Summary: This message will cover the first four be-attitudes: poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The Jesus Code: Part 1
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Pastor Kelly Dufour
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Today we begin a new sermon series that I have titled, “The Jesus Code.” No, this is not some new conspiracy fashioned after a fairly famous fictional novel and Hollywood blockbuster.
“The Jesus Code” is a series of messages based on the teachings of Jesus – the Master Teacher. In the teachings of Jesus, especially the teachings that have been called “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus describes the character, commitment, code of conduct, and commission of His followers.
In our “Journey with Jesus” series, we took a look at the life of Christ during his first year of ministry. The first year of Jesus’ ministry was not focused on his teaching ministry. We do know that he taught in synagogues but there is not a written account of what he specifically taught. It appears that His first year of ministry was more about personal interactions (the would-be followers of Jesus, Nicodemus, Samaritan woman, Pharisees, etc.).
One of first things Jesus did at the beginning of his second year of ministry was select the 12 men who would be called his disciples or Apostles (the sent ones). After spending the evening alone in prayer, Jesus chooses his 12 followers. These would be the men who would carry on Jesus’ teaching and carry out His great commission.
The great task before Jesus now was to teach and train his new recruits. Over the next two and a half years He would invest in the lives of these men through teaching, mentoring, and practical application. This was a major crash-course in the Principles and Priorities of the New Covenant – the Kingdom Manifesto.
Place yourself in the disciples’ sandals for a moment. These men have more than likely been indoctrinated in the Jewish faith and ritual. The next couple of years would require an extreme makeover – spiritual edition. Jesus’ teaching would confront their current system of belief and practice and require a total reprogramming of their spirituality.
Illustration: Old Dog, New Tricks concept
At the end of the two and a half years in training with Jesus, these men were going to be responsible (Holy Spirit) to take the message of the Kingdom of Heaven into all the world in the face of fierce persecution. How many of you have been in church for more than two and a half years? How many of you would feel comfortable with that mandate?
So we see in the Sermon on the Mount, an Ordination Address to the Twelve but I believe that His teaching is just as important and relevant for all followers of Jesus – for us gathered here today who call ourselves Christians – Christ followers.
Jesus begins “The Jesus Code”, with a series of eight sayings, or blessings, that are called the "Beatitudes". This name comes from the Latin and refers to a state of happiness or bliss.
The word “Blessed” (makarios) is often translated “happy.” Unfortunately, our English language does not do this word justice. To us, happiness is often based on our current happenings – what happens to us. Happiness, in that context, is fleeting – a response to our circumstances. If it is a good experience, we are happy. If it is a bad experience, we are sad, mad, depressed, frustrated, etc.