Sermons from October 2016
Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. We come to the greatest promise ever made by Jesus: the pure in heart will see God. The pure in heart are those who are unmixed at the center of their being. The pure in heart have a single, undivided devotion to Jesus. They are Jesus-oriented at the center of their being, leading lives of integrity before him and before others. Notice as well, that Jesus does not say, ‘perfect in heart’. The pure in heart are not perfect in heart, like David, who after his failures prays that God would renew in him a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him (Ps 51:10). And, in the end, the pure in heart will see God. I believe that this is the greatest promise ever made by Jesus. But, in your perspective, is this the greatest promise he ever made?
Matt 5:7 As we continue our journey through the Beatitudes (and the theme of Living Right Side Up in an Upside Down World), we come to Beatitude #5 – “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” We all like receiving mercy, but Jesus makes it clear throughout the gospels that we must show mercy if we ever hope to receive it. So is mercy free or not? And if not, how is THAT merciful?!
Matt 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. In this beatitude, Jesus is describing those who, because of their attachment to him, yearn for righteousness ‘as a deer pants for streams of water’ (Ps 42). As we walk down the road of life, Jesus intercepts us on the road. He moves into our lives and begins transforming our appetites. He begins to repair all of our broken cravings. He begins to heal all of our longings, which have been distorted as a result of sin. Instead of ultimately longing for other things, he causes us to long for righteousness instead. What is this righteousness he is talking about? I defined it a few weeks ago simply as ‘right-relatedness’. Righteousness is fundamentally a relational term and begins with our relationship with God, but includes our relationships with others, with ourselves, and with creation. In this beatitude, Jesus takes us right into what it means to be human, made in the image of God. To prepare for this Sunday, you can meditate on Psalm 63 and begin to think about what you really crave. What are your appetites? Are they right-side up or not?
Matt 5:5 We tackle another Beatitude this week – the meek. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Jesus switches the price tags once again with this one. Jesus is saying that it is not the ‘survival of the fittest,’ but the ‘survival of the meekest.’ This is completely upside-down to how the world operates. Take a look at the executives at your company – would you describe them as being meek? Those who are at the top in the sports world – are they meek? Those at the top of politics – are they meek? Maybe they are, maybe they are not. It all depends on how you define meek. And, here, Webster’s dictionary does not help, but Psalm 37 does. So, in preparation for this Beatitude, it would be helpful to meditate over Psalm 37 because it gives us the best definition for meekness. Hope you can join us this Sunday as we aim to discover the blessedness in being meek.
Matt 5:4 As we continue our journey through the Beatitudes (and the theme of Living Right Side Up in an Upside Down World), we come to Beatitude #2 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”. Yes Jesus actually spoke these words, which seem to make no sense at all, and yet, these Beatitudes are not commands to strive to keep but descriptions of what kingdom people look like. So if this Beatitude is true of us, then what kind of mourning is Jesus talking about and how can we possibly be blessed or comforted?