Summary: If we want to truly be followers of Jesus, we must be willing to transcend the standards of an ungodly society.
A Messiah Who Blesses
Text: Matt. 5:1-12
1. Illustration: Dietrich Bonheoffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, begins with "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."
a. What should we die to? Should we die to self? Should we die to our sin? Should we die to the whims of an ungodly society?
b. If we want to truly follow Christ, the answer to all these questions is a resounding "Yes!"
2. Bonheoffer understood what it means to count the cost of discipleship.
a. He was a pastor, theologian, and church leader during the reign of terror known as Nazi Germany.
b. He escaped to the United States, however, while in the US God spoke to him that he was needed in his homeland.
c. After returning, he was arrested and placed in a concentration camp, where he was hung for his faith.
d. He understood counting the cost, but he also understood that the reward of following Jesus outweighs that cost.
3. Jesus teaches us that:
a. Although our society values self-preservation, blessing comes when we make ourselves vulnerable.
b. Although our society values looking out for number one, blessing comes from being other-minded.
c. Although our society values winning at all costs, blessing comes from being sincere.
d. Although our society values pleasure, blessing comes from right living.
4. Read Matt. 5:1-12
Proposition: If we want to truly be followers of Jesus, we must be willing to transcend the standards of an ungodly society.
Transition: First, Jesus talks about the...
I. Blessings of Vulnerability (1-6)
A. Realize Their Need
1. The next three chapters of Matthew have been referred to as The Sermon on the Mount. The reason for this is based on the very first phrase of chapter 5: "One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside..."
a. As Matthew stated in chapter 4, multitudes of people began to flock to Jesus because they heard about His healing and deliverance from diseases and oppression.
b. Jesus wanted to get away from all this and begin to teach His new disciples.
2. Matthew shows this by continuing..."and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them."
a. It is interesting that Jesus sat down. Although one would stand to read Scripture publicly, Jewish teachers would sit to expound it, often with disciples sitting at their feet (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
b. The audience of this teaching is Jesus disciples and not the crowd.
c. The word "disciples" refers "to being a follower of someone, in the sense of adhering to the teachings or instructions of a leader" (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
d. Jesus wanted to take some time and teach His disciples what was truly important to them as His followers.
3. The first thing that Jesus tells His disciples is “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."
a. This first section of teaching is known as the Beatitudes.
b. Beatitude comes from the Latin beatus which means "blessed."
c. To be blessed is to receive God’s approval, favor, endorsement, and congratulations (Turner, 75).
d. God blesses those who admit their spiritual poverty. They realize that they are totally dependent upon Him and cannot do it on their own.
e. Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
f. Verse 3 and 10 have identical promise statements and are both in the present tense, whereas the other statements are future tense (Turner, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, 76).
g. In other words, to those who realize their spiritual poverty, theirs is the Kingdom, here and now.
4. Next, Jesus says, "God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
a. There are many things that we can mourn over: the loss of a loved one, hardship, personal crisis, or facing our own mortality.
b. However, the mourning that Jesus is talking about here has to do with sin
c. This is in keeping with Matthew’s theme of repentance (Turner, 76).
d. It also goes along with the idea of realizing our spiritual poverty.
e. Psalm 51:1-5 (NLT)
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight...."