Salt & Light

Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:13-16

Pray

Read Matthew 5:13-16

Testimonies

Exercise – I am?  (What I am is my being)
Piece of paper    I am (and blanks)

Intro
I hope you took the chance to study about Salt and Light this week.  If so you may have noticed that some scholars believe the Beatitudes and 13-16 go together.

If for no other reason there is a connection because Jesus is teaching two more aspects of being.
Being leading to doing?  This again is the pattern we will see related to being salt and light.

What did you think of the exercise – I am____________?
If you are a follower of Jesus, make sure Salt & Light are on the list.

Lets dig into what Jesus taught verse-by-verse.

Verse 13    Salt
I spent a lot of time this week studying about Salt to understand why Jesus may have taught the disciples that they were salt.  In the end I am convinced that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant.

Jesus’ followers, disciples, are salt.  But salt that is not salty, is useless.  So, what kind of disciple do you believe Peter, James, John, and the rest of the 12 wanted to be when they heard this sermon?  Yea, salty – salt.  They probably had little to know idea exactly what Jesus meant by His saying they are salt.  But I am confident they were motivated to find out how to be salty-salt.

I believe the disciples immediately understood the importance of being salty-salt.  They knew as Jews  they had a Covenant of Salt with God.  Every sacrifice at the temple was to be salted with salt, both reminding them of God’s covenant with them and to enhance the sacrifice for God.  They also knew that salt was part of every good meal, it was very important.  And salt was quite valuable and spiritually was a symbol of purity.

They learned in the months and years to come what it truly meant to be salt.  But don’t miss that being salt isn’t an option.  Jesus was teaching them what kind of person they must be.  This was not the game pic your favorite spice.  Jesus defined what they are to be – salty-salt.  So what is salty-salt?

Salt is an amazing substance.  It purifies, preserves, enhances flavors, it is necessary for life, but it also kills in too large of quantities.  At one time in history it was equally valuable as gold.  It is basically impossible to make tasteless.  In the next hour I hope we will expend on these attributes of salt.

Because salt purifies, preserves, enhances, and is valuable – I believe the disciples were to be like salt: men who brought spiritual purity, who preserved the truth, enhanced every situation, brought life all with God’s wisdom and righteousness in right quantity.  That they were valuable to others and that they never would loose their saltiness.

How is this possible?  By learning from Jesus as His disciple, His follower.  One of the key truths they learned is that being salt is meant spiritually.  This starts with the fact that God is spirit John 4:24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

This is the big difference between Jesus and the religious leaders.  Jesus taught about who worshipers are to be, in the spirit.  The religious leaders taught what they believed people must do.  Being is of the spirit, doing is of the flesh.  To worship God and follow Jesus, it is necessary to be born spiritually.  John 3.

So how does this work in us, are we to be salt as well as the disciples?  If we are going to be Jesus followers, we must be salt just like the disciples.  We are now Jesus’ disciples if our being includes the Beatitudes and salt and light.  Like the 12 disciples after hearing they are salt – we also need to learn how to be spiritually – salty.

And here is your manual for being salt!  If you are born spiritually, then when you read the manual, study it, memorize it, you will be salty-spiritual-salt.  Spiritually-salty-salt are people who are living in the spirit, in step with the spirit (Galatians 5:25).  These people are growing spiritually as disciples of Jesus’.

Paul taught this about being salt, that it does apply practically: Colossians 4:5Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. 6Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

When we are salt even what we say is to include salt.  I believe Paul was teaching that even what we say is to include purity, preserve, enhance and bring value to every conversation.  And I don’t believe this is limited to what we say.  Being salt is to effect everything we are, do, think, read, say, look at, etc.  When we are salt, we naturally do and say what is salty.

(And I did bring some dead sea water and salt from the bank of the dead sea.  Feel free to dip a finger in the dead sea water and taste it, but beware.  )

Verses 14 & 15    Light
14“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp-stand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.

I will say this again, this may sound familiar.  I spent a lot of time this week studying about Light to understand why Jesus taught the disciples that they were Light.  In the end I am convinced that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant.

Jesus’ followers, disciples, are light.  But light that is covered, is useless.  So, what kind of disciple do you believe Peter, James, John, and the rest of the 12 wanted to be when they heard this sermon?  Yea, bright and useful-lights.  They probably had little to know idea exactly what Jesus meant by His saying they are light.  But I am confident they were motivated to find out how to be light.

So here are a few questions we need to discuss about light, especially if disciples are light.  First is what is light?  Second is how does it work?  Third is how are disciples light?  And fourth, what does this have to do with you and me?

First what is light?

Light, though very different than salt, is also an amazing thing.  Scientists still don’t understand exactly what light is.  So we won’t try now to explain it either.  For our discussion today we will keep the definition of light simple, it is what makes things visible.

Second is how does it work?

Here are some practical details about light and how it works.

Did you know that if you had enough laser pointers you could hold up a small coin.  About 30 Billion laser pointers would hold up a nickle coin.  Light is more than just this invisible thing that makes it possible to see stuff.  Light is actually a substance, sort of like air, but not.  We can feel air, especially when we call it wind.  And light sometimes is like air in that it pushes on us, just very very very lightly, but sometimes light acts nothing like a material substance.

Light is not the lack of darkness.  Darkness is the lack of light.  Darkness is when there is no light.  Light totally removes the darkness, because darkness is nothing.  Have you ever noticed how little light it takes to fill a dark room?   Light is powerful!  Darkness has no chance when light is present, unless the light is covered obviously.  Darkness can not resist light, light always wins.  I like how Solomon said it, Ecclesiastes 2:13  And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.

Light exposes what is real, what is truly in the dark.  Many of us are a little, maybe a lot, afraid of the dark.  When it is dark the fear is based on what we don’t know and or what we think might be there.  Light shows us what is there.

Light makes things safer.  It shows us what is there so we can avoid the dangers of most kinds.  It makes it possible to find a safe way to move and to travel.  And it keeps many things that would harm us away, things that don’t like to be exposed by the light.

Third is how are disciples light?

In the beginning, Genesis 1, God made light and He separated the light from the darkness.  This was easy for God because He is light.  1 John 1:5-10, verse 5Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.  This includes heaven, Revelation 21:23-24 where there is no light source other than God.  God is light so it makes sense that His children would also be light!

And His Son is light, John 8 12Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
So followers of Jesus have the light of life – so they are light, spiritual light.

God is light, Jesus is light.  It doesn’t say that they do light, they are light.  And because of what they are it leads to what they do.  Light does many things because of what it is.  As I said before it gets rid of darkness and in the process it reveals what was in the dark, this makes it possible to see what is truly there, see dangers, see a safe path, and scare away things that might try to hurt us.

I don’t know all the ways God and Jesus are light, but for sure they are spiritual light!  “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him”.  This is not talking about photons and the material world as much as the spiritual world.  Jesus was, is, and always will be “the light of the world”, but He was not a bulb with a wire walking around Israel.  He was, is, and always will be the spiritual light of the world.

Because Jesus is the light of the world, He got rid of the spiritual darkness, revealing the spiritual truth on the earth, so that we can see and know what is true, what are the dangers, and follow the path away from evil, we can “see” the way to God, while He scares away the evil one and His followers (James 2:19).

And Jesus’ disciples are to be like Him – “you are the light of the world”.

And fourth, what does this have to do with you and me?

We who are followers of Jesus, we are now the light of the world.  We are now the spiritual light of the world.  Later in the Sermon on the mount Jesus will teach more about light, Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness!

So is Jesus saying we should look in the mirror and look for flames, a flashing light show, or a laser beam?  Obviously not.  In a few months we will dig deeper into the meaning of these verses.  But take a moment and imagine you are looking in a mirror.  What do you see in your eyes.  Do you see the light of Jesus or something else?  What do others see in your eyes?

Verse 16
16In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

I believe Jesus is teaching the disciples, and now us as well, that we are to be spiritual lights, shining brightly for all to see.  Not shining through what we are on the outside, but who we are on the inside.  The only good works we can do are in obedience to God’s will.  If we do works other than God’s will, even in the name of Jesus, we may be the people in Matthew 7:22.  7:23 Jesus says “away from me you evil doers, I never knew you”.

Jesus must be who we are on the inside through the Holy Spirit.  Paul taught it this way 1 Corinthians 6:19Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

So we either bring the Light of the World, Jesus, with us or we don’t.  We are either followers of Jesus or we are not.  We are salty-salt and beaming light, or we are not and we are useless to God.

When we are God’s spiritually salty-salt and His beaming light, then others will see our good works.  Salt naturally does what salt does, good works.  Light naturally does what light does, good works.  Who we are leads to what we do in all ways.  This is not our way, this is God’s way.  God made salt and made it do what it does and He made light and He made it do what it does.

When we are God’s children, the ones blessed because of who we are, then our being results in doing God’s will which are good works.  And true good works lead others to glorify God.

Please spend a few minutes of evaluation.  What are you?  Think about what you did last week.

If your being included the Beatitudes and salt and light – what you did will include being poor in spirit, pure in heart, gentle, merciful, and time spent with Jesus among many other good works.  As salt you may have had conversations where you shared God’s truth, or in some way brought purity to a relationship.  As light you may have shared your faith verbally about Jesus, but for sure they would have seen Jesus in you.

This is not a game we are playing with God.  Jesus taught the disciples there are only two kinds of people.  Those who are the blessed or those who are not.  Please take out the list you wrote earlier – I am ___________.  Be honest with the Lord, were you salt last week, were you light?  If so praise the Lord.  If not then don’t be discouraged, go to the Heavenly Father with a poor spirit and seek His forgiveness.

Notes & Resources Below
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13043-salt

Salt    Properties of?
Physical properties
NaCl  (40% Na    60% Cl)
Salt is stable
Salt can have impurities, but only in small amounts
Salt is natural (halite) and produced by cleaning and purifying.
Required for all animals to live
All Salt comes into our bodies from outside.
How can it loose taste?
It can’t unless turned into something else – heat or electricity
Can be diluted
Can have impurities
Is the “saltiness” a metaphor?
Symbolic of purity

Purposes for?
Many types and uses
Bible Times
Food
Money
Preservative in Egypt – mummies and food
Keep ground from growing
War – destroy enemy land
Food for animals
Verse in Psalms
Medicine
child birth
Now    92% salt is used in ways other than food
Preservative
meats
drying agent
Money
Enhance Food
Oldest spice
Kill things
Ex. city in israel
Manufacturing, Construction & Roads
Roads
deicing
road surface
Purification
Language
Salary – wage of amount of salt for Roman soldiers
Salad    – lettuce with salt, from Roman times

Spiritual Connection?
How are we like salt?
Covenant of salt with God?
Salt used in the Temple for sacrifices

Key Words in the Text
Salt
Become tasteless (made foolish, tainted, useless) note 3471
Romans 1:22
1 Corinthians 1:20
Aorist Subjunctive Passive        fact that might happen to it from outside

Short Definition: I make foolish, taint, make useless
Definition: (a) I make foolish, turn to foolishness, (b) I taint, and thus: I am tasteless, make useless.
HELPS Word-studies
Cognate: 3471 mōraínō(from 3474 /mōrós) – dull, sluggish (“without an edge”); (figuratively) acting “stupid or silly,” “insipid, flat.” . . . “to play the fool” (WS, 30). See 3474 (mōros).
Verses with Salt        33 occurrence in the Bible
Genesis 19:26
But his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.
Exodus 30:35
Prepare expertly blended incense from these; it is to be seasoned with salt, pure and holy.
Leviticus 2:13
You are to season each of your grain offerings with salt; you must not omit from your grain offering the salt of the covenant with your God. You are to present salt with each of your offerings.
Numbers 18:19
“I give to you and to your sons and daughters all the holy contributions that the Israelites present to the Lord as a permanent statute. It is a permanent covenant of salt before the Lord for you as well as your offspring.”
Deuteronomy 29:23
All its soil will be a burning waste of sulfur and salt, unsown, producing nothing, with no plant growing on it, just like the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord demolished in His fierce anger.
Joshua 15:62
Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En-gedi—six cities, with their villages.
Judges 9:45
So Abimelech fought against the city that entire day, captured it, and killed the people who were in it. Then he tore down the city and sowed it with salt.
2 Samuel 8:13
David made a reputation for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley     of Salt.
2 Kings 2:20
He replied, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.” After they had brought him one,
2 Kings 2:21
Elisha went out to the spring of water, threw salt in it, and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. No longer will death or unfruitfulness result from it.’”
2 Kings 14:7
Amaziah killed 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He took Sela in battle and called it Joktheel,     which is its name to this very day.
1 Chronicles 18:12
Abishai son of Zeruiah struck down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
2 Chronicles 13:5
Don’t you know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?
2 Chronicles 25:11
Amaziah strengthened his position and led his people to the Valley of Salt. He struck down 10,000     Seirites,
Ezra 6:9
Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—let it be given to them every day without fail,
Ezra 7:22
up to 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of oil, and salt without limit.
Job 6:6
Is bland food eaten without salt? Is there flavor in an egg white?
Job 39:6
I made the wilderness its home, and the salty wasteland its dwelling.
Psalm 60:1
[ Psalm 60 ] [ Prayer in Difficult Times ] [ For the choir director: according to “The Lily of Testimony.” A Davidic Miktam for teaching. When he fought with Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and struck Edom in the Valley of Salt, killing 12,000. ] God, You have rejected us; You have broken out against us; You have been angry. Restore us!
Psalm 107:34
and fruitful land into salty wasteland, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
Isaiah 30:24
The oxen and donkeys that work the ground will eat salted fodder scattered with winnowing shovel and fork.
Jeremiah 17:6
He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives.
Jeremiah 48:9
Make Moab a salt marsh, for she will run away; her towns will become a desolation, without inhabitant.
Ezekiel 16:4
As for your birth, your umbilical cord wasn’t cut on the day you were born, and you weren’t washed clean with water. You were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.
Ezekiel 43:24
You must present them before the Lord; the priests will throw salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Ezekiel 47:11
Yet its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be left for salt.
Zephaniah 2:9
Therefore, as I live— this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel— Moab will be like Sodom and the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place overgrown with weeds, a salt pit, and a perpetual wasteland. The remnant of My people will plunder them; the remainder of My nation will dispossess them.
Matthew 5:13
[ Believers Are Salt and Light ] “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.
Mark 9:49
For everyone will be salted with fire.
Mark 9:50
Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you make it salty? Have salt among yourselves and be at peace with one another.”
Luke 14:34
“Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty?
Colossians 4:6
Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.
James 3:12
Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.

Light         275 times in the Bible

Genesis 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:4
God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:5
God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day.
Genesis 1:14
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years.
Genesis 1:15
They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:16
God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars.
Genesis 1:17
God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth,
Genesis 1:18
to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 19:11
They struck the men who were at the entrance of the house, both young and old, with a blinding light so that they were unable to find the entrance.
Exodus 10:23
One person could not see another, and for three days they did not move from where they were. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived.
Exodus 13:21
The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night.
Ezra 9:8
But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes.
Job 3:4
If only that day had turned to darkness! May God above not care about it, or light shine on it.
Psalm 18:28
Lord, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness.
Psalm 19:8
The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
Psalm 27:1
[ Psalm 27 ] [ My Stronghold ] [ Davidic. ] The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom should I be afraid?
Psalm 36:9
for with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light.
Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence.
Psalm 97:11
Light dawns for the righteous, gladness for the upright in heart.
Psalm 112:4
Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.
Proverbs 4:18
The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.
Proverbs 6:23
For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life.
Proverbs 13:9
The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is put out.
Proverbs 16:15
When a king’s face lights up, there is life; his favor is like a cloud with spring rain.
Proverbs 20:27
The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.
Proverbs 29:13
The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
Ecclesiastes 2:13
And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.
Ecclesiastes 11:7
Light is sweet, and it is pleasing for the eyes to see the sun.
Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.
Isaiah 42:6
“I, Yahweh, have called You for a righteous purpose, and I will hold You by Your hand. I will keep You and appoint You to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations,
Isaiah 49:6
He says, “It is not enough for you to be My Servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 60:1
[ The Lord’s Glory in Zion ] Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.
Isaiah 60:3
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance.
Isaiah 60:19
The sun will no longer be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor.
Isaiah 60:20
Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not fade; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over.
Isaiah 62:1
[ Zion’s Restoration ] I will not keep silent because of Zion, and I will not keep still because of Jerusalem, until her righteousness shines like a bright light and her salvation, like a flaming torch.
Daniel 2:22
He reveals the deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
Amos 5:18
[ The Day of the Lord ] Woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord! What will the Day of the Lord be for you? It will be darkness and not light.
Amos 5:20
Won’t the Day of the Lord be darkness rather than light, even gloom without any brightness in it?
Micah 7:8
[ Zion’s Vindication ] Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
Micah 7:9
Because I have sinned against Him, I must endure the Lord’s rage until He argues my case and establishes justice for me. He will bring me into the light; I will see His salvation.
Zechariah 14:6
On that day there will be no light; the sunlight and moonlight will diminish.
Zechariah 14:7
It will be a day known only to Yahweh, without day or night, but there will be light at evening.
Matthew 4:16
The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned.
Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:15
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:22
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
Matthew 6:23
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness!
Luke 2:32
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.
Luke 8:16
[ Using Your Light ] “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light.
Luke 8:17
For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light.
Luke 11:33
[ The Lamp of the Body ] “No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see its light.
Luke 11:34
Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light. But when it is bad, your body is also full of darkness.
Luke 11:35
Take care then, that the light in you is not darkness.
Luke 11:36
If, therefore, your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be entirely illuminated, as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
Luke 16:8
“The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted astutely. For the sons of this age are more astute than the sons of light in dealing with their own people.
John 1:4
Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.
John 1:5
That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:7
He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him.
John 1:8
He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
John 1:9
The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 3:19
“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20
For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.
John 3:21
But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
John 5:35
John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a time you were willing to enjoy his light.
John 8:12
[ The Light of the World ] Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 9:5
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 11:9
“Aren’t there 12 hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
John 11:10
If anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.”
John 12:35
Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going.
John 12:36
While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” Jesus said this, then went away and hid from them.
John 12:46
I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness.
Acts 13:47
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 26:18
to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.’
Acts 26:23
that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.”
Romans 2:19
and if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light to those in darkness,
Romans 13:12
The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:14
[ Separation to God ] Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Ephesians 5:8
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light—
Ephesians 5:9
for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth—
Ephesians 5:13
Everything exposed by the light is made clear,
Ephesians 5:14
for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.
Colossians 1:12
giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
1 Thessalonians 5:5
For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.
1 Timothy 6:16
the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; no one has seen or can see Him, to Him be honor and eternal might. Amen.
James 1:17
Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 John 1:5
[ Fellowship with God ] Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 2:8
Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2:9
The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1 John 2:10
The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
Revelation 21:23-24
The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
Revelation 22:5
Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

Beatitudes 5:9-12

Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:9-12

Pray

Review    We are trying to keep in mind the audience, the ones who heard  the Sermon on the Mount the first time.  Also the time in history when Jesus taught this Sermon and the spiritual views being taught by the Jewish religious leaders.

We have studied so far 6 of the 8 Beatitudes.  Jesus has been teaching how people are to be who will inherit Eternal life.  He is not teaching what we are to do to please God, this is the teaching of the Jewish religious leaders at the time of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus is reestablishing God’s original standards of who we are to be.  We are to be poor in spirit, be mourners, be gentle, be hungering and thirsting for righteousness, be merciful, and pure in heart.  These are all the characteristics of a child of God.  These are all characteristics of Jesus.

Read Matthew 5:3-12        Read again 9-12

Keep in mind that the word blessed means happy.  I believe the point Jesus is making is that people who live the Beatitudes are spiritually happy people and are people who are blessed by God.

Verse 9    9The peacemakers are blessed,  for they will be called sons of God.
Verse 9 tells us that people who are blessed by God are people who are peacemakers.  And peacemakers are people who – make peace.  It is that simple.  Jesus is teaching what kind of people were are to be.

This is not a totally new idea.
Proverbs 16:7
When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
When we live righteously, hunger and thirst for it, we please God and the ultimate result is being a peacemaker.

And when we are peacemakers we are like Jesus.  Jesus, the Prince of Peace.    Isaiah 9:6
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

And why is Jesus the Prince of Peace?  Because God is the Father and King of Peace.  The greatest proof of this is sending Jesus, to make peace with us.  God is perfect and can not tolerate sin.  Essentially we are at war with God because of our sin.  But God’s great love for us, His desire for peace between us, meant that He sent Jesus as the peacemaker.  Only Jesus can cleans us of our sins and make us white as snow so that we can be at peace with God.

Jesus younger half-brother James wrote in James 3:17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.  I believe James fully understood Jesus meaning of peacemaker as we see from these verses.  When we desire righteousness one of the natural results is cultivating peace, making peace.

Paul also taught about peace by the way.
Romans 12:18
If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.

The concept, I believe, is quite simple and there is no hidden meaning by Jesus.  Followers of Jesus are not only supposed to like peace, we are to be people who bring peace to every situation.

And when we are like Jesus, peacemakers, we will be called sons and daughters of God.  I believe Jesus is teaching that the true children of God, those who will live with Him in heaven for eternity, will be those who are peacemakers.

Verse 10     10Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
With this verse we see a very big change.  The first 7 Beatitudes are character traits, who we are, our being inside which goes out to others.  Who we are leads to how we relate to other people and to our Heavenly Father.  This Beatitude comes to us from others.  This is something that happens to us because of who we are.

I shared about righteousness last week from Verse 6    “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”.  Righteousness is “what is right”.    Righteousness is also God’s will.  We can do, speak, write, and live righteousness – according to God’s will and what is right.

The complication with this is that not everyone, including some people who call themselves Christians, seek righteousness.  James 4: 4You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Jesus taught James we are not to be like the world.  We are not to follow the world’s ways.  The world’s ways are unrighteousness.  If we are followers of Jesus then we will desire righteousness.  Do you see the conflict?

When we live righteously, “what is right”, then we will sometimes be in conflict with other people and the world who want to do what is wrong.  When this happens we will sometimes, maybe often, be persecuted by the other people and the world.  This will happen in many ways in nearly every part of our lives.

Jesus as He was nearing the cross taught in Matthew 24:9-13
9“Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. 11Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.

Jesus made it clear persecution may even include dying for what is right.  Most of us will not suffer this extent of persecution.  But it is likely that our family was forced out of Russia because of religions persecution.  The full story will have to wait.  Persecution may also include being fired from a job when we refuse to do something immoral or unethical.  And nearly every believer has been denied friendship at some point because of their faith.

The “good news” about this persecution is that it is a result of living righteously.  The persecution is not going to be fun or enjoyable.  But the ultimate reward for being righteous is the kingdom of heaven.  This is the same reward as in verse 3 for the poor in spirit.  This is not a reward we get only some time in the future.  If we obey Jesus teaching, in the future we will live with God in heaven for eternity.  But Jesus is teaching us that this reward is also now.  Once we choose to follow Jesus and live the Beatitudes as He taught, we become citizens and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Lets take verse 11 & 12 together.
Verse 11    11“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me.
Verse 12    12Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
These are not two more Beatitudes.  These verses are extensions of verse 10.  Essentially these two verses are Jesus practical application of verse 10.

While all of the Sermon on the Mount is primarily directed to the disciples, with the crowds listening, these two verses are specifically for the disciples.  These verses are for all true followers of Jesus.

So doesn’t this sound like fun; receiving insults, suffering persecution, and being falsely accused.  I wonder if a disciple or two was reconsidering their decision to follow Jesus.  I think everyone has a pretty good idea what these mean in general but lets look at some details.

There is no hidden meaning in what Jesus is teaching.  Jesus means insults.  This would include people calling you: Jesus freak, bigot, stupid, old-fashioned and you probably have your own worse list.  Insults hurt because they are meant to hurt.

Persecution is related to targeting.  The one targeted is literally being followed or singled out for punishment or death.  Followers of Jesus tend to be persecuted by being denied privileges, being ignored, excluded from groups, and in some countries still today imprisonment and even killed.  Between 1900 and 2000 more Christians were killed for their faith than all the previous centuries combined.

And falsely say every kind of evil against you would include lies of many kinds.  I would call these false accusations in general.  Followers of Jesus have been falsely accused of eating babies, drinking blood, and forcing people into following Jesus.  A modern false accusation is that we are intolerant.

The truth is that righteousness is intolerant.  It is about right vs wrong.  We will focus on this more in the application time.

Not long after the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches the disciples again about persecution when He is sending them out to share the Gospel.  Matthew 10:17-22
17Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their •synagogues, beware of them. 18You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. 19But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
21“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death. 22You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered
Don’t miss the reason why these things will happen.  These things will happen to those who are followers of Jesus.  These things will happen “because of Me” – because of Jesus.  We see this in 5:11, and in 10:18.

And when Jesus told the disciples to be glad and rejoice in verse 12, it is a command.  These are two actions Jesus told them are not optional.  The first verb literally means to be glad or to celebrate.  The second verb means to exalt or rejoice.  The second verb comes from two words: much & jump.  We are to be so happy when we are persecuted for righteousness that we will jump for joy – a lot and maybe very high.

Be honest with yourself, when you think of insults, or persecutions or false accusations of any kind aimed at you do you ever think of jumping for joy as a first response.  I admit I don’t.  Jesus did teach clearly why we can and must be glad and rejoice.  “because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Lets hear now what God taught you about these verses this week.

9The peacemakers are blessed,  for they will be called sons of God.  10Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Testimony

Application

9    Practically speaking we are to be people who in all situations are in character, in being, peacemakers.  So when we are involved in a heated situation between two co-workers, or two companies, or maybe even two countries – we by nature seek a peaceful resolution and are known by others for this attribute of being.

But I believe we need to talk for a moment about justice vs peace.  There is a story in 1 Kings 3        where two woman are fighting over a baby.  One had accidentally killed her own baby and then stole the other woman’s baby.  Solomon’s solution is to have the baby cut in two.  Was Solomon a peace maker?  No, but we often think of this as peacemaking.  There was conflict, but peace was never the goal – it was justice.  One person is right and the other wrong when we talk about justice.

Peace is ending a conflict by finding an ending that is acceptable to the ones fighting.  But in the end nobody gets what they really want.  Peace is not easy to find in most situation.

Oh, and lets make it clear, peacemakers are not pacifists.

Example     2 volunteers        Two people are in conflict.  Lets say that these two people disagree on what to eat for lunch today.  Lets imagine the debate becomes intense and both sides refuse to make peace with the other.

I will be the peace maker as a pacifist.  I do nothing.  This does not bring peace.

Peacemakers always take some amount of personal risk.  Peacemakers are a part of the conflict, the part that must always keep in mind the ultimate goal of resolution and peace.

To be a peacemaker we have to be at peace ourselves.  I believe this is only possible when we are at peace with the God.  If we are not growing in our relationship with God then we will not be peacemakers.

But being a peacemaker comes with challenges.  It would seem that everyone would like a peacemaker, but we know that is not always true.  The life of a peacemaker is often a lonely one.  This is largely true because peacemakers are on God’s side.  Being on God’s side is the way of righteousness; of doing and saying that which is right.  God’s way is often not the popular way.  We want our own way most of the time.  This is why the conflicts arise in the first place.

So why would Jesus expect us to be peacemakers.  Because God is the King of Peace who sent the Prince of Peace.  When we are peacemakers we are like our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus.  What is sad is that the people without Jesus say most they want peace, but they don’t understand they can’t make peace without Jesus.  This is why we must be peacemakers.

Every person will either choose to follow Jesus and peace with God, or suffer eternity as an enemy of God.  We are the ones left here on earth to be Jesus hands and His feet.  2 Corinthians 5:19That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 21He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Reconcile in these verses are the same idea as God making peace with us through Jesus.  Jesus is the Good News – that through Him we can have salvation and peace with God.  And this Gospel, Good News is now our message.  We who are followers of Jesus are ambassadors of Christ, of the Kingdom of God.  Our message is Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  Our task is to be peacemakers.

10
Lets focus on persecution for righteousness.  As I said earlier righteousness means “what is right”.  And righteousness is always what God says is “what is right”.  Righteousness is not negotiable and is not what we want to be “what is right”.

So as I said earlier, when we deserve punishment for something we have done or said ourselves then it is not persecution.  But if we do or say something and deserve punishment because it was “what is right, righteous” then it is persecution.

What is the difference?  The one who says “what is right”.  For example.  If your boss tells you to approve a shipment of DVDs when you know there might be problems, who defines “what is right”?  Your boss will tell you he defines what is right.  But as a follower of Jesus your boss never defines what is right.  Your boss may agree with God what is right, but if there is disagreement your boss is always wrong.

God is the only one who defines what is right.  So it is necessary for you and me to find out what is right.  There are only three ways to learn what is righteous that I know of.  The first is the Bible, this is the only trustworthy written source of righteousness.  The second is the Holy Spirit.  The third is someone who can help you find righteousness in the Bible and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

There are many ways we can be persecuted for righteousness.  We have examples in the Bible including: the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, the Apostles including Paul, Stephen, and the ultimate example – Jesus.

We can be persecuted with words, physically, and socially.  We can be persecuted by individuals, employers, groups, and governments.  But what all of them have in common is the persecutors, the ones persecuting others, are all going against righteousness.

Some important situations where righteousness and others beliefs might conflict are: when we share our faith with others and that Jesus is the only way to peace with God, when we refuse to lie, when we refuse to hurt someone, when we refuse to do what is wrong and instead we choose to do what is righteous no mater the consequences here on earth.

We must move on quickly.

9The peacemakers are blessed,  for they will be called sons of God.  10Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you
11 & 12
There is one especially concept Jesus taught in verse 11 we need to talk about.  The insults, persecution and false accusations are not about those who are being blessed!  This verse makes it clear the reward is not because of our own righteousness, our own character, or even our obedience.  It is all about Jesus.

Yes, our ears will hear the insults, we will experience the persecution, and we will be falsely accused.

But if we are doing, saying, writing, reading or teaching “what is right” then if and when the insults, lawsuits, imprisonment’s, whips, death, and false accusations start coming, then be happy because they are coming because of Jesus.

Jesus taught more about this in John 16:2They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or Me.

Jesus words come true for many of Jesus disciples: Peter, James, Stephen to name a few.   John 16:3 Jesus tells us the fundamental reason people do not become peacemakers and why they become persecutors of the righteous.  3They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or Me.

Do you truly know Jesus and does Jesus know you?  This is not a question of condemnation, judgement, criticism or shame.  This is a question of freedom, true freedom.  Lets take a few moments of silent prayer.

Beatitudes 5:6-8

Sermon on the Mount
5:6-8
Prayer
We are studying the Sermon on the Mount.  To study this passage properly we need to keep in mind as much as possible the original situation or context.
So we are seeking to understand what Jesus was teaching those 1. original listeners, 2. in that time in history, and 3. with the Jewish spiritual beliefs at that moment.
But since we don’t live at that time and we do have the whole sermon recorded in the Bible, we know the ending.  Jesus finishes the sermon by teaching, “everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man”.  Matthew 7:24  What Jesus is saying is that we are to be hearers and doers of the Word, James 1:22.  So don’t just listen as if these are theories Jesus was teaching, you and I must live each day what Jesus taught then and is teaching us still now through His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Read the passage
Matthew 5:3-12    reread 6-8
Verses 3-5 lead into 6-8 and continue 9-12, I believe there is a continuation of purpose that Jesus is teaching from one principle to the next.

This brings us to Verse 6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Another way of saying it is.  People who are spiritually happy/blessed by God are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
This verse tells us if we want to be spiritually happy and be blessed by God we must hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The meaning of this verse and truth is probably quite direct.  Everyone understands the concept of hunger and thirst.  Even babies and they are quite loud about the issue.

But Jesus taught about a specific kind of hunger and thirst, a specific kind of real and personal need.  He taught about a need for “that which is right”.  I believe He was teaching the real and urgent need to obey God’s will, to do what is right.
What is righteousness?  (see note 1343) Keep in mind it is not a verb, it is not an action, it is a principle or a concept or a truth.  A definition of righteousness is “that which is right”.  I will say it again – Righteousness is “that which is right”.

So we can do “that which is right”, this is doing righteousness.  But we can also think, write, read, desire, and hunger and thirst for “that which is right”.
Let me try to give an example from Jesus life.
In Matthew 3:13-15 John the baptizer is baptizing Jesus.  13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.v 14But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me? ”
15Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him to be baptized.

John didn’t know all of God’s plans for Jesus, but Jesus did know “that which is right”.  God’s plan was for John to baptize Jesus, so that is what Jesus made sure was done.
I believe another way of saying “that which is right” is by saying God’s will.  What God wants and plans is that which is right, God’s will.  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus will be teaching about who are those who will go to the kingdom of heaven, verse 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord! ’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Jesus makes it very clear that what we say is not what makes us a Christian.  He is telling us obedience to God’s will is what God expects.  Doing God’s will is living righteously.
So I believe Jesus taught them on that mountain and He is teaching us that we are to hunger and thirst for God’s will, God’s plan for our life.  We are to need, as if we are starving to death, to obey God’s plan for our life.  And Jesus was teaching this is not a one time need.  We need continually to seek and obey God’s will, to read it, to desire it, to search for it, to follow and obey God’s will.

When we truly live according to our need for righteousness, for God’s will, then we will be filled.  Later in the Sermon Jesus teaches again on this subject, I believe.  Chapter 7:7-13, I will read verses 7 and 8.  7“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Lets move on to verse 7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Another way of saying it is.  People who are spiritually happy/blessed by God are people who are merciful.  Showing mercy is choosing to erase someone’s penalty, when they deserve to be punished.

Can I have a volunteer?  This game is called mercy.
What do we learn from the game?  Who has the last choice to make?  The winner or the looser?  The winner has the last choice.

The one who was loosing had one of two choices.  They could continue to suffer and try to win or give up.  And the very word that they use is mercy.  This is a plea for the game to end.  But the one who is winning still has the last choice.  The one winning chooses when to be merciful.  They can continue to inflict pain or choose to be merciful.   The looser deserves to suffer as long as the winner chooses.

In life we have many situations where we need to receive and give mercy.  I think most of the situations are when we are not kind to others in some way, when we make a mistake, and when there is an accident of some kind.

As I was preparing this message I considered if there are ever times we are not required to be merciful.  My final conclusion is to always show mercy and ask God for guidance.
When we talk about mercy we also need to talk about forgiveness.  There is a difference between to two concepts, but we don’t have time to explore very deeply.  Here are a few key thoughts.  Forgiveness tends to apply to more personal matters and relate to feelings.  Mercy tends to be related to more formal situations.  It is not possible to forgive without being merciful, but it is possible to be merciful without forgiveness.

Jesus also taught about forgiveness and mercy in Matthew 18.  The parable of the unforgiving slave.  I hope you remember the story.  Peter is asking Jesus how many times to forgive someone.  Jesus tells Peter not only the seven times required by the Old Testament law, but “70 times 7”.  Basically we are always to forgive.

Jesus then tells Peter the Kingdom of Heaven is like a King who forgives a huge debt of money a servant owes the King.  But then the servant does not forgive a small debt when another servant owes him money.  The scandal is found out and here is what the King tells the unforgiving servant.  Matthew 18:32“Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? ’

Ultimately Jesus is teaching us through this parable the reason why we are to always be merciful and forgiving.  We are to be merciful and forgiving because that is what God did for us spiritually.  Because of sin we deserve eternal punishment.  But God’s mercy is though Jesus dying for our sins.  God forgives our sins as well as forgets them.
We are to be merciful with others here on earth, because God is merciful with us.  And when we are merciful, that is when we will receive spiritual mercy from God.  We deserve eternal separation from God due to our sin.  But God mercy is found in Jesus, who is able to take away what we deserve.

Verse 8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Another way of saying it is.   People who are spiritually happy/blessed by God are those who are pure in heart, …
As I prepared this message I found many ways to complicate this simple truth.  Lets go the simple route, as I believe Jesus taught as well.
Example of some water.
(use some that is clean, some that looks clean, and some that is truly dirty)
So which of these cups would you drink out of?
Jesus used the example of a cup and dish to teach the Pharisees about being pure a well.
Matthew 23:25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean.
27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. 28In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Pure = pure and clean, without pollutants, or impurity.
Jesus taught a specific kind of pure in this verse, though, pure in heart.  The pharisees were not pure in heart, they were not pure inside and out.  Too often we want others to think we are pure as well and yet we know what is inside our hearts.
Remember when the scribes and the Pharisees brought the woman in adultery recorded in John 6:1-11?  It was supposed to be a trap to catch Jesus teaching against God’s laws.  But it didn’t work.  He bent down and wrote something with his finger in the sand, wouldn’t it be interesting if there was a picture of what He wrote and Peter put it on his FaceBook page.  Back to pure in heart.

Verse  7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Why didn’t they throw any stones?  These were supposed to be the pure and most righteous men in Israel.  But when challenged about true sinlessness, true purity, being pure in heart, they all knew they were guilty.

So is Jesus setting a standard that is impossible to attain?  I believe yes and no.  Yes it is impossible for us and no, it is not impossible for Him.  He is able to purify our hearts.  Jesus is like a spiritual filter.  There are many ways to clean water and one of those ways is with a filter.  The big difference between Jesus and a water filter is that Jesus makes us perfectly pure.

If we are going to see God, we have to be perfectly pure.  This is why Moses could not see God when he received the two tablets with the 10 commandments.  Moses was not clean enough to – quoting  Exodus 33 20But He answered, “You cannot see My face, for no one can seep Me and live.”

The disciples listening to Jesus teach and most of the crowds on the hill would also have known this story.  So when Jesus said it was possible to see God’s face, this would have been a bit shocking to them.  Not even Moses could see God’s face and now Jesus is saying it is possible for the pure in heart.

Ultimately it is teaching about a spiritually pure heart, one that has been purified by Jesus blood shed on the cross.  Jesus is teaching the disciples again in  John 15 about being attached to Jesus – the True Vine.  Reading 1-3.  1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

Did you catch that, Jesus said they were already clean.  They were clean because of choosing to follow Jesus and obey His Word.  And in John 1:1-2 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2He was with God in the beginning.

Jesus is the Word, Jesus is the cleanser of our sin, Jesus is the vine we must be attached to and from whom we bear fruit.  And the reward of a pure heart is that these people will see God.  Not now, but when we see Him in heaven.

So what about you?  What did God teach you this week about these verses?
Testimonies from the week’s study

Application
I believe one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves about the Sermon on the Mount, is what was Jesus purpose.  We have only begun to study this Sermon so I don’t yet believe we can answer fully this question.  For now I believe we need to keep seeking the answer.  What was Jesus purpose?  And it is likely we will find He had more than one reason as we study carefully these next few months.

But I do believe we already have some vital information to apply to our lives.
I believe the three verses we studied today were taught by Jesus because He wanted to teach us how to be a citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven.  This applies to all of the six verse we have looked at so far.  I believe the emphasis in what Jesus taught is the aspect of being.  This is different from the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees.  They taught doing.  They taught it is what we do that is important to God.

Jesus is teaching that it is who we are, our being that is most important.  He is teaching it is what kind of people we are that is most important.  He is teaching this because what we do comes from who we are.

Matthew 7:16You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.

I believe from the beginning of time God made us of a specific type of being.
Genesis 1: 26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

I guess it is possible that we look like God on the outside, but I don’t think so.  I believe God made us like Him in the sense of being.  To oversimplify the idea we have a spirit.  We are both body and spirit.  As Jesus told Nichademous in John 3:5-6  5Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do we do born?  No, we are born.  Do we do alive or are we alive?  Being alive is one aspect of being.

Jesus taught us in verse 3
Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Jesus was teaching the opposite of what was being taught by the religious leaders.  The listeners thought the money of a rich person meant they were blessed by God.  Jesus taught and continues to teach us through the Bible that it is the poor in spirit who are happy, who are blessed by God.  Jesus is teaching that blessings and happiness are not material, they are spiritual.

And only when we are poor in our own spirit, realizing we are hopeless spiritually without salvation, only then are we ready to surrender our own state of being to God.  When we repent of our sins and place our faith in Jesus we are seeking God’s mercy to be born again, born of the spirit.  And God’s response to repentance is yes if it comes from a person who is genuinely poor in spirit.  The immediate result is salvation and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

And those who are poor in spirit will mourn, verse 4, by nature of our realization of our spiritual need.  And the spiritually poor and mourning are by nature meet/gentle, verse 5, just like Jesus.  A key aspect of meekness or gentleness is the issue of control.  We are gentle when we use proper self-control.  We are spiritually gentle or meek when we are under God’s-control, just as was Jesus.

Do you see it?  When we become a follower of Jesus it is a change of being.
And followers of Jesus, because of their change of being, hunger and thirst for righteousness, verse 5.  Do you starve for God’s Word.  Here is the only perfectly trustworthy written source of righteousness.  How often do you read God’s Word, like it is necessary for your very life?

Jesus told us in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.
Do you come to Him or are you starving to death spiritually?  How much do you care if you are starving spiritually?  If you don’t care – something is wrong.

Jesus is not telling us that we are to eat the Bible or eat a statue of Jesus obviously.  But in John 1:1 we already read earlier that He is the Word.  And here in John 6:36 that He is the bread of life, the bread of spiritual life.  So how can we “eat” him?  By reading and studying the Bible.  And as I have said in the past.  I can’t eat the “bread of spiritual life” for you.  Nobody can hunger and thirst for righteousness for you.  This is something you must do yourself.  And if you have no hunger or thirst for righteousness then something is wrong.  Because if you have become a follower of Jesus then your new being will hunger and thirst for righteousness.

In the same way if you don’t care about being merciful, verse 7, then something is wrong with your being.  Another way of saying this is that followers of Jesus have a new nature, a new self.  The Apostle Paul stated it this way in Colossians 3:9-10 9Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
The sixth part of your new being, new nature, new self is a pure heart, verse 8.  This is not something you can do.

Please come here and make your heart pure.  Anyone?
Don’t even try to make your heart pure, you can’t do it without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit Jesus sends into our hearts.  The only way to have a pure heart is to be poor in spirit, be merciful, be meek, be hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and be merciful which all come from a personal relationship with Jesus.

Lets spend a few moments in silence.  If you are a follower of Jesus and yet something is wrong with your being then I encourage you to ask God what is wrong.  If you are not a follower of Jesus, but you want to become one today, I encourage you to come and see me right now.  And if you are living God’s blessings and happiness because of your new self that is growing closer to God regularly, please pray for the others that are seeking the Lord now.

If Time
Verses 3-12 are called the Beatitudes.  Last week I touched on this, but did not allow myself adequate time for the topic.  The word beatitudes is Latin for the word happy or blessed used in each of these verses.
We can use the word beatitudes to remind us the purpose for these eight principle in verses 3-9.
I hope you are thinking about how to live, how to be the kind of person Jesus is teaching about in the Beatitudes.

Notes

1343
Short Definition: justice, justness, righteousness
Definition: (usually if not always in a Jewish atmosphere), justice, justness, righteousness, righteousness of which God is the source or author, but practically: a divine righteousness.
HELPS Word-studies
1343 dikaiosýnē (from 1349 /díkē, “a judicial verdict”) – properly, judicial approval (the verdict of approval); in the NT, the approval of God (“divine approval”).
1343 /dikaiosýnē (“divine approval”) is the regular NT term used for righteousness (“God’s judicial approval”). 1343 /dikaiosýnē (“the approval of God”) refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes.

2513
Short Definition: clean, pure, unstained
Definition: clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright.
HELPS Word-studies
2513 katharós (a primitive word) – properly, “without admixture” (BAGD); what is separated (purged), hence “clean” (pure) because unmixed (without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.

Beatitudes 5:3-5

Sermon on the Mount
5:3-5
Prayer

Lets just jump right into the passage today.  As we go along I have tried to include the three aspects of context: the original listeners, the time in history, and the Jewish spiritual life at the time of the Sermon on the Mount.

I hope you took time to study these verses this week, Matthew 5:3-5.  I encourage you strongly to spend time this next week studying verse 6-8 yourself.  I hope the study guide will help.

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed (plural adj.) {people are}= happy or glad
It is based on the greek word “to become long or large”.  (see note at end 3107)
I believe the opposite of blessed is cursed: happy is unhappy and glad is sad.  This fits well with the root meaning of the word.  When we are blessed or happy everything seems to be getting bigger and better.  But when we feel cursed and unhappy we feel smaller and that our world is shrinking.

This word is used 50 times in the NT, nine of those times between Matthew 5:3-12.  We find it used in nearly all the books of the NT.  Curiously not in Mark.  But Mark was writing to a Gentile audience and maybe for this reason he left out the Sermon on the Mount.  The word is used twice in John, Acts, and James by the way.

Blessed is not a new idea to the listeners, but it was misunderstood by them.  The idea of a blessing is common in the OT.  But by the time of the Sermon on the Mount the perception of who are people who are blessed was based not on God’s original intent.
From my research this week I learned that there are at least two words for bless in the Hebrew language.  One of the two words for happy or blessed best fits Jesus teaching.  I would be glad to give you the details, it would probably be easiest to send them to you by email.  We find the Hebrew word in 45 verses, here are two.

Deut. 33:29How happy you are, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is the shield that protects you, the sword you boast in. Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread on their backs.
Psalm 1:1 How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers!  2:12, 32:1-2, 33:12    Job 5:17
At the time of the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount the perception of who would be blessed by God had become misunderstood.

Blessings from God in every way makes us better, enlarges us, enriches us though not usually financially.  The original hearers had a rich = blessed understanding.  We see this in Luke 18:24Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”.  The disciples even after this Sermon on the Mount still didn’t understand the true meaning of Jesus teaching and God’s original promise to bless.

I could not find a promise from God to the children of Abraham, the Israelites, that they would be rich, other than in quantity of people, the land of Israel, and that God is their Father.  God’s covenant with Noah was no more whole earth floods Genesis 9:11.  God’s covenant with Abraham was that his many descendants would possess the land of Israel, Genesis 15:18.  God’s covenant with Moses, Exodus 19:5-6, is 5Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, 6and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”

Actually the general pattern of the OT related to God’s blessing is that it came when the people were most destitute and in great need.  For example we see this as God is speaking to Moses from the burning bush.  Genesis 3:7  7Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings.

As we will see over three weeks, Jesus teaches a total of eight principles related to true happiness – true blessings from God.  We will look at the first three today.
The first people who are blessed are the “poor in spirit”.  Try to remember the first time you read this statement.  Did it make sense the first time you read it?  The original hearers also found this statement strange.  Blessed or happy are the poor in spirit.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful.  I think I want to follow someone who says I need to be poor.

The original listeners probably thought this was a strange new message.  But since most of them were probably not wealthy they might have thought this actually is a message for me.    Besides how many people don’t want to hear how to be happy.

Here is what they probably heard, the meaning, of Jesus teaching.

Poor “in spirit”         Luke 6: leaves out “in spirit”
In general the concept of poor is quite simple with the opposite being rich.  But the word Jesus used means so much more.

The Greek word in verse 3 means = bent over, crouching or cowering like to beg.  The level poor Jesus was teaching means someone who is deeply destitute.  Jesus is describing what kind of people we are to be.  Poor is not a verb.  Poor is how someone would describe us.  It is our state of being or our condition in life.

Biblical scholars I read believe that Jesus was not describing people who don’t merely have much money, but people who are totally without hope or resources.  These are people who must look for help from an outside source.  For example the prodigal son in Luke 15 went to his father for survival.  These are people who have done everything they can do themselves and still fail.  These are people who recognize their utterly hopeless condition.

So how do we become poor in spirit?  The truth is that we are poor in spirit whether we accept or acknowledge it or not.  It is our natural state of being before salvation.  Our original condition is separated from God from birth, thus incapable (poor) of establishing a relationship with God.  We are destitute and must come to the point where we are desperate, because of our emptiness of spirit, to surrender (accept) to God’s mercy.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:1-3.
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

So our original spiritual condition is separated from God with no hope.  Without salvation we are spiritually destitute.  Only when we realize and accept how poor we are is it possible to rightly bow and beg for salvation, to begin a life of blessing and happiness.
Because when we realize our desperate state spiritually, repent and accept God’s grace of salvation through Jesus, He said “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

So what did this mean to the original hearers?  They thought it was the rich who are blessed and the riches are the proof.  But Jesus taught the original meaning of how God wanted to bless people.  God blesses those people who love Him.  God blesses those people who realized they need His blessing, a personal relationship with Him.
Jesus was teaching that the poor in spirit are those who have already the kingdom of heaven?  What is the kingdom of heaven.  The short answer is the Kingdom of Heaven is God’s Kingdom where Jesus is the King.

Jesus said the poor in spirit have this real kingdom now as theirs.  The verb “to be” that Jesus used in this verse tells us that it is not something we get in the future, but now.  It also indicates it is a real and not a virtual kingdom.  In the next hour we can discuss this more in detail.  For now we must keep going.

What this means, I believe, is that the poor in spirit become citizens of the kingdom of Heaven.  That our citizenship is secure in God’s Kingdom in Heaven where Jesus is the King on the thrown.  Keep in mind the kingdom of Heaven is both now and in the future.  The poor in spirit now experience a personal relationship with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s working in and through us.  But there will come a day when Jesus returns, when we we will go to live for eternity with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 25:31-34.  31“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels, with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations, will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Was this a new message to the listeners?  Probably yes, but if they had studied the Law and the Prophets, no, this was the message from the beginning.
Isaiah 66:2 My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the LORD’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word.

King David also understood his poor spirit.  Ps 40:16-17
16But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!” 17As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
I also believe Solomon came ultimately to the same conclusion in the book of Ecclesiastes.  All is meaningless, which is essentially realizing we are poor and hopeless.  Well, almost everything is meaningless.  Solomon’s conclusion is in, Ecc 12:13 is to “fear God and keep His commandments”?  Further thoughts on this will have to wait for the next hour as well.

Moving on to verse 4
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  (Happy those mourning,)
To Mourn (present participle active Nom Plural)  see note 3996
The verb to mourn is not a complex emotional action on the surface with the opposite emotion being joyful, happy, excited.  But dig into the deeper meaning of the verb to mourn and we can learn much more.

The word means to grieve as over a death or grieve over something that has come to an end or of great value that has been lost.  And this verb indicates it is something we are to experience now and throughout our lives, as if it is a habit.  The level of the emotion is that it is – all consuming.  Jesus is not just teaching merely about feeling sad.   The meaning and extent of the emotion is more like – I can’t even lift my head or get out of bed because I feel so terrible.

What is interesting is that it is not stated what we are we to mourn?  The idea is not to be in a state of depression for no reason.  Scholars believe there are two primary reasons we are to mourn.  1  that we are separated from God by nature of our sin?  2 that we are always falling short of pleasing our Heavenly Father.

The Apostle Paul speaks to this concept in Romans 7:13-25.  It is challenging to follow Paul’s thoughts so please read long with me.
13Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

I believe the Apostle Paul grasped the meaning of what it truly means to mourn.  “Wretched man that I am!”  We are all like Paul, but have we all come to the realization of our true need to mourn over our spiritual dilemma?  The fact is that all of us are like Paul in our wretchedness in the flesh.  But are we also like Paul in our brokenness, crying out to God.  “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  You are not like Paul in this way if you continue to rely on yourself and your own resources.  Because if you rely on yourself then you are not mourning.  And if you do not mourn your spiritual condition as Jesus taught then you will never be comforted.

Comforted (future indicative passive 3rd Plural)  see note 3870
        People who mourn now will be literally comforted by God.

The verb To comfort is a compound word = “from close-beside, to call”  God will call us and say – come here and I will give you an eternal hug.  My loose paraphrase.
This verb is the root for the noun comforter or counselor and is the very word for the Holy Spirit in John 14:26  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
A born again believer has the work of the HS in them, revealing the truth of our being and doing.  When this happens, for a true believer, we become aware of our spiritual status without Jesus.  Without Jesus we are dead in our sins, a true reason to mourn.  But Jesus promised and sent the Holy Spirit, our comforter, our advocate, who is worthy to bring us to the Father to be comforted.

Comfort only comes to those who mourn, who are grieving.  If we don’t have brokenness over our spiritual need then no comfort is needed.  But the truth is that everyone is spiritually bankrupt and must come to realize our literal spiritual condition.  The only reasonable response to this realization is to mourn and the need to be comforted.

Believe it or not we made it to verse 5
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Many translations use the word gentle instead of meek for good reason.

The Greek word for Meek = cans from the word mild or gentle.  This is not a verb.  It is a word that describes the type of people we are to be.      (adj. Plural) see note 4239
The opposite meaning would be harsh or even cruel.
We tell our children to be gentle when they are petting a kitty or holding a baby animal.  So we have a good understanding of what meek or gentle is, but how much have we thought about how to be gentle?

The short answer for how to be gentle or meek is to maintain a mixture of things including experience, wisdom, concern, value, respect and I am sure there are others including self-control.  Self-control is vital to being gentle – the ability to utilize the right amount of force or power.  An example is a father with a new-born baby.  The father having the ability to easily harm the baby, but when receiving and holding the baby they control themselves in order to properly support the baby.  The father is motivated by the value of the baby that is in his hands.

Gentleness is a mixture of many parts.  If the mixture of the parts goes out of balance then the result will be something other than gentleness.  Experience, wisdom and respect without self-control will probably lead to gentleness, but the lack of self-control can as easily lead to ignoring the experience, wisdom and respect.  For example the lack of experience while changing a lightbulb can easily lead to broken glass and bloody fingers.
We don’t even have time to explore all the kinds of self-control we need to be truly gentle or meek.  Just for example we have our temper, our tongue, our eyes, our mind-set, and our focus on obeying God’s will.

The original hearers probably had a reasonable and healthy understanding of the principle of gentleness.  But they probably didn’t have the idea that meek and gentle people are blessed.  In general the strong and mighty were perceived to be the blessed, the happy ones.  I believe in general we still have this view today.  How many gentle and meek leaders do you tend to vote for or choose to follow? Jesus taught and still teaches us that those who are gentle are those who will inherit the earth.  But to be honest I don’t believe I understand very well what the gentle will inherit.  And all the research I did shed very little insight into the subject.

What is most clear is the word inherit.
The verb to inherit (future indicative active 3rd plural) that Jesus used means = they who are gentle will really, not figuratively, inherit the earth.  We know this is a future reality, but not when or where exactly unless the answer is the obvious.
The obvious answer is that the gentle will inherit planet earth in the future.  The Greek word supports this explanation.  The concern with this answer is that we are told there will be a new heaven and a new earth in Revelation 21:1.

It is likely that the original listeners to Jesus sermon had a greater understanding of what He was teaching, but they didn’t leave a scroll we have found yet with the clear answer.
But is the most important aspect of this truth what is inherited or when?  It seems to me that we miss the point and will miss the inheritance if we are trying to live meekly and gently so that we receive the inheritance.

What is important is to be genuinely meek and gentle.  So what does a meek person look and act like on a regular basis?  Lets explore what it is not first quickly.
Meek and gentle people are not hiding in the corner or shying away when someone comes your way.  Meek does not mean passive and always agreeable, avoiding confrontation at all costs.

I believe ideally we look to Jesus for the answer of what is a truly meek person.  Jesus was always on task, but never forgot the children, Matthew 19:14.  Jesus led the disciple and the crowds, but he also stopped for the beggars and needy along the way, for example Mark 10 with blind Bartamaous.  Jesus stood up for what was right no mater the consequences, always acting according to the perfect need for the situation, Matthew 21 entering the temple and turning over the tables.

I believe the meek stand their ground, possessing the earth they stand on, and defending it according to God’s will and appropriate to the situation (wisdom).  I believe this in action is at least in part living as a peacemaker, 5:9.  And as we will see the results of gentleness are not always pleasant and successful from an earthly perspective, 5:10-12.

Testimonies from the week’s study  ( I encourage everyone to study the passage the week before we meet on Sunday)

Application
I remind you to keep in mind how Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 7:24“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.

Lets be Jesus’ disciples who listen to what He teaches us and let God apply it to our lives.
For the next few weeks we will be studying what is called the Beatitudes, 5:3-12.  Beatitudes is the Latin word meaning blessed.  Conveniently it can remind us of the overall purpose of this portion of the Sermon on the Mount.  They are be-attitudes.  They are not do-attitudes, or think-attitudes, or theory-attitudes.  They are be-attitudes!
I believe Jesus most fundamental reason for teaching the Sermon on the Mount was to teach how to live thorough how to be.  And I believe Jesus taught this to show everyone that God didn’t make us to be a bunch of do-ers, but be-ers.  What we do comes from who we are!

Jesus was teaching the disciples, the crowds, and now us the facts about what it really takes to have a personal relationship with God.  When we become a follower of Jesus, a Christian or state of being changes.  He taught that followers of Jesus are to be a certain kinds of people.  We are to be poor in spirit, to be mourners, and to be gentle.
Matthew 7:13-20 and Luke 6:43-45 Jesus taught about being.  The Luke version is a little more direct.   43“A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. 44For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thorn bushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

Jesus taught that what we are not only leads to what we do, but also what we say.
So we need to have be-attitudes.  The full truth is we need to have both; be-attitudes and do-the-right-things-attitudes because of who we are.  Jesus wants to teach us most how to be!  For example 5:3, “blessed are the poor in spirit”.  This doesn’t even make sense literally from a doing standpoint.

Someone come and empty your spirit!
The original listeners to the Sermon on the Mount were being taught by their religious leaders that what you do and don’t do makes you a faithful follower of God.  Do the sacrifices, give of your worldly goods because you must, attend the right holidays and services, legalistically keep the Sabbath holy.

Jesus taught a very different truth.  He taught that what you do is not enough to make you right with God.  Jesus taught what is essential is who you are, who you are becoming.  And this only comes through the grace of God, through faith in the Messiah Jesus Christ.
Poor in spirit is an issue of being.  Yes, it includes doing, but it has to be the right kind of doing or it won’t turn into the being we need to become Jesus’s disciples.
How do we become genuinely poor in spirit?  We not only logically realize our destitute spiritual condition, we choose to give ourselves to the only one who can help us spiritually.  In a literal spiritual way we sell ourselves to God as a type of slave.  Paul, Timothy, James, Peter, and Jude all call themselves slaves of God and Jesus.  Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, and Jude 1:1.

You can’t become any more poor than to have nothing, to be owned, to be a slave.  Jesus was teaching this is a spiritual type of being, poor in spirit.  And the results of choosing to be a follower of Jesus, a slave of Jesus is to be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Someone come and mourn as Jesus taught.

Again, it is about being and not doing.  Remember Jesus’ parable in Luke 18?  9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee took his stand, and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth, of everything I get.’
13“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest, and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me — a sinner! ’ 14I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

A person who is a spiritual slave, will most likely mourn as a natural result of their state of being.  Slaves have no life of their own, they mourn what they have lost or never had.  To mourn spiritually is to grieve our loss as we are separated from God.  This state of being away from God is to be a natural desire of our hearts.  A person who morns the loss of someone is wanting the person back in their life.  We are to mourn while we are here on earth separated from God physically.  We are also to mourn when we sin which is separating ourselves from God also spiritually.

Someone come and be gentle.

Ok, so this is a do-er thing.  But I believe we only become gentle when we are, a state of being, capable of being gentle.  As I talked about earlier it requires many factors including knowledge, wisdom, self-control, respect, value among other things.  How easy is it to be gentle when a person is getting “in your face, under your skin, pushing all of your buttons”?  Now try this without the work of the Holy Spirit, our comforter.
Gentleness naturally flows from a person who IS poor in spirit and comforted in their mourning by the comforter.

So what is your state of being?  It is time to go before our Heavenly Father.  Spend some time talking with Him – includes listening, right now about who you are relating to these first three verses of the be-atitudes.

Notes
3107 makários (from mak-, “become long, large”) – properly, when God extends His benefits (the advantages He confers); blessed.
3107 /makários (“blessed”) describes a believer in enviable (“fortunate”) position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend (“make long, large”) His grace (benefits). This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord’s inbirthings of faith. Hence, faith (4102 /pístis) and 3107 (makários) are closely associated (Ro 4:5-7,14:22,23; Rev 14:12,13).

4434 ptōxós (from ptōssō, “to crouch or cower like a beggar”) – properly, bent over; (figuratively) deeply destitute, completely lacking resources (earthly wealth) – i.e. helpless as a beggar. 4434 (ptōxós) relates to “the pauper rather than the mere peasant, the extreme opposite of the rich” (WP, 1, 371).

3996 penthéō – properly, grieve over a death; (figuratively) to grieve over a personal hope (relationship) that dies, i.e. comes to divine closure (“ends”).
3996 /penthéō (“mourn over a death”) refers to “manifested grief” (WS, 360) – so severe it takes possession of a person and cannot be hid. (This is the same meaning of 3996 /penthéō throughout antiquity, cf. LS, R. Trench, Synonyms.)

3870 parakaléō (from 3844 /pará, “from close-beside” and 2564 /kaléō, “to call”) – properly, “make a call” from being “close-up and personal.” 3870 /parakaléō (“personally make a call”) refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God’s court.
[3870 (parakaléō), the root of 3875 /paráklētos (“legal advocate”), likewise has legal overtones.]