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Sermon24-14 Mt5 Guide

Matthew 5:1-10, theme verse Matthew 5:3

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the third Sunday of the Lent I pray that God may bless you all in His love, grace and blessings. As we have been looking into the Gospel of Matthew, in this week, we would like to meditate on the sermon on the Mount in Mt. 5-6 together to learn few lessons.

1)    As we already saw last few weeks, the Gospel of Matthew was written by Apostle Matthew, was sent to the church community of Jewish converts around AD 75-80, when the Christian community was separated more and more from the Jewish community, in order to teach the reality of the kingdom of heaven and also the identity and the way of life of Jesus' disciples so that the church community could be established as the missional church to take great commission to go and make disciples of all nations.

2)    The long sermon on the Mount of Jesus from chapter 5 through 7 is about a) true happiness in the kingdom of heaven, b) true meaning of the law, c) true godly life of almsgiving, prayer and fasting, d) and also true Christian ethics of golden rule, followed by the recognition of Jesus as true teacher of the Mosaic law.

3)    Among these four themes of the sermon on the Mount, today we would like to meditate on the eight virtues in the beatitude. First virtue is found in verse 3, saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Here the poor in spirit is the virtue of humility which is the translation of the the Greek “ταπεινός”, yet this has different meaning than what it means in the world.  I mean, humility in the Bible means that they are in total depravity and total inability so that they cannot save themselves from this misery, so by seeking God’s help, they became to depend totally on God so that they can have the kingdom of heaven. And also through the fact that the verse is written in the present tense, we could know that this reign of God has already come and is on-going right now in us. And then in verse 10, Jesus said that those who became humble also pursue the righteousness even though they are persecuted so that finally they also have the kingdom of heaven. And also through the fact that this verse is written in the present tense, we can know that the seeking of righteousness even with persecution is the sign of the present reign of God.

4)    And in the following verse 4, it says that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This means that those who became humble mourn over sin, over social evil, and over oppression so that they will be comforted through the forgiveness of sin by God, and through the eternal comfort in the end. And then in verse 7, those who mourn over sin and oppression may live the life of mercy toward those who are in misery and oppression, so that they shall receive mercy from God too. Here the mercy means the goodness or love of God shown to those who are in misery or distress, irrespective of their deserts as one of God's attributes of goodness, so that this mercy is also required to those who became God's people, as Zechariah 7:9 commanded to show kindness and mercy to one another.

5)    And then in verse 5, it is said that ”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek here which is “πραΰς” in the Greek, means humble readiness to be taught by the Word of God and to obey to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can know that the meek who accept the reign of God humbly and obey to His reign shall inherit the earth. But, at first, Jesus' saying on the inheritance of the earth in the future tense in Matthew 5:5 seems contrary to Jesus' saying on the present rewards in Mark 10:30 saying "those who had left house, or brothers   or sisters or mother or father or children or lands will receive a hundredfold now in this time, with persecutions.” But, we can understand that Mark pointed out that we shall receive spiritual family and spiritual kingdom of God in this world, while Matthew pointed out the eschatological inheritance in new heaven and new earth where we will reign forever with Jesus, in the world we will inherit. And then this meek will make efforts to bring peace in the world as verse 9 says that “Blessed are the peacemaker, for they shall be called sons of God.” In other words, the meek will become those who bring an end to quarrels and hostilities, seeking harmony in place of strife or discord, as reconciling people as they were reconciled with God through the cross, so that these people will be called the sons of God who is God of peace.

6)    And then these people who are humble and meek, mourning over their sin and repenting, will pursue the righteousness, so that they shall be satisfied in verse 6. Here the righteousness stands for the righteous life before God as the result of correct relationship with God which often is expressed as the knowledge of God in the Bible so that they shall be satisfied with the intimate relationship with God. And then in verse 8, those who pursue the intimate relationship with God shall not only receive the purification of their heart, after the forgiveness of their sin and by the sanctification, but also try to purify the world through the blood of Jesus so that they shall see God, as Revelation 21:3 says “God Himself will be with them as their God,” while, even in this side of world, they enjoy the presence and power of God, while knowing God and His attributes more and rejoicing.

7)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, we would like to think about how to read this beatitude. I mean, when we read these eight virtues of the blessed, how do we have to read them? Do we have to read as if we do mercy and make peace with humble and meek mind, then we will be blessed to have the kingdom of God and its blessings? Or do we have to read them that since we were blessed with the Holy Spirit, then we can become humble and meek to do mercy and reconcile the people, to have the kingdom of God to enjoy its blessings as Psalm 1:1 read that the blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD? This is simple, I mean, as we already knew that the humility means total dependence on God after confessing their total depravity and total inability, it is clear that we cannot receive if it requires us to become humble first and to do mercy, since we cannot be perfect in this side of world. Therefore, we’d better to read these beatitude that those who received already the blessings of God, I mean, the Holy Spirit and His regeneration only can become humble to do mercy and even pursue righteousness even with persecution to have the kingdom of God. In order words, those who already live under God’s rule can have humility toward God and mercy toward people.

8)    Then, secondly, we would like to think about why Christians were persecuted. To tell the truth, we can expect such humble and merciful people to be valued highly by other fellow humans, but it seems such is not the case according to verse 10 as Jesus said those who are humble and merciful shall be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The reason is that as 1 Peter 2:21 said “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps,” we will be suffered as Jesus was persecuted by pursuing the righteousness for our sake. Then why was even Jesus our Lord persecuted? Isn’t it true that Confucius who proclaim the benevolence in order to make a happy world has been revered until now, not being persecuted? Isn’t it true that Buddha who preached the mercy for the people in order to reach the Nirvana where no rebirth to the painful world does not occur anymore, were revered, not being persecuted? But then why was Jesus who preached to live even our enemy after inaugurating the kingdom of God here in this side of world persecuted, not being revered? The reason is not because He did not proclaim the reverence of God or love for the human beings, rather, because He proclaimed it is not possible for humanity. After eating the fruit of good and evil, all the religions and philosophies have been proclaiming that we can reach the ultimate wisdom and perfect state by our wisdom, effort and good deeds, but, Jesus, after saying that “with human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” took the cross to stop and turn gigantic wheel of human history to pursue the enlightenment through their efforts and deeds, back to God, and died in the cross in order to pull back the grace of God to the world. Therefore, all Christians always have been persecuted by all the religions and philosophies who taught our human enlightenment and good deeds.

9)    Then thirdly, we can ask how Christians who have to dare to be persecuted by proclaiming the truth can make peace in the world. It is simple. I mean, we have to humbly confess that “I could not” or “I am in short” instead saying “I am holier than you” or “You are wrong.” In other words, we should not judge others as Mt 7:1 said, rather we always say that our only hope is in Jesus with humble and fearful heart to those who ask the reason for our hope to the glory of God. So I pray that in this third Sunday of the Lent, as the blessed people by God, being humble and meek, we may proclaim the mercy and peace of God to the world so that we may enjoy the presence of the kingdom of God and its blessings, even in this side of world, to His glory.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 Today’s text says that those who are under the reign of God has the virtue of humility. So after reflecting yourself whether you are under the reign of God now or you are becoming more and more humble before God, I hope you could share your thought with your team members to share His grace

Q2 And also, it says that those who became humble may do mercy to others. So after reflecting your life whether you are doing mercy to others or you have someone you have to do mercy on him or her, I hope you could share your thought with your team members to share grace.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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