Good evening, its good to be here tonight and we will begin a short study in the book of Matthew it is not going to be exhaustive but we will be focusing in the on the Beatitudes the amazing statements of Jesus Christ about the blessing of God upon a persons life. You’ll find them in so turn there with me . Here Jesus teaches us about a life that is blessed by God, who doesn't want that right? Everyone of us want to be blessed, who doesn’t want to blessed in life, you certainly want to blessed in death, and we all want to blessed for all eternity. That’s exactly Jesus is speaking about here, the opposite of being blessed is being cursed… nobody wants that.
But here is the Son of god teaching about a life that is blessed and he is speaking about people who are blessed. So I read this and I think to myself, I want to be sure that I am one of these people. I want to take a fresh look at myself and be sure that I am pursuing this kind of life, that the very Son of God says is under the blessing of god the father.
the beatitudes are compelling because they not only describe a life that is blessed by god, but we will see that they actually give us the way by which we pursue a blessed life. I want to share with you tonight how you can make progress in the Christian life, directly in these beatitudes, some of you may be noticing in your own life how these attributes are being cultivated and you didn’t realize it but they are happening but you will also find areas where you haven’t allowed God to penetrate your heart and drive you to seek out the blessing of god which comes from pursuing these attitudes.
This is how sanctification happens, this is how I can get from where I am to where I want to be in Jesus Christ. Jesus describes a person who is blessed by God and that forces the question: “Is He describing me?” Am I the person described here, am I the displaying in my life more of the marks that Jesus is speaking of here?
Because what matters is not that you or I walk around here saying oh were very blessed… What matters is not that we think were blessed, what matters is does God pronounce us to blessed and Jesus is describing GOD SAYS are blessed. He is doing it right here. The beatitudes will also lead you to worship, because the beatitudes Jesus teaches, you see in the life of Jesus. There is total integrity in the Son of God. This preacher, Jesus practices what He preaches in every way, at every time, in every circumstance He finds himself in.
So tonight is really an introduction to the Beatitudes, and in particularly i want us to see how we can use them. The practical question is HOW AM I GOING TO PUT THIS TO WORK IN MY LIFE. I want you to see 3 ways today in which you can put these to work in your life and see God blessing you with His presence.
Use them as a Tool of discernment
Use them as a Tool of discernment
Now think with me for a minute about bird watching, my nephew has a book with all the different types of birds and many people have this as a hobby, to take a pair of binoculars and look for the different species of birds in nature. We all know that birds are known by their distinguished marks that's how you tell one kind from another, one breed from another.
So let me ask you this what are the distinguishing marks of a Christian?
how would you actually know a Christian if you spotted one? What are the distinguishing marks?
What are the distinguishing marks of a true child of God that is walking faithfully with God?
Someone might say: “well I would know a Christian by what they believe...”
Because God has revealed certain truths in scripture and one who does not believe those truth cannot be a child of God. Jesus says “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
So we know that if a person does not believe in the Lord Jesus as God then they cannot be a Christian. He said this: “The work of the Father is to believe that the Father has sent me.” So there are certain things that a person believe s and without believing them a person cannot be saved. But remember this, in James he tells us that even the demons believe. Satan knows that Jesus died for sin on the cross. Satan knows that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, there is no doubt in his mind, it is an undeniable reality.
All of us will have heard stories of someone who professes all the main doctrines of the Christian faith while still indulging their own sins of choice. What a person believes is a necessary mark of being a Christian but it is not the only mark of being a Christian.
so how would you know a true Christian if you saw them? By asking what they believe? No it has to be more than that. Somone else might say well i can spot a real Christian by what they do, and you might say that words mean nothing if you don’t put them into practice, now again that is a very good answer. Jesus said it is the one who hears my voice and does them, who is like the one who builds his house upon the Rock.”
yet JEsus tells us himself that there will be people to who He will say depart from me, I never knew you.”
Its sobering because these people to whom Jesus says depart from me for I never knew you, they are completely taken by suprise. The reason they are taken by suprise, and have assumed that they are genuine CHristians is because they have been so actively involved in ministry. So they say, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, did we not do mighty works inyour name.
So these are impressive things were talking about here. These people did these deeds in the name of Jesus , and were regarded as Christians and were in ministry. It never occured to them, that they might not actually be true Christians. friends heres what that means for me. There will be no value whatsoever in me on the last days to stand before Jesus and saying, I was the pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church in cottonwood Alabama. NO CREDIT TO ME AT ALL HE IS NOT IMPRESSED… why?
Thats not what He is looking for.
that’s not where the blessing lies. Not having a position, or role or a ministry. Where does the blessing lie?
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THIERS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
So whats most important is to put this into practice.
How would you spot a real Christian?
Jesus does not begin by teaching a big class on all the doctrines of the Bible, He doesnt say alright now lets get all you guys involved in ministry. He says let me tell you what a person who lives under the blessing of God looks like.
ARE THESE THE THINGS WE ARE PURSUING?
ARE THESE THE THINGS WE HAVE SET OUR HEARTS TO STRIVE AFTER?
forget being a pastor, forget being Christian for 50 or more years, forget being a Sunday School teacher, or piano player, or missionary for a moment.
What is the evidence of these things in your life?
Man thats a search light isnt it?
Let’s see what He is looking for, I’ll start at (9) and work backwards
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
a person who brings peace? Does peace follow me wherever I go, do I intentionally seek peace daily with others. Or do expereince tension in ever situation I find myself in?
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Is my heart marked by purity?
Is it marked by impurity?
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
How am I doing in forgiving others, do I forgive quickly?
Am I merciful towards the weaknesses and the failures of other people?
Well how many times are we supposed to forgive they keep on doing it over and over again!
That sounds familiar
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Does that describe you today?
I go for one day without food, and at the end of it, i feel as though I am going to lose my mind.
Really really hungry
Is this how you feel about pursuing a life that is marked by the righteousness of God, no matter what it costs you?
When Jesus describes a person who is blessed, is He describing us?
If someone were to look at my life would they see these marks in me?
Am I consciously submitting myself to the will of God even when its costly.
Am I mourning over my sin in such a way that I am gradually coming to hate, when I used to love them?
Am I increasingly coming to a place where I despise what I once chose?
or am I remaining unchanged with the same habitual sins?
These are the questions that come out of the beatitudes. This cuts through the cheap talk that goes on in many of our churches. This is Jesus CHrist talking about the reality of a godly blessed life. What it means to pursue.
Now let’s pause for one moment, and make something as clear as I can.
The beatitudes are not telling you how to become a Christian.
The beatitudes are not telling you how to become a Christian.
They tell you what true Christians are like.
Now listen what this message is not saying, if you humble yourself, and mourn over your sins, and try to be righteous that will be what saves you. That would be salvation by works, thats not biblical and it is not what JEsus is teaching here. What IS the message?
MANY PEOPLE PROFESS TO BE CHRISTIAN it is easy to say it.
But church at its best is a mixed bag, of people who are the real deal,and people who have decieved themselves into believing they are children of God.
The Bible teaches us to examine ourselves.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Many people are resting on some meaningless mumbojo they spat out years ago, but have never walked in the fullness of Newness of life.
It has not really affected thier life at all. The church is a mixed bag of the genuine and the deceived.
The evidence that you are a Christian are seen here, that you humble yourself in the eyes of God, that you truly mourn over your sin, that you submit yourself to the will of God joyfully!
Thomas Watson wrote:
“If we do not imitate Christs life, we cannot be saved by His death.”
Now he is not saying that a person is saved by imitating the life of Christ, what he is saying we ARE SAVED BY HIS DEATH!, SINCE WE ARE SAVED BY HIS DEATH WE ARE PURSUING THE IMITATION OF HIS LIFE!
So by speaking these words, Jesus is inviting you to examine yourself. That there are certain indeisinguishable marks of a person who has been truly blessed by God. and here there are:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit “
“Blessed are they who mourn”
“Blessed are the meek”
So I’m wanting to encouraging you to use these beatitudes as a tool, for discerning your own spiritual state. Honestly it may be that as we move through this series, you may come to a place where you say, you know what, I have always thought that I was a Christian but now I have discovered that I am not so yet, and I need to become one.
I’m telling you that all over the congregation at UHBC you will find people who will tell you that for years they believed they were a Christian they were a model person, they believed the Bible, they did many good deeds in the name of Jesus but never truly knew Him. Our youth pastors wife is one of them, when she came here she was as sweet and as kind a person that i had met, but after the Lord searched her and she searched herself she realized that she had not yet been changed and I am telling you that while she is not perfect she is growing and is leading well, and she is a different person today than she was on that night when she called Cory and myself 3 years ago.
many people will tell you that as they began listening to the words of Jesus something began happening inside of them, and they realize that while they are taking in information and agreeing with that information that the information has not changed them on a heart level.
If that happens in your life it will be the most amazing breakthrough, ....
Use the beatitudes as a tool for discernment.
Use them as a Key to Progress
Use them as a Key to Progress
I want you to notice each of the virtues that Jesus speaks of here, actually flows out from the one that went before it. There is order, there is development and these almost create a pathway for maturity. Use these as a key to progress to move forward in the Christian life. think about the order of the beatitudes. think about them in this way:
The first 3 beatitudes deal with our NEED.
We are poor in spirit because we do not have what it takes to live as God commands
We mourn because seeing our inability we become more aware that our sins are many
We become meek instead of selfwilled and defiant because we know that we dont have the ability to direct our lives wisely.
So all of these first three are about our need.
I’m going to describe them as the roots of a Godly life. What comes out of these roots, what comes out of this recognition that we are in desperate need?
Well what comes out of it is the fourth beatitude
A DEEP LONGING FOR WHAT WE DO NOT HAVE, WE BEGIN TO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WE DO NOT HAVE.
We begin to say I MUST BE MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST WHO IS ALL OF THESE THINGS!
Thats what comes out of the awareness of our need, without that awareness of our need we never make progress we become complacent and selfsatisfying, but when the roots of these firs three beatitudes are nourished and begin to grow it produces a passionate pursuit of Godliness, and righteous living.
That is the LIFE of godliness because the life of the godly life is a passionate desire for righteousness
Now we have roots, and now we have life
This life nourished by these roots bring about beautiful fruit.
What is the fruit?
MERCY- Blessed are the merciful
PURITY OF HEART
PEACE- blessed are the peacemakers
Right here there is a roots life fruit pattern.
It becomes obvious that you cannot get the fruit without cultivating the root.
WHY REMAIN PURE?- well you cant start in your own strength to cultivate purity you first must see your need
WHY FORGIVE?- WELL YOU CANT START FORGIVING until you start at the roots that produce it
I hope what you will see as we study this together is that there is an 8th beatitude that comes
That the person that pursues this Godly life, and lives under the blessing of God will find at the same time that they are persecuted by the world.
OUT COME OF THIS LIFE- persecution
Not only is there progress, but because there is progress each of these beatitudes we need to understand that we cannot grasp the next without first engaging and laying hold of the first.