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Blessed!

The Sermons of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:21
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Introduction

Today we are starting a new sermon series, titled The Sermons of Jesus...
We’ll start the message today in Matthew chapter 5. This is the classic text of the Sermon on the Mount. We’ll focus today on the Beatitudes of Christ.
Pray with me.
I mean somebody who just seems to personify the Beatitudes.

The story is told of two brothers who grew up on a farm. One went away to college, earned a law degree, and became a partner in a prominent law firm in the state capital. The other brother stayed on the family farm. One day the lawyer came and visited his brother, the farmer. He asked, “Why don’t you go out and make a name for yourself and hold your head up high in the world like me.” The brother pointed and said, “See that field of wheat over there? Look closely. Only the empty heads stand up. Those that are well filled always bow low.”

Said differently, “The branch that bears the most fruit is bent the lowest to the ground.”

Humility
Pray with me.
Pray with me.
Pray with me.
Father please bless our time together in your word. May the message that you have for us, penetrate our hearts and minds and impact the way that we interact with this world. Father, please give me clarity of mind, and precision of speech, that I may be a vessel carrying your message to your people gathered here today. Amen.

I. The Sermon on the Mount -

Matthew 5:1–12 NASB95
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

A. Confused World Views

Confused world views on this message:
The Sermon on the Mount has been misunderstood by believers and by the world ever since it was spoken by Jesus Christ as he stood on a small hill near the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
They are considering this message from the viewpoint of the world, rather than interpreting this message from a knowledge of God in scripture and Jesus Christ. In order to make sense of this message, one must understand the Son of God, who came to flip the tables on a corrupt religion, establish His kingdom on earth, and die on a Roman cross, leaving behind a rag-tag remnant of nobodies. But is was those nobodies, who were empowered by the very Spirit of God to accomplish far more than anybody other than God Himself understood.
Some say this is indicative of God’s plan of salvation.
Others say that this is what we must be in order to go to heaven.
Still others consider it a “charter for world peace.” Once all the inhabitants of the earth just do this, peace will suddenly appear.
And yet another group says that these are the rules of living in some distant utopian future.
But all of these views are warped.
They are considering this message from the viewpoint of the world, rather than interpreting this message from a knowledge of God in scripture and Jesus Christ. In order to make sense of this message, one must understand the Son of God, who came to flip the tables on a corrupt religion, establish His kingdom on earth, and die on a Roman cross, leaving behind a rag-tag remnant of nobodies. But is was those nobodies, who were empowered by the very Spirit of God to accomplish far more than anybody other than God Himself understood.

B. We Must Know Him First

Oswald Chambers said, “We must know [Jesus Christ] first as Savior before His teaching has any meaning for us, or before it has any meaning other than that of an ideal which leads to despair.”
Can you imagine trying to live up to a standard like the Beatitudes without having Christ as your savior first?
Here’s the quick list:
be humble
live under circumstances that cause grief
be gentle
crave righteousness
be merciful
be free of a guilty mind
always mediate for harmonious relations
be willing to be a target for what you believe
be willing to take insults and lies
And somehow… we’re supposed to “Rejoice and be glad?”
We are taught in this world that all these things are weakness.
We are taught in this world that all these things are weakness.
Here’s the real kicker… you can’t live up to this standard.
Yes, I do agree there are good things in this list to aspire to. In fact, there were several moments this week where I wished that I had been able to achieve one or two of these in particular...
Now the world looks at this list and either tries to make something out of these things that they are not… OR they say, “Well I can never do all of that stuff anyway… It sure is pretty to hear you read it though!” OR they say, “Well none of you Christians do any of that stuff anyway!”
Now the world looks at this list and either tries to make something out of these things that they are not… OR they say, “Well I can never do all of that anyway… Sure is pretty though!”
Here’s what the Bible has to say about the world trying to make sense out of scripture...
1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB95
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
…and further down...
1 Corinthians 1:27 NASB95
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 cor 1:2
This is not a message for the whole world...
Look at verse 1...
Matthew 5:1 NASB95
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
I know preachers that have claimed this message was preached on a mountain so that everybody could hear Jesus’ words.
I don’t believe that’s what happened at all.
I believe that Jesus was leading His disciples away from the crowds that were always following Him. He wanted to teach them something special. Something that the crowds wouldn’t understand. He wanted to teach them something about what it would be like to follow Him. He was talking with His disciples, those who were closest to Him.
This is ultimately a message for those who believe in and follow Christ:
Matthew 5:1–12 NASB95
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus did not come to earth to dangle a standard in front of us that we can never achieve!
He came to break a false standard that was being imposed on the people by the Pharisees.
PRINCIPLE The truth is that WE cannot achieve the standard of the Beatitudes. But the Beatitudes CAN be achieved IN us and THROUGH us, by the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We have no power in this regard. But Jesus Christ came to make broken things whole and to make the ugly beautiful. His Spirit is remaking us into living models of the Beatitudes. We just have to give His Spirit room to work in us and through us.
That means that we have to pick ourselves up out of our pride, and our grief, and our anger at all that’s going on in this injust world around us and focus on the person of Jesus Christ. We must forget our circumstances and allow His Spirit to mold us and make us into the spitting image of Jesus Christ Himself.
This is a message of what the Holy Spirit tries to put in us… The very characteristics of Christ Himself.

II. What Are Beatitudes and Why Are They Important?

A. Blessed

Blessed
==========
μακάριος
makarios
blessed; happy, fortunate
==========
beatus (Latin)
happy; blessed
==========
Ultimately this state of blessedness refers to the favor of God, which has been conveyed to man (that means “put into man”). It speaks of a sense of well-being in God’s sight.
These beatitudes are second-nature to the righteous person, that is the one who has faith and hope in God. When you look at the godly man, the one who is connected to Yahweh, Jehovah, the God of Israel, these are the traits that you see.
Favor is not something that can be obtained from God by any action of our own. But we can and do experience God’s favor. We experience it when He gives it to us… that is to say when He BLESSES us with it.

These beatitudes are pronounced upon the person who is righteous, having faith and hope in God. They are signs of a life lived in proximity to Yahweh, in the experience of forgiveness, and in the love and favor of God. Such life is a totality, so such blessings are expressive of holistic enrichment, harmony, and fecundity, whether in family life, in temple worship, in public life, or in the interior of one’s own being. The person so blessed is in touch with the fruitfulness of the Creator himself. Such a one lives a fulfilled life, life as God intended it to be lived before him. Only God can bless, for he alone is holy, so when the Scriptures speak of humans “blessing” God, the term has another connotation, that of acknowledgment of God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and glory.

This blessedness
[^^^summarize and rewrite^^^]
Favor is not something that can be obtained from God by any action of our own. But we can and do experience God’s favor.
B.

B. Poor in spirit - v3

Matthew 4:3 NASB95
3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
Matthew 5:3 NASB95
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The phrase “poor in spirit” is an odd construct in the Greek text...
It seems to indicate a form of spiritual bankruptcy before God apart from Christ.
This beatitude is really about humility, it is about a sense of poverty before God’s magnificence and glory.:
We cannot wrestle our way into the kingdom of heaven based on our physical strength.
We cannot manipulate our way into heaven by the cunning of our magnificent logic.
We cannot build an earthly domain powerful enough to stand against the kingdom of heaven.
We may sway the hearts and minds of mankind, but this currency just does not carry any value in the heavenly realm.
We come to God spiritually bankrupt. We have nothing to give that He wants. It’s like the child standing in front of the parent with a scribbled work of art. Many times the parent cannot figure out what he’s supposed to be looking at.
God looks at our greatest works and scratches His head saying, “Who told you to do that?”
But Jesus says that in our poverty before God, we have the keys to the kingdom.

C. Those who are grieving - v4

Matthew 5:4 NASB95
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
The only thing that one who is mourning desires is comfort.
But the thing about mourning is that it cannot be comforted in this world. There is no shortcut to healing. The one who walks that path of grief must be allowed to walk that path until they reach the end. They cannot be hurried along. They must travel it in their own time.
But this passage promises some relief, some comfort for the one who mourns. This kind of comfort can only be provided by the Spirit of God.

D. Gentle - v5

Matthew 5:5 NASB95
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
The word for gentle here is also meek. We think of meekness as one who gets walked on all the time, like a human rug...
But meekness is not weakness. The Greek word here is...

πραϋπαθία praupathia

πραϋπαθία
praupathia
gentle, humble, meek, mild
But this word is also the same word used for a trained horse. This is also “power under control.” The difference between a trained work horse and a wild mustang is startling.
This beatitude seems to be about self-control-an absence of aggression.
I believe the inheritance in this verse is referring to the future kingdom of God, specifically the new earth on which Christ will reign all over the globe as referenced in .

E. Crave righteousness - v6

Matthew 5:6 NASB95
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Certainly the poor are hungry and thirsty at times, but Jesus is referring to a hunger for righteousness. We’ll talk a little bit more in depth about righteousness in a moment. In essence, righteousness is being able to stand blameless before God.
Do you hunger for that?
The promise here is that those who earnestly desire to have a blameless character before God, will be able to achieve that goal. Again, not on their own strength of character, but being made right in God’s eyes through the work of Christ on the cross.

F. Merciful - v7

Matthew 5:7 NASB95
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mercy cannot be earned from God. Mercy means to be generous and forgiving with compassion for the suffering of others. This is a defining characteristic of God.
How do we get more of that in a world that seems to be devoid of mercy?

G. Pure in heart - v8

Matthew 5:8 NASB95
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
This phrase “pure in heart” actually indicates that this blessed one can stand blameless with a clean conscience before God.
We can only have that through our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And by that acceptance is the only way that we will be able to stand in God’s presence.
Only through Jesus and through our repentance can we achieve this pureness before God.

H. Peacemakers - v9

Matthew 5:9 NASB95
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Peacemakers strive for shalom, that is harmony in relationships without any evidence of strife and discord. These peacemakers are always seeking to bring others to reconciliation with God, through Jesus Christ.

I. Persecuted - v10-11

Matthew 5:10–11 NASB95
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
There are two sorts of persecution mentioned here:
1. Persecuted for the sake of righteousness - v 10
Matthew 5:10 NASB95
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Partake in Christ’s Persecution - v 11
Persecution will happen and when it does, take it as a sign that you are on the right track. The enemy will move men against you and throw discouragement and oppression in your path in order to stop the work you are doing for the kingdom of God.
NOTE: The persecution that we feel in the United States today pales in comparison to the persecution that Christians are feeling around the world. Yet that persecution is still there for all of us who seek to do God’s work.
Matthew 5:11 NASB95
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 NASB95
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

III. It’s All About Righteousness -

This passage is really about the righteousness of the saints.
Matthew 5:20 NASB95
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

A. Rigteousness

righteousness - a life lived in conformity with the justice, morality, and law given by God.
Living out the characteristics of the beatitudes do not make us more righteous. We cannot force ourselves to be more righteous. Living righteous lives causes these characteristics to spring forth in our lives, like fruit from a tree.

B. Already - Not Yet

But this seems to be relating to a kingdom already established but not yet ready for us to inhabit.
Verses 3 and 10 claim that these blessed people already have an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. This indicates that the inheritance already exists in some form or fashion.
Verses 3 and 10 claim that these blessed people already have an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
The remaining verses refer to future events that will take place in the kingdom of heaven. This means that there is more to be revealed when God’s timing is fulfilled.
Verse 12 again talks about a reward that is in waiting for the blessed ones in heaven.
So this language is very much an “already - not yet” type of speaking.
Where else have we heard “already - not yet” kind of language?
In the Exodus God redeemed His children from Egypt. He promised them blessings before He gave them the law.
In the book of Joshua! As the children of Israel are wandering in the desert!
Further on when the covenant is being made in the valley of Shechem. He gave them the blessings of Mount Gerizim and the curses of Mount Ebal. Do you remember?
This was all before He gave to them their inheritance in the Promised Land.
This was before He gave them rest.
This was before their 5-year war to claim the land.

C. The Introduction to the Sermon

These verses 1-12 are just the introduction to Jesus’ message… We’ll get to the rest of the sermon next week.
Jesus is setting up a message that will reveal His ultimate plan to overthrow the corruption of the Pharisees, in fact it will overthrow the Law itself and replace it with Love.
They remind Jesus that God has already blessed them before he makes any demands upon them. We’ll see that as we dig into the remainder of the message.
Matthew 5:20 NASB95
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Pharisees focused on the minute details of conduct. They measured one’s righteousness by observing and measuring the conduct, the actions, of the man.
PRINCIPLE True righteousness focuses on correcting the character of the believer.
True righteousness focuses on correcting the character of the believer.
“Conduct flows out of character.” - Warren Wiersbe
We’ll continue with the next section of this sermon next week. But for now

Application

Do you live like you are blessed? Or are you always looking for the blessing? Do you ever feel like you have to chase the blessings in your life?
Do you live like you are blessed? Or are you always looking for the blessing?
I know some Christians who feel absolutely cursed in their lives. They struggle to name even one blessing. There’s something truly broken about that kind of Christianity.
You are already blessed! If you have made a choice to follow Jesus Christ, then you are already blessed! You just have to choose to live like it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t mastered all these characteristics in my own life. All you have to do is ask my own family how well I do. There are times in my life that I struggle with these.
Here’s the thing, if you
But my overall goal is to recognize these characteristics in my life and allow them to flourish and grow.
When I struggle, I hand them over to the Holy Spirit that He may strengthen me and straighten me for the task He has set aside for me to accomplish.
How are you doing in this regard? Take just a quiet moment with the Lord and allow Him to show you where you need to let Him change you.
[piano]
If you need to do this here at the altar, I invite you to come and kneel here...
Or you can do this in your seat… Wherever is most comfortable for you to do business with God.
Now, if you’ll just pray quietly there where you are. I’ll guide you, but pray from your heart.
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me where I need to submit to you. Thank you for allowing your Spirit to direct me and guide me in my own shortcomings. Jesus I submit to You and I hand you my arrogance, my pride, my harshness, my grief, my depression, my anxiety. I ask that Father God would forgive me of what I’m holding onto. I release my sin to you and ask for your forgiveness. Jesus I ask that your Spirit fill me with your character. Make me more like You, Lord Jesus.

Invitation

Invitation

Invitation

If you haven’t made that decision yet, this blessing sounds like something you need in your life, then you just have to make that choice to choose Christ.
If you are here today and you have realized that you have not received Jesus Christ as your Savior, then it is time to make that right. Jesus is calling for you today. If Jesus is not the Lord of your life, then it is time to fix that. If that’s you, then I would ask you to come down here to the steps to pray. I’ll guide you through a prayer here in a moment.
… Those of you who are already here, continue to pray or make your way back to your seat.
If you are choosing Jesus today, then close your eyes and say this...
Jesus, I am a sinner. I know that I am separated from you and from God by my sin. I turn away from my sin and ask for God to forgive me. I believe in You, Jesus. I believe that You died on the cross to take my sin and allow me to enter into God’s presence. Jesus I submit my life to you. Amen.
If you just made that decision today, I’d ask you to stand and come take my hand. Just come and let me know that you made that decision.
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