A God-Like Work

Matthew 5:9
October 7, 2014

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called sons of God.”
– Matthew 5:9

What is God’s Word for me today?
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.” God’s will is that peace becomes a reality. Notice that Jesus did not promise happiness to peace-lovers, but to peace-makers. It is not enough to evade the issues that confront peace; we must face them. God’s blessings are not promised to those who embrace a passive acceptance of things, but to those who actively change things, who make peace where there is no peace.

Our promise is that we will “be called the sons of God.” Barnabas was called a “son of encouragement” because he went around spreading encouragement. We will be the “sons of God” in a practical sense, because we go around spreading his peace. Never will you be more blessed than when you are active, serving from the center of the will of God.

How does this make me become like Him?
It is not enough to accept non-peace; you are called to actually go out and make peace. Think about that the next time you hear two people talking/gossiping. You carry a can of water and a can of lighter fluid. Which will you pour on the fire? Your job is to put fires out, not stoke the flames. Be a peace-maker, and you will be recognized as a child of God. And in your journey of making peace, you will become like Him.

Making Peace

Matthew 5:9
October 6, 2014

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called sons of God.”
– Matthew 5:9

What is God’s Word for me today?
We live in a world that knows no peace. Historians tell us there have been more wars since WW2 than in all of history until that point. Jesus promises happiness to those who make peace. What does this word “peace” mean? In Greek the word is eirene, and in Hebrew the word is shalom. In Hebrew the word is never a negative term. It never means “the absence of trouble.” It always means “everything which makes for a man’s highest good.” Peace is not the absence of problems, but the presence of God.

F.B. Meyer described the Christian life as “a rest that is full of work.” The Imperials, a famous Christian music group of my youth, sang a song with these words: “There will never be peace until Christ is seated at the conference table.” Is Christ seated at the conference table of your life? Until you know Jesus, you will not know peace. The old VBS definition of peace is this: Peace Enters After Christ Enters. Know Him and you will know peace.

How does this make me become like Him?
Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You receive that fruit when you walk in that Spirit. This requires you to empty yourself of everything that is not of God. When you do this, you are filled with the Spirit, and when you are filled with the Spirit, you will find peace. And you will become like Him.

Become Extraordinary

Matthew 5:8

October 3, 2014

 

“Blessed are the pure of heart,

for they will see God.”

- Matthew 5:8

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

If the ordinary person goes out on a night of stars, he sees only a host of pinpoints of light in the sky; he sees what he is fit to see. But in that same sky the astronomer will call the stars and the planets by their names. The ordinary person can walk along a country road, and see nothing but a tangle of weeds and wildflowers and grass. The trained botanist would see this and that, and call it by name and know its use; and he might even see something of infinite value and rarity because he has eyes to see.

 

Put two men into a room filled with ancient pictures. A man with no knowledge and no skill could not tell an old master from a worthless picture, whereas a trained art critic might well discern a picture worth thousands of dollars. It is only the pure in heart who will see God. As by God’s grace we keep our hearts clean, or as by human lust we soil them, we are either preparing or ruining ourselves for the goal of seeing God. So this might be our best translation of this beloved beatitude: “Oh the joy of the man whose motives are absolutely pure, for that man will some day be able to see God!”

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Isaiah said he lifted his eyes and saw the Lord (Isaiah 6). Do you want to get so close to God that you can see him? That is entirely up to you. But you must come with a pure heart. That is how you see the Lord, and that is how you ultimately become like Him.

Drifting

Matthew 5:8

October 2, 2014

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.”

- Matthew 5:8

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

Movie icon Mae West once said, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” What she was saying was that there was a time of purity and innocence in her life, but she had drifted away. What happened? She mixed earthly pleasures with a pure heart. Like most of us, there was not a singular moment when she decided to turn from the right path; she drifted. This beatitude calls on the most exacting self-examination. Is our work done from motives of service or pay?

 

To examine one’s motives is a daunting and shaming thing, for there are few things in this world that even the best of us do with completely unmixed motives. Jesus said the pure in heart will see God. The fact is, we only see what we are able to see. And you are only able to see God on his conditions. And those conditions involve a wholly dedicated heart. How do we get there? It starts with a true desire. Tell God you want a pure heart. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it well. “A pure heart is what we should ask of God.” It isn’t easy, but it is simple.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Are you Snow White? Perhaps you used to be. In all likelihood, you didn’t run away from God; you slowly drifted. But you can come back, starting today. Let’s all follow Goethe’s advice. “A pure heart is what we should ask of God.” So go ahead! Ask! And you will become like Him.

Motives

Matthew 5:8

October 1, 2014

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.”

- Matthew 5:8

 

What is God’s Word for me today?

It is quite rare that we perform even our most holy duties with completely pure motives. If we give generously, it may be that there lingers in the depths of our hearts some contentment in basking in the light of our own self-approval. We all enjoy the praise of others. Even a preacher at his most sincere moment is not free from the danger of self-satisfaction in having preached a good sermon. John Bunyan was once told that he had just preached exceedingly well that day, and he answered sadly, “The devil already told me that as I was coming down the pulpit steps.”

 

Jesus did not offer a promise in our text to the “pure in action,” but the “pure in heart.” You can do the wrong thing, and that would be bad. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason, and that would also be wrong. Remember the story of the widow’s mite? What set her apart was not just what she gave, but how she gave it. There was no attempt at self-promotion. Try this: for the next few days focus just as much on why you do something as you do on what you actually do.

 

How does this make me become like Him?

Because the focus of our text is on the heart (pure of heart) we need to be thinking about our motives. When you serve from a motive of contrition and humility, you place yourself in a position to succeed at a whole new level. And you are ready to become like Him.

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.

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