Summary: A brief study of the beatitudes and how they can transform a person into a Kingdom Shaker!
In Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching the people a better way to live. Jesus wasn’t telling/commanding them to act a certain way, but what he was telling them are some characteristics that are present in the lives of growing Christians. Jesus was laying a foundational teaching that his disciples would then use to shake up their world for Him.
Simple Analogy: Poison Ivy vs. Innocent Ivy
Look for the characteristics in the plant to make sure it won’t hurt you.
Christ’s desire is to bring blessings on your life, not cursings. His desire is not to discipline you. If you notice in the Bible, for ever "Don’t" mentioned, there are two "Do’s." If we would spend our time doing the do’s, we wouldn’t have time to don’t do the don’ts.
Acts 3:26 "Unto you first God, having raised up his sone Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."
Read Matthew 5:1-12
Debate Question: "Is Jesus setting a religion for losers here?
(Note that for every action Jesus lists that might be considered weak or vulnerable, He also provides a great promise. The "losers" in life are those who try to be self sufficient instead of dependng on God’s power.)
Let’s break down each of the Beatitudes to discover what they mean for us.
1. Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit
Nobody wants to be poor materially, but here Jesus is speaking of being poor in one’s spirit. What does it mean to be poor in one’s spirit? Being poor in one’s spirit means recognizing that regardless of who we are, or what we have done or said, we are poor in the fact that we cannot buy God’s favor. Nothing we can do will bring us any closer to God. It is all up to Him.
When Jesus spoke of being poor, it brought the idea of a cringing beggar or pauper to the minds of the hearers. That is how we are before God. A beggar pure and simple, begging for entrance into His Paradise. before we can accept Jesus as Savior, we must first recognize that our lives are but third rate pond scum when compared to God’s standards of righteousness.
We must first recognize our poverty before we can accept the riches God has in store for us in Heaven. When we make this realization, God’s reward for us is heaven.
2. Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are they that mourn
Mourning brings to mind crying over something that is lost such as a family member, friend, or some object that we hold dear. Mourning in this sense is fairly similar to that except that these people mourn over the fact that they cannot get to God based on their own acs of righteousness, and not they realize that their future (unless something changes) is headed for Hell.
This person who mourns over the sin in their live realizes that that is what is keeping him from receiving eternal life, and will be comforted in knowing that their sin can be forgiven and that they too can receive God’s gift.
3. Matthew 5:5 - Blessed are the meek
In today’s society a meek person is not viewed very highly, but in God’s eyes, this is the only attitude that will enable a person to enter into His kngdom. A proud person, after recognizing his poverty, and mourning over his sin, would then go out and try to "prove himself" to God by trying to -- have you heard this before -- be a better person, go to church, not murder anybody, try not to lie, etc etc, and the list goes on.
Meekness shows Humility, and the meekness that God wants only comes about when an individual gets on his face and humbles himself before God. He realizes that God and God alone can forgiven him of his sin, and no matter what he attempts to do to please God, only the shed blood of Christ on the cross can do the job for him. This attutude then allows the individual to pray and ask for forgiveness based on Christ’s redemptive act and not himself.
As believers, these attitudes ought to be present in us daily as we seek to shake this worldly kingdom up for Christ, because we know that only Christ can heal tis world and He is allowing us to play a part in His plan in doing so. With these beatitudes present in our lives we can do it.
Next week, we will discuss the rest.