The Sermon on the Mount (part 1) | Matthew 5:1-12 | VBVM | Matthew 5A

The Sermon on the Mount (part 1) | Matthew 5:1-12 | VBVM | Matthew 5A

dear father thank you for bringing me through the the travels i had in israel and bringing me back safely with my wife and with those who joined me in israel father for the blessing it was to be there and to learn as we walked around and taught and and enjoyed that place father but now being back father in the place you’ve assigned me i thank you father for the privilege that it is to stand here once more and preach not words that come from my wisdom not inside father that is borrowed from my own understanding father but entirely from you as you’ve provided it to me and lord i pray that that as i share it with those you’ve assembled it would be true to your purpose it would be according to your will it would accurately reflect the scripture that you have assigned to us tonight and more than anything father we bring you glory serve purposes that are heavenly and eternal in the hearts of those who listen to night father grow us as only you can by your word molding us father into the nature into the character of your son by the lessons that you taught through him in these words we pray this in jesus name amen all right tonight chapter five we begin one of the best known sermons that jesus ever preached the sermon on the mount and last time i talked with you at the end of chapter four i was explaining that that matthew’s narrative his account focuses on five areas of jesus’s ministry as we go through the whole gospel we’ll see these he explains jesus’s authority as a teacher his authority over the human body his authority over the demonic realm his authority over the sabbath and the rest of the jewish law and his authority over the creation itself those are the five areas that we’ll see matthew revisiting over and over and collectively those demonstrations of jesus’s power and authority all prove his claim to be divine that he is in fact the one promise the messiah but of all those areas there was one that was more important than the rest and it’s the one we mentioned last time that the authority in his teaching is the preeminent authority that christ brought when he came as impressive as all the other stuff was absent the teaching it would have been a meaningless sideshow and so matthew more than perhaps the other gospel writers really emphasizes jesus’s teaching in his gospel he records altogether five long detailed sermons in his gospel or sometimes we call them discourses and those sermons reveal jesus’s unparalleled understanding of spiritual truth and each one works in its own way to correct false teachings that were embedded in the culture of israel in that day false teachings false understandings of god and of the kingdom and of righteousness and so on but perhaps of all five the one that’s most famous if you can say that or the one that’s best known is the sermon on the mount the one we start tonight in chapter five we call this the sermon on the mount because of where jesus stood when he presented this to his disciples it was more than likely somewhere near the sea of galilee the sea of galilee is a relatively small body of water i spent a week up there not long ago and it rounded our hills that are pretty steep coming up off the water they’re not mountains but they’re relative to the the water below they look high you stand on the top of one it feels like you’re up pretty high he was likely on one of these sloping hillsides when he taught on a mount in other words perhaps near bethsaid or near the arbel or somewhere of that sort he’s been moving around the galilee he’s been healing as we heard last time naturally that attracted a very sizable crowd of people who wanted to be healed as he attracted the crowd he taught and he was teaching to them the details of what he was proclaiming he was saying the kingdom of heaven was at hand and now he’s prepared to explain what he means by the term kingdom or the kingdom of god this is the first such extended teaching of christ on that topic and the sermon is long it runs three chapters in matthew’s gospel all the way through the end of seven but of all the things it’s known for i think it’s best known for how it begins with a section that we commonly call the beatitudes and as we finish the beatitudes we’re gonna take a moment to consider some background on them before we look at them individually so back to chapter 5 verse 1. when jesus saw the crowds he went up on the mountain and after he sat down his disciples came to him he opened his mouth and began to teach them saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy and blessed are the poor in heart for they shall see god blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of god and blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you before we consider what he’s saying to the crowd there are two major points of background that you have to appreciate first you need to understand the religious culture of israel in jesus day into which these words were spoken because by the time jesus appeared in the galilee israel’s religious life had been warped by centuries of bad teaching for at least four centuries going back to the end of the old testament period to the time of malachi the nation of israel had been led by and taught by men who traced their origins back to ezra these men though they came out of what ezra began they distorted what ezra established and they corrupted the people as a result when the people of israel returned from their exile in babylon they were determined when they came back they were determined never to repeat the mistakes that had put them there in the first place and among their leaders was a teacher by the name of ezra we have a book in the old testament by that name as you probably know and ezra when he came back with the exiles from babylon and they re-entered the land he began to instruct the people of israel concerning the law of god something they had largely forgotten in the days before they were sent out of the land now ezra was a man who knew god who loved god who loved god’s word he taught it well he wanted the people to understand it so that they would follow it and he had such a desire to instill obedience into the hearts of the people of israel that he established within the culture of israel the idea of teaching teachers who would always be prepared to explain the words of god to those in israel so they might follow the law properly and under his leadership the people of israel recommitted themselves to knowing and following the commandments of god at least for a time he also began this school i mentioned of training religious leaders the name that we eventually gave to these trainees of ezra’s teaching were scribes because that’s what israel was he was a scribe someone who wrote and maintained the word of god in its written form but that became a term that began to mean more than just those who wrote it down it began to also in refer to those who taught it to others scribes for a time this worked really well but after ezra died and those that he trained had died a new generation within israel rose up men who took ezra’s program in a new direction in a very unhelpful direction they were not just content to teach what god’s word said they began to expand what was considered authority in that day the set of rules that people in that day were expected to follow that is to say that for every thou shalt not that was found in scripture this new generation of scribes added ten more thou shall nots of their own making now they claimed that these additional rules were there to ensure that israel would be obedient to the law of god by setting up new rules that made breaking the original rule a lot harder they called them fences a barrier to doing the wrong thing by creating other rules that kept you even farther away from that wrong thing now you can see where this goes right because that’s a never-ending kind of pursuit and this new rabbinical movement resulted in two very serious problems for the people of israel first the scribes manual of man-made rules eventually we come to know that is the mishnah this book of man-made rules it grew over the centuries in size and in importance each new generation of scribes and religious leaders would seek to invent new rules or reinterpret the old rules eventually so that all these rules that they established outside of scripture were so all-encompassing they rivaled scripture itself in fact the scribes and the rabbis ultimately came to declare that their rules were scripture how do they do that well they claimed that the mishnah was an oral law that god originally gave this oral law to moses and moses never wrote it down and then that additional law was preserved over time in an oral tradition until now the scribes finally put it in writing now we have it in a book now once that myth took hold in the minds of the people well the mishna became indistinguishable from scripture in the minds of jewish people they obeyed it like they obeyed the book of god it was all the same to them now naturally as the keepers of the mishnah the pharisees became self-appointed models of piety within israel because think about it they were the ones who maintained this list they were the ones who told you what you had to do so they portrayed themselves as the gold standard for righteousness among the people such that when a jewish man or a jewish woman might wonder in their mind well what pleases god what do i need to do to be god pleasing they only needed to look at a pharisee to know what the answer was that was the way the culture had moved it was like the fox guarding the hen house because these guys would always make sure the rules favored them in some sense so now after centuries of living under pharisaical judaism as i’ve described it israel had lost a true sense of who god was what he expected and most importantly what his word actually said you know i grew up catholic and i can tell you there’s some very interesting parallels between what i just described and what it’s like to live as a catholic speaking as one who knows from first-hand experience i mean there might have been a bible in my house i’m not sure if it was in the house it was the least open book we had but the catechism of catholicism well that you had to follow that’s what ruled your day that was what defined catholic life not the bible so in jesus day israel’s society was regulated almost exclusively by what the mishnah asked of israel so sabbath keeping feasts rituals temple service virtually anything that had to do with religious life in israel all of that was practiced according to these man-made rules and those customs would bear a resemblance to god’s word only by happenstance only if they happen to intersect in some convenient way and in some cases the rabbi’s teaching actually contradicted scripture but never mind the rabbi teaching was orthodoxy the mishna and later works that came along after jesus day we call those the talmud or there’s some other similar works all of that literature rabbinical literature has defined israel from that time forward what’s so ironic about that is that it all came out of the original work of ezra and yet ezra’s goal was to preserve the word of god among israel and now his system had become a means of obscuring it not because of what he did obviously but because of those who followed after him the result being that today in israel just as much as it was in jesus day a typical jew is largely ignorant of what’s in the bible and it’s very easy to see that when you’re there by the way if you get into a conversation with a jewish person about what’s in the bible if they entertain that conversation at all even if you just stay in the old testament it’s amazing how ignorant they are how little they know about the bible as religious as they all appear to be in place of that truth they bear up under the burden of literally thousands of meaningless man-made rules that have been handed down to them over centuries of tradition and the consequence of all that is that the jewish people have largely forgotten that god has given them a promise of forgiveness and mercy in the messiah that’s completely missing from the jewish mindset that leads us to the second major point of of background the crowd the crowd that’s listening to jesus at this point remember i said these are men and women who have come principally because they’ve heard jesus is healing every kind of illness jesus attracts literally thousands of sick paralyzed demon-possessed outcasts i mean it’s not exactly your a-list of religious elite you know what i mean these are the people that no one would have had any interest in within that culture on the contrary these were the people at the bottom of the cultural pecking order and the pharisees even taught that those who suffered from these kind of maladies these kind of incurable disabilities and the like we’re experiencing god’s judgment because of either their sin or the sin of their parents which is even more bizarre when you think about it and that false charge just gave jewish society this license to ignore them to marginalize them to forget about them because they’re just getting what they deserve anytime those people probably thought about god or thought about the kingdom or thought about heaven what were they probably thinking i’m assuming that they looked at themselves and they looked at the pharisees and the difference between them and they just thought i’ve got no prospect of this i have no hope they’re being judged by god i’m told i’m i’m a pariah because of my sin the rabbis say i have no chance how could they ever rise above their their poverty and shame and their their illnesses to think that they could equal the scrupulous pharisees and be worthy of going to heaven you see the hopelessness of that kind of societal view if the pharisees were god’s golden standard for righteousness then anyone like those collected around jesus had no chance so pharisaical judaism yielded two seriously negative consequences for israel it replaced god’s word with onerous man-made rules that left israel ignorant of god’s true desires and secondly it perpetuated a false standard for righteousness by elevating these corrupt hypocritical religious leaders and saying they are god’s representatives for what you should seek and the combination of false teaching and false teachers it leaves the culture with an upside down view of god and of righteousness and it robs people of their hope for salvation because who can measure up against those kinds of paragons of of godliness or so-called paragons anyone who’s ever been trapped in a works-based religion like catholicism is frankly or mormonism or jehovah’s witnesses or a lot of others of these cult-like pseudo-christian faiths that replace grace with works if you’ve ever been trapped in one of those or you know someone who’s been trapped in them you can identify with the situation that jesus faced in first century israel in matthew chapter 5 jesus sits down near the galilee and he delivers this message this sermon to overturn that upside down thinking he wants to replace the man-made nonsense with the long-lost biblical truth and that’s why so much of what you hear in this sermon sounds kind of backwards it’s jesus repeatedly denying the authority of the pharisees and their oral law so that he can reassert the authority of god’s word in place of it he is exposing the pharisees wrong view of righteousness so he can exhort the people to look elsewhere for that truth and not to look to them anymore and in the process he establishes himself as the one true authority on these matters of heaven of the kingdom of righteousness of god himself and so as he begins his sermon he issues a series of statements which we often call to be attitudes there’s nine of them each of them begins with this word macarius that word is is translated in my english version blessed it literally means happy so you could see that i’m not sure if any bible does that but it could mean happy we get the term be attitude from the latin translation of that same greek word that’s where if you wonder where the beatitude comes from it’s just that’s a latin word but anyway what jesus is saying is blessed or spiritually happy or we could say spiritually rewarded are those who and then he has nine statements now notice these as a group for a moment look at these as a group just for a moment because they share so much in common first notice that the blessing or the reward that jesus is talking about here in each case is not something vague it’s something super specific i want you to notice he defines what he means by blessing both at the beginning and then again near the end of the nine statements in verse three and in verse ten he defines what he means when he says blessed it means entering the kingdom of god or today we would say being saved or maybe you would say going to heaven that’s what he means when he says blessed he means being saved being in heaven not some lesser form not some trivial everyday kind of blessing of happiness or contentment that’s not what he’s talking about here he didn’t open his very first sermon on earth talking about how you can have your best life now he opens up talking about what matters most are you going to heaven are you in the kingdom that’s the first thing you need to notice second thing you need to notice these qualities he mentions these nine qualities or conditions they’re all spiritual in nature they’re not physical things and it’s easy to see that in the case of a few like purity or gentleness we know that those refer to the spiritual condition of someone’s heart but even in the case of the others when he mentions being poor or hungering you notice he qualifies what he means so that we understand that he’s talking spiritually in verse three he says poor in spirit and in verse six he describes hungering for righteousness so in all cases we’re not talking about physical conditions we’re describing spiritual conditions so if somebody thinks that going into poverty makes them blessed they miss the point and they’re not going to have very much in this life unnecessarily i guess thirdly i want you to notice the reward the reward for each condition does not come now it comes in the kingdom notice again in verse 3 jesus says those who are poor in the spirit will receive the kingdom likewise he says those who mourn today will rejoice where in the kingdom is the implication those who are meek today will be rewarded in the kingdom those who desire to see righteousness and justice reigning will be satisfied in their longings when they get to the kingdom and those who pursue purity will know the purity of god when they see him face to face in the kingdom and so on you can clearly see how jesus is working to contradict the false teaching that was prevalent in his day the same false teaching that we still have today that is the pharisees had set their minds on receiving the praises of men and the riches of this earth they pointed to their wealth they pointed to their prestige as proof that god was happy with them and then they turned around everybody else and they said you should be more like us that’s false teaching it’s false then it’s false now today we have a name for it we call it prosperity teaching it’s this idea that we want our reward now but god’s priority is not giving us our best life now it’s granting us joy in the kingdom and the age to come that’s what god’s all about that’s what we need to be about and then finally last general observation notice in these nine statements jesus is describing the heart listen to me here because this is the key to understanding these he is describing the heart of the one who has received the kingdom he is not giving you a recipe for how to receive the kingdom if jesus had intended the beatitudes to be a road map for how you obtain the kingdom then that would mean he’s teaching a gospel of works in fact many false teachers and many false churches teach these that very way that is that you have to do these things in order to earn your entrance into heaven but that view just repeats the error of the pharisees if that were true you would just be substituting these rules for the mishnah and it’s all the same in the end friends because in reality rule keeping never brought anyone into heaven i don’t care which rules you choose so it can’t be like that on the contrary the bible says plainly salvation cannot be obtained by good works but only by grace through faith in jesus christ and even our common sense when you just look at these from a common sense point of view even that would tell you that the beatitudes could never have been intended as a recipe for getting into heaven because we know self-evidently not everyone who is gentle gets into heaven not everyone who mourns will be in the kingdom i mean these cannot be criteria for how you get into heaven because they’re ridiculous if that’s what they were intended to be so what is he trying to say here if it’s not a recipe for how if it’s a description of who what are we saying what we’re saying is this is a character sketch this is a character sketch of who you’re going to meet when you’re in the kingdom of who is in the kingdom at all and that person he or she looks a whole lot different from your typical pharisee the ones you’re going to find in the kingdom don’t look and act the way pharisees look and act they’re not the pious hypocritical self-righteous proud religious leaders that typify what you found leading in israel in that day instead jesus says the kingdom is going to be populated by men and women who look a lot like the crowd that was around him that is poor in spirit hungering to see righteousness prevail merciful gentle pure in heart and so on so let’s get to know this character that jesus is sketching for us here so we can begin to understand it better and i might add so that we might compare ourselves a little to this list and take stock of maybe who we are and whether we have this same future ahead of us now you can divide this list into two groups because you have nine but you have really a group of four followed by a group of five the first four conditions are describing the person’s relationship with god that is how they are in character before god starting in verse three with being poor in spirit now to be poor in spirit is simply to be the opposite of spiritually proud to be poor in spirit is to acknowledge your inability to meet the lofty standard required to get into heaven it’s recognizing that you have no hope to qualify for heaven on your own merits and as a result you are spiritually impoverished you’re spiritually poor and therefore the one who understands this about themselves by the way this is true for every human being i’m not talking as if there’s just some who are this way in reality everyone is this way we’re talking about the person who knows it who has recognized it in themselves and the one who knows they are poor in that sense spiritually poor in debt before god in other words that one has come to understand that if they are to enter into the kingdom of god they are utterly and fully dependent on god himself to grant us mercy by his grace to grant us entry in some fashion by some means and not of ourselves because we have nothing that’s what poor in spirit means it’s literally the opposite perspective that a pharisee had i know we don’t have pharisees today and you can’t go back in time and meet them so you have to take my word for it but the literature is pretty clear on who these guys were in fact just the gospels alone give you a pretty good idea of who they were they were proud in spirit they were proud of their piety they were proud of their reputation i bet they were proud of their humility whenever they showed it they were completely in denial of their own sinfulness you know there’s a time in which jesus says they’re sinners and they said we are not sinners i mean they’re shocked at the thought of it they weren’t just qualified for heaven in their mind they expected to be welcomed into heaven with a great fanfare i mean with a parade the ticker tape parade because of all they accomplished i mean i’m not exaggerating these guys had that perception jesus says that’s not who you’re going to find in the kingdom so how does someone become poor in spirit well the bible says that obtaining that perspective is a work itself god does in the heart of an individual as part of the salvation experience it’s summed up nicely with one verse from second corinthians when paul talks about this process of becoming poor in spirit he says in second corinthians 7 10 the sorrow that is according to the will of god produces a repentance without regret leading to salvation but the sorrow of the world produces death that’s another way of saying being poor in spirit having this repentant attitude that appreciates in repenting from your sin it appreciates that i have a real debt before god and i have no hope to escape from the penalty that it requires save god’s mercy so as the spirit convicts somebody bringing them to repentance replacing their spiritual pride and self righteousness with humility they come to understand their true sinful condition and in that moment they come to recognize they need jesus and there’s no other way that’s why jesus says blessed meaning in the kingdom will be those who are poor in spirit now even after receiving god’s grace in this way you got to continue to depend in it rest on it i once saw a sign on a desk one time that says jesus loves you but i’m his favor have you ever met a christian who kind of lives like that you know what i’m saying they understand their salvation comes by grace they’re not saying that they earned their salvation nevertheless now that they’ve been saved they kind of act like they deserved it in the first place you know like they had it coming like they had an inside track and they wear that self-righteousness on their sleeve and they look down on everyone else who can’t measure up to their lofty standards of perfection i mean you know there’s that side of all of us but there’s some people who really wear it well so to speak that’s just pharisaical thinking in a new form right that’s spiritual pride now that person’s still saved i’m not suggesting that when you slip into that state of mind your salvation goes away that’s not the point what i’m saying is if you come to think that way you’re taking the grace of god for granted you’re forgetting how you entered into the kingdom in the first place that is how you have opportunity to enter and i think what’s dangerous about that is you become a stumbling block for others in the same way that the pharisees did because in your self-righteousness and in your portrayal of being so good of so making yourself appear to be so pious so worthy of heaven you make everyone else lose hope at the prospect of it because they look at themselves and they say if i can’t measure up to steve well i guess i don’t have much hope then it’s self-defeating and it’s a dangerous perspective not only does it impede our only our own walk but it impedes others don’t become so proud of your salvation that you become a stumbling block that prevents others from sharing in it next yeah i know there’s eight more but don’t worry we’re not going to take the same amount of time next jesus connects being poor in spirit with mourning verse 4 now by the context we know that mourning here refers to feeling sorrow for the devastating effects of sin i say that because he’s moving in a progression here so you start being poor in spirit that is you recognize your dependence on god you recognize your failings before god and then what is the natural result for those who appreciate god’s perspective on these things those who are destined for the kingdom you will feel true sorrow for having offended god by your sin not just in the moment of salvation but on an ongoing way not in a debilitating way but in the sense of a healthy repudiation of that side of you that you know is not what god wants and that’s a normal experience for christians isn’t it i mean a healthy christian should mourn over his or her mistakes especially when you know how it’s hurt somebody else i mean that should be our natural consequence it’s the consequence of having a soft heart of the conviction of the holy spirit and in many cases it results in real literal sorrow you know tears as it should here again jesus just flipping the tables on the pharisees because they don’t mourn sin and the world generally doesn’t mourn sin have you noticed that they generally celebrate sin they cheer it on and they shed tears when their sin brings them some kind of natural consequence but apart from that they don’t mourn in the way jesus is talking about if you want a good example of how godly people mourn you ought to read psalm 51 that’s david’s own morning i’ll just read a few verses from it to give you a sense of it verse one he says be gracious to me o god according to your love and kindness according to the greatness of your compassion blot out my sins wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin for i know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me against you you only i have sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge then he goes forward from there can’t you hear his mourning and yet at the same time david appreciated that in a time to come when he received his glorified body in the kingdom he knew he would be comforted that he would mourn no longer over sin because he would no longer have sin and that’s what jesus promises to the believer he says blessed is the one who mourns in this sense because in the day to come that one when they enter the kingdom will mourn no more they will be comforted in that morning moving to verse 5 the pattern continues jesus says gentleness will mark the citizens of the kingdom and because of their gentleness they will inherit the earth and you probably heard this same verse translated the meek will inherit the earth and i think that’s actually a better word choice here because jesus is talking here about something very specific he’s talking about an attitude of submission to god’s authority so in that sense being gentle or being meek means accepting your station in life as god has assigned it and therefore seeking to please him from that it’s the opposite of earthly ambition it’s the opposite of seeking for power in the riches of the world it’s the opposite of seeking to make a name for yourself here as opposed to making a name for yourself in heaven and jesus says the kingdom citizen is the one who exhibits this attitude and to the extent that that person lives according to this conviction they have a reward in heaven waiting for them and that reward jesus says takes the form of a share of christ’s inheritance the bible says that at his resurrection christ received back the earth and all that it contains as his own inheritance and one day when he comes to rule over that inheritance as he will he will share that inheritance with the children of god with you and me all who have believed in him we will each have some portion of it to rule over with him and the meekness that is there our desire to please christ with our service now not to seek for the world’s rewards that is the measure by which he will assign that inheritance that’s what we mean when we say the meek inherit the earth we’re not saying if you give all your possessions away and you live in some hut somewhere that that in and of itself is what rewards you no we’re saying submit to the authority of god in your life and live as he calls you to live now foregoing whatever the world would offer you instead and wait till you see how he can reward you for that obedience next in verse six jesus says the kingdom will hunger and thirst for righteousness by the way i should add that that whole attitude of meekness and inheriting that is counter opposed to the pharisees the pharisees were all about riches now and power now verse six he says those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who are blessed in the kingdom now when you hunger or when you thirst in any context it means you don’t have what you want right i mean when you’re hungry it means you want food but you’re not having it at least not yet and the same for thirst so that’s the same sense that he means here those destined for the kingdom are those who will long to see righteousness reign on earth and yet at the same time we realize that is an unreachable goal until jesus returns so you hunger you thirst to see righteousness but you’re not you’re not deceived into thinking that you can achieve it through social justice or at the voting booth or in some other way that you’re somehow going to make the kingdom happen now in your own power and through the institutions of men that’s not appreciating what jesus is saying that’s not hungering and thirsting that’s satisfying your hunger and thirst in the wrong way for now you need to understand god’s righteousness reigns in your heart by the holy spirit but we await the day that it reigns from sea to sea on earth and it will come and it’s promised to come you want to read about that go read chapter 4 of the old testament prophet micah as an example he teaches in just a couple of verses he says in verse 1 of chapter 4 it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the lord will be established as the chief of the mountains it will be raised above the hills and the peoples will stream to it many nations will come and say come and let us go up to the mountain of the lord into the house of god of jacob that he may teach us his ways that we may walk in his paths for from zion will go forth the law even the word of the lord from jerusalem and it goes on from there now that day is coming that’s one of the things i long for the most personally and it’s kind of the hardest thing i can imagine i can’t yet get my head wrapped around a world filled with people everything done right i just i’m not there yet i’m wondering what it’s going to be like that’s what we’re promised you hunger for that you ever wanted to see right only right done and wrong always put aside your it’s coming it’s coming but that’s not what the leaders of israel wanted that’s not what a pharisee wanted you know what they thought they thought they already found that in their own law the mishnah gave them that right they were satisfied in that system they didn’t hunger for something better and they loved it especially because it rewarded them and it protected them and it gave them power such men will not be found in the kingdom now the second set of the five beatitudes relate to our relationship with people and these we move through with some haste because there’s a very similar pattern all we really need to do in understanding them is appreciate the meaning of each unique word or concept as jesus moves so beginning in verse 7 with merciful those who are going into the kingdom will show mercy why because believers are uniquely able to appreciate mercy wouldn’t you agree right you received it from god as a part of how he saved you by grace and so in your new nature given to you by christ you are uniquely prepared to appreciate that mercy is a good thing and that you having had nothing of your own to deserve what you received you are in a good position to bless somebody else with the same that trait is very unlike what the unsaved typically think and do i’m not saying everyone’s the same obviously it’s a stereotype it’s a broad brush but in general those who have not known the mercy of god in that sense are not inclined to give it away too easily to others and especially true among the religious in israel and you see this very clearly when you’re in israel today among those who are in the in the land today among jews in general and i’m not being any semitic whatsoever i’m talking about a culture that they have built on this pharisitical style of teaching that they’ve had for centuries it’s led to a very eye for an eye tooth for a tooth kind of look at life and as a result they’re very unwilling to extend mercy they believe everyone needs to earn what they receive and to take what they want and they don’t have this sense that’s strongly focused on mercy similarly verse eight jesus said the kingdom citizen will possess a pure heart and he’s talking here about being upright honest conducting yourself in every area of life in an upright way in your dealings with others because a kingdom citizen is not someone who profits from someone else’s loss that’s not a mentality that you would find among believers generally it’s not a recipe for gaining heaven i’m not saying that if you are nice to people that’s how you’re going to get into heaven i’m saying that those who have gained heaven will reflect these things in their life because christ lives in them and when you get into the kingdom if you’re the kind of person who practices in a pure heart now these these ways of life these upright ways of life wait till you see what it’s like to live face to face with god and what uprightness looks like there you will fully be satisfied in your purity there verse 9 the kingdom will be occupied by those who make peace because god’s children exhibit that desire naturally to reduce strife to encourage peace and and i say this not without exception i know that we sometimes aren’t very peaceful in our dealings but in general those who’ve been touched by god and indwelled by the spirit appreciate love and peace at a level they’ve never known before and you may not always find what you want in that regard but you’re programmed to seek for it and desire it in a way you never were before jesus says kingdom citizens live this way because one day we know we’ll be called sons of god here’s what jesus is talking about he’s alluding to your role in the kingdom the bible says that when you and i entered the kingdom we have a job and part of our job is ruling with christ in the government over that time and establishing peace in the world with christ paul says in 1st corinthians 6 2 do not know that the saints will judge the world if the world is judged by you are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts do you not know that we will judge angels well how much more than matters of this life he’s alluding to this future role that you and i will have in the kingdom jesus says blessed are those who are the peacemakers because when they get to the kingdom of god they’re going to have their job making peace and then finally kingdom citizens jesus says we’ll know persecution and slander because of our relationship with christ yet he says despite that you’re going to rejoice in those things when it comes and it’s in the rejoicing of persecution that we make our mark as a believer just as the prophets who came before us jesus said if we share in their persecution because they share in their same knowledge of god that we have then we can also know we’re going to share in their future and what was their future reward in the kingdom jesus says so let’s take a step back for a second i want you to consider the character sketch we just walked through this kingdom citizen character sketch you have a person jesus says the one entering the kingdom who is humble they’re aware of their own unrighteousness they rest in god’s mercy and grace they’re saddened by their own mistakes they long to see righteousness prevailing they submit to god’s authority they want to please him they’re not so concerned with the world’s rewards they want to show mercy to others they want to deal honestly with others they want to seek for peace with others and yet they know that they’re going to be persecuted despite wanting for the right things in this world that jesus said that’s the kind of person you’re going to find in the kingdom now if you’re a believer in this room and you’re thinking to yourself you know i don’t do some of those things very well what does that tell you well first it tells you that this list is a set of ideal standards it’s the new gold standard that replaces the false one offered by the pharisees if you want to set up a model for yourself if you want the gold standard that reflects what god’s people should look like here you have it this is it and so as an ideal it’s not something that any of us will meet with perfection on any given day and i think that’s an acknowledged understanding here we’re not saying you have to do these things that and if you fail on any one of them suddenly you’re not really a saved person or any such thing that’s not what he’s saying but on the other hand by the spirit living in you you ought to be moving in this direction i mean you ought to be getting closer some of these things should be true about you certainly some of them need to be if you’ve been saved like being poor in spirit and so if your behavior believer does not measure up in one of more of these areas then what that tells you is that despite the spirit of god dwelling in you you’re still living in the flesh at least to some degree you may have been saved by your faith your future in the kingdom is secure i’m not saying it isn’t but you still have some work to do in sanctification in representing christ to this world do not be self-satisfied when you look at this list and say well i got 7 out of 10 that’s 70 that’s passing or whatever you might come to now on the other hand for those of you who maybe aren’t sure that your future includes the kingdom i mean you may be thinking to yourself i want to go to the kingdom i like the idea of heaven i guess i need to start doing some of these things no no if that’s what you thought you just got the whole thing backward because as i said this is not a recipe for heaven you cannot mimic these behaviors and expect that to result in your salvation that’s not how it works it’s like trying to push on a rope you’re doing it wrong okay it doesn’t happen that way before you can act like a kingdom citizen you need to be a kingdom citizen and the only way you can be a child of god on the road to heaven is if you place your faith in jesus christ as your savior knowing he died on the cross to save you from your sin paying the price that you can’t pay as you accept that truth as you accept christ as lord the bible says you’re born again by the spirit scripture says that that old spirit the old nature you had from birth that wanted to sin and hated god that has been put to death on the cross with christ and in its place you have received something new and permanent and that new nature god gives you by faith is formed in the image of jesus so that now you may share in his nature and in his character and in the sharing of jesus’s nature you begin to exhibit these characteristics because these are the characteristics of jesus and that new nature will do things that you could never do it makes you spiritually humble it causes you to mourn over your sin it causes you to submit to christ in gentleness and so on and so on so you confess christ so that god will bring you these qualities in time and then of course in time you enter the kingdom you have eternal life the promise that you will never die and in that way you were truly blessed that is what the point of this is are you this person or not not can you mimic these things or not you will not gain these things by mimicking the piety of the hypocritical self-righteous religious leaders not of that day nor of this day by the way don’t mimic priests don’t mimic popes don’t mimic imams or yogis or gurus or anyone else you think has something to offer their hearts betray their ignorance god’s children display god in their heart that’s what jesus is calling us all to do know him so that we can be like him let’s go to prayer heavenly father i thank you lord for the work you have done by your spirit in my heart in all the hearts of those who know you in this room and all who hear me what a glorious miracle it is father that you can take the likes of us and give us hope for something we have no right to receive and more than that father to make us like you even now as we struggle against the sin of our flesh even in the small things of life as we see ourselves changing and becoming more like you we thank you father for the blessing the blessing of not just knowing you but of being like you for those of us father who still feel the the tug of sin and have fallen short as we will do from time to time father we thank you for your forgiveness and we ask for your strength to do better and for any of those father who have heard this message without knowing you and have wondered how do i enter the kingdom and they now hear the gospel is the way i pray father you would give them the courage the humility the willingness to confess christ let them do that within the ear of another so that we may recognize their faith and encourage them in it we pray these things father in jesus name amen
rn

The Sermon on the Mount (part 1) | Matthew 5:1-12 | VBVM | Matthew 5A

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *