Session #031 Heart Issues
Scripture Matthew 5:8
Summary Brace yourself for a detailed study of the hard issues that affect the condition of all our hearts. Consider the plight but also be encouraged by the promise declared in Matt 5:8, that those with pure hearts shall see God. In this teaching, Henson makes effort to define words and concepts that are familiar but often misunderstood. Get ready to be challenged!
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
In the preface to his book Say To Archippus which details the heartbeat of Archippus Awakening, Henson wrote: “What I want is your heart. I am after your heart…I want to know the real person”.
The hard issues that our broken world faces are primarily heart issues. In this teaching, the issues of the heart that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5:8 will be examined, taking a closer look at its condition, examining the heart of the matter that is of great importance and significance, and delving into the great blessing of seeing God.
The Heart of the Matter
In Matthew 5:8, Jesus was not introducing anything new but was addressing the right understanding of kingdom subjects on how they relate to and approach God. Through the requirements of the law, the people had become very good with ceremonial purification and external morality. They saw these as fulfilling what was required but missed the “heart” of the matter. Jesus had very strong words against the Scribes and Pharisees, telling them that they are” full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:25-28). In Matthew 15:1-20, the Pharisees were called blind leaders and leading others into ditches, Jesus revealed that the true source of evil is the heart.
What is The Heart?
Before examining the issue of the purity of the heart, we need to understand “what is the heart?” The heart is not just about emotions and feelings but a lot more. In Hebrew, the word ‘heart’ (leb or lebab) refers to the inner self, belly, kidney, intestines; while in Greek, it (kardia) refers to the seat of the centre of life. Therefore, the heart encompasses the mind, the will, conscience, emotions, desires and feelings. It includes your convictions, values and belief systems too.
Simply put, the heart is who you are, the real you, everything you stand for. Scripture advises us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
What is the blessing for the pure-hearted? Jesus did not say that they are blessed so that they will make the right decisions, get the best job or make a difference in their communities. He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This is an awesome promise and should be our focus and goal that we may truly desire to be those who are pure in heart.
What does it mean to see God since God is invisible? The following discusses aspects of ‘seeing’ God.
Presence and Rest
When we want to see someone, it is not merely seeing the person from a distance, but to be in his presence. Therefore, to see God is to enter into God’s presence. For example, after the 9th plague, Pharaoh told Moses that he would “see my face no more.” What he meant was that Moses would not be granted access into His presence anymore.
Furthermore, when we are in God’s presence, there is relief and rest because we know He has all things under control. God told Moses in Exodus 33:14: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Glory and Greatness
A second aspect of ‘seeing’ God is encountering His glory and greatness. When we come into the presence of God, we see His glory and greatness that leaves us with a sense of awe. We are overwhelmed not only by His righteousness but by His love, grace and mercy and we tremble and weep because we realize we are undeserving of it. This sense of awe and reverence is the fear of the Lord. Job refers to this in Job 42:5-6 “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Comfort and Help
A third aspect of ‘seeing’ God is for comfort and help. When we see a doctor, we seek him for help. When Esther and Nehemiah appealed to the king, they went to a higher authority to ask for help. For us, that is what prayer and petitions are all about. When we see God, we experience His grace and mercy for He listens to our prayer and acts on our behalf. He comforts and helps us. David wrote in Psalm 27:7-9 that ‘When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” … You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.’
Perception and Understanding
The final aspect of ‘seeing’ God is perception and understanding. The word “see” does not only refer to physical sight but also perception and understanding. In Judges 6:22 where ‘Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God. For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”’ Gideon did not just see the Lord but have an understanding of what that vision was.
Sometimes we can see but not see. We do not have a depth of perception as our hearts can be dull and hardened. Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 13:14-15. God reveals Himself to us through creation, His Word, and our experiences. Sometimes, we can miss all these and say we cannot ‘see’ God. The issue here is the condition of our hearts.
Who Can Have This Blessedness of Seeing God?
What does ‘pure’ mean? Pure means clean, unalloyed, unadulterated. A pure heart is one not corrupted, not made impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior element such as evil thoughts, deviant philosophies, and alternative doctrines, etc. A person with a pure heart is one who is sincere, upright, has integrity, and is holy.
There are four indicators of a pure heart, where it is not idolatrous – worshipping only the one true God (Psalm 24:3-6). It is not deceitful – saying one thing and meaning something else; claiming to worship God but not meaning it (Psalm 24:3-6). It is not double-minded – single-minded, unmixed, and untainted worship and devotion to God (Psalm 24:3-6, James 4:7-10). It is not morally fragmented – wholly set apart to God (Hebrew 12:14).
But Who Can Be Pure in Heart?
No one can say ‘I have made my heart clean’ (Proverbs 20:9) for the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). The first and last mention of ‘heart’ in the Bible, in Genesis 6:5 and Revelations 18:4-8, is about the evil and rebellious heart against God.
We cannot purify our own hearts. Religious and sacrificial systems cannot purify our hearts. We need a new birth to have a new heart (Psalm 51:10, Ezekiel 36:26). Only God can do it through Jesus. Our hearts are to be Purified by the Blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:21-22), Purified by Faith (Acts 15:8-9); and Purified by God according to His grace (Titus 2:11-14).
Through Jesus, we get to see God. We have Access into His presence, behold Him with Awe, and we have the Assurance of His mercy and we begin to have Awareness to know Him more and more (Hebrews 10:19-22).
What Do We Do With a Pure Heart?
When you have a pure heart, wholly devoted to God, you begin to have an awareness of who God is, what He stands for and requires. What follows is a life of love, righteousness, and holiness and out of that, good works (Titus 2:14).
Archippus Awakening is to be Awakened when you get into His presence and a relationship with Him. To be Aligned to God and His kingdom. To be Assigned for good works.
Good works involve our relationship with people. Your good works will include dealing with issues of the heart as given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Anger in the heart leads to murder; greed and worry in the heart lead to covetousness and worship of Mammon; unforgiveness in the heart refuses to love and forgive enemies; pride in the heart aims to show off what we do and how we pray and fast.
It’s Not Over Yet. There’s More.
You have been purified by God but you must purify yourself (1John 3:2-3). The more we see God, the more we want to be like Him. And the more we desire this, the more we desire to remain pure, as He is pure. We do that by Abiding in Him. Remaining in Him, remaining Awakened, Aligned, Assigned.
This is the true test of one who is saved and purified by the Lord. Our lives may not be completely sinless but if we have truly been saved and have seen and known God, we will sin less. (1 John 3:6). We purify ourselves through confession of our sins and repentance (1 John 1:9). We are able to endure trials and challenges, knowing that it purifies and refines us, like gold and silver. We consider these as joy knowing that these test and train us towards wholehearted and single-minded worship and devotion to the Lord. There is no place for the double-minded man who mixes worldly methods and practices in the name of pragmatism (James 1:2-8).
What is the condition of your heart? Remember the promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” God is interested in the real you. In Christ, we already have a new heart, purified by His blood, by faith, according to grace. We have a part still to purify ourselves as we remain in Him, looking to the hope of seeing Him fully when we meet Him face to face.