Summary: An introductory sermon to a series on the Beatitudes.
Jesus is in the happiness business. We find Him using the word, “blessed” nine times in our text. The word simply means “happy” in the genuine sense of internal joy. So it is that Jesus shares with us in these verses the secrets to true happiness.
Now, one will quickly notice as he reads what Jesus had to say about being happy, that what He had to say is quite different from the view of the world today.
The world says: “Happy is the go-getter, the guy who pushes everyone else out of the way, the guy who gets what he wants when he wants it, where he wants it, and how he wants it. Happiness is doing your own thing. Happiness is grabbing all the gusto you can get. Happiness is acquiring. Happy are the rich, happy are the famous, happy are the popular.”
But our Lord made it clear that true happiness is not derived from what I have or what I do or where I am. True happiness comes from rightly relating to God and rightly responding to His call.
“Human happiness is something that is dependent on the chances and changes of life, something which life may give and which life may also destroy. The Christian blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable.” - William Barclay
The world can win its joys, and the world can equally well lose its joys. As change in fortune, a collapse in health, the failure of a plan, the disappointment of an ambition, even a change in the weather, can take away the fickle joy the world can give. But the Christian has a serene and untouchable joy which comes from walking forever in the
company and presence of Jesus Christ.
Learning to live life with a sense of happiness that comes only through our walk with Christ is what the Apostle Paul described in Philippians 4:11-13:
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” - Philippians 4:11-13 (The Message)
The greatness of the beatitudes is that they are not mere glimpses into some future beauty; they are not even golden promises of some future glory; they are triumphant shouts of permanent joy that nothing in the world can ever take away from the Child of God.
By way of introduction to Jesus’ instructions on how to be happy, there are four things I want us to notice today.
1. The “Be” attitudes speak of God’s personal concern - v. 11 “Blessed
God is personally concerned for you. When God sent His Son, He did so for you. When His Son died on the cross, paying the penalty for sin, He did so for you. When Jesus rose from the dead, he did so for you. When He ascended into heaven, He went to prepare a place for you. And when He returns, He wants to come back for you.
Does it help to think that God delights in you? Think about it!
It doesn’t matter how ugly you think you are. You are God’s delight.
It doesn’t matter how fat you think you are. You are God’s delight.
Even if your marriage is struggling. You are God’s delight.
Even if you are divorced and your self-esteem is wrecked. You are God’s delight.
Even if you are so depressed your life feels like a black hole. You are God’s delight.
Even if you threw a pity party and nobody showed up. You are God’s delight.
God doesn’t abandon you because your business collapsed. You are God’s delight.
God doesn’t leave you because you’re face is all wrinkled. You are God’s delight.
“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it.” - Max Lucado
Joni Eareckson Tada, who was paralyzed from the neck down from a diving accident while still a teenager, wrote, “Comfort is yours. Joy is an option. And it’s all been made possible by your Savior. He went without comfort so you might have it. He postponed joy so you might share in it. ”