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Sunday, February 2, 2020 am                                    Teachings of Jesus 2020 Index                    MP3                    PP

 

THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS (4)
Sermon On the Mount (3)
The Beatitudes (3)
Matthew 5:3-12

               

Last week we began an examination of the beatitudes, the characteristics we need to help us enter into heaven.  These were the introduction to the “Sermon on the Mount”, and every likely the theme of some of His earliest sermons as He began preaching and teaching.

We noted that the word “beatitude” is from the Latin and refers to being “blessed”, or receiving the favor of God.  When then began examining the beatitudes noting the first 3.  We are to be:
1) Poor in spirit – realizing how spiritually bankrupt we are.  We cannot afford to purchase our salvation. 
2) We mourn – over our sinful condition, the damage we’ve done and the enmity with God because of our sins. 
3) We are meek – our mourning leads to a humbling and gentle attitude as we turn to Him.  Knowing we have nothing material to offer Him (though we offer Him everything), we surrender to Him in repentance. 

That leads us to our next beatitude – Those who hunger after righteousness.

  I.                     Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (vs. 6)

a.       What is righteousness? Simply stated it is being right with God, based upon submitting to His standard.  We learn form scripture that God determines true righteousness – Romans 10:1-3 contrasts the righteousness of God with that of men who establish their own. 
It is a fruit of the spirit (Ephesians 5:9), and part of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:14).  We learn of it in the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, etc.)

b.       The hungering and thirsting here is not the word of God (cf. 1 Peter 2:1-2, 1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12-14 – which are speaking of the word of God), rather it is a hungering to be right with God.  But how to do this is FOUND IN God’s word.
The idea of hunger and thirst is a strong desire for those things.  We in America fail to truly appreciate what hunger and thirst is.  Most have access to plenty of both.  But that was not so in Biblical times.

c.        We ought to CRAVE to be right with God and willing to do whatever is necessary for that to happen.  Psalm 24:3-5, Psalm 15.

d.       It is this craving to be right with God that keeps us studying and praying.  We work to mature and get better spiritually, etc. We need to pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22).
This is the product of repentance – our actions when we repent as we should - 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

This is the continued faithfulness of one who has been received into the kingdom of heaven.  Consider Paul in Philippians 3:7-9 – He speaks of all that he gave up so that he could possess the righteousness found through faith in Christ
That is the premise of Romans 6.  As Christians, we cannot continue in sin.  When we obeyed the gospel, we buried that old man.  Notice vs. 11-13 – present your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  He elaborates on this in vs. 15-18 – we are to be slaves of righteousness. 

e.       They shall be filled – we have “all things that pertain to life and godliness”.  God’s word can make us complete (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3).   There is also something to be said about true satisfaction that is found when we know that we have done what we could and God is pleased with our efforts.  He offers satisfaction that nothing in this world can do.  Recall that Jesus in John 6:35 said, “ And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  Solomon called such things “vanity” and “grasping for the wind”.

 II.                   Blessed are the merciful (vs. 7)

a.       In the previous 4 beatitudes, we see a clear progression leading to spiritual satisfaction because of restored relationship with God.  With this beatitude, we begin addressing our relationship with man, which is the last 4 beatitudes. 
When we have had our sins taken care of by God and we now live with a hope of eternal life in His kingdom, it must affect our attitude toward others.  With true appreciation for our forgiveness, we are grateful and care about others – another principle outlines throughout the teachings of Jesus and His apostles.   We ought to want to: 1) treat others with due respect; and 2) seek to influence them to also follow God.  Jesus will deal with our influence next.  

b.       What is mercy?
It is the quality of feeling compassion and pity for those who are suffering.  It is treating one with kindness and forgiveness, even when it is not deserved.  
Grace and mercy are not the same thing.  Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward us.  It is God forgiving us of our sins.  Mercy is the longsuffering and compassion of God that moves Him to take pity on our miserable state of sinfulness, and forgiving us even though we don’t deserve it.
As we have simply contrasted these in the past: Grace if God giving us what we don’t deserve, and mercy is God NOT giving us what we do deserve.  Consider Ephesians 2:4-5. 

c.        We need to be merciful -
in Matthew 18:21-35, we find the parable of two debtors.  The king began to settle accounts from one who owed him 10,000 talents (a huge amount), which he forgave because the servant begged him.  But he did not in turn forgive a servant who only owed him a little.  The conclusion of the parable calls for us to forgive others (with mercy).
Luke 10:29-37 tells the parable of the good Samaritan.  He showed mercy to the injured man, unlike the priest and Levite.  They may have pitied the wounded man, but they did nothing and therefore were unmerciful. 
Luke 6:35-36 finds the other sermon addressing this, But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Colossians 3:12, as the elect of God, we are to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, etc.

d.       They shall obtain mercy

                                                   i.      This is one of a few things that God predicates we give to others, if we are to receive it from Him.  Others include the way we judge others (Matthew 7:1-2) and how we forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  ALL of these qualities are related to each other. 
Note James 2:13, judgment is without mercy to the one who shows no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

                                                 ii.      Consider that, we DESPERATELY need the mercy of God. 
And He has made it available freely – Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 Peter 1:3 – according to His abundant mercy, He has begotten us again to a living hope.
James 5:11 – He is merciful and compassionate.
Consider this as we continue to examine the orderliness of the beatitudes.  We are craving to be righteous with God and realize our need for His mercy.  This in turn moves us to treat others properly, which includes being merciful.  In return, God will be merciful to us.

                                                iii.      Also, consider that compassionate behavior OFTEN begets compassion from others.  People are more like to be merciful to one who’s demeanor has demonstrated mercy in dealing with others. 

                                                iv.      Friends, if you are not merciful to man, then you do not understand the mercy of God.  And if you are not merciful to man, then you are not blessed in Him!