Summary: Part II of the series
Last week, we started this two part "mini-series" of messages in the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as The Beatitudes. To the unsaved, they would seem to be insane at first glance: you will be happy if you are poor, if you weep, if you are a 98 pound weakling, if you give mercy , if you butt in and help make peace between two people, if you are beaten up or killed for what you believe. However, upon closer examination of Matthew 5:3-8 (NKJV) we can see that this is not the case:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is the soul under conviction so much that the person is considered "beggarly", a person so poor that they cannot even look up to the person they are asking food or money from. However, they are beggarly because of the knowledge of their sin revealed in God's Law, and humbly they become saved they have a place in heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. The unsaved person, when confronted with their sin state, not only are beggarly but mourn as one that has lost a child because of that sin. The Holy Spirit comforts them with the knowledge they are heaven-bound, and continues to come along side them.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Meekness is not weakness, no quite the contrary: it is power under control. It is a gentleness and ability to handle situations because the Holy Spirit works through them. Saved Jews will inherit Israel; other Christians will inherit the authority over the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Not a physical hunger and thirst, but a spiritual one; it will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Because of the mercy given to us even though we did not deserve mercy (grace, unmerited favor), the Christian life should be marked by mercy given and mercy received from God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. "Purity of heart cleanses the eyes of the soul so that God becomes visible." (MacArthur). This week, we will finish this series with The Blessing Paradox Part II: Persecution, Preservation, Illumination.--JH
* Peaceful Living, Peaceful Seeking
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9a (NKJV)
Again, remember that being blessed is being happy but also being content. The world seeks to find happiness in power, lust, money and stuff; the Christian finds contentment and happiness in the things mentioned in the Beatitudes. One is mentioned above in verse 9.
This does not mean to be at peace with God; that has already been handled in the first two beatitudes. It does not mean world peace, because as we have seen time and time again, there has never been peace worldwide, 24/7/365. Even when there are no out-and-out wars, there are crimes committed each and every day. It does not mean to be at peace with one's self, although that is a byproduct for the most part of being saved. In short, it means what it says: being a peacemaker.
People are always fussing and feuding about something, social media proves that to be true. It seems as though there is a twist on the old saying when it comes to facebook, twitter and the like: "you can make some of the people happy all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't make all the people happy all the time". There are some folks that live for drama, there are some folks that have skin as thin as the onion skin pages of my Bible, there are those that look for a fight, there are those that are not happy unless they are causing a commotion. This should not be the Christian.
As Christians, we should seek to be peacemakers. Jesus provide the ultimate peacemaking for us when He died on the cross as a sacrifice for us, proving Himself to be God when He raised Himself from the dead.
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21, NKJV).
Because of the peace that Jesus made for us, we should seek to help people make peace in three ways. First, we must be facilitators for peace between Christians. Often churches become war zones of church gossip, jealousy, ill will and pride. I found out the hard way about six years ago that you just can't let gossip, jealousy and prideful attitudes slide and not deal with them; that's the easy way out but festers and infects the church. Peace must be made but not at the expense of sin either. Church division, arguments and dissent ion must be dealt with swiftly but in love and care. People will see Jesus in us when we do.