Summary: Join us as we take a real-life look at how the life and ministry of Jesus can radically change our life today.
Today, we’re kicking off a new series, Following Jesus, and we’re going to be spending a few months going through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Its amazing b/c in 3 chapters, like a 20 minute sermon, Jesus gives us some of the richest teaching in the history of the world and He systematically teaches us how God wants us to live. Most of it is radically counter-culture, so be prepared to disagree with Jesus (not me). At some point, we probably all will. I know Jesus offends me all the time. But whaddya gonna do – He’s God. (He’s not looking for consensus)
2. As the SOT Mount kicks off, I love the set up. Jesus is literally about to commence the greatest ethical teaching the world has ever known – and check out how he does it. Matthew 5:1, 2. You think I’m casual…Jesus gets ready to teach and he sits down on the side of a hill. Not formal, not in a temple. And we know he had sandals on. Now the Bible doesn’t say, but I’m pretty sure Jesus had jeans on too. I love Jesus’ style – it’s Casual, relevant, straightforward – its for Real people (not religious people).
3. And the first things out of Jesus’ mouth are pretty strange. We know them as the Beatitudes; just the word alone is pretty strange. It comes from the Latin word “Beatus” which means Blessed. there are a couple of different types of Beatitudes. There are behavioral beatitudes; ways you’re supposed to act, and then there are dispositional beatitudes; attitudes we’re supposed to have. And combined, they speak to the whole person – our desires, our attitudes, our behavior and even our circumstances – they speak to all facets of life.
4. And as you look at the Beatitudes, at first glance, you’re going what?? Blessed are the, huh? Doesn’t really make sense. On the surface, Jesus’ prescribed path to blessing seems almost opposite of what we think or want or what the preacher on TV’s telling us. But this is what The Lord teaches us about the Blessed Life. Matthew 5:3-12.
5. As you look over the list, you’re going are you sure this is the path to a blessed life? But each one carries with it a special blessing; a promise. a bunch of IF, THEN scenarios. And as you look at the list, I think all of us want the THEN stuff, the promises. We want to be in the kingdom of heaven, we want to inherit the earth, we want to see God, be shown mercy, be comforted, have great reward. We all want blessing (nobody I talk to says, well I just really hope my life stinks). We want to be blessed, and so Jesus says, here’s how. Here’s the path to a blessed life.
6. And I love where Jesus starts. He starts at the beginning. Not by coincidence, the first Beatitude is about our spiritual disposition. Jesus says Blessed is the person who is poor in spirit. Greek; Ptochos pneuma. Literally, cowering like a beggar, spiritually. Blessed are the spiritual beggars. Interesting blessing. You’d almost expect the opposite; that you’d be blessed if you’re spiritually rich. You’ve got it going on spiritually. You’re naming and claimin’. Healin’ and dealin’; But that’s not what Jesus says.
7. Jesus says, God’s looking for people who are spiritually needy and they know it. People who admit that they are sinners in need of a Savior. Now keep in mind, Jesus is speaking to people who are used to pompous religious leaders touting their personal righteousness. The Pharisees would never admit that they were spiritually poor – in need of God. They were on a mission to make sure everybody understood that they were accepted by God b/c of their righteousness.
8. They were like a lot of church people I’ve met in my life. Pray for me b/c I generally don’t like church people. Now I’m a pastor, so that could be a problem. I love Christ-followers, just not churchy religious types. But the game in so many churches is to put on the mask. To look good, act good, pretend you’re better than everybody else. Nobody needs to know the real you. In a lot of churches, that’s how leaders get selected. The guys that dress nice and seem good on the outside, they’re popular – it’s political. And the game is to appear to be rich in spirit.
9. Jesus says blessed is the person who doesn’t play the game. Blessed are the REAL. Amen? The people who are willing to be real with God and themselves. They’re honest about their spiritual condition; they come to God and say I need you! I’m a sinner in need of a Savior; please forgive me, save me, help me. Jesus says that person gets in the kingdom.