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Mar 06, 2016

No Ordinary Man, No Ordinary Message

No Ordinary Man, No Ordinary Message

Passage: Matthew 5:1-12

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: The Story

Category: New Testament

Keywords: beatitudes, discipleship, jesus, meekness, mercy, persecution, poverty, purity


This message looks at the discipleship process of Jesus through the Beatitudes. God uses the qualities, characteristics and circumstances of life that we tend to despise to develop his life and character in us.


No Ordinary Man…No Ordinary Message

The Story—Jesus’ Ministry

Matthew 5:1-12

INTRO:  Thanks to Josh for preaching last week. My only suggestion is that perhaps next time you could choose to tackle a more difficult theological concept than the one you chose…the Trinity?  Well done on a tough core orthodox theology of the Christian church.

O.K.  Let’s do a little informal “show of hands” survey here this morning. 

  1. Given the choice of a.) living in poverty most of your life, or b.) living in wealth, how many of you would choose poverty?
  2. Given the choice of a.) living through a season of mourning a great loss in your life (such as a loved one to death, your health to a terminal disease, a good friendship to misunderstanding), or b.) living through a month of parties, celebrations and feasts, how many would choose the ‘mourning’ route?
  3. Given the choice between being a.) submissive, yielding, compliant, timid and deferential OR b.) bold, take-charge, self-confident, in-charge…who would choose the first set?
  4. Would you rather be a.) discontent with yourself and feeling needy or b.) content with yourself and feeling satisfied with your life?
  5. Would you rather hang out with a.) people who frequently offend you, ask you for things and take from you, OR b.) people who are constantly giving to you, always nice to you and never annoy you?
  6. Would you rather be considered a.) a straight-laced, squeaky-clean, straight-as-an-arrow nice guy/gal, OR b.) life of the party, smok’en hot, party-hearty dude/dudette?
  7. Would you rather be a.) liked by everyone, invited to all the parties, have a huge following and be famous and in People magazine, OR b.) criticized, hated, attacked in the press and on the street, shunned, and abused by people.

My either/or options here may have been a bit skewed from exactly the wording Jesus used…but not by much. 

Jesus gave a very similar list to this and basically told people that happiness in life is found, not in making choices that avoid pain and always lead to positive experiences but actually making choices in the midst of life’s pain  that lead into God himself. 

            Of all the dozens of stories, the parables, the sermons and teachings of Jesus in the 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I’ve chosen what is commonly called the Beatitudes for today’s message.  (“Beatitude” is simply the Latin word for “blessed,” which, as you’ll see, occurs rather frequently here.)

Since we are talking this month in our The Story journey through the Bible chronologically about the life of Jesus Christ, I thought these 10 verses in Matthew 5 give us one of the clearest examples of how totally extraordinary, totally revolutionary, totally counter-cultural and counter-human nature the life and teachings of Jesus Christ are. 

            I think that far too often we are secretly critical of people in Jesus’ day who were not very excited about Jesus or his teachings.  Being so used to hearing the stories and reading His word, we just assume that we would have embraced Jesus wholeheartedly and been the early-adopters of his radical way of life. 

            But the reality is far harsher.  Not only did Jesus’ stories often shock people; his actions drew frequent and fiery criticism over and over again.  Since Jesus was God incarnate, God in human person, it is probably safe to say that this simple reality of how shocking and at times utterly disturbing He and his words were to so many, simply goes to show how radically different God and His will for us IS from our natural understanding, our culture and even our way of life. 

            Jesus is radical.  His calling is all-consuming.  And his teachings are utterly life-rearranging. 

            Nothing makes that more clear than the Beatitudes.  Yet even the great Mahatma Gandhi misunderstood completely, I believe, the intent of Jesus’ words.   Gandhi, a Hindu, said of it, “Christ’s Sermon on the Mount fills me with bliss even today. Its sweet verses have even today the power to quench my agony of soul….The Sermon on the Mount left a deep impression on my mind when I read it.” 

            But here is the problem.  The Beatitudes were not meant to provide mankind with a salve for his “agony of soul.”  They were not spoken to simply leave “a deep impression on [one’s] mind.”  They were not meant to leave anyone thinking that life would be fine if we could just embrace these seemingly upside down life experiences and values. 

The Beatitudes were meant to show us how desperately we need God in the person of Jesus Christ. 

They were meant to help us see how much of life is programmed by God in such a way as to gently lead us to Jesus…or even violently show us how much we need Him. 

The proof that Mahatma Gandhi didn’t really understand the Beatitudes is that he never, to the best of our knowledge, came running to Christ or bowed before the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in humble submission.  Jesus was no ordinary man.  And his preaching of the good news of the Kingdom was no ordinary message. “Deep impressions” might be good enough for merely deep teachings.  But they are woefully inadequate as responses to the Living God. Let’s see for ourselves.

            Matthew 5 begins by telling us a couple of important things about this particular teaching session of Jesus.  Here’s how the chapter begins in vs. 1.

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2) and he began to teach them.”

  • Notice, Jesus was teaching authoritatively. I don’t mean he was merely using a strong tone of voice.  The very position he took physically of “sitting down” was not because he was tired standing.  It was because when a teacher in that day sat down while teaching, it was a sign that they were in a position of authority, making an authoritative declaration. This wasn’t a “take-it-or-leave-it” message.  It was an “accept Me and this teaching as having authority in your life”…or reject both me and the teaching.
    1. Remember later in Matthew 27:19 where Pilate is “sitting on the judge’s seat” in authority and judgment over Jesus. Pilate’s wife tried desperately to convince her husband not to condemn what she called “that innocent man”, namely Jesus.
    2. Even today, when the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church speaks ex cathedra, the Roman Catholic Church holds to the belief that he speaks infallibly… without error. Ex cathedra (Latin) literally means “out of the chair.”   
  • The second important background note here is also found in verse 1—Jesus’ disciples, not just curiosity-seekers, came to sit under His teaching. This is important because Jesus is not just teaching the crowds here. He isn’t laying out nice morality for everyone to “just get along.”  He isn’t calling people to “be better” or “work harder” or do this list of things in order to reach God.  Disciples of Jesus understand that He never called for a self-improvement plan of spirituality.  Jesus called for a total-surrender and submission plan to life. That’s being a disciple.

In addition, if you look at every one of these promises in the Beatitudes, NOT 1 of them depends on anything that is out of your control.  None of these amazing promises depends on…

  • Whether you are poor…or wealthy.
  • Whether you are small or tall, slight or substantial.
  • Whether you can sing or dance or read or cook.

The amazing promises that Jesus gives in this list are that blessing awaits ANYBODY who either finds themselves in freely OR chooses to enter into any of these seemingly unenviable conditions in life as a follower of Jesus.

That said, let’s look at how radical this discipleship plan is.  Because if it’s what Jesus called His first disciples to, I’m betting it is precisely what Jesus is still calling US to do.

The Message says it this way:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Back to Matthew 5:3—“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed….”  Sorry, but we simply must clarify this 8-time repeated word.  It sounds so…religious…spiritual…like something pastors would use when they trot out their “god-voice”…BLESSED!

            Some other translations use the word “happy” in place of blessed.  The problem with that is that happy is really only a small portion of what the term “blessed” (from the Greek makarios) contains.  You can be temporarily “happy” without God.  Lots of things in life can “make us happy,” at least for a little while.  But only God can really fill the human heart with that state of being that encompasses our English words of “blessed,” “happy,” “satisfied,” “contented,” “at peace,” or “filled up” with God.

ILL:  In the Greek of Jesus’ day, the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean was called the “makariosor “Blest Isle.”  It was where all the posh Mediterranean cruises liked to dock (I’m guessing J). The idea was that those who lived on Cyprus never had to leave its shores in order to have all they needed to be content.  They had natural resources and minerals.  They had a beautiful place to live, with amazing fruit and flowers.  The island was self-contained.  It was island paradise…sort of like …Maui in February… if you live in Spokane!  J

            Jesus is saying that when we are blessed by God, you are self-contained…because you are God-consumed.  In other words, our happiness does not come from our circumstances… or by accident…or even through diligent searching for it.  It comes because we are living under God’s hand of blessing.  What our hearts long for in feeling full and blessed and loved is what happens to the person who knows that they are totally, fully approve by God. 

ILL:  Do you know what that is like to have your father approve of you?  There are lots of different ways a dad can demonstrate his approval.  I was blessed to have a dad who showed and spoke approval over me often…by his warm smile, his declared love, his frequent hugs, the true delight you could see in his eyes and hear in his voice when he congratulated or thanked you…or upon arriving home from work as I was practicing the cello, he would just sit down in a chair on the other side of the room, close his eyes and listen with a smile on his face as I tried my best to make music. 

“Filled up”…”blessed”…”approved”…they all catch something of what Jesus is promising to certain kinds of people in certain kinds of experiences.  Verse 3--

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

My opening poll question this morning was skewed, I’ll admit.  I asked, Given the choice of a.) living in poverty most of your life, or b.) living in wealth, how many of you would choose poverty?”  Jesus wasn’t really talking about material or financial poverty.  His focus was upon “poor in spirit.”  He’s really addressing the attitude of our hearts when it comes to our relationship with Him.  Do we feel our personal poverty of soul before God OR do we think we’re pretty hot stuff…a real gift of God to the human race?

            Jesus chose one of two possible Greek words for “poor.”  The one he chose means absolute poverty.  Living hand-to-mouth isn’t absolute poverty.  That’s living day-by-day with nothing left over for a rainy day.  If you live in absolute poverty, every day is a rainy day!  You have nothing. Even the cloths on your back are rotting and falling off. Knowing you are absolutely destitute spiritually will lead to tremendous blessing.

            ILL: Jesus illustrated the difference between someone who really grasps their soul-poverty and someone who doesn’t by a story in Luke 18 about a tax collector and a Pharisee. To get the emotional feel of the contrast, we’d probably have to think of the difference between someone you least respect and might even abhor…and someone you look up to and admire.  Like, say, the difference between a drug dealer and a pharmacist…or a father who pimps out his daughter and a loving, self-sacrificing dad…or a Nazi S.S. doctor who experimented on children and a cancer-care doctor who saves your child’s life

            In this story, it’s actually the “bad guy” who is “poor in spirit.” Everyone in the society would have labeled him the sicko.  When he comes to worship, he sits in the back…the last row…no, actually he sits on the floor against the wall in the back.  He buries his face in his hands (beats his breast) and probably his hands in the carpet.  And he simply repeats softly to God, “Please, oh please, show me mercy.”  And he keeps pleading until God answers with His forgiveness and love and grace and mercy.  Then he gets up and quietly slips out the door, walking home “poor in spirit” but with the favor of God on his heart.

            That’s the virtue of humility that comes when we know and feel how poverty-stricken we are spiritually. 

            Contrast that with the vice of pride which the Pharisee displayed in spades.  Now remember, he’s the guy everybody wants to be like. He’s self-made, independent, and can take care of himself.  He stands “by himself.” No need to hang out with other people, especially those that don’t have “anything to offer” him.  He’s always thinking about how different he is from everyone else…in a “good” sort of way…he thinks. 

You can tell if you have a heart like this because you’ll always be critical of others.  You’ll criticize their speech…or their belief system…or the wealth they have…or don’t have.  You’ll make snap judgments based on how they look…or what they say…or the way they carry themselves…or the car they drive…or don’t have.  When we criticize others, we are actually saying to God, “I’m glad I’m not like them…those ‘other people.’”  It’s the classic “us-vs.-them” mindset.  We don’t see ourselves as one of them but better than them. 

            But when you are poor in spirit, you truly identify with the broken sinner more than the cleaned-up ‘saints.’  You know that your sin of pride or anger or self-destructive behavior or sexual impurity is just as ugly and destructive as the sex-trafficker, the husband who abuses his wife, the woman who ignores her husband and the politician who lies to the people. 

            What happens when you really know you are no better than the person you can’t stand and have nothing in your heart to commend you to God?  You stop struggling to be “good enough” to get God’s attention let alone His approval.  And you just humbly cry out for mercy…and wait until you receive it. 

            What’s the promise that comes with this heart-condition?  Nothing less than “the kingdom of heaven.”  When you know you haven’t a prayer of God’s approval in yourself and that they ONLY HOPE for you is God’s mercy, then the Kingdom of heaven opens up for you.  Because just like salvation, heaven is God’s gift.   It’s not earned or gotten by any amount of moral or religious living.  It’s offered only to those who know they stand frighteningly poor…actually bankrupt and indebted beyond imagination spiritually… before God.  

APP:  This isn’t just about when we “receive Christ.”  This is about being a follower of Jesus.  Growing followers of Jesus are growing in their poverty of spirit—in realizing their poverty more and more despite the fact they are moving closer and closer to Jesus.  It’s truly a living paradox. 

            Are we growing in humility/poverty of spirit these days…or feeling like you deserve God and all He is and promises (pride)?

[Silence for a moment to call out, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.”]

Vs. 4—Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

If you take Jesus out of this equation, this is nothing but a silly old saying.

Most gods are “comforting” to some degree.  The god of money can “comfort” you from some of the pain and sadness of poverty…but it’s a comfort that leaves you feeling empty in the end. 

The god of substance abuse can comfort you to some degree by medicating the emotional pain you are feeling.  But that god doesn’t help you solve the deep down pain in your heart. 

The god of entertainment can distract your mind and heart from the emptiness of loneliness or boredom…for a while.  But ONLY God who made our hearts with that God-shaped and God-sized spiritual vacuum can fill it.  Only our “God of all comfort” can take both the small and large “grief” situations of life and bring satisfying comfort. 

I Corinthians 1:2,4 tell us that our God is “…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  He’s the God of “all comfort”—all kinds, all degrees, ALL.  You name what makes you sad and I can point you to the God who offers to comfort you.

Comfort doesn’t mean He takes away the cause of the sorrow.  When life is fine and good, we don’t need comfort.  It’s only when it hurts…and feels bad…and takes people and things we value…that comfort means something.  So comfort isn’t turning the clock back and recapturing what was lost. 

In addition, we can mourn just about anything.  MOURNING usually comes when we’ve lost something or someone we value or prize.  It’s an emotional reaction to loss.  Sometimes loss comes because something good is happening…like growing up.  Growing up means we have to leave some things of childhood in order to embrace life as adults. That’s good, but it can still hurt.

Then there is the pain of loss of very good things such as people or health or innocence or just about anything good or godly.  This passage tells us that the source of our sorrow is not really what matters; it’s the source of our comfort that makes the difference. 

We can go looking for comfort in all the wrong places.  A painful marriage may cause us to look for comfort in the arms of another person.  A loss of health may cause you to look for comfort in a bottle, either pill or booze.  The sorrow over disappointment in life may tempt us to look for comfort in mediocrity or workaholism or food.  Sorrow over how we hurt the people around us through our sins and selfishness can lead us to find relief in great self-condemnation or withdrawing from those we’ve hurt. 

But when we humble ourselves to acknowledge that no matter what the source of our sorrow, the only truly healthy comfort cure is running to the only “God of all comfort,” then we will find comfort.  It may take longer than we like.  It may be darker than we like.  But God is the only one who knows whether the source of our mourning is something we need to honor or abhor.  Only God can show us how to handle the uninvited emotions that need either His touch of grace and kindness or His tender rebuke and discipline. 

Most of us would prefer to run from sorrow and mourning.  But our God invites us to bring it to Him and let Him comfort us like no one and nothing else in the world can comfort.  Being loved in the midst of loss is usually the greatest comfort to all of us.  Having someone just sit with you in grief brings healing.  Having someone be kind to you when you’re sorrowful brings comfort.  Even when all others may fail us in our grief, God offers His presence if we will open our mourning up to Him. 

APP:  What losses…what ‘deaths’ in your life be they big or small…are causing grief, pain and sorrow?  Are you willing to carry them into the presence of the God of all comfort who can comfort us in “all our troubles”?  Sorrow can actually bring us much closer to God than celebration.  We have a Savior who the prophet Isaiah said was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).  How about running TO Him rather than away if we really want comfort?  [Silent prayer.]

Verse 5—Blessed are the MEEK, for they will inherit the earth.  Meek is not a word we’re used to using, at least in a very positive sort of way.  We may talk about someone being “rather meek and mild” and what we usually mean is they are rather shy or quiet or easily pushed around. 

            The N.T. only uses this word 4 times (praus).  Three of those times are in this very book of Matthew.  Twice Matthew uses it of Jesus himself.  In Mt. 11:29 Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls.”  Isn’t it restful to be around gentle people?  When we “learn from” Jesus, when we are walking closely enough to be considered “yoked” with him, we’ll find that gentleness brings rest to our souls. Our lives can’t be yoked to Jesus and not have his gentleness rub off.  Gentleness is a quality that primarily comes from Christ but primarily relates to other people.

            Mt. 21:5 again speaks of Jesus when it says, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  When the God of the universe rode on an unbroken colt of a donkey, even the donkey calmed down.  If being under the control of the gentle God of the universe calms even a jack ass down, certainly the same could happen to any of us who truly choose meekness rather than force or anger or any other controlling dysfunction.

            This Beatitude is a completely idiotic statement unless you view it through the lens of God himself. History and current reality would tell us that it is those who push and shove and bully and fight who end up with the most toys in life, the most stuff or “earth”. 

            But maybe it isn’t “the earth” we think of that Jesus had in mind that meek disciples would inherit.  Just what of “the earth” does gentleness “gain” or “get” you in this life when you look around? 

Well, I know what it got Jesus.  It got him the privilege of seeing people healed, of seeing millions redeemed, of transforming more hearts and lives than any tough guy, hard-driving, dispassionate person ever “got.” 

            One definition of meekness or gentleness I’ve heard is “strength under control,” or “authority used righteously.”  Certainly that is Jesus.  And certainly it is that very gentleness that has won the hearts of millions, not for a few days or decades, but for all eternity.

            You won’t see much of that in world leaders, or corporate heads, or Presidential candidates. Meekness doesn’t win many political contests.  (If it did, Ben Carson would be the next President.) 

But MEEKNESS wins hearts, something far more valuable and important on this earth than anything else, hands down.  God values the soul of one person more than the ALL the wealth or man-valued trinkets of this world.  Where our culture throws away and abuses people from the womb to the tomb, our God values every soul more than any career, any government, any business…anything this world so often puts above human souls.

            Where else can you go in this world to find this earth-shattering, life-rebuilding gentleness if not to Jesus?  He gave us “all authority”, “power” to be gentle, for one purpose: to make disciples…followers of Him. Other religions will demand conversion by force and the sword.  Christ invited us through gentleness.  And we get the distinct privilege of winning the earth to Christ through that same meek gentleness.

            The only place I can think of in the Bible that indicates gentleness may actually lead one to “inherit” some earthly ground or authority comes in Luke 19 with the parable of the 10 servants and the 10 minas.  Servants who used the Master-given wealth well were given responsibility and leadership over the proportionate amount of cities.  It is conceivable that this might happen in the millennial reign of Christ.  But the fact that the minas probably represent something more than hard currency would tend to suggest that the cities also mentioned represent something more in Christ’s kingdom.

ILL:  Two of the most gentle/meek men I can think of, my Dad and Wally C., will stand in heaven with all their 17 children and dozens of grandchildren, I think in large part due to the gentleness of Christ they displayed at close range to their families.

APP:  WHO in your life deserves gentleness the least?  The gentleness of Christ lived through you may be the very thing that overpowers their heart.  And if not theirs, certainly the hearts of many others who will be watching you display the meekness of Christ in the face of opposition.

            Where is God reminding you to yoke up with Jesus more so that His gentleness gets lived out to those around you?  At home?  Work?  On the freeway?  Waiting on hold for customer service?  With your kid’s teacher?  Your frustrating or nasty coworker? 

Let’s end with just one more, vs. 8—“Blessed are the PURE IN HEART, for they will see God.”

Just what kind of purity is Jesus talking about?  It’s clearly not a physical or ritual purity.  His qualifying words “pure in heart” tell us it has to do with our hearts.  Biblically speaking hearts are comprised of our wills, our consciences, our emotions, everything that orders our thoughts, words and actions

            Purity of heart is a bit like sanctification in the Scriptures.  On the one hand, Jesus talked in the Gospel of John about how all his disciples (except Judas) were “clean” or “pure” (same Gk. word) because of the way His word had taken root and cleansed them (Jn. 15:3).  The writer of Hebrews (9:14) tells us that it is the blood of Christ that cleanses and purifies our very consciences. 

So in one sense, a pure heart doesn’t come from working hard at it, scrubbing the gunk out of our hearts and “doing better.”  The human heart apart from a work of God’s Spirit is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” according to Jer. 17:9.  A pure heart in any human being can only come by a divine exchange program where God trades my eternal bankruptcy of sinfulness for Christ’s perfectly sinless life and payment for my sin-debt. 

But there is also the matter of ongoing purity, I’ll call it PRACTICAL PURITY that comes…or goes…on a moment by moment experience.  Since Jesus is the only human being ever to have a truly pure heart, living as deeply and constantly in Him is surely our only hope for practical purity of heart.  Our very impurity of heart is there to drive us to God.

This passage correlates purity of heart with a vision of God.  So we can also say that those who do not view life from a “pure heart”, see impurity rather than seeing God.  Who we are at heart determines what we “see” in this world. 

ILL:  You’ve been around people who see…and hear… and speak about everything from an impure heart.  Everything has a sexual innuendo.  Every look has a defiled component. 

            Lest we get on our high moral horse, let’s be honest and admit that if you can see or hear in this world, you probably struggle with moral impurity in your own heart.  That’s a good sign.  When you don’t feel the battle in your heart every time you see certain media…or dress…or stories…and don’t feel the battle, you might need to question the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart. 

            Here’s the deal.  The more we can look at life and people through the eyes of Christ, the more we’ll see God. 

  • When Jesus’ disciples want to run little kids off and keep them from bothering the Master, Jesus saw the most responsive disciples in their little faces.
  • When others saw bothersome, loud mouthed beggars and lepers, Jesus saw broken people who could become some of the most powerful proofs of His divine work.
  • When the “ethical people” of the town saw a prostitute, Jesus saw a hurting woman who needed a healing touch.
  • When the religious folks saw the scum of their society—tax collectors, sinners and heavy drinkers—Jesus saw sick souls in need of the Divine physician.

APP:  What we see when we look at other people depends on whether or not we’re trying to see them through Jesus’ pure heart or our own impure eyes. 

  • When I pass someone on the street…or at the beach…or in the office…am I asking God to help me see them through His eyes or mine?

That makes all the difference in the world.  I don’t have a prayer for a pure heart apart from Christ. 

Mother Teresa knew that.  Living in one of the worst cities for throw-away people in the world, Calcutta, she said she saw the face of Jesus in every sick, miserable, smelly, sore-infested, dying soul she picked up off the street.  The pure heart of Jesus had become more and more her heart…and she did see God more than most of us are able to see him in a much cleaner, neater, tidier, wealthier, healthier society. 

APP:  Where is God asking you to grow in His pure heart towards people…so that you might see Him more in your life?

  • What difficult people in your life has God put there so you can see Him more?
  • What kinds of people and places does God want you to see more of Him in rather than just more of a temptation to impure thinking or actions?
  • Who is God calling you to look at through His eyes and see more of God in rather than sin or dysfunction or repulsive behavior?

Every person in this world bears some measure, however hidden, of the image of God.  As people whose very lives are found in Jesus, we are the people who are called to a purity of heart that sees God in more of this life than anyone else. 

[Call to accept the purity of Christ in exchange for your sinfulness through faith in Jesus Christ.]