Getting The Insight World Right
by Pastor Jurgen Rausch
You know we’re building, don’t you? Each of us is building our lives, our own personal house. Some of you just starting out while others have been at it for a while.
It’s amazing what can rise out of nothing. Give someone a plot of land and look at what can be built. Thankfully the old house, the old life with the old rot is gone. It is dismantled piece by piece, replaced with the beginning of a new house, a new way of living, a different type of person.
So you have laid the deep “foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Eph 2:20); and now you are carefully building a house of righteousness.
As you build your house of righteousness, pay close attention to having purity of heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.” Mth. 5:8
This is one of the key raw materials used in your house. Just like most every house built uses aspects of wood, steel and stone, so also our spiritual house rising up out of our soil uses peace, mercy and purity.
The shape and size matters less than the building materials used. Some of us will build large, extravagant spiritual houses, while others of us not so much. No two spiritual houses will look and be the same.
How your life unfolds and what you do in life looks different than what I am doing. So many factors come into play.
But all of us have the same raw material; aspects of wood, stone or steel which in our spiritual house translates to mercy, purity and peace.
This morning we are looking specifically at purity.
So what is purity? We know purity from our life, don’t we? Purity is valued. Purity is something unadulterated, uncontaminated and is not defiled by mixing in other substances; it is known as the best of the best with the highest possible grade.
So we talk about refined sugar, purebred animals, the quality of the gold or silver, purity of water free of any toxins etc.
Purity is the best of the best.
A good dictionary defines purity as “conforming absolutely to a standard of quality”. Nothing is mixed in and nothing is compromising its high quality.
So to be pure in heart means a heart that is a cut above the rest; a heart that is perfect, impeccable, flawless, untainted and spotless in every way.
In some ways the pure in heart is the gold standard of the Christian life. It is the perfect cut of a diamond, the most natural cup of water, the 24 K pure gold nugget.
The Heart Defined
It is no coincidence that it is your heart that is to have that kind of purity.
Why the heart? Because of what the heart is to you. Do you realize that the heart is so much more than the organ that pumps your blood?
When God talks about the heart – which He does often – he seldom if ever refers to your physical organ.
Of the 955 times “heart” is mentioned in the Bible, only twice does it refer to your physical heart.
To mention something 955 times means it is singular in its importance, above all else. As far as mankind is concerned, the heart trumps everything.
To God the heart of man is in essence the sum total of one’s existence. Charles Ryrie defines it as “the essence of the many facets of man’s personality.”
Many facets – do you realize how many facets there are to your life?
You are a far more complicated being than the one-celled amoeba. There are lots and lots of facets to your life, and all of it is contained within your heart – your feelings, attitudes, thoughts, decisions, history, desires, dreams, reasoning, intentions; everything.
In fact, the Bible suggests four main aspects of your life that are within your heart:
Firstly, the heart is linked to the intellect. Paul makes this correlation in Romans 1:21 when he wrote, “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Everything that is connected with your intellect runs through your heart (thoughts, words we formulate, reasoning, knowledge & understanding).
Both good and bad thinking comes from your heart; every time you think a thought you think it from your heart. Your mind is filtered by your heart.
Secondly, the heart is the seat of your emotions. Notice how Paul links the two when he wrote “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart,” in Rom. 9:12. Both sorrow and anguish are emotions, and both come from the heart.
That’s why the Bible says that your heart can love, your heart can rejoice, your heart can be bitter or even angry. Both positive and negative emotions come from your heart. Every time you feel, you feel it with your heart.
Thirdly, the heart is the center of your volition, the place where you make your choices and decisions; which is what we saw Pharaoh do when he chose not to listen to Moses: “Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron.” Ex 7:22
Pharaoh was determined and insistent, he had his mind made up; and all of that happened in his heart. Every time a choice is made, every time you reach a decision, every time you say yes or no it comes from your heart; both good and bad decisions, right choices and wrong ones.
Fourthly, the heart is the center of your spiritual life. Paul correctly states that all things relating to faith arise in your heart: “It is with your heart that you believe.” Rom. 10:10
Your worship comes from your heart; you pray from your heart, you love God from your heart; you keep God’s Word in your heart!
The Wellspring of Life
The sense that you get is that the heart plays an incredible role in our lives. Clearly, the heart is to our inner being what our physical heart is to our body. The essence of your life stems from it and flows through it, including all things that have to do with intellect, will, emotions and spirituality.
Which is why the Scriptures calls the heart “the wellspring of life.” (Prov. 4:23), meaning the place where the waters of life, the essence of who we are, come from!
Jesus talks about how the heart is a thermometer for your entire life, and how everything you do comes from what is inside your heart.
Your heart shapes your thinking, character, thoughts, feelings, words and eventually even actions. Your heart gives away what you are really like.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Mth. 12:22-35
Jesus says our heart must be pure if we ever hope to see God. It must be like 24-karat gold, the purest gold possible.
No contaminants; flawless, untainted and spotless in every way.
How on earth will we ever achieve that? How can we have a 24k heart?
The answer lies in understanding purity. The original meaning of the word “pure” is actually very beautiful. We do have an English word that comes from the original Greek word and which can be very insightful, which is the word ‘catharsis’.
“Pure translates katharos, a form of the word from which we get catharsis. The basic meaning is to make pure by cleansing from dirt, filth, and contamination.” John MacArthur
Purifying your heart is like a catharsis, an emptying, a release and a cleansing where you come to a point where all the toxins are washed out of you (almost like a detox).
It is in fact an inner detox where the gung and filth of sin that hangs around is washed out by the blood of Jesus, which cleanses us from all our sins.
But this washing does not go from the outside in, but from the inside out.
The key to this is the idea of the inner purity, the catharsis that starts at the core of your being and cascades outward to wash away impurity after impurity in attitudes, thoughts, words and deeds.
If you can see your inner being as having multiple layers, much like an onion; where if you can have a cleansing at the core of your being, then soon your entire being will become clean and pure.
The deeper to your core this cleansing can go - the more of the flaws, mistakes, limitations and ‘verklemmungen’ of the old life, the old house of rot can be washed away - the more profound the purity.
Whatever you do, don’t be like the Pharisees of Jesus day, who instead of allowing a deep cleansing at the core of their hearts, settled for modified behavior or surface change only. They were like cheap Asian knock offs, fake imitations of the real thing.
You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence…. First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. …You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Mth. 23:25-28
Not a fake imitation, a cheap knock off that may look and smell like purity of heart from the surface only, but underneath is full of dead man’s bones and everything unclean. Don’t settle for that.
The key to this is what Jesus says: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
So how does this happen? This catharsis is not self-induced but something that Jesus does for us and then does with us.
What can take away my impurity, defilement and contamination? What can cleanse my heart from all my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
1. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
2. For my cleansing this I see—Nothing but the blood of Jesus! For my pardon this my plea-- Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
3. Nothing can my sin erase Nothing but the blood of Jesus! Naught of works, ’tis all of grace—Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
4. This is all my hope and peace—Nothing but the blood of Jesus! This is all my righteousness—Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Chorus: Oh! precious is the flow, That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The writings of John show us how our cleansing and purity of heart can happen. John makes it clear that because Jesus loves us so, he offers to purify our hearts by his blood:
“Jesus who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father.” Rev.1:5
So Jesus can make this possible! According to John, here’s what we need to do:
Firstly, come to him and confess your sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “ I John 1:9
Secondly, walk in the purity of his light every single moment of the day:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Both of these are huge and while one happens in the moment (we are forgiven and cleansed in the moment), the other is a life long quest of being refined, renewed and conformed to the gold standard of God’s purity.
I wish I had the time to unwrap this further, but I need to get to one more thing, and that is this idea that the pure in heart will see God.
The Pure Will See God
What an incredibly claim this Beatitude makes: “for they will see God”!
Scripture makes clear the connection between purity or holiness and “seeing” the Lord.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4
Of course, this refers to a future sense when the day and the hour will come when the righteousness, the holy and the pure, will see God.
The closing words of the Bible picture a world where God dwells with His people and they will be with Him, and He with them day and night.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Rev. 21:22-27
So let no one ever take away from the fact that seeing God is ultimately connected to being in his presence forever. That is what the pure in spirit will experience. That is our zenith.
However, there is another sense of seeing God and that is in the here and now.
There are actually two ways that God will be seen in the here and now by the pure in heart.
1. God who has left his fingerprints everywhere in nature and in history, which will be most easily noticed by the pure in heart.
God has left his fingerprints everywhere. His shadow is everywhere. He has left his DNA all over creation even though most don’t recognize him.
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” Romans 1:20
It’s in Romans 1 where Paul decries the unwillingness of the impure to see God’s fingerprint in creation.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21
Contrast that to David’s observations. He looked at the same creation as those in Romans 1, and yet with startling different observations:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
There is a sense that God can be seen in the here and now, in addition to the there and then. God’s fingerprints are all over creation and the pure in heart notice them most readily and give glory to God for them.
2. God will reveal Himself in a special way to the pure in heart.
Not only will they see his DNA as they look around, but God chooses to reveal himself beyond natural revelation to those who have eyes for Him.
Evidence is plentiful of people to whom God has revealed Himself in an extraordinary sort of way. How many times did God physically make Himself known to someone or to a people?
A pillar of fire by night, a cloud of glory during the day, a burning bush, a walk in the cool of the day, a visit by three visitors, a fourth person in the oven, a parting of the sea, a still small voice, a storm stilled, a door opened or closed, a dream, vision or prophecy.
All these were special revelations of God only for the pure in heart!
Scott Street MB Church invites you to write your reflections and thoughts about the weekly messages shared by lead Pastor Jurgen Rausch.