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Training the Disciples

Epiphanytide  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  17:37
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The Beatitudes are not a list of "blessed states" that Christians should aspire to be in. Rather, they descibe a variety of life conditions that seem God-forsaken. Jesus's point is that the kingdom is available even to them.

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 2018-01-21 1 The Training of the Disciples ThirdAsh Sunday Wednesday of Epiphanytide (the start of Lent) 3 The Training Manual 1 The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) 1. 5:1-20 Ordinary people can enter the blessed life of kingdom, and when they do they become the salt and light that upholds the world 2. 5:21-48 Kingdom goodness is not like the world’s goodness; it is an imitation of how God Himself loves 3. Warnings  6:1-34 Beware of the false securities of reputation and wealth  7:1-12 Beware of using shame to ‘help’ people; instead be a community of prayerful love  7:13-27 Beware of failing to live out these teachings 4 What the Beatitudes are not 1 Not a to-do list; not conditions that are especially pleasing to God or good for human beings Throughout Church history, many have taught that poverty, misery, and martyrdom are meritorious conditions But many poor, hungry, and bereaved have remained ungodly, and some who’ve been persecuted for Christ have rejected Him “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to the flames, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1Cor 13:3) 5 What the Beatitudes are 1 The primary theme of Jesus life and teaching is the availability of the kingdom of the heavens (Mt 4:17) Jesus is not replacing an incorrect understanding of how to earn God’s favour with a correct one. He is throwing “earning” out of the window entirely by showing God’s favor can come to anyone . These people are called ‘blessed’, not because they are in a meritorious condition, but because, precisely in spite of and in the midst of their ever so deplorable condition , the kingdom of God has moved redemptively upon and through them by the grace of Christ 6 Even they can be blessed 1 The Beatitudes take those who, from the human point of view, are regarded as most hopeless, most beyond all possibility of God’s blessing or even interest, and exhibiting them as enjoying God’s touch and abundant provision from the heavens. By proclaiming blessed those who in the human order are thought hopeless, and by pronouncing woes over those human beings regarded as well off (Lk 6:20-26), Jesus opens the kingdom of God to everyone. 2 v3: The spiritually bankrupt, unqualified and uninterested in spiritual life v4: Those suffering a grievous loss v5: The doormats v6: Those who desperately wish they could right a wrong, either in themselves or in their past v7: Soft-hearted suckers v8: Perfectionists v9: The moderates and mediators that both parties hate 1 2018-01-21 v9: The moderates and mediators that both parties hate v10: The whistle-blowers who are crushed for their refusal to be compliant with evil v11: Jesus freaks who respectable people hate 7 The same lesson elsewhere 1 The Rich Young Ruler (Mk 10): Being rich does not mean God favors you (blessed) “Wait – but then who can be saved?” (v 26) The Good Samaritan (Lk 10): Don’t judge who is ‘in’ with God (blessed) by externals “neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.” (1Cor 6:9-11) 8 Today’s “hopeless blessables” 1 The body-shamed Those who are not young, slim, and good-looking, enjoying romance, sex and fitness The crushed ones Flunk-outs, burn-outs, addicted, brain-damaged, incurable ill, swindled, replaced, lonely, incompetent, emotionally dead The immoral Murderers, child-molesters, brutal, bigoted, drug lords, pornographers, war criminals, sadists, terrorists, oppressive rich 9 Salt and Light 1 It is these “bottom people”, and not the “best and brightest”, who are to make life on earth manageable as they live in the kingdom God lives them light – truth, love and power – that they might illumine their surroundings God makes them salt to cleanse, preserve and flavour the times in which they live These “little” people, without any of the qualifications humans insist are necessary, are the only ones who can actually make the world work as God’s kingdom of love spreads in them and through them to others 2
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