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Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Guided by the Beatitudes’ – Part 2 – (Part 1 was shared Sunday, October 16, 2022)
© October 23, 2022, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages shared at BLCF on August 18, 2019, February 26, 2017, March 5, 2017, August 23, 2015, and October 18, 2009
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer Hymn #204: There’s A Quiet Understanding
There’s a Quiet Understanding – (Lyrics) – Christian Music Artists – https://youtu.be/BJTj8CGjJbgTithing & Prayer Requests; Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow) Instrumental – https://youtu.be/Mk4p3rihONU Hymn #177: Rejoice, The Lord Is King
Rejoice The Lord Is King (Acoustic Song Leading Video) // Emu Music – https://youtu.be/oh0BYrdd-8oResponsive Reading #617: (The Beatitudes – Matthew 5) Music Special: “Beatitudes” – Hillsong UNITED (cover by Wade Cambern with LYRICS) – https://youtu.be/oFGYzpqUD7E Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Guided By The Beatitudes’ – Part 2 (Part 1 Last Sunday) Let us pray… You may recall in our lesson last Sunday, we examined the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law, understanding that in spite of our sinful nature which began in the Garden of Eden, the Bible records that God has faithfully provided mechanisms for guiding believers along the “A Path of Righteousness”. Before the advent of Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross, subsequent resurrection, and ascension to Heaven, allowed those who believed to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. God gave the People of Israel the Ten Commandments, as described in Exodus 20:1-17. These laws gave a nation of former slaves rules to guide the people along God’s path. Over time, the Commandments have been expanded by the Jews into the Laws of Moses, comprising three Codes.
The first Code is the 10 Commandments. The second Code consists of the Ordinances, a set of Spiritual specifications which include: a description of the Tabernacle, Holy Days, acceptable offerings, and activities or responsibilities of the priesthood. The third Code may be described as a set of Social rules governing such things as diet, sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, marriage, slavery, etc. Many consider these comprehensive Mosaic Laws as the foundation or template of our modern legal system. While the first code was given by God to Moses, the second and third were a human attempt to expand or embellish the original ten by covering every possible facet of society. Most importantly, as the manmade Laws grow in number and complexity, in an attempt to address each new situation, there is a tendency to forget the importance of the original 10 Commandments and who authored them. Some mistakenly think that Jesus came to do away with the Laws of Moses, as we read in Mathew 5:17, Jesus said that not that he came to destroy the law or the prophets: but he came to fulfill them, and by his death and resurrection bring the Holy Spirit to those who believe. The Holy Spirit is the key to God’s plan for providing guidance to believers to keep along His path. You may also recall in last Sunday’s lesson that as believers in Christ, God has removed the old rules or laws and provided, through the Holy Spirit, provided a beautiful and simple way for us to grow and mature, by accepting the responsibility of our spiritual maturity. He has given us his Beatitudes which each of us may use to measure our spiritual growth on a personal level. By doing so we may grow and develop our fruit of the Spirit and draw closer to his presence with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts of the Spirit given by faith in Christ’s act of salvation are free, and not of works, lest anyone should boast. To grow the fruit of the Spirit does require a conscious effort on our part as believers. For any of you who have grown fruit in a garden, you must realize that it takes time and you may not get fruit in the first season. You must wait for the trees and vines to mature. You must plant, water, prune, fertilize, spray, and protect a tree or vine. And you must provide the right soil and climate to allow the fruit to grow and prosper. Finally, you must be persistent and patient to see fruit grow and mature.
So now we are caught up on the lesson from last Sunday, let us examine Jesus’ message which describes a list of Beatitudes found in his Sermon on the Mount.
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:1-16: The Beatitudes5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Footnotes: a. Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface b. Matthew 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
Luke 6:12-26 (ESV): The Twelve Apostles12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. We see that The Beatitudes come from activities motivated by a heart of love, humility, and compassion, rather than actions motivated by the expectation of rewards in this world. If the heart is right, then the believer will receive the blessings of a great reward in heaven. Question: “What are the Beatitudes?” Answer: The Beatitudes are the eight declarations of blessedness spoken by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), each beginning with “Blessed are…” It is debated as to exactly how many beatitudes there are. Some speak of seven, nine, or ten beatitudes, but the number appears to be eight (verses 10-12 of Matthew 5 being one beatitude). The Greek word translated “blessed” means “happy, blissful” or, literally, “to be enlarged.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the word to refer to more than a superficial happiness; in this context, blessed refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity. The happiness is a deep joy of the soul. Those who experience the first aspect of a beatitude (poor, mourn, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemakers, and persecuted) will also experience the second aspect of the beatitude (kingdom of heaven, comfort, inherit the earth, filled, mercy, see God, called sons of God, inherit the kingdom of heaven). The blessed have a share in salvation and have entered the kingdom of God, experiencing a foretaste of heaven. Another possible rendering of the beginning of each beatitude is “O the bliss [or blessedness] of . . . .” The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still “outside the kingdom.” As a literary form, the beatitude is also found often in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms (1:1; 34:8; 65:4; 128:1) and in the New Testament as well (John 20:29; 14:22; James 1:12; Revelation 14:13). https://www.gotquestions.org/beatitudes.html But what do we mean by the terms blessing and beatitude? We can find several definitions to help us understand:
Definition (from Google): blessing [bles-ing] noun
- The act or words of a person who blesses.
- A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
- A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
- The invoking of God’s favor upon a person: The son was denied his father’s blessing.
- Praise; devotion; worship, especially grace said before a meal: The children took turns reciting the blessing.
- Approval or good wishes: The proposed law had the blessing of the governor.
- A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
- A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
St. Augustine’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount
- Poverty of spirit corresponds with fear of the lord in which all wisdom begins.
- Meekness corresponds with piety, honor for the sacred Scriptures and the restrained power to live them out.
- Mourning corresponds with the gift of knowledge and facilitates the discernment of good from evil.
- Hunger and thirst for justice corresponds with the gift of fortitude to be truly just.
- Mercy coincides with the gift of counsel which exhorts us to forgive as we wish to be forgiven.
- Purity of heart corresponds with the gift of understanding what the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard.
- Peacemaking corresponds with the gift of wisdom.
Before Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount to the multitude, the Lord heals those afflicted with diseases and cures others troubled with unclean spirits, with others seeking to touch and be healed. The Lord shares his message of the beatitudes, but tempers the expectation of blessings by his disciples, with caution of woe to those whose appearance lacks the salt and light expected from a true disciple of the Lord, Luke 6:24-26 (ESV): 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. These warnings of woe are clarified in Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV), where Jesus describes how we may truly understand how a believer would be separated and judged, based not upon actions, but upon the love, humility, and compassion showed to others, In other words as disciples of Christ, we must focus upon the importance of who we are over what we do, as was described at the very beginning of today’s lesson:
The Final Judgment31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then 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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’ In order to receive God’s blessing and receive the favor of inheriting the kingdom of heaven, we need to first demonstrate our own favour to the least of our brothers and sisters. In order to receive God’s blessing and receive the favor of inheriting the kingdom of heaven, we need to first demonstrate our own favour to the least of our brothers and sisters. If we are made in His image, then our image must be an expression of His love. After all, God is Love.
The Beatitudes remind us again that people work their entire lives to achieve wealth, fame, and power, which may bring material rewards. Christians believe, however, that those who live by the code of conduct outlined in the Beatitudes and pursue righteous lives will develop the quality of character that God wants His followers to have and will ultimately be blessed with the reward of an eternity in Heaven. Let us pray…
Closing Music Special: The Beatitudes Song – (Lyrics) – Provided to YouTube by Catapult Reservatory, LLC · Brook Hills Worship · Matt Mason · Mandi Mapes Kottas – https://youtu.be/5yxs5wFpnGg Benediction – (Philippians 4:19): And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.