A Survey of the Beatitudes
April 25, 2021
 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (ESV)
The beatitudes paint a comprehensive portrait of a Christian disciple. (John Stott)
(1) Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat. 5:3)
Poverty of Spirit is a disposition of the soul, wrought by grace by which we are emptied of self (Matthew Henry).
- Poverty of Spirit is the opposite of being full of self.
- It’s the opposite of a self-exalted, or a self-exalting spirit
- It the opposite of a proud spirit
(2) Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted (Mat. 5:4)
“I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6)
- The Holy Spirit (who has come into the world to convict of sin) worked within us a penitential mourning so that we began to see our sins and grieve, so that we began to see the sinful corruption in our very nature.
- Job…one of the most blameless men in the OT when he saw his sin…grieved deeply and said: “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6)
- How very strange indeed to say “Happy are those who mourn” Or “Happy are those who are sad” Or “Happy are those who…despise themselves” Or “Happy are those who mourn with dust and ashes!”
- But the wonderful irony is that as soon as God’s grace enables us to weep at our sinfulness we are on the road to happiness, we are on the road to joy! Because — In those very moments God’s forgiveness washes over us, God’s comforts flood our souls, joy begin to fill us – and chains begin to fall off!
(3) Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth
“Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, for I am gentle (meek) and lowly in heart.” (Mat. 11:29)
“The meek are those who… are gentle towards all men (Titus 3:2); who can bear provocation without being inflamed by it; are either silent, or return a soft answer; and who can show their displeasure when there is occasion for it, without being transported into any indecencies…They are the meek who are rarely and hardly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified; and who would rather forgive twenty injuries than revenge one. (Matthew Henry Vol 5, p.50)
(4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisified. (Mat. 5:6)
- This is the craving, the yearning, the ache to be right with God — to be able to stand before God in righteousness. It is a hunger and thirst for the righteousness of justification.
- This is also the craving, the yearning, the ache to be so smitten by God’s lavish unmerited love for us that our love for him drives out our love of sin! It is a hunger and thirst for the righteousness of sanctification
(5) Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. (Mat. 5:7)
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. (Psa 145:9 KJV)
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
- God’s tender mercies aren’t just feelings of pity. His great mercy moved him to come to earth. His great mercy moved him to go to the cross where he suffered and died — that we might be saved.
- So “Blessed are the merciful” means that Christian mercy, like Christ’s mercy — is more than pity…it is pity plus action. The priest and the Levite who passed by the man beaten and robbed on the road may have had pity for him, but they were not merciful — like the good Samaritan, who went out of his way to help.
(6) Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (Mat. 5:8)
- The Pharisees were concerned about being pure in the sight of men. The essence of what this verse teaches is that we are blessed and happy when we are pure in those places – that God alone sees.
- God see’s the ugly stain — of each sin that we love. He does not reject us. He does not cast us away. He does not withdraw from us. He shows us hands pierced for us. And as we confess to him our love of sin and ask him to forgive us our trespasses and lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil — He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat. 5:9)
- Christians are peaceable people — who make peace.
“Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy…” (James 3:17)
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me. Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand!” (1 Sam. 25:32-33)
- If we want to reap a harvest of righteousness for Christ, we must sow in peace.
- We must not be quick to argue, quarrel, or fight.
- We must not be combative, aggressive, antagonistic, or belligerent because…
“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:18)
(8) Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mat. 5:11-12)
- When we are reviled…
- When we are criticized in an abusive or angry or insulting manner….
- When we censured, condemned, attacked, or railed against…
- When we are ill-treated and subjected to hostility…
- When people utter evil against us falsely On his account — On his account
WE ARE BLESSED
Questions For Discussion/Application (Care Groups):
- Re-read the text, Matthew 5:1-13. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- Begin by reading, out loud, the sermon notes (see above). Perhaps print out a copy ahead of time so everyone in the group as a copy for the meeting.
- What does it mean practically to be poor in spirit? What steps can we take, what are some things we can do to grow in becoming more poor in spirit?
- What does it mean that those who mourn are blessed? How does this truth comfort or encourage you?
- What does it mean to be meek? How do you want to grow in meekness?
- What does it mean to thirst for righteousness? How does the doctrine of justification connect with this beatitude?
- How does the beatitude of purity in heart apply in terms of how we lead ourselves and our families in the movies we watch, the music we listen to and other entertainment choices?
- What does it mean to be a peacemaker? What are practical ways that we can grow in being peacemakers?
- “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” How does this beatitude encourage you?
- Consider taking time to pray, asking the Lord that these qualities would characterize our lives in increasing measure.