“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

When referring to the heart of a person we are not talking about that organ which pumps blood throughout the body but the center of one’s being. The core of our thoughts which our deeds spring forth from. As Jesus spoke in the gospel of Matthew that what comes out of a man is born from that which is at the center of a man’s being. “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” (Matthew 15:11) Our words and deeds are a reflection of the core beliefs of our heart.

With that said the heart is the throne of our spirit. Our defiled spirit that is taunted by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life from which all sinful nature is born. (1 John 2:16) It is the heart that must be made pure if we are to live a life in righteousness. This is a daunting task to accomplish and I believe that it is also a never ending battle as long as we are subject to this world. The Pharisees who were the religious leaders of the day. The Pharisees who were well versed in the Scriptures. The Pharisees who practiced their piety before men were not able to keep the Law of Moses. But then I don’t think the Pharisees came to realize that it is the spirit of a man that God wishes to possess for the spirit was given to man by the breath of God.(Genesis 2:7) The Pharisees did not see life as a spiritual journey but a physical adventure.

Therefore the Pharisees were more concerned with the outward appearances than what was truly lived in the heart. They prided themselves before men rather than living humbly before God. It was all about appearance than about what is truth of the heart. They created many more laws that they could easily obey rather than the Law of Moses that was impossible to keep. They were quick to criticize those who did not keep each iota of the laws they had created. It was the Pharisees that pointed to Jesus that His disciples were in violation of the Jewish law. “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. “ (Matthew 15:2)

God is more concerned with the heart of a man, the core inner being and the throne of the spirit. “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10) And the Prophet Jeremiah goes on to say that what God sees in the heart of men is a heart that is perverted in thought and is lacking of understanding of the truths of God’s Kingdom. Even man himself is deceived by his own heart. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “ (Jeremiah 17:9) Before the fall in the Garden of Eden evil thoughts never enter into the heart of man. He had no knowledge of it as all he knew was what God had instructed. Man is not a robotic creature and has the gift of free will and fell to the temptation of the serpent that he too could be as God. Man ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and he fell to sin and now had to choose between the desires of the flesh and what is righteous and live in the spirit. The one who seeks the righteousness of Jesus Christ must ever be in examination of his deceitful heart. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. “ (Proverbs 4:23)

It is not a part time employment but a full time endeavor. For the evil one prowls to and fro seeking to destroy each and every one of God’s crown of creation. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10) I am not sure that this is something that a man can accomplish as it is a battle against powerful evil spiritual forces. We need the protection of our Savior, we need to remain grounded in the truth of His Word, and we need the blessing of His strength. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. “ (Psalms 51:10)

Even so the battle is far from over as the god of this world is relentless in his assaults against the saints of Christ. Satan knows that his time is short, he knows that he is defeated, and he knows that his only solace is to destroy the lives of God’s greatest affection. The Christian must remain diligent and ever be on guard. He must cloth himself in the armor that God has provided. (Ephesians 6:10-18) The evil spiritual forces do not attack the dead but only those living through their Lord Jesus Christ. We must remain in prayer, we must be talking to our Lord and Master that though Him we will be protected. “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. “ (Mark 14:38)

We have our comforter the Holy Spirit that convicts and guides us into all truth. Living in a pure heart is the work of the Holy Spirit. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13) It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we are renewed and the old self passes away and the new self comes to the front as we walk in the spirit by His filling. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Being filled by the Spirit is not like an empty glass being filled with water. But filled by the Spirit is as a sailboat on the open water. The Spirit comes and fills the sails and drives the boat to its harbor. The Christian allows the Holy Spirit to fill the sails of our being and drive us to our Heavenly Home. This puts us at odds with our sinful flesh and its evil desire. But we must allow the Holy Spirit to sit upon the throne of our life, and surrender to the Spirit that we may overcome the flesh and drive us to the safety of the harbor. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. “ (Galatians 5:17)

We have all seen the evidence of God in His creation. As we study the world around us we know that it was not a circumstance but an intricate plan that is far beyond the ability of man to create. Since the dawn of man’s arrival he has been studying the marvels of the universe and has not even begun to figure it out. Man has lost himself in the wonders of the heavens and knows not the mysteries that are there, man does not even know the bounds of the universes and cannot comprehend its distance. No man of intelligence can look at God’s creation and not be humbled by His power. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

We can see the evidence of God in the events of our life, the events of our nation, and the events of our world. We can see that no matter how confusing it may seem to us in the present moment as we look back we know that there was and had to be a plan to keep a universe created from nothing moving and living, holding together in perfect order, and being inexhaustible in its resource. There is a God Almighty and He is in control. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

In the measure of eternity we are here but an immeasurable amount of time. If we are not careful time will pass us by before we have done all that we can do in the service of our Lord. When that twinkling of a moment happens and we become absent from this corruptible body and stand before our God in His presence and give answer for all we have done in word and deed. It is our prayer always to trust His enduring mercy and the promises of His Word. That the hope we have clung to, the hope we have longed to realize, will at last be the complete truth now and evermore. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 14, 2016

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