Eight beautiful attitudes that go with kingdom living – a sermon on Matthew 4:23-5:12 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of Jesus’ teaching. If you google it, you’ll find more than 4 million results. But sadly what Jesus teaches in His sermon is probably also the least-obeyed part of His teaching. Many people view His teaching as good guidelines by a good teacher but they then choose what to follow and what not. A local pollie for instance recently said that he keeps his work and his religion apart – in other words, what he believes doesn’t influence how he does his work or what policies he supports. Does that sound like kingdom living? I’ll let you consider your verdict….
We live in an “it’s all about me” culture. Most people think first of themselves and what’ll be best for them. But that’s not what God wants… and that’s not what Jesus teaches. Over the next two to three months, as we build up to the celebration of the coming of our Saviour, we’ll be looking at the eight things that Jesus shares with us right at the start of His sermon. In one sense this beautiful sermon that has been preserved for us summarizes Jesus’ teaching. It encapsulates what He expects of all those who follow Him.
These eight beatitudes – or as I like to call them, the eight beautiful attitudes that go with kingdom living – challenge us about the way we should think and act. We’ll delve deeper into the meaning and significance of each beatitude, but this morning we’re going to take an overall view of what it means to be poor in spirit or meek or merciful by focusing just on the first parts of the “blessed” proclamations. But before we do so, it’s important to keep three things in mind:
• Firstly, that all these blessings are framed by the very important statement for theirs is the kingdom of heaven that we find in verses 3 and 10. What this tells us is that each and every one of these blessings has to do with the kingdom of heaven.
• Secondly we need to remember that Jesus isn’t saying that we need to live in this way in order to be blessed. No, we’re called to live in this way because we have been so amazingly blessed.
• And lastly, it’s good to remember that Scripture calls us to be image bearers of Christ. We’re called to reflect His image to those around us and friends, living out these beautiful attitudes paints a picture of Christ to others in our lives. Living this way shows the world around us what it is to live a life centred on Christ.
Every beatitude has to do with the kingdom of heaven, with kingdom living. And we’re called to live in this manner because we’ve been so amazingly blessed and to show the world what a Christ-centred life looks like. Keeping that in mind, then, let’s start looking at these verses, and as we do so, we have to ask at least these three questions:
• What authority does Jesus have to give us these kingdom ethics;
• What does the word “blessed” actually mean; and
• What do these 8 beatitudes tell us about living our lives?