Summary: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zeph. 2:3
Theme: Sincerity is rewarding
Text: Zeph. 2:3, 3:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; Matt. 5:1-12
The Sermon on the Mount is not just a creed but a way of life. On the one hand they are mere principles, on the other they are a practical way to walk in the truth. Jesus meant everything He said and taught but His words can only benefit us when they are put into practice. We know that Christ has told us to "turn the other cheek" when we have been hurt and yet very often we are eager to retaliate when we are wronged. The teachings of Jesus are often ignored because His teachings are just the plain opposite of what we want to do. When someone wrongs us we want to fight back. Corrie Ten Boon, a Dutch Christian woman, and her family hid Jews during the Second World War to save many of them. They saw it as their Christian duty. They knew they could be killed for doing so but could not do otherwise because of their love for Christ. When the Germans found out what they were doing the family were sent to a concentration camp. Corrie Ten Boon lost her whole family in a concentration camp where they maltreated and their existence became a living hell. In spite of all suffering she continued to serve the Lord after the war by preaching the good news of the Kingdom of heaven. Her ministry took her to Germany and after a very successful meeting she was approached by a man who wanted to shake her hand. Suddenly she froze as she recognised the brutal Nazi that had been their tormentor in the concentration camp. She just could not bring herself to shake his hand. After what seemed like eternity she asked the Lord to lead her to do the right thing and as the love of God flowed through her, her hand reached out and shook the hand of her former tormentor. According to her she felt a peace and a joy that she had never felt before. We can also experience that peace and joy when we are sincere with the teachings of Christ for sincerity is rewarding.
The beatitudes can be seen as signposts to the blessed life which is God’s will for our lives. The first signpost points the way with the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is here pointing out the right direction to true joy. It is realizing our spiritual poverty and our need for God. It is only when we recognise our own limitations that we can feel our own emptiness and weakness and turn to God. The person who finally recognizes that he or she can not make it or handle it alone is a very happy person. He or she can come to God and say, “God, I need you in my life because I can’t make it by myself.” The next signpost points the way with the words, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” When we finally realize that our only hope is to have God in our life we will have to take a serious look at our life, mourn at what we see, turn from sin and come to God who promises to comfort us. The beatitudes guide us to live a blessed life and it is to our benefit practice. When we realise that our only hope is in God we need to turn from sin and submit to Him totally. We can only do that in humility for “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The word “meek” is another word for humility. It is the ability to treat people who have wronged us as if nothing had happened. A meek person is someone whose life has been brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit and God is in control of his or her life.
The Lord loves the meek who trust Him. Joseph and Moses were meek and Moses was described as the meekest man on earth. They relied totally on the Lord. Self reliance and arrogance has no place among God’s people or in His Kingdom. The example of Joseph as a meek person can be seen from his life. As a teenager he was cast into a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers. While a slave in Portiphar’s household he continued to trust God and lead a righteous life. He refused to sin against God to please Portiphar’s wife and the result was that she lied about him and he was thrown into prison. God finally brought him out of prison and exalted him in the land of Egypt. One day during a famine his brothers came down to Egypt in search of food and had to come to him. Joseph treated them as if they had never mistreated him. At one time his brothers were afraid he would get even with them but he never tried to do so. He had the power to make them suffer for what they had done to him but he did not and that is meekness. We can only live a blessed life when we acknowledge our need for God, turn from sin and submit our lives to Him. This is the way into the Kingdom of God and God wants us all to be part of that Kingdom.