Unmixed

Matthew 5:8

September 30, 2014

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.”

- Matthew 5:8

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Today, let’s talk about what it means to be pure. Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.” He meant that an impure heart adversely affects the whole of man. The word for “pure” that Jesus uses here commonly appears with another Greek adjective – akeratos. This was the usual reference to milk or wine that was unadulterated with water, or of metal which has in it no tinge of alloy.

 

So the basic meaning of katharos is “unmixed.” That is what makes this such a demanding beatitude. Most of us are pretty good 80-90 percent of the time. We have most of our lives in order. But we tend to compartmentalize. We are 90 percent pure and 10 percent impure, which means we are 100 percent impure. Just as it only takes a drop of poison to infiltrate the whole drink and just a few cells of cancer to kill the patient, it only takes a “small” part of one’s life to mess up everything. We might rewrite this beatitude thusly: “Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God.”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Don’t think about the things you are doing well in your spiritual life. Focus on where you are falling short. That is the part that makes for an impure drink, or life in this case. Point your whole heart toward God and in your purity you will become like Him.

Clean Heart

Matthew 5:8

September 29, 2014

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they shall see God.”

- Matthew 5:8

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

This morning, we come to the beatitude which demands self-examination more than any other. The Greek word for “pure” is katharos. It has a variety of uses, all of which have something to add to the meaning of this passage for the Christian life. Originally, it meant “clean.” For example, the word was used of dirty clothes which have been washed clean. The word is regularly used for corn which has been winnowed or sifted and cleansed of all chaff. In the same way it is used of an army which has been purged of all discontented, cowardly, and unwilling soldiers, and which is a force composed only of first-class fighting men.

 

No one can tell who else is truly pure of heart. No one, that is, except God. He sees what nobody else can see. And he is looking deep into your heart today. Are you pure of heart? Notice, the measure is not one of action. I didn’t ask if you are pure of action. God is more interested in what is happening with your heart. We will spend the next few days examining our hearts. So get ready!

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Paul said to “examine yourself.” That job is reserved only for you. Notice, Paul did not say to examine someone else’s self! That would be too easy. No, your job is to look at yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal that which needs cleansing in your life. When you seek the purity of God in your life, you will receive the greatest promise of all . . . you will see God. And you will become like Him.

Queen Victoria

Matthew 5:7

September 26, 2014

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for

they shall be shown mercy.”

- Matthew 5:7

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

In our final analysis, mercy is best demonstrated in what God did for us in Christ. Jesus came as a man, seeing things with man’s eyes, feeling things with man’s feelings, and thinking things with man’s minds. Queen Victoria was a close friend of Mr. and Mrs. Tulloch of St. Andrews. Prince Albert died and Victoria was left alone. Just about that time, Mr. Tulloch also passed away. Unannounced, the Queen came to call on Mrs. Tulloch while she was resting on a couch in her room. When the Queen was announced, Mrs. Tulloch struggled to rise and offer the traditional curtsey to the Queen. Victoria stopped her and said, “My dear, don’t rise. I am not coming to you today as the Queen to a subject, but as one woman who has lost her husband to another.”

 

That is what God did for us. He demonstrated mercy to those who will receive it. This is a great truth that God has extended his grace to those who need it the most. It would have been easy for the King to sit back and leave us to our chosen destinies. But we have a loving God who extended the mercy to us we are to extend to others, in turn. So, a full translation of this beloved beatitude might be, “O the bliss of the man who gets right inside other people, until he can see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, and feel with their feelings, for he who does that will find others do the same for him, and will know that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

You and I need to get inside someone else’s skin in order to see and experience life as they do. That will develop Biblical sympathy that will urge us to become the kind of people God can use. And this will help us to become like Him.

One Thing I Know

Matthew 5:7

September 25, 2014

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for

they shall be shown mercy.”

- Matthew 5:7

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Several years ago, I sought the wise counsel of my friend and mentor, John Morgan, pastor of Houston’s Sagemont Church since its inception in 1966. I explained to him that I was struggling with a family who had become rather cruel and thoughtless, affecting the church I served as pastor. John said, “There is one thing I know. Hurting people hurt people.” I have obviously never forgotten that. At almost any moment in my life and pastorate, I know someone who possesses an unforgiving and critical spirit. Nothing I do and nothing the church does makes them happy. They make everyone around them miserable. My instinct is to correct them and even rebuke them. But then I remember the words of John Morgan. “Hurting people hurt people.”

 

William Barclay says, “If we would learn forgiveness and the art of mercy-giving, it would make us all more tolerant.” You know someone who is always critical and negative. But remember, there is always a reason why a person thinks and acts as he does. If a person is unkind, irritable, and discourteous, he may be in unspeakable pain. You may never know the source of his pain. And you don’t need to know. The point is to offer mercy and forgiveness, whether it is asked for or not. By showing them mercy, you will receive mercy yourself.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

A French proverb says, “To know all is to forgive all.” But we will never know all until we make the deliberate attempt to get inside the other person’s mind and heart. So give mercy a chance. You will be an indescribable blessing to hurting people who hurt people. And by blessing others, you will become like Him.

Martha

Matthew 5:7

September 24, 2014

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for

they shall be shown mercy.”

- Matthew 5:7

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

One of the great stories of the Bible is the visit of Jesus, in his final days, to two friends, Mary and her sister Martha. All Jesus wanted was an opportunity for a time to rest and relax, and to lay down his burden for a moment. Martha loved Jesus; he was her most honored guest. Because she loved him she would provide the best meal the house could afford. She hurried about, eager to prepare his meal. The clash of pans must have been tortuous to Jesus’ ears, as he simply wanted a moment of quiet rest.

 

Mary, on the other hand, sought only for the peace that Jesus needed in that moment. So often we are caught up checking off agenda items, when it is time to think with the heart and not the mind. Mercy is not about doing something. It is about forgiveness and grace, characteristics of the heart. God has strategically placed someone in your path who needs mercy. It is your prized opportunity to extend that mercy to them just as God has done for you. Don’t miss the chance!

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Are you a Mary or a Martha? There is a time and place for both. But if you have a friend who is hurting today, they need the Mary in you more than the Martha. So slow down, sit down, and listen, pray, and encourage them. Extend grace and mercy. You are the instrument of God in their life. You will bless them and at the same time, become like Him.

Sympathy

Matthew 5:7

September 23, 2014

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for

they shall be shown mercy.”

- Matthew 5:7

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

There is more to this beatitude than it may at first appear. The Greek word for merciful is eleemon. But the Greek of the New Testament goes back to the original Hebrew and Aramaic. The Hebrew word for mercy is chesedh, an untranslatable word. It means more than sympathy, or feeling sorry for someone in trouble. It means to get inside a person’s skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.

 

This is much more than an emotional wave of pity. To extend mercy is a deliberate effort of the mind and will. This is sympathy in the literal (not popular) sense. The word sympathy is derived from two Greek words, syn (together with) and paschein (to experience or suffer). So, the original word means to experience things together with another person. It is one thing to acknowledge another’s pain, but something entirely different to share it. To extend mercy, then, means to hurt, think, and suffer with the person in need.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

If you think about it for about five seconds, you should be able to think of at least one person who is suffering today. Perhaps they have received bad medical news or have had some other personal setback. If you want to be happy, make them happy. Extend mercy to them and God will extend mercy to you. In the process, you will become like Him.

Mercy

Matthew 5:7

September 22, 2014

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for

they will be shown mercy.”

- Matthew 5:7

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Today, we come to the next step to happiness. “Blessed are the merciful.” That sounds simple enough. It is a principle which runs all through the New Testament, insistent that to be forgiven we must be forgiving. James said, “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy” (James 2:13). Jesus finished the story of the unforgiving debtor with this warning: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). The Lord’s Prayer includes: “Forgive us as we forgive others,” and is followed with “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

 

Winston Churchill observed, “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: mercy.” Jesus warned, “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). It is the consistent teaching of the New Testament that only the merciful shall receive mercy. So if you are in no need of mercy, this won’t matter to you. But you are in need of mercy, so listen up! “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

You want to be happy. We all do. Here’s the key. You must find the forgiveness and peace of God. But first, you must forgive others; show them mercy. That is the pathway to finding your own forgiveness and mercy. And that is the pathway to become like Him.

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