Sermon on the mount -Summary of the Beatitudes Part i (Matthew 5:3-6)
Jesus departed from the crowds and went up the mountain, the disciples came to him. This in a sense represents going on with Him i.e. a step of consecration, coming out of the crowd to follow Him. Being a disciple means to follow the Master and obey his teaching and commands.
Come and meet Christ on the mountain if you want to be his disciple.
Q. Why go to the mountain? A. to get away from distractions and closer to God.
To the fleshly mind the Beatitudes seem like madness or confusion but to the spiritual man they are a source of joy and direction. Jesus commands His Church to go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.. Only disciples can disciple others and here is one of the major teachings to make us into disciples.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men cast insults at you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely on account of Me…
Beatitudes; (Latin) meaning blessednesses.
Blessed; definition: happy, to be envied and spiritually prosperous (that is with life joy and satisfaction with God's favour regardless of the outward conditions). This is the state of heart and mind we all long for! It is the attitude of heart or mind that is fulfilled only in God.
Blessed: Makarios; Greek is used to describe God himself; it is enjoying life as God enjoys it
Consider a step wise progression of the Beatitudes. They represent the starting point and how to make progress in coming to maturity. Maturity in Christ is our vision.
It might also be that the beatitudes may give us the pattern of tackling every project in our spiritual lives!
v.3. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We must admit our inadequacy and failure to God (sin, shame, pride, fear, insecurity, self-sufficiency). All our (own) righteousness, all our own good deeds are as filthy rags to God. This is the starting point. This poverty of spirit (attitude of heart/mind) opens the door to the kingdom of God. It is impossible to enter the kingdom in any other state of heart. The kingdom of God is within you i.e. when the love of Christ that is shed abroad in our hearts and influences our whole life, thoughts, and actions. Only admission of our poverty in spirit before and to God can enable Him to breathe His life into us (c.f. salvation experience).
v.4 Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. This means mourning over our sins to go on with God we must firstly confess our sins and express sorrow on an ongoing basis before God. The Greek word for mourn is mainly used in the New Testament in the context of mourning over other sins rather than bereavement.
James 4:8-11; v.9 mourns and weep for your sins.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2; v2 Church had failed to mourn over incestuous immorality.
2 Corinthians 12:21; Paul mourns over churches unrepented sin.
We might need to ask Him to take away any enjoyment of the sin. We then ask for forgiveness and the grace to avoid falling into the same trap. When we reach this point of mourning over our sins God can do something with us. We must mourn for our own sins, for the church’s sins and those of the nation.
v.5 Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness incorporates strength and gentleness and includes humility (paradox). It is the branch that bears most fruit that bows the lowest on the tree. Humility is to see your true standing before God. To recognise His power and majesty (the surpassing beauty of holiness) and yet at the same time to realise his great love for you. In meekness we stop telling God how to do it and submit to His will. We then enter His strength and ability, as we become lesser in our own eyes, so He becomes greater and brings all his abilities into the situation. Meekness with humility removes paralysing fear from us and produces courage in us to go and possess the land, to begin to fulfil all our destiny in Christ. We no longer try to do things in our own strength.
v.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Now that we are no longer bound in fear or in self-sufficiency (due to meekness with humility) we can ask God to fill us with a hunger and thirst for His things. Having confessed and turned from our sins and admitted our inadequacy before Him He is ready to create these desires in our hearts.
To hunger for
· The Word of God
· opportunities to minister
· opportunities to serve.
To thirst for
· His presence
· His Spirit
· His power in revival
No more yesterday’s manna but hungering and thirsting for a freshness each day with God. We begin to long for the things that God longs for...
See our next post, Lessons from the Beatitudes Part 5.