Summary: I think Matthew wrote these Beatitudes down in the exact order that Jesus spoke them. And I believe Jesus had a reason for putting them in this particular order. (Powerpoints available - #293)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & request #293.)
TEXT: Matthew 5:1-12
There is a beautiful chorus that begins with these words, "Do you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy? Then let Jesus come into your heart." And this morning we will look at a time when Jesus said, "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad." (Matthew 5:12)
ILL. There he stood, in the midst of the Golden Corral restaurant, with Thousand Island dressing dripping from his hair, over his glasses, down his face, all over his jacket, pants, & shoes. And I’m not talking about a little bit of Thousand Island dressing, I’m talking about 2 gallons of it!
What had happened was that a waitress carrying a 2-gallon container of Thousand Island dressing for the salad bar had paused for just a second while coming through the swinging doors of the kitchen, & the doors had caught her & knocked her forward, launching 2 gallons of dressing all over this guy.
Well, he went ballistic! He started shouting & cursing at her. “You’re so stupid! I can’t believe you could do such a stupid, stupid thing. This is a brand new suit & it cost me $300.”
His wife chimed in, “Yeah, you’ve ruined my husband’s $300 suit, & it’s the first time he’s worn it.” He screamed, “I want to see the manager!”
Thoroughly shaken, she went to get the manager, & the manager came out. Now picture this – here’s a guy with 2 gallons of Thousand Island dressing dripping from him, & the manager asks, “Is there a problem?”
The guy replies, “Is there a problem? She’s ruined my $300 suit. It’s brand new, & I want a new suit!” The manager says, “We’ll be glad to get your suit cleaned. Accidents do happen, & we’re really sorry about this.”
“No! No!” he said. “I don’t want my suit cleaned. I want a brand new suit, & I demand a check for $300 right here & now.” Well, to avoid a bigger scene, the manager goes back into his office, writes out a check for $300 & brings it to him. And still fuming, the angry customers leave.
APPL. Sadly, this true story happened at noon on a Sunday. Now, why would someone be wearing a brand new suit on Sunday? Do you suppose he had been to church? Do you suppose that he had just heard a sermon on “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
A. Now I don’t want to be unkind, but to me the tragic thing is that God has called us to be different from the rest of the world. You may expect the rest of the world to behave crudely, but not Christians, especially not after church on Sunday morning.
ILL. A few weeks ago I told about a little girl who asked her mother, “If God is bigger than us & He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?” Then I made the point, “If we’re Christians, when people see us, Jesus ought to show through.”
And that is exactly what God has always intended! In fact, back “In the beginning,” in Genesis 1:26, the Bible tells us, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”
And in Romans 8:29 (Msg) the apostle Paul says, “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son…. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.”
SUM. In other words, we were created to be like Jesus. From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make us like His Son. In all of creation, only human beings are made in God’s image, in His likeness.
We don’t know what all this might include, but we do know some of the aspects: Like God, we are spiritual beings – our spirits are immortal & will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual – we can think, reason, & solve problems; like God we are relational – we can give & receive real love; & we have moral consciousness - we can know right & wrong, which makes us accountable to God.
B. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus stood on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee. Thousands of people have come to listen to Him. And He delivers some of the most challenging statements we’ll ever hear. They’re recorded in Matthew 5:1-12, & we call them the Beatitudes.
I call the Beatitudes steps or rungs up the ladder to joy. They each begin with the word “Blessed,” which means “blissful” or “fortunate” or “In tune with God.”