Summary: A sermon on the Beattitudes and their upside down nature

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“How Fortunate are you?” – Matthew 5:1-12

Gladstone Baptist Church – 26/4/07

S1 - We are jealous of the lucky people in this world.

Frano Selak claims to be the luckiest man in the world. He has a 76 year old Croatian music teacher who has escaped from 8 near death experiences

His first lucky escape was on the first day of his life. His parents were out fishing in a tiny boat in the Adriatic Sea when his mum unexpectedly gave birth. He says “It was a miracle I stayed alive because my father, in a panic, washed me, a newborn baby, in the cold seawater. He also tied my belly button with fishing line; it took hours before we got back to Dubrovnik and entered a hospital. On arriving at the hospital, I was already stiff from cold an exposure, but the doctors still saved me.”

Frano has survived a train crashing into a freezing river where he had to break a window to escape drowning. He was lucky not to be one of the 17 that died in the crash.

Then in 1963, he used up his third life. He was in a plane that reportedly touched the top of Parg Mountain in western Croatia. The back door came open and he fell out of the plane. He fell 850 meters before landing in a large heap of hay. He was in a coma for 3 days, but again survived. 20 people died in that plane crash.

Then he was in a school bus that ran off a 4m high bridge into the Bosna River. He escaped 2 car fires – he blames them on the Russian Zhiguli that he bought – he will never buy another he says. He was hit by a bus. And then the Life Number 8 was in 1994 when he was involved in an car accident with a UN peacekeeping armoured vehicle. He somehow fell out of the opened door before the car ended up in a 150m deep hole and exploded as do all good cars when they crash. He broke 3 ribs and injured a hip, but lived to tell the tale.

His luck didn’t run out – in 2002, he won $1 Million US dollars in the Croatian national lottery with the first lottery ticket he ever bought. He subsequently gave it all away after buying a house and building a small chapel to thank God or taking care of him.

In 1994, Smith’s Snackfood asked Frano to do a commercial for their Dorito chips, but he refused to travel on a plane, train or boat – for obvious reasons, he has only 1 spare life left – so they went to Croatia to film it instead.

In this world, there are some very lucky people aren’t there and many times we wish we were as lucky or fortunate as them.

S2 - Tell me what do you think makes a person blessed or fortunate in this life?

Some people are fortunate in their lives, others not. We all want to be lucky people or blessed people don’t we, because we think that these people are happy. Tell me what do you think makes a person blessed or fortunate in this life?

But the criteria that we would use to decide who are happy or fortunate is a completely different set of criteria to that God would use. Have you ever wondered, who God considers as blessed people? Often we think that God’s blessings come in the form or health and wealth. Some Christians think that being wealthy is actually a sign of God’s blessing and I don’t discount that God can and does bless people financially. Let’s face it, every good thing is from God, but health, wealth, fame and fortune is not what God typically uses to bless people.

Do you want to know who God says are the happy and blessed in this world? Turn with me to Matthew’s Gospel Chp 5.

S3 - God’s Topsy-Turvy World

Matthew 5 is actually the start of Jesus’ most famous sermon. It is the Sermon on the mount. It was given to his disciples and to a crowd that had gathered around them. I don’t know whether you have ever sat and listened to a speech that was just so amazingly powerful that it went down in history as one of the all time greatest speeches which changed the course of history.

Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” Speech was one of those speeches. In it he said …

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.”

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