Divine Joy: A Reward Seasoned by His Grace, Illuminated by the Word

Message for Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church:

‘Divine Joy: A Reward Seasoned by His Grace, Illuminated by the Word’

© March 5, 2017 by Steve Mickelson

Based on Message Shared at BLCF on August 23, 2015

BLCF Bulletin March 5, 2017

Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer                                                   

Opening Hymn #509: Is Your Life a Channel of Blessing?; Choruses               

Prayer and Tithing: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayer Requests

Responsive Reading #617: The Beatitudes (Matthew 3 and 28; Acts 2; Romans 6) 

Message: ‘Divine Joy: A Reward Seasoned by His Grace, Illuminated by the Word’

Let us pray…

For our lesson today at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, I would like to examine Jesus’ Sermon, the longest recorded in the gospels, where our Lord gives his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” As the place where the Lord shared the message is called “The Mount of Olives,” the sermon is also known as the ‘Olivet Discourse’ has Jesus describing who his disciples are, rather than what his disciples do. We see that the beatitudes come from activities motivated from a heart of love, humility and compassion, rather that 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.

But what do we mean by the term blessing? We can find several definitions from what I refer to as our Wikibits:

Definition (from Google): blessing [bles-ing] noun

  1. The act or words of a person who blesses.
  2. A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
  3. A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
  4. The invoking of God’s favor upon a person: The son was denied his father’s blessing.
  5. Praise; devotion; worship, especially grace said before a meal: The children took turns reciting the blessing.
  6. Approval or good wishes: The proposed law had the blessing of the governor.

While we see in the above six definitions, some including examples, that are either secular or faith related. Our lesson today will focus upon the second and third definitions:

  1. A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
  2. A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.

When we combine these two definitions, we a special favor, mercy or benefit (through Jesus’ sacrifice), which gives the believer the God given gifts of liberty from sin and joy to the heart.

Matthew 5:1-16 (ESV) The Sermon on the Mount

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“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 Light

13 “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

Augustine of Hippo comments on the Beatitudes listed in the first of today’s Scripture verses that is Matthew 5:1-16, posted within an article by Steven Rummelsburg published online at crisismagazine.com.

Jesus give his ‘Sermon on the Mount’

St. Augustine’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount

Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg

The Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel are described as “perfect works emanating from virtues perfected by the gifts” of the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine orders and clarifies the relationships between the beatific precepts and their corresponding spiritual gifts:

  • 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.

St. Augustine explains that “for with peacemakers all things are in proper order, and no passion is in rebellion against reason, but everything is in submission to man’s spirit because that spirit is obedient to God.”

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/st-augustines-commentary-on-the-sermon-on-the-mount

The Beatitudes, as listed in Matthew 5, are expressions of the believer’s faith and heart that can be viewed as the seasoning or ‘salt’ that enhances our faith activities, helping to illuminate or shed ‘light’ on The Lord’s Gospel. The ultimate purpose of the salt and light is to glorify our Father in heaven.

The second of today’s Scripture verses, Luke 6:12-26, gives us a background to the events immediately prior to Christ’s Olivet Discourse where Jesus, following a prayer to God, called forth his disciples, selecting twelve Apostles or messengers of his Gospel:

Luke 6:12-26 (ESV) The Twelve Apostles

12 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 Multitude

17 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.

The Beatitudes

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.

In Luke 6:13-16, the Lord names the Twelve Disciples:

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.

Before Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount to the multitude, the Lord heals those afflicted with diseases, cure 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 shown to others:

The Final Judgment

Sheep anf Goats

The Final Judgment

31 “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 favor towards the least of our brothers and sisters, as that is how we truly honor Christ..

Let us pray…

Communion: Responsive Reading #626 (Mark 14)

Closing Hymn #505: Out in the Highways and Byways of Life                                

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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

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Divine Joy: A Reward Seasoned by His Grace, Illuminated by the Word

BLCF: GreaterTorontoUrbanChristianOutreachMinistries

Message for Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church:

‘Divine Joy: A Reward Seasoned by His Grace, Illuminated by the Word’

© August 23, 2015 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin August 23, 2015

BLCF: be_atitudes

 

Announcements and Call to Worship – Responsive Reading #617: The Beatitudes (Matthew 3 and 28; Acts 2; Romans 6)

Opening Hymn #509: Is Your Life a Channel of Blessing?; Choruses

Prayer and Tithing: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings; Prayer

Requests Today’s Scriptures: Matthew 5:1-16 and Luke 6:12-26

Matthew 5:1-16 (ESV) The Sermon on the Mount

BLCF: Gustave-Dore-Jesus-Preaching-the-Sermon-on-the-Mount

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

BLCF: beatitudes

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 Light

BLCF: light_salt

13 “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 Apostles

BLCF: The_Exhortation_to_the_Apostles_James_Tissot

12 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 Multitude

BLCF: Sermon-on-the-Mount-Graphic

17 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.

The Beatitudes

BLCF: beatitudes-meaning-and-structure

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.

BLCF: beatiful-atitudes

Let us pray…

For our lesson today at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, I would like to examine Jesus’ Sermon, the longest recorded in the gospels, where our Lord gives his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” As the place where the Lord shared the message is called “The Mount of Olives,” the sermon is also known as the ‘Olivet Discourse’ has Jesus describing who his disciples are, rather than what his disciples do. We see that the beatitudes come from activities motivated from a heart of love, humility and compassion, rather that 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.

But what do we mean by the term blessing? We can find several definitions from what I refer to as our Wikibits:

Definition (from Google): blessing [bles-ing] noun

BLCF: blessings

  1. The act or words of a person who blesses.
  2. A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
  3. A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
  4. The invoking of God’s favor upon a person: The son was denied his father’s blessing.
  5. Praise; devotion; worship, especially grace said before a meal: The children took turns reciting the blessing.
  6. Approval or good wishes: The proposed law had the blessing of the governor.

While we see in the above six definitions, some including examples, that are either secular or faith related. Our lesson today will focus upon the second and third definitions:

  1. A special favor, mercy, or benefit: The blessings of liberty.
  2. A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.

When we combine these two definitions, we a special favor, mercy or benefit (through Jesus’ sacrifice), which gives the believer the God given gifts of liberty from sin and joy to the heart.

Augustine of Hippo comments on the Beatitudes listed in the first of today’s Scripture verses that is Matthew 5:1-16, posted within an article by Steven Rummelsburg published online at crisismagazine.com.

St. Augustine’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount

Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg

BLCF: Saint_Augustine

The Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel are described as “perfect works emanating from virtues perfected by the gifts” of the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine orders and clarifies the relationships between the beatific precepts and their corresponding spiritual gifts:

  • 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.

St. Augustine explains that “for with peacemakers all things are in proper order, and no passion is in rebellion against reason, but everything is in submission to man’s spirit because that spirit is obedient to God.”

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/st-augustines-commentary-on-the-sermon-on-the-mount

BLCF: trust

The Beatitudes, as listed in Matthew 5, are expressions of the believer’s faith and heart that can be viewed as the seasoning or ‘salt’ that enhances our faith activities, helping to illuminate or shed ‘light’ on the Lord’s Gospel. The ultimate purpose of the salt and light is to glorify our Father in heaven.

The second of today’s Scripture verses, Luke 6:12-26, gives us a background to the events immediately prior to Christ’s Olivet Discourse where Jesus, following a prayer to God, called forth his disciples, selecting twelve Apostles or messengers of his Gospel. In Luke 6:13-16, the Lord names the twelve:

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.

Before Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount to the multitude, the Lord heals those afflicted with diseases, cure 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 is 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 our actions, but upon the love, humility and compassion we show to others:

The Final Judgment

BLCF: sheep-goats

31 “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 inheriting the kingdom of heaven, we need to first demonstrate our own favor to the least of our brothers and sisters.

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #505: Out in the Highways and Byways of Life

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.

 

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Mat 5:1-11 KJV)

Y cuando vio las multitudes, subió al monte; y después de sentarse, sus discípulos se acercaron a El. Y abriendo su boca, les enseñaba, diciendo: Bienaventurados los pobres en espíritu, pues de ellos es el reino de los cielos. Bienaventurados los que lloran, pues ellos serán consolados. Bienaventurados los humildes, pues ellos heredarán la tierra. Bienaventurados los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, pues ellos serán saciados. Bienaventurados los misericordiosos, pues ellos recibirán misericordia. Bienaventurados los de limpio corazón, pues ellos verán a Dios. Bienaventurados los que procuran la paz, pues ellos serán llamados hijos de Dios. Bienaventurados aquellos que han sido perseguidos por causa de la justicia, pues de ellos es el reino de los cielos. Bienaventurados seréis cuando os insulten y persigan, y digan todo género de mal contra vosotros falsamente, por causa de mí. (Mat 5:1-11 LBLA) Da er aber das Volk sah, ging er auf einen Berg und setzte sich; und seine Jünger traten zu ihm, Und er tat seinen Mund auf, lehrte sie und sprach: Selig sind, die da geistlich arm sind; denn das Himmelr

Preserve the Faith, Illuminate the Gospel and Be Blessed

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

 ‘Preserve the Faith, Illuminate the Gospel and Be Blessed’

© June 9, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin: June 9, 2013 

Let us pray…

Today’s lesson begins with the Scripture Matthew 5, verses 1 to 12 where we have Christ’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’  and Jesus shares a list of blessings commonly referred to as ‘The Beatitudes’.  And in Matthew 5, verses 13 to 16, Jesus uses ‘salt’ and ‘light’ as metaphors for the expectations of those who receive the Lord’s blessings.

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

According to Jewish tradition, the Mount of Olives, also called Olivet, Mount Olivet, or Har HaZeitim, was prophesized as is to be the place where the Messiah will appear, to resurrect the dead, which is why it is the location of one of holiest cemeteries is found on the mount. Among the thousands buried on the mountain, we find the tombs of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

The Triumphal Entry of Jesus, which we observe on Palm Sunday, took place over and down this mountain.  And the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of Olivet, was the place where Jesus prayed, wept and was later arrested. Scripture holds that on the mount Jesus charged his disciples with The Great Commission and then ascended into heaven.

Olivet, where Jesus gave his longest, and perhaps most profound teaching, is a plateau-like ridge some 3½ kilometers long and it rises upwards some 60 meters upwards, between Jerusalem to West and the Kindron Valley on the east. It a flattened ridge which acts as a natural amphitheater, making a good venue to minister to a large gathering of people.

Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount while still early in his ministry, not long after being baptized by the Spirit and just after he completed a ministry in and around Galilee. Word of Jesus’ miracles and teachings had spread and a large crowd had gathered on Olivet to hear him speak, Matthew 5:1-16 (ESV)  The Sermon on the Mount (see in the middle of today’s bulletin):

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.                

                                             

    The Beatitudes                                                                                                                                                                                                           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 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.

Our English Standard translation defines the Greek Makarios as an adjective meaning ‘blessing’. Hence, we have Blessed are at the beginning of verses 3 through 11. An alternative translation for Makarios is ‘happy’. Using this substitution in verses 3 to 11, the translation reads as follows:

3 “Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.    

4 “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.     

 5 “Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.       

 6 “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.    

  7 “Happy are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  

  8 “Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.                                                                                                  

  9 “Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.         

 10 “Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  

 11 “Happy are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

With the substitution of Happy for Blessed, verse 12 seems to follow naturally when it states:

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What concerned many of the Pharisees and scribes was not the compassion and love inherent in Jesus’ Beatitudes message, but that many of those beautified included the poor, the meek and the persecuted. A group normally shunned or avoided by the mainstream Jew, as their circumstance thought to be God’s punishment for a sin or transgression.

And such was the reaction, when Jesus spoke at the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, Luke 4:14-20 (ESV), where Jesus Begins His Ministry  (also in the middle of today’s bulletin):

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

  16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Jesus In The Temple

Jesus In The Temple

If you continue reading Luke 4, you will see that Jesus words were not warmly received. Instead Luke 4:28 indicates that those in the synagogue were angry at his words, Luke 4:28-30(ESV):

28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

In the temple at Nazareth and at Olivet, Jesus when he delivered sermon, he sought to teach Divine truth; not seeking to give his audience a warm and fuzzy feeling about their faith walk.

We see in the Beatitudes or blessings part of today’s Scriptures, the results of Christian love and compassion. But how does the Christian know whether what they are doing  is what God expects and done in a manner that is pleasing to the Spirit?

The answer comes from verses 13 to 16 of Matthew 5: ‘Salt and Light’

13 “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 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 

light_salt                                            

Using salt and light as metaphors for the characteristics of a blessed follower is quite interesting. One is a mineral, with physical characteristics, while light is a more ethereal or heavenly aspect of the believer.

Our words and actions act as a living testimony to our faith, but the light that is revealed by such actions is from the Spirit within each believer. What we do in the name of the Lord, acts like salt, it enhances and even preserves. Salt should not be wasted or applied casually.

In the same manner, the Lord has given us the gifts of the Holy Spirit; they are not intended to be hidden or wasted. Like light, our gifts of the Spirit have a purpose: to overcome darkness and to glorify God.

We can determine whether what we do is worthy of the Lord’s Blessing and is acceptable to Him, when we ask is whether or not what we do is wasteful and glorifies our Heavenly Father.

We have now discussed Jesus’ expectations of His disciples and how he was anointed was anointed by the Spirit to bring this Gospel or good news to the poor. And to tie the two together, you will find on the back of today’s bulletin,  Psalm 103 (ESV) , Bless the Lord, O My Soul, Of David:

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,                                                                                                            3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,                                                                                                        4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,                                                                                                                                 5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;                                                                                                                                                                                                                     12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,                                                                                                                                                     18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion.                                                                                                   Bless the Lord, O my soul!

be-salt-and-light

Like our Lord, we must show compassion and love both to others and to Him. Does this sound familiar? Remember the Royal Law we discussed a few Sundays ago? That is how we keep the flavour of our salt and project the light of Lord to others, to His glory so that we may be blessed, be happy in the Lord!

Let us pray…

Hymn #81: All Praise to Him Who Reigns Above

Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26): The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.