In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees believed that they could please God by ‘doing’ – what they ate, what they wore, what they did not do on the Sabbath, what they tithed, etc. According to John MacArthur, “they were meticulously careful about what they did outwardly but paid no attention to what they were inwardly” (emphasis mine). We have a word for this: hypocrite. How can we live our lives so that our heart and our actions both reflect our Savior?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
Have you ever been called a hypocrite? How did it make you feel?
Read Matthew 5:8. Describe someone you know who is “pure in heart”. What characterizes their life?
The Bible has a lot to say about the heart. Read the following verses and discuss with your group the nature and role of your heart.
- 1 Samuel 16:7
- 2 Chronicles 16:9a
- Psalm 24:3-6
- Psalm 86:11
- Ezekiel 11:19
If a pure heart is a heart that is undivided, what does a divided heart look like (see Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19-20, Luke 16:13)?
What do you think it means when Jesus says those with a pure heart will “see God”?
“To be pure in heart is to live one life and live it in the open.” (author unknown)
Think about a typical day for you. What are some of the things you encounter (concerns, people, situations)? What are some of the things that you do (what you watch, talk about, read). How often are you focused on God during the day? On someone else? On yourself? Spend some time each day reading, meditating, and praying through Psalm 27. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a pure heart focused only on Jesus.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
David was considered a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). According to these Psalms which David wrote, what kind of characteristics did he have?
- Psalm 9:1
- Psalm 19:14
- Psalm 27:8
- Psalm 28:7
- Psalm 57:7
Read Psalm 51:10, Psalm 119:9-11, and Acts 15:9. How do you purify your heart?
The reward for having a pure heart is seeing God. When does this happen – now or in the future? Or both? (See Psalm 19:1, Psalm 29:3-7, 1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 3:2, Hebrews 1:2-3, Revelation 1:7.)