• Last week we got a brief overview of the sermon on the mount.
• We learned it is a message to followers of Jesus Christ.
• Not a way to be saved
• Not only a description of life in the future kingdom
• This is how God wants Christians to live here and now in this broken world
Today we get into the sermon…
It begins with the beatitudes…
This is Jesus explaining the way to the blessed life
This is really important:
• Directly out of the mouth of Jesus, we learn exactly what it means to live a blessed life
I have entitled this message… and you will see why…
TITLE: Matthew 5:1-12 – Happy Christians Part A FCF: Man’s attitude of self-righteousness, unconcerned with his own sin and that of the fallen world around him, and the terrible emptiness that comes from a life of hungering and thirsting after worldly things.
MAIN POINT: To be blessed we must realize we have nothing to offer God spiritually, mourn over our sinful condition and that of the world, and intensely desire the perfect righteousness of God above all else in our lives.
I. V1-2 – Jesus Prepares to Teach
II. V3-6 – Beatitudes 1-4
1. V3 – The Poor in Spirit
2. V4 – Those Who Mourn
3. V5 – The Meek
4. V6 – The Hungry and Thirsty
I. V1-2 – JESUS PREPARES TO TEACH
1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
1. And seeing the multitudes – Jesus’ miracles had drawn great crowds from all around Galilee, Syria, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and even beyond the Jordan.
1) This was a large crowd, made up of all walks of life; men, women, poor, well off… different backgrounds, challenges, different levels of understanding, some religious, some not. It is fascinating to read how Jesus addresses such a crowd.
2. Jesus will teach this group the basics of life, really. The lessons here are timeless, cross cultural, for men, women, young and old, all people…
3. He went up on a mountain – See picture – hill – not a big climb. A place where Jesus’ voice could carry, a natural amphitheater… Today in Israel called the Mt of the Beatitudes, north shore of the sea of galilee… Cool lake breeze, smell of the flowers, sound of excitement and expectation among the people…
1) A good place to address 100’s possibly 1000’s of anticipating hearts…
4. and when He was seated – Typical position of a teacher. Hearers stood typically.
5. His disciples came to Him – This is not only the 12 we are familiar with. Broad sense here. People that made a decision to follow Jesus. Turn to 7:28 – “the people were astonished.”
1) Mathetes – Basically the word translated “disciple” means “learner.” But it means more in the NT than a mere pupil or learner. It is an adherent, a follower, a devotee, one who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct.
2) What is significant about “disciples” being mentioned here? What does it tell us? The message is directed to us.
3) Are all Christians disciples? Yes. Christian was a term given to those belonging to Christ (disciples), likely a derogatory term.
4) “A true Christian (and not one in name only) will have to be a disciple of Christ as well. That is, he has counted the cost and has totally committed his life to following Jesus. He accepts the call to sacrifice and follows wherever the Lord leads. The Christian disciple completely adheres to the teaching of Jesus, makes Christ his number-one priority, and lives accordingly. He is actively involved in making other Christian disciples (Matthew 28:19–20).” – Bonhoeffer
6. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them – We learn much from Jesus’ example. Here we are going to learn from His words.
1) Off all the words ever spoken regarding life and how it should be lived (aren’t there a lot of ideas out there) this is what God says.
2) Remember, In Jesus time, people were very much disillusioned with the corruption in the world, the oppressive force of the Roman empire… they had problems with their marriages, family issues, sickness, money problems, relationship issues, all the same difficulties humans have to day…
3) Jesus’ message speaks to people in a fallen world, telling us how to live as His people while awaiting His return.
7. This first part of the sermon on the mount in verses 3-12 we find what are called the beatitudes. Easy to understand… be attitudes.
8. They begin with a word that we need to understand: “Blessed”
1) The Greek word Makarios, which is translated “blessed,” is difficult to translate into English. It incorporates the meaning of wholeness, of joy, of well-being, happiness…
2) “Blessed” implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.
3) Not only a term to describe a person when they seem to be experiencing God’s favor.
4) Blessed simply means truly happy.
Hannah Whitall Smith quote, “you Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but it sure hurts him to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek very earnestly for anything so uncomfortable.”
It is true, some Christians seem miserable. The world needs to see that Christianity offers true happiness. Believers need to experience the true happiness Jesus provides. The beatitudes tell us how.
5) ‘“When Jesus spoke these words, he was telling his listeners how they could be deeply, spiritually, and profoundly happy and how they could maintain this happiness even in the midst of life’s disappointments and hard times.” – Boice
Question: Can you say today that you fit this description? Are you deeply, spiritually, and profoundly happy even in the presence of difficulty and tough times?
The beatitudes tell us how we can experience this happiness.
Here we go! Because this is so important, we are only going to take the first 4 today.
These first three describe how you and I as fallen sinful humans are to relate to God.
If you want to be truly happy, to live the blessed life, first you need to be rightly related to God…
II. V3-6 – BEATITUDES 1-4
1. V3 – THE POOR IN SPIRIT
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1) Blessed – deeply, spiritually, and profoundly happy are the poor in spirit
2) Poor – This word indicates someone who must beg for whatever they have or get. Very poor.
WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN
3) Financially poor. There is no inherent blessing in being financially poor. In fact, there are many poor people that are just as materialistic as anyone else.
4) Think about it: Why would God command His people to care for the poor and minister to their needs if it would be in effect to take their blessing?
5) And… Jesus doesn’t say blessed are the poor He says…
WHAT IT MEANS
6) blessed are the poor in spirit, –
1. Like the financially poor have no resources to buy anything that costs money, the spiritually poor recognize they have no resources to gain anything from God spiritually.
2. Poor in spirit is poverty in the inward man / woman. Not in the outward circumstances.
3. “Poor in spirit” is the opposite of the world’s attitudes of self-praise, self-esteem, and self-assertion. It is not a false humility that says, “I am not worth anything, I can’t do anything!”
4. To be poor in spirit is to have a true estimate of yourself, a consciousness of sin and of need.
5. Turn to Luke 18:9-14 – 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
6. Paul says in his flesh, nothing good dwells.
BARRIER TO COMING TO POVERTY OF SPIRIT:
7. When you honestly gauge yourself next to God and not next to other humans, you will see just how spiritual bankrupt you are.
WHAT ARE THEY LIKE?
8. This is a person that has been emptied of self, pride, arrogance, self-will… This emptying happens before you are filled.
9. This is a person that has come into a true awareness of their heart’s corruption.
10. A person that says with Isaiah, woe is me I am a man of unclean lips, I am undone.
11. Or with peter after Jesus called him to cast His net and he brought in a huge load of fish… When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” – Luke 5:8
THE PROMISE TO THEM
7) For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – This opening verse of the sermon clearly presupposes the truth of salvation by grace. Jesus teaches that the kingdom is a gracious gift to those who sense their own poverty of spirit.
8) If you are aware that you have nothing to bring to God to earn, deserve, or merit salvation, you are in the right place to receive it.
Poor in spirit are those that have come to an understanding of their sinfulness and need for a savior…
The next beatitude builds upon the first…
2. V4 – THOSE WHO MOURN
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
1) Blessed – deeply, spiritually, and profoundly happy are the poor in spirit.
WHAT IS DOES NOT MEAN
2) Not sadness in general. Not specifically dealing with those who are mourning some sort of loss. Although God certainly promises to be near to the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
3) But there is no inherent spiritual blessing in mourning and grief. In fact, people can deal with grief in sinful ways.
4) If there was an inherent blessing in being sad and mourning losses, why would every tear be wiped away in the age to come?
WHAT IT MEANS
5) Mourn – this is an intense mourning, a deep grief over my sin and the sin of the world around me.
6) This builds upon the first beatitude. When I realize I am spiritually bankrupt, I mourn over my sin and the sin of the fallen world.
7) 2 Corinthian 7:10 – For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation
8) “To mourn is to care deeply, to know godly sorrow for sin, to be deeply concerned about the evil in the world and to know the meaning of suffering because of the sin, injustice, and perversion in society.” – Ogilvie
9) Our hearts ought to break for the same things that break God’s heart.
10) People that treat their own sin casually and are calloused to the evils and injustices of the world around them.
11) James 4:8-10 – 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
12) This is not saying that Christian’s ought to walk around crying all the time. Jesus was joyful and He no doubt laughed. Although in the Bible we only have recorded that He wept. No writer records Him laughing.
13) Christians that are not deeply troubled about the evil in the world will know nothing of the comfort that comes by knowing God will one day right every wrong.
14) For they shall be comforted. –
1. The comfort of knowing that my sin is forgiven, the penalty removed
2. The comfort of knowing that I am daily being delivered from sins power
3. The comfort of knowing that we will one day be completely delivered from the very presence of sin
Aware of my poverty of spirit, I mourn over my sin, which produces the next beatitude in my life…
3. V5 – THE MEEK
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN
1) Meek – Weakness, being a pushover, being spineless, it does not mean cowardice, or dullness
WHAT IT DOES MEAN
2) Meek – praus, means “not being overly impressed by a sense of my self-importance, to be gentle, humble, considerate.”
THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS APPLAUDED BY OUR WORLD:
1) This world tells us to be aggressive, to kick and scream if we don’t get what we want, to hop up and sue people that wrong us, to trample on people if necessary to accomplish our goals… This is the opposite of what Jesus says a truly happy person is like…
2) Jesus wouldn’t make a very great valedictorian, imagine His speech
WHAT IT MEANS WITH RESPECT TO ANGER:
3) Some say it is the balance between excessive anger and the inability to show anger at all.
4) One commentator describes a meek man like this, one who is angry on the right occasion and with the right people and at the right moment and for the right length of time.
5) He goes on to say that the right time is never when an injury or insult is done to us. Rather it is anger over the injustice done to others. That is meekness
6) The people who suffer wrong without bitterness or desire for revenge.” (Bruce)
WITH RESPECT TO SELF ASSERTION
7) Meekness is not weakness but power under control.
8) This is the opposite of self-willed, a willingness to disregard my own rights and privileges.
9) This is the opposite of a person that is always asserting their rights. To God and others… “THAT’S NOT FAIR”
10) They are meek before God, in that they submit to His will and conform to all of His Word.
11) They are meek before men, in that they are strong – yet also humble, gentle, patient, and longsuffering.
12) Meekness is the opposite of being out of control and self-willed. It is not weakness, but rather supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.
Reminds me of a dog I once knew… Razor the 160-pound Rottweiler. The dog could have mauled you at any moment. But, he didn’t because he was meek. His self-will had been broken and he was completely submissive to his master. That is meekness.
13) Numbers 12 – Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses. Moses doesn’t assert himself and God handles the situation. He does the same thing when Korah rebels against his leadership.
14) Matthew 11:29 – Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
THE PROMISE –
15) For they shall inherit the earth. – this is certainly not a promise of material wealth. It is a promise for the future.
a. There is a sense in which it applies now. A meek person is satisfied and therefore content with what they have. To be content with what you have and not be in constant want is to inherit the earth.
b. People that are meek are happy, Jesus says.
Because you realize you are spiritual bankrupt, you mourn over your sin and that of the fallen world, meekness is produced in you… you don’t not have to constantly be heard or constantly asserting yourself…
There are the first 3 beatitudes:
The first three describe how you as a fallen sinful human are to relate to God.
Sorry for sin
Humble and meek towards God and others
Now, the next beatitude
4. V6 – THE HUNGRY AND THIRSTY
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
1) hunger and thirst – We don’t have much appreciation for these two words here in Mason City in 2021. We know very little of hunger or thirst. In some countries people are dying of starvation, in our country people are actually dying from the opposite.
1. But, in Jesus’ day, even hardworking people could barely make enough to eat.
2. Also, you could not simply go turn on a sink to get water.
3. So, you must understand this statement in its cultural context, He is not saying, those who have a whim for righteousness… no and intense life or death hunger and thirst…
2) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness –
1. More important than this hunger and thirst we have for food and water is the hunger and thirst we all have for God.
2. One early church theologian put it this way, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.
3) What is righteousness? – Simply, having a right relationship with God by grace through faith. And, living out that relationship through our acts of love toward God and one another.
1. True Christians have an insatiable appetite for spiritual truth and a life of holiness that will only be completely satisfied in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – Many Christians hunger for a lot of stuff this world offers. But, Jesus says, blessed, happy, joyful, content, are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
5) Many people are satisfied with a sip of Jesus, a snack of spirituality… This actually makes for a miserable existence… These are the people that have enough Jesus in them to be uncomfortable in the world but enough world in them to be restless in the church…
6) There are many Christians today that feel they are lacking something. This happens when we put happiness and blessedness as our first priority. What Jesus says here, is that blessedness, happiness, joy, contentment, come as the byproduct of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
7) There are many Christians today hungering and thirsting after something other than righteousness. They believe true fulfilment and happiness is going to come some other way… Comfort, sex, food, fun, family, entertainment, to be left alone, hobbies, marriage.
8) But none of these, will ever satisfy the deepest need we have.
9) Jesus addressed this need when He spoke to the woman at the well. She had had 5 husbands, seeking something she would not find. Jesus used an illustration; you drink from this well you will thirst again. But, if you drink for the water, I give you, you will never thirst again.
10) Ok how? ARE YOU READY? Hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else and you will never be thirsty again.
11) We are to seek first the Kingdom of God.
12) For they shall be filled. – this is a beautiful promise, the deepest need that we have, to be right with God, will be given to us. We will be filled. All we need to do is desire. Hunger and thirst are not one-time feelings. A Christian that would be filled and blessed has a constant hunger and thirst for Jesus Himself.
And we will leave it here today
True happiness, laid out here by God himself…
First of all, …
Being aware of my spiritual bankruptcy
Which leads to mourning over my sin
Which produces meekness, a humble gentle attitude in my life…
Aware of my sinful state, I hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be right with God, for spiritual truth, to life a holy life with Him at the center…
I stop misplacing my hunger and thirst, seeking things that do not satisfy and I set them on HIM and HIM alone.
This is how to be blessed…
This is how we all come to Christ
God convicts us of our sin and need for a savior
We are grieved over our sinfulness
We desire His righteousness
At this point,
You call out to Him
A – Admit, yes Lord I have sinned and fallen short of your glory
B – I believe you sent Jesus to die for me, taking my sins upon Himself, then His righteous, sinless record applied to my account
C – Confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life