Lesson 9: The Beatitudes, Part 2 (Matthew 5:7-12)Related Media
I. Intro and Recap:
a. Jesus is describing Kingdom living:
i. He is also describing the Christian person.
ii. This is the disposition and character of a true Christian.
iii. What happens to a Christian as he hears this is he immediately says, “Oh, I want those beatitudes” or “oh, I don’t really have that yet, but I want it.” or “I need more of that.”
iv. So these beatitudes are sort of a test. Jesus is testing people. He is testing the disciples. He is testing the Pharisees.
v. What is your reaction to these statements from Jesus?
1. Does it interest you?
2. Do you long for it?
3. Does it make you uncomfortable?
vi. These beatitudes are evidences of God’s grace, not a checklist to get righteous.
vii. It’s evidence of God’s approval, not a pathway to approval.
viii. These are signs of life, not a means to GET life.
b. Beatitudes (5:1–12)
i. The poor in spirit (5:3)
1. This person, by God’s grace, has realized his spiritual poverty.
2. That he is nothing. He is a worm.
3. “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
a. Luke 18:9-14, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
4. A man who is humble and poor in spirit, is always interested in more poverty of spirit. He isn’t trying to get ride of it, he wants more.
5. Jesus is interested in the heart:
a. He isn’t interested in behavior modification.
b. He is interested in the heart.
c. The true nature of a person.
d. Christianity is fundamentally a change in nature.
e. Becoming a Christian isn’t something we do, it’s something that happens to us and produces results, like these beatitudes.
ii. Those who mourn (5:4)
1. This person is sad about his spiritual life. He laments his sin. He laments his flesh. He is sad about the effects of sin and its destruction.
2. He laments what sin has done to relationships and what it has done in the world.
3. He cries out “O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me!!”
iii. The meek (5:5)
1. This person is humbled. Happy to be a servant.
2. Not easily offended. Not sensitive and always getting hurt. Because he views himself in a low regard.
3. Who I am anyway? I’m just happy to be part of the family of God. I’m just happy to be a servant.
4. Nobody can overly-offend him or hurt him our crush him, because the cross has already done it.
5. The cross of Jesus has said all of those things, and more.
6. The meek person is a person who has come under the weight of the condemnation of the cross, and agrees with its verdict. That Jesus died for sins…MY sins.
7. That takes the swagger out of our step, and makes us humble, and humbled.
iv. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (5:6)
1. This shows the positive side of repentance.
2. What does true repentance look like? It looks like this.
3. A person who has truly repented hungers and thirsts for righteousness.
4. He rearranges his life to not sin and to purse holiness.
5. He makes lifestyle changes. He totally rearranges his life and priorities to seek first God’s kingdom.
6. This is the most clarifying statement of repentance I have ever read.
7. This crystallizes the Christian life for me.
c. Now we will look at the next four Beatitudes.
II. Beatitude #5 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (v. 7)
i. Lit. “merciful, sympathetic, compassionate, pitiful”
b. The merciful person views people in a different way:
i. People have been duped by Satan. He has blinded their minds.
ii. They are spiritually blind. Spiritually deaf. Spiritually dead people walking.
iii. And it’s sad.
iv. In the same way it’s sad to walk through a children’s cancer ward.
v. In the same way it’s sad to walk through Auschwitz or Dachau.
vi. In the same way it’s sad when you see a man on the street in a wheelchair with no legs asking for money.
vii. Our hearts want to help.
viii. Only now we see all people without Christ like that.
1. We see a rich man living in pomp and pleasure, with no need of Christ, and we see him as spiritually dead, miserable.
2. We see all people outside of Christ in a state of condemnation. Slaves of sin. Slaves of hell.
ix. Jesus, when He was hanging on the cross, said, ‘Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
1. They are duped. They blinded. They are under a delusion.
2. The Christian feels pity on them. Wants to relieve their suffering with the gospel of grace.
3. If we never feel pity on the lost we will never try to reach the lost.
4. If we never see their utter need and misery, both now and fast approaching, we will have no interest in evangelism.
5. The key to effective evangelism, is that we feel pity on the lost. We view them differently than we used to view them.
c. The merciful person has been transformed:
i. He’s been changed from an Ebenezer Scrooge into a Jean Valjean.
ii. The Good Samaritan displayed mercy on the injured man. Jesus said he had “mercy.” The whole point of that story is that Jesus, is the Good Samaritan.
d. God is described as merciful:
i. One of the greatest attributes of God is that He is merciful. He pities us.
ii. Ex. 34:6, “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”
e. There is a difference between mercy and grace.
i. Grace is a favor that is given to a person not on the basis of performance. It’s unmerited favor.
ii. Mercy is more related to pity. Wanting to relieve a situation.
iii. Grace looks at sin as a whole, mercy looks more upon the sad consequences of sin and wants to relieve it.
iv. Grace is usually associated with sins.
v. Mercy is usually associated with misery.
f. The opposite of this would be stingy:
1. Maybe you saw this week in the news The Applebee’s receipt, which was posted earlier this week to Reddit, includes handwritten notations referring to an 18 percent tip added to the bill (for groups larger than six). “I give God 10% why do you get 18,” who then scratched out the tip and added a zero in its place. She also wrote the word “Pastor” above her signature.
2. That’s a great example of the opposite of what Jesus is talking about.
3. It’s interesting that people who are generous tippers usually worked as waitresses or waiters.
4. Ask them if it’s nice to receive mercy?
5. If anything we should tip MORE when the service is bad. Because it illustrates the gospel.
ii. The opposite of showing mercy is someone who is exacting.
iii. Who keeps a record of wrongs. Hold’s grudges.
1. They may pride themselves in being great tippers, but they’re bitter with a family member.
iv. Or, they keep a mental note of exchanges.
1. “They gave me a nice gift, but we gave them a nice gift last year, so we are even.”
v. Someone who has been shown mercy, is generous, doesn’t keep a record or a mental balance sheet. They don’t do mental accounting and weigh the balance.
g. Jesus said “You love little because you have been forgiven little.”
i. The Man who didn’t forgive debts:
1. Mat. 17.
i. The good news of the gospel leads to mercy and generosity.
1. Jesus has forgiven your debts.
2. Jesus has dealt with you on the basis of mercy, not works.
3. Jesus did not weigh your good works with your bad. If He had, you wouldn’t be here right now.
i. The promise: “for they shall receive mercy”
i. What does this mean?
1. It doesn’t mean that I only receive mercy and am only forgiven when I forgive others and show mercy.
2. It doesn’t mean that our salvation is contingent on our mercy and forgiveness of people who have hurt us.
3. Then it would be a works-based mercy.
ii. No, it means that a person, by God’s grace, who has truly encountered God’s mercy, and displays that mercy to others, is a walking illustration of God’s mercy.
iii. Jean Valjean showed mercy, because he was shown mercy. (Les Miserables)
iv. It changed him internally.
III. Beatitude #6 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (v. 8)
i. Lit. “clean, innocent, spotless, unalloyed” Purity in heart refers to moral uprightness and not just ritual cleanliness.
b. The Pure in heart have a change on the INSIDE:
i. “pure in HEART”
ii. Jesus is concerned with the heart.
iii. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
iv. The root problem is our heart. It’s desperately wicked.
v. From the heart comes murder, and evil thoughts, adultery, blasphemies, Jesus says.
c. The pure in heart desire more holiness.
i. Holiness is a prerequisite for entering God’s presence.
ii. The pure in heart pass this test, so they will see God and experience intimate fellowship with him.
d. The pure in heart are single-minded:
i. The “pure in heart” exhibit a single-minded devotion to God that stems from the internal cleansing created by following Jesus.
ii. The pure in heart has a single-minded devotion to the glory of God.
1. If it will bring glory to God-she does it.
2. It’s a heart that desires to see Jesus magnified and exalted and praised.”
e. The pure in heart are happy.
i. This is the opposite of what the world thinks.
ii. The worldly person thinks that holiness equals sadness.
iii. “The holy person is the miserable person.” They think.
iv. Jesus says it’s the other way around.
v. “The happiest person is the holiest person.”
vi. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: …to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
vii. The happy person keeps himself from being stained by the world.
viii. She avoids the system of the world which is antichrist.
ix. She is the happiest person of all.
x. George Muller, “one of the greatest blessings in my life was walking with God with a clear conscience.”??
xi. There is a freedom and an lightness that comes from purity.
f. The opposite of this is guilt and a conflicted heart.
i. Someone who is not pure in heart has one foot in the world and one foot in the church.
ii. This is miserable. Taxing. A burden.
g. The promise: “They will see God.”
i. This is true now and will be literally true later.
ii. The Christian can perceive the evidence of God.
iii. They see God in nature. They see His handiwork and His design.
iv. They see him in world history. Sovereign and moving among the nations and its leaders.
v. They see him in their own lives.
vi. They can trace the hand of God, evil in tragedy and pain and suffering.
vii. “In any suffering, or in any other event for that matter, God is doubtless doing many things, perhaps thousands of things, millions of things, even if we can only detect two or three or a handful." D.A. Carson
viii. The pure in heart are constantly seeing God, in a sense.
ix. A day is coming when we will see God face to face.
1. All impurity will be dissolved, and we will see God face to face, no longer dimly through a glass, but clearly.
h. Application: How do we get a clean heart?
i. They feel guilty.
1. Romans 7 Paul says “For I delight in the Law…but there is another law in me.”
2. Here’s the kicker: No one can make their hearts pure:
a. Prov. 20:9, Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?
b. The pure in heart are mourning because they know that they are not totally pure in heart.
c. However, mourning our impure hearts actually leads to a purity of heart.
3. Currently, for the Christian, there is a conflict, a war, a tension.
a. We want to be free from sin, and yet, we delight in sin. There is a tension.
b. We don’t sin because we hate it, we sin because we like it.
4. This duplicity is the opposite of being pure in heart.
5. Unhappy is the person who is divided and has impurity in his heart.
ii. We can try to make ourselves pure…but good luck with that.
iii. You will frustrate yourself and give up. Guaranteed.
iv. If we think this is something we produce, we will end in misery, and we will never see God.
v. The only way this can happen is for God to intervene.
vi. God needs to create a new nature. A new life is needed. Our with the old, in with the new. You must be born again.
vii. If God has done this to you. If you have been born again, then your responsibility is to cultivate this.
viii. Work out what God has worked in.
ix. Make every effort in holiness and purity.
x. Rearrange your life to be pure. All the while realizing that it is God who works in you these qualities. It is always His work.
IV. Beatitude #7 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (v. 9)
i. Lit. “someone who makes peace” someone who actively works to brings peace and reconciliation where there is hostility.
b. First of all, God is a peacemaker.
i. I’m not sure it’s an overstatement to say that we are most like God, when we are making peace.
ii. The story of the Bible is a story of God making and providing peace through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
iii. “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.” Unknown
iv. In fact, Scripture tells us that God is the “God of peace,” and the cross is his paramount peacemaking work!
c. Peacemakers make peace.
i. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” he was not referring to those who merely keep peace. He was referring to those who make peace—those “who end hostilities and bring the quarrelsome together.”
ii. “This beatitude,” explains David Turner, “is not about being a passively peaceful person but about being an active reconciler of people.”
d. The world we live in is a world of murder and war and violence and conflict.
ii. One answer: sin.
iii. Despite what psychologists will tell you, despite what many of the brightest minds will say, the reason the world is the way it is, is because we have sin deep inside our hearts.
1. They will say the problem is economical.
2. The problem is social conditions.
3. The problem is big business.
4. The problem is religion.
5. The problem is education.
iv. Our greatest need, is the need to deal with this sin.
v. There has always been a temptation to deal with the world’s problems in other ways.
1. If we could just get this person elected, then that would solve problems.
2. If we could just pass this legislation, than we could solve the problem.
e. The New Testament calls for all believers to live in peace with one another and with all people:
i. Be at peace with one another. (Mark 9:50)
ii. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Rom. 12:18)
iii. Live in peace [with one another]. (2 Cor. 13:11)
iv. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thess. 5:13)
v. Furthermore, they learned that all believers—not just those in positions of leadership—are called to intentionally and actively pursue peace:
vi. Let us pursue what makes for peace. (Rom. 14:19)
vii. Strive for peace with everyone. (Heb. 12:14)
viii. Let him seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:11)
ix. So flee youthful passions and pursue . . . peace. (2 Tim. 2:22)
x. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. (Col. 3:15)
f. The opposite of peacemaking is criticism and fault-finding.
i. Someone who is divisive:
1. Careless with words.
5. A trouble-maker.
ii. Alex tells the story of visiting a friend’s farm, “I noticed that some of the chickens running around were missing feathers. Some even had open sores on their skin. When I asked the reason for this, the farmer casually replied, “Oh, they like to peck at one another.”
iii. That’s exactly the way some people treat one another: They like to peck at others! They love to find fault, criticize, complain, and condemn. In fact, anyone who has served in a church has encountered petty complainers and faultfinding critics who act more like pecking chickens than Spirit-filled believers.
iv. Faultfinding critics have an amazing ability to gather a flock of contentious complainers, and they can wield fearsome destructive power in a church. They seem to think that they are doing God and the angels a great service by pointing out and criticizing others’ faults.
v. Scripture, however, says otherwise.
1. James admonishes us not to “speak evil against,” or “grumble against one another” (James 4:11; 5:9).
2. Paul warns us not to “pass judgment on one another any longer” (Rom. 14:13).
3. Titus 3:2 instructs us “to speak evil of no one”—believer or nonbeliever. God doesn’t want his Spirit-indwelt children to be known as people who slander, criticize, and bad-mouth others.
vi. If we desire to display Christlike character, we have to control any kind of critical, judgmental, complaining spirit. It’s not from the Holy Spirit. It’s the opposite of a peacemaker.
vii. The World Trade Center in New York City took six long years to build, but it was destroyed in only 90 minutes on September 11, 2001. In a similar way, a local church that has taken a lifetime to build can be devastated in a few months by a sinful firestorm of complaining and quarreling.
viii. Grumbling (or complaining) is not constructive or edifying to the family of God.
ix. Like a contagious disease, grumbling generates conflict, confusion, and unhappiness that quickly spread throughout a church body until all are infected with discontent.
x. J. A. Motyer points out that, “Nowhere does the self-centered heart of man more quickly take control than through the machinery of criticism.”
g. The peacemaker is not concerned with the self-life.
i. The best way to understand this is in terms of understanding the self-life.
ii. The opposite of the peacemaker is the person who is self-focused.
iii. They are concerned with their own rights, their own lives, their own needs, their own feelings.
iv. For instance:
1. In a family, you might have tensions. You might have disagreement. You might have conflict.
2. The reason for conflict is because someone feels he or she is not getting fair treatment. Or their rights are being overlooked.
3. They are concerned about defending their rights, their voice, their opinion.
4. They are zealots for themselves.
5. The reason for family disputes, invariably, is because people feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. Something has happened to THEM, they they don’t like.
a. Something was withheld from THEM.
b. Something was said to THEM.
6. When that attitude of the self-life prevails, the result is conflict and animosity and hurt feelings.
7. A peacemaker looks at what is best for the family.
v. The peacemaker is someone who sees himself as a worm. He is poor in spirit, he has mourned over his sin and laments it, he is happy to be a servant, and now he is freed up to focus on others!
vi. The pathway to becoming a peacemaker starts with being poor in spirit, lamenting yourself and your sin, seeing yourself as a servant, humble and meek.
vii. This is the foundation for becoming a peacemaker, like God.
h. The peacemaker understands all people struggle with sin.
i. They see themselves as having this tension in themselves, and this gives them compassion on others.
ii. Why is this person such a jerk? Well it’s because he is a waging a war in himself to put the old man down, just like I am trying to do.
iii. “Why did this person have an affair? What a slime ball!” The peacemaker says, “it’s amazing that doesn’t happen more often.”
iv. If someone says something negative and harsh about an unbeliever, the peacemaker gently says, “Well, we are in need of Jesus. They are under the yoke of sin and Satan. Why expect regenerate behavior from unregenerate people?”
i. The peacemaker is wise with words:
i. He is quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”
ii. There are many things he hears, but doesn’t repeat, because it’s not beneficial.
iii. He is always thinking in terms of what will help people, and build up people.
iv. He doesn’t pass along bad reports.
v. He doesn’t gossip because he is concerned with the health of the body.
vi. He doesn’t sow seeds of suspicion and doubt.
j. The peacemaker absorbs the conflict and suffers long (on behalf of others).
i. I am NOT saying there aren’t times when conflict needs to happen. Conflict can be good.
ii. I am talking about the unnecessary conflict.
iii. Peacemakers consider the needs of the group, not their own preferences.
iv. Peacemakers absorb
v. The elders are a personal example of this, for me.
1. We have seven alpha males in one room for two hours a week.
2. These men are not pushovers. These are not week men.
3. And yet, according to the example and teaching of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, there is a humility and a submission one to another. It’s amazing.
4. This goes against the flesh.
5. This goes against the natural tendency of “My way or the highway!”
6. These elders absorb things so you don’t have to.
7. These elders endure sleepless nights so you don’t have to.
8. I have learned a lot about Biblical Christianity because of our elders and our elders meetings.
vi. Examples of peacemaking:
1. “This person really grates on me. Rubs me the wrong way. I’m struggling with this person.”
2. The peacemaker says, “Well, look at all the good he does in this area.” “Look at his family, they love him.” “He is a hard worker. He’s not perfect, none of us are.”
3. That’s peacemaking.
4. We make excuses for one another, in a sense. We recognize the humanity and the struggle with sin that we all have. We make room different personalities and different perspectives.
5. The peacemaker suffers long!
k. Application for LBC:
i. We celebrate 50 years this next month as a church. Sometime this year we will have an official celebration.
ii. Never a split.
iii. You know why? There have been peacemakers here.
iv. Have their been disagreements? Absolutely!
v. Has their been tensions? Absolutely!
vi. Have their been strong emotions of conflict? I am sure!
vii. But peacemakers absorb the tension to keep the peace.
V. Beatitude #8 “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.” (v. 10-12)
a. Happy are those who are persecuted…”
i. He states the last beatitude in verse 10, and then elaborates in the next few verses.
b. The natural progression of the beatitudes:
i. If you a person who is poor in spirit, who laments his sin, is meek like a servant, has rearranged his life to pursue righteousness and holiness, is merciful and pure in heart and is a peacemaker…then you will discover opposition. You will be persecuted.
c. Jesus is saying that opposition and persecution are a normal part of the Christian life.
i. Stott, “Since all the beatitudes describe what every Christian disciple is intended to be, we conclude that the condition of being despised and rejected, slandered and persecuted, is as much a normal mark of Christian discipleship as being pure in heart or merciful. Every Christian is to be a peacemaker, and every Christian is to expect opposition.”
ii. 2 Tim. 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
d. Here is how this works:
i. If you pursue righteousness, you will face opposition.
ii. 1 pet. 4:4, “With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.”
iii. For instance, If you follow Jesus’ to hunger and thirst after righteousness, then you will seek to practice self-control and sexual purity.
iv. People who do not value those things, will see your life as a condemnation on their own behavior.
v. They will either press you to conform, or belittle you, or call you holier than thou, or call you legalist.
vi. A holy life, a life of the Beatitudes, tends to convict people of their own unrighteousness.
e. Opposition should be “for righteousness sake.”
i. Not tactless behavior, but righteous behavior.
ii. 1 Pet. 4:14, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
iii. As in v. 10, the only persecution that is blessed is that which stems from allegiance to Jesus and living in conformity with his standards.
f. Persecution should be “because of Jesus”
i. It’s no longer trendy to follow Jesus in any meaningful way.
ii. Biblical Christianity is seen as exclusive, sexist, fill in the blank.
g. Forms of persecution:
i. #1- Name calling and belittling:
1. “You Christians are cannibals!” (re: Lord’s Supper)
2. “You misogynists Christians don’t allow women pastors!”
3. “You bigoted Christians don’t accept homosexuality as normative!”
4. West Wing TV show example
a. This week someone sent me a clip of the TV show West Wing.
b. This is a fictitious show about the President of the United States and in this particular scene he is in some kind of a press conference he goes on a tangent about how Christians believe that homosexuals should be stoned and Christians are hypocrites. It was a powerful diatribe and monologue and the end result left Christians looking arrogant, power-hungry, hypocritical, and stupid.
c. And of course the example of the Christian used fits that bill pretty good.
d. It’s a mockery of righteousness.
e. A mockery of Jesus and what He taught.
ii. #2- Physical abuse and death.
1. We don’t see this in America, but all over the world we hear of stories of Christians.
2. Haddon Robinson tells the story,
a. Several years ago, I helped lead a tour in Turkey of the churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. On the last night, we were in the city of Izmir and were having dinner at one of its nicer hotels. Our guide had been in the United States at least ten years and spoke English flawlessly. As we were eating, he began to ask us questions, serious questions about the Christian faith. I said to him, "If you're a follower of Islam, and if you died tonight, would you be sure you could stand in the presence of Allah?" "No," he replied. "There are five things that Muslims should do. I've done two out of five."
b. Then we began to talk about the gospel. We talked about it long into the night, and before we left I said to him, "Look, you're serious about our conversation, I know. It would not be faithful of me not to ask you if right now you'd like to put your trust and confidence in Jesus Christ." He said to me, "You don't know what you're asking me. Do you know what would happen if I did that? If I announced it to anybody, my wife would leave me. My family would disown me. My boss would fire me. I may want to leave to go back to the United States, and the government would not give me an exit visa. I'd give up everything. You go back home tomorrow. I would not expect you would support me, and I would starve to death in my own culture."
h. There is a reward:
i. “Rejoice and be glad…”
1. The words describe intense happiness and joy. Like something that brings you so much joy you jump, scream, skip, cry tears of joy.
ii. Two reasons to rejoice:
1. #1- You have a great reward in heaven.
a. This world is not all there is.
b. Things are about to get REALLY good for the Christian.
2. #2- You’re in good company.
a. That’s what happened to the prophets.
a. What do you get when you get a person poor in spirit, broken over their sin, happy to be a servant, starving after righteousness, committed to holiness, merciful, pure and holy in heart, who is making peace…then that person will be persecuted.
b. We are to be absolutely different from the world.
c. Let us give ourselves to the application and implementation of these beatitudes.
d. Let’s us cultivate a mercy and a pity on people.
e. Let us cultivate a purity and single-mindedness of heart.
f. Let’s us cultivate a peacemaking, peacekeeping attitude and absorb discomfort for the sakes of our church and our families and our marriages.
g. Let’s us cultivate a healthy understanding and expectation of persecution and opposition because we are Christians.
h. Blessed are such people.
VII. The Gospel.