What Attitudes Does God Bless? Part two
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Blessing is the general term for what makes life good. When God created in Genesis 1 it was all good. All of creation was blessed. Then sin came, and people exchanged God’s blessing for a false perception of blessing. We are working to correct that problem!
What does it mean to be blessed? It means someone is blessing and we are connected to that blessor! The blessed life is God’s way of life. If we are blessed it is because we understand and embrace God’s way of life. And these different attitudes mentioned at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount are foundational avenues of His blessing.
Being poor in spirit: recognizing our spiritual need and seeking God through Jesus Christ.
Mourning: God blesses even those who are mourning. Mourning does not short circuit His blessing.
Meekness, we gently submit to God’s will and ways for our lives.
Today we will look at two more attitudes that attract God’s blessing because they are at the foundation of obedience to God’s will:
He has shown you oh man what is good and what the LORD requires of you. This phrase follows this:
6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you what is good and what the LORD requires:
- Do justly: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! They will be satisfied!
- Love mercy: Blessed are the merciful, they will receive mercy
- Walk humbly with your God: Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are Those Who Hunger for Righteousness
- Hunger means desire and priority
Happiness derived from having desires satisfied? It depends on what desires you are talking about. Happiness comes from contentment!
Absence of desire or having desires met. We are driven by hungers. Hunger for water is never far away. Hunger for approval. Hunger for peace, desire to avoid pain. All of these desires move us easily about!
Hunger for money? No. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Godliness= righteounses.
How can we have desires met in a way that is healthy all of the time? Hunger for righteousness. Hunger to know God!
Gratitude is key to contentment. Do not compare and feed jealousy, celebrate what others have and celebrate what you have. Understanding that God is our wise, powerful, loving, and good provider is the key to this!!
We have basic desires that are common to all people. The desire for power, personal success or acclaim. We will call that pride. The desire to have money or possessions in abundance. We will call that greed. The desire to have our senses pleased. We will call that sensuality. All of these desires are natural and just. And they are all out of whack in every person. It is what makes you temptable!
- What feeds our true hunger for life?
Four foundational Scriptures:
The teaching from history
2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.
The example from Jesus
Jesus in the wilderness: Matt 4: 1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
The teaching from Jesus’ life
John 6: 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
The prayer to pray
Luke 11: 3 Give us each day our daily bread
- These folks will be satisfied
If you believe in Jesus and desire the life that He has for you, you will be full of life! Your life will not be driven by hunger, but satisfaction with Him! This attitude in your life will have to be cultivated.
If you give yourself over to pleasure for life, you will begin an addictive process. And in our culture, people will make it their goal to addict you so that they might take your money, take your life!
Tobacco use: addictive.
Poor food quality: Sugar, salt and fat: addictive
Alcohol and drugs: Addictive
Success and acclaim: Addictive
Sexual experiences: Addictive (dopamine)
Attention and safety from lots of money: Addictive
John 4: 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
John 6: 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
John 7: 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive
Your hunger for life will be satisfied by the Holy Spirit that Jesus will give to you? Are you full of life?
- Don’t grieve the Spirit. Ephesians 4:30. (Put off, be renewed, put on). We grieve the Holy Spirit by chasing life in fleshly desires. Anger, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, pride, fighting etc.
Ephesians 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
- Don’t quench the Spirit’s fire!
II Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
- Blessed are the Merciful
Mercy is not getting the judgement that we deserve. It is at the root of all God’s patience, forgiveness and the offer of salvation to sinners who deserve condemnation.
Romans 9: 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
- God is rich in mercy
Mercy is expensive. It costs the one giving it. It costs them judgement!
Ephesians 2: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
I Timothy 1: 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
- We are to be like God
We are created in God’s image and are to reflect His character.
His mercies are new every morning!
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Matt 5: 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Mercy cost God His only Son. Mercy is costly. Forgiveness means you bear the debt of others. It is a sobering thought. But it is the source of life for us!!
This is why Jesus after teaching folks to pray here in Matt 6 says the following: 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
God is not interested in people holding to a different standard than He does!!
- The merciful receive mercy
The corollary would be that those who have received mercy extend mercy. Why? Because they understand God’s covering their shame, so they cover others.
It is very important to understand that we exist because of the mercy of God. It is God’s mercy that makes Him patient and allows for repentance. It is God’s mercy that provides for our salvation when we are sinners. It is God’s mercy to give us life when the wages of our sin is death!!