#251 – THE BLESSED ARE TRULY RICH (7/12/20)
‘Blessed' is one of those words like ‘meek’ or ‘love’ that is often confused. It is still often announced after someone sneezes. As legend has it, it’s a carry over from the Plague, when, apparently, Pope Gregory I suggested using it as a protection to ward off death!
‘Blessed’ means to be truly rich, truly happy, to have the ideal life. Billy Graham called the Beatitudes ‘The beautiful attitudes’; to be blessed is to be truly beautiful.
These eight ‘beautiful attitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 are to be ‘put on’ by every Christian. The church will be a city set on a hill, only as she lives by Jesus’ radically different values.
Readings and reflections
1. Receive Jesus in order to be truly blessed! The blessedness of which is spoken of in the Beatitudes can only be experienced by Christians. This section begins,
‘Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”’ (Matthew 5:1-2)
Who is Jesus teaching and to whom do these blessings and promises relate?
Of course, everyone experiences some of the ‘blessings’ of God in the sun, seasons and joys of life. However, to be truly blessed - truly rich - one must have received Christ. Without the forgiveness and empowering of the Spirit, these beatitudes, and the entire Sermon on the Mount is a crushing weight and curse to us. Only in Jesus can we receive forgiveness for disobedience and power for increased obedience.
2. The church is blessed to be a blessing. Our lives and our message are to bring light and life into this dark world.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)
How would living out the Beatitudes make us a ‘town built on a hill’?
What is stopping you or your church from serious devotion to living as Jesus is directing here?
John Stott wrote,
‘I believe Jesus meant His Sermon on the Mount to be obeyed. Indeed, if the church realistically accepted his standards and values described here, and lived by them, it would be the alternative society He always intended it to be, and would offer to the world an authentic Christian counter-culture.’
Take a moment to pray for yourself, your church, the Church, to become a greater light as they obey the Beatitudes.
Do I think that it’s important for me to understand and obey these Beatitudes? Do I really believe that putting on such attitudes, by the help of the Spirit, will increase my joy and cause people to ‘see’ Jesus in me and His people?
To memorise this week
This week, why not begin memorising The Beatitudes?!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever been jealous of someone? Why was this?
Introduction - please share in your group
To be a disciple means that we learn from, in order to obey, Jesus. On Sunday, we began to look at the Beatitudes, which is an important section of Jesus' teaching.
Let's read the whole section together,
'Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."' (Matthew 5:1-12)
To be blessed means to be truly happy, and truly rich.
Billy Graham called the Beatitudes the beautiful attitudes. These are attributes that every Christian is to exhibit. As we do so, we will become a city set on a hill for the glory of God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
This week we will focus on the first Beatitude which reads,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
To be poor in Spirit is to realise that we are spiritually bankrupt. We realise that we need saving. It's to come to trust in Jesus completely for salvation and transformation. To such belongs 'The Kingdom of heaven' - they become citizens of God's Kingdom and have the certain hope of eternal life.
1. Would you like to share anything that struck you or something that God spoke to you about from Sunday's message or the devotionals this week?
2. What might characterise someone who is 'poor in spirit'?
3. To be blessed is to be truly rich; in what ways have Christians been enriched?
4. To be poor in spirit is to rely on Jesus completely for salvation; what texts of scripture would you use to reinforce this idea?
5. To be poor in spirit to to rely on God for transformation (sanctification); what texts of scripture might you use to reinforce this?
Investing and inviting
i) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
ii) How are you planning to 'invest and invite'?
iii) Finally, Who are you planning to invite to our carol service on the 20th?