Selasa, 08 November 2016
(No 23, 1-17)
November 9, 2015
By C. H. James
Teaching Objective: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To reveal the unseen spiritual depth of this well-known portion of the “Sermon on the Mount.”
Text: Matthew 5:1-10
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Somewhere between the age of six and nine, my Sunday school teacher encouraged our class to memorize one or more of the “beatitudes.” At that young age, I had no idea of the incredible spiritual revelation contained in these ten little verses and neither did my teachers. You see, it was generally believed that these were pretty little sayings suitable for children. I confess, memorizing anything was not among things I liked to do, but to avoid the consequences for refusal, I wisely complied.
The “beatitudes” remained a childhood memory until I had occasion to visit a church where my friend, Ralph was preaching. Ralph was a young pastor and teacher of a local New England church and was going to present a series of teachings based on the beatitudes. As I sat and listened, I couldn’t help being impressed by his knowledge of Greek, a knowledge that reflected the degree of research and preparation he’d done to bring a deeper and more discernable understanding to this, here-to-fore portion of scripture usually relegated to children; a portion which held only a superficial interest for me. I am happy to say, that the Holy Spirit used Ralph to open my eyes to an understanding of the “beatitudes” that in over forty plus years, I’ve never forgotten.
These ten verses were certainly more, much more than mere pretty, little verses for children. The “Sermon on the Mount” is considered by many to be the centerpiece of Christ’s teachings. If this is so, then we might consider “the beatitudes” to be the very heart of that centerpiece. Though this teaching was given through Jesus, it didn’t originate there. It came directly from God, our heavenly Father, to us through Jesus.
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
For Disciples Only
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, in the very first verse, we learn that when Jesus saw the multitudes gathering, he left them and retreated to a mountain where, after sitting down, he began to teach his disciples. This was not a teaching designed for a spontaneous congregation. This teaching was meant for the ears of his chosen apprentices only, those disciples who, together with him, would form the spiritual foundation of the church. Not a church built of wood, hay or stubble, nor one adorned with the wealth of men, for God would not abide in any temple made with hands. The only temple acceptable as a habitation for God would be a creation of his own making, his creation of man. Not just any man, but only those washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, those whose “body temples” had been prepared and sanctified. These alone, were chosen to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
The doctrine these disciples were about to receive was given to them as a formal teaching. In those times, when a teacher (rabbi) sat down, it meant school was now in session.
The next verse (Matthew 5:2), at first glance, appears to be unnecessarily obvious. After all, how is one to speak unless they, “open their mouth?” however, this comes as an alert, informing us that something of great spiritual consequence or relevance is about to be uttered by that mouth. It tells us that what is about to be spoken is noteworthy and meant to be retained. The phrase, “he opened his mouth” is also used in another text, found in the book of Revelation (Revelation 13:6). In this text, we discover the beast, Satan’s appointed agent is blaspheming God’s name, his dwelling place and all those who dwell with him; I’m sure you’ll agree this has great spiritual significance, though evil. It may also be noted, that the word, “taught” also used in this verse, indicates that this teaching, i.e. the beatitudes was meant to be repeated by those who received it (ref. Strong’s Gk #1321). The importance of this teaching cannot be overstated.
It is the accepted belief that the word, “beatitude” is a composite of two words, “blessed” and “attitudes.” Like the word, “trinity” commonly used in theological circles, this word, i.e. “beatitude”(s) is not to be found in scripture. However, this word has no negative effect on any presently held doctrine that I’m aware of. The teaching stands on its own.
It is important to note at this point, that each verse from Matthew 5:3 to 5:10 is given in a special designated order. Each verse is built on the previous verse like a set of stairs, stairs that form a spiritual staircase leading to the door of God’s kingdom. We cannot build step two until step one is securely in place. The first four steps are already in place, constructed by Christ, so that we can begin our accent upward. Though he completed the first four for us, it is encumbered upon us to discover the reason behind their order and understand the true meaning of each. It will however, take an additional four to reach our goal, four additional steps that we must construct with the Holy Spirit guiding us.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The first word given in this verse is, “Blessed” and it’s repeated in each of the beatitudes that follow. What does this word mean? What message does it convey? My pastor friend, Ralph, after doing the necessary research, discovered to his surprise, that this word was taken from Greek mythology; a rather strange place for Jesus to borrow a word. In common terms, the word means “joy,” but this does not convey the complete message that Jesus intended. It’s the kind of joy expressed by this word that allows us to see deeper into the message being taught.
You see, the word “blessed” expressed in Greek is “Makarias” meant joy, but not the joy of men, but a joy only available to the gods; a divine joy. Let’s examine the first beatitude using this additional knowledge and see if it becomes any clearer.
In this context, given in paraphrase (Matthew 5:3), now says, “Oh, the divine joy of those whose spirit is depressed, for they shall receive the kingdom of heaven.” This makes no sense at all therefore, we have more to learn. Neither we nor the world in which we live consider us blessed when living in the grip of depression. We’re more likely to be seen as cursed, but hold on, our understanding will get even darker before it’s illuminated by the light of truth. However, it will be illuminated.
The word used in this first beatitude to describe our depressed condition is “poor,” this word is rendered in Greek as “ptochos.” There are two words in Greek that mean “poor.” The word “penes” (Strong’s Gk #3993) meaning barely enough to survive, but this is not the word used. The word “ptochos” (Strong’s Gk #4434) is used here. It would apply to the beggar called Lazarus found in Luke’s gospel (Luke 16:20, 21).
Luke 16:20, 21
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
In Jesus’ day, the word “ptochos” was rarely used. It was considered an insult or a profanity, nevertheless, this is the word Jesus chose to use to describe our pitiful condition before receiving him.
He used it also in the above text to describe the desperate condition of Lazarus the beggar. He fed on the scraps left over from the rich man’s table. Lazarus waited for the garbage he tossed into the street each day so he could feed himself. There he sat, baking under the hot, desert sun, with the weeping sores of leprosy, abandoned by all who feared his disease except for the dogs who came to like his wounds. Lazarus didn’t have “barely enough to live;” he had “not enough to live.” He would be a little more dead today than yesterday because he was in the process of dying a slow, miserable death.
This then is the meaning of the word “poor” given in this third verse. Let’s see now if we understand this simple child’s memory verse. Let’s paraphrase it again using what we’ve just learned.
(Matthew 5:3) “Oh, the divine joy of those who are so totally wretchedly broken and abandoned for they shall receive the kingdom of heaven.” How does their pathetic condition contribute to their gaining the kingdom of heaven? Think about it for a minute, mediate on it and give the Holy Spirit opportunity to teach you.
If you do, the Holy Spirit might reveal this beatitude in this way, “Oh the divine joy of those who have been so totally, wretchedly broken and abandoned that they have nowhere to turn, but to God for in so doing, they shall become God’s children and as such, they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.” We should not forget, that the desired goal of the beatitudes is to guide us to the kingdom of heaven.
Now that we understand this first step (Matthew 5:3); we can go on to the next step, right? Not yet; not until we give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on this for another few moments.
When the Lord entered our tangled lives, we were lost and wandering about in spiritual darkness; we were helpless and hopelessly sinking in our own sinful filth and corruption. From a heart filled with desperation, we silently cried out for help, from a God whose existence we had denied, both by word and deed. Inflicted with guilt and made prisoner by sin, we reached out, hoping to find a straw to hold on to, but instead, we found a nail pierced hand outstretched and waiting for us. God extended his hand compassionately, offering it to lift us from the dark, horrible, miry pit of death, that held us captive.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
The Lord didn’t mind getting his hands dirty by reaching into the world’s gutter to pull us out. He paid no attention when our filth stained his spotless body. He did it all, because his God and ours, his Father and ours, loved us that much.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
New, redeemed and reborn, we walk in the newness of life. The old life now behind, its filth cleansed; its evil deeds forgotten, he has made all things new.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Philippians 3:13, 14
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
We already know what “blessed” means, so let’s focus now on the word “mourn” which in Greek is “pentheo.” Most often, this word brings to mind the sadness brought about by the death of a loved one. This however, is not the reason given here for mourning. Having now been rescued from our ultimate destruction, we find ourselves looking into the face of the spotless Lamb of God. Our guilt calls to mind all the times we took his name in vain, the times we denied his existence and sinned, wounding him over and over again. How do we feel now? Yes, sorry, so we begin to mourn the pain we’ve caused him to suffer on our behalf, the pain he had to suffer at Calvary to free us from our pain.
How does the Lord respond to our grief? Consumed with compassion, he consoles us in our grief, comforting us in our time of mourning. The word for “comforted” in Greek here is “parakaleo” from which we derive the Greek word, “parecletos” meaning Comforter, i.e. the Holy Spirit. We discover here that our God has chosen, through the Holy Spirit, to comfort us personally, one on one. Beyond the shadow of doubt, our God is truly a God of love.
1. We were drowning in our own sin and despair when Christ lifted us from the pit of death and destruction.
2. We realized, for the first time, the pain we had caused him and felt ashamed, mourning the damage we had caused and so, we repented. He restored our soul and comforted our grief stricken heart. What an amazing God we serve.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Let us now turn our attention to this word, “meek.” It sounds like the word, “weak,” but in reality, they’re opposites. It takes great strength to be meek, i.e. humble. In Greek, the word for meek is “praus.” Those who walk in the peace of God, walk in meekness, trusting him to go before them.
14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
The “meek,” those under God’s control, have the strength to replace their anger with compassion and turn the chaos in others to peace and order. The ministry of reconciliation is given to all believers, but only the meek among them are able to accomplish this ministry. In all the bible, there are only two men who were called “meek.” These two men are Moses and Jesus. I don’t think any true believer would call either of these two men weak. When they were assaulted, they offered compassion. From a position of power, they chose to humble themselves rather than seek vengeance.
When Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, his older brother, spoke against Moses, God struck Miriam with leprosy. If it were not for the meekness of Moses, she would have perished before their eyes (Numbers, chapter twelve).
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Certainly, we can’t forget what Jesus said to his Father while in agony upon the cross; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” As the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus gave his life to restore peace between man and God. Now, he has given this ministry to those who follow him, de we have the meekness to carry out this mission?
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Only those under God’s control are meek enough to turn the other cheek. Only those with great compassion, will be able to love their enemies, as Jesus did.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Meekness reflects great strength, not the outward physical strength of Sampson, but the internal spiritual strength demonstrated by the Apostles (Acts 5:32-42, 2 Corinthians 11:23-31).
The Apostle Paul leaves us with a final message concerning the peace made possible by meekness.
2 Corinthians 13:11
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
God promised the meek that the earth would one day be theirs.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
1. We were drowning to death in our own sin and Jesus came to our rescue, granting us mercy.
2. We grieved over the pain we caused him and he forgave us, cleansed us and comforted us.
3. We recognized that we were out of control and headed for destruction; self-control was not enough so we placed our life under God’s control and found peace in him.
4. Now, we find an appetite for all we can learn or experience in him. We pray, we study his word, we share this new, wonderful experience with others, and we seek fellowship with other Christians who can help us to grow closer to our Savior and King. What is God’s response to all this? He responds with a promise that those walking this narrow path of righteousness, will be filled; he will satisfy their hunger and their thirst.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Up till now, Jesus has carried us up the stairs that he constructed, but there are yet four more steps to take before we reach our intended destination which, is the door to the kingdom of God. These final stairs we must build if we are to reach our goal. The means, the way and the example he left behind are all before us. All we need do is imitate Jesus.
In verse one, he showed us mercy, now it is up to us to follow his example.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Show mercy to others.
We mourned our sins, grieved over our failure, confessed our transgressions and accepted the comfort of his Spirit; therefore, he has cleansed us and made us whiter than snow (1 John 1:9). He has made us pure once more.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
Continue to confess your sins to God!
We have now placed our lives in the hands of God. We’ve dedicated (given) the remainder of our lives to him. We no longer choose to determine the direction of our life; we’ve turned this over to him. We have been given peace, his peace, a peace that exceeds our understanding, a peace that conquers all fear.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
We have taken upon ourselves his ministry of reconciliation which has the power to instill peace in the hearts of all who choose to believe the gospel message. By this, we have become children of God. Now, we must bring the message of peace to those who have no peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
2 Timothy 3:12
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Love your enemies and be prepared to suffer for your faith.
Finally, we come to the last step we must take to arrive at the door of God’s kingdom. By this time, you’ve had the opportunity to see that God has kept his promise to satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness, but it has come with a resulting consequence.
Yes, we’ve been filled and satisfied again and again; truly our cup of blessing is running over. We’ve experienced the wonders of God’s word, his forgiveness and cleansing, his wisdom, power, love and righteousness. All these things have sustained us and will continue, if we continue to yield to his will, but his righteousness comes with a cost. His gift of salvation, i.e. his rescue was free, paid for at the cross, but this is just the entrance to the narrow road that leads to his kingdom. We must now walk that road and climb the steps to gain entrance to our eternal home. This road is a narrow, difficult path and it’s filled with dangers. There is a cost to be paid for those who dare to make this journey.
The cross of Christ, gave us free access and he accomplished the first four steps in our ascent, but we, assisted by the Holy Spirit, must complete the next four. We must now take up our cross and follow the path of Jesus.
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Let’s Review One Final Time
Step #1. In the first beatitude (Matthew 5:3), when we were drowning in our own sinful corruption, Jesus extended his mercy and rescued us from certain, spiritual death.
Step #5. In the fifth beatitude (Matthew 5:7), Jesus taught us that those who show mercy to others receive mercy.
Step #2. In the second beatitude (Matthew 5:4), because we’ve become aware of the damage our sin has caused and we’ve mourned (grieved) as we’ve confessed and repented (1 John 1:9), our confession has gained his complete forgiveness and cleansing (Isaiah 1:18).
Step #6. In the sixth beatitude (Matthew 5:8), because we’ve confessed and repented in our grief while mourning, our hearts have been made pure, enabling us to see God.
Step #3. In the third beatitude (Matthew 5:5), we surrendered our will and humbled ourselves before God by giving ourselves over to him. Now, under his guidance, we have found spiritual peace.
Step #7. In the seventh beatitude (Matthew 5:9), we were blessed with the peace of God, we become his children and, by sharing this peace with others through the ministry of reconciliation, we have become peacemakers.
Step #4. In the fourth beatitude (Matthew 5:6), those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, because the Lord has promised to satisfy their craving for more of him.
Step #8. In the eighth beatitude (Matthew 5:10-12), the Lord teaches us that those blessed with righteousness will also be blessed with persecution, just as he was.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
How is it possible to rejoice while enduring persecution? The Apostles Paul tells us.
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.
Brethren, don’t be surprised if the world hates you, it hated our Lord first.
1 Peter 4:12-14
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
The word, “Christian” first used in Antioch, meant “follower of Christ.”