Summary: Beatitudes 5-7 Mercy, Purity, Peacemaker
This morning we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount by looking at the last part of the Beatitudes that shows us what happens when a person comes into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
A true believer is not simply a person who walks an aisle, says a prayer and then checks off the box that says, “Going to Heaven” and then heads on their merry way. Such a person has not come into a relationship with Christ, they have either responded to a stimulus or they were making a “business” decision (to make sure they were going to Heaven; they have “fire insurance”).
If you have recognized your poor spirit, repented of your sin, humbly come before God seeking His mercy, and received Christ hungering and thirsting for a right standing before God and right living for Him . . . your life will change.
Once again I remind you that these beatitudes are all connected. They do not describe eight different kinds of people, they describe a true believer. They do not give us different benefits to yearn for . . . they describe various dimensions of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
The last beatitudes directly parallel the first beatitudes. In other words if you truly are:
• Poor in spirit it will result in you being merciful to others
• If you truly hate and mourn over the sin in your life the result will be a person who is pure in heart.
• It you truly have humility as you seek the Lord, you will be a peacemaker.
Let’s examine these more closely.
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
If we are truly poor in spirit it means we recognize that we are deeply sinful human beings and in great need of God’s grace. If we really understand this, we will be much more merciful with others who also stumble. Because we know we are lost, we gravitate to other sinful people rather than being repelled by them because we feel superior to them. We live by and depend on mercy for every breath so we will become people who are more merciful.
This is actually a good test for us. Do we merely SAY we are sinful people who have no hope of salvation based on our own works? We can say the words and still feel that we are “better than most people and have much better odds of gaining salvation than other folks.
Or, do we really believe the words and therefore see ourselves and others as those who will perish apart from God’s mercy and grace? Knowing that we are broken people, we resonate with, sympathize and have compassion on other broken people.
Being merciful doesn’t mean we don’t care what other people are doing. It is not a matter of “to each their own”. It means we understand that the basic problem is sin; something all of us struggle with and we have to help each other overcome. It’s all about attitude, not compromise!
Mercy also involves action. We “vibrate with the pain of another” and that moves us to do something to alleviate their pain. Mercy moves us to action. It is,
• Getting involved to help someone with a physical or financial need
• Talking to someone and sharing with them the message of God’s grace and forgiveness.
• Standing with another in a time of heartache or joy (we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice)
• Talking to or visiting someone who is all alone.
James reflects on this element of mercy when he says,
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-17)
Christians should be people who are “on the ground” serving others.
Tim Keller asks,
What if 50 percent of the people in this church forgave everybody, never paid anybody back (for a wrong done), never revenged themselves, but only repaid evil with good, and who also were quite willing to go to the mat for people and to meet people’s needs, whether they were social, or psychological, or spiritual, or economic, with extravagant efforts to alleviate those needs? What if we were a community like that? Do you know what we’d be? We’d be a church, because that’s all the church is.