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September 25, 2016 6:00 am
Summit search HIS hands together, we celebrate incredible power of life changed the missive really dark days in our society and our country.
We celebrate the new life in Christ in the heartbeat of this church is seen that displayed through baptism or hope in our prayer has been that we would baptize no less than 50,000 people from Raleigh-Durham over the course of our lifetime and so you can see now here we are decade into it. It would baptize 5200+ and so we are really excited. So to that end, and all 28 of our services this weekend across all nine of our campuses here in the Triangle, you are going to have a chance to be baptized today. If you never have actually come forward and be baptized on the spot. Some of you will decide over the next the next hour that you are going to your whole family to be baptized every time we do this we have whole family to do it and it's amazing.
Baptism is identification with Jesus.
It is the going public of your faith you are declaring to everybody. I have made my decision and I'm ready to go all the way many of you came into this weekend prepared for this because we been talking about it for quite a few weeks now, but others of you are going to decide today on the spot that it's time you say well I don't know. I mean, you know the people that came in were thinking about it. Maybe it's better that I spend a little time preparing for and sometimes that may be true but listen every single baptism in the New Testament. Every single one. Without exception, is spontaneous on the spot so you are in really good company. If you decide today you see for many of you know exactly what God wants you to do. It's not a lack of knowledge is that you just been putting it off for a long time. And today it is time for you to stop putting often tomorrow what God is told you to do today and it's time for you to take bold action well because I didn't. Baptism is identification with Jesus. I want to spend the core of our time together this weekend talking about what many consider to be the core teaching of Jesus is from something called the sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5 you got your Bibles love you take them out and opened that Matthew chapter 5 the core teaching of Jesus. I will warn you as we get into this that this is not a typical message that I would preach before an invitation to be baptized. But this passage really captures what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
And when you get baptized.
This is what you're committing to is the most famous sermon ever given called the sermon on the Mount really would've the first 12 verses of Jesus begins the sermon with a question that everybody in the world at some point has asked themselves the question is this how can I be happy. How can I be happy limit is as you consider that personally.
Are you happy right now that me like this very moment when you're listening to me preach what I mean, like, are you happy in this season of your life.
I thought the one Christian girl who was very active in the church. I would say pretty mature in her faith, he said you know, I'm not sure I've ever been totally happy at any particular season in my it's always felt like it was close like I could almost be happy but that's always been just a little bit beyond my grasp. Google auto complete verifies that this is a very pressing question for our culture. When I typed in. How can I be the very first thing that came up was happy. How can I be sure was number two sure about what I don't know how can I be saved. I wrote a book on that. How can I become a ball out lyrics why that came up on my feet on the sure and then of course how can I be pretty full disclosure, I was actually looking up. How can I be pretty when I stumbled across this but this is sermon research at its most sophisticated ladies and gentlemen I love Google auto complete Catholic is playing family feud every single time that I type in a sentence I can see with the top answers are. Now I know that at this point were a bunch of y'all when I bring up this question. How can I be happy of Montréal roll your eyes inwardly if not outwardly, because you like the pastor wants to talk about being happy. You want to resume a safe Jesus has to something to do with it and told you reminds me of the. The Sunday school teacher who wanted to use squirrels as an example of prepared workers so it her little third grade Sunday school class. He starts lesson my saying okay boys and girls I'm to describe something and when you know what it is.
Once you raise your hand is all the kids, Helene, and she says okay and lives in a tree and it likes to eat acorns and it's gray. It has four paws, so the kids are coming to staring at her and she says it has a bushy tail and all the kids are, looking awkwardly at each other, one to Bali you know shyly raises hand and says it sure sounds like a squirrel but I know the answer has to be Jesus you know is rare in Sunday school, so I know that you think that Jan will be like you can have a relationship with Jesus to be happy but Jesus's answer to the question of happiness is a little more complex than that in the sermon on the Mount is going to give us eight ways to be happy.
You see, Matthew chapter 5 opens up with a string of of Blessed are blessed are the poor in spirit work through this list.
The Greek word for Blessed is the word Macario's, which comes from the word happy. The Greek word for happy is Makar Jews would use the term to describe a person in a state of salvation.
Someone who is experiencing the blessing in the favor of God in their lives to these eight things are descriptions of the same person's heart heart that is blessed by God, a heart that is filled… Happy heart. Now I want to warn you that what Jesus tells you in these 12 verses is upside down from everything else revenue here on this topic. Its revolutionary, but even if you're not a Christian. I think you'll have to admit that these things even though they are counterintuitive at first are going to make a lot of sense. She Jesus was nothing if not logical, and he had a profound understanding of the human spirit, which is why throughout history, many people who have not regarded him as the Messiah has still thought of him as the greatest moral teacher of all time like Thomas Jefferson, Dominic Gandhi Oprah Winfrey today on people that would not say that he is the Messiah, but believe it is a great moral teacher. You'll see that in these 12 verses chapter 5 verse one seen then the crowds, he went up on the mountain now. That's actually a really important detail that gives you the key to understanding the whole passage and will come back to arrive at the very end, when he was up very when he said that his disciples came to him and he opened up his mouth and he taught them saying verse three here's your first one.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, spent a little bit more time on this one because it is the key to understanding all the others in that once you get this one all the others kinda fall into place. Poverty of spirit means that you don't feel like you have sufficient resources in yourself to face life's challenges poverty of spirit has less to do with being monetarily rich or poor, but whether you embrace daily dependence on God for all that you need in children taking notes and I hope you are definitely outright, now poverty of spirit means that you embrace daily dependence on God for all that you need to see in Greek. There are two different terms for poor. The first term is what we typically think of is poor monetarily for those who struggle financially as you can barely afford enough to eat what we call college students today. Okay, I would be your first term. The second was one of my favorite records, toe costs, toe costs, is one of my favorite records because it's onomatopoeia onomatopoeia will work.
Sounds like what it's you know it is what you think. When I say toe costs total is it sound like something I'm splitting toe costs right. The word means someone who is so despised that they literally were spent on in society.
This is the word that Jesus used for poor here.
He's talking about those who are so weak and so outcast that it's like there's got right. This is the poor that Jesus says will inherit the kingdom itself now because these eight things are so corded Jesus teaching at some point in his life and teaching. He's can illustrate every single one through it and expanded story or some kind illustration as we work through these. I'm gonna try to few places the point you to a couple of his parables because even other familiar to you to really help you get the concept of what he say and for this one being poor in spirit. The story that he told that get that cat that encountered it was the story of two men that came into the temple to pray.
One of them. Jesus describes as being the religiously elite. He is the best of the best. He knows the Bible is a leader in the synagogue or the church see he doesn't have any gross immoral sin in his life. Read his Bible every day he comes it comes over the front of the church because that's where he belongs and on as their worshiping. He puts his hands up in Jesus as he begins to pray with himself not in talking to God, to himself he says or elsewhere. Thank you that I'm awesome and I you had are they thinking that you enable me to read my Bible every day and I'm not like all these people level the struggles. Thank you that I don't have any pornography problems. Thank you that are tied better since I've been 10 years old. I thank you for all these great things that he just thinking about how you happy. God has to be to have a son like him on his feet. Jesus, at the very back of the church of the synagogue, the exact opposite of this man, the tax collector who was the worst of the worst in that day, he would been regarded as a lying traitorous. These comes in so overwhelmed with a sense of his guilt that he won't even come any farther than the back of the temple. He lays down his face in a very back corner and all he can say the goddess God be merciful to me a sinner and Jesus said surely I tell you he went home justified right with God and not the religious man because he was and is the religious man came in with a sense of richness about his own righteousness and because of that he left with his own righteousness before God was no righteousness at all, but the tax collector came in poor in the spirit regarding his righteousness and because of that he left with the gift righteousness of God. You see, God only fills empty hands. What keeps you from the righteousness of God is not your moral inability what keeps you from the righteousness of God is your moral ability because that keeps you blinded to your need for grace that Jesus is first and foremost, the first application of that principle is how you get saved you get saved, when you come to the poverty of righteousness, and you say I can't be good enough to earn your favorite when you receive the gift righteousness of Jesus Christ. But it's also a principal that you can apply across the broad spectrum of the Christian life. Also, those who feel capable as parents will not experience the power of God in their parent is not sure. Poor parenting is gonna screw up your kid is your confidence in your good parenting that was gonna scrub your kid because those who have a poverty of spirit regarding their ability as parents. They're the ones who lean into the power of God for their children.
It is, it is your is your feeling capable in your ministry that cut you off in the power of God, is your capability in your relationships or career careers is when we depend on God and not on ourselves for provision in wisdom and power and guidance that we access his gift power because God only fills empty hands reticulum get off and is a little peppy for just a minute okay.
It's why I hate it when I am out of place when a worship leader and number guys or girls do this, but it's why might a place where worship leader opens up a worship service by saying you tape on the guitar but not the house, thereby fail like how do I feel a Philip toe costs when I feel like I feel good.
I feel like I'm in despair. I feel like I got nothing like a beggar to why we can sort out the worship service. Talk about how I feel when we start off talking about the gift, righteousness, and the gift power of Christ is available to me when we start a worship bear and would not would not suppose richness of spirit. You see God make us some a church of people who are poor in our spirit and we know how weak we are so that we can be rich in our reliance on him. Amen, amen. I give him a comment on this a little bit more because it supports all the rest is so pertinent to our site to see. Most of us have spent our entire lives shaped by a culture that is trying to get us to become anything but poor in the spirit we want to be rich in the spirit at least middle-class in the spirit we want to feel like we are sufficient for the task like we got it under control like us and our children don't need to be afraid of going in the future as we got all the internal resources and external resources like money that we need to face the future without fear but see not only does this keep us cut off from God's help.
It also corrupts our spirit he keeps us from being happy. And that's where you start to see the profound wisdom of Jesus is way she liked like the man in the story that Jesus told about the religious man in the tax collector, being rich in ourselves makes us proud and disdainful of others. This religious man despises others that he sees is not as good and not as capable as he is. It's like he can't help it because when you're proud your life becomes an endless cycle of comparison and competition.
CS Lewis talked about how the essence of pride is competition to pride. It does not matter that I'm smart.
It only matters that I'm smarter than you to pride. It does not matter that I'm good-looking, or that I'm athletic.
It only matters if I'm good-looking or better looking and more athletic than you are. For that reason. CS Lewis says people who are proud to never get along pieces. People who have other sins in common.
They can get along, people who like to get drunk like get drunk together people who like to be immoral like to get together brag about the people they been immoral with these about people who are proud always hate each other because their pride is always in conflict with somebody else's pride sows CS Lewis says the quickest way to tell that you have a pride problem is it somebody else's pride bothers you about that you know you're proud someone else's pride ticks you off because they think they're something. And that means that they'll think you're something in you and your son, not them.
So there's something this is good and the way your something is in your little Sumner not to something so they should just shut up and sit out right because it is the essence of his competition. Furthermore, when we become rich in ourselves. We become competitive with men become unbelievably self focused. When the guy in Jesus story, prays to himself, he prays to himself, he admits, because that's all he ever thinks about I been reading this book recently about parenting and talks about how we are raising the most me focus generation in history we are where we reset. We are fashioning kids to grow up to be rich in the spirit and you could just see that reflected in our habits and social media. This will talk about our obsession with selfies every year, every day in our country.
1 million selfies are posted on the Internet.
Cameras used to be used for the taking of pictures of other people in other situations.
Now we turn it around to get that word will conduct face to the were the center of every scene that we are in our part of, but only 36% of those photos they say are enhanced were not even content to be as we all got touch and also look at social media outlets like Twitter are not built on displaying your poverty of spirit their bill on displaying the richness of spirit so you post all the awesome things about your life so that other people admire you and be jealous of you feel the boring stuff that another peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I followed by Ramen noodles, but you don't say that you put up awesome steak dinner that she got that you're not trying to sell your desperation but your surplus even when you pretend to be humble about it, teachers, and I was the greatest it is you never had hashtag humbled by this like you are not humbled by that don't put that hashtag your brother that's what you put up there and we become proud of me. Focus we start to look ridiculous everybody like this man dies. This man knew that other people can hear him parading is talking to himself. He would've felt foolish see every once in a while something happens that reveals to me how self focus. I am masterful like I am one happened not long ago, I've my assistant said hey the Raleigh news and Observer is on the phone for you and I so of course they are you nuts what I thought of going want to talk about at church about talk about my perspective on something and cite your sites like to come by my office and I answer the phone and I said yes and so is her from the news Observer. We see your subscription is about to run out and the 1000 when we knew. I said no I do not. If you don't love me love you so you know school can fully schedule each assuming this is all we can ever think of how his ourselves into the worst effect be rich in yourself is that you become ungrateful because you're always focused on what you think you're entitled to, and all other people aren't giving it to you. You always feel like you deserve more like you're being wronged and that makes you unhappy because see ungrateful people are always unhappy people. It's when you realize that every breath you take every step you take is a gift from God and grace that you begin to become grateful and when you become gratefully become happy because grateful people are happy people to so what we need is not this mighty richness of the spirit goes out and conquers the world.
What we need is the spirit of Gideon who says Lord on the smallest man the small tribe. Why would you choose me the spirit of David, this is who am I that you would choose me and my house to make these kinds of promises to the spirit of Isaiah. This is what was made from a man of unclean lips, and will the midst of a people of unclean lips. Why would you show me your favorite because he not only will that give us access to the power of God and also make us insanely happy.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. They're the ones at the kingdom of God, not to move faster shield adequate slow me down first. Four Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Jesus couldn't say why were morning here, but morning clearly goes along with me for the spirit right when you feel powerless. We can unrighteous you mourn, and so God says I comfort you, but I also think based on Jesus's future teaching that morning here means a willingness to enter the pain of others voluntarily and mourn with them, even when you don't have to.
So here's how I write this one down morning means the race being relationally connected to others. Morning means being relationally connected others, I thought. Here Jesus was famous parable, the gay ever told the good Samaritan unit or they suggest having a Jewish man. As soon as you know I'm good speed of the robbers offered at the side of the road. Later, just a few minutes later another man comes by now that you a religious leader, a man who was kind and good and and should've stopped to help us God, but he had things to do and he just had a date.
It was to practice what I can do it so you get moving. The next guy that comes by. Another good Jewish religious man, this guy thought men that's dangerous is about to stop and help him robbers maybe want to make a backdrop mean it's dangerous. I don't want to get involved Jesus 1/3 man came by little later. This was a Samaritan, a man of a hated race. The societal enemies in this man stops. He has all the same excuses.
The first two gods did.
He was in a hurry.
He was trying to get somewhere.
It certainly was dangerous for him to stop and help that man, but he voluntarily entered into the payment somebody else and took it upon himself and because of that, Jesus says he is blessed you see as we get older. I've noticed this tendency in myself and I would assume that it's also there.
Most of you, the trajectory of our lives is to get more and more isolated. We don't really want to connect with our neighbors as we get older because we don't like we need to we don't want to open up our lives to the needy because being in a small group is, pain. I don't know if I need this on people get in my life and commenting on my marriage because I wasn't like any other people. The average triangle professional, especially man but I would say you both genders average triangle professional banks. Just give me my home just give me my beach home fighting for that one day give me my hobbies my kids menu. One day my grandkids and shut the rest of the world out I don't need that for a happy and fulfilled life.
Jesus that actually you'll never be happy that way. But it is your heart closes in on itself gets darker and more self focused. Never be blessed by God to see you were designed by God designed by God in his image to be happy when you poured yourself off for others by Pastor Jason showed us last week that the circle that God wants us to be in is not a circle facing inward. It's a circle that faces outward so Blessed are those who open their hearts and their homes to take in the pain of others even when they don't need to.
Blessed are the foster parents are taking kids not because they need the money, but because they can't help but enter into the pain of that child and weep with that child. Blessed are those who are involved in ministry here in our church to the homeless orphan. The prisoner, the unwed mother. The high school dropout, not because they naturally belong to those communities because they are morning with them. Blessed are those who sponsor compassion children are take overseas mission trips not because they got a wanderlust or sense of adventure want to get the passport stamp because they can't help but enter into the morning of people who are separated from Jesus and without the basic necessities of life or how about this one. Blessed are you when you identify with the community right here in our city who is not your own.
For example, when you are white, listening to the pain that our black brothers and sisters go through and acknowledging the fear and the struggles of sometimes the unfairness they experience where means when you are black empathizing with what it's like to be a policeman, or in the family of a policeman who puts his or her life on the line and faces backlash for injustices that they had no personal pardon. Blessed are those who mourn voluntarily step out of their community and enter into and mourn with the pain of another community. Not only will you be happier in this life that way you will be eternally confident Jesus said in verse five Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
No meekness means taking the second place, instead of the first place whenever you can, means leveraging your power and your position to serve others and not self. I think here of that. The thing that Jesus did right before he died in the moment leading up to his death. The last thing he does with his disciples as he gets down in his hands and knees and watches the dirtiest part of their body. There, here is the Lord and the master of the universe about going to the most heroic activity ever ever done on earth, and how see what the prelude of that washing the disciples feet missing Paul said the apostle. Because of that act of humility because of that posture, humility, God exalted him and God gave him the name that is above every name, and it's a pattern that Jesus is talking about here that when you humble yourself and you take the second place, not because you're powerless will because you choose the user power. That way, God begins to exalt you not only in the next life and also in this would your thought you would lose minutes in this apparent on you. You'll follow me if you got a if the same mind your third-grader and you pack your third-grader's lunch, go to school today and see at the school site you have the ability to watch them during the lunch hour and you notice your from a distance, or in the notes on the playground with your binoculars.
You probably arrested for doing that. Whatever you can see, it ends at you notice your will third-grader as he takes out of 20 notices another kid who almost always comes to school without his lunch because he so poor that his parents hardly ever cinema food and see you notice your can look at his sandwich and take a sandwich and you break in half and hence have the other kidneys got his five Oreos and he takes three of those warriors given to this get it done devise everything down the middle and because of this to what what he was apparently like at that moment was here to survive in life. This whole capitalist system, folding in on itself right now you don't think that your proud and what happens when your kid gets all well if you're like me, you give away three Oreos I'm giving you 30 right now I can poured out on him right because because there's a sense in which in which I watch them take the second place, and I want to pour out, seek God, our heavenly father. That's what he looks at his children seems missing heaters can even help himself. He sees you taking what you have her leverage and for others it is watches all exalt you is why we always say run here. You can't out give God what your life look like you think if consciously in every area of your life with her with your resources your position your opportunities. You consciously took the second place, instead of the first know what would happen two things one chart to be insanely happy. Number two, you will find God himself got involved to begin to exalt you because that's what Jesus promises right there. Blessed are those he says who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they are the ones to be satisfied. Hunger and thirst for righteousness visa craze fellowship with God above everything else is he Jesus understood. Listen to this role hungry. Our souls are hungry. The reason for that King Solomon explain this because God put eternity in our hearts.
The way Blaise Pascal of the philosophers of said this is God's created the human heart with a gigantic hole in we spent all her life to figure out what goes in that whole. As we draw money we try the approval of others.
We try romantic love. He said none of it works because that hole was in the shape of God himself, and it's the size of eternity.
Go imagine a bucket that was so big that all the water in the Atlantic Ocean.
If you put in that bucket would not even cover the surface area of the bottom of the bucket that bucket is your soul the reason that money can't make you happy is not that you don't have enough of it. It's that it's not designed to do that to begin with. It's not big enough all the money in all the world's not big enough. You created for something greater than money. The reason that relational romantic love is awesome is that is the reason it cannot satisfy your soul as you were created to be satisfied in that kind of love.
You were created to be satisfied in God. So I often tell you lonely, insecure, single people become lonely, insecure, married people by the government lonely to sit in the counseling office because problems like loneliness and insecurity are not cured by the love of another human being there only cured by the eternal love of God.
That's why when you base your identity and and your hope on the approval of people. It doesn't make you happy person to make you this jealous obsessive person could other people can give you what you looking for easy money and romantic love in and and whatever it is that you give your heart to will corrupt your spirit. Not only will you be unsatisfied soul will disintegrate is when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, that not only will you be filled, you will overflow with happiness. Blessed are you when you thirst for God blessed.
Verse seven on the merciful. They're the ones you can receive mercy. The merciful are those who extend forgiveness or generosity to the same measures been extended to them. Also, Jesus said blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. What if God's mercy to you was directly proportionate to the mercy that you showed to your spouse.
What is God's mercy to you was directly proportionate to the mercy you showed to your ex spouse what is God's mercy toward you was directly proportionate to the mercy you showed to your boss, your parents, you fill in the blank. What if God's mercy to you was measured by those things because isn't that exactly what Jesus said now that he's versus because we will problems know why this enemy like Jesus was saying that he didn't forgives my driveway. He was in very well.
That's what sounded like an artist of Rose I, and then I read one of Jesus stories and it dawned on me, and it all came together okay.
I told the story of because it's one of Jesus most important rentals is a story he told about 1 million who owed another man 10,000 talents not told you Thursday 10,000 talents was what was like saying a bazillion dollars.
The kind of debt you can never pay off in a 10,000 lifetimes. So they come for this debt to be repaid in the got an havoc is as a bazillion dollars and so he goes into the courtroom where the God who owns and the money is and he falls on his face and says I don't have money please enter me in prison to be one more week and I'll pay back another two things are ridiculous about this.
Number one people who get in the position where they can loan other people bazillion dollars.
The zillions of dollars cannot get there by being a pushover or a softy) off even today will call them loan puppies were loan bunnies, loan gerbils, we call them loan sharks right because if you don't pay the money badly since amending Brutus to your doorstep with a baseball bat knee brace her kneecaps right so you did the idea that this guys going to be like a little more about it. So the second reason it's ridiculous is, even if he has another week he can earn a bazillion dollars in a week. He can never pay this back when everybody in the courtroom is feeling kind of awkward because you know this but groveling man is there when all of a sudden Jesus. The story takes an unexpected turn and this loan shark fills in emotion, nobody expected to feel that emotion Jesus calls compassion in his lip start to quiver to get a tear in his eye and he says no, no, you don't have another week to pay me back because you don't owe me any more money. As of right now I resolve your entire debt to run the course.
Nobody can believe in releasable the sky.
The sky, are you serious, and he says yes I'm serious. As of right now you are me at time the sky stands often for the first time in his life the way the world is off the shoulders and walks out the courtroom kind of in a daze and there, across the street is another guy in the community who owes him three