Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart

Matthew 5:8



The Bible says that no-one can look at God {In all his glory} and still live.

WHO then can see God? This is the question King David of Israel asked, Psalm 24:3-4

            3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?

                        Who may stand in his holy place?

            4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

                        who does not lift up his soul to an idol

                        or swear by what is false. (NIV)


Moses was one who saw God.  Exodus 33:11 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. (NIV)

But even Moses could not look upon the “glory” of God and live. Exodus 33:19-20             19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. .. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no-one may see me and live.”


No one had looked into the face of God until He became flesh and dwelt among men. John 1:14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)

John 1:18 18 No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. (NIV)



“Blessed are the pure in heart”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” That is what Christianity is all about.


The Pharisees in Jesus day, much like legalists in our day, [Don’t do this…. Don’t do that]  were scrupulously concerned with the external, ritual purification. They ignored the inside. They kept the letter of the law, but the heart was unclean. Jesus was not concerned with religious rituals but “the defiling influences of sin upon the inner man” (Matt. 23:25, 28). “Out of the heart proceeds . . .evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, etc” The condition of the heart was the centre of all His teachings. Everything comes from the heart.



The word “heart” refers to the centre and source of the whole inner life, with its thinking, feeling, and volition. It is the place where we make our moral decisions. In a psychological sense it is “the seat of man’s collective energies, the focus of personal life, the seat of the rational as well as the emotional and volitional elements in human life.” (AS).



The word “pure” has the root idea of one that is being cleansed, free from impure mixtures, without blemish, spotless. The basic idea is single-mindedness. The pure in heart have clarified their values, and have pure motives. There are no hidden agendas, no double motives, and no self-interests.


The pure in heart have an intimate fellowship with God which can come only from a personal encounter with Christ. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime, or once-in-a-great-while, but a daily following Christ as Lord of your life.

A Lawyer asked Jesus Matthew 22:36-38 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. (NIV)


Single–minded: – free from the tyranny of a divided self, trying to serve God and the world at the same time.

Single-motive: This purity “means singleness of motive and of devotion, as opposed to divided motive . . .”


The Hebrew word for “heart” refers “a symbol of one’s mind or thoughts, and here the reference is to thoughts or to a mind concerned solely to please God.”


Hypocrisy and deceit are abhorrent to The Pure in Heart; they are without guile.

ILLUS. Greek theatre – one actor many masks – root meaning of Hypocrite.

Yet how few of us live one life and live it in the open! We are tempted to wear a mask and play a different role according to each occasion. This is not reality but play–acting, which is the essence of hypocrisy.

Some people weave round themselves such a web of lies that they can no longer tell which part of them is real and which is make–believe.

Alone among men Jesus Christ was absolutely pure in heart, being entirely guileless.

Only the pure in heart will see God, see Him now with the eye of faith and see His glory in the hereafter.


Opposite of the pure in heart

The opposite of a pure heart is one that is divided. Without singleness of purpose it is impure. The double-minded person tries to serve both God and the world system.


James in 4:8 wrote: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

The divided self tries to serve two opposing masters at the same time. The double-minded are blind spiritually and their loyalties are divided and therefore cannot see God.


Jesus warned Matthew 6:19-24.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.


ILLUS.: Demo!! When was the last time you tried to walk in both directions at the same time? Why try to do it spiritually?


1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

Jesus demanded that we have pure hearts, open, honest, genuine, nothing hidden, with sincerity and single–mindedness. Can you give some examples of such people?




Moses. We have already noted Moses who “By faith left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Hebrews 11:27).


Origen said, “Every sin stains the soul.”

David is the only person in the Bible who is described as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). When we turn to the Psalms we see the man who saw God in his heart because God had cleansed him. Psalms 32 and 51 beautifully illustrate this cleansing of the soul.

“How blessed is he whose transgressions is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!” (32:1). How blessed many times over, blessing upon blessing, upon blessing.” That was God’s cure for David’s sin of murder and adultery. Only God can cleanse like that!

In Psalm 51 King David shares the cleansing of his heart. The imagery is powerfully set against the ugliness sin. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin” (v. 2). We can hear the pounding, stamping and vigorous rubbing of the clothes against the stones to loosen the dirt.

Psalm 51:6-7       6 Surely you desire truth [purity] in the inner parts;

                        you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

            7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

                        wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (NIV)

 Only after cleansing has taken place can he hear the “joy and gladness” of the LORD. Psalm 51:9-12 9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11  … 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (NIV)


God is not interested in the “sacrifices and burnt offerings” of our modern society. He is not interested in our religious platitudes and intense religious emotions without a pure heart.

Psalm 51:17 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (NIV)

 What God longed for in David’s heart is the same thing He desires of us.

What made David a man after God’s own heart?

Warren Wiersbe reminds us, “David did not have a sinless heart, but he did have a single heart



Paul had is heart changed on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:3-7 records the event.


Paul had an encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus and it radically revolutionised his life. From that time on with singleness of purpose he lived Christ. Philippians 1:21 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (NIV)

 He had a singleness of purpose to serve Christ and his life was characterised as being “in Christ.”

BUT this was not only for Paul, “If any person is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17a; cf. Phil. 3:8-16).


Jesus – our best example

He had an undivided heart. He alone has loved the LORD God with all His heart, and with all His soul and with all His mind. “My food [my sole reason for being on earth] is to do the will of him who sent me.”

Listen to Him praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not My will, Thy will be done.” In Matthew 6:33 Jesus got to the heart of our problem when He said to His disciples, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”



To the pure in heart is given the promise that “they will see God.”

“There is a sense and a measure in which this is true of life here and now,” writes Leon Morris. “The pure in heart see God in a way that the impure never know. But the main thought is surely eschatological; it points us to a vision too wonderful to be fully experienced in this life but that will come to its consummation in the world to come” (p. 100).


The possibility is ours

Jesus said it is possible to have a direct, intimate personal knowledge of God. “No, God in His essence cannot be seen. How, then, do we see God? When the heart is pure, then the eyes are open to the vision of God wherever He may appear,” writes Wiersbe. “Jesus is promising us the vision of God here and now.”


When we have a pure heart, “We will live in a world that is filled with God!”

Paul wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). The child of God who has a pure heart has notHing to hide, nothing to defend and nothing to explain. He is free to be honest, open, genuine and transparent. His face is unveiled before God and men. He advances from “glory to glory” until that blessed day when Christ comes and he is like Him through all eternity.

In the Pursuit of God A. W. Tozer wrote of the divine immanence meaning simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. . . No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is.


Paul in Athens Acts 17:27-28 27 God … is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’


God is never far BUT we fail to see him if sin blinds us.

BUT when we come in repentance, by faith, we see God.  If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience God will manifest Himself to us.

Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to ‘discover’ Himself.


Our pursuit of God can be successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. . . . He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.

. . . He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us.

Do we hunger and thirst for God?

Matthew 5:6 6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (NIV)


When do we see God?

We see God when we have fellowship with God based upon personal faith in Jesus Christ (cf. 1 John 1:1-3, 6-7). Sin breaks our fellowship, but not our son-ship. In the context of this marvellous fellowship with God John reminds us that we have something that cleanses when that fellowship is broken. All self–effort at cleaning is futile. Only God alone can cleanse the heart because there is only one detergent that will cleanse. “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin” (v. 7). This is the only way fellowship can be restored. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us for all unrighteousness” (v. 9).


We see God when we worship Him with a pure heart (1 Jn. 1:8-10). When the heart is pure we see Him in our own experiences, in His gracious dealings with us in His grace and mercy. As we grow in His grace we see Him in ways we have never experienced Him before. Like Paul, “Now we see through a glass, darkly.” One day however we will see Him face to face.


The pure in heart will see Jesus when He returns in power and glory at the consummation of the Kingdom of God (Rev. 1:7, 9ff; I John 3:1-3; 4:4-6; Jn. 17:24; Rev. 22:3-4). It is a life lived in fellowship with God that begins now in the new birth and reaches its fulfilment at the consummation when Christ returns. Seeing God implies a direct and immediate knowledge of God.


1 John 3:2-3. We are already called the children of God because of the great love the Father has bestowed upon us. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Not only will we see Him, but also we will be like Him!

In Christ we will at last attain God’s original intention for mankind. What awesome grace.


One day every eye shall see Him

The Bible teaches that every eye will see Him, whether we plan to, or don’t want to. Both saved and the lost will see Him. “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen” (Rev. 1:7).

Moreover, because Jesus was obedient and humbled Himself even to die on the cross, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 1:8-11). We have the opportunity today of bowing before Him as a volitional choice. But there is a day coming when we not have a choice. He will come as a sovereign King and every knew will bow and confess Him before men.


Have you seen God?


The pure in heart “are those who are mourning about the impurity of their hearts,” D. M. Lloyd-Jones. “Because the only way to have a pure heart is to realise you have an impure heart, and to mourn about it to such an extent that you do that which alone can lead to cleansing and purity.”  [1Jn1v9]


Our hearts aren’t pure. We by nature tend to be double–minded.

The pure in heart are willing to ask themselves:

What is my motive of service?

What is my purpose in serving Christ?

There are no hidden agendas, no double purposes.

They come with pure motives, high and holy principles and singleness of purpose.

Ask God to reveal to you anything in your life that is causing you to lose your first love for Him.


“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).

We see Him as we grow in His love and grace.


Jesus prayed for his followers…

John 17:24            24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (NIV)

Those who with a simple, undivided heart seek the kingdom of God shall see Him.



Wil Pounds (c) 1999.








Matthew 5:8


Blessed are the pure in heart …


  • Heart – centre and source of whole inner

life, thoughts, feeling and will.

  • Pure – free from impure mixtures, without

blemish, spotless, single-minded,

pure motives.


  • Opposite of a pure heart

           Double minded

           Two masters


… they shall see God.


  • The possibility is ours.
  • When do we see God?

     In fellowship with Him

     In worship of Him

     When Jesus returns

  • One day ALL will see him 
  • Have you seen Him?

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