Original article with links and video here: http://airo-cross.blogspot.com/2010/11/blessed-purity.html
By Justin Edwards
I have been meaning to listen to Dr. Steven Lawson's message from the 2009 Resolved Conference, "Blessed Purity", for quite some time now, but just last week finally got around to do so - and I'm so thankful I did. Over the last several months I have had the opportunity to read and listen to some great messages on the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, but I must say this may be the most important I have heard to date. By the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, we see the spiritual evolution from the broken sinner to the sanctified saint. While Dr. Lawson goes through each beatitude with fine exegetical precision, his focus of this message is the 6th beatitude in Matthew 5:8,
"Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God."
We must understand it is only the pure in heart who will see God. It is only they who will enter through the Narrow Gate, it is only they who will enter into the King's court, and it is only they who will inherit eternal life. Those who bear the religious facade, whose repentance is superficial and rooted in worldly sorrow, whose hands are unclean and whose hearts are impure, not only will they not see God, but they will face His everlasting wrath should they die with hearts of stone. Are you the former or latter?
Dr. Lawson begins with the four spiritual laws by which we may be saved and are found in verses3-6. Matthew 5:3,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Only those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy before a Holy God will enter the kingdom of heaven. We must realize we have broken the Law of God and fall short of His perfect standard. There is no one righteous and it is only by the perfect righteousness of Christ Jesus that we may be justified before God. Jesus only came to save sinners, therefore it is only those recognize themselves as such who may be saved.
"Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted."
Only those who are broken and sorrow over their sin will be comforted by the grace of a merciful God. But this is not just any sorrow as we see in 2 Corinthians 7:10,
"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
It is godly sorrow, the kind of sorrow that pierces the soul for offending God, that leads to the Peace that passes all understanding. Understanding and grieving over the depths of our sin produces in us the desire to put on the yoke of Christ, which, though this yoke be easy, leads us to walk in practical righteousness. These then, are the meek of Matthew 5:5:
"Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth."
Only those who humbly submit their lives to the Master shall inherit the earth. These who grieve over their sin and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ are in a right position to be instructed, directed, and guided by the One leading them in the Shepherd's yoke. They are gentle and lowly in heart and yield themselves to the authority of King Jesus. As they surrender themselves to this King, they hunger and thirst for the King's righteousness. Matthew 5:6,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled."
The lowly, poor and broken spirit cry out to the only righteousness that will clothe them perfection. While our righteous works are but filthy rags, the righteousness of Christ is faultless and is the Rock by which we must build our foundation. The righteousness of Christ is the narrow gate we must each pass through, and those whose pride pave the way through the broad gate of self-righteousness and idolatry (creating a god in their own image) will only find destruction through its passage.
Those who pass through the narrow gate by the sovereign grace of God will continue to be poor in spirit, they will continue to weep when they sin against God, they will continue to be meek, and they will continue to thirst for the righteousness of Christ. Not only that, but they will continue to be pure in heart as God continues to set them further apart from the world. The moment we are justified by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit begins a work in us that He will see to completion. This work is the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit through sanctification. Those who undergo this refinement by fire are the pure in heart, and they are most blessed for they will see God.
The heart is our very soul and the most important thing in us before God. I challenge you to conduct a word-search of "heart" to see just how often it is referred to in Scripture. Our heart is where our motives, affections, and will reside. It is where we resolve to work in step with the Holy Spirit to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. When God sets us apart by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, He calls us to continue to separate ourselves from the world (1 John 2:15) and present our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1). In reference to a pure heart, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22,
"Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
A pure heart is only possible by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5,
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,"
In Titus 2:11-12 we see the grace of God that brings salvation teaches
"...us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age..."
1 John 3:3 tells us,
"And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
Those with pure hearts have been washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. They have been covered by the grace of God that brings forth saving faith, which results in the pursuit of godliness, righteousness, faith, love, and peace. In short, God's work of justification must yield His work of sanctification. Only those with pure hearts will be sanctified, and only those who are sanctified will see God.
I cannot possibly share all of my notes from Dr. Steven Lawson's message here due to length. But you will find an outline of the remainder of Dr. Lawson's message below where he hones in on the heart:
1. Priority of the heart
2. Purity of the heart
3. Problem of the heart
4. Purifying of the heart
a.Wash in the Word (Psalm 119:11, Ephesians 5:26)
b. Bathe in the blood (Psalm 51:2, 1 John 1:9)
c. Submit to Spirit (Romans 1:4, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
d. Pray for purity (Job 14:4, Psalm 51:7, 10)
e. Run with the righteous (Proverbs 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33)
5. Privilege of the heart
a. We see God in creation (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1-4)
b. We see God in providence (Romans 8:28)
c. We see God in Scripture
d. We see God in Christ (John 14:9-10)
e. One day we will see God face to face (Revelation 22:4)
What is the condition of your heart? Do you continue to justify your sins against God? Do you continue to live a lifestyle that is totally contrary to the nature of God? Do you love the world? Does sin have dominion over you? Are you proud? Do you have need of nothing? If asked about your spiritual condition, would you say, "I'm ok, don't worry about me"? Dear friend, it is only those who habitually confess and repent of their sin, who hate the things God hates and love the things He loves, who love His Word and His Church, who are not controlled by their flesh nor slaves of sin, who have humbled themselves before the Lord and donned the yoke of Jesus Christ, who have been justified by the righteousness of Christ and purified by His Spirit - only these will see God.
You will never see God if your heart is still one of stone. You will never see God if your heart is impure and your hands unclean. You must have a heart of flesh, and you must be poor in spirit, you must be broken over your sin, you must be meek, and you must hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. You can only be these things if you have been given eyes to see and ears to hear. No amount of outward religious activities or deeds will make you pure. Purity only comes from the inward work of the Holy Spirit. You must be washed - you must be born again! Cry out to God and plead with Him to save you and He will!
Don't you want to see God? He will not only save you from His wrath, but He will save you from your sins. You must be set apart. You must be pure. Turn to Him today and be healed so you can see Him face to face.
Dr. Lawson's message, Blessed Purity, can be viewed in the video below or downloaded for your mp3 player here: Blessed Purity mp3
"Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully." - Psalm 24:3-4
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