Summary: Matthew 7:24 says 'Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock'. In this series we will go through those teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and see how to be that wise bu
Have you ever watched a cooking program or some kind of kids craft TV? Nicky loves to watch cbeebies, and in particular Mister Maker. And I won't lie to you, I enjoy watching it too!
This is Mister Maker and what he usually does it take your ordinary things like cereal boxes, or egg boxes or lollipop sticks and then makes something out of them. Like this
And what's normal, and you'll find this for any 'how To' program or website you see, is first they show you the finished thing and then they tell you how to make it!
And Jesus starts the Sermon on the Mount in the same way! Before He teaches us how we are to live in the Kingdom of God, He paints the picture of the finished article, in what is known as The Beatitudes.
'Blessed are... '
'Blessed are... ' etc.
But before we get into them individually, let me just introduce them as a whole and say 4 things.
1) What we see here we see in Jesus! He IS the Beatitudes! Everything we see here we see in Jesus, both the description of character and the promise attached.
2) The Beatitudes are a description of the character of ALL Christians! Sometimes it's easy to but Christians in 2 categories, 'Special' Christians and the rest. And by 'Special' I mean those who've given their lives to the service of Christ -- pastors, missionaries etc. and the 'Rest' as those Christians who work in secular jobs and attend church meetings. They are not a description of the Hudson Taylors, John Wesleys, George Mullers of this world, but rather of ALL Christians! It's how we should ALL be! From the youngest to the oldest no matter what our vocation!
3) As Christians we should be displaying ALL of these characteristics in our lives not just one or two. It's not right to say you should aim to be 'poor in spirit' while you aim to 'mourn' and you aim to be 'meek' and I'll try to 'hunger and thirst after righteousness'. No, these are characteristics of one in the Kingdom of God, living under his rule and authority. Sure one may be more clearly seen than another but they should all be seen!
4) Finally, and probably the most important thing, nothing in the Beatitudes refers to what we would call 'natural tendencies'. No one, left on their own, will ever be able to display these characteristics because they are not natural to the unregenerated soul. No, each one is produced solely by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit within us!
We said a few weeks ago that Jesus' teachings were, are radical, completely different from what the people were hearing, and last week we said that the Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom living is the complete opposite of this kingdom on this kingdoms living!
And we see that here, we see it in the very first Beatitude 'Blessed are the poor in spirit... '
Every Tuesday and Thursday we teach mothers English in our school, and what I like to do is start the class with a Speaking Diary. On a Tuesday I like the class to tell me what they did on the weekend, and on a Thursday I like the class to tell me what they will do or what they want to do over the coming weekend.
And the first Thursday I asked one lady 'What will you do this weekend? Or what do you want to do this weekend?' and said 'I will do something with my children. What I want is lots of money!'
And generally we all want to be happy and usually, when you ask people what will make them happy the answer is 'money' or 'more money' or 'lots of money'
Now, for the sake of time and the length of this sermon I'll do a little calculation which I think you'll pretty much agree with:
Want => Happy
Happy => Money
Money => Successful
The word here for 'Blessed' is 'Happy' and we just equalled 'Happy' with 'Successful' so for the purpose of today I will interchange blessed and successful.
And if there is 1 thing that everybody wants in life it's to be successful! You can ask any child 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' and their answers will vary. Some will say 'I want to be a soccer player' some will say 'I want to be a doctor' some will say 'I want to be an actor or a singer' and I'm sure there will be many other answers too! But if there is 1 sure thing it's this, whatever they want to be they all want to be successful at it! They all want to be the best, the greatest! No one wants to grow up to play soccer for the bottom club in the bottom league, no one wants to grow up to be the worst doctor in the country, no one wants to grow up to be the failed actor or musician playing in the street for money! And even when we are grown, we still have dreams of being the best! Wouldn't it be nice if someone came up to us and said 'Hey, if you want to be successful then I can show you how! I know the secret and I want to share it with you!' would you say 'No thanks, I'll try it myself and see what happens' or would you say 'Oh, please tell!'