Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Sermon On The Mount - Part 1 - The 'Be' Attitudes

 Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Last week, we covered the Temptation of Jesus, and learned that He went to the Galilee Region afterward, and dwelled at Capernaum, a seaside fishing village. There, He began to call His Apostles out from their jobs and careers, and simply said, “Follow me.”  The Sea of Galilee reminds me of the Finger Lakes region, here in New York. Lakes, both small and large dot the landscape of Central/Western New York State with its rolling hills, and expansive farm land.

The Galilee is about eight miles long, and five miles wide. It is shaped roughly that of a human heart, and is integral with the overall Jordan River water system, with the river feeding the lake from the north with fresh waters from Mt. Hermon, from Gideon Springs, and a third source, a small river coming down from Lebanon. This inland sea empties southward with the Jordan River flowing further south to the Dead Sea.

We can draw an analogy here to our faith:

The human heart beats and keeps us alive with the flowing of “living water” from three sources. All three converge into one, and bring much life into our hearts and lives. The three should be obvious to us; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

John 4:10 completes the teaching with the woman at the well parable:
10 - "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, 'Give me to drink;' thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. "
11 - The woman saith unto him, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?"

Jesus’ conversation with the woman continued, and He eventually affirms to her that He was indeed the long awaited Messiah, “I that speak unto thee am He,” is recorded in verse 26.

Jesus is our source of that living water. The Apostle Paul speaks of it as Christ washes His Church with the water of the Word, making her clean and beautiful, and fit to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).

John 7:38 – “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

Today's Audio Message: Matthew 5:1-12

The Sermon On The Mount - "The 'Be' Attitudes"

This week begins the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount taught by our Lord in Matthew chapter 5. The first part of this sermon is commonly called the 'Beatitudes' which are Christ's 
declarations of what true blessedness really is. Blessed means, "Oh how happy."

These wonderful verses describe a true disciple of Jesus, and their reward.  A believer's character and lifestyle is contrasted with those who are of this world and outside of Christ. The following verses describe a disciples heart, soul and attitude, the evidence of a person who has come into a personal, and real confrontation with God, and the result or outward manifestation of God's work in their lives.

Throughout the world, governments and rulers have each made their own document of declarations with regards to their countries and kingdoms.  Here in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is making a declaration of the Kingdom of God, both in the spiritual literal realm where God rules and reigns. 

As Jesus travelled throughout the Galilee preaching and performing miracles, his fame went out and great multitudes began to follow Him. In chapter 5, Jesus seeing the multitudes went up into a mountain, and his disciples came to him - and here Jesus begins to teach them directly.

The Beatitudes were clearly intended for those who had given their allegiance to Christ, for they describe the characteristics manifested by one who is born again.
How does one enter the Kingdom of God?  Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be “born again” (John 3:1-8) The believer is given a new life dedicated to Christ (Romans 6:1-4).  Scripture teaches that our “citizenship” is now described as being in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  As His ambassadors, we represent His kingdom.

Reading through these verses, "Blessed are the poor...those that mourn...the meek...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...the merciful...the pure in heart....the peacemakers....those who are persecuted..." these characteristics are to be manifested in all true believers.  God's standards can only be attained by the enabling of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, our natural tendency opposes God's standards.  This is the life that is lived in the spirit. 

The Greek word translated “blessed” means “happy”, or literally, “to be enlarged.” Happiness is something that results from seeking the Lord and His kingdom and His righteousness, and His promise is our reward.

The 'Beatitudes' are quite significant.  They are the blessings to his church, and they are to be taken as the model of conduct for His people.   

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