Matthew 5:1-4 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Did You Know?
When you heard the gospel preached or taught for the first time, did they tell you what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, i.e. how that should impact your life? Did they tell you what you are actually saved from? Did they tell you that, although God’s grace is a free gift, that it has requirements?
Did you know that the free gift of God’s grace is the power of God in our lives to be free from the control of sin over our lives and to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness? And that we have this power because Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) shed his blood on a cross for our sins? And that we can live for him because he rose again from the grave victorious over our sin and over Satan?
Or, did they lead you to believe that faith in Jesus Christ was a mere acknowledgment of who Christ is and what he did for us, or that it is a mere confession of him as Lord and Savior, or that it is a mere acceptance of his blood sacrifice for our sins as payment for our sins?
Did you know, or were you told that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness? Were you informed that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means you die with Christ to sin and that you are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness? Were you also informed that faith in Jesus Christ means to turn from our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience?
Or, were you led to believe that you don’t have to repent of (turn from) your sins and that you don’t have to obey Jesus Christ with your life? And, were you taught that God’s free gift of grace means you do nothing?
Did you know that you can’t mix with the world and adopt the customs of this sinful world and live for your own self-pleasure and have part in God’s eternal kingdom? Do you know that the Lord’s Day is every day, and that faith in Jesus Christ means we give him everything? Do you understand that if you make sin your practice and you live for your flesh that you don’t have eternal life with God, even if you profess faith in Jesus Christ?
For, the free gift of God’s grace to us is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace to us instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his soon return.
We will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the sinful nature, from that we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. So, humble yourselves today, weep and wail over your sins, call on God, turn from your sins and turn to Jesus Christ to follow him in all of his ways.
[See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9.]
Matthew 5:5-6 ESV
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Meek, Not Weak
Meek does not mean weak spiritually. It does not mean we don’t stand for anything, or that we never speak the truth in love, or that we don’t say what we know is going to offend people, so that they will think well of us. We have to care more about other people and what they truly need than we do about ourselves and what they will think of us.
True meekness exercises God’s strength, in his power, under his direction and guidance, in love, and with grace, in order to tell people the truth, so that they can be rescued from their bondage to sin and walk in holiness, peace, joy and in freedom from their chains. True meekness stands on the Word of God and does not compromise with the world so that the world will like us, or so they will think we are “nice.”
Jesus was not “nice.” But, he was kind, loving, gracious, merciful and forgiving. Yet, he also told people the truth even if they hated, rejected and persecuted and killed him in return. And, we need to follow His example. For, he is the true picture of what meekness looks like.
And, we need to be among those who are ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness, not among those who hunger and thirst for the pleasures this world has to offer, and not among those who are hungering and thirsting after the lusts of their flesh.
Sexual immorality and impurity should not be part of our lives, nor should hatred, slander, cheating, stealing and lying. And, we should not be entertained by others’ sinful pleasures, either.
If we truly hunger and thirst after righteousness, like we do after food or after entertainment, or after sports or whatever else might consume our hearts, minds, attention and affections, then we will live godly and holy lives pleasing to God, and we will not be living for the pleasures of this world.
God has called us to be a holy people separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. We are not to make friends with the world of sin. We are not to love the pleasures of this world.
Do we know what this looks like? Do we understand the reality of this in our lives? Yes, we will be considered weird, crazy, out of touch with reality, not normal and religious fanatics and legalists, and we will be pressured into conforming and compromising in order to fit in, but we must not! We, as followers of Jesus Christ, must hunger and thirst after righteousness, and we will be filled!
Matthew 5:7-9 ESV
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Pure in Heart
Mercy is not soft on sin. It is not mercy to pacify sin or to give someone a pat on the back and help them to excuse away their sin or to not feel guilty. It is not mercy to try to help people feel better about themselves while they are engrossed in willful sinful practices, either.
Yes, mercy is compassionate, kind, forgiving and sympathetic, and not condemning or revengeful. But, true mercy helps to set the sinner FREE from sin. It does not leave the sinner still wandering in sin so as not to OFFEND him or her.
Also, we are to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Do you know the difference? A peacekeeper makes many compromises in order to keep peace between people so as to avoid confrontation at all costs. A peacekeeper will not say what will offend people nor will they tell people the truth about sin and judgment and repentance and obedience, because they know that will upset people, and then people will get angry with them or reject them.
A peacemaker, on the other hand, will speak the truth in love, and will tell people the truth about sin and judgment, etc., because the only true peace that we will ever know is peace with God, and that only comes through repentance and obedience to our Lord in yielding to his Lordship over our lives.
A peacemaker is not argumentative or combative, but he or she will not avoid controversy if it means telling people what will save their lives and deliver them from hell. Jesus was a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper.
When we are pure in heart, meaning we are unadulterated by the world of sin because we are committed to holiness and purity, then we will have the right mind about these things, for we will be thinking more about what is truly best for others than we think about what others will think of us.
Matthew 5:10-12 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Persecuted for Righteousness
When we stand for what is right, and we speak the truth in love, and we share the truth of the gospel, because we truly care about people and about their lives, we will be hated, rejected and persecuted as Jesus was.
Many of those who will hate and persecute us will be those who are living for the flesh, so they will find our lifestyles an offense to them. They will not want to be around us, and/or they may try to bring us down with them and try to persuade us to compromise our faith in order to be more “normal” and like everyone else.
Misery likes company, so the ungodly may tempt us to compromise truth and convictions and to not obey our Lord but to spend our time instead on the pleasures of this world so that they will have company in their sin, and so our righteousness will no longer be an offense to them. But, we must know the truth and resist temptation to compromise truth and purity.
But, when we do stand strong in our faith, Satan and his hordes will come against us. If they can’t get us to compromise with them, then they will seek to destroy us in other ways. They will lie about us, gossip, slander and try to destroy our reputations so that others will not listen to anything we have to say.
But, we are not to let that destroy us or our faith, for Jesus said that if we follow him that we will be treated as he was, so we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of His Name.
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Hymn lyrics by William Williams, pub.1745
tr. by Peter Williams, pub.1771
Music by John Hughes, 1907
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold.
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave,
Sin and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.
*copyright status is Public Domain
Monday, July 30, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus. Give us courage, Lord!