Kingdom Living (Beatitudes)
Matthew 5:1,” When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The Beatitudes are as like Mike Bickle put it, “the constitution of God’s Kingdom.” It is a measure for us of our spiritual development. It has values that Jesus laid out to us for Christian living. Standards of spiritual conduct. It is at the heart of the Kingdom of God, and it is really based off of Jesus’ first commandment to love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself from Matthew 22. It is we who are believers, cooperating with the Grace of God.
We as believers who received unmerited grace, should be grace to others who do not know grace, or have never really experienced it, especially in the supernatural way that we do. True grace comes from God, and the only condition for that grace is that we love God and believe in who He is through His Son Jesus.
Yes, God wants our full obedience, but He is well aware of our fallen state, so He lays out through His Christ, examples such as in Matthew 5 to guide us into the truth of His grace, so we can be free to walk in His fullness.
The beatitudes define love, godliness, and spiritual maturity, and describe the kingdom lifestyle, and this kingdom lifestyle is not like the kingdom lifestyles of this world. It is a greater lifestyle. A lifestyle that has no comparison in this world when we get to know it, and live in it.
When we read the beatitudes we see that Jesus starts with the word “Blessed” or bless-ed which is used in Bible versions, or the word Happy in others, but this word comes from the Greek word, makarios “mak-ar'-ee-os, meaning fortunate, well off: - or happy. But this word means more than just happy or well off. This is happy or blessedness is not based on earthly standards or definitions, but in a heavenly supernatural standard. A standard that this world cannot give. The World can only give so much, but our God can give in the infinite. There is no end to His Glory, so there is no end to His grace, or what we he can give us who believe in Him.
So happy in the supernatural ideals of God, are for those who pursue to live these eight values, because these eight “blessings” that we can live, allows us to live in a supernatural peace, knowing that we live in the approval of God which brings us joy unspeakable and full of glory, that we are able to share with others. He does want us to share.
Unfortunately, through my years as a disciple of Christ and watching others in the church, I have found that many do not have the joy and peace that Jesus died for us to have looking back on His teachings here. It may be too hard for us to live these eight blessings because we think we need to be like a monk to live them out. It could be a miss understanding of scripture. Maybe people don’t care, or really don’t believe, maybe not taught it. I believe it is some of that. They may feel that they must be low and humble and strive to be these examples of holiness.
Especially looking at Matthew 5 especially in verses 3-5, we may think that we have to be lowly, in a contrite state of mind, but that is not what these mean.
Being happy and blessed should make us have a vibrant heart even in trials.
Jesus said in Matthew 7, “24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
So these lifestyle examples laid out by Jesus in Matthew 5 when we apply them gives us a firm strong foundation to live by that will not cause us to fall or fail. Jesus wants us to walk in His example of an over comer, and be an example to others of a life of freedom. Jesus is saying, “hear me, do these things and you will experience the Kingdom of God.” He wasn’t putting a yolk on us, he was setting us free. Because the Kingdom of God is experienced not only in belief, but in obedience, and we tend to think of being obedient as being under some type of weight of the law. Like its hard.
When Jesus said, “Blessed, or happy are those who do these eight things, He was calling us to obedience. He was saying do this. Because obedience does not bind our lives like may think, but it free us. So what is He saying in these eight verses? I briefly broke them out. In the future I would like to do an exhaustive study.
Verse 3, What is poor in spirit?
Simply this: We must be humble. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant. In other words, when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are full of ourselves, God cannot bless us. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride can take all kinds of forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. Often the richer we are in things, the poorer we are in our hearts. A question being, “do we truly know our need for Jesus?” That is the primary point. We must give up our strong will to the Lord.
Verse 4, Who are those that mourn?
Those whose hearts break over their fleshly condition. The word Mourning in the Greek is to Grieve, and even Wail to the Lord.
King David said it best in Psalms 6:
“1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long? 4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? 6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. 8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. 9 The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. “
David found comfort, just as Matthew 5:4 states. “for they shall be comforted.” Peace comes from comfort. So we must despise our sin and the sin of others. Come to a place to hate it like the Lord hates it, and as we put ourselves out to God and expose our hearts, he will give us comfort. There is that peace again.
Verse 5, What is being meek?
This type of meekness is only used three times in the Bible. This verse, and two others used by Jesus, to represent Himself. Matt 11:29, and Matt 21:9. It is again being humble. Showing humility. Being lowly and not self-righteous and thinking highly of yourself. Like your somebody. Jesus was everything, but He expressed Himself as a servant. He came to seek, save, and serve humanity, and show them the kingdom. We are to do the same even though we have all the attributes of the Kingdom within us. There can be no spiritual pride, but a servant’s heart. The World wishes to exalt self. We are here to exalt Jesus.
Verse 6, What is hungering and thirsting after righteousness?
It’s about the heart. Psalms 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you my God.” Do we have idols, or other god’s we follow or worship? Where or what keeps our attention and focus? The job? A person? A game? The past?
The hunger and thirst Jesus was speaking about in verse 6 was not like physical food and water that can be satisfied with a meal. We know that. It is something beyond that. Just like Jesus said to Satan, in Matt 4: “It is written, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” God is our sustenance. He is our life. He is the “Great I am” to us.
I love how verses 3-5 bring us to this point. We stand really in awe of our God, in humility which brings us to a point where there should be nothing standing between us and Him, so we can freely worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Our Spirit then hungers for our God. We yearn for Him and His presence. We hunger and thirst for a life that only He can give us, and that life comes only from His Word. The Word transforms us. We live in righteousness. We are holy in heart and at peace because we are justified by the Blood of Jesus and we know it. We live in confidence of the truth. We know truth.
Verse 7, What is blessed are the merciful?
What is mercy? Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone who could or should receive punishment. God has given us mercy because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was our mercy seat. The Greek word for mercy seat is hilasterion, which means, “the removing of wrath by the offering of sacrifice.” Jesus was the one-time sacrifice. Because of the eternal sacrifice now given, we have mercy that is everlasting.
So with this freedom, we too must walk in this mercy. Be mercy. We must not live by the law. We must live by grace and give it especially to those who do not know the truth. Especially to those who don’t know Jesus.
The world without God lives with a give and take attitude. You do something for me, I do something for you. If you take, I’ll take, and maybe take more if I can do it, or if my mind and will justify it, because I have not standard to live by.
Everything seems to be conditional. In Christ, His love is unconditional. We must live in that unconditional state with everyone, so we must give mercy to everyone. That’s hard too. When you know the love of the Father, you will know how to love your neighbor. We give mercy, we receive it. And we have. Forever.
Verse 8, blessed are the pure in heart. What’s that?
This is not about manners or outward appearance, but who we are. Only we and God, knows who we truly are. The real deep things of our being that we don’t talk about. We all have them, and we don’t share them because we might scare someone. I have met a handful of people in my whole life who give full exposure to others, and they are truly free. We should all be that free.
We know He searches the heart.
And Jesus said in
God wants our whole heart, and nothing else will do. Where our heart stands are important to our walk with Christ. We know that. When we have a pure heart, one that is cleansed and free, we are living in obedience to God’s Word. We are walking in the light, and our heart is now an open pure expression of our love for Him. We are complete.
And I know that we who follow Christ want to be complete in Him. When we are there, we know we are in His will, and we have peace in that. And our hearts desire is to be at peace in this life. Purity of heart opens the door to the presence of God, and in that we see Him in all His glory, and love, and comfort. Amen!
Verse 9, Peacemakers? Who are the peacemakers?
I think that is quite evident. The world has no peace. There is violence everywhere. Praise God that He restrains man, because if He did not, most of the world I believe would be dead. Really. I believe our prayers have kept this world intact along with a longsuffering Savior. We have been called to intercede for others. We are the go betweens, not only in prayer, but in love. We should bring peace by the Holy Spirit filled presence of God that is in us when we enter situations. We have the answer to a peaceful life, and our lives should show it even in difficulties that surround us personally. We are free, and we should bring that freedom where ever we go. Even in the face of conflict against us. Greater who is me, than he who is in the world, right? We are sons and daughters of God, and we should live that way, speak that way, and bring healing that way.
Verse 10, Blessed are the persecuted?
No one wants persecution. But yes, we will experience it. Satan hates us. We can’t run from it, but we can stand against it. We need to be faithful servants of Jesus Christ and Stand for Him. Great is your reward the rest of verse 10 says, and I believe that reward will not only be in the future life with Christ, but we will be rewarded here on earth too because God honors obedience.
These eight verses Jesus taught us was to bring us freedom, not to put a heavy yolk on us. He wanted us to walk in the fullness of the Word of God. He wants us to live life in abundance and bring that abundant life to others and be an example to them of the love of God to His creation.
So we can’t give up our pursuit of the Godly Spirit Filled Life Jesus wanted us to have. Why? Because lives of other people are at stake.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was to give us exuberant life and power to further His Kingdom because it brings life and destroys the work of the Devil. And what Jesus taught that Matthew recorded in the now the 5th chapter of his writing, was for us to be free of ourselves. Walking not only in obedience and shunning our sin, but walking in fullness of supernatural grace that only comes from God.
Jesus said in the next chapter that we are the light of the world. That we cannot be hidden, so we must believe that when we put on the Word of God which is armor to us, that we who are blessed, will stand and be light and show those who are hurting that the Kingdom of God is here, and that they can join us and be a part of this marvelous life now, and in the age to come.