Summary: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. But how can man be righteous?

The Beatitudes

Story: It’s All Saints day today - and of course it is our Patronal Service today

But do we have any Saints among us?

Elsie "Are you a Saint?" (Elsie is a Churchwarden!)

The term saint is used in the NT section of the Bible and is the word hagios meaning: sacred , pure or blameless.

St Paul writing to the Church at Philippi addresses them as "the saints at Philippi" (Phil 1:1) or to "the saints at Epehsus¨ (Eph 1:1)

The Bible’s use of the term Saint means someone who has committed his life to follow Jesus Christ.

As one Commentator put it:

"They became saints by means of the Holy Spirit, which can only come from God. God therefore chooses His saints, and gives them of His Holy Spirit to make it possible"

So cheer up - being a saint has nothing to do with our goodness - rather it has all to do with Jesus’ mercy.

But what does following Christ entail:

Story: Blondin was a famous tightrope walker in the 19th Century.

In 1859 he spanned a rope across the Niagara Falls and then proceeded to walk with a wheelbsrrow across the Falls.

When he reached the other side, the crowds cheered. He went up to the crowds and asked them:

"Do you believe that I can walk across the falls on the tightrope without falling off?"

"Yes" many replied: "Then get into my barrow and I’ll take you across."

"You must be joking."was the reply

To follow Jesus means getting into Jesus’ wheelbarrow.

It requires trust and faith BUT it is not blind trust and faith. It is faith and trust built up on the character of the One whom Scripture reveals to us - Jesus Christ.

But being saints - those set apart for God - has awesome responsibilities too.

We must take Jesus’ teachings very seriously.

One of Jesus’ most famous teachings on the quality of Christian life can be found in our Gospel reading tonight - teachings that are better known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)

There are nine Beatitudes in Mt 5

Jesus said: Blessed are

1. The poor in Spirit ( verse 3)

2. Those who Mourn (verse 4)

3. The Meek (verse 5)

4. Those who Hunger and Thirst for righteousness (v.6)

5. Those who are Merciful (verse 7)

6. The Pure in heart (verse 8)

7. The Peacemakers (verse 9)

8. Those who are Persecuted for righteousness sake. (v. 10)

9. Insulted because of Christ. (Verses 11-12)

Story: Contrary to public opinion

Blessed are those - who do not preach too long

For we shall be able - to get home quicker.

is not one of Jesus’ beatitudes.

The Beatitudes do however reflect the very CHARACTER OF GOD HIMSELF.

Can you see Jesus in these nine Attitudes?

Perhaps we can let the Beattidues BE OUR ATTITUDES too.

It is interesting that when Jesus summed the Law of God up, he did not refer to outward signs but he referred to inward attitudes.

It is these attitudes that govern our lives:

Story: One day Jesus was asked by a Phariseee what the man must do to inherit eternal life.

Jesus told the man that inheriting eternal life had nothing to do with DOING things for God but rather it had all to do with the man’s LIFE ATTITUDE: He told him to

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbour as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

If I was to look at all nine attitudes this evening - we’d be here quite some time. So I’d like to look at just one.

Perhaps the Beatitudes might make a good preaching theme for the future

The Beatitude I’d like to look at is

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

Clearly God’s righteousness speaks of his moral perfection.

And it is interesting to note that the term "The Righteous One" is a Messianic Title (Is 53:11) and so can be applied to Jesus

But what do we mean when we talk of man being righteous?

We find a clue in the first book in the Bible - in Genesis - to what righteousness means when applied to man.

In Gen. 15:6 we read : "Abram believed the Lord and He credited to him as righteousness."

It was Abraham’s actions that showed his Faith. And that was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

And the writer of the book of James followed this up by saying

"It was Abraham’s actions that showed his Faith. And that was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

And the writer of the book of James followed this up by saying

"Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar.

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