Sunday Service (M901) | Mount Zion Church | 16 February 2020 | Blessed are the Pure, the Peacemakers, and the Persecuted | Beatitudes Sermon Series | Matthew 5:8-12
The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew Mat.5:1-12. This teaching appeared as the opening of the sermon because it is very important for us. This teaching explains attitudes and characters that God are looking for among believers then it will bring heavenly blessings. Jesus was not talking about a physical blessing because the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal 2Cor.4:18. The word ’blessed’ (Greek: makarios) also translated as ‘happy’ Jn.13:17. So this teaching will definitely bring down a heavenly happiness if we obey and do all of that.
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 all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:8-12 NKJV
BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART
God is looking for believers who have a pure heart! Pure means not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material. In the Bible, pure also translated as clean and clear. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they concerned more to clean the outside but not the inside. Jesus said: first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also Mat.23:26. Being a pure believer must begin with a clean heart, from the inside first, so the outside will be clean as well.
So, how can we have a pure heart? First, we must take out all rubbish out. Jesus said to the Pharisees, who were lovers of money Luk.16:14: “Give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you Luk.11:41.” The problem of those Pharisees was love of money, so they must take it out first to make everything clean. Every person may have their own problem and their own lust. Apostle Paul said: “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin Rm.6:6.” Second, we will be clean because of the word which Jesus had spoken to us Jn.15:3. As we must keep walking in this wild wide world, our inner man must always abide in the Word of God that is powerful to cleanse us Eph.5:26. Whenever we read our Bible, we must open our heart wide so that Holy Spirit will freely remind, rebuke, and also restore us to the right track. Third, the fire will make us pure. Malachi wrote: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap Mal.3:2.” Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction Isa.48:10. These last days will be a great moment for believers as we will be purified, made white, and refined, just like what already prophesied by Daniel Dan.12:10. God call Himself as the refiner’s fire. Only God can see how pure we are, and He will let that fire come in our life again and again so that we can become pure and then see Him in eternity long!
Once Jacob wrestled with a Man until the breaking of day. Jacob was purified as he found himself not able to defeat God through his own strength. Jacob was refined, and his hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And that night became a turning point, his name was changed to Israel (which means prince with God), he was blessed, and he called that place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved Gen.32:30.” Once Moses together with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of the elders of Israel, saw the God of Israel Exo.24:9-11. Moses even abide in God’s presence more so that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him Exo.34:29. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also saw God as they let the burning fiery furnace purified their faith. They experienced how the hand of God was there protecting them so that the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them Dan.3:27, even they also saw the Son of God was there as the fourth person, walking in the midst of the fire Dan.3:25. We may see God more in our life as we allow Him to purify and cleanse us deeper. This will be the happiest life we can ever have as we will always see God work mightily in our life also through us.
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
The disciples of Jesus must be the peacemakers wherever they go. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men Rom.12:17-18. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled Heb.12:14-15. A peaceful heart will bring out peace, but a bitter heart will bring out trouble!
So, how can we create peace wherever we go? First, we must have thought of peace for others, and not of evil, just like God always have for us Jer.29:11. Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things Phil.4:8. We must always fill up our mind with something good. Second, we must speak up peace Psa.35:20, Est.10:3. We must be the counsellors of peace Pro.12:20. Paul spoke about peace regarding Onesimus to Philemon so that both of them could live in peace again, accepting each other as a beloved brother Phm.1:16. Shalom means peace in Hebrew and we must always speak shalom rather than having a sharp razor tongue Psa.52:2. Third, we must bring peace, having shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace Eph.6:15.
Jesus taught His disciples how to bring peace. “But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the labourer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there and say to them: The kingdom of God has come near to you Luk.10:5-9.” Our heart must be filled up with peace first, so we can declare peace to the place we enter. It may be our home, our family, our community. Peace also come with quietness, do not go from house to house also means that we must give a good time, a good opportunity to build up a peaceful moment. Peaceful family need a good time management so that every member in the family have enough good time for fellowship and togetherness. Peace always need an enough space to grow and build. Peace also need acceptance and understanding. Jesus asked his disciples to eat and drink whatever people may give them, without any special request. Eat such things as are set before you. And the real everlasting peace come in the name of Jesus! They must bring the gospel of peace, declare the kingdom of God. Let’s bring peace so that we are called the sons of God.
BLESSED ARE THE PERSECUTED
Persecution for righteousness’ sake is a thing that can not be avoided by Christians. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution 2Tim.3:12. For to us it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake Phil.1:29. Persecutions toward our faith is a blessing because, first, it is a proof that we are counted worthy of the kingdom of God 2Thes.1:5. It is a clear evidence that this world counts us as the citizen of the kingdom of God. The disciples in the early church departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name Ac.5:41. Second, persecutions toward our faith means that we will be joint heirs with Christ. Paul wrote: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us Ro.8:16-18. Third, more persecutions toward our faith will only means more glory. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified 1Pet.4:14.
People may think that speaking about persecutions in a safe country will have no relation as we never experience physical persecutions. Indeed, we may suffer persecutions either physically or spiritually. We must always abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having our conduct honourable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against us as evildoers, they may, by our good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation 1Pet.2:11-12. Keep walking in holiness and righteousness will means persecutions toward our flesh. Jesus explained how the last days will be like the days of Noah and Lot. We may understand that the days of Noah and the days of Lot were a modern day where people built, planted, bought and sold, ate and drank, married and were given in marriage Luk.17:26-30. Both Noah and Lot were persecuted as they decided to follow God. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. While the world become ungodly, Noah kept preaching about righteousness. While this world redefines 3 modern terms like equality, diversity and inclusion, we must keep define it according to what the Bible said. Lot also being persecuted as he lived in Sodom because he was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 2Pet.2:5-8. The persecutions of Christian faith still exist in this whole wide world, it is prevalent, and Jesus said it will bring blessing to the believers. Jesus said: “Blessed are you! Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
Jesus called out the pure, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, and He blessed them! We may see God more in our life as we allow Him to purify and cleanse us deeper. Blessed are the pure! A peaceful heart will bring out peace, but a bitter heart will bring out trouble. Blessed are the peacemakers! Persecution for righteousness’ sake is a thing that can not be avoided by Christians. Blessed are the persecuted!
Insights and impressions:
While this world may see those 8 groups of people as the miserable one, Jesus esteem them and even bless them! The eyes of this world will never be able to see the advantages of being holy and righteous, but those who have a desire to walk in the Spirit will be able to see how beautiful and how blessed to be like that. The Beatitudes is the secret of how God see people and it will change our perspective and redefined the goal of our life as well.
Let’s pray that God will help us to be ready for the fiery furnace of purification. Let’s start to think about peace, speak peace, and also bring peace wherever we may go. And let’s pray so that we can see persecutions of our faith as a privilege as we are heading to the Kingdom of God. AMEN.