Sermon on the Mount / Matthew 5:4
Several years back I went to Las Vegas with my dad. I did not go there to gamble or involve myself in sinful situations; rather, I wanted to spend some time with my dad with hopes of talking to him about the Lord. We went there around the real estate crisis that took over our nation in the mid 2000’s. On the main strip, there were several hotels not completed. Evidently, the ownership group for those hotels ran out of money to complete the building project. Some of the buildings were almost done, others still had a lot to go. In both cases, these not completed hotels became a eye soar for Vegas for many years. An incomplete project is not something to behold.
Similarly, this is how the beatitudes must be viewed. Jesus did not preach this portion of the Sermon on the Mount to encourage us to nail down most of these beatitudes. The purpose of this portion of the sermon is for Christians to exhibit all of these beatitudes. It is not good enough to live out 5, 6 or 7 of the 8 or 9 beatitudes. If this is the case then we become an incomplete project and a potential eye soar for the world to view. We must strive (and it will be striving) in allowing God to complete the work in us.
There are two hindrances that prevent us from living out all of the beatitudes:
- We do not believe it is possible to live out each of these beatitudes. One of the reasons we believe this is we convince ourselves of self-power to do this (And we just do not have the self-power to live each of these beatitudes out); when the opposite is true. Our responsibility is to work out what God has already put into our hearts. In other words, we are using His power to become the person and Christian He wants us to be. If Peter walked on water then we can become these beatitudes; if God stopped the rotation of the earth so that Joshua can defeat his enemy then we can become these beatitudes; if God can create the universe out of nothingness then we can become these beatitudes; If God can intervene so that a virgin can birth the Son of God then we can become these beatitudes; If God used Moses to part the Red Sea so that the entire nation of Israel can safely cross then we can become these beatitudes.
- We become satisfied. We are happy living out several of the beatitudes but not all of them. Satisfaction is the death knell to progress and growth in the Christian’s life. Never be satisfied with yesterday’s victory(ies).
In building this masterpiece with our life, Jesus laid down the foundation upon which the remaining beatitudes are to be built upon.
Matthew 5:3KJV 1900
Blessedarethe poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It does not matter if we are living out 2-9, if we miss this beatitude then our construction will come crashing down in a mighty fall. The reason many of our churches are full of false believers is they are coming to Jesus without being “poor in spirit.” They are coming to Jesus because they are:
- Poor Emotionally
- Poor Physically
- Poor Financially
- Poor Relationally
- Poor Politically
- Poor Situationally
But they are not poor in spirit. There was never this overwhelming dread of their sinfulness and the condemnation associated with this sinfulness to come to Jesus with the right motive. Never forget, one of the many purposes in preaching this message was to weed out the false disciples of Jesus Christ.
Out of a transformation and seismic shift in our heart that allowed us to become “poor in spirit” flow the remaining beatitudes.
Therefore, if I am “poor in spirit” then these beatitudes will flow from my life.
What Jesus said here is not different than what Paul said in Philippians 4:4
Philippians 4:4KJV 1900
Rejoice in the Lord alway: andagain I say, Rejoice.
We should rejoice in the Lord. We must show the world that we are completely satisfied in Christ Jesus.
Consider statements of others:
- Psalms 28:7
Psalm 28:7KJV 1900
The Lordismy strength and my shield;My heart trusted in him, and I am helped:Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth;And with my song will I praise him.
- Psalms 19:8
Psalm 19:8KJV 1900
The statutes of the Lordareright, rejoicing the heart:The commandment of the Lordispure, enlightening the eyes.
- Romans 15:13
Romans 15:13KJV 1900
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
- Proverbs 17:22
Proverbs 17:22KJV 1900
A merry heart doeth good likea medicine:But a broken spirit drieth the bones.
The context is the man who mourns rejoices, is happy and joyful. To the world this seems completely paradoxical, but to Christians this is our banner.
Jesus did say “blessed are they that mourn.” In order for there to be rejoicing, we must understand the character of the mourning.
If you want to know someone’s character, find out what makes him laugh & what makes him weep.
The mourning that Jesus is speaking about has nothing to do the natural. In fact, this entire sermon has nothing to do with the natural faculties of men. Jesus is not asking His disciples to mourn over natural things - the death of a loved one, disease, car breaking down, losing a job, etc…anyone can mourn those things. He is asking them to do something that can only be done when Supernatural intervenes in their life.
This means, the mourning is not directed towards the natural. I am 48 years old and have many regrets in my life that causes some degree of mourning. With the addition of two new grand babies, I mourn that I was not a better father to my children. This is not the mourning that Jesus had in mind. Our mourning must be directed towards the Super Natural - towards God! Mourning towards God because we have offended him.
Illustration: Joseph did not sleep with Potiphar’s wife because of Potiphar but God.
Rejoicing is the person who mourns his or her own sinfulness. It is not the rejoicing of sinning but rejoicing when we mourn towards God over our sinful behavior. The mourning experience allows the change to be effectual in our life.
- James 4:8,9
James 4:8KJV 1900
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse yourhands, yesinners; and purify yourhearts, yedouble minded.
- 2 Corinthians 7:10
2 Corinthians 7:10KJV 1900
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
- Nehemiah 1:5-11
Nehemiah 1:5–11KJV 1900
And said, I beseech thee, O LordGod of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, Ifye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But ifye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yetwill I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these arethy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
It is easy for us to be critical over other people’s sins. Yet, when was the last time we mourned over their sin?
- Psalms 119:136
Psalm 119:136KJV 1900
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes,Because they keep not thy law.
- Psalms 119:53
Psalm 119:53KJV 1900
Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wickedThat forsake thy law.
- Ezekiel 9:4
Ezekiel 9:4KJV 1900
And the Lordsaid unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
Yet, for many of us Christians, we are not mourning our sinfulness. We are confessing sins without any emotion towards the sin of the God we have offended.
Nor are we mourning over the sin of our nation or world. We are quick to criticize out leaders without mourning their sinfulness.
In November 2012, Tammy Baldwin became the first elected lesbian to the United States Senate. I remember thinking: “Wow, we have come a long way as a nation.” Instead, I should have been broken and mourning over sinful acceptance in our nation.
I mentioned earlier the paradox between “blessed” and “mourning”. How is the person who mourns blessed? Through the comfort that he or she receives.
Consider three points:
- The structure of the sentence
- “Mourn” - There are nine words in the New Testament that speaks of sorrow and mourning. The one that Jesus used is the most intense of the nine. This word is in the present and is in the active voice. Meaning that the mourning is currently happening by the person who is mourning. God is not forcing us to mourn. He has put within us the ability to mourn over ours and others sin but we have to do the mourning.
- “Comfort” - This is in the passive voice and indicative mood. Meaning that the one doing the mourning receives an action from God of comfort. This is not self-comfort but divine comfort.
- “Comfort” comes from the same root word that Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. It means to be called near and invited with the intention of being consoled.
This is not a “that a boy” sort of comfort. This is real and substantive comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:5
2 Corinthians 1:5KJV 1900
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
The focus of this word is “with strength.”
- “Shall be” - these two words do not reference eternity. Instead, they reference an action that occurs after obedience.
Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, contrary to orders, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steerman, lashed fast at his post of holding the wheel unwaveringly, and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once more, to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer:
“I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.”
Regardless of the pain, wretchedness and the destructive character of sin, coming to Jesus with a mournful heart over the act and confessing our sins before God causes God to say “all is forgiving and all is well” (1 John 1:9