Weekly Scriptures

The Beatitudes: How We are Blessed - Matthew 5

An Introduction

 

September 8, 2019

 

Matt. 5:1-2

 

Matt. 5:1-2 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

 

I am starting a series on the Beatitudes.

We read the Beatitudes in the responsive reading.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ ‘Blessed are those who mourn.’

‘Blessed are the meek.’

There are nine of them, so including this introduction,

this will be a 10 week series.

 

A Beatitude means ‘to be blessed’.

Now, I’ve said this before,

I don’t fully understand what a blessing is.

One translation interprets it as ‘happy’,…

‘Happy are those who mourn’.

That seems like an oxymoron.

How are we happy when we mourn.

I hope in the midst of this series I will more fully understand.

 

Anyhow, more on that next week.

This is early in Jesus’ ministry.

He doesn’t have his 12 disciples yet;

he is in the process of selecting them.

He has some, but not all.

But he is starting to gain a following, obviously.

The crowd is following him.

They want to hear from him.

He leads them to an open field - we don’t know where -

he climbs the hill and sits down.

 

Today, speakers - preachers - stand.

Back then they sat.

It says that Jesus ‘sat down’.

He following the practices of the rabbis.

You could even say he is identifying himself as a rabbi,…as a teacher.

That this was intentional.

 

It also says that it was his ‘disciples’ that came to him.

And I’m not saying it was the 12,

but many who were interested in his teachings

and were following after him.

Those numbers would grow over the next few years,

but here, early on, he has already garnered interest and curiousity,

to the point that they are being called ‘followers’.

 

Now, I want to make a distinction.

‘His disciples came to him’, it says.

That is what we do - we come to Him.

We go to church.

We congregate.

We participate in His church,…

in church activities.

 

That is what they did 2000 years ago, and that is what we do, now.

We come.

And its not because of me.

It’s because of Him.

He paid our debt.

‘We were sinners, so Christ died for us’ -

That is scripture.

The love He has shown is tremendous.

He didn’t have to, but he did.

 

And because of that love, we are drawn to Him.

We are drawn to those and those things we love. What are you drawn to?

For me, bridge.

Taking walks.

Personal Ex. - One of my fondest memories was a walk

with my sons late one summer evening at my parents house in Luray, Va.

 

Let me add this: if you are not drawn to Him, ask yourself why.

Maybe you don’t understand the depth of your sin.

Maybe you don’t understand the depth of God’s love for you.

Ask God to reveal to you why you are not drawn to Him.

 

It says they ‘came to him’.

We are to come to him.

The Bible says, do not neglect the gathering of the saints.

That is my one challenge today.

 

The other is this:

while we are to come to him, Jesus also said -

and this was the very last instructions He gave to His disciples -

Jesus said, ‘Go’.

He said Go into all the world.

Preach the gospel.

Make disciples.

His final instructions - go!

 

We are to gather together - come - and we are to go.

We have Friend Day coming up.

What an opportunity to invite.

To evangelize,…through invitation.

 

I’m afraid - I suspect - the weakening of God’s church

over the past several years is because we have forgotten this command.

Our churches are emptying out.

Closing their doors.

We need to commit to come,…and to go.

 

Go…share…invite.