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Sunday, February 9, 2020 am                                                Teachings of Jesus 2020 Index                            MP3                    PP

 

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

         We are continuing our study of the “beatitudes” that Jesus introduced in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. These are a list of attitudes that every Christian needs to be what God wants us to be toward Him and toward others.  Thus far we have examined the progression:  We are poor in spirit (bankrupt in realizing the consequences of our sins; The depth of realizing our spiritual poverty causes us to mourn our sinful condition and what we have done; This causes us to become meek (humble and gentle) as we approach God seeking His forgiveness; Then with this meekness, we hunger and thirst (strong craving) after righteousness (to be right with God), in this we noted this is the fruit of repentance and doing everything God would have us to do to be right with Him; Being right with God will influence our relationship with others.  Thus we noted that we must be merciful toward others – not just compassionate and aware of needs, but a willingness and desire to act mercifully toward them – especially the poor and weak.  If we want mercy, this is a must. 

That brings us to the next beatitude which we will discuss right now – purity of heart.

 I.                     Blessed are the pure in heart (vs. 8)

a.       What is the heart?
The word “heart” is used with the understanding of how important the physical heart is.  If the heart stops, we literally only have a few minutes to live.  Thus it is the lifeline of the body – delivering life sustaining nutrients to every cell and organ.
Spiritually, It is who we are inside. Used frequently throughout scripture to describe the inner person, his seat of emotions, motives, attitudes, understanding and will, even his personality. 
It is who you really are deep down.  It is what is revealed when you tested under pressure.
A few years ago purity of heart was our theme.  We are called upon to keep the heart with diligence because out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Jesus noted that out of the heart, the real you is revealed – Matthew  12:34-35 – out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, whether good things or bad things.
Matthew 15:19 – out it proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, etc.

b.       What is purity?
When we think of something that is pure, at least 2 things come to mind:
1) Being unpolluted – there is nothing that defiles
2) Being undiluted – it is 100% what it claims to be.  (Think 100% juice).
Both are needed as we consider purity of heart.

c.        The pure in heartit is a singleness of heart.  One who is unhypocritical and genuine.  Who he is outward is consistent with who he really is deep inside.  Consider the impurity of the Jewish leaders Jesus exposed in Matthew 23:27-28 where Jesus described them as whitewashed tombs – beautiful outside, but inside full of dead men’s bones.  He was describing their hypocrisy.
The pure in heart is honest and true in his dealings with others and with himself. 
2 Timothy 2:22 – as Paul instructs Timothy to flee youthful lusts and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
1 Peter 1:22 speaks of how we are to love one another fervently with a pure heart.
NOTICE how purity of heart is demonstrated in purity of actions, which is the premise of our conduct throughout the New Testament. 
That purity exists because of his singleness of purpose – putting God first in all things.

d.       In our continued progression of the beatitudes.  Having found righteousness, and being merciful to others, we find here the GENUINE motives behind such.  He has a pure heart because he knows what he has done to make himself right with God AND WHY.  He is genuine in his relationship with God AND with man. 
How many today may engage in some noble act, but in time you learn their motives were self-serving or even sinister? 

e.       They shall see God – ultimately this is eternal life. 
Consider Psalm 24:3-5 – he who has clean hands and a pure heart is the one who will stand in the presence of God. 
But even now, purity of heart based upon merciful and righteous behavior gives us a better understanding and appreciation of God.  When we are striving to emulate Him in our character, we grow to love Him rather than fearing Him.  We see God for who He is – loving, compassionate, merciful, gracious, longsuffering, etc.  
Rather than living in fear of facing His wrath.  Perfect love casts out fear – 1 John 4:17-19
ALSO, it is when we act in purity that others see God in us – Matthew 5:16. 
Finally, consider 1 John 3:2-3 – while not knowing what the future holds, we have confidence that when our Lord is revealed, we will see him as He is and be like Him.  And everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself , just as He is pure.

f.         Are we with singleness of purpose purifying our hearts?

 II.                   Blessed are the peacemakers (vs. 9)

a.       Peace is something we all crave.  It is harmonious and tranquil circumstances. Simply defined, peace is the absence of strife.  
But understanding peace, especially this peace, goes a littler further than that.  This is not about military peace, or treaties with nations.  It is not necessarily about conflict resolution within the community or between neighbors (though we might seek that). 
Primarily this is a spiritual peace.  We must understand:

                                                   i.      Jesus is addressing the kingdom of heaven in this sermon.  All of these beatitudes have a spiritual connotation attached to them. 

                                                 ii.      Our God is a God of peace – Romans 15:33, 16:20, Philippians 4:9, etc. He desires peace and has graciously taken measures to make that peace possible. 

                                                iii.      Jesus is the “prince of peace” – Called such in Isaiah 9:6.  But even more so, He demonstrated that while on earth.  Recall how in the garden, He told Peter to put away his sword (John 18:10-11, Matthew 26:52).  And even before Pilate, He was clear, “MY kingdom is not of this world” or his disciples would fight for Him – John 18:36. 
He will further establish this later in this sermon as He gives instructions concerning enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).

                                                iv.      The gospel is a gospel of peace – Romans 10:15.  Ephesians 2:17 – Jesus came and preached “peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.”

b.       We need to seek peace:

                                                   i.      With God – first and foremost.  Colossians 1:20 – we have peace through the blood of His cross;

                                                 ii.      We need to seek peace with others – pursue it – including our brethren and all men. Romans 14:19, 12:18, Hebrews 12:14.  THIS needs to be our demeanor!  And if we care about others, it will be.

                                                iii.      We need to seek peace with ourselves – we want the “peace of God” guarding our hearts (cf. Philippians 4:7)

                                                iv.      This peace is heavenly wisdom – James 3:17-18 – it is first pure, then peaceable…  This shows that we are seeking peace in whatever circumstance we are in.

c.        Note that this is a peacemaker – it is a call to action.
Pursue peace – 1 Peter 3:10-12 (esp. 11). 
Again Romans 14:19 – we pursue (with our brethren) the things that make for peace and edification.  Bear in mind that Romans 14 is about your willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others.  That is a key ingredient to peacemaking.  In any conflict (be it physical, internal or spiritual) something or someone has to give in.  Will you do it for the sake of peace? 

d.       When possible, we act peaceably, but at times we have to take serious  and unpleasant measures to achieve peace. 
So understand this is not talking about compromising truth to achieve peace. 
We are reminded that we are at war – Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.  BUT notice that this is a spiritual warfare designed to defeat our spiritual enemy.  Our goal is peace with God – OUR peace, and the peace with others. 

e.       Primarily, it is spiritual – the ultimate peace we should pursue in others is their peace with God. 
As we continue to put our beatitudes together.  Consider that pursuing righteousness with God (and finding it), we are merciful to others in the way we treat them, we live with purity (singleness) of heart meaning we are true and consistent within and without.  This ought to lead us to encourage them to find peace with God.    THUS, this is a beatitude that could easily involve evangelism. 
But it will also be reflected physically.   Consider this: IF all had peace with God, peace with one another would come naturally. 
Note this beatitude comes just before the one dealing with our willingness to suffer persecutions.  Why?  Because not all want peace, ESPECIALLY with God.  In our evidences class, we have addressed the radical atheism today that wants to eradicate the idea of God from the world – there is no desire for peace, and they do desire to bring harm to the godly.  The is a new morality that despises the inspiration of scripture as written. 
We know of contentious brethren, and those in the world hostile to teachings of God’s word. 

f.         They shall be called sons of God – the blessing promised. 
God will recognize us as His children.  1 John 3:1-2 – what a blessing that is (cf. Revelation 21:20-21)
Remember the beatitudes are about the kingdom of God.  His children have a promised inheritance – Romans 8:16-17 – we are heirs together with Christ. 

g.       Are we pursuing peace?

 

Thus we continue our study of the beatitudes – attitudes that will bring upon us the blessed favor of God and cause joy as we serve Him looking toward our ultimate reward “in the kingdom of God.”  As you look at your life, do you live with the hope Jesus has emphasized in these verses?  If not, now is the time to change.  You do not know how much time you have left – James 4:14.  Please take whatever steps you need to be found in Him, before it is too late.   How can we help you?