The Kingdom of the Blessed - The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)

Date: 1/29/2017
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Beatitudes
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Matthew 5:1–12 - When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach 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 gentle, 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 of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Setting of the Kingdom - The kingdom of the “heavens” had been announced by John and Jesus (Matt. 3-4). Therefore, the people wanted to know about this kingdom. Was it like Pharisaic rules? Was it a Zealot’s kind of revolution? Was maintaining the Sadducean status quo? In Matthew this is the first instruction on the nature of the kingdom. In the “Sermon on the Mount” (Augustine), Jesus explains the character of His kingdom. He did so “on a mountain,” like Moses the Prophet. He “sat down,” signifying his kingly authority. He taught about the true righteousness and restoration, like a priest. Thus, at the conclusion of this discourse, “He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (7:29).

The Purpose of the Kingdom - The prophets predicted that rule/kingdom of God transforms the people of God (Dan. 7:13-14), since the kingdom is given to the people of the king (Rev. 11:15). This vision is of a “happy” (Greek: makarioi) kingdom of people. “Happy” is a little insufficient. But “eulogeo” is really the Greek word that means “blessed” (Luke 1:42). Those who show the characteristics of the Beatitudes experience the favor of God. Through these traits, we are given eyes to “see God” – that is, to see the character of what God’s rule (kingdom) is to be like. What is it like? It is like living with those who are poor in spirit (humble), who are mournful (who acknowledge sin), are meek, desire righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted, insulted and are slandered for righteousness sake. These are the people that rejoice because great is their reward in heaven.

The Entrance into the Kingdom - These Beatitudes begin with the most important foundation: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This kind of poverty is recognizing that without Christ, we have nothing to commend ourselves before God. He is the Vine and apart from Him, we can do nothing. It is to recognize that no amount of attempts at being righteous by good works or self-effort gets us into the kingdom (Eph. 2:8-9). In fact one cannot get into the kingdom even by attempting to do the Beatitudes (outside of Christ). The first step of faith in the King of this Kingdom is turning away from ourselves to Him. A good example of the contrast between those who are “rich in their own spirit” (rich in themselves) vs the “poor in spirit” is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:10ff). Even more, each of these Beatitudes are modeled by Jesus, so that as we are united to Him we receive acceptance in the kingdom and conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29).

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more