Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes

In Matthew 5:7, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” “Merciful” is a term that emphasizes who someone is more than what they do. Someone has observed, “The merciful show mercy not because of some deserving quality in someone else but because of his or her own attitude.” It is an attitude of deep sympathy that motivates genuine actions of selfless caring. It has been said that kindness is a friend calling when you are well, but mercy is a friend calling when you are sick. Knowing the power of God’s forgiveness and then forgiving the undeserving is at the heart of what it means to be merciful. The merciful are promised mercy from God and from others.

BeatitudesThe sixth step in the development of the abundant or blessed life is purity of heart. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The heart is the inner person, or control center, of a person’s life. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” To be pure in heart means to have a clean, honest and unmixed view or perspective. The pure in heart have godly values and biblical standards. Martyn Lloyd Jones said being pure in heart means that “we have an undivided love which regards God as our highest good, and which is concerned only about loving God.”

A person who is pure in heart is focused on spiritual growth and development. He or she wants to be more like Christ. First John 3:3 says, “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The pure in heart have sincere motives. They are God-focused, which empowers them to see God. How? Not in a literal sense, but in a very plain yet spiritual way. It is always the eye of faith that enables a person to see the hand of God at work. The pure in heart see God, in the sense that they understand that life is not a series of chance happenings or random encounters but the unfolding of God’s providence. They interpret life through the reality of God and not on the basis of luck or chance.

They do not live in denial but accept reality. They do not become distressed in spirit because they understand that life is not defined by what happens to them but who they are in Christ.

From being pure in heart, Jesus revealed the next step in the blessed life: peacemakers. Inner peace is not the absence of trouble or difficulty but the presence of a sense of well-being. God is called the God of peace (Romans, 2 Corinthians, Philippians). Jesus Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). We have peace with God through Christ. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Sin is not just the enemy of peace; it is the disrupter of peace. The ungodly cannot provide peace (Isaiah 48:22). The world does not give peace. Satan promises peace, but he cannot deliver because he is a liar and a deceiver. Jesus said we would have tribulation (stress, pressure, difficulty) in this world system, but that we would have peace in Him because He overcame the world.

A peacemaker has peace with God and experiences the peace of God, which enables him or her to make peace with others and introduce those without peace to the only true peace-giver, Jesus Christ. Peacemakers are God’s tools for His great work of reconciliation. Peacemakers are called sons of God because the peace they share is from God Himself.

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