Beatitudes 7 - What does it mean to have a pure heart?

Beatitudes part 7 -purity of heart

Beatitudes part 7

Matthew 5 verse 8

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.”

Jesus had been preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of heaven, he had healed many people, he had taught in the Temples, he had fed people, and restored them.  Jesus had many people that followed him wherever he went, asking him questions. 

The rich man wanted to what he had to do to get into the kingdom of heaven?

Nicodemus asked ‘What must I do to be saved?’.

The Pharisees had set high standards and ones that ordinary people just didn’t feel they could reach.  The people were used to having a standard that they had to reach, so the question - What so I have to do? Wouldn’t have been that strange. 

When the crowd gathered they would have listened intently to Jesus, they will have wanted to know more about this eternal life that he promised.  What must we do to get eternal life? 

Jesus answered them with giving them saying “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

It’s not about what you do on the outside it is what your heart is like on the inside.   Why do you do the things you do?  What is your motivation? 

These are questions I asked in the introduction and now we get centre point of the sermon on the mount. 

Jesus worked up to this beatitude, he wanted to make sure that you were ready to receive the message. 

We need to be ‘fully reliant on God’, we need to be able to love, we need to be meek, and we need to desperately seek righteousness. Then we will understand what God wants, he wants us to have a pure heart.  Jesus was telling us that you will see God in everything if you have a pure heart.  You will see God at work in the world, you will see God in the people you meet and that will be the reason you do things. 

You won’t do it for great recognition, you will do it because you have a pure heart. 

God wants the inside to be right, God doesn’t worry about clean hands, or what meat you eat, or whether you don’t touch those that are deemed unclean, those are external things that others can watch you doing and can judge you.  It’s not about how much you put into the collection.  God wants to know that you will feed the hungry, comfort those that need it, not because you have to, but because you want to.   

Having a pure heart will lead you on to the next beatitudes, because having a pure heart will mean you want to live in peace.  You will be able to see where God is in the arguments.

But having a pure heart will also lead to persecution, because you will want the opposite of what the world wants you to want. 

Why not make a huge heart and in it put all the cares of the world? 

Beatitudes part 7

Inside the heart cut out pictures from the newspapers and put them in. 

This can then lead to a time of prayer.  Praying for leaders of countries to have pure hearts. 

Praying for people that help others in wars or places where there are problems. 

This session can lead to quite a discussion about why things happen? Where is God is these difficulties? Why can’t God stop these things happening? So, be prepared and remember that God doesn’t make them happen people do, and it’s about changing peoples’ hearts so that these things don’t happen and God works tirelessly at that!

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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