Summary: Meekness is not weakness.
Series: The Sermon on the Mount
Title: Meekness, Not Weakness
Text: Matthew 5:5
Introduction: J. Upton Dickson was a Christian humorist.
He once said he wanted to found a group for submissive people based on a pamphlet he was working on entitled “Cower Power”.
The group was called DOORMATS. That stands for "Dependent Organization Of Really Meek And Timid Souls."
Their motto was: "The meek shall inherit the earth -- if that's okay with everybody else."
They symbol was the yellow traffic light, which of course stands for “Caution”.
Now, of course Dickson’s desire was to make light of the common misunderstanding of the biblical commendation of “meekness”.
Many people see meekness just as Dickson described, that is as a doormat.
But what we will see today is that our call to meekness is not a call to be devoid of strength and conviction, but rather it is a call to understand where our strength comes from.
READ: Matthew 5:5
It has been often said that the key to interpreting the Bible is context.
One commentator even made this statement: There are three rules for bible interpretation: (1) Context, (2) Context and (3) Context.
Context means that we not only understand what a passage means on its own, but we also understand how it relates to the passages around it, the book of the Bible it is in, and the overall Scripture as a whole.
That being said, there are two points of context which I want to note before we really dive into the meaning of today’s Beatitude.
FIRST, this is the third Beatitude which is listed in Matthew’s Gospel.
We have already studied the first two:
Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Blessed are those who MOURN, for they shall be comforted.
And what we have see so far is that the meanings of these beatitudes have often been misunderstood because people have only looked at the surface and not dug deeper in what they are saying.
We noted that poorness is not speaking of an economic destitution, but rather its a SPIRITUAL poorness.
This is the person who understands their plight before almighty God.
They understand their own sin and depravity, and the fact that they are devoid of righteousness when they face the King of the universe.
We also noted that the one who MOURNS is not simply one who experiences sorrow.
For there are many sorrows which are not blessed by God.
The sorrow of unbelief, the sorrow of being caught, and the normal grief of life are not in view here.
The blessed mourner is one who’s heart is broken over their own sin, the sins of others and the persecution of those who suffer in the name of Christ.
Now, what I want us to see is that there is a progression in the Beatitudes.
Poorness of Spirit is understanding one’s own lack of personal righteousness... which is the beginning of our understanding of a need for salvation.
Mourning is the natural consequence of recognizing our sin and its consequences... which also accompanies the beginning of our understanding of the need for Christ.
It would seem natural then that MEEKNESS, which is our subject of today’s Beatitude, would follow this progressions.
As we study today, we will see how spiritual meekness fits into the natural response to the Gospel of Christ.
SECOND, there is another point of context which we need to recognize.
Remember, context is not just how a passage fits into its surrounding passages.
Context is also how a passage fits into the overall text of Scripture.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize that this Beatitude is very similar to a promise which is found in the Old Testament.
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit he earth”
Psalms 37:11 “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
It seems obvious that Christ, in this beatitude, is hearkening back to this promise which is made to Israel in the Psalms.
But what does this passage mean in the Old Testament?
For a moment, lets examine the Psalm.
Psalm 37: 1-11 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,