In this third session of Cru’s latest webinar conference series, UNVEILx (13 & 27 August, 10 & 24 September) on The Beatitudes, we hear Senior Pastor Benny Ho of Faith Community Church in Perth teach on "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8)
Purity of heart: Living a life of intimacy with God
“Being pure in heart deals with the motives and thoughts of the inner man. It is about doing the right things for the right reasons,” defined Pastor Benny.
“The word “pure” in the Bible has two basic meanings – clean and untainted. God did not just clean us up when He saved us through the cross. He also gave us a heart that is single towards Him,” Pastor Benny elaborated. Jesus preached about the eyes being lamps to the whole body, and that it was impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:22-23). There can be singleness in devotion and desire towards God only when our eyes are set on Him and we have purity of heart.
Watch the full session below!
When a heart is divided, there is no clarity of mind to follow Christ. “Many believers live half-hearted lives and, after a while, we accept it as the norm. We lack the clear vision of a Christian life that is fully and singularly devoted to God. A half-hearted Christian cannot please God,” said Pastor Benny.
When we are wholehearted towards God, there will be no room for spiritual adultery. David expressed this desire for singleness of heart in his prayer, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)
Integrity of person and principles
Integrity in both our character and principles allows us to act righteously. We can be sincere in our intentions, but if we violate sound principles we will end up doing the wrong thing. The same consequence follows if we have sound principles but the wrong posture of heart.
David was someone who had integrity in both person and principles. He pleased God and was chosen to be king because he had integrity of heart and skillful hands. From tending sheep, he became a shepherd and leader to God’s people (Psalm 78:70-72).
The issue of saving face
Someone with integrity has words and deeds that match up, and a coherent public and private self. “The problem is we tend to focus on image – who people think we are – rather than integrity; which is about who we really are,” said Pastor Benny.
David was passionate about integrity. In Psalm 7:8 he said, “[J]udge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to the integrity that is in me.”
The Pharisees, on the other hand, were big on external image but small on personal integrity. They were more concerned with what people thought about them compared to God’s pleasure. When that happens among us, we become inauthentic and start to wear masks in front of others. Christians become afraid to fail and terrified to expose their true selves.
Conversely, authenticity builds true fellowship. In the midst of genuine and sincere community, we become unafraid to share intimately. If we have sin in our lives, we feel safe to open up and allow others to help us in our journey. We can do this because we recognise that the church is made up of a body of sinners saved by grace.
“Authenticity is a product of intimacy – first with God, then with one another,” said Pastor Benny. When we are intimate with and secure in God, and have strong relationships, we dare to be open with people.
Paul declared, “I was the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am who I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10a). Paul saw himself as the greatest of sinners but, because of the grace of God, he was fully authentic and unafraid.
Jesus exemplified this authenticity in His life. He did not entrust Himself to or need the testimony of others as He knew people could not be trusted (John 2:23-26). Despite this, Jesus was absolutely open in His relationships and did not walk in hypocrisy. He communicated deeply with His disciples, cried publicly at Lazarus’ tomb, wept over Jerusalem, and rebuked where necessary.
Jesus lived as such because He trusted His Father. He knew nothing could happen to Him that God did not allow. His secure relationship with God allowed Him to be transparent in his dealings with people.
Cultivating the heart
“When you spend time with God, you become real with others. In solitude, we find our security. God becomes our anchor and our compass. We build depth and develop substance,” said Pastor Benny.
In our silence and solitude with God, we allow Him to access our life and love us for who we are. His rebuke and affirmation then become critical to us instead of the views of others.
He continued, “The highest joy for Man is cultivating the deepest part, and that is the heart. When the heart is pure then our vision is clear, and we will see God. Our eyes always see what our heart loves. If your heart loves and is single in its devotion towards God, you will see Him even when others do not.”
As we grow in purity of heart, may we declare like David, “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before your face forever.” (Psalm 41:12)
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