The eight beautiful attitudes that go with kingdom living – a sermon on Matthew 5:1-12 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past few months listening to what Jesus teaches us about kingdom living. Today we’re going to go back and take an overall look at how these attitudes of kingdom living tie together. And as we do so we’re also going to see that these “blessed are” sayings of Jesus are essential to how we should live – they’re not just good words, they are words of life. These sayings are about how Jesus expects all those who follow Him to think and act.
As we heard last week, these sayings form a kingdom-sandwich. They are framed (in verses 3 and 10) by the very important statement for theirs is the kingdom of heaven – that tells us that each and every one of these blessings has to do with the kingdom of heaven. We also need to keep in mind that when Jesus calls us to live with these particular mindsets or attitudes, it’s not so that we can be blessed, but because we are already so amazingly blessed. And we also need to remember that as followers of Jesus, our lives are to be lived in such a way that other people are drawn to Jesus.
Before we go on to look at how these beatitudes stick together, at how the one builds on the other, there’s one more thing we need to pay some attention to – and that is what this blessing or being blessed actually means. We’ve touched on it a number of times over the past few months, but let me once again make it clear that when Jesus uses the word “blessed” it doesn’t have anything to do with the “bless you” that people almost automatically say when someone sneezes. Perhaps in the past week you may have seen on the news how people in Spain take their pets to the local churches on the 17th January every year to be “blessed”, to be sprinkled with so-called holy water – that’s not the sort of thing Jesus is taking about either. And despite some suggesting that it’s the same as being happy, that’s just not it. Beloved in Christ, for sure you can be happy when you’re blessed, but being blessed is about so much more than feelings. Being blessed means having favour bestowed on you, and in this case it has to do with God Himself approving of you and bestowing His favour on you. Being blessed by God means He has turned His face towards you and being gracious to you. That’s the type of blessing that Jesus refers to: Being approved by God.
Against that background, let’s then look at what these beatitudes tell us about living our lives.