Summary: Too often in our Christian lives we become acclimated to certain phrases and in turn they lose their power. This is a look into the beattitudes
The B’s of the Beatitudes
INTRODUCTION: Too often in our Christian lives we become acclimated to certain phrases and in turn they lose their power.
The Lord’s Prayer is a great example… Many non-Christians recite this prayer as a devotional because of its poetic quality, without ever really focusing on its true meaning.
Of course the scriptures are filled with quotable passages that have lost their meaning
“FOR ALL HAVE SINNED” has become the modern motto for justifying any and every action when it was intended to show our lost condition, not to make us feel happy about it
“JUDGE NOT” has been turned into a reason for many to not read the Bible, because they consider it to be judgmental
“DO UNTO OTHERS…” is used by many organizations – yet the author of the quote, Jesus Christ, is left out completely
Likewise the “Beatitudes”, Christ’s introduction to His sermon on the mount, can often be quoted without really understanding their meaning.
Tonight we are going to focus on the truths held within the Beatitudes. What do they mean to us? How do they affect our lives as Christians? What did Christ mean when He said, “Blessed are those…” and “Blessed are they…”
a. Christ began each of the Beatitudes with a pronouncement of blessing
b. The term “blessing” is used a lot in modern society
i. We ask ‘blessing’ over our meals
ii. A young man may ask his girlfriend’s father for his ‘blessing’ for marriage
iii. Some even go to mediums and spiritualists for special ‘blessings’ from false gods
c. But what does the term “blessed” mean?
i. The dictionary describes the word “Blessed” as:
1. "To make holy or sacred." e.g., "And God blessed the 7th day and sanctified it"
2. "To ask God’s favor for; to commend to God’s favor or protection", e.g., "God bless mommy...daddy"
3. "To wish good for; to feel grateful to" “God bless you”
4. "To make happy or fortunate" “I sure feel blessed!”
5. "To praise, to glorify, to call holy" “Blessed God”
6. "To guard or protect from evil", e.g. "God bless this house"
d. To many people the term blessing in the Beatitudes means, “Happy”
i. Even the great commentaries of both John Wesley and Matthew Henry use the term “happy” to describe the feeling Jesus was trying to project in the beatitudes
ii. At the risk of disagreement, I would say that I don’t believe that “happy” is the best way to describe the term “blessing”
iii. Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes
1. If you don’t believe that, just go home tonight to a home with a tree through the roof or a flooded living room – happiness will not be your first thought
2. This is because happiness is really dependant on a situation
3. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
4. No one would expect you to leap for joy at the loss of a loved one
5. Even Christ wept at specific times (The death of Lazarus; Over Jerusalem)
e. I would say that “joy” rather than “happy” is a good expression for the blessings of the beatitudes
i. One can feel joy in what God has done for them regardless of what the situation is
ii. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, given to the believer, and is an appropriate state even in the midst of trial, persecution and even immense pain
iii. It is possible because our joy stems from the knowledge that no matter what we go through in this life, it is not compared to the promise of heaven
f. Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
a. Jesus went on to give a quality of life that corresponded with the preceding blessing