Friday, June 17, 2016

Beatitudes Matthew 5 Sermon Notes

Matthew Chapter 5 Sermon Notes

         Last week we did an overview of the entire Sermon on the Mount. This week, I want to slow down a bit and take a closer look at the Beatitudes. What is a beatitude? It is a blessing. In Jesus’s first sermon, He is handing out blessings to those who obey Him, who act like Him.
         Keep in mind our goal as we make our way through Matthew. We are trying to learn more about who Jesus is so that we can learn more about who we should be in Him. Learning Jesus is the way to understand who God is so that we can stand against the lies of the world as they try to deliver a counterfeit god to us. But we know our God, and His  Son and the Holy Spirit. If we know God rightly, then the counterfeits will have no power over us.

         Let’s take a quick look at the beatitudes. Keep in mind that Jesus is presenting a self-description to us. Since that is the case, we should measure the meaning of these words by the character and actions of Jesus. If we think about the beatitudes applying first to Jesus, then we will know how we must act.

Matt. 5:3   Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus blesses those who are poor in spirit. Spirit poor people can come in many shapes and sizes. But the one thing we know that they are not, is spirit rich.
The word here means someone who is poor like a beggar. They don’t have much to offer and they are very needy. Jesus says that such persons are fit for the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus struggled against the devil in the wilderness. He was constantly misunderstood even by His own disciples. He was assaulted by the Pharisees and repeatedly retreated to a lonely place for prayer. He was poor in spirit.
         Do you struggle? Are you needy? Do you not have much to offer Jesus? Is your spirit downcast? Good, you are fit for a Savior and fit for heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Jesus wept. He cried over Jerusalem. He was grieved by the sins of men. He was mournful in that sense. He went to the cross for the joy on the other side. That joy is God’s comfort.
Do you mourn your sins? Do you mourn the foolishness of the world? Do you mourn the apostacy of those who have served Christ for years but turn away? Are you sad about the state of our country, the state of the church or even the condition of your own church, or family or heart? Then you are blessed for you shall be comforted by Jesus.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Jesus was meek, like a lamb to the slaughter. He was reviled and answered not again. He was struck but did not retaliate. His desire was not to exalt Himself but rather to exalt His Father in Heaven. Thy will be done.
But this meek Jesus, since Moses, the meekest man on the Earth, was not a pushover, either. He made a chord and whipped those selling in the temple. He was angry and tossed over Tables. He called one of His best friends Satan. He lashed out at the Pharisees, refused to answer the Saduccees. He used strong language against them calling them whitewashed tombs, brood of vipers, dead men’s bones.
In all of His bold actions and statements, He did not exalt Himself above His Father’s will. He did what He did to the glory of God. Meekness is of this nature. It promotes God’s glory rather than personal glory.
Because Jesus did this, He inherited the Earth. He did so quite literally. The Earth belongs to Jesus. Jesus is giving a similar blessing to His disciples. If you are meek in the way that He is meek, the reward is the Earth. Now, in this life, the blessing of humility acquired but even more in the world to come, eternal life in the New Heavens and  New Earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Jesus did that which was right. He was righteous, doing right. He fulfilled the law and always obeyed His Father. He was perfectly righteous. Righteousness was His food and drink. He filled up His whole life with doing right.
Jesus promises a blessing upon those who pursue righteousness. How do you pursue doing that which is right? Are you hungry for it? How do you pursue food when you are hungry? You procure food. If you are hungry and have no food, you go to a store or restaurant and buy it. When you are hungry, nothing can stop you from acquiring food. We have all heard countless stories about men forced to extreme measures to get food. Are you hungry for doing right like that?
What happens when you are thirsty? You can make it a long time without food but not so long without water. We are going on  a three day trip and our first priority is water. We need lots of clean water to drink or we will think of nothing but water and may be forced to drink water that will sicken us. Do you think of righteousness in these terms? Is it a necessity to you? Will you die if you do not pursue righteousness today? Will doing God’s will, laying down your will and taking up the will of the Father, be your driving concern this afternoon, tomorrow, the next day. If you fail to do His will, will you be driven to extreme measures and start doing the will of another, even if it makes your sick? Pursue the waters of life with diligence. Hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you shall be filled.
Jesus said, My food is to do the will of Him who sent me. That is a hungry Christian.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Jesus was merciful. In this very sermon, He says that He has not come to abolish the law but rather to fulfill it. The law stands, in all its majesty and justice. As strict justice, the law is a scary standard. You sin against one part of the law and you are guilty of the law, at least as far as righteousness goes. If you sin you are not righteous. You need the righteousness of another. You need grace. You need mercy.
But Jesus is the one who exactly fulfills the law. He is embodiment, not only of mercy, but of lawfulness. How can this be? He fulfills the law. Jesus is the law keeper. And then, out of His abundance of mercy, He receives us as if we were law keepers. He does this by paying the penalty of the law on our behalf. He takes our death upon Himself. Because Jesus is willing to do this, He is always ready to extend mercy.
When the women was caught in adultery, the law said stone her. Jesus said, go and sin no more. When the women at the well was found to be on her fifth husband who was really not her husband, the law said stone her. Jesus said go and sin no more. He repeatedly extends mercy to those who need it.
Learn the lesson to be like Jesus. The more you extend mercy, the more mercy you find for yourself.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Jesus was pure in heart. He heart a heart of refined gold. There was no dross in Him. Think about all the different difficult situations Jesus found Himself in. He was disbelieved by many. He was attacked almost immediately in His ministry by envious and vicious enemies who tried to throw Him off a cliff. He was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit only to encounter the devil with manifold temptations. He traveled and was weary and thirsty. He was besieged by large crowds that sought Him for food but turned away from Him when  He spoke hard words.
No imagine some of the emotions these situations would conjure in you. Also, realize that Jesus had a range of these emotions. At times, He was angry. Even at church! At times, He was mournful, sad, thoughtful. We are not told whether He laughed but I imagine He did so often with His clumsy and confusing disciples. They were sort of like Narnian dwarves, quite frustrating and quite funny.
But here is the key thing about Jesus that we should notice. He had all these emotions and the various thoughts that go along with them without a taint in His heart. He felt many ways and always thought aright. He did not sin in His heart. He was angry and yet without sin. He was sad but without faithless despair. He was hungry and thirsty but kept His emotions and desires in check. This kind of purity of heart takes great self-control, great personal discipline. This was our Jesus and He calls us to be the same.
         Of course, our purity is in Jesus. He washes us white as snow and this washing starts inside. He washes our hearts. But seek to maintain purity of heart. When the sins are revealed, wash them in the blood of Jesus. Do this and you shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Jesus was a peacemaker. He came to bring peace between God and men and men and men. This is His fundamental task. Fellowship was broken and although God had made a vehicle to draw men to Him, it was never complete. God had to fully and finally fix this rift. That fix was Jesus.
But Jesus, the peacemaker also said. Matthew 10:32 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Jesus is a peacemaker but He is also a divider. He divides the faithful from the faithless. He divides belief and unbelief. He divides the obedient from the disobedient.
But He does not divide the faithful or true brothers. True sons He disciplines so that by their training in discipline, He makes them warriors in the cause of Christ.
The blessings is pronounced upon Peacmakers, for they are God’s children.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Jesus now drives home the fact that the world is opposed to God’s plan and God’s people. The world that He is most attacking here is both the religious and political establishment. It is possible at various times and places for religion and politics to be in right relationship to God. That is, humbled before His mighty Word.
Jesus is announcing the end of the rogue rulers, those who serve under their father, the devil. He is the new King and His subjects will obey His rules. This upsets the status quo and they fight. They kill and steal and destroy for their treasures are laid up on the Earth.
The disciples of Jesus should expect an assault on their persons, their treasures, their families. Do not despair. The Lord Jesus is laying up treasure in heaven for you. The more vehement the opposition and the higher the earthly cost, the more treasure in Heaven. Thus, you cannot dampen the spirit of the faithful. The more persecution they receive, the more joy they enjoy. Exceeding persecution means exceeding rewards. This should produce joy, happiness, jumping up and down.
Jesus looked to the joy on the other side of cross. What is His reward? The Earth, Billions of saints, a church body that fills the earth, the throne at the right hand of the Father, the sending of the Holy Spirit, the perseverance of the saints. Look to these things in your sufferings and rejoice!

Matt. 5:13   Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Salt and light. One a foundational preservative and seasoning. The other a source of vitality and illumination. It may seem at first sight that we can live without salt and light. But that is not true. We will die.
If you are not salty, if you are not lit, it is because you are dead. How do you have salt in yourselves? From whence comes your light?

Matt. 5:17   Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
There is no room for a law-gospel dichotomy. Law and gospel are not opposed to one another. But the law does not save. The gospel saves. But those saved by the gospel gladly submit to the law of Christ.
If you belong to Jesus, then your salt is the law of God. You are seasoned with His will. This light illuminates the righteous and the wicked. The law reveals the truth about the fall of man, the wickedness of rebellion and horrors of the fruits of unrighteousness. This good tutor leads us to Jesus Christ.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus is not condemning the scribes and Pharisees for being keepers of the law. He condemns them for failing to keep the law. They are law breakers, salt without saltiness, lamps without light.

         Last week I talked about two fundamental questions. There are, “Who is God and who am I.”
         As we learn about Jesus, we are learning the answer to the first question. Jesus has come to reveal God to us. Look at Him. Learn Him.
         When you do so, you are also learning yourself. How do you measure up to Jesus? Do you act like Him? Do you think like Him? Do you speak like Him? And if not, then you are answering that next great question, “Who am I?”
         The work comes in reconciling the two. If I know Who God is and that I am to be like Him but I see in  my own life a start contradiction, then what am I to do? I only see shortfalls. I only see failure.
         The answer is to identify with Jesus Christ. In order for a Christian to answer “Who am I?”,  he has to ask it this way, “Who am I in Jesus Christ?”
         We then get to examine the life of Jesus and realize that the Father reckons all of the goodness of Jesus to our account. We are dead in Christ. Our life is hid in Jesus. We are dead to sin. We are transformed as new men, women and children, forgiven and turned around in Him. We are full of grace. Shall we sin then, that grace may abound? God forbid. But if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.

         In Him, and for you in Him, all the promises of God are yea and amen.

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