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Christ's Portrait of a Blessed Man

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 1, 2023 6:00 pm

Christ's Portrait of a Blessed Man

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 1, 2023 6:00 pm

How did Jesus Himself describe a blessed man- Pastor Bob La Tour preaches from a portion of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.

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If you would, turn once again in your Bibles to Matthew, Chapter 4. Matthew, Chapter 4. And I want to read Matthew 4, 23 through 25.

Our text is in Chapter 5, as I said, but just to put our setting in view again. Starting with Verse 23, and Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then his fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought them all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics and paralytics, and he healed them. Great multitudes followed him from Galilee and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. John Piper makes this statement. One way to restate Matthew 4, 23 would be to say that Jesus made it his ministry to preach the coming kingdom, teach the way of salvation, demonstrate the purpose and power of the kingdom by healing the sick.

Let me read that again. One way to restate Matthew 4, 23 would be to say that Jesus made it his ministry to preach the coming kingdom, teach the way of the kingdom, and demonstrate the purpose and power of the kingdom by healing the sick. If we were to turn over to Mark 1, 14, and 15, you'd read the following Jesus is preaching, and it says, Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom, saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.

Repent and believe in the gospel. You all realize that gospel means good news. The kingdom is at hand because the king has come.

He dwells within the hearts of believers. And Jesus said in motion, all that will bring about his supreme reign over the transformed universe and in the hearts of the redeemed. Now this brings us to our text.

We're going to look at three things today, two rather brief, and then the application in verses 3 through 10. The first thing we'll look at is the audience. Secondly, the message introduced. And finally, the message inspected.

First of all, the audience. I want to just read Matthew 5, 1 and 2. And seeing the multitudes, he went up on a mountain, and when he was seated, his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Jesus focused first and foremost on teaching his disciples. However, in verse 1, we see that he had the multitudes in mind. As I taught this in Disciples Serve in Christ, really every service focuses on the saints.

You are here to be equipped to better serve the Lord. And yet there may be some here today who are not Christians, and the message can still apply to you. Jesus focused on his disciples, but he had the multitude in mind. Now who was this multitude? What constituted this multitude?

Well, some were there undoubtedly to be healed. Zealots among them wanted to hear an inspirational message of deliverance from Roman domination. They thought he'd be the leader that would help them overthrow Rome. The corrupt ruling class of Jews did not long for a messiah.

Why? Because Rome had given them limited power, and power corrupts. This mindset of this elite explains why the chief priests declared in John 19-15, we have no king but Caesar.

What a statement. We have no king but Caesar. To be sure, many wondered if this man who performed miracles and cast out demons was indeed the messiah, the anointed one, who would usher in a physical kingdom.

That's where they made the mistake. Who would usher in a physical kingdom. The message Jesus preached of meekness, mercy, and peacemaking must have shocked them.

Think about that for a moment. You're there, hundreds if not thousands, to hear this preacher, this new rabbi, and you're anticipating a pregame speech, and instead he speaks of peacemaking and meekness and mercy. That leads us to Christ's message introduced. John Piper again states Jesus begins by pronouncing a certain kind of person fortunate.

We call these pronouncements beatitudes, and that word beatitude comes from the Latin word happiness or blessedness. So he's describing a happy person from a biblical or eternal worldview. I'm going to read a quote from David Martin Lloyd-Jones. It's very critical for us to get, all of us. David Martin Lloyd-Jones in his commentary said, read the Beatitudes, and there you have a description of what every Christian is meant to be.

I want to read that first sentence again. Read the Beatitudes, and there you have a description of what every Christian is meant to be. It's not merely the description of some exceptional Christians. Not only are they meant for all Christians, but of necessity, therefore all Christians must manifest all of them. Every one of us need to have these Beatitudes evident in our lives. Each one of them is a holy disposition, which is produced by grace alone and the operation of the Holy Spirit upon us.

Now get this, folks. These are not natural qualities. Nobody by birth and by nature is like this, and I would draw your attention to the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a work of God's grace in our lives, and yet we can develop that. I call your attention to 2 Peter chapter 1, one of my favorite passages where it says add your faith virtue into virtue knowledge, etc. Those are gifts of the Spirit only Christians possess, and yet we are to develop those things, we're to grow. And we do not do this sequentially like Lincoln Logs or blocks.

It's more like a symphony where you have the various parts all together blending to come up with one beautiful sound. Now when we get into the message inspected, we are going to look at each of these, but keep in mind there's a progression in this. I think it'll become very obvious to us.

Now this next thing is very critical. David Martin Lloyd-Jones says if you don't get this, you will not be able to fully understand the Beatitudes. In verses 3 through 10, we have what theologians call the already and the not yet. The already and the not yet. There are two assurances, and you find them in verse 3 and verse 10, that are already given in the present. Notice verse 3 and verse 10, you'll see the same statement. There's is the kingdom of heaven.

That's the already. There's is the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord starts and ends with it because it's His way of saying the first thing you have to realize about yourself, you belong to a different kingdom. You belong to a different kingdom. You're not only different in essence, you've been made a new creation in Christ, but you're living in two absolutely different worlds.

What's a way that we can say that that might be easier to understand? I'm a pilgrim in this world. I'm a citizen of heaven. As a Christian, I'm just passing through in this world.

I'm in this world, but I'm not of this world. And that's what he means when he says we live in two absolutely different worlds, the already and the not yet. Now, in verses 4 through 9, there are six promises that are in the future and therefore not yet realized as indicated by these words. You'll see the words shall be in each of those verses. The full blessings of the kingdom have to wait for the age to come.

I want to give you an illustration of the already and not yet that I think will be very helpful. And I might've shared this before, but you have a woman who is pregnant and is eagerly expecting a baby, which in the providence of God, she shall deliver and shall experience the joy of being a mother. Between the already of being pregnant and the not yet of motherhood, there are the trials that accompany the process of child bearing. And this is important.

These trials or processes are unique to each individual woman. What has that got to do with our study? Well, spiritually speaking, the process of sanctification begins with salvation, the already. I am saved. It culminates with glorification, not yet.

The not yet, I'm not glorified, obviously. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3 18, but we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord. The circumstances of our transformation are unique to each believer.

We're all different. And yet if you are truly in Christ, you are being transformed. We are now becoming who we will one day be. And the ultimate beloved is we are going to be who we will be for eternity and a glorified body. That's something to say Amen about.

The already and the not yet. Now for the meat of the message, we want to inspect what Jesus is telling us in his description. Jesus states what is characteristic of the blessed and the corresponding blessing.

Now this is going to be important for us to keep our minds wrapped around. Character traits that we will look at in these verses are given to us in salvation, and it's our responsibility to develop them. We don't automatically become poor in spirit or mournful or meek. These are given to us by God's grace at salvation.

The corresponding blessing is God's response. Let me just read verse three and then we'll begin. Blessed of the poor in spirit.

Why? For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We are made poor in spirit at salvation. And we develop that attitude of being poor in spirit and sanctification and God is going to reward us for that. Let's begin with this verse three.

Hope my voice holds up. And let me say this to you. I'm going to break each of these down with two statements, the character trait and the corresponding blessing. The character trait given at salvation, the corresponding blessing. A. W. Pink states poverty of spirit is the opposite of that haughty, self-assertive, self-sufficient disposition which the world so much admires and praises. To the poor in spirit, beloved, is to realize I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing and have need of all things.

Let me say that again. I have nothing. I am nothing. I can do nothing.

I have need of all things. He goes on to say it is a consciousness of my emptiness. It's a result of the spirit's work within. That's a profound thought.

It is a consciousness of my emptiness. Now, perhaps a very elementary illustration. I believe that whenever you handle the word of God, it should be done reverently, accurately, prayerfully. Anyone who's spoken at Beacon knows speaking on Sunday morning is not like speaking on Sunday night, is not like speaking on Wednesday night, is not like teaching a Sunday school class. There's something about this because we all have in our minds that this is the worship service.

Thank you, student. This is the worship service. But reality is this. Whether I'm speaking to the number of people that are here right now or to one person, I will give an account of how I handle the word of God. Now, what does that got to do with this morning? Whether I'm talking to one person or all of you, I have to be conscious that I have nothing, am nothing, can do nothing, and have need of all things. In particular, the power of the Holy Spirit to share this word accurately and humbly. The poor in spirit, evidence, humility, and dependency upon God. Alan Cairns in his commentary says, Jesus started this sermon on this note for a very good reason. He was preaching to Jews, and the Jews were notorious for their pride in their religion and their nation and their law and all its ceremonies.

Ultimately, theirs was pride in their own works of self-righteousness, and Jesus set out to puncture their pride. And I want to make something clear here. Poor in spirit is not the suppression of personality. Poor in spirit is not the suppression of personality. What do I mean by that? Poor in spirit involves character and what we are at the heart level. Personality, beloved, adds unique color to the black and white outline of these character traits.

That makes sense? We all, by God's grace, are given this gift of poverty of spirit. We realize, apart from God's grace, we as natural men cannot understand and do not care to understand the things of God. And yet, the way that I color in that black line drawing of poverty of spirit is unique to me.

And each of you can say the same thing. So again, our point, poverty of spirit is not suppression of personality. Now what's the corresponding blessing? Now remember, he says this in verse 3 and verse 10, bookends, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

How could that be? Those poor in spirit have the present assurance that they're a child of the king. And one day, we will reign with Christ. Revelation 1, 5 and 6, to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood and has made us kings and priests, to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So at the close of each of these character traits, I want to ask two questions. Under poverty of spirit, this consciousness that I have nothing, am nothing, can do nothing, and have need of all things from God. Do you humbly acknowledge your complete dependence upon God's grace? Do you humbly acknowledge your complete dependence upon God's grace? Secondly, are you encouraged by the truth that God's unmerited favor has made you a joiner with Christ now and in the kingdom to come?

And beloved, I would submit to you that I'm not going to share anything profound or new, but I am going to share some things today that you might have let become a little old, that you might have started taking for granted. You are desperately, desperately dependent upon God every day. If you don't begin your day in prayer, you are not poor in spirit. If you don't ask God to give you wisdom to think, say, do those things which you ought to do for his glory, you do not have the sense of complete emptiness that we're talking about here. If you do have that poverty of spirit, no matter what the circumstances, you have a sense, God, my dependency is upon you.

You're not going to take me into anything where you will not help me through it and see me through it. Notice verse four, the character trait, bless those who mourn. Kent Hughes states, this is so convicting. Kent Hughes states, the saddest thing in life is not a sorrowing heart, but a heart that is incapable of grief over sin for it's without grace. Can I say that again? A heart that is incapable of grief over sin for it is without grace.

Turn on your DV and it hits you in the face. Hearts that are incapable of grief over sin. He goes on, without poverty of spirit, no one enters the kingdom of God. Likewise, without its emotional counterpart, grief over sin, no one receives the comfort of forgiveness and salvation. Beloved, what he's saying is for Christians, mourning over our sin is essential for our spiritual health. Psalm 51, 17, you're all familiar with that Psalm of David. He said, the sacrifices of God are broken spirit, a broken and a contrary heart.

These, oh God, you will not despise. When speaking of thankfulness, you might've expected him to say a joyful heart or a thankful heart, but instead of that, he says a contrary heart. For the joy of forgiveness does not banish sorrow or contrition for sin. Let me say that again. The joy of forgiveness does not banish sorrow and contrition for sin.

Those are going to continue. We praise God that when we confess our sins, he casts them as far as the East is from the West. And if there's still rain within our hearts, a contrition that we would ever go there in sin, if I can put it that way. And the deeper the sense of sin, the truer the sorrow for it, the more heartfelt also will be the thankfulness for pardon and reconciliation. The tender, humble heart that's broken before God is the best offering.

Can you give an example of that? Paul, one of the greatest, if not the greatest Christian follower of Christ in the New Testament called himself a wretched man and a chief of sinners. That is it personified. He called himself a wretched man that I am, forgiven yes, but so capable of sin. The questions following, blessed are those who mourn. Do you grieve over your sin?

Do you grieve over your sin? Are you comforted by the truth that once confessed God cast them as far as the East is from the West? Psalm 103 12.

What a wonderful, wonderful blessing. As I confess my sins before God, he cast them as far as the East is from the West. Verse five, the character trait blessed are the meek. Blessed are the meek. In his commentary, John Gill says the meek are those who are not easily provoked to anger, who patiently bear and put up with injuries and affronts, who carry themselves courteously and are friendly to all, who have the humblest thoughts of themselves and the best thoughts of others, who do not envy the gifts and graces of other men, who are willing to be instructed and admonished by the humblest of saints. That's it.

That's a catchy one. Who are willing to be instructed and admonished by the humblest of saints. If we're not willing to have that happen, we're prideful. We can have this, I've been saved a lot longer than you do, and you're telling me? That's the opposite of this meek spirit. He goes on, who quietly submit to the will of God in adverse dispensations or circumstances of providence, and they ascribe all they have, all they are, to the grace of God.

That's what it means to be meek. We are humble before the Lord. The corresponding blessing, they shall inherit the earth.

And notice, again, that is future. Jesus is quoting Psalm 3711. He says the meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. William Hendrickson in his commentary says that this shall inherit the earth is an Old Testament promise with a New Testament meaning.

The land of Canaan was a figure of heaven. The most complete fulfillment of the promise is reserved for the future. When at Christ's return in glory, the meek will inherit the new heaven and earth, the rejuvenated universe from which every stain of sin and every remnant of the curse will have been removed and in which righteousness will forever dwell. And folks, I understand that some of this can be deep.

And in our class, I actually have it on the PowerPoint, so like a cow chewing a cud, we can mull this over. But, beloved, this is what it means to be happy in Christ. This is what it means to be happy in Christ, a meekness. We're not easily bent out of shape. We just submit to the fact that God has a providence for our lives, and every one of our steps is ordered by Him. And all things are working together for good.

Why? Because we love God, and we have a call according to His purpose. Two questions under meekness. Do you humbly submit to the providence of God with gratitude for His grace in all circumstances? Do you humbly submit to the providence of God with gratitude for His grace in all circumstances? And the question, do you eagerly anticipate the promised inheritance that awaits you in the new heavens and the new earth? Do you eagerly await the promised inheritance that awaits you in the new heavens and new earth? Again, that goes back to the fact that we are mere pilgrims.

We're mere pilgrims. I grew up in Ticano, New York, 100 miles from Canada, and I've kind of gotten over this a little bit now, but when Jan and I were first married and we'd go back home and get on the Adirondack Northway, anticipation built. Anticipation built. I could see ahead of me mile markers that I anticipated, and there was a joy there. And watch this. I saw things that I'd seen all of my life, ages 1 to 18.

I lived up to 18. I saw things that I'd seen all my life with new eyes, with deeper appreciation. This place really is beautiful. I took it for granted.

And as I was there for a brief time, I'd drink it in. What are we saying? Do you anticipate eagerly the promised inheritance that awaits you in the new heavens and new earth? Notice verse 6. The character trait, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Stephen Alfred says the idea is to long earnestly for or have a strong desire for Christ's righteousness, speaking not of imputation.

I'll come back to that. Speaking not of imputation of his righteousness when one is justified by faith, but of one's progressive growth in righteousness. In other words, in holiness and Christlikeness. That refers to our sanctification.

And I have a diagram that I've used with young people. If we can think of imputed righteousness and a vertical orientation that is given to us by the grace of God. And practical righteousness is how we live out the salvation that he has put in.

And that is what it's referring to here. Not the imputed righteousness that is a gift of God, but the practical righteousness. How we live out that which he has given us. Listen to this verse. And Jesus increased in favor with God and man. In wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man. And Jesus increased in favor with God. How did he do that?

He was perfect. It's the practical living out of his righteous character given to him by God's grace. In Psalm 119 verse 40, David wrote, behold, I long for your precepts. Revive me in your righteousness. Now the corresponding blessing, beloved, is this.

They shall be filled. Psalm 107, 8 and 9. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, for his wonderful works to the children of men.

Look at this. For he satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness. If you do not make a habit of being in the word of God, can you possibly say that you have a longing soul?

If you do not make a habit, and I'm not talking about ritual. I'm talking about setting aside a time to read the very inspired and all sufficient word of God that we need to navigate this wicked culture in which we exist. If we don't have a longing for that, how can we possibly say that we're truly believers?

And we ought to have that. The promise, he satisfies the longing soul. Phil Newton says, in one sense, you are deeply satisfied when you hunger and thirst for Christ's righteousness to be radiantly evident in your life. Yet you're going to keep hungering and thirsting for more.

Does that make sense? There's a sense in which as we get into his word, we are deeply satisfied. Our hunger and our thirst is salved, so to speak, or quenched.

And yet there's that desire for more. Studying each of these Beatitudes and coming up with a lesson for each verse, the hardest thing about it was looking at wonderful commentaries, and like I've explained before, taking the sap of all of this information and breaking it down into the syrup, the potent syrup, if I may, of truth to share. Now, let me tell you something. If you have the idea that this message was just a matter of going back to previous lessons and lifting quotes and putting them in order, you're wrong. This was tough sledding.

I know why. We took the sap and got a lesson. We took the lesson, the syrup, in an effort to get sugar. And what I'm saying is this, Jesus is describing a blessed person. He's taking it all and describing a blessed person in these Beatitudes. Newton goes on to say this, the Christian life is one of knowing something of immediate satisfaction in the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of salvation when we're justified. But it's also an ongoing process in which you continue to hunger and thirst and you continue to find deeper satisfaction till one day you're going to stand completed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ with no more sin, no more temptation, no more desire for sin, only the perfections of Christ clothing you.

That's glorification. And we ought to be saying, folks, hallelujah. Hallelujah. That awaits me.

Two questions. Do you intensely desire above all things to grow in practical righteousness? Not the imputed righteousness, but the practical righteousness that men see, the practical righteousness to which you are a witness to people as they see your life.

Do you intensely desire above all things to grow in practical righteousness? And let me insert between these two questions, I think that will show up most in your speech. People can't see your thoughts, but they hear what you say. And we should be intensely desirous of guarding our tongues.

And you could, that's a message all in itself. Two questions. Do you intensely desire above all things to grow in practical righteousness? The second one, do you have a sense of being filled as you feed upon the word and drink from its satisfying truths that refresh your soul? Do you have a sense of being filled as you feed upon the word and drink from its satisfying truths that refresh your soul? You know, you can get that sense, folks, by reading the word of God, but you can also get that sense of being filled by the music that you sing. When it has a message that is biblical and God-centered and God-honoring, and that painting of the message is framed by a melody that complements it, you can be blessed to the point of filling. You can be blessed to the point of not being able to articulate how you feel.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever sensed that? You just hear a beautiful God-honoring hymn or song, and you are filled.

Not flaky and off the wall, but you're just there beyond words. Thank you, Lord. And that seems so insignificant. Notice verse 7. The character trait, blessed are the merciful. The basic idea of mercy is to give help to the wretched and to relieve the miserable. When you think of mercy, think of miserable. When you think of grace, think of guilt. M&M, G&G, mercy and miserable. Here, the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery, and thus a synonym for mercy is compassion. Leon Morris says, mercy involves debt consciousness. Wait a minute.

What is that? Poverty of spirit. Poverty of spirit. You realize the unending deep mercy that God has shown you.

You're poor in spirit. He goes on to say mercy serves as a constant reminder that we're living under God's mercy and as spiritual paupers, daily in need of his great mercy and only able to call ourselves citizens of heaven because the king has emptied himself of his royal prerogatives and in mercy he's stooped to meet our need to the provision of his life, death, resurrection and the giving of his Holy Spirit. Beloved, mercy known will result in mercy shown. Mercy known will result in mercy shown. How often do we think of how merciful God continues to be daily?

Now here's a warning and this is the only one that I'll give a warning for. James 2 13. Judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What does that mean?

John MacArthur gives us some help in that. He states that a person who shows no mercy and compassion for people in need demonstrates he's never responded to the great mercy of God and as an unredeemed person will receive only strict, unrelieved judgment and eternal hell. If you're not merciful, you don't understand what mercy is.

And I'll give you a quick illustration if I may. Got a phone call the other day from a lady and she basically was asking for a handout and she gave me a story and I'm not, I don't mean to be unkind in saying this, but I've heard a lot. I've heard a lot of them.

This one was a macdaddy. If all that she told me had happened and was happening in her life, it's a miracle she's even alive. I told her that I didn't have the authority to give her a gift because what she wanted was somebody to take a credit card and put gas in her car. I know how that works, you know, and I said I don't have the authority to use a credit card for that but I'll give you, I'll give you something. I'll give you money for gas.

Where are you? She told me over in the parking lot behind us. So I said I'm headed out of here, I'll stop by there. So I came up front and I got one of John's tracks, purple.

Is it the smell of purple? Okay. And I took the track and put whatever money I was going to give her and she explained to me what her car looked like so I drove over there.

I drove over there to find a car that was newer than what I was driving. So I should have said up your nose with a rubber hose. I'm not going to give you that money.

No. The money was in her track. I don't really care if she was playing me because I said Lord all I'm asking is that she read the track. And I told her I said the cheapest place to get gas right around here is probably Sheets.

It's right up the road a mile and a half. So I didn't do this maliciously but I drove down our road, drove around Hardee's because I wanted to see if she was going to come that direction. She did. She was in the left lane so I don't know whether she stopped at Sheets or not. Okay.

I also noticed she had a South Carolina license plate. Now the fact of the matter is folks, I probably got played. But that's okay. Why? Because it's God and I say this as reverently as I know how. This is not the way it ought to be said. But it's God's responsibility to give the increase that he so chooses.

And we all can agree with that. God gives the harvest. All we do is try to show the mercy.

You see two questions. Do you demonstrate that you're merciful by trying to lessen the miseries of others? Do you rest in the confident and the gratitude that God shows mercy to you now and he's going to do so at the judgment seat of Christ if you're a believer. Verse eight very quickly. The character trait blessed are the pure in heart. The pure in heart are without hypocrisy. This means single minded devotion. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones states it's a focus, a single minded devotion. John Blanchard writes the pure in heart are the same on the inside as they are on the outside. They are free, listen to this, they are free from the tyranny of a divided self.

What does he mean by this? He explains. They may not be sinless, but they're sincere. They are the same in private as they are in public. That is the tyranny of a divided self. Wow. That's the pure in heart.

Whatever they are, they try to be at all times. The pure in heart. Psalm 101 verse two, David wrote, I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.

Oh, when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect or complete or morally innocent heart. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. No hypocrisy.

Now, let me say this quickly. The corresponding blessing they shall see God, the already. We can grow in seeing God with the eyes of faith in his word, in nature, in circumstances like Job did. Job 42, 1 through 6, I've seen you, or I've heard of you with the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. That's figurative language. He's basically saying, I understand you more fully, God, and I abhor myself from repenting.

And ashes. We go on. The not yet. We can grow in seeing God now, but the not yet. Jones states the very being of God is so transcendent and eternal that all of our efforts to arrive at an understanding of what it means to see God are doomed at the very outset of failure. Our language is inadequate to speak of God in his glory. All we know is that there's this wonderful, awesome promise in some way or other, the pure in heart shall see God. Somehow we are going to see God who is a spirit. It's a mystery. Do you endeavor to be single-minded in devotion to God? Do you anticipate the wonder of being in his presence?

Two more and we're done. Verse 9, the character trait, blessed are the peacemakers. Remember that many of the Jews expected the Messiah to lead them to victory. They wanted freedom from Rome.

They didn't want peaceful coexistence with Roman domination. What are peacemakers? The Greek, from which peacemakers derive means to bind together that which is broken or divided. The idea is to set at one again so we can expand this definition of peacemaker as those who facilitate the binding together of two divided people. You are a peacemaker.

You're seeking to make reconciliation between two folks. Jesus is not speaking about people with a peaceful disposition. You can have a peaceful disposition and be dormant or, you know, just there. He's talking about people who set out to be a peacemaker. The corresponding blessing, they should be called the sons of God and, beloved, there's no greater privilege than to be called a Christian or a son of God by those who observe our lives. Do you seek to live peaceably with all men and to facilitate peace between others?

Would that be characteristic of you? Do you have a reputation before others as a son of God? And I put this, no, one fundamental way to demonstrate sonship is through believer's baptism. Just an aside, you want to be called a son of God? One fundamental way of doing that before others is to demonstrate you have the peace with God.

You are a child of God. You are publicly identifying with Jesus and his death, burial, and resurrection. And finally, verse 10, the character trait is blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. How is being persecuted for righteousness sake a character trait? Well, the short answer to that is if you're persecuted for righteousness sake, you must be living out practical righteousness that draws contempt from other people. You must be living out your salvation. 2 Timothy 3, 10 and 12, Paul wrote to Timothy, but you've carefully followed my doctrine, paint manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra, which persecutions I endured and out of them all, the Lord delivered me. And here it is, beloved.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. When I coached soccer, I was aware of who the dudes were. I was aware of who the dudes were on the other team. And there were times when we had to nullify the impact of the dudes to beat the team. So I would trade one of my players for the dude. What do you mean? Mark him out of the game.

Make this a 10 on 10 game, a nine on nine game, whatever it has to be. And here's the application I'm giving you. And do people know you are a Christian by your daily interaction with them? Are you persecuted for righteousness sake? Because he says those who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

And we close by adding this. Commentators state that verses 11 and 12 are an expansion of verse 10. And they give insights to the blessing that awaits us.

Look at these verses, starting with verse 11. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you. Say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, be exceedingly glad.

Why? For great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. And beloved, I think you would agree the more godly we are, the greater will be the persecution from others. If you look up Second Corinthians 3, 23 through 33, it catalogs the persecution that Paul endured for the cause of Christ. Remember what we said at the start?

We have two bookends. Verse three, verse 10. The corresponding blessing, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We come back to the kingdom of heaven mentioned in verse three, and added to that promise, there's great ward in heaven. Question, do you endure persecution for righteousness sake, because of a clear testimony of godliness? Like Christ, are you motivated to persevere with an eye toward eternal reward to come?

Listen to this final verse. Hebrews 12, 2. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The question is, are we godly enough to draw the ire of people who do not believe in God, who are hostile to God? By way of application, as we enter a new year, may all of us replacing our faith in the person and work of Christ actively seek to grow in the character traits listed in the Beatitudes. And beloved, to the degree that we do, we can rejoice with a happiness that's already ours in salvation and sanctification, while we anticipate the not yet of our glorification.

Can I read that last sentence? And then we'll pray. To the degree that we seek to grow in these characteristics of a blessed man, we can rejoice with a happiness that is already ours in salvation and sanctification, and at the same time anticipate the not yet of our glorification. Father, I pray that you take what I've shared today and use it in the hearts of each of these dear folk. Lord, help us all who are Christians to desire to be more like Christ. Father, this is the description that Jesus himself has given of a happy person, and it goes contrary not only to the Jews of his day, but it goes contrary to the people of this world. Help us to be willing to be people of conviction, with the courage to be consistent in our living out our faith before men, in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-04 23:19:28 / 2023-01-04 23:34:59 / 16

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