top A Study, Sermon On The Mount #1
A STUDY OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT #1
By James L. Thornton
This study is a long one and we will be putting it on the Web in several sections. In this study #1 we give an introduction and the setting of the Sermon. It covers Matthew 5:1-16. I hope you will follow this study as we go through The Sermon On The Mount Verse by Verse.
2. Interpretations Of The Sermon On The Mount
3. The Setting Of The Sermon On The Mount
4. The Beatitudes
5. Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit
6. Blessed Are They That Mourn
7. Blessed Are The Meek
8. Blessed Are They That Hunger & Thirst For Righteousness
9. Blessed Are The Merciful
10. Blessed Are The Pure In Heart
11. Blessed Are The Peacemakers
12. Blessed Are The Persecuted
13. Ye Are The Salt Of The Earth
14. Ye Are The Light Of The World
Why should we consider The Sermon On The Mount? Why should I call your attention to it, and to its teachings? Why write so many pages on The Sermon on the Mount? Really a thousand pages would not do it justice.
First of all no man should teach or preach unless he feels that God has given him something to say. Every preacher worth his salt must once in a while come back to this sermon for a fresh start, a fresh vision, a fresh purpose, a fresh goal, and, should I say, a fresh anointing.
My main purpose for teaching on The Sermon On The Mount is that I felt this persuasion, this compulsion, this leading of the spirit. Probably if I had been left to my own choice I would not have chosen to teach on The Sermon On The Mount.
So in order to obey the unction of the spirit we will endeavor to speak what God gives us.
First of all—some of these things go against the grain. “... speak unto us smooth things, …” saith the people to the prophet, Isaiah 30:10.
They go against the grain partly because of the present day condition of the church world in general. There is so much superficiality in religious circles.
Superficiality: “Lying near, or forming the surface of, or pertaining to only the ordinary, not profound; shallow, not real or genuine…” Not altogether like the world, but not altogether like the New Testament Church. Jesus calls it, “lukewarm ...” Revelation 3:16.
In every age, every great revival, every great movement in the church came after consecration. Nothing, I repeat Nothing brings the moving of God’s Spirit into a life, a church, a community, a nation, like consecration to God.
One man, consecrated to God, has been known to bring revival to a nation. I have read that some of these men’s knees actually wore places in the floor by their bedside.
But mainly these things go against the grain because of our attitude toward the Bible, our failure to take it seriously, our failure to take it as it is, and allow it to speak to us. We know nothing about God and about the Christian life in a true sense apart from the Bible.
We cannot rely upon experiences because there are evil spirits that perpetrate experiences as well as good spirits. There are counterfeit experiences as well as real. We have no authority apart from the Bible. We must approach the Bible in the right manner, this is of vital importance.
In this day and age the doctrine of grace is so emphasized that we fail to take seriously the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that the Bible does say, “for by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8): God’s mercy spared us from what we deserved, his grace gave us what we did not deserve.
In Paul’s day, as well as our own, some were saying that grace would cover all things. In other words, do what you want to do God’s grace will take care of it. Paul had an answer for them.
Romans 6: 1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Some will say it is all by grace and we don’t have to imitate Jesus’ example of holiness. Let me ask these questions, which we will answer in our study.
1. For whom is The Sermon On The Mount intended?
2. To whom does it apply?
3. What is really the purpose of this sermon?
4. Is it relevant for the Christian of today?
2. INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT:
1. It has been used as a basis for the so called “social gospel.”
2. It has been said that it was only an elaboration of the Mosaic Law.
3. Some give a dispensational view of this sermon.
1. First we will consider the “social gospel.”
They say that all that a person has to do is practice The Sermon On The Mount.
The principals are laid down as to how all men should live. And if men do this we can produce the kingdom of God on earth. War will be banished, and all our troubles will be ended.
This view has ignored the most important part of The Sermon On The Mount—the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit:…” “Blessed are they that mourn: ..” “Blessed are the pure in heart:..”
I hope to show you that no man can live The Sermon On The Mount in and of himself and unaided. No man can live this sermon who has not been born again of water and the spirit (John 3:5). And who can “turn the other cheek?” “Go the second mile?” “Love their enemies?” “Be perfect?”
2. Second, some say it is the elaboration of the Mosaic Law:
They say that because the Scribes and Pharisees were misinterpreting the law, as given by God, that Jesus used this occasion to elaborate and expound the law—giving it a higher spiritual content.
This view is inadequate because if fails to take account of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes take us into a realm that is beyond the Law of Moses completely.
3. LAST THE DISPENSATIONAL VIEW:
They say it was meant for the kingdom age, and therefore has nothing to do with modern Christians. They say that Jesus began to preach about the kingdom of God and this sermon was to usher in, or inaugurate, this kingdom.
So they say that the Jews did not believe his teaching so our Lord could not establish the kingdom. Therefore as an after-thought, the cross, the church, the whole church age, which will persist up to a certain point in history, then our Lord will return with the kingdom, and The Sermon On The Mount will be introduced.
In other words I need not be concerned about its precepts. I need not feel condemned because I am doing certain things—it’s not relevant to me.
Let me say this, Jesus was telling these men what they are to do in this world, not only while he was here, but after he was gone. Jesus said to his disciple, “teaching them (the world) to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: ..” (Matthew 28:19)
Most of the things which Jesus taught here in The Sermon On The Mount are found in various epistles of the New Testament. Matthew, recognizing the importance of The Sermon On The Mount, placed it near the front of his gospel.
Why should we study it?
Why should we try to live it?
Jesus died to enable us to live The Sermon On The Mount.
He died that he might “purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
Nothing shows me the absolute need of the new birth and of the Holy Ghost and its work in our life as much as The Sermon On The Mount. The more we live it, and practice it—the more we are blessed. I believe in the doctrine of sanctification. It brings power into our lives.
Matthew 5:6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
By fulfilling this scripture we shall conquer. By fulfilling this scripture we shall fill this city with this gospel.
HERE ARE THREE VERY IMPORTANT PRINCIPALS:
1. The Christian is a person who, of necessity, must be concerned about keeping God’s law.
2. The Christian is that person who lives always realizing he is in the presence of God.
3. The Christian is a person who lives always in the fear of God. Not craven (cowardly) fear, because perfect love casteth out that kind of fear, but to walk with reverence and Godly fear.
Let us not argue with this sermon.
Let us not criticize this sermon.
James 1:19. “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
Read the New Testament Epistles and see how all believers are addressed.
Romans 1:7. “beloved of God, called to be saints:”
1 Corinthians 1:2. “called to be saints,” (Every Christian is called to be saints).
Ephesians 1:1. “…to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”
James 1:2.. “My brethren,..”
1 Peter 1:2 “Elect..”
Jesus is saying that all Christians will manifest all of these characteristics He is teaching about in the Sermon On The Mount. It is not right to say that some are meant to be “Meek,” and some are meant to be “Poor in spirit,” And some are meant to be “Peacemakers,” and etc.
Every Christian is meant to be all of these, and to manifest (let shine) all of them, this is Christian character. These are not natural qualities; nobody by birth and by nature can live like this.
Without question The Sermon On The Mount is the greatest declaration to ever fall on human ears. The Sermon On The Mount is the backbone, the very core, of Christianity. Arguably, it may be the greatest portion of the Bible.
3. THE SETTING OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT:
The Sermon On The Mount seems to have occurred very early in Jesus’ ministry, and is the longest discourse of His that we have recorded. We find portions of it that are recorded in two or three different places. It is very possible that he spoke the same words on many occasions. Matthew records it as one single sermon and writes it in great detail. It set the stage for all of Jesus’ teachings.
It seems to have occurred after Jesus had walked from village to village over much of the regions around Galilee and the surrounding neighborhoods, possibly even into Syria. Let us read how Matthew described this phase of Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew 4:23. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
24. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
This was a get acquainted time, probably a period of six months, and a time to make himself known among the people. You will notice I have emphasized, in verse 23, the three fold ministry of Jesus which was teaching, preaching, and healing. This is the Christ-like ministry which all his ministers should practice.
We will note through-out The Sermon On The Mount that Jesus had a set will and purpose in his teaching and preaching. He used frankness of expressions, and courage to say these things. Like the Apostle Paul said, “Not as one that beateth the air (1 Corinthians 9:26): He did not just take up people’s time, but used frankness of expressions and courage to change men’s lives.
Notice he healed every kind of disease and torment, physical, mental, and spiritual. Lunatic, those affected by changes of the moon, those possessed with devils, incurable palsy, torments, whether of the mind or body, all were healed.
The results of this preaching, teaching, healing tour were a phenomenal following of people from all parts of the country. Can we imagine thousands of people leaving their homes, cities, and villages, leaving fields and flocks untended, jobs and occupations, and walking great distances to see and hear and touch this great new teacher. It was probably the Jubilee Year when most all work was laid aside for that year. Matthew continues the story in the next chapter.
Matthew 5:1. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ..”
Jesus did not climb the mountain to get away from the multitude but to use it as a natural amphitheater so that his voice would carry over the crowd better.
“After he was set, …”
It would have taken considerable time to climb up the mountain and after he was settled down his disciples and the multitude gathered around him.
“He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ..”
This phrase is used throughout the Bible meaning that the person had something to say. It does not necessarily mean that he sat down. I think that he walked through the crowd as he spoke emphasizing each point, by talking directly to a person who was guilty of the offence he was teaching about.
4. The Beatitudes:
Jesus began His sermon with the section we call The Beatitudes, “a state of pleasurable contentment and gratification:” (AHD) (Matthew 5:3-12).
Matthew 5: 3. “Blessed are the ……”
“Blessed.” not once, but nine times over does our Lord repeat that word. The word blessed means the highest stage of happiness and well-being. As used in Hebrew literature as in Psalms 1:1; 32:1; 112:1 it means, “How happy.”
“How happy” are the poor in spirit.
“How happy” are they that mourn.
First of all we want to emphasize that this highest stage of happiness is not brought on by out-side circumstances. But, this happiness is produced by a fountain of living waters springing up from within our souls.
I am happy, naturally speaking, if the car will start in the morning.
I am happy, naturally speaking, if the toaster doesn’t jam and burn the toast.
I am happy, naturally speaking, if my favorite shirt is ready to wear.
And if the car won’t start, or the toaster messes up, or my shirt is not ready, I am unhappy, naturally speaking.
Yet none of these things take away my happiness, or blessedness, which I receive from walking with God. So right off I wanted to establish the fact that the blessedness, Jesus spoke of in the beatitudes, flows from something much deeper than bodily or natural happiness.
In the beatitudes Jesus deals with the Christian character. Later on the sermon he speaks of conduct.
The beatitudes make up the character of every Christians.
All Christians are “poor in spirit.”
All Christians “mourn.”
All Christians are “merciful.”
All Christians are “meek.”
All Christians are “pure in heart.”
All Christians are “peacemakers.”
We cannot divide Christians into two groups—religious and laity,
Exceptional Christians and ordinary Christians,
One who make a vocation of the Christian life—and the man who works in a factory, office, field, or etc.
There are distinctions of offices—Apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, and evangelists. But the beatitudes are not a description of offices; they are a description of character. Read the New Testament epistles and see how all believers are addressed.
Romans 1:7. “…… beloved of God, called to be saints: …”
1 Corinthians 1:2. “… (every Christian is) called to be saints, …”
Ephesians 1:1. “… to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
James 1:2. “…. my brethren, …”
1 Peter 1:2. “Elect …”
1 Timothy 3:17. “… The man of god ...”
Jesus is saying that all Christians will manifest all these characteristics.
It is not right to say that some are meant to be “poor in spirit,” and some are meant to “mourn,” and some are meant to be “peacemakers,” and etc.
Every Christian is meant to be all of them—and to manifest all of them—this is his character. These are not natural qualities—nobody, by birth and by nature, is like this. Nobody can live the Sermon On The Mount by his own will-power. It teaches us the importance of being filled with the Holy Ghost. It shows the vast difference between the Christian and the non-Christian. “What do ye more than others?”
5. THE POOR IN SPIRIT:
Matthew 5: 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
There is no entry into the kingdom of heaven unless one is poor in spirit. We shall see that this is the fundamental characteristic of the Christian. Poor in spirit is the very core of Christianity. Jesus said, “And learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:” (Matthew 11:29). All the other Beatitudes follow after one is “poor in spirit.” (poverty of spirit)
To be “poor in spirit” really means an empting, while the other Beatitudes are a manifestation of a fullness. We cannot be filled until we are first empty. You cannot fill with new wine, a vessel which is partly filled already with old wine, until the old wine has been emptied out.
It is an essential part of the gospel that conviction precedes conversion—the gospel condemns before it releases. The preaching of John the Baptist condemned thousands because he preached repentance, a turning from their life as they were then living (Matthew 3:2, 8; Luke 3:10-14).
Jesus also preached repentance as a necessary prerequisite to salvation (Luke 1:14-15). Peter preached repentance on the day of Pentecost and it brought conviction on those who heard him and 3,000 responded (Acts 2:37-41). So we find conviction leads to repentance. And repentance leads to salvation. It takes a cleansing, an empting, before the filling.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit:”
What Jesus is talking about is a man’s attitude or feelings towards himself.
What do we think about ourselves?
There is such a thing as “false humility.”
The world puts great emphasis on self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-expression. If you want to get ahead, believe in yourself, express yourself. This idea, self-reliance, this expression, is controlling the life of men in our world. Pull yourself up by your own boot-straps—You control your own destiny. Reach out there and get it.It’s yours for the taking. You are somebody, (self-motivation) you can do anything you set your mind to. (Genesis 11:1-6) This type of thinking has to change Jesus says.
In this verse (Matthew 5:3) we are not looking at men confronting one another, but men face to face with God. If we feel anything in the presence of God but poverty of spirit—it means that you have never really faced him. That is the meaning of this Beatitude.
Isaiah said it best when he was ushered into the presence of God, and his response was, “Then said I, woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah 57:15. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
Belshazzar the great king of Babylon saw the hand of God and was terrified.
Daniel 5:5. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
Let us look at Simon Peter, who was naturally aggressive, self-assertive, self-confident, but, look at him when he comes face to face with the Lord. We see poverty of spirit come to the front.
Luke 5:8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
By all means this is the way we should feel in his presence. This is the meaning of this Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit:”
Isaiah 57:15. For thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
I find this humble spirit in Gideon when God sent an angel to tell him the great thing he was to do. Judges 6:15. “And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
Mosses felt his unworthiness and felt his insufficiency, and inadequacy.
David also when he said, “Lord, who am I that thou shouldest come to me?”
No man was any more naturally gifted than the Apostle Paul,
His high birth, His great education, His natural zeal to excel.
But after he met his Lord on the Damascus road, he counted all these things but “loss,” “to win Christ.” He emptied himself, he became poor in spirit.
Galatians 6:14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
The “world” of which Paul speaks here is the world Paul knew before he was saved.
His Israelitish ancestry,
His Pharisaic traditions,
His zeal for the law,
The “world” he had lived in, to this he was now dead,
Separated from it by the cross of Jesus Christ,
This “world” had no more appeal to him, or influence upon him.
1 Corinthians 1:27. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29. That no flesh should glory in his presence.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”
To be “poor in spirit” means,
A complete absence of pride,
A complete absence of self-assurance and self-reliance.
To be “poor in spirit,” (poverty of spirit), is just a tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face to face with God.
We are standing on Holy Ground in His presence.
Let us pull off our shoes,
Let us bow our heads,
Let us bend our knees in his presence,
And say, “I am undone.”
Let us ask ourselves these questions.
1. Am I like that, am I poor in spirit?
2. How do I really feel about myself, as I think of myself in terms of God and being in the presence of God?
3. What attitude do we take in our prayers? Do we feel our unworthiness, our undone condition?
Luke 18:9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican.
11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that i am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican.
12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13. And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Our prayer should be,
“Make this poor self,
Grow less and less,
O’ Jesus Christ,
Grow thou in me.”
How do we become “poor in spirit?”
Look at the Lord Jesus,
The more we look at Him, the less we see of ourselves.
Read his Book, and learn about Him.
The Lord Jesus is our greatest example of condescension.
The following scriptures give us some idea of his condescension.
Luke 2:7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
One would expect to find a baby of royal descent in a palace. Such a baby normally is wrapped in luxurious garments and surrounded by every comfort and convenience, signs of wealth and station everywhere evident. But only the simplest provisions could be made for this babe.
Mary wrapped him in strips of cloth or swaddling bands. There were no trappings of royalty, no purple robes and no signs of wealth or of position, even though this one was born King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A manger became his cradle and the King of Glory condescended to be cradled in the manger that was to hold food for cattle. He who had come to provide heaven’s bread descended to a manger.
John 13:4. He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.
5. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.
12. So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, know ye what I have done to you?
13. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
2 Corinthians 8:9. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.
Philippians 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7. But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
We cannot comprehend the totality of his condescension. the first part of verse 7 has been rightly translated “he emptied himself.” He put off royalty, laid aside the glory of heaven, emptied himself of all the splendor of being God, and became a man, and even less, the servant of men.
That is exactly what Jesus is asking of us in the first Beatitude. Empty ourselves of rank, position, status, office, class, and etc. and come to him on our knees. We cannot bring anything to him but ourselves.
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.
Yea, all I need,
In thee I find,
O, Lamb of God I come”
Matthew 5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We found to be “poor in spirit” means a complete absence of self-reliance. A consciousness that we are noithing in the presence of God. To become aware of our sins. This is the first step towards entry into the kingdom of heaven.
6. THEY THAT MOURN:
Matthew 5:4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
This makes the Christian so different from the man of the world. The one thing the world tries to shun is mourning. The world says, “forget your troubles, be as happy as you can be.”
We are living in a pleasure mad world. Think of the money, energy, and enthusiasm that is expended on entertainment. Multi-billion dollar amusement parks, cities and states devoted to entertainment.
The highest paid people are entertainers, 100 plus million dollars per year. In fact the top ten highest paid people are entertainers. Entertainment was America’s second leading export last year, with billions of dollar market.
Make them laugh,
Make them happy,
Pleasure mania keeps it going.
But Jesus says, “Blessed (Happy) are they that mourn.”
Again we must say that has a spiritual meaning. Jesus was not talking about Sorrow because of the death of a loved one. Jesus himself experienced this type of sorrow. The mourning which Jesus speaks of in this Beatitude is brought on by an awareness of our undone condition. We become aware of our sinful condition. Those who do not weep for sin—will weep because of sin. We must experience a real conviction of sin.
This comes before the joy. Many seek God for the joy or ecstatic feeling which comes with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. But to experience the real joy of serving God one must experience the sadness brought on by the realization that we are wretched in his sight.
Weeping is a human emotion that should not be stifled. There are so many incidents in scripture where weeping and tears touched the heart of God.
The psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5) and again he says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalms 126:5-6)
Joel 2:12. “And with weeping, and with mourning:”
Malachi 2:13. And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, … (KJV)
Psalms 34:18. “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
It is not an unmanly thing to weep before God. Those who do not weep for sin—will weep because of sin. Jesus wept over the sins of Jerusalem.
So we find that the second step into the Kingdom of God is a contrite spirit.
O. the blessedness, O, the comfort, Of a forgiven heart.
Matthew 5:4. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
7. The Meek:
Matthew 5:5. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
The world thinks in terms of strength, power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness. That is the world’s idea of conquest and power.
When we think of world conquest we naturally think of men like,
Hitler’s Panzer Divisions.
These all have tried and failed to conquer all. Let me give you a little secret, the world was not promised to those types of people.
Possession of the whole universe,
was given to the meek, of all people.
“Heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ” Romans 8:17.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
The Christian whom Jesus describes in the Beatitudes is different from the world. He is a new man,
A new creation,
He belongs to an entirely different kingdom.
Paul said I want you to know that He, “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13)
The day is coming when, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
There are some questions we need to ask ourselves.
1. Do we belong to this kingdom?
2. Are you ruled by Christ?
3. Is He your King and Lord?
4. Are we manifesting the Beatitudes in our life?
5. Are we truly blessed?
6. Are you happy?
7. Have you been filled with His Spirit?
8. Have you got peace?
8. Hungering And Thirsting After Righteousness:
Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Here Jesus speaks of a consuming anxiety for righteousness. Jesus portrays a man ravenous with hunger, parched and panting with thirst. Then He tells us that when we long for goodness as much as such a man lings for food and drink, then we are among the blessed of the Lord.
Most of us can remember when we came to the Lord, the over-whelming zeal, or desire, we had to serve Him. We saw visions, dreamed dreams; there was an in-satiable thirst for His blessings, a hunger to hear His word. We sought opportunities to witness.
But has time taken away the zeal? Has the years dulled the edge of our willingness to sacrifice out time and talents? Hs life’s responsibilities weighted so heavily on us that we dropped down from the mountain-top and become content to live on a lower plain? Has the Laodicean spirit cooled our love for Jesus? Have allowed other things to spoil our appetite for the things of God?
Other thing may not be harmful in themselves, but too many things we give so much of our selves to them that they rob us of our hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus told Martha, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
I am fully persuaded that unless this Beatitude is fulfilled in someone’s life the Christian Religion will perish from the earth. That unless someone in this Church fulfills this Beatitude in their life, this Church too, shall perish from existence. I am persuaded that unless we as individuals fulfill this beatitude we will soon cease to be Christians. This is probable the most important Beatitude.
The greatest need in our lives is not more money to pay the bills, not more of this world’s goods, not more leisure time, not better health. Real happiness, real blessings only come when we seek after righteousness with all of our heart.
Righteousness is the desire to be right with God. It means a desire to be free from sin, because sin separates us from God. Paul says, “Zealous of good works.” To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to seek to rid our lives of sin in all its forms.
Titus 2:11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
We should hunger and thirst to get back into that old relationship. The original relationship of righteousness was in the presence of God. Adam and Eve were made righteous they dwelt and walked with God.
To hunger and thirst after righteousness means to desire to be free from the power of sin. It means to be free from the desire for sin. Free from the bondage of sin. He is a man who wants to show the Fruit of the Spirit in his every action. It means to be like Jesus.
Galatians 4:19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,.”
To hunger and thirst after righteousness does not mean a passing feeling, a passing desire, it means something that keeps on until it is satisfied. Hunger is something deep, it hurts and is painful. It is something that causes suffering and agony. Hunger and Thirst persuades our every thought and our every action until satisfied.
Psalms 42:1. As the hart (deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: ………
To be hungry is not enough; I must be starving to know what’s in the heart of God for me. When the Prodigal Son was hungry he went to feed upon husks. But when he was starving he turned to his Father.
To hunger and thirst really means to be desperate, to be starving, and feel like life is ebbing out. Happy, happy, blessed, to be congratulated are those who Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness. But it is also a continuing process.
By the help of the Holy Ghost you will be able to more than conquerors over all the things that come against you. By hungering and thirsting after righteousness we will be able to stand in the presence of God, faultless, blameless without spot and without wrinkle. We should strive to be in the right places and doing the right things to receive food for our souls.
Blind Bartimaeus could not heal himself. But he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing through Jericho. So he took his stand on the road where Jesus would pass by him. Let’s put ourselves on the road where Jesus is passing. Jesus is very likely to pass through this Church today. Those who are here are very likely to be fed today.
To hunger and thirst after righteousness, is to crave the fellowship of Godly and Saintly people. Talk to them, spend some time with them, and keep close to them. That person who hungers and thirst after righteousness will have a desire to read and study God’s Word.
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” “But His delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His law doeth he meditate day and night.” Study and read His Book.
Finally that person who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, is a person who meets regularly and consistently with God in prayer. Great men of God gave the best time of their day to God.
Daniel 6:10. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
11. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
King Darius to Daniel:
20. …… “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions”?
Luke 6:12. And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Philippians 3:13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 5:6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Psalms 16:11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
9. Blessed Are The Merciful:
Matthew 5:7. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Jesus is saying, “that is what a man should be like, merciful.” In fact Jesus is saying that this is the Christian’s character—he is merciful.
The Christian faith is not something on the surface of a person’s life. It is not a coating or a veneer—the Christian faith begins at the core of our lives. The New Testament speaks of a rebirth, being born again, a new creation, a new nature.
The “Born Again” experience causes us to be merciful. To be merciful does not mean that we should be “easy going.” Not to see things or if we do see things to pretend we have not. To be merciful does not mean to smile at law breaking and transgression.
Jesus did not smile at those who transgressed against God’s Law. He drove some out of the Temple. To be merciful is to have sense of pity. Not only to have a sense of pity but a desire to relieve the suffering.
Merciful is pity plus action. One of the great examples in the Bible is the story of the Good Samaritan. A man fell among thieves who robbed him and left him by the roadside wounded. Two “Do-Gooders” came by, a Priest and Levite; they saw him and passed him by.
But a certain Samaritan came by and saw him and had compassion on him.
He went to him and bound up his wounds, set him on his own beast and brought him to the Inn and took care of him. That was pity plus action. Not only did he have pity, he did something about the situation. The others saw it, maybe even had a certain amount of pity but did nothing.
Jesus coming into the world was the supreme example of mercy. In Him, “Mercy and Truth have met together; …. (Psalm 85:10) God saw the miserable, wretched condition that His creation had sunk to. He saw the suffering, and in spite of the law-breaking, Mercy was the thing that moved Him to action.
God didn’t have to send His Son. But He had Mercy. 1,500 years earlier Moses had built Mercy a seat. (Exodus 25:17) Mercy was put behind a veil or curtain and visited only once a year by the High Priest. What a lonely life!
For the last 400 years before Christ Mercy was left alone. Then one day Mercy was disturbed by a Baby’s cry, Followed by 12 years of silence, then a Young Boy caught
Mercy’s attention. “Wist Ye Not that I must be about My Father’s business”? This was followed by another period of silence.
Suddenly one day a Majestic Voice, a voice of anger, a voice of authority.
John 2:16. …….Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
For the next 3 1/2 years, as Mercy sat behind that veil, it heard that voice as it sounded out in the Temple. The blind were healed, the lepers were cleansed, the ignorant were taught, the hungry were fed, the sick were restored to health, the dead were raised, the broken hearted were relieved and those who were bound by Satan were loosed.
One day voices of opposition “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him into your hands? Followed by, a voice of denial, crucify him!
A sound of a whip and a ring of a hammer. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me”?
It was growing dark in the middle of the day. Mercy feels the Temple tremble.
“It is finished.” The veil is rent in twain.
Psalm 85:10. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Mercy you must go to every island, climb every mountain, search every valley, cross every desert, to every nation, tongue and people. Mercy says I’ll go on one condition. I must be carried in the hearts of men and women.
Mercy will not cross the street on its own.
“Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.”
Titus 3:3. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
“Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Mercy there was great and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
10. The Pure In Heart:
Matthew 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
This is one of the most fascinating utterances that ever fell on human ears. It has been the text of 10,000 sermons. There have been great volumes written in an attempt to expound it. So obviously we cannot hope to exhaust the complete resources of this Beatitude in this study. At best we hope to grasp something of its meaning.
Perhaps if we had been responsible for placing the Beatitudes in order we would have placed this one at the beginning instead of in the middle. After all “Seeing God” is the ultimate climax of every religion. To “See God” is the whole purpose of religion. This is the reason behind the multitude of idols the world over.
But until the time of Jesus Christ the vision of God had eluded all but a handful of people. Very few Old Testament Characters actually admit to ‘seeing God.’ Not Noah, Not Daniel, Not David, Not Job.
Of the Major Prophets only 2 claim to have had visions of God, Isaiah, And Ezekiel. Of the Minor Prophets only one say that they saw God, (Amos 9:1)
Moses had already seen more than any man. His desire for God was not fully satisfied. God said, “You cannot look and live.” God showed him some ‘after-glow,’ or reflection.
Moses, weary and exasperated with the burden of leading the Children of Israel, asked God to “Shew me thy glory.” God told him about a “Cleft of rock” in which he could stand and all of His glory would pass by him. But God said He would cover Moses with His hand while He was passing and only allow Moses to see His back, but not His face,
So to “See God” is of such rare occurrence that even the promise of “Seeing Him” sounds exciting. In this study we want to emphasize the conditions more that the promise.
“Blessed are the pure in heart:”
This is the very essence of the religion which Jesus brought, Purity of Heart. This is what real Christianity is about, A Pure Heart. Jesus puts the emphasis upon the heart and not upon the head. He does not comment those who are intellectual; His interest is in the heart.
The Christian faith is not only a matter of Doctrine or understanding or of intellect. It is a condition of the heart. To understand doctrine is absolutely essential. Our mind must comprehend God and His Word. But don’t stop there.
The Pharisees were always ready to reduce the way of life and righteousness to a mere matter of conduct, ethics and behavior. Jesus and John the Baptist were always condemning their motives.
The ‘Heart’ as it is used in the New Testament, means the centre of the Personality.
The ‘Heart’ is the fountain out of which the issues of life flow.
Matthew 15:19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
The heart is the seat of all of man’s troubles.
Jeremiah 17:9. The heart (by nature, the unregenerate heart) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10. I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
So now we know the trouble lies in the heart.
In the light of what we have looked at so far we come to the conclusion that man cannot make himself Christian. We can see God only when we are pure in heart. What the Gospel proposes to do is to bring us out of the terrible pit and raise us up to Heaven.
What does our Lord mean by Pure in Heart? We will endeavor to give two meanings, both correct. One meaning is that it is without hypocrisy, it means ‘single.’ The Lord was to talk about the evil eye later in this sermon.
Matthew 6:22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
The pureness of heart corresponds to ‘singleness.’ It means “without folds” it is open, nothing hidden. It means sincerity single-minded, or single-eyed devotion.
One of the best definitions of purity is given in Psalms 86:11. ….” Unite my heart to fear Thy Name.” Our trouble is our divided heart. One part of me wants to know God and worship God and please God. But another part of me wants something else.
Romans 7:22. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
The ‘Pure’ Heart is the heart that is no longer divided. No wonder after David realized the trouble and prayed the Lord to “unite my heart to fear Thy Name.”
Make it one! Make it single! Take out the pleats and the folds. Let it be whole, let it be one, let it be sincere, let it be entirely free from hypocrisy.
The second meaning of the word ‘Pure’ which we are interested in is ‘cleansed’, ‘without defilement.’ “Blessed are those whose hearts are cleansed; for they shall see God.” Nothing that is unclean or impure, or has any defiling touch about it, shall enter into the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
The question is how can my heart be cleansed?
The prayer in Psalms 51 was prompted by Nathan’s visit to David in 2 Samuel 12.
Psalms 51:2. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Although David realized his need for cleansing, the law had made no provision for it. (Romans 8:3) That’s why David continually bemoaned the fact “My sin is ever before me.” The Law made provisions to roll one’s sins ahead for one year. It did not ‘cleanse’ one from their evil heart. But thank God the coming of Jesus Christ brought a new hope for every man.
Ezekiel prophesied this in:
Ezekiel 11:19. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Nicodemus marveled when Jesus spake to him about the New Birth. One of his questions was “How can these things be? The ‘Cleansing’ of our heart takes place in the New Birth Experience.
John probable said it best in:
1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
It is the blood that maketh atonement or reconciliation.
“Blessed are the pure in heart:…
Our hearts can never be pure without the blood of Jesus Christ working in it. John says in: Revelation 1:5. “……… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
In Romans 3. Paul talks about propitiation or appeasement. Man could never appease God or bring him into a favorable attitude, but God provided the way whereby He can show mercy through the death of Jesus Christ. I could never cleanse myself or unite my heart to be pure, but by His shed blood.
Let us join with Robert Lowry in his great song.
What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
The way was made where by we could be “Pure in heart.
Matthew 5: 9. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
In this Beatitude we have the results of the previous Beatitudes at work in our lives. We have become peacemakers.
The Jews, to whom Jesus addressed this Beatitude, must have been shocked by what He said. They had the idea that the Messiah would come and by force liberate them out of the hands of the Romans, and establish His kingdom on the throne of David.
No doubt they expected a military campaign, a national uprising, a materialistic kingdom. John 6:15. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
This took place immediately after the feeding of the 5,000. Now Jesus praises the peacemaker. Later He would tell Pilate:
John 18:36. ….. ”My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence
The Jews seemed to overlook a small portion of Isaiah 9:6. “He shall be called …. The Prince of Peace.”
Now I must say that everyone who belongs to His Kingdom is a Peacemaker.
A peacemaker is a person who stands out as being different from the rest of the world. They are different because they are the Children of God. They are different because they Hunger and Thirst after righteousness. They are different because their hearts have been made pure by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
We have talked about the unregenerate heart. Jeremiah tells us it is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Jesus tells us from out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness.
That’s why we have had two world wars in some of your life time. That’s why there is always the threat of war. Sin took peace from the earth. Why did the League of Nations fail? Why does the United Nations seem to be failing?
The source of the failure is the heart of man. A new heart and nothing but a new heart, can possible deal with the problem. The great need of the world today is for Peacemakers. James 3:18. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
We should practice being Peacemakers. First and foremost it means that you learn to control your tongue. Learn when to speak. Learn how to speak.
James 1:19. ….. “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
We should never repeat things when you know they are going to do harm. Never say an unkind word about someone.
Romans 12:18. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Last we go out of our way to look for ways of making peace.
“If thine enemy hunger, feed Him.” “Do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” “And if ye salute your Brethren only, what do ye more than others?” “Blessed are the Peacemakers: For they shall be called the Children of God.
First be at peace with yourself then and then only can we be at peace with one another.
12. Persecuted For Righteousness:
Matthew 5:10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I feel that this is the last of the Beatitudes and that verse 11 and 12 are only a post script of verse 10. Jesus is telling these people what is likely to happen when they put the Beatitudes to practice in their lives.
In other words, because you are a Christian you are more likely to suffer persecutions. In reality because you are a Peacemaker you will be persecuted. Because you hunger and thirst after righteousness people will revile you. Because you are pure in heart the world will despise you.
The spirit that is in the world hates the Christian way of life. That spirit of the world has always been against Christ and His children. Anti-Christ, Anti God spirit John says “it is already at work.” John says “Even now it is in the world: It was in the Garden of Eden. It put Jesus on the cross. It is still at work today.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for Righteousness sake: For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
There have been grievous periods of persecution at various times in the history of the Church. In this Beatitude Jesus was preparing His followers for their life of service for Him. On no occasion did Jesus promise an easy way of life.
We do an injustice to new converts when we declare their troubles are over when they give their hearts to God and begin to live for Him. Paul say in 2 Timothy 3:12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Jesus asks us to take up a cross and follow Him. A cross is the sign of hardships, a symbol of suffering and death, suffering for righteousness sake.
Peter in his first Epistle writing to a group of strangers, scattered across parts of Asia Minor. A group which was going through great tribulation.
1 Peter 1:7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:1 Peter 4:12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1 Peter 4:14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; …
1 Peter 4:15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
Some say that the Church needs to join in this cause or join that rally or lend its name as being against certain issues. But Jesus’ instruction to the church, were to Preach the Gospel to every creature. And because of this (The Gospel) they would be hated of all men.
Matthew 5:10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Hebrews 11:35 –38. Tells the story of women and children who were persecuted.
35. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38. (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Who are these? They are God’s people, People living by faith and persecuted for righteousness sake. Down through the ages Jesus Christ come to us, still bearing His cross and challenging each of us to take up our cross and follow Him.
Peter and John soon learned the road of suffering in Acts 4, Followed by Stephen in Acts 7. James was martyred in Acts 12. Acts 9 tells of the conversion of Paul who suffered a lifetime of persecution for his faith in Christ. 2 Corinthians tells His story.
John was exiled to Patmos “For the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 1:9) By the latter part of the first century persecution had spread throughout the Empire. The little Church and the Kingdom of Rome met in battle array. Rome came against the Church with the power of its might, and with swords, fire and persecutions.
The Church put on the whole Armor of God. Loins girt with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. They had the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
The Church came with missionaries, and with the compelling love of Christ in their lives. It was a terrible test and many would not endure, many would fail and turn back. But thousands would stand and not fail.
But really it was Rome which was on trial and being judged. Its power and might was dissolved by Christ and His followers. By the third century 10 percent of the Roman Kingdom had become Christians. Many thousand had died martyrs for Christ sake. It was said that the blood of the martyrs was seed of the Church.
Revelation 6:9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
This group of martyrs appears again in Revelation chapter 7 and 20. This also seems to indicate that the persecutions of the Church would last as long as it was here on earth. But when Jesus comes in the clouds of glory He will avenge all persecutions against His Church.
13. Salt Of The Earth:
Matthew 5:13. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
14. The Light Of The World:
Matthew 5:14. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
In these two illustrations, “Ye are the salt of the earth..” “Ye are the light of the world,” Jesus is describing our place, or role, in the world we live in as Christians, or the reason why we are here.
He could have willed it that we would be translated, like Enoch or Elijah, the very moment we were saved. No suffering, no persecution, but He has left us here for a purpose.
We are left here to keep the world from being completely rotten or decayed. And without the Christians which are in the world it would be in total darkness. The world does not know the real value of those who live as Christians. The Church was born into a world of almost total paganism, idolatry ruled the minds of people, slavery and immorality was the norm, almost the entire world was ignorant and unlearned, darkness ruled the minds of the population of the world.
Christianity has done more to correct these things than all the other religions combined. It is the only religion with a moral purpose. Without Christianity the world would still be in the grip of barbarism and paganism. Church we are here to hold back the night. We are here to take the stench out of society. Your influence must be felt, seen, experienced, by everyone around you.
“Ye,” as Jesus used it here, are the most important people on the earth. “Ye,” are the salt, therefore recognize the responsibility which has fallen upon you. Jesus made these statements to, seemingly the most unimportant people of His day. “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Ye are the light of the world.”
It was not made to kings or priests or leaders or men of high distinction. It was made to men who were “Poor in spirit.” To those “who mourn,” To “the meek,” To those “who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” to “the merciful.” It was made to those who had “a pure heart,” to the, “peacemakers,” to those “who were persecuted for righteousness.” “Ye are the most important people on the earth.”
Nothing can take the place of your influence on society, if you will not act as salt, where will the influence come from to make a better society. In these sayings Jesus is exalting His disciples.
Salt was greatly valued in the time of Christ. In the climate of Palestine it was indispensable for the preservation of food. A bag of salt was reckoned as precious as a man’s life. It was used as a medium of exchange, like money.
Another and more common use for salt is for seasoning. Almost any recipe calls for a ‘pinch of salt.’ (Dash) Jesus was not concerned that the group was small on that day upon the Mount. A ‘pinch’ of salt is enough to flavor this society. Church we don’t have to be many in numbers. All Jesus asks of us is to be real salt.
The Disciples are to stay in the world, touching every phase of society if we are to redeem it. We redeem society by being what Jesus asks us to be, real Christians and real salt.
God told Abraham that 10 righteous men would save the city of Sodom. The verse implies we are to be a day-by-day witness for Jesus. Another thing is implied in this verse is that they might lose the gift and grace which He had given them. And then they would be cast out to be trodden under foot.
Matthew 5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
The story is told of a merchant of Sidon who purchased large quantities of salt and stored them in houses to avoid paying tax own on it. But the floor of the houses was common earth, and soon the salt by that contact lost its saltines. It was then used to make the hard surface on the road.
The lesson we need to learn from this is that the Christian either redeems the world, or the world robs him of his Christianity. The Bible will keep you from your sins or you sins will keep you from the Bible. Church we must pray and discipline ourselves if His Word is to find fulfillment in us.
These fishermen knew the value of salt. They knew too that nothing was more worthless than salt which had lost its quality as salt. The salt would lose its quality if left exposed to open air.
Mark 9:50. “……Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Salt adds ‘Zest’ to food many foods would be very dull without a little ‘pinch’ of salt.
In the second chapter of Acts: An hundred and twenty grains of salt were all with one accord in one place.
Jerusalem was stagnated and dull with l,000 years of pretense of religion. But Jesus had told this little ‘pinch’ of salt that they would be witnesses of Him in Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. In other words you will be the greatest influence of your times.
In the second chapter of Acts:
A sound from Heaven, A rushing mighty wind, Tongues of fire, The Holy Ghost Baptism, The sound stirred the men at Jerusalem. They came, they saw, they heard.
In Acts 2:41. What was once 120 grains of salt suddenly became 3,120 grains.
According to Acts 3:1-11, A lame man was healed, A large crown assembled and the ‘salt’ vegan to flavor, to redeem from corruption. According to Acts 4:4. Another 4000 grains of salt added. (7,120 grains) According to Acts 4:17.
Resistance to the salt—“that it spread no further among the people. But the salt had not lost its saltness.
Acts 5:16. Speaks of multitudes from outlying areas.
Acts 5:28. “……. behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine,
What would this world be like without the Christian influence in it?
“But if the salt have lost His savour,…. (saltness). How does the salt lose its saltness?
By being mixed with the world. In the world, but not of the world.
“Ye are the light of the world.” Some of the greatest names in human history had already lived before Christ. It would be hard to match in any period of history men like Aristotle, and Plato and Socrates.
The Romans had brought law and government to the greatest heights. Some of the world’s best literature had been written before that time. Yet in the face of all that brilliance, of all the literature achievement, all the philosophic merit.
Jesus said to a handful of fishermen, tax collect0rs, and ordinary people. “Ye are the light of the world.” You are going to be the guiding light. They were to be the light that would guide the world out of darkness.
Light came from an upper room, not Mars Hill, not from a Roman Senate or Forum. That light shined in a Pagan world, a world of idolatry and a world of darkness. Praise God for the light of Christianity.
“Let your light so shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
The world is in a state of darkness. Jesus asks us to live as salt of the earth and the light of the world. By living as Jesus asks us to. Living the Sermon on the Mount and living a Christian life. Nothing less will give the light they must have.
There is hope for the world. Let us let our light shine forth or the world will never find God. Put your light on a candlestick that it may give light to everyone around us.
I hope you enjoyed reading this portion of our Study Of The Sermon On The Mount #1 We will be putting more sections of it on our web pages as we get them prepared.
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Sermon On The Mount #2
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By, James L. Thornton