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Summary: Make 3 decisions for the rich, full life Christ offers.

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Matthew 5:2-12

Are You Sure About That?

Woodlawn Baptist Church

February 8, 2004

Introduction

This morning I have a fun exercise that I want you to help me with before we get started with the message. I know that some of you will feel kind of silly doing it, but try it anyway. I want us all to sing a song you know: “If you’re happy and you know it.”

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

Do you guys want to keep going? I think maybe some of you have become too dignified to relax and enjoy a kid’s song! Oh how we need to have the heart of Jesus and be able to enjoy some of the more simple things! I love that song – “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.” I wonder how that song would go if a dog sang it. “If you’re happy and you know it, then your tail will surely show it.” Did you ever watch a dog when he’s happy? Down at our house you can get beat to death by Sparky when he gets to wagging his tail. He gets so happy that it just wags ninety-to-nothing.

I heard a story about a little puppy that noticed that whenever he was happy, his tail wagged, so he thought he had found the secret to happiness. One day he shared the secret of happiness with an older dog. He said, "I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is in my tail. So I am going to chase my tail; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness!" The old dog replied, "I too, believe that happiness is a marvelous thing for a dog, and that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that when I chase it, my tail keeps running away from me; but when I go about my business, it follows me wherever I go."

There’s a lot of wisdom in that little tale. The Bible has a lot to say about being happy, and whether you realize it or not your life is an open window to what you really believe will make you happy. Many of us are like that little puppy chasing his tail – trying to find true happiness that is always just out of our reach. What we need to do is learn is that Jesus has a wonderful plan that will lead to a rich and full life, and if we will learn to trust Him and make His plans our plans, happiness will follow us wherever we go.

Today we are going to take a look at the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:3-12, and in our next few messages we’re going to take a close look at each of them. Last week I laid a foundation for the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. Today I am going to continue laying that foundation by taking a broad look at these Beatitudes, and as we do, I want you to realize that if you want the richest, fullest life possible, you’re going to have to be willing quit “chasing your tail.” God has something better for you.

Now I realize that we are a people who are doers. What we often want in a sermon or from God is some three-step plan for a better marriage, or a 10-point action plan for raising your kids. We like to be told what we need to do for better financial success and how to get along in the workplace, but I want to suggest to you today that God is more interested first in what you are, not in what you are doing. Certainly He cares about what you do, but what you do and your success in doing it is dependent on who you are in Christ. It is my desire to see you grow as a people who above all are spiritual, who are spiritually minded, and who are concerned about spiritual matters, and that is what these Beatitudes address. Let’s read our text and see what Jesus said.

“And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

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