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Summary: Jesus’ words just take the conventional wisdom and turn it on its head! "Happy are the poor and sad?" But let’s look closer - Is He right? *HANDOUT INCLUDED*

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Mt 5:1 ¶ And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 ¶ "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The next several weeks, we’ll be looking at Jesus description of how to live your life to get along with God and others. Jesus, for the next few weeks, is going to be your Life Coach – he’s going to give you his tips, his commands for living a life that satisfies down here, and ends in heaven up there.

I’ve always loved coaches. They fascinate me. I don’t care for Bobby Knight, but Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson, John Wooden and those guys fascinate me! A man who can take a bunch of players, and get them to play all together as a unit, and bring out the best in them – that’s neat.

I think all good coaches have one thing in common, and that’s what the great coach Vince Lombardi said. “The secret is that those guys out there playing know that they’ve only got one person they’ve got to make happy. They don’t have to make the crowd happy. They don’t have to make their teammates happy. They don’t have to make themselves happy. But they do have to play to make me happy.”

That’s what this life is like. Jesus is your coach – he’s the only one you’ve really got to make happy. Not you. . . not the rest of the world. . . just him.

The thing you’ll notice is that in the next few weeks, the life that we’re talking about is completely UPSIDE DOWN compared to the normal human life!

Jesus takes everything that you THOUGHT you knew about life, and turns it all upside down, and says, “Here’s how to REALLY live!”

Practical people know how to get what they want.

Philosophers know what they ought to want.

People who follow Jesus’ words know how to get what they ought to want.

Jesus opens his sermon with a series of statements that are commonly called the “Beatitudes.” I’m not sure why they’re called that – what they are is really statements of how to be truly happy by getting along with God and others.

Each one begins with the words “Blessed are. . .” The word used here is interesting.

The Greeks always called Cyprus he (GSN3588) makaria (GSN3107) (the feminine form of the adjective), which means The Happy Island, and they did so because they believed that Cyprus was so lovely, so rich, and so fertile an island that a man would never need to go beyond its coastline to find the perfectly happy life.

So Cyprus was to them what Hawaii, Tahiti, etc. is to us. And they used this word “Blessed” to describe it. They thought that it was so great that perfect happiness could be found there.

So THAT’S what this word blessed really means. “Perfectly happy is the person who. . .”

So let’s look at these ways that Jesus says we can make ourselves completely happy.

1. The world says: Happy is the self-made man.

The success stories in the business world, the entertainment world. . . the sports world. . . they are all about the person lifting himself up. We love to hear about the guys who started in the slums, and wound up at the top of their field.

But here’s the problem – It’s become popular to be a kind of self-made Christian. If you’re just a good person, and believe in God, then God ought to be proud of you. It’s kind of like “Well, God, here’s what I’ll give you – take it or leave it.”

A woman named Sheila, interviewed for Bellah’s Habits of the Heart, embodies this attitude. "I believe in God," she said. "I can’t remember the last time I went to church. But my faith has carried me a long way. It’s ’Sheila-ism.’ Just my own little voice." (Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 98.)

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