Who Jesus calls 'Blessed'

Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
We're starting a series of sermons at the church I attend on the Beatitudes.
I appreciate the thought the pastor had in his introductory sermon that
focused on who Jesus calls the blessed.

In the Old Testament, people were thought to be blessed according to how
they prospered (by outward appearance). And lack (in any form) was seen
as God's displeasure. Prosperity could be worn like a badge of perfect law-
keeping.

However, under the New Covenant, 'prosperity' has nothing to do with who
the truly blessed are. The weak, poor, and lacking can be truly rich in the life
Jesus supplies in these outward situations.
 
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Jun 26, 2014
224
216
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Heartland, USA
Blessed Are the Poor In Spirit
(series thoughts by pastor)

In referencing the 'poor', Jesus had in mind the thought of those
on the fringes of society as well as those who realize their complete
spiritual lack. He reveals Himself to such as these.

The 'poor' also refers to those whose character is marked by
humility. In the Old Covenant force was used in ministry. Under
the New Covenant, however, gentleness is the way the Spirit of
God deals with people. God (and His power) is revealed through
the gentle.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
Those Who Mourn

Mourning is the expression of deep inward grief and is
associated with the 'poor in spirit'... those who grieve
over their personal spiritual lack. They also mourn
over the sin (and it's consequences) of the church, or
of society. This mourning is a continual one that is
comforted by God's blessing.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
The Meek

'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.'

In Jesus' days on earth, the land owners had power and a voice. They often were corrupted
by it, and exploited or oppressed those who did not. The meek are compared to these lacking
as having no rights.

Of all the descriptions Jesus could have used in describing Himself, He chose the words
'meek and lowly'. When He was reviled, He did not revile in turn. He wasn't so busy
defending Himself that He couldn't give Himself. Meekness is the defining quality of
spiritual influence.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
The Reward of Righteousness

'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.' (Matthew 5:6)

The ESV translates 'filled' as satisfied. The many who look for satisfaction
in the ways of the world remain hungry and thirsty. Jesus taught we will
be satisfied in looking to Him... to be like Him, by His power.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
The Merciful

'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' (Matthew 5:7)

One of the definitions of merciful is the idea of humanitarian activity. In the context of
the beatitudes however, 'mercy' is a way of responding to how we are treated. It is an
overflow of the mercy we have received from God, as believers.
 
Jun 26, 2014
224
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Heartland, USA
The Pure of Heart

'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' (Mt. 5:8)

'Pure' of heart often implies a clean, sinless heart. But in the context of
the beatitudes, it speaks of an undivided heart... a heart focused on God
and His way. These 'see' God... not only in the hereafter, but in the here
and now. They experience the power and presence of God.

With this in mind, may David's prayer (of Psalm 86:11) be ours:
'Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to
fear thy name.'
 
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Jun 26, 2014
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Making Peace

'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.'

Bonds of relationship are important in God's kingdom, and the one who
nurtures peace is known to be a son of God.

Charles Spurgeon says this:
"The verse which precedes it speaks of the blessedness of 'the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' It is well that we should understand this. We are to be 'first pure, then peaceable.' Our peaceableness is never to be a compact with sin, or an alliance with that which is evil. We must set our faces like flints against everything which is contrary to God and his holiness. That being in our souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness towards men." (Spurgeon)
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Heartland, USA
Adding these verses to the thoughts on peacemaking (and trusting
the promise of fruit as I hide myself in the life of the Spirit in
situations I face that 'peacemaking' will influence... eternally).

James 3:17-18
17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable,
gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without
partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make
peace.
 
Jun 26, 2014
224
216
43
Heartland, USA
The Persecuted

In this last sermon on those Jesus calls blessed, several points
stand out.

Matthew 5:10-12
10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in
heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

It may be commonly believed that the believer is always 'protected' from harm
in their walk with God. The truth is that trouble often follows the true believer,
not because of human mistakes they make, but in opposition to righteousness.
Persecution is not mainly from the secular world, but from 'religious' groups
that do not have the life of God in them.

Though personal physical harm can be part of 'persecution', it is more often seen
in stabs of words hurled in accusation and malicious gossip of true believers.
Jesus taught there is a special reward for the persecuted. And on earth, influence is
given to those who are chased down for the sake of God's living righteousness, seen
in personal lives of believers.
 
Jun 26, 2014
224
216
43
Heartland, USA
The Persecuted

In this last sermon on those Jesus calls blessed, several points
stand out.

Matthew 5:10-12
10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in
heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

'Persecution' carries the idea of 'being chased down' to the point of fleeing.
It may be commonly believed that the believer is always 'protected' from harm
in their walk with God. The truth is that trouble often follows the true believer,
not because of human mistakes they make, but in opposition to righteousness.
Persecution is not mainly from the secular world, but from 'religious' groups
that do not have the life of God in them.

Though personal physical harm can be part of 'persecution', it is more often seen
in stabs of words hurled in accusation and malicious gossip of true believers.
Jesus taught there is a special reward for the persecuted. And on earth, influence is
given to those who are chased down for the sake of God's living righteousness, seen
in personal lives of believers.
(Adding information left out in first draft of this post. It is contained in the quote.)