Summary: Blessings stem from forgiveness, obedience, unselfish service, and faithfulness.
Four Things that Bring Blessing. Matt. 16:17
INTRO.: in our text, Jesus declares Peter to be blessed or happy because he has just received from the Father great truth and has confessed Jesus to be Christ. It’s hard for us to realize how much happiness would come to a Jew because he discovered the long-awaited Christ. Peter is truly blessed when he comes to that realization.
“Blessed” means “happy,” but the blessedness Christ gives is far superior to the happiness the world seeks. It is infinitely more lasting and satisfying, and less elusive. It comes to us because we belong to Jesus, not because our circumstances are comfortable or conducive to it.
I. Forgiveness is a great blessing, but it also brings blessings with it: Rom. 4:7, 8
A. Few things are as depressing as debt:
1. Especially one we can’t pay.
2. Some have committed suicide because of debt.
3. We are all indebted to God because we have broken His law and cannot pay the penalty.
4. Because of this debt, a sentence of death hangs over the head of each of us.
B. There is great joy and relief in being forgiven.
1. Unforgiven sin can make us unhappy and even physically sick.
2. Guilt can cause insomnia. ulcers, heart disease, headaches, and all kinds of accidents.
3. A load of guilt is a heavy load.
4. Christians should find great joy in being forgiven. It is a real blessing.
II. Obedience brings blessing: Luke 11:27, 28
A. Our relationship to Christ depends on obedience based on faith:
1. We might think it would be great to see Jesus in the flesh like Mary and other family members.
2. But true relationship and thus true happiness comes through obedience. Lk. 8:19-21
3. ILLUS.: Acts 8:39 - the Ethiopian was not truly happy until he obeyed Jesus.
B. True blessedness comes from hearing and obeying the Word of God.
1. The Word is “Good News.”
2. It is not effective in our lives until we put it to work through obedience.
3. A nagging conscience does not permit blessedness.
4. Some Christians can’t enjoy worldly things and can’t surrender to God. They have “just enough religion to make them miserable.”
5. You can’t be truly blessed unless you know God’s Word well enough to obey it.
III. Unselfish service brings blessing: John 13:17 “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
A. Context is Jesus’ washing His disciples’ feet:
1. The point is not foot washing, but humbly working for the comfort and happiness of others.
2. Robert Ingersoll, famous agnostic wrote; “Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the way to be happy is to make others happy.”
3. The happiest people are those who have forgotten themselves.
4. Those seeking happiness for themselves seldom find it.
B. Pride stands in the way of happiness:
1. The reason Jesus washed feet was because no one else would do it and He wanted to give a lesson on humility.
2. The proud person isn’t able to forget self and serve others.
3. A proud person must always defend himself and his ideas.
IV. Faithfulness brings blessings: Lk. 12:42-46
A. God has put us in charge of His world and given us certain responsibilities:
1. Jesus’ parable draws a contrast between the faithful and the faithless.
2. When we lose our sense of urgency about the Lord’s return, we get careless.
3. We are the Lord’s servants and are expected to be faithful.
B. Faithfulness is very important in all of life’s duties.
1. Attendance at worship,
3. Bible study and prayer
4. Cultivating Christian relationships in home, office, and shop.
5. Living a life that testifies to the love of God in your heart.
CONC.: Charles Schultz wrote, “happiness is a warm puppy.” Happiness is different things to different people. The Christian knows happiness is a blessing from God and is not based on what you have, but what you are.
Blessings come to those whose sins are forgiven, who are obedient to God, who serve others unselfishly, and who are faithful.