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May 27, 2012 | Joshua Claycamp

Matthew 5:8 UNITE US: Striving for Purity of Heart

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

A Divided Heart

“Unite us! Unite us!” As he stared back into the face of God, I imagine that Adam had confusion. There was obviously regret, there was heartache, and remorse. What was happening was probably not what he expected to happen. Having sinned against God, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. And the Scriptures record in Genesis 3 that they sewed together a garment made out of fig leaves. In other words, they saw themselves for who they were. And they did not like what they saw.

It’s not simply about nakedness. Now at a very surface level reading of this passage, when you read this you may conclude that they simply did not enjoy running around naked, so this is why they sewed fig leaves. But there is a spiritual depth and significance to the act of sewing fig leaves together that goes far beyond the simple desire not to be naked.

Here is what is happening. God sees us for who we are. We long for something that God forbids us to have, and we don’t like what we have become. And we want to control the presentation of ourselves to the Father. We want to be in control of the outward, external perspective. We want you to see us the way that we want you to see us, even though on the inside, deep down in our heart we long for something totally different. What we long for and what we desired, the rebellion and the sin in our heart, we don’t want you to see that. So on the inside there is a longing and a craving for something that is fundamentally wrong, but on the outside there is still the need to present a false mirage, a false image of who you are.

God’s punishment for Adam and Eve is to drive them from the Garden of Eden and to keep them away from the Tree of Life in order that they might not be permanently fixed in this horrible state of division. What has happened in Adam and Eve’s heart is that they are hypocrites. They want to be seen one way on the outside while being something totally different on the inside.

Adam is looking back into the face of God as God is driving Adam from His presence, and I imagine the fractures run deep in Adam’s heart, and Adam is sensing it for the first time. No longer do I have a simple, singular desire to be with God. Now I am conflicted. I am confused. I want opposite and contradictory things. My heart is split. God is making Adam and Eve skins, animal clothing. But I am sure the question in Adam’s mind is, “Why are you not going to unite my heart?”

This is the chief problem of all that is wrong with us. Our hearts are divided. It’s not simply a matter of not knowing what we want. It’s more a dilemma of both having our cake and eating it, too. I want things that are in complete and total opposition to each other.

The Wisdom of the Sages of Old

Now the sages of old saw this, and they understood this. They counseled against it. In Proverbs 4:23, the Sages of old, under the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit, made this statement:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

 (Proverbs 4:23, ESV)


The imagery here is that of a “spring.”This is the place you go to when you need water. It is the fundamental basic building block of all life. Fresh water is exactly the thing needed to sustain life. The springs of pure drinking water can be understood as the equivalent to the Springs of Life. The Sages of Old are suggesting that springs of life, or the passions that sustain and drive life forward, flow from a person’s heart. In other words the energy, the passions and the resources that drive our lives flow from within our own heart. The Sages of Old are making a reference to the motivations that drive our lives.

The Sages’ counsel was to “guard your heart.” They are speaking to tending your heart and keeping a watch on it. Now the fact that they are even offering this counsel is that they clued in to one undeniable truth: our hearts are prone to want contradictory things.

Our hearts are like a garden. A garden needs to be tended. Despite all the beautiful flowers and ornamental trees that you may find in your garden, every gardener knows that weeds will always surface. Even though we may like the landscape, and we like how the garden looks, weeds lurk just beneath the surface. The heart described by the wise men of old is the same way: we want things that are noble; we want things that are pure; we want things that are true; we want things that are good and righteous. But there will still be, at times, within our hearts, conflicting and opposite desires which will spring up like weeds from time to time.

So their counsel and advice was the same as any decent gardener might give to us: “Pay attention! Look after your heart! Make sure you’re looking and seeing what is growing there! And tend to it.” And it also says, “Keep it with all vigilance.” It is the same as a guy standing on a wall at night and looking for danger that might come against a city. To watch our hearts is to be like a watchman guarding his castle. They are telling us to make sure that we are watching the motivations that are driving us forward, and to keep an eye on the passions that are driving us from one extreme to the next, and to keep it focused because the whole life, and everything that you are, stems from the heart.


Our Motivations

This makes a lot of sense when you stop to consider it. None of us ever does anything that we don’t really want to do. You might say to me, “No, that’s not true. I’ve done things at times that I didn’t want to do.” But if you think about it, anything that you might have done without wanting to do it, you actually may have done it as a means to some further end. In other words, we have all done things –some good and some bad – as a means to some further end that we desired. All of the behavior of life is driven by a motivation to achieve some end that we want. We do what we want to do.

In everything we do, even those things in which we find no pleasure, we do them as a means to an end. Now here is the grand problem with so much religion: we look at God as a means to some other end. That is not a pure heart. That is not a pure joy, a pure spirit for God. Now what we need here today, Bridge Baptist Church, is a pure heart.

What a Pure Heart is NOT!

Let me show you from the Scriptures a couple of things of which a pure heart does not consist.

The counsel to guard our hearts was not only the advice of the Sages of Old. It was also the advice of the Old Testament Prophets:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)

Now the Pharisees were guilty of the worst kinds of self-deception. They perpetually were deceived by conflicting and hypocritical desires.  Look with me in Matthew 23:27. Jesus makes the following statement to the religious hypocrites. These are the people who are using God as a means to some further end. In other words, their heart is not steadfastly committed to pursuing and seeking God. It’s not really God that they want. It’s the prestige and status of their position which drives them. God is just a means to some greater end. God is the tool that they use to accomplish what their hearts desire. Jesus says to them,

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27, ESV)

The fundamental reason that Christ says to the Pharisees that they are hypocrites is because they don’t want God. They want the applause of man. On the outside they look really good. On the outside they appear to be worshipping God. On the inside, however, what they are is not worshipping God.

It is entirely possible for us to be in this room today worshipping God, and from all outward perspective and outward appearances our worship may look good. But the question that I want to ask you is this: Is our heart in the right place?

Jesus makes an additional statement to this effect in Matthew 15:18,

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:18–19, ESV)

The Heart is at the Center of the Sermon on the Mount

We’re looking at the Sermon on the Mount. This is the Christian Manifesto. This is Christ’s statement of what the Christian life is all about, and all throughout, Jesus is not going to speak merely to the outward behavior. He is going to say, “You’ve heard that it was said ‘do this, this, and this and you’ll be just fine.’ But no. This is not completely accurate to understand these passages in this way. I say to you,” and then, in every instance, He is going to take you to the root of the issue. Christ is going to address the heart. So the heart is at the center of all that we’re doing. There is no way that you will ever fulfill the Sermon on the Mount, and no way that you will ever live up to all of these commands of righteousness that Christ makes in Matthew 5-7 if you do not look at the root of all your behavior. And the root of all your behavior is simply this: what do we want? What are the things that drive us? What are the passions that compel us?

Happy are the Pure in Heart

Now Jesus makes this statement in Matthew 5:9 –

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

Another way of understanding this phrase is to hear Jesus saying to us that we are happy if we are pure in our heart. There is happiness from a purity of heart. The people who tend their heart, the people who realize that their heart can be deceptive at times and pay careful attention to it and tend to their heart the way that a gardener would tend to his garden, are the ones who are happy.

This word “blessed” comes from the Greek word “μακάριος.” This word talks about the favor of joy and happiness that is given to you from God. In fact, this type of joy can only come from God. A lot of us pursue happiness. But where do we pursue this happiness? There is a happiness that only God can provide, and that is the happiness that Jesus is talking about here. There is a deep seated joy that is given to people who are pure in heart. And with this statement comes a promise: “They, the ones who are pure in heart, are the ones who shall see God!”

Picking Apart the Text

Jesus’ teaching here in the Beatitudes is not like what you find in the book of Proverbs. This is not a series of loosely-connected, random statements. There is a logical order to what Christ is saying.

Look at verse 3. Now I want to show this to you because this is crucial. You have to take the whole of the beatitudes as one unit. All of them apply. And if you fail to apply any one of them to your life then you might as well have failed to apply any of them. You might as well take all of them and throw them all out the window if you do not accept any one of them. You’ll understand what I mean if you will follow me through the following analysis.

The Verb Tenses of the Beatitudes

 In verse 3 it says,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matthew 5:3, ESV)

Jesus begins with talking about being a spiritual beggar. He promises that those people who are spiritual beggars, (this is in the present tense meaning that they receive the promise immediately) already have the Kingdom of Heaven. The verb tense in the Greek is important.  In this moment, right here and right now, they are given the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now look at verse 10, the last beatitude. He says,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10, ESV)

Again Jesus uses the present tense verb when he promises those who are persecuted that they inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. If you are paying attention, you will notice that none of the other beatitudes have promises that occur in the present tense of the verb. They all use a future tense verb.

For example, look at verse 4. Jesus says,

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, ESV)

Jesus uses the future tense when He gives the promise in this verse. And this goes on throughout the beatitudes.

We notice that the beatitudes consist of mostly future promises that are sandwiched between two bookended statements which occur in the present tense. The first beatitude and the last beatitude, number one and number eight, have present tense, immediate results.  This means that all of them go together because they are flanked on both sides by different verb tenses. This is not coincidental. Jesus is doing this to make a point.


The Parallels

There is also a repetition and parallelism to the beatitudes. This, more than anything else, highly suggests an order and coherence to what Christ is teaching. Look with me at verse 6:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6, ESV)

This verse talks about righteousness. Notice that: righteousness. Again it is in the future tense, which we expect. Now flip to the last beatitude in verse 10:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10, ESV)

You will notice that verse 10 repeats what verse 6 mentioned. They both discuss the topic of righteousness. Beatitude Number 4 and Beatitude Number 8 on the front end of the clause both speak to righteousness. So Beatitude Number 8 restates Beatitude Number 4. It encapsulates and expands upon it. The last beatitude fulfills the idea of the fourth beatitude. This means that in some sense the last four beatitudes pick up the meaning of the first four beatitudes. They develop that idea and take that idea to its conclusion.

For example, look at beatitude number one in verse 3.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 (Matthew 5:3, ESV)

We saw from this already that we are all spiritual beggars before God. Those who sense and understand that everything that they have from God is a gift is blessed. Everything that we have is given to us from Him. We are all beggars before God. Now that’s beatitude number one. Now look at beatitude number 5. Jump down to verse 7.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, ESV)

Those who give mercy are blessed. Those who are willing to forgive and let things go are blessed. You can see that mercy is an expansion of poverty in Spirit. Rich people demand repayment, but people who understand that there is nothing to which they are entitled do not demand anything! So you can see how beatitude number five picks up on beatitude number one, expands upon it, and shows its fulfillment.

Mourning and Purity of Heart

So when we come to beatitude number 6 in verse 8, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” we must recognize that a correct understanding of this beatitude involves a consideration of its partner in verse 4, Beatitude Number 2.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, ESV)

When we previously considered this beatitude we saw that people who mourn are people who are mourning the true source and cause of all mourning. The true source and cause of all mourning is that we have driven God from our presence by our own behavior. It is our sin that resulted in our being driven from His presence. All of us in our lives experience heartache, pain, and suffering –but the blessing belongs to people who mourn the true source and cause of all mourning. The blessing belongs to people who grieve the true cause of all grieving, which is our sin. Our sin has caused God to withdraw Himself from us. We have, by our actions, have driven ourselves from the presence of God. And all of the heartache, pain, and sorrow in this world, every disease, sickness and death, every injustice, crime and every heinous sin – all of that has its roots in the original cause. This original cause is when we said no to God. That is what causes all of the pain in this world.

Now, the question before us is this: what is the opposite of mourning? And the answer is: joy!  Happiness! All of these beatitudes in a sense are talking about what it means to be happy and how to find happiness. They are all attempting to take us back to true happiness.

All of us want to be happy. We all do things to make ourselves happy. From the beginning of the Christian manifesto Jesus says to all of us: “This is how you find happiness.” This beatitude here, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” as the corollary to mourning, has special significance for finding joy and happiness.

Three Thoughts from the Psalms on Purity of Heart

Where does that come from Claycamp? Where do you get that last thought from? Good question. If you look for the phrase, “Pure in heart,” you will find that this phrase occurs most often in the Psalms. It is all over the Psalms. You take a good look at the Psalms. You just sit down and read the Psalms. When you read these things all the way through you will come to three inescapable conclusions.

  1. God demands your joy.
  2. Joy and Happiness comes from His presence.
  3. To enter into the presence of God requires that we have a pure a Heart.

Flip with me to Psalm 24.

“A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah”

(Psalm 24, ESV)

Who wants to see God?

David asks a rhetorical question in verse 3. He asks the question, “Who is going to enter into God’s presence?” David’s question is, “Who’s going to get to see God?” Before we go any further, let me pose that question to you. Do you want to see God?  Do you actually want to see God? Do you actually want to stand in the presence of God and see Him face to face? Now, pause for a moment and ask yourself that question seriously.

There is always the Christian knee-jerk reaction to state rather proudly, “Yes, I want to stand in the presence of God! Absolutely! Let’s go see God!” But stop and think about that for a second. How do you think you would fare in the presence of God? Now, I am asking this as a rhetorical question apart from the truth that all of our righteousness is in Jesus Christ. Obviously, in Christ all of us can stand in the presence of God, but let’s just set Christ aside for a second. How do you think you would fare standing in the presence of God without the righteousness of Christ? I think that I if I did not have Jesus in my life, I don’t think I would even want to go for Judgment Day. I would say, “You know what? Just send me straight to hell. Because I do not want to stand in your presence.”

The Psalmist says here, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” This is David writing, the Warrior King. The Scriptures say that David had a heart for God. He had a heart that was truly set upon God. And his question is, “Who is going to go see God? Who is going to stand on the hill? Who is going to go up? Who is going to stand face to face with God?”

Then he answers it. It’s a rhetorical question, and he answers his own question in verse 4. “He who has clean hands, and a pure heart.” This next phrase brings some clarification: “He who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.”

A United, Pure Heart

Who will unite us? Who is going to unite our heart? Because the chief problem with all of us, and the reason that none of us can stand in the presence of God is that none of us have a true heart that is completely and purely set on standing in the presence of God. Our hearts are divided, and none of us have a singular purpose to be with God. All of us in this room may have the knee-jerk reaction to say, “Oh yeah, I want to go and see God,” but all of us in this room also want to do a lot of other stuff that I know God would not approve of. There are a lot of things that I want to engage in which I know, if I looked at it, are not things that God would approve of. So the truth is I want to have my cake and eat it, too. I have conflicting desires in my heart. I want, on the outside, to present to the world and to God the deception. I do not want them to see what is truly on the inside. My heart is divided.

The person who ascends the Hill of the Lord, who goes up to see God, is the person who does not lift up his soul to what is false. The next thing that is says is “swearing deceitfully.” So not only do you worship on the inside that which is false, but with your mouth you make statements to others that misrepresent who you truly are. You are deceitful in your presentation. There is something that is going on inside of us that does not match up with what is happening on the outside. David’s statement is that person who sees God face to face is the person who has clean hands and a pure heart. In other words, he practices righteousness and his heart is united. There is a singular focus and singular purpose for all that he wants to do. He does not have, on the inside, contradictory desires. He does not seek to cover up false desires on the outside with deceptive speech. This is the person who will see God.

How do we get a pure heart?

If all of us in this room are willing to be brutally honest, then I think we would all admit that not always is God the number one thing that we want to see in our life. Look at the next verse:

He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

The Beatitude here, I think, is instructive. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And the question becomes, “How do we become pure in heart?” Here’s the answer to that riddle: the promise of this beatitude is also the cure to what defiles our hearts. The “pure hearted who are going to see God” gives us insight into the process of how we cure our fractured and divided heart.

Adam is using God’s creation as a means to some further end, namely he himself becoming like God. Adam’s joy and delight is not in God anymore.  He has shifted it. He has taken it from God and said, “I want something beyond God.” And the deception there is that there is nothing beyond God. The appropriate response would have been, “Why would I want to be more than God when God is everything?” That’s what Adam should have said. This means that if you want a pure heart, then this is where it has got to begin: a desire to see God. Furthermore, it must be that all of your joy, all of your passion and all of the motivations in your heart come from a desire to see God.

The Passions of our Heart will always elicit our Praise

Now some of you may know this about me. For those of you who’ve been around for awhile, you understand that I have a particular fondness for American NFL Football. And you know that there is a particular team that I root for on occasion that makes me happy. Now, I have seen lots of football games. I know how the game goes. I understand the process. When time runs off the clock, whoever has the most points wins. When the clock runs out and the time is all gone, the team with the most points on the board is the winner. Now if that’s what is going to go down, what would drive me to watch game after game, year after year? What is it about this sporting competition that elicits the passion of my heart and the praise of my mouth? What is it about this team?

Most of us are probably not into competitive sports. But those of us who are understand that competitive sports are about the athleticism and the skill. Not only do you want to be the strongest athlete on the field, you want to be the best athlete on the field. I believe in good sportsmanship. But when it comes right down to it, the object of the game is to beat the other guy. All that you are as a competitor, your athleticism and skill, is tested against the guy who opposes you on the field of competition. It’s not only about the athleticism and skill. Fundamentally, football is a game of wills. It is a competition of heart. Who wants it more? On any given Sunday, any team can beat any other given team regardless of the payroll, regardless of the roster, regardless of what kind of skill the team possesses. On any given Sunday anything can happen, and it all comes down to who is going to fight for it. Who is going to grind it out every single down, and who wants it more? This is the question that hides behind every athletic competition.

Why does a kid fall in love with something like that? Now the reason that kid falls in love with that is because it is an echo and a reflection of something eternal. It speaks to the competition, if you want to phrase it that way - because there really was no competition, that Christ wages for the souls of men. It is a contest of wills. He came to this earth as a man. He experienced temptation as a man and was subject to all the same frailties, all the same weaknesses, and all the same temptations as us. Everything that we are He became. And at the end of the day, it says in the book of Hebrews, that for the “Joy set before Him, He endured the scorn of the Cross.”

Let me repeat that again: for the Joy set before Him, He competed for our souls and He won! And I use that word, “competed” loosely because Jesus is such an amazing conqueror. As a Savior, really, the contest was never in doubt. But everything you find in competitive sports is an echo and a shadow of the eternal struggle between good versus evil. Behind every competition lies the question of whether or not the good guys will win. And it reflects the eternal struggle between God and the forces of darkness. Will Jesus be victorious?

Here’s the problem: those passions and desires, those virtues which we enjoy and delight in the nature of athletic sports should take us back to God. They should never be an end in and of themselves. To what end do I like football? To the end that it shows me more of the competition that my Father exhibits over me.

A pure heart is a heart that does not trade the shadows of this world for the substance of God.

I was at a birthday party yesterday, and I was talking with a fellow who says, “I would love to go to church, but I can’t stand all the bloody singing.” Those are his exact words: “I can’t stand all the bloody singing.”

What strikes me is that this individual loves hockey, and he has absolutely no qualms about cheering for his favorite hockey team. Those things you delight in and pursue with all your heart will always elicit worship. When you give your heart and passion and enthusiasm to something, when you’re going after something with all that you are you will praise it!

G.K. Chesterton made an amazing statement,

“Men don’t worship nothing. Men always worship something.”

All men worship something. If we’re going to be pure in heart, I will tell you what it looks like. A pure hearted person is a person who longs to see God face to face. That longing and that desire to see God is going to naturally reflect itself in a heart of worship. It is going to naturally reflect itself in grown men coming into this room, week after week, Sunday after Sunday, looking at the cross, thinking about what Jesus has done and thinking about all that He is for them, and out of gratitude, joy and delight -praising Him!

If you do not have a heart for worship then you do not have a pure heart. Which is why I look at the Psalms which is the Old Testament Hymn book, and out of all the books in the Bible, over and over again, Song after Song after Song that is written and recorded and meant to be sung to God out of a heart of praise – out of all these things that is where you find the most references to purity of heart!

To what end do we feel all of our emotion?

I want to back up here and put this in real terms that you can understand. When I have an emotion, I do not sit there and say to myself, “To what end do I feel this emotion?” For example, a couple of years ago my grandfather passed away. I was called and given the bad news. I was in the library studying. I was at seminary at the time. My father called me and said, “Josh, I got some bad news. Your grandfather has passed away and your grandmother would like for you to preach at his funeral.” At that moment, the weight of it impacted me. I forgot everything else that I was doing. I forgot about the research paper that I was working on for seminary. At that moment, the only thing that mattered and the only thing I can think about is how much I am going to miss my grandfather. And I began to cry. Even now, as I think about it, I get tears welling up in my eyes.

I did not sit there and say to myself, “Soul, to what end are you going to feel this emotion? Why are we wasting all of this emotional energy on somebody that is already dead.” I didn’t have that thought. That’s a repugnant thought. That’s repulsive. The emotion is an end in itself. My love for my grandfather kindled an emotion in me. That emotion and the expression of that emotion were the consummation of that value in my heart for my grandfather.

C.S. Lewis says it better than anyone. In Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis says,

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses the joy but it completes the enjoyment. It is the appointed consummation."

It is the end to which you are meant to be.

Another illustration: I was giving roses to my wife. This was before we were married, and I was still dating her. I was watching her from far off, and I was having perfect strangers go up to her and give her roses with little cards attached that had little poems that I had written for her. As she was given these roses, I would watch her face light up with joy and it would bring me joy. At first she was all weirded out. But then she flipped open the card and she reads the poem that I had written, and she recognizes the hand-writing. The look on her face lights up. And when I saw that, I was happy. I was happy to make her happy. Now, I didn’t sit there and think intellectually to myself, “Hmmmm, to what end shall I feel this emotion of happiness?” I just wanted her to be happy. And seeing her happy made me happy.

So all of us take actions and engage in behavior that we know will bring joy to another person. And the reason that all of us do this is because we know that when we see that joy in another person, we know that their joy will bring us joy. Their happiness will produce happiness in us as well. Our joy is rooted in the joy of another person.

To be pure in heart, to want to see God face to face, and to see Him happy with you –that will bring YOU joy! So if you want to see happiness in the heart of God then I say that you’re getting dangerously close to having a pure heart, if you then take actions and steps that you know will make Him happy. But if you do not have a desire to see God happy, and you could care less whether or not He delights in you, the odds are that you are not going to take the steps necessary to produce joy in His heart. And, furthermore, you are going to engage in sinful behavior with conflicted emotions and a divided heart. And the question becomes once again, “Who will unite me?” If God will not unite your heart, then who else will?

The truth is that the only person who can unite our heart, the only person that can restore true eternal joy to us is the Father in the Son through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It requires the Trinity. The question is, “Who will unite us?” Adam is looking at God in the Garden of Eden, and the central question is “Who is going to unite my heart again? Who is going to bring it back together?” On a deeper level, Adam is asking, “How do I get reunited with you?” The only way, Church, the only way is in Jesus Christ.

There are two elements here that I want you to see.

  1. A Pure Heart will work itself out in Emotional Praise for the Father. If you long to see Him happy, it will make you happy, and that happiness will naturally work itself out in praise and adoration.
  2. Those who strive for purity of heart know that it is a gift from God. If you long to have a pure heart, the more you work at having a pure heart then the more you will realize only God can purify your heart.

David knew this. Psalm after Psalm after Psalm. If you go along Psalm after Psalm and follow David, you will discover that the Psalmist becomes increasingly frustrated and begins to increasingly realize that he is utterly powerless to reunite his heart. Two different Psalms suggest this:

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11, ESV)

The other Psalm is this:

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (Psalm 51:6, ESV)

Only God can reunite our hearts. And it must start with you mourning the loss of God’s presence in your life. You must be brutally honest with yourself. You stop trying to hide who you are on the inside from who you are on the outside, and you recognize just how utterly destitute you are before God. And you accept the gift of salvation that He gives you on the cross.

It starts with Jesus and it ends with Jesus. Jesus can begin to reunite your heart. I want to leave you with this last quote. Church seek purity of heart. Be pure in your heart. In the words of Thomas Manton:

“God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.”

Now that’s a true statement, is it not? God desires our happiness, and He threatens terrible things if, in our obstinacy, we refuse to be happy in Him, and in our pursuit of Him. Are you happy in God? And do you have a singular joy in Jesus Christ?






Series Information

The Gospel of Matthew is a story about a once and coming King. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David, the long awaited for Messiah. He has come once, and Matthew tells the story of His arrival, ministry, sacrificial atoning work on the cross, and His promise to return soon.

Other sermons in the series