Summary: Don't we all want to be richly blessed, that comfortable retirement, the slippers beside the fire, the 2.5 kids visiting with the 2.5 grandchildren and a golden labrador. Blessings are a wonderful thing!
Blessings are wonderful things, amazing things, don’t we all like to receive a blessing? I love it when someone says bless you or God bless you, it makes me happy, real warm fuzzy stuff.
The verses that are used this month are about blessings, about the countless rewards for the blessed people. Who are the blessed people? Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
What are these countless rewards we are blessed with?
Firstly why are they blessed? There’s a number of reasons, here are some of them:
• They have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour
• They have been saved by faith in their Lord Jesus Christ
• Because of this they have been justified with God, they are no longer condemned and under the wrath of his judgement
• Because they have died to the world as Christ died
• Because in Christ we have found righteousness, holiness and redemption
• The fruits of The Holy Spirit, are seen in their lives
• Because when they are in those desert places of life, they can know Joy, when there is no happiness.
Because of the attractiveness of the cross these people, these "blessed people" have put aside the desire to be anything other than like Jesus. You may have picked up the references to Paul’s teaching in this short message, references from 1 Corinthians 1 looking at verse 18 he says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The famous first salvationist here in Sri Lanka, Arnolis Weerasooriya whose picture we all walk past every day said something about the cross. Can you remember reading it, it is on his picture. That’s right he said, “Cross is the attraction.” He died from cholera some years later on the Mission field in India. Paul also saw the cross as an attractive thing, as a thing to be blessed by. The cross, an instrument of torture, a tool of death, this spectacle of suffering and drowning in one’s own body fluids, is seen as a blessing, but why?
Paul knew that to suffer for the gospel was to become like Christ, he preached Christ crucified a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, Christ the power of God.(Refer 1 Corinthians 1:23-24)
The blessing of living for and perhaps suffering for Christ is coming to know the power of God and the wisdom of God, to boast solely in the Lord.
We struggle with this blessing; we struggle with becoming Christ like. We want comfort. Sorry let me take ownership here, I struggle with this blessing no matter how much I know it to be true, I WANT COMFORT, I want an easy road, I want people to like me and some to even agree with me. The idea of being nailed to the cross is terrifying!
But, this is where Jesus went for me, where the most powerful, where Christ, he who had all of creation resting in the cup of his strong, healing, compassionate and comforting hands, his broken, bloody-nail pierced hands went. Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant”, (Philippians 2:6-7). So that I may be free, so that I may know, that we all may know, so others may know what it is to be truly blessed and free.
The countless rewards we have, the numerous and numberless blessings we already have are in our living, in our loving others as Christ loved us, in fruits and gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and living in the knowledge if we are called to die for the gospel, if we are to live a full life, that as the physical meets death, as this one life we are given stops we will be with Him eternally. You can’t get a more countless blessing than eternally in the presence of the Most High.
To be truly blessed look to the cross!