Summary: Understanding beatitudes as a means of discipleship
February 3, 2019
Beatitudes - Encouragement for Inner Peace
Our gospel reading for today is Matthew’s account of The Sermon on the Mount. I have drawn heavily from writings by Warren Wiersbe and Myron Augsburger in preparing this message.
I can tell you that there are several interpretations of this reading out there. They range from viewing the Beatitudes as a means to salvation to a guide for a lifestyle of inner peace and righteous character.
I am sharing from the latter view. The word beatitude comes from the Latin word beatus meaning happy or blissful. Here I include my take on happiness and bliss which I believe are derived from a lifestyle adapted to the “beatitudes” and that is
Inner peace. Many of us cloak ourselves with an outer expression of happiness and peace and yet lack that inner peace. We can just be so phony sometimes, can’t we?
That brings me to that old standby: ATTITUDE. Wiersbe outlines four attitudes that ought to be standard in our lives as we seek that inner peace. They are:
1) Attitude Toward Self – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (verse 3). See also Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Being humble is not something that we assume but rather something that we absorb in our character and lifestyle. As in being of humble character for the glory of God!
2) Attitude towards our sins – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (verse 4). If we see sin the way God sees sin, we are sure to mourn and grieve. If we seek to cover up, excuse or justify the sins in our lives it is certain that we have a wrong attitude, surely to prevent that true inner peace.
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:14
The word “meek” can be interpreted many ways in the modern English language but for our purposes here, let’s use “down-to-earth” and “unpretentious” as our modern definition yet retaining a biblical definition.
KJV Dictionary Definition: meek
MEEK, a. L. mucus; Eng. mucilage; Heb. to melt.
A. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.
Now the man Moses was very meek, above all men. Num.12.
B. Appropriately, humble, in an evangelical sense; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations. Christ says, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls." Matt.11.
How many times have we observed committee members, politicians, business executives etc. refuse to humble themselves even to a point of consensus born out of stubborn pride or to cover some hidden agenda? Lack of humility in such a setting is not a sign of power but rather a sign of arrogance and avarice. In no way does being stubborn bring glory to God.
3. Attitude toward the LORD. – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Verse 7)
When we receive mercy from God (and who can honestly say they haven’t?) We then share that mercy with others. We join in the ranks of peacemakers in this world.
I see merciful in any act of kindness to others. If everyone would reach out to someone else (individual, family or group) with some merciful act of kindness, it would bring a kind of harmony and peace to both, theretofore unknown. So many acts of kindness confront us every day, the attitude of mercy reveals them to us. Without that attitude of mercy, they go unrecognized.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)
4. Attitude toward the world – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (vv 10-16)