tells us that there is a spiritual catharsis that cleanses the heart.
In 1 John chapter 1, verse 7, it tells us that Jesus cleanses us from all sins. And so, what is this catharsis, what is that cleansing is all about? When this cleansing or when this purity takes place, we will have purity of motive, we will have purity of purpose, we will have purity, we will have undivided minds, we will have spiritual integrity. It means living by God's standards, not the world's system. Not like as some people do, they think they live by God's standard on Sunday, but then for the rest of the week, they can work, they can live by the world's standards, by the world's system. The Bible is saying that purity of heart is the exact opposite of duplicity. Purity of heart is the exact opposite of double-mindedness. Purity of heart is the exact opposite of double-talk. That purity of heart is the exact opposite of pragmatism. That purity of heart is the exact opposite of a divided heart. It means it's all encompassing.
Listen to me, compromise in politics is a good thing, but not when it comes to the truth of the Word of God, and my beloved friends, that's what we most desperately need for ourselves and to pass on to the next generation. Another word for purity is integrity or united, everything inside of you is united together in heart, soul, and body, that all of your personality is integrated. Having a single purpose, not going all over the map, dogged determination to place God all of the time at the forefront. That is why purity of heart is not sinlessness, it's not sinlessness, why? Because Jesus himself taught us in the Lord's prayer, he said, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who would sin against us".
The Apostle John in 1 John 1:8 and 9, he said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we," what? "Confess, if we confess," that is catharsis. "If we confess and are cleansed, he forgives us all of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness". Purity of heart is like the person, and I know this experientially, trust me, that he cannot eat, cannot sleep, cannot minister, cannot do anything if he or she has an unconfessed sin, that's what purity of heart means. And that is why James, the brother of Jesus, in chapter 4, verse 8, he said, "Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts, you double-minded". Uh oh, so purity of heart is the opposite of being double-minded. Double-mindedness is the antithesis of purity of heart.
A life of compromise with sin or rationalizing of sin is the opposite of purity in heart. But there's something else about purity of heart I need to tell you, you need to know, and that is, purity of heart is a whole lot more than sincerity, are you with me? There's some people who are very sincere, but they're sincerely wrong, and that is why head Christianity only, head Christianity only will not produce purity of heart. Hand Christianity will not produce purity of heart. I'm talking about hand Christianity only. Only the totality of our being, it is so integrated, which the Bible calls purity of heart. When you're totally united in loving and giving and serving, purity of heart is created.
Just in case someone does not still understand what integrity's all about, let me explain it this way. The people on radioland are gonna have a hard time with this, but you can see it, okay? Here is what you profess to believe with your words, you profess to believe. Imagine my hand with all five fingers, this is what you profess. The other hand is how you live, is how you behave, is how you conduct business, is how you do things, and when the two are integrated, they will lock hands just like that. That's what integrity is, it's the integration of what you claim to believe with how you live, completely integrated, heart, soul, body, mind, all integrated. Like a hand in a glove, a hand in the glove is very integrated with the glove, or like a spoke in a wheel, it's highly integrated with the hub. "Blessed, happy are the pure of heart".
Now, he is not talking about primal purity. You know primal purity only exists in the godhead, Father, Son, and Holy... in the Trinity. Primal purity only exists in the godhead, but he is talking about both positional purity and daily purity. I need to explain that. Positional purity and daily purity, positional purity is what every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ receives when he or she becomes born again. God gives us that gift. Positionally, from that moment that you give your life to Christ, God the Father looks at you through the prism of the Lord Jesus Christ, his merits, his righteousness, and therefore he sees you perfectly righteous, without blemish. This purity of heart is the gift of God. You cannot earn it, you cannot buy it. Without that purity of heart, no one is going to heaven.
There are some who would say, once you're saved, you become pure in heart, God sees you as perfect, you can live like the devil. No, no, I'm not teaching that at all, trust me, because there is another purity of heart, and it's the daily, the daily catharsis, the daily cleansing, the daily purifying. This daily purity depends on our cooperating with God 100%. Paul puts it this way, 2 Corinthians 7:1, "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves" or keep on purifying ourselves "from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness," why? Out of reverence for God. I am so overwhelmed by his gift and his salvation, eternally saved, that I will purify myself, cleanse myself on a daily basis, confess on a daily basis out of reverence for God.
Listen to how Peter put it in 1 Peter 1:14, "As obedient children, do not conform to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you continuously," here it is again, "continuously," it's a daily cleansing, "Be holy yourselves, also in your behavior". Positional purity and daily purity must go together. "Blessed, happy, makarios are the pure in heart, for they shall see God".
Question, how are the pure in heart see God? In five different ways. First of all, we see him through the eyes of faith, not through sight. Only faith will enable you to see God, and of course, we're gonna see him as he is, not through just faith, but in real, with our own eyes. Secondly, the pure in heart will see God in his magnificent creation. The psalmist said, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows his handiwork". This world, messed up as it is, still God's creation. This world still his handiwork, his signature is everywhere you look, his fingerprints are all over the galaxies, his footprints are all over the oceans and the rivers and the mountains and the sunrise.
There's a third way for the believer, the pure in heart see God, and that is in all circumstances. Can you say, all? All circumstances. "Michael, you mean to tell me I can see God when I'm experiencing inexplicable circumstances"? Yeah. "When I'm in pain"? Yeah. "When I'm in situation which is so unjust and unfair"? Yeah. God, I don't understand what I'm going through, but I can see your hand guiding me, because I believe that in all things, God cooperates them together for the good and for his glory.
There's a fourth way for the pure in heart to see God, and that's in his Word. That is why I emphasize to you over and over and over and over again, do not neglect the Word of God. In all the events, he is in control of history. In everything, he's shaping history for his purpose, and we see above all in his Word that he always, always, always, always keeps his promises. He promised Abraham his children will inherit the Promised Land, 400 years later they did. He promised Daniel that the Messiah will come, 400 years later he showed up. He gave Isaiah a promise of the birth of Jesus and all the details of his life and the death and the resurrection, 700 years later he did.
Fifthly, the pure in heart will see God in the person of his Son, Jesus, our beloved Jesus. You know, in the Old Testament, people could not see God and live. Moses wanted to, he said, "Show me your glory," but when God showed up, he hid him in a cave, he couldn't look. Well, we can look at Jesus and see the glory of the Father and see the person of the Father, because he revealed himself fully only in Jesus Christ. Not in religion, not in religious systems, not in denominations, not in all the religion stuff, no, no, only in Jesus. And not only that we see him in Jesus, but we're gonna see Jesus. For all of eternity, we'll be spending time with Jesus.
Let me ask you a question. As I conclude, please, please focus with me. Are you able to see God? Are you able to see God? In the midst of life's difficulties and challenges and pain, are you able to see God? Are you able to see God in the times of pain and suffering and grief? If not, why not? Why not, could it be that your life is not integrated in obedience of him? Could it be that your life is not united in a fear of the Lord? Could it be that your life is not moving in a direction and in one direction, but in too many directions at the same time? Here's the good news, always leave you with good news, always leave you with good news. The Holy Spirit of God can transform us today. The Holy Spirit of God can unite our entire being. The Holy Spirit of God can purify and integrate our heart, our minds, our head, our hands, all together moving in one direction.