During the course of this year each inmate to whom we write will receive a lesson regarding the beatitudes with his or her monthly mailing. It is our desire to help every inmate develop a life devoted to prayer and Bible study, focusing their attention on renewing their minds with Bible study focused on a personal relationship with Christ and their fellow man through Biblical instruction and prayer. One of the missions which the Lord presented The Forgiveness Foundation with this year is to raise up a team of prayer warriors within the prison system. We have already asked several inmates to begin praying for revival within their prisons, revival in our land and this world.
It is our desire that the studies we prepare be simple and strictly measured to the Word. Our desire is not to promote opinions or generate new theology - merely share the Gospel as it is written, to honor and share the true message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As I prepared this lesson it occurred to me that some of our website visitors may enjoy this series of teachings on the Beatitudes so I decided to include it on the website.
I also want to encourage you to pray for revival in your world, the space you occupy on this earth, to pray for revival for our country and for revival throughout the world.
The Beatitudes - Matthew 5:1-12
1"And seeing the multitudes, He [Jesus] went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs shall be 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 filled.
7"Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8"Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
11"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say al kinds of evil against you falsely for My name sake.
12"Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (NKJV)
Thank you for joining us in our study of "The Beatitudes," taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as part of The Sermon On The Mount. The ministry focus of this teaching is to help apply the specific beatitude to daily living. Together, over the next eight months, we shall look at each beatitude that Jesus taught with the purpose of arriving at a better understanding of the beatitude so that each of us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, may apply it to our daily living.
The first beatitude which we will examine is Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What does the word beatitude mean? It comes from the Latin word beaus which means blessed or happy. Utmost bliss. It is also defined as any declarations made in the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew Chapter 5 verses 3-11. The Greek word used in the text for blessed is makarios and is an adjective suggesting happy, supremely blessed: a condition in which congratulations are in order.
Jesus is telling us that the poor in spirit are blessed? What did Jesus mean to be poor in spirit?
Poor in the spirit includes a recognition that everyone is in spiritual poverty. It requires us to accept that we cannot earn our salvation. It also requires us to accept that our salvation is a gift from God that shows His mercy through His Son Jesus Christ. What can I do to earn my salvation? Nothing! Salvation is a gift available to those who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the grave. Poor in spirit means we have nothing to offer. We are dependant upon God, His grace and mercy.
"Poor in spirit brings to mind a concept we humans do not like – submission. God’s plan does not provide a way for us to earn our salvation but does provide salvation as a gift. God created us with free will. Free will allows us to decide whether to submit to God’s plan and accept His gift or reject His gift and thereby reject our salvation." (King James Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Poor in spirit is about humility. The beatitudes don’t tell us how to get salvation – they show us the evidence of salvation. A person who is poor in sprit is one who is humble and acknowledges and accepts his or her dependence on God for all things.
The poor in spirit are the opposite of the proud or haughty in spirit. The poor are those who have been humbled by the grace of God and have acknowledged their sin and therefore their dependence upon God to save them. They are the ones who will inherit the kingdom of heaven."
Are you poor in spirit? Do you want to be? Are you haughty and arrogant? Are you self made? Do you want to become the type of person Jesus describes as poor in spirit? Pray for the spirit Jesus describes. Ask God to remove the haughty arrogant attitude that you possess and with a sincere heart acknowledge that you are dependant upon God for your salvation. God is faithful and will hear your prayer.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4 (NKJV)
The book of Matthew tells us that after Jesus was tempted by Satan, He began his Galilean ministry. Matthew 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (NKJV) Jesus was telling the Galilean’s to turn away from sin. The need for true repentance is helpful in understanding the second beatitude.
Mourning is a state of sorrow. The Greek word used for mourn at Matthew 5:4 means, "a grief so all-encompassing that it cannot be hidden." (Strong’s) The word used for mourn in this passage describes a deep heart felt sorrow in a general sense and is also used to grieve a death. What is Jesus telling us?
The first step toward repentance is recognition of sin in our lives. Jesus tells us that we should be deeply grieved for the sin in our lives to the point of mourning. Mourning is the recognition of the depth of our sin, not just the mere fact that we are sinners. Mourning is an outward demonstration of putting away sin that attacks our relationship with the Lord.
The second part of this beatitude, "for they shall be comforted," assures us that our genuine desire to turn away (repent) from sin is not unnoticed by God and in fact God comforts us (1) by forgiving our sins and (2) by sending the comforter (the Holy Spirit) to help us endure in our battle with sin.
Are you genuinely sorry for your sin? Have your mourned over the separation sin placed between you and God? Be comforted because God is here to battle for you – just let Him in.
The third beatitude which we examine is Matthew 5:5 (NKJV), "Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth."
Webster’s dictionary defines meek in two ways. The first is patient and mild. The second is too submissive and spiritless. What a contrast! It’s like through the world’s eyes or through Christ’s eyes.
As I studied this verse I realized that Christ meant steady and consistent. Meek are people who know themselves because they know and submit to God. The meek aspire to see life through God’s eyes and to live life in a manner dedicated to serving and pleasing God. That simplistic thought alone takes all the wimp out of the word meek as Jesus meant it.
By submitting to God the meek develop a living relationship with Him. By submitting to God the meek exercises His authority in their lives in a manner which the arrogant cannot comprehend. Meek is moving anger to peace with soft words even when that anger is directed at them. The meek, as Jesus taught, is a person who exercises self control and is in fact very strong because his battles are well chosen.
Meekness promotes happiness because it is the result of an inward relationship with Jesus which produces the outward manifestations of the love of Jesus the Christ. Now that’s awesome.
Meekness does not connote weakness, but rather controlled strength developed through genuine humility and self discipline.
What does inherit the earth mean in this verse? Happiness, genuine happiness is the inheritance which the meek have. A Christian knows that he is the adopted child of God. He knows his inheritance. The meek are content in all things as they patiently wait upon the Lords return.
The fourth beatitude which we examine is Matthew 5:6 (NKJV), "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
Christians know that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer the moment the believer surrenders his or her life to Jesus. At that point, Jesus becomes not only the believer’s Savior, but also Lord of his or her life. It is important to understand this in order to truly grasp the meaning of the fourth beatitude. Clearly one must be a believer, a born again Christian, to grasp the full meaning of this verse.
Is Jesus Lord of your life? This beatitude addresses spiritual growth. As a Christian our deepest desire should be to grow in Christ, that is, to become Christ like – the meaning of the word Christian. As Christians, we are not righteous by our own good works or deeds. Christians are righteous because God showed us mercy and grace through the death and resurrection of the only truly righteous one, Jesus Christ.
What does Jesus mean when He says that we should hunger and thirst after righteousness? Jesus, as our righteousness, requires us to pursue Him as we would pursue food and drink when we are hungry and thirsty. To get the full measure of the soul satisfying nourishment, we need to develop our relationship with Jesus. In order to get our souls nourished it is imperative that we feed on the source of that nourishment, The Bible. It is through the written Word of God, by His Spirit, that we are given the view of Jesus Christ that carnal minds cannot understand. Because, the carnal mind does not have a personal relationship with the Redeemer. It is the Word revealed through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that our understanding of Jesus, our Redeemer, grows. We need to nourish our spirit by pursuing a deeper understanding of our Lord and Savior, which can only happen when we study the Word.
Prayer is the other essential ingredient to our quest for righteousness. It is with prayer that we open the lines of communication with the Lord. It is useful to pray for clarity of understanding when we study His Word. As we seek afer His righteousness, it is not by man’s understanding but by God’s. It is useful to pray for His direction when making a decision. It is useful to pray for healing and material needs. It is useful because these are the very things that we would share with a good friend, a friend, who in most cases can do little or even nothing to help resolve the need. Jesus on the other hand can command the solution to take place. It most definitely is better to share your needs and desires with Jesus, since He can act upon them.
Righteousness is about right living through developing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior whereby our soul is nourished with righteousness. The phrase, "for they shall be filled," indicates an on going activity. This phrase indicates that we need to be constantly seeking a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior. We have a need for Spiritual growth. Nourishment is provided as the Holy Spirit replenishes our spirit with His nourishment, allowing us to grow in our understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember the promise, "Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled." Praise the Lord!