Kingdom People

January 14, 2024 | Brandon Cooper

The sermon summarizes Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, focusing on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. Jesus describes the character of those in God’s kingdom – the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness. Living this way leads to inward humility, outward holiness, and enduring hardship for righteousness.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Well, good morning church. Gonna go ahead grab your Bibles, you can open up to Matthew chapter five. As we begin our series this morning on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew five we’ll be in verses one to 12. As you are turning there, our lives are marked by a series of entries, we’re kind of often asked the question or asking ourselves the question, what does it take to get into fill in the blank, you know, the college that I want to go to, or some exclusive club or maybe it is a sports team that we’re trying to make or a career or trying to enter into and, you know, firm we want to work for whatever it may be. And and when we have these these entry points, it’s always a question of qualifications, or do I have the skills that I need? Do I have the know how or the degree? Do I have chemistry with other team members, the character that’s required, the connections, whatever it might be? In these moments, we’re usually trying to prove how good we are, that we’re good enough to picture the job interview. That’s kind of the moment we’re talking about here, where you’re trying to say, Yes, I’m the right person for this job. Here’s why you should hire me. Now, imagine that you’re in that job interview, and they’re kind of walking through what they’re looking for in this person, and you’re there across the table from them. And you and you say, No, it’s not me. You shouldn’t hire me. I am. I am not up to snuff. Just as you’ve gone through this, it is clear, I am not good enough. Thank you for your time. Sorry for wasting yours, you know, all that kind of stuff. That would be kind of impressive humility. That’s not usually how these things go. And yet, that’s exactly what we get when we come to the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. Except that it’s not the candidates answer. It’s the job description itself. It’s like there’s this want add in scripture that says, you know, seeking people who just aren’t good enough. People who know they’re not up to snuff, and they can’t do it. That’s, that’s what we’re after here. So this is the first week in our series on what is unquestionably the most famous sermon in the history of the world. It is called the Sermon on the Mount. Why is that? Well, let’s just dive in those first two verses, it kind of gives us the introduction to it, you’ll see it here. Now, when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain side, there it is Sermon on the Mount, right, and sat down, his disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them. So what’s happening here, crowds have begun to follow Jesus, because what we saw last week, at the end of Matthew chapter four, he’s healing people he’s teaching, he’s teaching with authority. And so there’s a buzz about him, crowds are coming. And so Jesus just kind of lays it out early. Here’s what I’m teaching, he sits down to teach, you’ll notice that that’s how they taught back then. So roles were almost exactly reversed. If you were in a synagogue or something like that, the rabbi would sit down, everybody else would remain standing. I liked that I could go much longer if I were sitting, so I’m thinking we might switch it back. So it’s this sign of authority. As he’s teaching, you’ll notice that he’s addressing his disciples. But here, we’re not talking about the 12 only, in fact, he hasn’t selected the 12 yet. We’re just talking about his followers in general. So the group of people who are curious about who he is what he’s teaching, and what does he teach, he begins with a series of blessings. If you were to look at the rest of our passenger, if you read it in preparation for today, you know, it starts with Blessed are the blessed are the blessed that are the ones why they’re called the Beatitudes, by the way just comes to us from the Latin would begin with Bharati. That’s how you say blessed in Latin. So raises a question immediately, you know, what exactly does the word blessed mean? It’s a word we say a lot, and generally have no idea what it is we’re talking about. It is related to the word for happy. So the word that’s used, here’s how you would say happy in Greek. But it’s much deeper than that. I think it helps us where to look back into Hebrew thought, where we find God blessing us. And that’s normally how we think of it. But then we also bless God. David famously says, Bless the Lord, oh my soul. So how is it that we can bless God Exactly. To bless is to express approval. And so that’s a very unequal blessing. Then, of course, God bestowing his approval on us. That’s a pretty big deal. We’re just acknowledging his worth that is self evident in the ways that Isaiah learned in the passage Kyle referenced for us earlier, so it has to do with approval. Now you can imagine there is no higher blessing than God’s right everyone else’s opinion pales in comparison to what God thinks of us, it can be hard to remember that but of course it is true. So it may be that your dad is disappointed with you that a spouse has had enough of you that your kids don’t think that much of you, your boss is ready to fire you. If the Lord thinks this of you, that is ultimately what matters. And so this is the big question that we’re asking as we come through the Beatitudes. How do we live blessed lives? Especially when we remember that we’re talking about our father, capital, if you can picture a dad smiling at his kid, you know, what makes dad smile? When you see his kid excelling, you know, I coach see the soccer team, for example, they’ll be times where, you know, she’s doing what I taught her and it works right you know, like, she’s, she’s playing as a team. Now, that kind of stuff. She gets the assist, and you’re, you’re excited on the sideline, good, good. This is what we were working on what would cause God to smile upon us? That’s the question Jesus answers as he begins his sermon. And he gives us this picture of a true disciple. What does it mean to be a member of the kingdom of God to be Kingdom people and I gotta say one more thing before we dive in and that’s that he does not give us eight different character traits here. Like he’s talking about eight different groups of people, you know, bless it, are you guys over here who are poor in spirit and over in the back who are mourning and and bless it are you who are personal he’s describing one person. And so there’s this logical structure, they actually follow one after another. And that’s what we’re going to want to see as we go here, if you’ve got the first one, the rest should come inevitably. And so we’re gonna follow that structure. I’m gonna instead of going eight, because eight is too many points for a sermon, we’re gonna go in three movements, which I think we’ll see pretty clearly as we go through these Beatitudes, asking the question, What would God cause God to smile on so the first movement then is an inward humbleness from verses three to six, the first four Beatitudes, let me read them for us now. He said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessing are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. So Jesus starts at the beginning, again, thinking logically, but temporarily as well, this is the starting point for all of the other ones. And what is it it’s that we are poor in spirit, just a phrase that makes sense to us? Probably only because we’ve heard it so many times. And otherwise, it’s a little bit odd. There’s some spiritual reality that is akin to financial hardship. We’re talking about a spiritual bankruptcy here. What exactly does that mean? We’ll turn to the Old Testament for some help. We see in Proverbs 16, verse 19, for example, this word poor kind of talking about, is it spiritual? Or is it financial?
Writer Proverbs says better to be lonely in spirit, you know, it’s almost a quote there, right? But it’d be lonely in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. So it’s interesting, because lowly in spirits, in contrast to the proud and so you get this kind of there’s humility, as opposed to pride, but then also oppression as opposed to sharing plunder. So there’s that financial element there as well. That word lowly, by the way, is often translated poor in the Old Testament, in contrast with the exploitative, rich, and so there’s this this connection, right? Because distress will often make us poor in spirit, when we go through some hardship when there is that recognition of need. That’s what makes us poor in spirit, one of the reasons why the poor frequently respond to the gospel much faster than the wealthy because well go, I don’t need Jesus, I got a 401 K, which is one of the challenges of course, we face in this part of the world as we do evangelize. But this attitude, this, this, the sense of spiritual need, or poverty, it’s an attitude that God looks on with favor. Here’s Isaiah 66, verse two, these are the ones I look on with favor, the Lord says those who are humble and lowly, poor and contrite in spirit and who tremble at my word, where there is that acknowledgment of spiritual poverty and need, there’s no pride. There’s no sense of desert. The question that this attitude asks and you see it throughout Scripture as who am I? Who am I? That the Lord would look on me with favor for Mary says when the angel Gabriel comes, are they Gideon, when the angel of the Lord comes to him and says, you’re going to lead, you know, the people of Israel out of bondage to Midian? And what does he say? You got the wrong guy? There’s no way. Right? Like I belong to the weakest clan, in all of Israel, and I’m the lowest in my father’s household. Or David, this is right after God covenants with David to say, you’re going to have someone at one of your descendants on your throne forever. And David’s response is, who am I, SOVEREIGN LORD? And what is my family? That you have brought me this far? In Second Samuel chapter seven? Who am I? Why? Why would you choose me? Have you seen me? Do you know who I am? That should be our attitude as well. We should be looking up to the heavens routinely going, Lord, why would you have saved me? That does not make any sense. There’s nothing in me to deserve it. In fact, any good that you find in the Lord is good, you have put there, it did not come from my self. And Jesus says it’s to these kinds of people that the kingdom of heaven belongs. Now we got to ask another big question here. So what exactly do we mean by kingdom? Especially because Kingdom really is the theme of the sermon on the mount and Matthew’s Gospel as a whole? So it’s a it’s a big question. Now, kingdom, we could be thinking about God’s universal reign, God is King, He is sovereign over everything, nothing happens, that does not happen according to His sovereign will. But that wouldn’t be that interesting, then because you don’t really get to enter a kingdom like that you’re just living in it right? All of us are all the time. So it must not be that it’s more a joyful acknowledgment of that reality, like a willing submission to it. If not just Yes, God is sovereign, but I’m so glad God is sovereign, I want to be following him. And so it’s this joyful acknowledgement that leads to life, spiritual life, the abundant life that Jesus speaks, we see this when we look at a couple of verses in Mark chapter nine, I’ll throw them up on the screen for them. So you can see the parallel here. So Jesus is saying, you know, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out hand causes you to sin, cut it off, why it’s better for you to enter life, crippled than have to feet and be thrown into hell. And the next time around, he says, It’s better for you to enter not life, but the kingdom of God with one eye, then have two eyes and be thrown into hell. So you can see there’s this parallel between life and the kingdom of God. So those who belong to the kingdom are those who have passed from spiritual death to the abundance of life that Jesus promises. And notice to that it’s in the present tense, theirs is the kingdom of heaven, that belongs to us now, fully and finally know we’re waiting for that, of course, we’re in that already not yet stage, but we really belong to the kingdom, we really are experiencing the newness of life even now. Notice that the blessing follows logically. Blessed are the poor in spirit. And Jesus doesn’t just give them something nice, you know, bless it, or the poor in spirit, you know, sorry that you’re born spirit. But don’t worry gonna have lots of friends at least, where there’s no connection between it, no, because you’re poor in spirit, you’re going to inherit the riches of the kingdom, that’s where your wealth will come from. And that’ll be true for all eight. And that’s why I mentioned it now. We’re gonna see the, the blessing always follows. So again, we’re thinking of our dads smiling on us, you know, and so your picture the dad, the kid, you know, falls, skins her knee or something like that, and you go, you know, Blessed are you who skinned your knee, because we’re gonna go get ice cream now, so you feel better. That’s not what we’re getting. We’re getting Blessed are you who skinned your knee because you’re going to run in the kingdom of heaven, where it just it comes, they go, they go together. And that’s what we’ll see. As we keep going. One more thing to notice. And then I promise we’ll move on to the next beatitude you guys are like this is a six hour sermon. That’s why should be sitting, I told you this already. Notice verse 10, very different blessings, blessings are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. It’s the same blessing. And that’s really interesting when the first one and the last one are the same that forms what’s known as an inclusive do want to make sure you get your big word for the day, which is just a you know, fancy way of saying bookends. Think of the word inclusive, right. So it’s book ends, when you get book ends in biblical thought like this. What they’re trying to say is everything between the book ends is related to that theme. So Jesus is telling us here quite clearly, everything I’m saying is about the Kingdom of God. What does it mean to be Kingdom people with that? Let’s press on. Alright, so we’re spiritually poor. We know that we’re spiritually poor, we’re bankrupt. We can’t do this on our own because of our sin and our rebellion. Will that come? causes us to mourn busted are those who mourn for they will be comforted. So when we say more, and here we’re not talking about someone who’s experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one, that may be a part of it, but that’s not the the center of it. It’s the fact that our sin pains us are grieving that we are not living according to God’s standards. It is the attitude of Isaiah when he sees God on the throne. Kyle read for us already, you know, he looks up at his god who is a Holy, holy, holy, and he says, Woe to me. I’m ruined. I’m a man of unclean lips, and I live among the people of unclean lips. And yet I have seen this Holy God, I am in trouble. That’s the attitude where it’s not just you know, the poor in spirit is to say, I know I don’t deserve this. But the morning is to be overwhelmed with sorrow at how far we fall short of the glory of God. I know I don’t deserve this and it it grieves me. Chuck Colson illustrates this, in one of his books, tells the story of a Holocaust survivor Yeah, he’ll diner who is testifying at the trial of a Nazi guard one of the concentration camps when the officers who work there named Adolf Eichmann in 1961. When he comes into the courtroom, and he sees Eichmann for the first time, he starts sobbing uncontrollably, and actually ends up passing out he faints as a result of this and, and he’s interviewed later by Mike Wallace kind of going into what was happening in that moment, and, and we probably have some guesses. I’m just the trauma of it all flooding back to you would be enough for you to sob and pass out was that what was happening? And diner says no, it wasn’t that at all. So when I saw him, I realized that he wasn’t this godlike officer. He was just an ordinary man. And he says this, he says, I was afraid about myself. I saw I’m capable of this. I’m exactly like him. The takeaway is that Aikman isn’t all of us. That’s what diner was saying. Eichmann is an all of us. And that’s a horrifying truth, but it captures this beatitude. Exactly. to mourn the sin and darkness that is there in our hearts.
Of course, we mourn, not just the sin inside of us, but also it’s terrible effects in the world as well. I mean, this attitude is very much the, the attitude of lament, we find throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms, that the one who mourns is the one who’s crying out how long Lord, how long, we’re gonna have to look on the injustice and the evil and just what we see here, but the good news, the good news is that comfort is coming. And here, it’s future tense, they will be comforted. Ultimately, we know what this looks like Revelation, chapter 21, and the New Jerusalem, when there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sin, no more deaths. But even now, we experienced some of that comfort because the king has already come. It’s interesting that the root word for comfort here is parakeet, and he’s one of the few Greek words you may actually know if you’ve been in the church for some time, because it’s a word for the Spirit of God. Jesus says, another comforter is coming the word there’s is parakeet. And that’s key because the Spirit comforts us even now, in our sin. Perhaps you’ve experienced this, I know I have many times where you sin again. Maybe it’s in an area where you’ve been working on this new thing I’m not going to send here anymore. You said I’m done with porn, and then you look again, or I’m not gonna blow up with my kids not gonna blow up with my spouse, and then you blow up again, or I wasn’t gonna say that to my colleague, and I’ve said it again. And you just think yourself, God must have had enough of me. Right? He’s just, he’s probably done at this point, I get the riches of grace. But surely I’m out at this point. And it’s right then when you realize that the Spirit is the one who seals us. He is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession who belong to God. And that spirit, Paul tells us causes our hearts to cry out, Abba. Father, is the Spirit who reminds us that we’ve been adopted, and that we are beloved of God. And that comforts us when we mess up again. Now, all of this, of course, will lead to a meekness in our personality. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. This is closely related to this mournful humility that we’re talking about. I think the difference here, the progression here is that the first two were kind of talking about our vision of ourself. And then this third one, we get our vision of our self in relation to others. That’s the change that just happen including in our relation to God. I love the way Martyn Lloyd Jones puts it, he says the man who is truly Meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of and treat him as well as they do. And that’s the amazement we’re talking about here. If I’m this wretched, but this loved, we’ll think about what that would do to you. It’d be really tough to be selfish at that point, and to live a self interested life, because the opposite of meekness is always advancing yourself or defending yourself. We want the opposite. So Moses, number 12, verse three tells us that Moses is the meekest man who ever lived up to that point. And that’s expressed in his unwillingness to defend himself. When he gets accused over and over and over again, number 12. It happens to be his siblings who are like, we changed your diaper, okay, you’re not all that high and mighty. Maybe we should get to share leadership with you. That’s where Miriam and Aaron are at that point. But happens later, Cora comes up. Why are you the one who thinks you’re in charge of all this every time Moses doesn’t say, I’ll tell you why. He falls on his face before the people and before the Lord and says, Lord, You’ve judged between us. That’s the meekness that we’re talking about. Now, meekness rhymes with weakness. It’s not the same thing. Not at all, is Jesus was meek, and Jesus was not weak. And no one’s stronger who ever lived. It doesn’t mean indecisive or easily bullied. No, it’s a strength that manifests in humility. There’s that’s usually how that works. The example I would think of as somebody who’s being bullied, but is confident in who they are. So picture, you know, somebody, the coach has already said, You know what, I’m making you the new team captain, because I’ve seen what you do and who you are. Next team meeting. I’m gonna announce it and whatnot. Well, before that next team meeting, the current team captain just lays into this guy and is like, see, you know, you’re not playing anymore. We’re not passing the ball to you. Because I can see that you’re not on board and you just be able to take it wouldn’t you be like, That’s cool. I know what the coach thinks of me. I’m good. I don’t need to stand up for myself here because of the confidence that the strength comes from the awareness of the blessing. The blessing here, of course, is that we will inherit the earth future tense again, spirit guarantees it, as we’ve already talked about. Now, this promise is a quote really, from Psalm 37, verse 11. So the psalmist is looking around and sees the wicked but knows the wicked are going to be removed from the earth pretty soon, but the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. There’s that confidence. There’s where it comes from. But this is a true competence ever seen one of those movies? Where usually it’s like a bank robbery movie, where inexplicably We’re rooting for the bank robbers there a lot of movies like that, aren’t there? Well, so they’re being pursued by the cops, and we’re against the cops again, I’m not sure why. And so what do they do, they’ll open one of the bags of money, and like, throw it out the back of the truck, because what happens then the crowd comes together, they don’t want to grab the money. And so they you know, they’re able to get away because the cops can’t get through and stuff. Now what so what happens? Everybody is grabbing all the money, right? As fast as they can. They’re elbowing the people around them. Well, if you’re there, and you’re a multi gazillionaire, what do you not need to do? Elbow, people, get down your hands and knees and try and grab as much money as possible. That’s what we’re talking about. Where are you going? It’s fine. You can go first, you can grab this because I have everything I need. already. I am rich, the glory of Christ. And finally, that mournful poverty, that humility before others leads us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and hear the word righteousness and not talking about the righteousness that we’re given in Christ. Like God declares us righteous. But then what happens is he keeps working in us so that we demonstrate that righteousness. That’s what we’re talking about here. The righteousness that is a life lived in conformity with God’s will. But what happens is we’re aware of that lack, we’re aware of the fact that we’re not living up to that standard. So we’re, we’re desperate to fill that lack in our lives. And I love this because it’s phrased in terms that are not optional. Or this is not an optional add on. This is not when you’re at the car dealership, and you’re going should i Spring for seat warmers? The answer was yes, by the way, you should have of course today, but this is not like this is the engine like without which the car doesn’t go. And when he says hunger and thirst, we’re talking about food and water, those are necessary for life. The trouble with this image, though, is that very few of us in this room have ever really known hunger or thirst. So maybe a little bit maybe you’ve fasted for some time, three, four or five days even and you’ve found out that ache in your belly for sure, or you’ve been thirsty, like you’re going on a hike and you didn’t bring enough water and the way home is dicey kind of thing, you’re thirsty. But the difference is, you know, you could break that fast whenever you needed to. You know, as soon as you get back to the car, there’s water bottle, there’s a drinking fountain or something like that. The image that Jesus given us, here’s one of scarcity. We don’t know, I’ve seen it a few times in my life. When on the mission field in particular, there was one time where we were distributing food in the community over his tremendous need. And you know, how moms are with their kids? Do anything for them, right? Like, that’s the whole joke about the airplanes, you know, you gotta put your oxygen mask on first, because they know what moms will do otherwise, just it doesn’t matter about me. Just make sure the kids got it right. So know get yours first, then help the kid that’s what you’d expect, right? If you’re hungry, the moms gonna be the one ripping off the chunks of her own bread to give it I’ve seen moms snatch food from their kids. That’s the hunger of scarcity. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. Your hunger and thirst for righteousness. He’s talking about a desperation. I need this. I need this. So for what do you truly hunger? You know, the phrase you are what you eat? That’s what Jesus is saying here like you are what you hunger for? Is it approval? Is it money? Is it love, you know, some relationship that make you feel full? This is an invitation to self examination, do you want this most more than anything else in your life? The blessing is of course, feasting. That’s the blessing you will be filled. But the metaphor is apt. Because what happens when you eat a good meal,
you get hungry the next day still. In fact, if you drink water the way you’re supposed to, it actually increases your natural thirst gets it back up to the level where it should be. That’s what’s been, the more we hunger and thirst, the more we’re filled, which means we’re going to hunger and thirst even more until we are finally and fully like Jesus has been the longest section. But the movement is clear, I hope at least like we are dealing with the inner self. The life that God smiles on is one marked by inward humbleness, not somebody who’s faking it or worse thinking that they’ve made it can do it have done it already know this is a life of someone who’s coming empty, to be filled someone who’s coming on the basis of grace and grace alone. But that takes us to a second movement. How do we live blessed lives what is the life that God would smile upon movement to his outward holiness, and we keep reading verses seven to nine. Bless it are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. So you can see the shift here from what we think of ourselves to how we live with others. The first one is that we are merciful, makes sense. In light of those first four Beatitudes, we needed mercy ourselves. And so now we show it to others. Now, the danger with this beatitude is that it could sound legalistic at first, Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. So if you want to be shown mercy, my God, you better earn it by showing mercy to other people. But that’s not what we have here at all. And in part because we’re dealing with mercy and not grace. The words are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean slightly different things. Grace is love for the undeserving. But mercy is love for the miserable in all sorts of different scenarios. So what Jesus is saying is we should be the sorts of people who see misery and respond. I’ve heard mercy described as compassion in action. And that’s exactly what Jesus says to Luke chapter 10. He tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. And how does that parable and Jesus asked the guy who was a neighbor to this man who was you know, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road? And the guy responds, he can’t say the Samaritan because he’s racist, frankly. But what does he say? He says, The one who had mercy on him, the one who saw and responded, that’s mercy, compassion in action. And that’s what we should be. Of course, this includes our attitude towards sinners. Our fleshly response to people who sin and are suffering as a result is good, you got what you deserved, right? You’re reaping what you sowed. But of course, the attitude of a Christian is Yeah, but I sold that also. And God gave me what I did not deserve. So I should probably have that attitude. The attitude of Ephesians four where Paul says, Forgive one another, just as in Christ Jesus, God forgave you. Now that then helps us understand the blessing that follows cuz it’s not legalism, but it’s the simple fact that God can’t show mercy to one who isn’t merciful, because they’re not aware that they need it. They have no desire for mercy because they don’t think they required to da Carson says it like this. He can’t picture himself as miserable and wretched. So how shall God have mercy on him? Just like the parable, the Pharisee, and the tax collector, and the Pharisee, stands before God and prays and doesn’t ask for mercy. The Pharisee stands up there and says, Lord, thank You that I’m awesome. Because look at all the boxes I checked. And then the tax collector gets up and says, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. That’s what’s being discussed here. Now, receiving mercy then transforms us inwardly. In fact, the whole shift from this poverty of spirit to the riches of grace that we inherit, transforms as the deepest parts of who we are transforms our desires so that we become pure in heart. Those are the tricky one because we’ve narrowed the word pure, to mean just sexual purity. And that’s not what the word means at all. What is the opposite of pure? It’s adulterated is the opposite of it, right? So to be pure, is to be unadulterated to be pure is to be unmixed, you’ve got pure gold, it means there’s no alloys sprinkled in if you’ve got pure water, that’s what you’re hoping for, because it means you don’t have anything else in there or to have pure feelings. You know, that’s where we get adultery, all that stuff from because that’s our mixed feelings toward a spouse. So Soren Kierkegaard says it like this. He’s exactly right. What Jesus is saying here purity of heart is to will one thing. This is in contrast to what Scripture speaks of regularly, when it says that we are double minded people. James warns us against being double minded don’t want I want gotta also kind of want the world can I have both at the same time that’s mixed, right? That’s not pure. And instead were to be wholehearted, single minded, Psalm 86, verse 11. The Psalm was cries out, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. That’s what we’re talking about here. Of course, this is a searching question to ask ourselves and an impossible standard in this life, which takes us back to being poor in spirit and all of that. So the question though, is where is my love divided? And what am I doing about again, picture the the spouse who’s got a roving eye or a roving heart? The guy who looks around and says, I wish my wife looked more like that, or the, the gal who looks around and says, wish my husband were more sensitive, like that guy or something like that? Where do we do that to God? We’re saying, Yes, I like the Lord. I also like stuff. Achievement, title, status, whatever it might be. That’s what we’re looking for. Now, how does this relate to the blessing of divine vision? Kyle’s helped us out with this already read from First John three, here it is, again, we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. I mean, this looks like as a commentary on this verse, doesn’t it? If you read the Pulse this week, you know what I said the rest of New Testament is pretty much just extended commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. Here you go proof. Okay. So what are we talking about here? Exactly. Once we see Jesus fully once we have that divine vision, we will be like, and we will be fully sanctified at last. But the desire to see him produces the desire to purify ourselves, or it’s like we’re pulling the future back into the present. I know what I’ll be like when I see him and I really want to see him. So why don’t I start to be like that. Now? What I most longed for that vision of God the unmixed heart. Well, that’s gonna lead to an unmixed life, which culminates in us seeing him and being like he is, of course, this also transforms how we treat others to and so we become peace makers. Now that doesn’t say peacekeepers doesn’t say peaceful, it says peace makers. That is a difference. Of course, we’re the sorts of people who strive to create peace in an often hostile world. Now, Jesus is the chief Peacemaker. That is what he did when he came, we call him the Prince of Peace. In fact, what does Jesus do? He reconciles us to God, that’s Ephesians two, one to 10 for example, but he also reconciles us to one another that’s Ephesians 211 and following, where he breaks down the dividing wall of hostility mix of the two groups, in that case, Jews and Gentiles will pick whatever groups you want one new humanity and we follow in his footsteps. We want to make peace like that. A lot of ways being a peacemaker just means loving Well, we’re the sorts of people who believe the best about others instead of assuming the worst. We listen instead of getting ready to interject our own opinions, we seek to understand we serve, we forgive. I was just interesting to my mind, how many of the qualifications for an elder in the church to be an elder is just to be an exemplary Christian that’s what the qualifications are, how many of them are about peace says over and over again we’re gonna be peaceable if we’re gonna be elder not pug nations everybody’s favorite word in Scripture, not, you know, ready to punch kind of thing that used to be even tempered, not hot tempered all these things. Were, were supposed to be like Jesus, and that that makes sense of the blessing. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God, literally sons of God. Why? Because in Hebrew thought, sons partake of their father’s character, only God’s unique to Hebrew thought. So if you see Callum running around the church, even if you don’t know who he is, there’s a good chance you will look at him and go, that’s probably Brandon’s kid. Why? Because he partakes of my character, we look a lot alike. There’s a family resemblance. But there’s a family resemblance and more than just like nose shape or something. There’s a family resemblance in personality, family resemblance, even vocation, which is why Jesus when He speaks to the Pharisees says, your father is the devil. And they’re like, Excuse me, is that the devil is a murderer and a liar and you’re lying in order to murder me. So you’re following in your father’s footsteps. There’s
a family resemblance that I see. Well, if we’re peacemakers that means we’re like Jesus, which means we look like God’s kids. So we’ll be called children of God. Now, there’s a broad application, of course, to this, this verse, but we can’t overlook the primary means by which we make peace, and that is proclaim the gospel of peace. Isaiah 52, verse seven, how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news who proclaim peace, peace? How are we going to be reconciled to God to have peace where there was enmity, through the preaching of the gospel of Christ, what he’s done for us on our behalf? How could we not seek peace, and work for it in light of the peace, that God brings us it will be inevitable. So this inward humbleness, this right understanding of who we are before God, His grace produces an outward holiness in us, transforms who we are, how we live, how we love, but there is a final movement, because not everybody likes to change they’re going to see in us so how do we live? Bless it lies what’s the life that God would smile on last movement is a forward hardiness. Let’s look at verses 10 to 12. Bless it are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Bless it, are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me, Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, from the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. So you can see there’s this definite shift in the last movement, it’s no longer describing a disciple, but how that disciple is treated by the world. Notice, Jesus says, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness. That’s really key. It does not say bless it are those who persecuted period because you can be persecuted for being, frankly, kind of a jerk. You’d be persecuted for being a little bit fanatical in some weird areas, you can be persecuted, especially today for smuggling in your politics as religion when it’s not that at all. But that’s not what Jesus says, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness. We’ll see what that means in a moment here. Now, persecution takes many forms. And Joe mentioned the story that the Campbell shared in the last newsletter of Omar and his family, persecuted, like house ransacked, interrogated. We had somebody here a couple of weeks ago, who had to flee the Middle Eastern country where he was born, because he became a Christian and his dad sought to have him arrested, which would have probably meant his execution moved to a different country that was kind of Middle East, adjacent, let’s say, and they confiscated all this property. So got here eventually, as you know, a refugee and asylum seeker like that’s persecution. Sure. That’s probably not what we’re going to experience. Although we do experience some real persecution here, like I know, people in this congregation who have lost jobs because of their faith. Sure, but I like what Jesus says in verse 11, because it just reminds us that persecution does take different forms are a blessing are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you? So it might look like being marginalized, reviled as slandered when you live like Christ. Do you notice, by the way that he shifts to the second person there? He doesn’t say we’re not talking in theoretical terms in your budget are those who are persecuted, but are you when you get persecuted? Because Jesus is saying this is going to happen. This is going to happen. Why? It’s happening because we’re like Jesus, and compare the two verses right? Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Verse 10, plus 11 plus it are you when people do all these things because of me. So it’s an inexact parallelism, but because of righteousness is because of being like Jesus. What did he say? John? 15, verse 18, If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me. First. We’re being treated like Jesus when we live like Jesus. And the world has a love hate relationship with Jesus. Don’t they? Like the kind of like his teaching, he’s wise, kind of like the the mercy and the kindness but he’s got some views that are out of step with culture today, of course, so there will be persecution, we should expect it and we can endure it. But we should expect it Second Timothy three, verse 12. Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. It is an unwelcome promise that offers a tremendous test. If you are not being persecuted. Why not? Quote da Carson again, he says if the disciple of Jesus never experiences any persecution at all, it may fairly be asked where righteousness is being displayed in his life. If there is no righteousness, no conformity to God’s will, how shall he enter the kingdom? It’s explained explains the repeated promise, right? The fact that we come back to theirs is the kingdom of heaven because there’s this logical progression from humility, to holiness, the sort of Holiness that will get you persecuted. So if there is no persecution, is there holiness? It’s a simple logical syllogism. You learn these way back when right? If it’s raining, the sidewalk will be what if the sidewalk isn’t wet? It ain’t raining. If your holy you will be persecuted if you’re not being persecuted. This is, explains then also why we are blessed when we’re persecuted. Because it means the kingdom is ours. And our holiness proves it has been granted irrevocably to us. And that’s why we rejoice and are glad not because persecution is good, because it’s not but because our reward will be great. And because this world can’t do anything to us, not really kill me, just means I’m gonna enter my masters joy, nothing of value can be taken from me. Ultimately, it’s like the climax of a thriller movie where, you know, right as the bad guys come in, they hit send on the email. And all those files go to every news organization all over the world, you’re like, well, now what? You can shoot me in the head, it’s fine. What I came to do has been done, you can’t unsend this email. So that in a strange sort of way, in Kingdom economics, it’s the persecuted who have the power. It has the power to die without fear. It’s a weird sort of power. But that is real power. It’s the power of like Richard Wurmbrand, who is the founder of Voice of the Martyrs. He was persecuted terribly by the communists in Romania tortured repeatedly for Christ and they kept threatening to kill him. And he was like, go ahead. Here’s what’s gonna happen if you kill me. I got all these cassette tapes. This was the 60s so kids ask your parents cassette tapes, okay, with my sermons on them, you know what’s gonna happen if you kill me, people are gonna go I better listen to that, because that was a message worth dying for. He had the power in the room while they were torturing him. That’s what I mean, by the way by a four word hardiness. Now, don’t get me wrong. It starts with H and ends with NIS that’s why I chose this word. Okay, good Baptist preacher and all that. But hardiness, like it’s bringing the unshakable future into a present that is often shaken. We can press on we can persevere we can endure because of what we know to be true and inward humbleness produces an outward holiness that generates this forward hardiness, the life that God approves. So what do we do with this? As we close this passage, it has been a test of our faith. It is that invitation to self examination. And it’s an invitation to track back to the beginning of course, am I in the kingdom? So let’s imagine again you you see the the job posting, and it says you know that the person in this role will have a mastery of Adobe Illustrator Well, if you don’t have mastery of Adobe Illustrator, guess what? You’re not the person for that position. But here’s the difference. In that scenario, if you really want that position, what are you going to do? Go learn Adobe Illustrator. Try harder. That is not the message we get here. It’s not work harder, but walk humbler. The main idea if you want to sum it up, I mean, I don’t want to sum up Jesus. Just remember what he said. But it would be this come empty, to receive His fullness. That’s the invitation that we have here come empty to receive His fullness is what we saying, to start the service. Come find your mercy. Oh, sinner, come kneel. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. And this whole idea of coming empty to receive His fullness to receive His grace becomes clear when we read the Beatitudes through the lens of Jesus. Because this is not saying, you want to be like this, to be a disciple. But you better look to Jesus, and you will become his disciple. Let’s enter the poor. Didn’t Jesus leave the riches of glory, make himself poor so that we could be rich in him. But there are those who mourn. I remember Jesus morning when Jesus who is the resurrection and the life wept at the tomb of Lazarus wept over Jerusalem when he saw the brokenness in that city and they were rejecting him. He wept so that we would be comforted. Blessed are the meek, no one Meeker than Jesus,
he says, Come to me, you know, all you who are worried, I will give you rest. If he says, I’m gentle and lowly of heart, I’m meek of heart, because he was meek, we can inherit his blessing we are satisfied because on the cross, he cried out, I thirst. And we receive mercy because he got none. He didn’t get mercy before Pilate or Caiaphas. He didn’t get mercy before His Father. And we get to see God because he was pure in heart. He had one idea he set his face like a flint and marched towards Jerusalem to be crucified in our place. God turned his face from him, so that he would never turn his face from us. Do you see, Jesus became poor in spirit for us. That’s what leads us to humble ourselves and become poor in spirit before him to come empty and receive His fullness. Let’s pray.
Lord, we bless your name. Not that we would think to judge you or evaluate you, but we recognize and acknowledge your glory, Your Holiness, your awesomeness, your love, and your mercy and your grace. And we are blessed Lord, not because we have done anything worthy of approval, but because you have approved of us when we come in Christ, because you approve of him, you approve of the life that he led, he led the perfect life. And we get the credit for it when we come empty to receive the fullness that he offers us, Lord, would you humble us now? Would you remind us that we are poor in spirit so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven? And see the rest of these blessings unfold in our lives as we become more and more like Jesus to the glory of your name, amen.

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