Summary: EPIPHANY 4(A) - Happy are the people who seek Jesus’ salvation, who imitate Jesus’ life and who suffer for Jesus’ sake.
HAPPY THE PEOPLE....
Matthew 5:1-12 - February 1, 2004
51Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them, saying: 3"Blessed (HAPPY) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed (HAPPY) are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed (HAPPY) are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed (HAPPY) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed (HAPPY) are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed (HAPPY) are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed (HAPPY) are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed (HAPPY) are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed (HAPPY) are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
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Dearest Christian Friends:
What makes you happy? We could easily think of three things that make us happy, and then again we might think of many more things that make us happy. We may think of things that make us happy in this life. Today, the Lord reminds us as believers you and I are happy simply as we sang in our Psalm, "Happy the people the Lord has chosen." We are happy because God has worked faith in our hearts so that we can see in Him our Savior from sin. We are happy no matter what happens in this life, because the Lord is on our side. First and foremost, we are happy because the Lord has chosen us.
In 1 Peter, which we are looking at on Wednesday evenings, we came to chapter 2:9 which describes the happiness of believers because of the titles that the Lord gives them. He says: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light"(1 PETER 2:9). This Epiphany season we look at the Light of the world, and we realize that we sit in the light of knowledge of salvation. We sit in the light of the Savior of the world, because God has chosen us. Happy the people the Lord has chosen.
Today, we learn in these verses that HAPPY THE PEOPLE
I. who seek Jesus’ salvation
II. who imitate Jesus’ life
III. who suffer for Jesus’ sake
I. Happy the people who seek Jesus’ salvation
Matthew, chapter 5 begins the Sermon on the Mount. It continues through chapter 6 and chapter 7. 51Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Jesus was at the high point of His ministry, because the crowds were still coming to Him to hear the message that He had to preach. The crowds came to hear and His disciples had been chosen. The disciples were also there to hear and learn. We are told: His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them, saying. Then we have these eight blessings. The NIV uses "Blessed are they." The original really says, "happy." Of course, if we are happy and as the people are happy, that means a blessing from God.
Jesus begins teaching happy are those who seek out Jesus’ salvation. Already the crowd was there. Already the disciples came to see. As Jesus sat on the mountain, He would teach and preach to them these words: 3"Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. When He talks about the poor in spirit, He doesn’t mean poor in faith. But He means poor in spirit as the world considers people. You may remember the parable that Jesus told about the rich man and poor Lazarus. Lazarus was poor according to the world. He lay outside of the temple letting the dogs lick his sores. Yet, when his life came to an end, Lazarus went to heaven. The rich man did not.
Jesus adds: 3"Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. You may remember Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Jesus’ friends. Mary and Martha were not exactly happy that Jesus did not show up in time before Lazarus had died. Even when Jesus came, He wept. Yet, they were comforted, because Jesus reminded them that He was the Resurrection and the Life. Happy the people who mourn, because they are comforted with the message of salvation.