Summary: People in the world think you are going to be happy if you pursue what you like - your dreams and desires, but Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes what makes us truly happy - O how blessed are...the poor in spirt, those who mourn, the meek... - you see the c
My message this morning is titled “Happy New Year.” Part of the reason for that is because we are going to take a look at the Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “O how blessed are the …” and the word there “blessed” is makarios, which means, “O how happy..”
These are counter intuitive statements – “O how happy are those who mourn…” “O how happy are those who hunger…” People in the world think you are going to be happy if you pursue what you like, but Jesus tells us what makes us happy is when we are pure in heart. By our nature we are not like this. What the Beatitudes ask of us is impossible by our human nature; we cannot do and be what Jesus calls us to be. So Jesus gives us an impossible beginning for an impossible sermon.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Yesterday there was a gentleman taking pictures. He happened to take a picture of me and I saw the picture from a distance. As I got closer, I was wondering, who that bald guy was? And then I found out that it was me! Jesus is saying, “be ye therefore perfect.” And I can think of various imperfections in me – not just physically, but in terms of character, my response to people who are not pleasant to me etc, my character is not really how Jesus is describing here. In fact it is impossible to be what Jesus wants us to be!
Jesus is calling us to something higher, eternal, and better than ordinary, human existence. He is calling us to a spiritual, godly, and a heavenly existence.
“We were created to become 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 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 a moral consciousness.” - MELVIN NEWLAND
From the beginning, God made us to be like Jesus.
There are 9 Beatitudes. Many pastors have said there are 8. But verse 11 is also a beatitude, although the pattern is different. You can say it is an expansion of the last of the eight beatitudes but they are all connected.
They are groups of 4 - some say inward and outward, some say character and behavior, and another said the first 3 have to do with the process of coming to Christ, of salvation.
For example: If we are mourning for our own sin, because we know what we have done is wrong, then that would lead us to repentance, and through that we will receive the comforts and blessing of God in a relationship with Him, through Lord Jesus Christ.
There is also the poorness in spirit. Before I start speaking every Sunday, I am in my closet praying and pouring out my heart to God saying, “Lord, I do not feel worthy to give this message. I feel that I am poor in spirit.” I do not mean a kind of false humility. “But by nature I am not a spiritual person, and yet You have called me to give this message. Yet, You have called me to give this message to these people. You will have to give me Your grace and me a simply a recipient of Your mercy. And through Your grace, pour out a blessing on these people in spite of me, not because of me.” When we have a poverty of spirit, we leave room for the work of God.