Summary: A sermon on the Beatitudes as a whole.
Matthew 5: 1 – 12 Be Attitudes
Intro: Have you ever played Balderdash? It is a game where you guess the meaning of obscure words. For example, the word “PLEACH.” Does it mean 1) a peach scented bleach, 2) the curved handle of a plough, or 3) the interweaving of tree branches? (The correct answer is #3.) “HORBGORBLE.” Does it mean 1) the call of a female turkey, 2) to wander aimlessly, or 3: to speak with your mouth full? (The correct answer is #2.) A word that refers to the gospel lesson today is another that might work in Balderdash. It is the word, “BEATITUDE.” What exactly is a “BEATITUDE”?
I. There are various ways to interpret the word translated as “Blessed” which we find at the beginning of verses 3 – 11. The word in Greek is MAKARIOI = BLESSED, HAPPY, BLISSFULNESS.
A. These are not some mandate to be lived. They are not commands to follow. The verbs are in the indicative rather than the imperative. They are statements rather than commands.
B. These are not glimpses of some future beauty; they are not even golden promises of some distant glory.
C. They are shouts of joy! Joy which is serene, untouchable and self-contained. An inner joy that is so great it is unimaginable. Joy which shines through the tears and which nothing in life or death can take away.
II. Most translations of verses 1 -12 use the verb “ARE” But the word “ARE” never appears in the Greek; nor is it even implied by the context.
A. So how do we adequately translate these sentences? They are ecstatic shouts of joy, exclamations!!!!! Like WHOOPIE!!!! Or as the say in Texas, YEE HAW!!!!!
B. Accurate translations might be like “O the blessedness of . . . O the Joy of . . . of Congratulations on what is.”
C. Presbyterians have the reputation of being the frozen chosen; but, my experience with 1st Presbyterian Church of Gary, Indiana was anything but frozen. They were happy people who worshipped with HALLELUIAS AND AMENS!
III. Just who are these fortunate, lucky people? Can I count myself among them?
A. They are listed in Verses 3 – 11. The poor in spirit / those who mourn / the meek / those who hunger and thirst for righteousness / the merciful / the pure in heart / the peacemakers / the persecuted / the lied about.
B. These blessings are rather like a splash of ice-cold water in the face of those who are self-satisfied and self-righteous or like a cool drink of water to those who have a bad taste in their mouths from all the wicked, evil ways of the world and who long for something better that brings hope into their lives.
C. Jesus turns the world upside down in these blessings. He gives to those who the world sees as losers the hand of his grace and to those whoa re so called winners he gives the slap of his hand as a wake up call to their false righteousness.
Conclu: Have you ever been told, “You are truly blessed.” --- Exactly what does that mean? --- Is it factual or opinion. For example: You are fifty = factual. --- You are ugly = opinion. So exactly what is a blessing? Is it factual or opinion? --- A blessing is a by-product of a way of live and worship. --- Micah 6: 8 says, “He has showed you, O humanity, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” When you do those things, you will have the correct BE ATTITUDE!