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Sunday, January 19, 2020 am                                Teachings of Jesus Index                                    MP3                    PP

The Teachings of Jesus (2)
The Sermon on the Mount (1)
The Beatitudes (1)
Matthew 5:1-12

 

Last week we introduced our theme for the year, Learning from the Teachings of Jesus.  We noted this will not be an exhaustive study of everything He taught, but an examination of a variety of ways and lessons He taught.   When we understand who Jesus is, we ought to desire to learn as much about Him and what He taught as we can. 

The best place to begin this is with an examination of the Sermon on the Mount.  That will be our focus for the next few months.  We will begin today with the beatitudes.

 I.                    Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

a.       More than likely, this was presented fairly early in Jesus’ ministry. 
In Matthew’s account, we find prior to this numerous events, as Jesus begins His recorded work.  Jesus is baptized – Matthew 3:13-17, then He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:1-2).  At the conclusion of this Jesus is tempted by the devil – with the 3 temptations we are familiar with – every aspect of life (Matthew 4:3-11, cf. Genesis 3:6, 1 John 2:15-17).
He then departed to Galilee where He began preaching and teaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17). 
He calls His first disciples to follow Him – four fishermen – Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:18-22). 
We then read in Matthew 4:23-25 Jesus begins teaching and performing miracles of healing among the people.  His fame spreads and great multitudes begin to follow Him from Galilee and surrounding regions including Jerusalem and Judea. 
It is based upon this backdrop that we find the Sermon on the Mount.

b.       Is this a complete sermon?  It could be, or it could be a summary of His preaching, but it likely on one particular occasion.  Observe that Matthew 5:1-2, as well as Matthew 7:28 describe this as Jesus speaking these things on a particular occasion.  He opened His mouth and taught” “When He had ended these sayings”.
We find what might be a parallel in Luke 6:17-49.  If you place these 2 sermons side by side you will find similarities and differences.  It could be that this is actually 2 different occasions.  Matthew’s sermon is recorded on a mountain, and Luke’s account happens on a level place after Jesus came down from a mountain (Luke 6:17).  Luke records this as happening right after he chose the 12.  Whereas, Matthew’s account doesn’t record the choosing of the 12.  But we find after the sermon that Matthew 9:9 records the calling of Matthew, the likely author of this gospel.  We do not find the 12 apostles named in Matthew until He sends them out in pairs (Matthew 10:1-4). 
However, both occasions are followed by the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1ff).  This would support these being the same occasion, just portions recorded in both addressing the intended audience of the letters. 
However, I believe these were different occasions with Jesus preaching a similar message to different audiences.  Jesus likely preached the same message over and over, catered to his present audience (I have done this with gospel meeting work – TT).    

c.       Regardless, the message of this sermon is the same – we must seek the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33).  Recall that both Jesus and John had preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).    Now, in this sermon, we find Jesus introducing life in this kingdom. 
Matthew 5:20 is the theme of this sermon.  Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven
Jesus will emphasis our need for TRUE righteousness (doing what God commands with proper motives and action, etc.).   It must exceed the hypocritical and meritorious righteousness of the corrupt leadership and their followers.

d.       The rest of the sermon addresses life in the kingdom of God.   
- From the “beatitudes” we find attitudes we need as we seek this kingdom (Matthew 5:3-12), then we find our influence toward others concerning the kingdom (Matthew 5:13-16)  
- We then find Jesus and the purpose of this message (5:17-20)
- Next, Jesus deals with a moral code that is greater than the world (5:21-48) – it includes anger, lust, selfishness, oaths, and even retaliation.  Jesus concludes this section with instructions about how to treat our enemies.
- Next, we find religious motives and worship in the kingdom – 6:1-18 (He addresses prayer, giving and fasting)
- Then the kingdom and our worldly possessions – 6:19-34 (including not worrying).
- As He begins to conclude this lesson we find warnings within the kingdom  (7:1-20) – from proper judging, to proper faith, to the way we treat others, to warnings about false teachers
- He concludes with a call to obedience in the kingdom – 7:21-27
This is a brief and basic outline of this sermon. 

e.       The sermon on the mount is not as pleasant as some think it is. 
- It is a thought provoking sermon that challenges us to live godly and to change.   
- It is a call to REPENT. 
- It is a call to sacrifice, be willing to suffer long and even to be persecuted for the sake of the kingdom.
- Jesus exposed false teachers in this sermon. 

f.        BUT, it is a sermon that if applied to our lives will definitely make us better. 

 II.                  The Beatitudes introduced

a.       Jesus began His sermon with what we call the beatitudes.  The word “beatitude” is not there.  We sometimes associate it with “attitudes” that ought to “be” in our lives, and so it is.  But the focus is on results achieved when we have the proper attitude. 
Beatitude is from a Latin word that means “blessed”.  It is defined as “a state of utmost bliss”.

b.       Attitude is where change, who we are and what we will become, starts.  This is a fitting way to begin the sermon on the mount

c.       These 8 “beatitudes” are not random.  They are in an order that early on builds one upon the previous one (like a stairstep, cf. 2 Peter 1:5-8).  They can be divided into two sets – Our relationship with God (1-4) and our relationship with man (5-8).  Compare this to the greatest commands (Matthew 22:37-39).
These have been described as the epitome of who Jesus was.  He certainly lived a life commensurate with these qualities. 

d.       Each beatitude describes an attitude that we need.  And with each one, there is a resulting blessing, or reason for joy.    
The results are all associated with the kingdom of God.  They are spiritual blessings.   Note that they are not all associated with pleasantness.  Perhaps, as Jesus is early in His teachings, He is warning of the challenges associated with life in the Kingdom of God (heaven).  It will not be easy, BUT if you are faithful, which will be manifested with these attitudes and the like, you truly will be blessed.

e.       Blessed” –

1.       Some associate this with the word “happy”. 
And that would be the result if the Christian’s attitude is right (though not as man view happiness), especially when our promise is ultimately realized (e.g. “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, etc.)
This is the Christian’s “joy” and “rejoicing” that the world doesn’t understand.  This is a disposition that is there even when we are not “happy” from a fleshly viewpoint – as we suffer and face trials, etc.  Philippians 4:4, Paul said to rejoice in the Lord always. 
Romans 12:12 speaks of us rejoicing in hope and patient in tribulations.
1 Peter 4:14 speaks of rejoicing to the extent we partake of Christ’s sufferings. 
This is about attitude.  Why Paul and Silas can sing having been beaten and thrown in prison (Acts 16:25), Hebrews 12:1-2 speaks of Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…”; and Paul said he would “gladly spend and be spent for your souls”, even though he is not always appreciated. 
So there is something to be said about this. 

2.       But it is more akin to the idea of being blessed – that is, enjoying favor, especially of God. 
One who is blessed realizes how fortunate he is and is grateful for that.  He praises and thanks God for all that He has done; He has a good disposition as he deals with others;  He is satisfied and see the good around him and in his situation.  He knows, even is he is dealing with struggles, there is always someone in worse shape than he is. 
The term is used in this sense often in the Old Testament (remember, as Jesus began, He was still under the Old Law).  Psalm 1:1 – the first word of the book of psalms;
Psalm 2:12, Blessed are those who put their trust in Him;
Psalm 32:1, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
In the New Testament, we are “Blessed”:
Ephesians 1:3 -Blessed be the God and Father… who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing;
James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who endures temptation…
James 1:25 – But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it… this one will be blessed in what he does.
1 Peter 4:13, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed…”; Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…”

3.       This is how Jesus begins each of these 8 attitudes and His sermon on that occasion.  As we think about the kingdom of God, may we always have such attitudes in mind. 

 

With this introduction to this sermon and the beatitudes, we are ready to consider them in closer detail.  That will be our next lesson.   But here we begin to examine the teachings of Jesus.  Truly His teachings are worthy of our attention.  May we learn from Him as we strive to imitate Him on our way to spending eternity with Him.  How about you?  Are you in Him?