You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, when you sneeze, does anybody ever say bless you? Yeah, they say bless you. What do they mean by that? Well, hmm. And what did Jesus mean when he said you're blessed? I'm not exactly sure, but we're going to have to know today because as we start into the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, blessed are those. Yeah. So we'll see it today. More Than Ink.
More Than Ink. Well, good morning, and welcome to our dining room table. I'm Dorothy.
And I'm Jim. We are at the dining room table. We are. Yeah, we definitely are.
With our coffee and hand. Yeah, exactly. So we're talking today about the Sermon on the Mount and about this great crowd that gathered from this huge area from Syria all the way down the eastern side of the sea of the River Jordan and around through Judah and Jerusalem and back up to Galilee. It's a big, big area. Big, big area.
Yeah. Check out your maps like we said last time. We hope you did.
Hope you did. It's a big deal. So the crowds were gathering now. Everywhere Jesus went, crowds gathering.
And this is the first time Matthew records that he actually sat down to teach them, although it had been going on. Yeah. This is where Matthew collects all of the stuff that was said.
Yeah. And it's possible that the stuff that is recorded in this sermon as a single piece is a collection of sermons that he had been giving all along. Well, it dawns on me there's a similar recording in Luke.
In Luke. And most people agree it's not the same occasion, but it's very similar material. So this might have been the forefront of what Jesus taught almost everywhere he went. Anybody who is going out to speak finds themselves saying the same thing over and over again because the audience is changing. Audience changes, but the content's really important.
The message is the same. So today as we start the Sermon on the Mount, this will take us a couple episodes to get through. But we don't want to just get through it.
He starts with a very famous section called the Beatitudes. And let me read for us, I'll just get us into it. Should we read the whole Beatitudes and come back, you think, or do you want to?
I think so, because otherwise we're going to bog down. Let's get a whole view of the whole thing. Let's get the whole thing and then we'll go back. So here we go.
No, that's my favorite thing. Read the whole thing first. Okay, we're in chapter five, we're reading out of ESV, verse one.
Here we go. 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. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 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. And blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And 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. Okay, so one of the first things I do when I'm reading passage of scripture is I look for the repeated idea. Oh.
So. What did you see? Blessed, blessed, blessed. Blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed. So that tells me that's a word we need to know what that means.
I guess we need to have that under our belt. Because we say, oh, you're blessed, but we don't really understand what Jesus is saying here. So it's probably pretty important, because especially if you're reading like a very modern paraphrase, you might have the word happy. Here. Yeah. This word is not happy. It's actually very.
That is a chirpy short selling. It's a complex word that I remember translators saying there really is no perfect equivalent in the English language for one word to describe what this is. Right. But we need to understand there are a couple of different words in the New Testament that are translated as bless. Right.
And this is the less common one. Yeah, that's right. But it has a deeper meaning. Especially when we bless somebody, we say good things about them or to them, and that's the word that eulogaeo, that we get eulogy, right? You say good things about people. Just means good words.
Right. This is a different word altogether. This word has a deeper meaning that has to do with being satisfied because of the character of God. You have the fullness of God inside. It's kind of an internal settledness about great good you received. It's a satisfaction. I mean God. Yes. It's almost unassailable. In fact, circumstances don't seem to change it.
Right. I don't, you know, I even struggle to come up with a couple of words in English that describe it. But when, in a stupid sense, many times you say that person's very centered, which means they're kind of content and there's something unshakable and they're settled inside. And there's a sense of kind of a quiet joy about the fact that I'm in a good place and now I'm in a good place because of the good that God has brought to me. It's like all those things together. It's a very foundational, fundamental statement of you having received the goodness of God.
And it's done something profoundly settling and unassailable in your heart. So let me give you listeners a place where you can find both of these words used together. And it's in Luke 1. It's in the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth. And you remember when Mary comes in and Elizabeth greets her, she says, blessed are you? Well, I'm speaking well to you and of you. But then she later says, and blessed is she who believed that God would do what he said he would do.
That's this second word that's Makkarias. So go and read that and then see what Mary says about being in this condition of blessedness. Okay, that was a lot of stuff on that, but it's really important because that word is repeated more than any other in this passage, blessed, blessed, blessed.
What did Jesus mean? He's not talking about being happy. Nope, he's not talking about being happy. He's talking about being profoundly satisfied in God. That's why English translations that say happy, it's like, yeah, a settled satisfaction in having received an abundance of good from God.
It's kind of hard. Well then we better talk about how can you be poor in spirit or be mourning and be blessed, right? Because these are, wow. And I might point out the obvious too when we're picking on words, blessed are, not blessed shall be. Right. So this is a current benefit. Present condition.
Yeah, yeah. So blessed are the poor in spirit. There's the kingdom of heaven. This for me is I think is my favorite of all of them and I think it's so apropos to be first because this, those who are poor in spirit, it literally means bankrupt. It means beggars. Beggars. It's like you know that you have nothing.
Got nothing. And your only hope is what you'll receive out of grace from someplace else. It's people who are honest about the fact that they are beggarly. That they don't bring anything to the table.
This one, I love this one because this is one that says basically you're qualified for the kingdom of heaven, not qualified, but you're characteristic of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Right. If your first step in this entire process is to say, I got nothing.
I got nothing. Well and this is the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of earth. Yeah, exactly. And we know that the Jews at this time were expecting a Messiah who would bring a kingdom on earth.
Yeah, yeah. And so here's Jesus first thing out of his mouth saying, you know, the kingdom of heaven is different than an earthly kingdom. Yeah, and I've always likened this to, you know, we have these silly ideas about Peter sitting at the Golden Gates and asking you when you come to heaven why should you come into heaven.
Oh, it's so ridiculous. I remember, what I think about here is that if God ever asked me, you know, for what reason do you think I ought to let you into my heaven? I can say, well, because I got nothing and you gave me all that I have. So it's this, it's the first characteristic and I'll say it like this, I like this list because it's kind of a description of the citizens of the kingdom of God, the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
Yeah, I would agree. And the first aspect that starts you on the road is to realize that I have nothing. I have nothing. And you know, when you look at people who in life traffic into just stupid areas of trying to find satisfaction and get to the end of it, they find out it's lied to them and they're bereft of any benefit. You know, I'm thinking, you know, drug addicts and people who just get into the worst kind of stuff and realize that life is much less after going through all these things. And they say in the end of it, I've got nothing, I'm bereft, I have zero at all. And you think about that kind of hopelessness. That's why I like this because those who have no hope have nothing to hang the future on at all.
They have no hope at all. And they're down on the ground. And they say, God, as they lift their hands up, I've got nothing. And what can you give me?
And it's really a wonderful statement of, of humility of where you really at. You're not going to heaven saying this is what I got, God, you're not going there saying this is what I have. You're going to heaven to God saying this is what I don't have.
I don't have anything. And that leads us into the next one, because blessed are those who mourn, I got nothing before you, Father, and it grieves me, I mourn it. But there's this promise of comfort if that is our condition. And we know we are spiritually in total poverty. And it grieves us because we know that there's no way we can get into the kingdom under our own steam. Right. There's comfort.
Right. And, and, you know, we grieve over death, and the presence of sin in our lives leads to that kind of death today and in forever. And so there's much we mourn about, we look at ourselves and say, man, I mourn about, I mourn about the death that's come to my life because of my sin. And there's, you know, there's nothing you can do about it. Death itself, when you have grief and you mourn over death is something you can't, you can't stop it. It happens.
Everybody dies. But what he says right here is that when you realize that kind of loss, you and you mourn that loss, you will be comforted, that it will be reversed in the end. Yeah.
It will be reversed only because God is the one who reverses it. And that's what leads us into the next one where he says, blessed are the meek. Let me make another comment about, about the, the mourning really quick, because it made me think of Isaiah 53, which is a very clear prophecy about the coming of Messiah Jesus, because it says he was despised and rejected by man, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He understands the impact of profound life loss because of sin. Yeah.
He gets that. And, and then Paul also mentioned in second Corinthians seven, you know, godly grief produces repentance. So when you understand that death, that death is the result of sin, the wages of sin is death, and then you grieve over that, God will come and comfort you. And through that repentance change your outlook.
Yeah. So again, it's another statement of, of great profound loss, just like, just like pouring spirit. Okay, you're going to say in verse five, meek. Well, I was just thinking about, we know when we run across the word meek, we don't use that word in its proper understanding, because we think of somebody who's chinless and spineless and kind of mealy mouth, but that's not what this word means. It means it's an attitude towards God that accepts his dealings with us as good, that receives, relies wholly on God, not on self.
It's another way of saying it would be a gentleness or a mildness of spirit that does not resist God. Right. Right.
And act, and actively depends on God. Right. I, when I look at this word, I always think of it the opposite from a taker in life is your receiver from God. If you have a dependence to receive what God gives and only what he gives, you don't resort to taking and snatching things.
Yeah. It's not a taker. And I say that that way because there's also an undercurrent in the word, it's one of my favorite words about the fact that this person is capable of taking, they're strong enough to take, but they're not, so it's like a strength under control.
It's a decision not to be a taker, but to be content in what God gives. And that's why this word is also used to describe Jesus. Exactly. Who was meek before his accusers.
Yeah, exactly. Because he was trusting in God, not in his own strength. So this is a characteristic that is primarily expressed toward God.
It is. And has a huge undercurrent of dependence on God. Yeah, a dependence on God.
Hence the blessedness. Yeah. Right.
The satisfaction in God. Yeah. And they shall inherit the earth. Oh. Wow.
Well, now we're talking about, we're talking about the kingdom. Yeah. Yeah.
But it comes after the spiritual reckoning. Yeah. Huh. Yeah. That's interesting.
Chew on that for a while. Well, yeah. That's very interesting. There's so much here we can meditate on. Yeah. Well, and you know, when I say that the meek are the opposite of the takers in that particular sense, if you look around yourself and you see things that the rich and the powerful have that you'd like to take, you know, you want and you want to take to yourself, all the things of this earth, there's some great blessings here.
There's some great things here. And you could be here and deliberately, powerfully with your strength, try and take all those things for yourself. Right.
And so you can be a receiver. You can be a meek kind of person in between that says, I'm content with what God gives me. Well, and if we're talking about the kingdom, which Jesus is going to be talking about in great detail.
Great detail. The kingdom of God is not seized. It's not seized.
It is received. Exactly. And that's just a, it's a fundamental foundation biblically is that we, as we are dependent on God, we are receivers of what he decides to give us, not takers of what we want to have.
And yet we don't come up short. Well, he has already decided to give us the kingdom, right? As actually, Jesus is going to say that your father has already determined to give you the kingdom. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, we got to press on. Verse six, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.
Oh, another one of my favorites. Okay. So what is righteousness?
Because Jews were all about seizing righteousness by obedience to the law. Right. Right. Right.
But he says, now, are you really hungry and thirsty for the real character of God? Yeah. Yeah. Right.
Because everybody would have said that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were professionally righteous. Yeah. Right.
But... In some sense of righteousness. External obedience to the law. Right.
Paul even says, as far as the law measured it, I was blameless. Right. That's right.
But... But that's not what we're talking about. No, we're talking about the characteristics of God.
That set me thinking about Micah 6-8. Right. Oh. It's a complete statement of what God expects of us in terms of righteousness, where he says, what does the Lord require of you but to do this? To do justice.
Right. To do what is just. To love kindness or mercy. To love loving kindness.
And to walk humbly with your God. Well, that's what we're talking about here. Yeah.
Right. We're talking about the righteousness of God. We're gonna see in the next one mercy. We're gonna see in the one after that pure in heart.
Grace makers, those who walk with God like God. Yeah. Yeah.
We're satisfied in him. And in one interaction with Jesus, he responded back, he says, well, there's only one that's good. Right. That's God. So when we talk about this righteousness here, we're talking about the very nature and character of God.
Right. As being all goodness. And there's things that happen in normal human life that we see or we hear about that they're just touching and beautiful and good. And he's talking about this kind of thing, but on such a larger scale than just what we can see around us. And I like how he puts it. It's not just people who love righteousness.
No. It's people who hunger and thirst. Hunger and thirst. Those are internal things.
They're internal appetites that just persist and keep going and keep going. So there's an attitude about our love for the beauty of what good is as reflecting God's character that we say, I love that and I want more of that and I want more of that and I want more of that. Yeah. And I don't wanna just do that.
I wanna be that. Right. Right. Right.
Yeah. And so the way he voices this, he voices it in a lifelong pursuit. A lifelong pursuit.
Have I made myself perfect? No, but I gotta tell you, I love goodness. I love when I see it in my life or I see it in other people's life.
It reflects the very nature and heart of God himself. I just love it. I want more of that.
You know? In me. I want more of that in me.
In me. Yeah. That's what we're talking about. God cares for that, but we can't achieve it on our own. So he says, that's okay, you will be satisfied.
This appetite for what the character and nature of the goodness of God's heart, you will be satisfied. Wow, that's just, that's exciting. Wow. So he really is tickling their curiosity there to how do we get this satisfied. Yeah.
You'll be satisfied. Yeah. Oh yeah. We should probably push on.
Oh, we really have to. So he goes from here to say, blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. So what's mercy? What is mercy? Right.
My typical explanation is not receiving what you deserve. I'm working on that, okay, yes, that's very short. Yeah, that's short. In fact, that's the judicial kind of definition of mercy. Well it has to do also with the relief of suffering.
It does. Yeah. Right? The relief of burdens. If I am like God, then I will be interested in relieving the suffering of those who suffer.
Yeah. And so Jesus is saying, blessed, you're full of God when you are merciful and you will experience not only the mercy of God, but be able to show His mercy to others. And this is a very, how do I put it, a reciprocal idea.
I mean the people who show. It's relational. It's very relational. The people who show mercy are the people who've experienced it from others. Right.
And that's what he's saying right here too. But in my experience, people who are merciful, they get it because they have been the beneficiaries of someone else's mercy. Right. And Jesus Himself talks about this on a number of occasions, like those guys who make loans for a little amount and then they go beat someone up because they've been relieved of the burden of a gigantic loan and yet they go beat other people up for small amounts. Okay, so it's very possible that this is connected to forgiveness. Yes. Because people who forgive are people who understand what it means to be forgiven. Right.
That their debt is so great they can't pay it. The only escape is to simply forgive it. Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
Should we move on? Yeah. Yeah. That's a good one. I just want to linger over each of these.
I know. We could do a whole conversation on each one of these. They're all just little jewels. What a great description of the heart of the citizens of heaven. It's not the impossibility of achieving this on your own, but are you hungry for these things? Do you recognize your fundamental need for these things?
Are these the things that you pursue and hunger for? And that you don't see around you. Yeah, right, right. And they're very characteristic of the nature of God. In a sense, he's saying that citizens of heaven are people who hunger for the heart of God Himself. Yeah. Okay, so blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Oh, no. Who's pure in heart? No one is pure in heart, right?
No. That set me thinking. I looked up pure in heart to see where else it shows up, and there's just a handful of places, right? But the one that really attracted my attention was Psalm 24, verses three and four. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord, and who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, and here's what it is, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood or sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of His salvation. Do you want one thing and one thing only? Yes. Right. It's the one thing idea. Right. And because purity here is always, it's applied like when you purify metals. Right. Nothing there that shouldn't be.
You want to take all the impurities out. There's only one thing. One thing. On your left. And what he's saying here is the heart that has the one thing, and what is that one thing?
We just mentioned it. It's the pursuit of the heart of God Himself. The pursuit of God. So if that's your one thing, you'll see God. You're gonna get it. I know.
It's really great. And the Lord said, if you seek Me with your whole heart, you will find Me. That's right. I will be found by you. This is not only a period, it's the one thing, the one pursuit, but it's deliberately the exclusion of all the other pursuits of life, all the other things that deceive us into saying life will come from that. He says, if that's not part of your heart, if your one heart's one desire, undivided desire, is God, you'll find Him. Yeah.
You need to push on. Blessed are the peacemakers, oh, for they shall be called sons of God. Okay, so a son of is someone who has the characteristics of.
Same characteristics as. Their father. Right, right. So what's a peacemaker? It's not just someone who appeases someone else. And it's not someone who's just at peace.
Oh, who just says, okay, I'm just not gonna say anything, so I won't ripple the water. Right. So a peacemaker is one who steps in and makes peace. Makes peace.
By participating in something. Repairs relationships. Yes. Yeah. So Ephesians 2, 14 says, he himself is our peace.
Yes. So, ah, blessed, full of God, are those who are peacemakers. They're gonna be recognized as sons of God, characteristic of their father. Because the son of God, Jesus, was one who came to make peace between mankind and God, to repair that relationship. Yeah, and Paul says we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's another good thing to kind of look up if you have a way of doing it in the Bible, is the phrase peace with God. That's, I mean, that's God's job in bringing Jesus, is to repair the relationship that was broken by sin, and to bring us together. Bring peace.
Yeah. So this last section I kind of lumped together, verses 10 and 11, it's about the reaction we'll have in the world. If these previous seven things are characteristic of our hearts, you're not gonna fit here. These previous seven things are characteristics of what a citizen of heaven looks like, and increasingly, according to verses 10 and 11, you'll realize you're not citizens of this place anymore, because they're not gonna treat you well. Because a heart that's after these things is gonna work its way out in life, and people are gonna recognize that.
Yeah, they'll recognize it, and they're really not gonna like it. Because Jesus perfectly embodied these previous seven things. So that's why, in my list, when I look at the Beatitudes, I take the first seven, which is a godly number, and say that's a heart characteristic that's like God's heart. And then your reaction in verse 10 and 11 is you're not gonna fit here. You're gonna increasingly understand that this heart of God that's been replicated in you through His Spirit is not gonna be welcomed here.
It's gonna be antagonistic to people who hate that kind of thing. They hate the heart of God, and they'll hate you because of that. So He says in verse nine, they're gonna persecute you for righteousness' sake.
That's what all these things were. Verse 10. Verse 10. I'm sorry, verse 10.
For righteousness' sake. And so they're gonna hate you for that. And then not only that, they're gonna hate you on behalf of the fact that Jesus Himself also embodied that.
But however, that's not bad news. You are still blessed. You still have a deep-seated, unshakable joy about being on the good end of God's giving of good in your life, even when everyone else rejects you.
It's kind of... I look at these last two verses as an unveiling of the fact that you know what, I am decreasingly a citizen of this place. I don't fit here. And I can tell from this persecution, and I am increasingly a citizen of heaven. And that's what this persecution's telling me. I'm blessed.
It's telling me that I'm part of that place, not this place. I'm blessed. I am full of the characteristics of God, because I want what He wants. My heart is after Him. I love what He loves. That's my one thing. My one thing. That's my hunger and my thirst. That's my one thing. This is such a short use of words for such profound descriptions of who the followers of Jesus, who the citizens of heaven are, based on their hearts. That's the thing. Jesus makes this connection here and says, these things are gonna happen.
They're gonna feel this way about you because of me, because you've been identified with me, the Son of God. And isn't that fascinating? And none of these things are necessarily antagonistic or bad. I mean, they're good things. But they're fundamentally opposed to the way the world works. You would think that this world would welcome people like this, but it doesn't.
It doesn't. In fact, at the final judgment in Matthew 25, the King will say to those on His right, Come you who are blessed by my Father. And here it is right here.
He blesses us now and into eternity because we hunger after the heart of God Himself. Well we're at a time again. Well, we're gonna launch into the rest of the Sermon on the Mount as we come back in chapter five.
And this is just the very rich start of it all. So we're glad you're with us. Come back and join us. This is prime territory. I'm Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And this is More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, morethanink.org. And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself, and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Here we go. Let's leave it alone. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
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