This morning the Reality Check conference wrapped up with the final of Paul Washer’s four sermons on the beatitudes. After reading the text he began with this statement: “If you have been truly born again, the beatitudes must be, at least to some extent, a description of your life.”
Though the series was intended to cover all of the beatitudes, Washer got no further than this: “Blessed are the pure in heart.” The word “pure” means “unstained” or “without mixture.” It points to a single-minded devotion to Christ—a passion that eclipses every other passion. This is the very opposite of a man’s heart prior to conversion and is also the opposite of the unconverted religious man’s heart. There is a sense that when a person is born again, purity of heart will be a reality because salvation is a supernatural work of God in which you become a new creature. It is a reality. While we have been changed there is also a sense in which we need to continue changing and in which we need to pursue a pure heart. We are to be diligent in guarding our hearts because everything else springs from the heart. If we do not guard our hearts we will be transformed by this world and conformed to it. A pure heart has no competing loyalties—it has one king and one law. When God saves a person He begins to destroy all the idols in that person’s life. If you belong to God, He will be constantly working to make you pure by tearing out all the idols from your life. He is the only one who can truly satisfy. At the same time we should be hard at work destroying all competing loyalties in our hearts. God will bless you with so many good things but at the same time He will make sure to guard you so that those things do not become idols in your life. And meanwhile you must be sure to guard yourself.
Washer turned to some application but discussing the importance of examination and saying that there is both a divine and a human side to examination. He focused on the human side and taught about how I can build a wall around my heart. Each truth is like a post in the ground and you can build a wall with these posts. I am to make a commitment to the Lord that whatever is contrary to these truths will not enter into my world. This is a guide to a pure heart. I do not just need to fill my heart with goodness but to also keep the garbage out.
- What is good. This point and the next two are based on Romans 12:2 where we read that the will of God is good. Whatever is good can come through that fence. Whatever promotes my spiritual well-being and fence is permitted through that fence. If it will not do that it has no business in my heart, mind and life.
- What is acceptable. We can only allow in those things that are acceptable to God as revealed in Scripture.
- What is perfect. This has the idea of being complete. It is not partially true and partially false but wholly true and good.
- What is true. This point and the next four are based on Philippians 4:8. The devil works primarily through the lie—he will kill you through the lie (“Did God really say…?”).
- What is honorable. Whatever we allow into our lives must be honorable, dignified or serious; honest; respectable. We live in an age of joviality even within the church, but as Christians (though we can display and appreciate humor) there should also be a sense of seriousness about us.
- What is right. It must be right—it must be according to divine law. Does it conform to God’s standard and God’s character?
- What is pure. It must be pure and holy.
- What is lovely. It must be lovely. Purity does not need to be ugly or sad. There should be an elegance, a loveliness, a beauty in your life.
At this point, though the sermon had already run long and had only covered a portion of the text, Washer admitted “I’ve got 24 more pages of notes…” and he left off. And after a final word from Jeff Noblit, we went our separate ways.
I mentioned earlier that I had never heard any teaching from Paul Washer, but having done so (since he handled the bulk of the teaching at this conference), I can say that I’d gladly sit under his teaching again. I enjoyed his no-nonsense approach and enjoyed the fire in his ministry. He has a passion for what is true and right and good and he is unashamed to preach difficult and unpopular truths from Scripture.