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The Call to a Counter Culture

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Message Title:  The Call to a Counter Culture

Theme/Series: The Beatitudes:  The Core Values of the Kingdom

Text:           Matthew 5:3

Pericope:     Matthew 5:1 - 10

 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Outline:

Introduction

What if. . .

  • All we know is wrong?
  • Our perspective is really a clouded awareness whose logic is broken?
  • God called to us in the midst of our clouded awareness with a message of hope.
  • Answering God’s call puts you at odds with everything else around—the culture, your friends and family.

Context:  This is just what happened in the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus lays out a pattern for living that is in conflict with our internal logic and the culture at large.  The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ teaching on the essence of Kingdom living.

Jesus chose to begin his sermon with eight statements.  These statements are actually paradoxes.  That is, they appear to contradict themselves but you end up with many paradoxes when the way you think is clouded.

<<Read entire pericope—focus on vs. 3>>

Matthew 5:1-10

 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

I want to look at this verse in three parts

1.          The concept of being blessed

a.   What is it?

b.   How does it work?

2.         Poor in spirit

a.   What does this really mean?

b.   How does it play out in our lives? (What does it look like?)

3.         Kingdom of Heaven

a.   What is the kingdom of heaven

b.   How do we get in?

 

 

I.       Blessed are

a.   21st Century Christians have two initial problems with understanding this concept     

b.   Language

                               i.   Spoken by Jesus in Aramaic

                              ii.   Recorded by Matthew in Greek

                             iii.   Translated for us into English

c.    Culture

                               i.   1st Century Jewish audience and culture

                              ii.   21st Century American culture

We have to put it into context to understand fully the message as those who heard it from Jesus.

a.   The meaning of blessedness—(doesn’t translate well into English)

                               i.   It is an exclamation.  Literally, “Oh the bliss of. . .

                              ii.   It is more than mere happiness.  Happiness is derived from the word “hap” which means chance.  The bliss or happiness of this blessing does not come from the outside. 

Often people make big life mistakes in pursuit of happiness.  Their logic is, “I deserve to be happy.”  The fact is what they really desire is joy.  True Joy that satisfies our inner longing is never achieved on a selfish quest for happiness.

                             iii.   It describes a joy that comes from within—

‘The word used for blessed here is the same word the Greeks used to describe Cyprus.  They called it the Happy Isle.  They did so because they believed that Cyprus was so lovely, so rich and so fertile that a man would never need to go beyond its coastline to find the perfectly happy life.  It has such a climate, such flowers and fruits and trees, such minerals, such natural resources that it contained within itself all the materials for perfect happiness.

Blessed then describes that joy which has its secret within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and self-contained, that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and changes of life.” [i]

                             iii.   It is obvious that default set of longings you and I have are not in line with the values of the Kingdom.  Why?

1.    We are under the curse of sin.  It has affected us to the core.  Our natural focus is entirely on self. 

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.  Proverbs 14:12

2.   Because all humans are under the curse of sin, the culture we create is also under this curse and is therefore at odds with the values of the kingdom.

II.     Poverty of Spirit

III.    Kingdom of Heaven

Conclusion:


----

[i]  William Barclay, Gospel of Matthew Vol. 1, pp 88-89

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