Summary: This sermon is about the fourth beatitude, "Blessed are the meek." It looks at the true meaning of meekness and what that looks like in everyday life.
The Sermon on the Mount
“Meekness Not Weakness”
As we continue in our study through the Sermon on the Mount we’ll be looking at one of the most misunderstood of the beatitudes, and that’s the attitude of meekness.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5 NKJV)
A few eyebrows were more than likely raised when Jesus said this because it goes against the religious thought of the day, which was that the only way to inherit the land was to overthrow Rome, not by being meek, which is basically the same today. When was the last time you heard someone say, “To get ahead in life be meek.”
Meekness isn’t a characteristic that’s promoted today. In fact, the world’s philosophy is quite opposite. The world says, “The more assertive your are, the more success you’ll have.”
And so the words of Jesus ran not only contrary to the teaching of that day as it does today.
When we think about what Jesus said about the meek inheriting the earth it sounds ridiculous, and that’s because the word “meek” has lost its true meaning. Today it’s used as a slur. It’s the same as calling somebody “milk toast,” or a “spineless jellyfish.” We say someone is as meek as a mouse.
But meekness is actually a by-product of someone who is poor in spirit and who is mourning over their sinful condition, or the first two beatitudes.
Our poverty of spirit causes us to see our own unworthiness before God. By being poor in spirit we’re able to see that were totally dependent upon God and His grace. And as we begin to mourn over our lost and sinful condition this is what produces godly sorrow that leads us to repentance and a receptive heart before God.
This is what brings out true meekness in a person.
So what is meekness? Let me just say that meekness is not weakness. Did you know that the Bible only calls two men meek? They’re Jesus and Moses, and neither were pushovers. So what’s meekness? Here’s a good definition.
Meekness is Strength Under Control
In the Greek it refers to a wild horse that’s been tamed, or medicine that tames a fever. Someone who was meek is then someone who has great strength under restraint.
Look at Moses
“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3 KJV)
Moses never compromised God’s principles of righteousness, nor did he compromise with evil. Instead he was meek because he was sensitive to the will of God.
Look now at Jesus
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 KJV)
Meekness is strength under control, which means that meekness is an attitude of the heart. It’s an attitude of submission to God. It describes someone who is crushed and mourns as their heart is broken by sin, and they gladly submit to God acknowledging their indebtedness to Him.
And so if meekness is strength under control, how is meekness defined by our actions?
1. Meekness is Being Gentle not Judgmental
A meek person is someone who instead of ripping someone else apart, they’re gentle and understanding, gently leading those who are young in the faith.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” (Romans 14:1 NIV)
When someone blows it, instead of saying, “I told you so,” gently restore them to spiritual health. If not, then you may be falling into the sin of pride and of a judgmental spirit.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 NIV)
The one thing that angered Jesus was the self-righteous attitudes of the Jewish leaders as they always seemed to be judging others rather than sitting in judgment on themselves and they hypocrisy.
2. Meekness is Being Tender without Surrender
We can’t please everyone in this life, so a meek person is tender without surrendering what is right. One test of spiritual maturity is how we handle disagreeable people, those who irritate us, who contradict us at every turn, and who like to get into arguments.
We have three alternatives when it comes to confrontation. We can retreat in fear, attack in anger, or respond in love. Meekness responds in love without compromising convictions.
We can be tender without surrender. Meekness isn’t passivity, nor is it giving in. It’s not reacting in anger and blowing others away in our spiritual superiority.