Summary: It is no coincidence that Christ started off the Sermon on the Mount with a description of those who would be blessed and then expanded on behavior, practices, and attitudes that would bring a blessing.
How to Be Blessed
Let us not forget that the Bible is a both a book of instructions and book about how to receive God’s blessings.
As we continue to explore the theme of being blessed, once more I have to offer the following disclaimer. This is not about gaining wealth. This is not about visualizing some material or physical blessing that you want and claiming it for yourself. For the purposes of our study, our personal definition of blessed is threefold:
1) To be especially happy and content
2) To have inner peace within
3) To be confident and fulfilled
Part Two of this series emphasized the need for believers to be peacemakers in order to obtain the reputation of the children of God. I really believe that is one of the places a lot of believers get stuck. As children of God we are not likely to go and live in gross immorality like fornication or drunkenness. We are far more likely to fail the Lord in relationship.
This morning, once more we look at the Sermon on the Mount. The first section is called the Beattitudes—short for beautiful attitudes, or like some folks like to say—attitudes you ought to be. Specific promises are offered to those (more than simply saying that such an attitude brings blessing) who are spiritually impoverished (poor in spirit), who are mourning, who are meek, who deeply desire righteousness, who have hearts that demonstrate mercy, who are peacemakers, and who are persecuted for righteousness and for their relationship with Christ.
It is interesting to look at this list, for it describes everything that the Pharisees (the primary religious group of Jesus’ day) were not. They were not merciful, they were not meek, they considered themselves rich in spiritual gifts and abilities, and they were anything BUT peacemakers. On top of that, they were the people who were doing the persecuting that is mentioned in 10-12.
Now before we continue looking at this- let me present the main point I want to make this morning. Look at Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus speaks of the wise builder and the foolish builder and states boldly and emphatically that by hearing the first part of his sermon and putting what they heard into practice was a sure way to have a solid foundation. Ignoring Christ’s words, (in context, the sermon on the mount) would be like building on a weak foundation.
So the premise of this morning’s message is that the Sermon on the Mount creates a foundation for being blessed.
With that said, let’s look at some of the things taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus says it is not enough to hold yourself back from murder. Instead, maintaining relationships is a key element of the Sermon on the Mount. He tells his listeners (Matthew 5:22) to be very careful with our anger, we are to avoid being angry and demonstrating anger. In fact, he places a priority on healing relationship, declaring that we are to go and make things right with our brothers before offering a sacrifice in God’s House. (Matthew 5:23-24) He goes on to declare the importance of settling matters and going the extra mile to resolve problems.
2) Sexual Behavior
Jesus tells the believer that how they act towards the opposite sex begins in their heart. This is one of the reasons that pornography is so damaging to the lives of men. It can only lead to acting out.
3) The Sanctity of Marriage
Jesus taught that marriage was not to be entered into lightly and further that is was not something that a couple should walk away from easily.
Jesus discusses the way that some people would swear in order to add strength to their words. Instead of swearing Jesus said that believers are to be honest in their communication and clear. He says, “let you yes be a yes and your no be a no!” In other words, we need to communicate clearly and then stick to what we say we will or will not do.
5) Religious Activity
Jesus spoke of the need to not be showy with religious activity. He spoke about how we need to give privately and how we need to pray privately. We cannot be blessed by God if we are conducting our religious activity in such a way to seek to obtain the blessings and praise of mean.
6) Submission to God
If you look at the Lord’s Prayer it is all about submitting to God. It is recognizing his authority, his holiness, his provision, and the need to seek His leadership in every detail of our lives.
7) Material goods
Jesus taught that we should seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first in our lives. We cannot expect God to bless us if we are not seeking to promote His kingdom and to experience his righteousness in our own personal lives.