INTRODUCTION: A local T.V. news station reporter was skeptical of a man who came to town,
claiming he could miraculously heal people of diseases so he went to one of the man's gatherings.
In the large auditorium that night, the man "healed" many people of their
incurable diseases however almost all of them died within weeks. The "healer" claimed they
died because they didn't have enough faith
January 5th, 2003, Sunday Evening
It's not about getting what you desire--it's about God working through you
(Speaker: Dirk Russell, Director of Education)
OPENING: Matthew 5:1-12
Today, many people believe that the definition of a
blessing is to be healed or to get their wish--like a new Corvette
Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chap.1-7) was difficult at best
to give to the people. But we learn that Jesus' description of a blessing is when God
does something through us.
The definition of blessing, according to scripture, is not so much when "things work out"
in your favor or when you get what you want or are happy or being rewarded for obedience.
Blessings do not come when we feel we deserve them or are owed them
- Most blessings come from being persecuted.
It is a moment we're not happy to be in but a blessing, nevertheless
- Blessings go much deeper and thus accomplish much more as opposed to the superficial happiness
of one person.
- Blessings from God are more stable, secure and lasting than temporal gifts (like Corvettes);
in short, they are permanent.
- Numbers 6:22-27: And that's exactly what the Lord told Moses to tell Aaron
how to pray for the Children of Israel when they escaped Egypt
- "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:"
- "The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:"
- "The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
- "And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them."
Let's examine the first few lines of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount:
- Matthew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- "poor" in this context doesn't literally mean a person with little or no money.
Poor means to shrink, cower or cringe in spirit.
- An example of being poor in spirit is being a homeless person in the streets of Chicago--begging
for every little thing because you have finally concluded to yourself you have NOTHING.
- THEREFORE, we are blessed when we submit that we are and have nothing compared to God and His
glory--when all of our boasting and arrogance is gone
- To be "poor in spirit" is to submit we have nothing to contribute to our own salvation
except sin and shame (i.e., when you agree--as you should--that you cannot earn or work for your salvation
but that it is simply a free gift from God)
- Martin Luther: one of the most famous people of the 16th century whose impact reached from
all of the England to its church to the founded 13 Colonies
- Even on his death-bed some of his final words were "we are beggars ... before the Throne of God,"
demonstrating his being poor in spirit (a good thing to be, in this context)
- Notice the dichotomy here
(where once again it is proven man does not think like God): "to be poor in spirit is to have the Kingdom of
Heaven" equates to "the last place beggar of this world is welcome in The King's Throne Room"
- Isaiah 6:1-5: How much better is the Kingdom of Heaven than a Corvette?
Examine the prophet Isaiah's words when we realizes he is seeing the Kingdom while still alive
- RESULT: Isaiah was used by God to be a prophet (Isaiah was poor in spirit which qualified him
to be used by God which resulted in a blessing for him)
- Suffering cannot be separated from mourning ... as when Peter cried when Jesus accurately
predicted Peter (who said he wouldn't) would deny him three times before the cock crowed before morning
- Many consider certain sins to be "not that bad" but every sin should be considered a source
- Jesus Christ gave His life to save our soul and
when we sin, we're telling Him, "We don't care about the Bible's laws."
- To be poor in spirit does not mean to constantly walk around sad, pitiful and hopeless
because this verse promises where you are poor in spirit, comfort is coming (i.e., when you have problems
you can go to mom or dad for comfort, rest and security)
- Matthew 5:5 This verse flies in the face of all the world's teachings--especially
- The world says control goes to those who have the most money, power, strength, votes,
support, armies, weapons, etc--tangible things!
- To be "meek" (gentle) does not mean to be
a wimp, weak, timid but to have power and strength regulated by your self-control
- EXAMPLE: Matthew 26:50-53; Luke 22:47-51: Jesus had the option of not
facing the crucifixion by man but he chose not to use it ... and one of Jesus' disciples cut off a servant's
ear with a sword to defend Jesus but Jesus healed the man's ear.
- In short, Jesus could've "broken out of the flesh" and anytime and become God again but he
chose to obey God
- Don't let that confuse you--Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are all "one"
(Example: Genesis 11:7-8: When God invented foreign languages, He literally said,
"let us go down..." not "I will go down...")
- Another intense thought: John 1:1,14: Read v.14 then v.1 and we conclude
Jesus IS (meaning He's risen) the walking Bible we read today and Jesus was in "the beginning"
and Jesus is with God and Jesus IS God!
- It is EASY to be brutal, vicious, violent, and demanding of revenge;
it is DIFFICULT to be gentle, loving, kind, and not righting wrongs
Matthew 5:6: Not many experience true hunger and thirst. Kids
declare themselves starving five hours after eating! After enough time of not eating and
drinking, it's all we can think about. Now transition from the context of food to
- It is very DIFFICULT to desire nothing else than to be obedient to the Bible.
That is why Jesus declares this task to be a blessing.
- The end result is that you will "be filled" -- just as when a drink is given
to the thirsty and a hot meal to those who are starved.
Matthew 5:7: Mercy = a
loving response to those in need
- It also means not getting the punishment we deserve (most commonly in the context
of sinning against God)
- Mercy is being loving and kind
- We will make mistakes and sin--this is a guarantee in life. However, this is the
time where mercy can be shown
- Matthew 18:23-35: Consider Jesus' parable of the loan:
- A certain servant owed his king 10,000 talents
- The servant was unable to pay at the time and asked for more time to pay it all
- The king was moved and forgave him his entire debt
- The certain servant went out to find one of his fellow servants who owed him much less and
demanded it of him now
- The fellow servant could not and was thrown into prison until he could
- The king heard of this and demanded why the servant could not show mercy to the fellow servant
who owed much less when the certain servant was forgiven much more
- Then the king threw the certain servant to the torturers until every talent was paid
- LESSON LEARNED: Just as God has forgiven you (once you're saved)
so should you forgive others around you
Matthew 5:8: To be "pure in heart" is something
man cannot purify on his own
- Man must be saved so God can help his
heart desire what is Biblically right--what is pleasing to God and not contrary to.
- END RESULT: Being saved means when God
looks at you on Judgment Day he will see Jesus (the pure heart) who "bought you back" (when He
died for you) and not your life's sinful heart and thus you will enter Heaven and, as the verse says, "see God."
Matthew 5:9: The "peacemakers" solve (reconcile) problems
- To be a child of God is to be considered his son or daughter. As such, consider
that the "firstborn son" (the son who inherits what's called the "birthright" for being the
first son born) is the carrier is his dad's legacy as well as developing his own.
- If you succeed and grow with honor, it was because of and reflects upon both you and
- If you fail or live a dishonorable life, then you have failed in your father's name
- Remember that the life you live reflects upon others who your dad
Matthew 5:10-12: While hungering and thirsting for righteousness
is a superior desire, this one--being persecuted for the Lord's sake--gets these three verses
thus stressing how rich it is of a blessing to be persecuted for standing for God.
- APPLICATION: Are we willing to be reproached/persecuted
for Jesus' sake or take the much easier route of not speaking up for Christ?
- We, as the saved, are the salt (flavor)
and light (in the darkness) of this world and the world hates and despises this.
- In the United States, Americans should have no fear of persecution from others for standing for
Christ because, at least in the United States, people are not brutally tortured for their Christian
beliefs like in the days of old.
While it is nice to drive a new car, buy a new home, or live
life that goes your way, remember that's all temporary and does not help you earn the treasure to be
stored in Heaven that will never de-value and last for eternity: blessings.