Summary: Part 2 of a 13 week series Hearing Jesus Again. This message looks at the ways to live a God-blessed life, contented life, a peaceful and happy life.
Jesus On Who is Well Off
Part 2 in series Hearing Jesus Again
Wildwind Community Church
May 10, 2008
One of the things people wonder most about in our society is who is well off. Do you doubt that? What does it mean to say we are well off, or that another person is well off? It means, basically, that we –or that other person – have found the good life – that things are well and good for us. That we are safe, at peace, content, happy, comfortable, or whatever else you might want to include. Our Constitution grants us the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of what? Happiness –the condition of being well-off! We don’t use that term very often, and usually when we do we are talking about money. So let’s talk about money. When you say someone is financially well-off, what do you mean? You mean they have abundant financial resources, that their needs are met, that they are financially “safe” perhaps and not at risk of bankruptcy or the other catastrophes that we paycheck-to-paycheck riff raff and commoners sometimes face.
But this isn’t what it means to be truly well-off, is it? I know I don’t need to preach a sermon about how money isn’t everything. Almost everybody knows that. So what does it mean to be truly well-off, and who are the people who are in that category?
We’re in week 2 today of a 13 week series based on the Sermon on the Mount and at the very beginning of this sermon, Jesus tackles the question, “Who is well off? Who is able to live a God-blessed life, a contented life, a peaceful and happy life?” And to show us the answer to this, Jesus gives us some examples of those who are able to live a God-blessed life, a list we have come to call The Beatitudes. Let’s begin my making clear what the Beatitudes are NOT saying, because this series is entitled Hearing Jesus Again. That title assumes that perhaps we have heard him before but not accurately understood what he was saying. If we are to hear Jesus again, only this time clearly and accurately, we need to dispel the inaccuracies surrounding his teaching.
Have you ever been talking to somebody and had a huge misunderstanding and realized after a while that you were talking about two different things entirely? Like you were talking about what time you’d be leaving to go to your mom’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day, and your friend thought you were talking about what time you wanted him to be over to watch the game? As long as you are saying one thing and he is saying another, there can be no communication. In order for the two of you to clear this up, you have to first make clear to each other what you THOUGHT the other person was saying. After you have done that, you can then each make clear what you are actually saying and then communication can happen.
In order for us to “hear Jesus again,” we have to talk about how we have commonly misunderstood him. So let’s read the Beatitudes as we dig into our study on the Sermon on the Mount, and let’s address the most common misinterpretation of this passage.
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
2 and he began to teach them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Most commonly people read these verses and say, “The mournful are blessed, so I need to find something to mourn about. The meek are blessed, so I have to be meek. Insulted people are blessed, so I need to live in such a way as to be insulted. The poor in spirit are blessed, so I have to find a way to be poor in spirit, whatever that means.” In other words, people read this as a list of commandments, almost like the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.