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Lesson 8: Beatitudes Part 1 (Matthew 5:1-6)

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I. Intro to the Sermon on the Mountain. (5:1-2)

a.      Intro:

i.  As the masses came to hear Jesus he went to Mountain somewhere in Galilee and sat down and began to teach them.

ii.                        What follows is the greatest message on morality the world has ever heard.

iii.                      Even today, ethicists agree that this sermon has shaped world history.

iv.                      That’s what the world would say…

v.                         This sermon is far more than mere morality or ethics.  We can’t and we won’t minimize this to mere morality.

b.      Context:

i.  This sermon speaks of kingdom life, and what the kingdom is like.

1.      See this in its context:  Matthew just described Jesus as a teacher, preacher, and healer, and now he will display Jesus’ teaching.

2.      Jesus is teaching this to self-righteous Pharisees obsessed with externals.

3.      Natural questions on the heart of every Jew would have been, “Am I eligible to enter Messiah’s kingdom? Am I righteous enough to qualify for entrance?”

4.      The only standard of righteousness the people knew was that laid down by the current religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees.

5.      If a person followed all their 1000’s of rules, could such a person enter the kingdom?

6.      Jesus’ sermon therefore must be understood in the context of His offer of the kingdom to Israel and the need for repentance to enter that kingdom.

7.      The sermon showed how a person who is actually in a right relationship with God should conduct his life. 

a.       Not to GET eternal life, but to DISPLAY eternal life.

ii.                        The sermon lays down the foundational truths of the gospel of the kingdom.  He describes what the Kingdom will be like and how the sons and daughters of the kingdoms should live and act.  There is some debate on how to view this sermon of Jesus…

1.      Is this sermon describing the Millenium?  Yes.

2.      Is this sermon a sort of manifesto and constitution of the Millenium?  Yes.

3.      Is this sermon describing how Christians should live today?  Yes.  All of these things are repeated in the rest of the New Testament.

4.      Does this sermon amplify the Law and show us our sin?  Yes.

5.      Does this sermon show the evidence of God’s grace in a person’s life?  Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.                      Beatititude #1- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (5:3)

a.       This first beatitude is the foundational beatitude and the most important.

i.  If you don’t get this, you can’t have the rest, and the rest don’t even make sense.

b.      “Blessed”

i.  It means happy.  Happy is the person who does this.  Homer used this word to describe the wealthy.  Plato used it to describe someone who is successful in business.

1.      The last verse of the Old Testament ends with a curse. 

a.       400 years pass, Jesus starts His ministry, and He begins with Good News of the Kingdom.  He starts His sermon with blessing, “Blessed are the…”

ii.                        Everyone wants to be happy.  I have never met a person who doesn’t want to be happy.  It’s what the world longs after.

iii.                      Jesus is saying that this is the pathway to happiness.

iv.                      Jesus’ message is a message of how to be happy, how to be blessed.

v.                         It’s a very relevant question:  How do we get happy?

vi.                      Note: He does not tell them to pursue happiness; He is describing how a person is happy.

vii.                    The Lord does not tell them to pursue happiness.

c.       “poor in spirit” defined.

i.  Being poor in spirit is a tremendous awareness of our unworthiness and our lack and poverty.

ii.                        Lit. “shrink, cower, cringe.”

iii.                      Essentially, this is an inward attitude that we have nothing to commend ourselves.  We are spiritually poor, needy, bankrupt.

iv.                      We are powerless.

v.                         We are like little children, or babies (*Georgia*)

1.      Jesus said you have to become like them to enter the kingdom.

2.      What did he mean?

3.      He meant we need to realize our utter and complete dependency on God.

d.      What this doesn’t mean:

i.  He is not describing a disposition or a natural tendency or a personality.

ii.                        Not poor quality of faith or financially poor.  But the spiritual needy.

1.      It’s possible to be the richest person in the world, but be poor in spirit.

2.      And it’s possible to be living in poverty, but have no need for God.  Wealthy in spirit.  Self-sufficient.

e.       There is a link between being “Poor in spirit” and repentance.

i.  This is the main point of the beatitudes and the main point of Jesus’ teaching!

1.      If you don’t repent. 

2.      If you don’t see yourself as spiritually impoverished.

3.      If you don’t see yourself as spiritually poor and needy.

4.      Then you can’t be a part of the kingdom.

ii.                        When you look towards God, are you confident, or do you feel bankrupt and naked?

iii.                      Do we feel you have something in yourself to commend you to God, or do we feel inadequate?

iv.                      Do you feel justified to approach God based on your life?

v.                         Do we march in to God’s presence, or do we crawl on our face?

f.        Being “Poor in spirit” internal and spiritual.

i.  It doesn’t look to externals…rather it looks to internals.

ii.                        We don’t look to any great family history or preachers or missionaries.

iii.                      We don’t look to our grandfather of father or mother who were Christians.

iv.                      We don’t look to where were born or what church we attend or any good deeds we have done.

v.                         All of that is like dung, Paul would say.

vi.                      Being poor in spirit means you approach God and say, “Woe is me!  I am a man of unclean lips”

vii.                    Jesus is concerned with the inner person, not the externals.

1.      The Jews were expecting a political kingdom and an external kingdom, which will come in due time.

2.      But Jesus teaches here that the kingdom first and foremost is an internal, spiritual kingdom.

viii.                  John the Baptist illustrates this:

1.      Jesus says of John the Baptist that he is the greatest man who had ever lived up to that time.

2.      Yet John lived a simple life, wore simple clothes, didn’t have possessions or a home, and had simple diet, and he preached a message that the world thought was a joke.

3.      Compare John with Solomon, who had a huge home, lots of wealth, lots of power, military power, political power.

4.      The Jews would have said that Solomon or David was the greatest, yet Jesus says that John the Baptist is the greatest.

5.      John the Baptist, in a sense will personify what Jesus message is all about.

ix.                      The happiest person will be the person who has been spiritually changed, not externally changed.

g.      How do we become poor in spirit?

i.  This is something God has to do, by grace.  But there are things we can do.

1.      We behold the holiness of God.

2.      We read and examine His Holy Word.

3.      Read what He expects of us.

4.      Read the sermon on the Mount.

ii.                        If you are not impoverished after hearing this, then it means you are still out of touch with reality.

iii.                      When a person truly comes in contact with Jesus and they will say with Peter, “Lord, please go away from me, for I am a sinner.”

iv.                      Lord, if you know about me, you will see that I have nothing to commend myself.”

v.                         Woe is me!

vi.                      That’s being poor in spirit…

h.      “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

i.  Do you feel entitled?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom

ii.                        Do you feel like God owes you?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom

iii.                      Have you repented, and do you continually repent?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom.

III.                   Beatititude #2- “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (5:4)

a.       “Blessed are those who mourn”

i.  lit. “sad, grieve, lament”

ii.                        The world hears this and mocks.

1.      This the very thing the world tries to avoid!

2.      The world spends a lot of time and energy on AVOIDING mourning!

3.      But here Jesus says that the only truly happy people are those who mourn.

4.      If you laugh now, you will weep later.

5.      Mourning precedes joy.

b.      Conviction of sin and the bad news is a prerequisite of joy and the good news.

i.  These beatitudes build on each other.

1.      When you are poor in spirit, the next thing you do is mourn.

ii.                        Everyone wants joy and happiness, and Jesus is saying that you cannot have it unless you mourn.

iii.                      The masses want happiness, but they refuse to mourn.

iv.                      Jesus is saying it’s impossible to happy without mourning.

v.                         One of the greatest problems of the church today, and of individual Christians, is that many have never really been convicted of sin.

1.      The bad news of sin, condemnation, hell, and judgment, has been massaged away.

2.      The world has taken spiritual morphine, and numbed itself.

3.      Churches refuse to preach on sin and condemnation  and hell.

4.      Mourning and lament are been seen as a curse and something to avoid.

c.       Why do we mourn and lament?

i.  We mourn and lament because of our own sin.

1.      Just examine yourself against the Word.

2.      Examine yourself in light of the Scriptures and what Jesus and the apostles expect.

3.      If you are not immediately led to mourning, there is something very wrong.

4.      Sins of omission and sins of commission:

a.       What are the things I did and said today that were sinful?

b.      What are the things I didn’t do and say?

c.       The list begins to pile up and it’s depressing.

d.      There is something in me that is prone to wander.

e.       I am conflicted in myself.  There is a war inside me.

f.        This causes the Christian to mourn.

ii.                        We mourn and lament because of the sins of other people.

1.      We see other Christians in sin, and it makes us mourn.

2.      We see people ruining their lives with sin, and it hurts.

3.      We see the affects of sin and how is destroys lives and ruins relationships and makes people miserable and relationships estranged, and we lament.

iii.                      We mourn and lament because of the world’s sin and its lostness.

1.      The world is in state of darkness.

2.      Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers and people are deceived.

3.      Billions of people live in misery.  Not physically impoverished, but spiritually impoverished and dead and miserable and wicked.

4.      And sin is compounded on sin and misery is multiplied.

iv.                      If you don’t lament your sin, if you don’t grieve over your sin, you are not born again and you are not part of the kingdom.**

d.      “for they shall be comforted”

i.  Here is the promise:

ii.                        After a person mourns and is made aware and miserable because of sin, He is then drawn to Christ, and is comforted.

iii.                      Like the song, “And then I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.”

iv.                      The world’s problems are unsolvable.  The world is spinning out of control.  The global economy hangs by a slender thread.  Nuclear threat is still a threat.  People are still crazy.

v.                         But the Christian is comforted that God is on the throne.

vi.                      The Christian is comforted by the promise of God, the promise of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.

e.       The Christian is a bit of a paradox:

i.  This is a bit of a paradox.

1.      We are Serious but not morose.

2.      “Sober-minded but not sullen”  MLJ

3.      Broken because of sin, but happy because of Christ.

4.      “Cheer up.  You’re a lot worse than you think you are.  Cheer up.  God is a lot greater than you think He is.” Jack Miller.

ii.                        It’s somewhat interesting that in the gospels we never see Jesus laughing.

1.      He is described as a man of sorrows.

2.      He weeps for Lazarus.  He weeps for Jerusalem.

3.      He goes around telling people to repent and mourn because of sin.

4.      And yet Matthew says the Son of Man came eating and drinking.  Jesus was the Bridegroom and there was joy.  The Pharisees criticized Him and His disciples because they didn’t fast.

iii.                      Paul is a similar paradox.

1.      He describes himself as a wretched man, as a man who groans and laments his body and his sin. 

2.      Who wants to be delivered from himself and this world.

iv.                      Yet, over and over he is rejoicing even in his suffering and pain.

f.        Application:  Do you mourn?

i.  Do you mourn over your own spiritual condition?

ii.                        Do you mourn for the world’s spiritual condition?

iii.                      Do you hate your sin?

iv.                      Does it make you sad?

v.                         Do you hate sin in the world?  The parties.  The vanity.  The entertainment and numbness.  The addictions.  The pain and suffering.

vi.                      Does is make you lament?

vii.                    And yet…the promise is that we will be comforted

viii.                  We will have comfort in the midst of lamentation.

IV.                    Beatititude #3- “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (5:5)

a.       Again we see the utter contrast with the world.

i.  The world thinks in terms of power and influence and ability and impact and aggressiveness and self-promotion and self-assertion, numbers.

ii.                        “Be assertive!  Take the bull by the horns!  Make it happen! Conquer!”

iii.                      When Atheist philosopher Neitche came to the sermon on the mount and read that the meek inherit the earth, he said it was a lie! “Assert yourself; it’s the arrogant who take over the earth.”

iv.                      “Nice guys finish last” says the world.

v.                         The utter difference between the Christian and the non-Christian.

1.      The natural person wants to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-made.

2.      The Marlborough Man.

3.      The world mocks someone who is poor in spirit, needy.

4.      The natural person likes boasting, and confidence. 

5.      He is interested in this world, because this is all there is.  So grab all the gusto out of life you can.

6.      The Christian is totally different.

b.      But Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek…”

i.  What is meant?

ii.                        Meek lit. means “humble, modest, unassuming, gentle”

iii.                      Jesus is teaching the very opposite of what the world teaches.

iv.                      Rather than trust your own abilities and powers, rather you trust in the Lord.

v.                         Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”

vi.                      Mat. 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

c.       Meekness doesn’t not mean weak, or spineless, or pathetic.

i.  It doesn’t mean niceness or someone who’s a pushover, or a wallflower.

ii.                        It really means power under control.  Like a tame horse.

iii.                      It means to be “Humble, gentle, not aggressive—but trusting and waiting on the Lord to act”

d.      Illustration:

i.  When you get pulled over for driving too fast, and the police officer tells you that you were driving 20 miles over the speed limit, and the ticket should be over $400, but he has decided to let you go, and your jaw drops and you feel like giving him a hug…here is the question:  How do you drive off?

1.      Do you squeal your tires?  Do you spray gravel and lay some rubber?

2.      Or do you drive away slowly?  Because you have just been shown the law, and you have violated the law, but you have been shown mercy and comforted.  How do you drive off?  You drive off in meekness…

e.       King David is a great illustration of this meekness and humility.

i.  God had made David king, but Saul was still in charge.  Saul was still in the position of leadership.

ii.                        But David was the rightful king.

iii.                      Over and over Saul tries to kill David, but David refuses to retaliate.  He leaves it to the Lord.  Over and over David could have killed Saul, but he refuses to touch the “Lord’s anointed.”

iv.                      A great example of meekness--He is an illustration of power under control.

f.        Moses was an example of this:

i.  He was called the meekest person who had ever lived up to that time.

ii.                        Humble before the Lord.

g.      Illustration:

i.  Doug Nichols is Founder and Director of Action International Ministries…

ii.                        It was a long time ago, in the summer of 1966, that Doug was working for Operation Mobilization and was stationed in London during their big annual conference. He was assigned to the clean-up crew. One night at around 12:30 AM he was sweeping the steps at the conference center when an older gentleman approached him and asked if this was where the conference was being held. Doug said that it was, but that just about everyone had already gone to bed. This man was dressed very simply and had just a small bag with him. He said that he was attending the conference. Doug replied he would try to find him a place to sleep and led him to a room where about 50 people were bunked down on the floor. The older gentleman had nothing to sleep on, so Doug laid down some padding and a blanket and offered a towel for a pillow. The man said that would be just fine and that he appreciated it very much.

iii.                      Doug asked the man if he had been able to eat dinner. It turns out that he hadn’t eaten since he had been travelling all day. Doug took him to the dining room but it was locked. He soon jimmied the lock and found some cornflakes and milk and bread and jam. As the man ate, the two began to talk. The man said that he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years, where he had a small ministry that served hippies and travelers. He spoke about his work and spoke about some of the people he had seen turn to Christ. When he finished eating, both men turned in for the night.

iv.                      Doug woke up the next morning only to find out that he was in big trouble. The conference leaders came to him and said, “Don’t you know who it was that you put on the floor last night? That’s Francis Schaeffer! He’s the speaker for this conference! We had a whole room set aside for him!”

v.                         Doug had no idea that he was sleeping on the floor next to a celebrity, that he had told a man to sleep on the floor who had a profoundly important ministry. He had no idea that this man had helped shape the Christian church of that day, and really, the church of our day. And Schaeffer never let on. In humility he had accepted his lot and been grateful for it.

vi.                      That’s meekness.  He’s just happy to be there.

h.      Again, there is a logical connection to these beatitudes.

i.  Poverty in spirit, mourning and lament over our sins, and now humility.

ii.                        In a sense Jesus us saying the same thing in three different way.

i.        Meekness has been said to be “power under control.”

i.  And I think that is true and helpful, but more than that it is a person who is comfortable with being a servant.

ii.                        When a person has a correct view of himself, as someone who has been shown mercy, who is impoverished.

iii.                      Such a person is happy to be a servant.

iv.                      When a person sees himself as a servant, he isn’t frustrated that people don’t recognize him, or promote him, or see his giftedness.

v.                         The meek person is a person who forgets himself.  He’s just happy to be along for the ride.

vi.                      He’s just happy to be a servant.

1.      I’m just happy to be here.

2.      I don’t need a place of position of prominence.  I’m content to be a servant.

vii.                    John Bunyan said it well, “He that is down need fear no fall.”

viii.                  Such a person isn’t easily offended, or sensitive.

1.      You can’t really offend a meek person.

2.      Anything you say against him, he agrees with.

3.      The opposite of a meek person is easily offended, very sensitive.

4.      But the meek person is just humbled that God has had mercy on them. 

5.      They don’t need recognition or accolades, they are content to be a servant of all.

ix.                      The meek person is a content person.  That might be the best way to describe it.  They are content.

j.        Illustration:

i.  President Theodore Roosevelt adopted as his foreign policy, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." By that he meant that if the U.S. had a strong military, it could work its will among the nations of the world.  In 1901, Roosevelt elaborated on his philosophy: "If a man continually blusters,…a big stick will not save him from trouble; and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power."

ii.                        Meekness is not weakness. 

iii.                      Jesus isn’t telling us that we are blessed when we are push-overs. 

iv.                      Rather, we don’t need to contest. 

v.                         We don’t need to defend our honor or our name. 

vi.                      We don’t need to respond to criticism.

vii.                    Behind the non-retaliation, is a confidence, strength, and trust, that God will vindicate.  God will act on our behalf.

k.      “Inheriting the earth”

i.  This is even true in the animal world:  Lambs and sparrows are no match for Lions, Tigers, and Eagles.  But look who’s on the endangered species list.  There are lots of lambs and sparrows…

ii.                        Powerful people who are arrogant won’t inherit the earth.

iii.                      Part of the reason that a person can remain meek, and even prefer to be meek, is because he or she knows that promise of the future.

iv.                      She will inherit the earth.

v.                         There is an inheritance that awaits.

vi.                      In another age, we will reign with Christ.

vii.                    We don’t have to stockpile wealth or reputation here. 

viii.                  We don’t need to amass possessions and we don’t need to safeguard our status.

ix.                      We can truly be happy to be humble, because we have a sweet inheritance coming.

x.                         This world is going up in smoke.

V.                       Beatititude #4- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (5:6)

a.       Happy is the person who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

i.  “If this verse is to you one of most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture you can be quite certain you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.” MLJ

b.      What doesn’t it mean?

i.  We don’t hunger and thirst for happiness, we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

ii.                        There is a desire to be rid of sin. A desire to love what God loves and hate what God hates.

iii.                      This is the problem and the reason for our misery.  We don’t love what God loves and hate what God hates.

iv.                      Our problem is that we like sin. 

v.                         Even if we know it’s wrong and bad for us and makes us miserable. 

vi.                      Even if we know that, we also know we like sin.  We default to sin.

c.       It doesn’t mean that we are to seek our own righteousness as a bases for fellowship with God.

i.  He isn’t talking about a forensic righteousness:

ii.                        This is different than what Paul talks about in Romans 1.

iii.                      MLJ, “The Christian should always be a man who knows that his sins are forgiven.  He should not be seeking it, he should know he has it, that he is justified in Christ freely by the grace of God, that he stands righteous at this moment in the presence of his Father.”

iv.                      Nonetheless, some Christians may even proudly proclaim their own righteousness.

1.      “Having spent a considerable amount of time good people, I can understand why Jesus liked to be with Tax Collectors and sinners.”  Mark Twain

d.      But the person who is hungering and thirsting for righteousness is a person who has making efforts and rearranging his life to avoid sin.

i.  If he sins, he hates it to such a degree that he changes things in his life so that he doesn’t do it again.

ii.                        It is a longing to be holy!

iii.                      Darby defined it better than anyone, he said,

1.      “To hunger is not enough; I must be really starving.  When the prodigal son was hungry he went to feed upon the husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father.”

iv.                      The happy person is a person who is starving to getting rid of his sin, and desperate for holiness.  The holy person is the happiest person.

e.       Application:

i.  Do we long to be holy?

ii.                        Do we long to be like the great saints and missionaries who have gone on before us?

iii.                      Do we long to be like Joseph, or Daniel, or Paul, or Hannah, or Mary?

f.        How do we practically starve after righteousness?

i.  We ask ourselves, “What saps our desire for righteousness?”

1.      We avoid the things that deflate my desire for holiness.

2.      There things that are obviously wrong, I am not talking about that?

3.      What are the things that make us dull?

ii.                        What the the things that take away my desire for the Word, for fellowship, for Sunday morning?

1.      What are the things that tale away too much time for the Lord?

2.      Are they games, or apps, of football, or magazines, or shopping?

iii.                      Think of it like appetite:

1.      When I eat snacks before a meal, it takes away my appetite.

2.      The same it true spiritually.

3.      What are the things that take away my appetite?

4.      This is tricky because we don’t want to lay down a lay.

5.      We don’t want to make a list for everyone.

6.      We don’t want to set up a fence of righteousness.

7.      The Christian has an enormous amount of freedom.

8.      But the principle still stands!

iv.                      “Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.” J. Wilbur Chapman

g.      The person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness is willing to make lifestyle changes.

i.  This is a person who has truly repented:

ii.                        What does repentance look like, you ask?  This.

iii.                      If we had time for ourselves and our own amusements, then we also have time for the Lord.

iv.                      They read biographies and they feel ashamed of themselves, and yet they long to be like them.

VI.                    Summary:

a.       Unhappy and cursed is the person who is spiritually rich with no need for they will have no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.

b.      Unhappy and cursed is the person who parties without Christ, because he has numbed himself of his actual need with no lasting, real party to look forward to and no comfort in the meantime.

c.       Unhappy and cursed are the proud, because they are not in touch with the reality of their sin and depravity, and will have no inheritance in the kingdom.

d.      Unhappy and cursed are those who have no appetite for holiness because they make provision for their sinful desire and their apathy is the proof they have never really repented.

e.       What is our reaction to these beatitudes?

i.  Do I find them hard?  Do I find them to be uncomfortable?  Do we long for these beatitudes?  Do we like what the King is saying?  Do we see these statements as overstatements?  Are we happy?  Do we want to be like this?  If not, in the words of MLJ, “I am afraid it just means I am not a Christian.”  “If I don’t want to be like this, then it means I am still dead in my trespasses and sins.”

ii.                        But if I feel like I am unworthy, and at the same time I want to be like that, I am unworthy, but that is my desire and my ambition, then there MUST be new life in me.  I must be regenerated..

VII.                Application:

a.      Repent and make yourself low…by God’s grace!

b.      Are these beatitudes requirements to enter the kingdom or blessings that are cultivated?

i.  If we see these statements as ethical requirements then we have turned this into Law and our effort is required to enter into the kingdom.

ii.                        If we see these statements as blessing that God has placed in us by His grace, then we can appreciate His sovereign work, and seek to cultivate these graces.

iii.                      What I mean is that only God can do this.

1.      The unsaved natural person cannot make himself poor in spirit, mourn for his sin, or be happy to be meek, and starve after righteousness.  This is a work of God.  It is an evidence of grace.  Evidence that God has worked.

2.      Repentance is a gift from God.

3.      Mourning is a gift from God.

4.      Humility and lowliness is a gift from God.

5.      Hungering after righteousness is a gift from God.

6.      These are signs of life in a person.

7.      Evidence of life.  Signs of being born again.

iv.                      We don’t work hard to get these traits to gain God’s approval, rather God’s approval and grace produces these traits.

1.      Our job is to cultivate and work our what God has worked in.

2.      In other words, when a person truly comes to God in repentance and poverty of spirit, broken over their sin.

v.                         Jesus goes after the heart.  He goes after the spirit of a person, not the externals.

c.       Ravi Zacharius was preaching at a university…

i.  “and there was a man had had a doctor friend was wan an agnostic.  She was somewhat of a famous Doctor and very skeptical of anything religious.  In fact she despised religious people.  So this man somehow convinced her to come to the University to hear Ravi give a lecture on the defense of the Christian faith.  She reluctantly attended.  Afterwards, the friend who brought her asked her what she thought and what she said was both telling and insightful. She said, “Very, very powerful, but I wonder what he is like in his private life?

ii.                        What most people are wondering these days, is not whether or not Christianity is true, but whether or not it makes any difference in your private lives?

d.      Living this message is the best means of evangelism!

i.  The world is in desperate need of seeing true Christians.

ii.                        The world does not need a new description of Christianity; the world needs a new demonstration of Christianity.

iii.                      Given the option between an evangelistic crusade, or a real Christian, give me a real Christian who lives the sermon on the Mount.

1.      “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians.  I am never tired of saying that what the true Church needs to do is not organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life.”  MLJ

iv.                      “What my people need, more than anything else, is my own personal holiness.”  Robert Murray McCheyne.

v.                         True Christians make the deepest impression.

vi.                      Reggie Sanchez, who is doing a church plant here in our own chapel on Sunday afternoons, is a brother from Southside Church.  He has shared the gospel and has a ministry to former prostitutes in Denver.  He has taken some of them in, and they live in his home.  That’s genuine Christianity.  And it makes an impression.

vii.                    Unbelievers look at that and say, “wow, what would make a person do such a thing?”

viii.                  We need to commit ourselves to actually practice this!

ix.                      And as we do it, we will become even more poor in spirit, because we realize how from we are from it!

e.       Jesus confronts the heart:

i.  If you listen to this sermon of Jesus, and pat yourself on the back and feel comfortable, then you are just like the Pharisees and are not born again.

ii.                        One of the major purposes of this sermon is to ratchet up sin.  To ratchet up the law.

iii.                      “You have heard it said, do not commit adultery, I say to you, that if you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you have committed adultery.”

f.        One of the results from listening to Jesus, is that it leads us to be poor in spirit.  The expectations of the Law are crushing.

g.      Blessed are those who are crushed!

VIII.             The Gospel.

Related Topics: Christology, Ethics, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Kingdom, Law, Spiritual Life