SERMON ON THE MOUNT : SERIES NR 1
Theme : Most surprising Joy
Scripture : Matthew 5 : 1 – 12
Matthew 5-7 contains the most famous sermon in the world! It is the Lord’s own message. Delivered to His disciples, not to a multitude. He particularly left the crowds behind, and went up on a mountainside to be alone with His disciples. It is important to know this, because it means that Jesus did not give them rules/law which has to be obeyed to become or to be a Christian. We should not hear a rigid (you must do this and that in order to reach this or that) sound in the Sermon on the Mount.
Do you know what the Sermon on the Mount actually is? It is nothing other than a picture/illustration of what the fruit of the Spirit looks like in practice! When you already are a child of the Lord (based solely on faith-confidence in Jesus’ blood), and the Holy Spirit lives in you, the Spirit produces fruit in your life (Gal 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit is simply a picture of what Jesus looks like! The Lord Jesus Himself becomes visible in your life!
This is the reason why Jesus addresses these words specifically and exclusively to HIS DISCIPLES. People who follow Him. Then He says: This is what a kingdom-life looks like in practice. If you follow me closely, then THIS and THAT will become evident/ visible in your life. I will live through you!
Of course, it is possible that a person who is not a re-born child of the Lord, who is still a natural person without the Holy Spirit, also can hear Jesus’ Sermon. For example, Judas was amongst the disciples!
For a person like THAT, the Sermon on the Mount sounds like pure unattainable LAW! And for SUCH a person, the Sermon becomes a “schoolmaster leading us to Christ” (Gal 3:24 KJV).
It means the following: The unsaved person hears the very high standard Jesus sets out in the Sermon. He comes to a deep realization that he cannot make it, that he is lost in his own inadequate little efforts and good works. And then he seeks his refuge in Christ!
This is exactly the same way the Ten Commandments operate when an unbelieving, form-religious type of person hears it. And then he seeks his refuge in Christ for his salvation, he comes to real faith, remorses and repents, and the Spirit enters his life and starts to produce fruit in him. And so, this same Sermon, which once was the “schoolmaster” (while you were unsaved), becomes an illustration of the fruit of the Spirit (now that you are saved by faith in the blood of Jesus)! A double action/working in one and the same person’s life!
BLESSED! says Jesus! Fortunate! Not meaning our subjective inner feelings. Here He talks about the objective “blessedness/glory” – the objective way God looks at us – whether we féél blessed or not.
“BLESSED” actually comes from the OT. For example Psalm 1, 32. To be blessed, fortunate or blissful means to be a part of God’s covenant community. The BLESSING to be in the right relationship with God. To be so also in the FUTURE. Six of the eight beatitudes have sounds of the future! Who we WILL be in the judgement. Almost like: “Congratulations! You are exactly the kind of person I am looking for!” The unsaved world does not congratulate you if you are deeply dependent on God or mourn about sin and are meek, and hunger and thirst for righteousness! But God does! He congratulates you with HIS own fruit which manifests in your life!
Thus, Jesus is telling those who already know Him and who ARE redeemed: “Listen to me, THIS is what you will look like if you follow me. This is what the heavenly kingdom looks like when it becomes personified on earth. When I begin to rule in your life, then these are the things you can expect in your daily living.”
NUMBER ONE: POOR IN SPIRIT/DEPENDENT ON GOD. It does not mean material/financial poverty. Although a person who is poor in earthly goods realize their spiritual need easier. Still, “poor in spirit” means to become aware of your own spiritual need and to place your trust in the Lord for your real wealth. “Poor in spirit” is nothing other than humble in spirit. The opposite of self-confidence/-reliance. Like the younger son who was sitting among the pigs and “came to his senses” (Luke 15:17). Confess your bankruptcy and cast yourself on your Father. It is in direct opposition to the natural human instinct to boast in everything I have to offer! The person in whom Christ lives and reigns knows and is aware and acknowledge : in myself I am empty, my riches are Jesus. In acknowledgement of your having nothing, you will receive and possess everything. Even the Kingdom! And while you own the Kingdom, you still acknowledge that, in yourself, you have nothing! It is not an inner spirit which will ever stop existing.
NUMBER TWO: MOURN > Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. The poor-in-spirit-dependence-on-God now passes over into repentance. Mourn/sorrow over sin.
This does not at all mean that kingdom-people should be miserable every day from morning till night. On the contrary. Verse 12 is indeed saying “Rejoice and be glad”. This is a kind of sorrow that walks hand-in-hand with joy! Along with joy, there is an inner feeling of hate for any form of sin in your life. You despise the sinfulness of sin. You hate and abhor your own sin. Reprehensible, never justified or defended. For a person like that, the Lord is saying: Congratulations! Blessed
We should not be so quick to “pull ourselves together” when we feel bad about our sin. Or to tell other Christians they should stop feeling bad about their sin. We have the inclination to tell such a person: “Nevermind, it is not so terrible, you are actually a nice person. Rather concentrate on how righteous you are in Christ”. Jesus is saying: “No, leave him be! The person who sorrows is BLESSED and will find comfort WITH ME. When someone despises their own sin, he is on the right track – ready to experience heavenly comfort. That is the happiest life of all! It is a comfort and a gladness which will last for ever. Leave him/her – let him feel bad”.
NUMBER THREE: MEEK > Will inherit the earth! It has nothing to do with a spineless “walk over me”, “whatever you say” kind of attitude. It is not the attitude of a “loser”. Not a doormat. Was Jesus a doormat? Was He a loser? Yet, it is His gentleness which is spoken of here. 2 Cor 10:1 > By the gentleness and meekness of Christ, I appeal to you. Matthew 11:29 > Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.
Then what is meek? Well, it is the great Christian virtue for which the world has no time or place! It is a patient humbleness that wants utterly to be subjected to the Lord. It is self-control instead of to be in control. Open heart in stead of a clenched fist. Rather suffer than to sin. Meet opposition with tears rather than a whip. The gentle hearted is more upset by their own sin, than they are by the sin of others. He takes the new earth in possesion. Not something temporary earthly. The NEW EARTH which Revelation 21 is speaking of. Awesome!! The entire new cosmos belongs to the gentle person!!
NUMBER FOUR: HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS > They will be filled! The kind of hunger and thirst which WILL be satisfied! Hunger and thirst for that which is RIGHT before God, before men, and fair and just in the world. Is this not the one thing which is lacking in the world? If you look at the news, it turns your stomach, not so? Very few people give a tuppence for holiness of life, the honour of God, and righteousness and justice among people. It is as good as if it does not exist!
But the Lord Jesus says: It is a very good thing to hunger and thirst. If you stress about the injustice in the world, and act against it, and fight it where you can. If you stress about the honour and holiness of God which is being trampled. If you stress about that which is happening around you and are trying to bring change where possible. If you stress that righteousness and justice and holiness of life should take place in your own life. Then you WILL be FILLED. You will not go to bed hungry.
NUMBER FIVE : MERCIFUL > You will be shown mercy. Merciful towards other people as the Lord is merciful to you. Because your and my sin towards God, was/is a million times more and greater than the wrong done by other people towards us! Oh yes, the pain and hurt other people cause us, is indeed very bad. But it cannot compare to our daily, life-long transgressions towards the eternal God! That is greater that anything. Therefore, we can be merciful towards those who transgress against us. And acquit them. An act of will.
It is like the man who owes the king R2million, and is unable to repay it. He must go to prison. But, the king has pity on him and writes off all his debt. Every last cent. Everything.
Then, this man meets someone who owes him R50. He grabs him by the throat and demands his money! He has just been acquitted of a R2m debt. But he cannot write off R50.
Jesus uses this example in Matthew 18. And then He says: Whatever other people have done to you, compares like R50 against the R2million you owe God. And He wrote it all off on the cross. All. To the very last cent. Now you must go and be merciful. If SUCH mercy has been shown you, how can you not be merciful yourselves?
NUMBER SIX : PURE IN HEART > Will see God. PURE means: Not to be divided, to have a single purpose, to walk a straight road. Single-minded devotion. Pure in heart means: to focus on only one thing. We cannot serve two masters. Always, you will love the one better than the other. A divided heart (as opposed to PURE heart) does not have a place for the Lord Jesus. A divided heart cannot “see” the Lord. The vision is dimmed. A pure heart says: I need You, more than anything!
You notice how pure in heart is connected with holiness of life as such. Holiness means: Set apart for Him alone.
The enemy always comes with the most wonderful promises. “Just give way for a while. Take your focus just a little bit away from Jesus. Just look at this or that. You will feel great if you do that.”
Never will the enemy say something like: “Your life will be ruined if your focus weakens”. No, everything is always so wonderful.
But Jesus’ promise is better. He is saying: You will see God. In this life – in His Word and promises. And in the next life, face to face.
Temptation can always be resisted by saying: “There is something much better, much more precious than this which the temptation offers. I want to see and know the Lord, why would I want to look at this or that?”
It is so wonderful how the Lord helps us to resist our sins by giving us better promises. Better than whatever the devil gives.
NUMBER SEVEN : PEACEMAKER > Will be called sons of God. Note: Not those who have peace, but who MAKE peace where there is no peace. Nobody BECOMES a child of the Lord by making peace. Nobody becomes saved by doing anything! But a peacemaker is called a child of God because that is exactly what HE does! There is nothing more godly than peacemaking. Because the Lord Jesus came particularly to make peace by the blood of the cross (Eph 2:15). He has destroyed the dividing wall (Eph 2:14). He is the peacemaker par excellence. By making peace, we look just like Him.
This peace rules in a Christian’s life (Col 3:15). Peace is like a referee who blows the whistle as soon as something we think or do go outside the play area. It is the Hebrew word SHALOM = completeness, abundance, harmony.
When we bring the Gospel message to people, we make peace. We bring the message of peace. The message which has the power to restore the deepest shalom. Because it happened on the cross. This message remove dividing walls between people’s hearts, and between people themselves. Satan hates that, but it is our highest calling.
How do we behave towards people who are hostile-minded towards us? Clenched fists or open arms? The father who welcomed his son back with open arms was a peacemaker, not so? Not the cheap/easy way of “let us pretend it never happened”. But remorse, forgiveness, peace.
NUMBER EIGHT : PERSECUTED > Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and say bad things about you for My sake. Your reward in heaven is great.
All, but all Christians who try to be faithful to Christ, will be persecuted. It says so in 2 Timothy 3:12.
There are two kinds of persecution: A – As it is done in the Middle-East and a place like North Korea: Torture and death. Imprisonment, burning of churches, etc. B – The kind that all faithful Christians experience: opposition, slander, scorn, derision, neglect, name-calling, hate, etc. It is common behaviour on Facebook. Personally, I have been called by about 18 different names! Unsaved people do not want Christ in their space. They are always trying to get away while there is nobody chasing them (Prov 28:1)
Well, the Christian who is being persecuted is in good company. All the prophets were persecuted just like that. Therefore, a person can have perfect peace. It is a blessing if you reflect something of Christ.
Thus, this is the eight-fold picture of what the Lord Jesus looks like in and through
His child! It is not a list of rules to keep in order to become/to be a better Christian! It is the fruit of the Spirit in/through us. It is our life which we are living within a world which says: Happy are the wealthy, because their kingdom is comfort and pleasure, happy are the aggressors, they will control the world, happy are those who hunger and thirst for acknowledgement, because they will be taken notice of, happy are the sexually liberated, because now they can be their own gods, happy are those who are praised by everyone, because theirs is the kingdom of NOW!
Translated by Marthie Wilson