Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes (Part 1)

Studying for this week’s lesson has been a challenge for me and that’s exactly what I prayed for this week. I asked God to challenge me and he certainly did. I am going to split up the Beatitudes because there is so much we can learn from these 10 verses. Keep praying that God will show me his words and that I will portray them in the way he leads. 

Take a minute and read Matthew 5:3-12. This lesson will mainly focus on verses 3-4.

The Beatitudes are some of my favorite passages in the Bible and I like to think of them as the “Attitudes” we should “Be”. The word “Beatitude” is the Latin word that translates as “Blessed” and Jesus starts out each Beatitude with this word. Warren Wiersbe says being blessed is, “an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that does not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.” When Jesus says we are blessed, that means we are truly satisfied and content with Him. “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6). If we walk with the Lord, he is all we need.  The points he makes in the next few verses are the things that will bring us closer to him.

  • Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

a. What exactly does “poor in spirit” mean? The NLT translates as, “who are poor and realize their need for him”; Berkley translates as, “they who know their spiritual poverty”; Wiersbe translates as, “to be humble, to have a correct estimate of oneself.” It is basically saying that we realize our sin and that we need a Savior. We cannot do things on our own. We have been humbled and realize we aren’t worth anything. David Guzik explains, “Poverty of spirit cannot be artificially induced by self-hatred; it is brought about by the Holy Spirit and our response to His working in our hearts.” The Holy Spirit leads us to a place where we let go of our pride and our personal independence and accept that we need God. Guzik goes on to explain that this realization must be a “prerequisite” for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. You cannot enter God’s Kingdom unless you know that you are a sinner and you turn from your sins.

b. How can we develop this attitude? James 4:7-8;10 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Commit yourself and yield to God’s authority. Satan cannot hurt you if you are walking closely with Christ. Lead a pure life and be humble before God. Heaven will be rewarded to those who “realize their need for him.”

  • Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

a. Before studying this scripture, I thought that this verse meant anyone who was mourning over the loss of a loved one or someone who is grief-stricken over the things of this life. But God has shown me that this goes hand-in-hand with being “poor in spirit.” We actually mourn the evil in our hearts and the sin that we have done. Guzik explains further, “The ancient Greek grammar indicates an intense degree of mourning. Jesus does not speak of casual sorrow for the consequences of our sin, but a deep grief before God over our fallen state. What do those who mourn actually mourn about? Their mourning is not over just anything, but they mourn over sin. To really be followers of Jesus, we must mourn over our sin and the ruin and separation from God that comes to our life from sin.”  When Adam sinned, the human race was separated from God. God blesses us and comforts us when we mourn over our nature of sin and our realizing we need him.

b. How can we develop this attitude? James 4:9 says we are to, “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” When our spiritual poverty is identified, we should grieve over the things we have done and ask God for forgiveness and the comfort that only he can bring. “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” (2 Cor.1:3). His comfort can come to us through His strength, encouragement, and hope. John MacArthur says, “the comfort of Matthew 5:4 is future only in the sense that the blessing comes after the obedience; the comfort comes after the mourning.” We have to mourn to be comforted. And only Jesus can give us that comfort. When we are weary and heavy-laden, he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

May God reveal to you the severity of your spiritual poverty, which will lead you to a humble mourning, which will lead you to a comfort you’ve never known.

Running the Christian Race

I wrote this back in October after I went for a run. God gave me some amazing thoughts to ponder upon. I would like to share them with you and I hope you are blessed by them.

The Christian life is like running. You start to run and you feel pretty good for the first mile or so. Then after awhile the pain sets in. You have shin splints, stitches in your side, your breathing is irregular. The next few miles seem like forever. You come to the bottom of a hill. The top seems miles away, but you have to run it to get to the top. The pain is excruciating and you want to quit. But before you give up, you see the top and the hill levels off.

In the Christian life, we start out feeling amazing. Christ has just entered our lives and we have a fire in us that we think is unquenchable. But then the pain sets in. The real world starts attacking our lives. The devil makes us think things that aren’t true. He will start to play with our self-esteem. He will tell us that we are not good enough, not smart enough, and that we are not worthy of God’s love. We might deal with sickness, family problems, financial problems, etc. Everything seems out of sorts. So now we are in a valley. The top of the hill is miles away. Our problems of the world keep making the distance longer and harder. But Jesus promises us this in John 16:33 – “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

But just when you are about to give up, you look up to see the Father. He is waiting at the top of the mountain with his arms open wide.

So run. Run your hardest. Do not give up. For Jesus awaits you in heaven. Phillipians 3:14 – “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Prayers & Blessings,

Lindsay

Ultimate Rest

Rest – my definition of rest is to relax and unwind both physically and mentally from the craziness and the busyness of the day. But who actually has time to rest with all of the things that we have scheduled ourselves to do? We live in a demanding world of deadlines, to taking care of our families, to being here and there that we have no time to actually rest. Although physical rest is very important for our bodies, it is also important that we find spiritual rest for our souls.

Take a moment and read Hebrews 4:1-11

There 3 types of “rest” in these verses.

  • A Past Rest (Canaan)
  • A Present Rest (Jesus)
  • A Future Rest (Heaven)

1. A Past Rest – Canaan 

Hebrews 4:6, “So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God.”

Moses led the people out of their bondage in Egypt to take them to the land of Canaan, their ultimate resting place. This was supposed to be the land flowing with “milk and honey.” But the Israelites did not trust God and disobeyed him. This caused them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and they could never enter their “promised land” because of this disobedience.

Psalm 95:11, “In my anger I took an oath, They will never enter my place of rest.”

The Life Application Study Bible says “For the Israelites of Moses’ time, this rest was the earthly rest to be found in the Promised Land.” Canaan is the physical representation of the spiritual rest that was and is to come; the ultimate rest that God gives us today.

2. A Present Rest – Jesus 

Hebrews 4:7, “So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today.”

Wiersbe paints an image in our minds of the past/physical rest with the present/spiritual rest; “The Canaan rest for Israel is a picture of the spiritual rest we find in Christ when we surrender to Him.”

God has given us the opportunity today to have that rest in Jesus Christ. He gave us rest when he died for our sins.  All we have to do is lay aside our worries, our fears, our pride, and leave them at the Cross. We must obey his word, follow his teachings, and give our all to his cause. We cannot have rest, until we rest in Him and we must do this daily. Do not wait to enjoy God’s peace because tomorrow might be too late.

3. A Future Rest – Heaven 

Hebrews 4:9, “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.”

The Ultimate Rest:  Heaven. “God rested when He finished the work of Creation. God’s Son rested when He completed the work of the new creation. We may enter into His rest by trusting His Word and obeying His will. We can do this as we listen to His Word, understand it, trust it, and obey it. Only in this way can we claim our inheritance in Christ.” (Wiersbe)

There is a final rest waiting for us when we have the completed this earthly race. Phillipians 3:14 says, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” Keep on pressing, keep on pushing, keep on pursuing our heavenly rest.

Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!” To have faith, we must bear the fruit of Godliness. One day we will rest from all of our hard work here on this earth and our reward is Heaven.

Genesis 2:2 says that God rested on the 7th day to indicate the completion of His perfect Creation. One day God is going to come back for His creation and fully renew and restore it. He will take those who are obedient and watchful to their home in the sky. We will finally experience perfect, peaceful rest.

  • The Biblical past examples of rest and our daily rest with the Lord do not lead us to death but they lead us to an eternal and ultimate rest with our Savior in our heavenly home. Press, push, & pursue!

Prayers & blessings,

Lindsay

Straight Up Truth

Satan:  The deceiver, the liar, the manipulator.

Peter warns us about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”  

So why do we listen to him? Why do we give him to lies and deceit? He takes sin and sugar coats it. He makes sin look like it’s okay and that it won’t hurt anybody. All we have to do is just try it once. Didn’t he use this same thing on Adam and Eve at the beginning of time? He is using the same exact techniques as he did in the Garden and they still work just as well today as they did then. You’re probably wondering what I’m getting at. The fact is, Satan keeps the truth from us. I have friends and family that have been blinded by his tactics and they cannot see past their own nose. Their truth is what is true and you cannot tell them any different.

2 Corinthians 4:4, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

Satan has placed a blindfold over those who do not believe or semi-believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They see things how they want to see them. This really bothers me friends. It’s so hard to see people around you believe in something that will lead them to an eternity in Hell.

The truth is:  Ever since Creation, God had a divine plan mapped out. Man would be deceived but God sent his Son, Jesus Christ to become a human being to save us all from the Great Deceiver himself. We must get the truth out about Jesus. We must not hold back the truth of his Word. Jesus says in John 8:31-32, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We must break free from the shackles of sin and put on the whole Armor of God (Eph. 6:11-17).

How can we keep the truth close to us and not be deceived? James tells us to “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (4:7) God will give us the strength to resist Satan. To do this we must “wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment” (Is. 11:5)Dig deep into the Word and get on your knees and pray that the truth will always find you.

My prayer is that you will always know the truth. Don’t let Satan cover the truth from you. Read your Bible, pray, and seek his will and the truth will ALWAYS set you free.

Prayers & Blessings,

Lindsay