Next Steps

Standing hillside our Lord and Savior shared the spiritual steps we need to take to live the blessed life God has for us. He begins by saying that all humanity is spiritually poor and bound in sin. Then how we need to allow God to be Lord over all of our life, that He will lead us and feed us, quenching our thirsty souls, as He hops us to embody His purity of heart. Then Jesus shares the next Step #7: Saying become a peacemaker. Matthew 5:9~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons (daughters) of God. (ESV) When we are right with God, the purity of the Lord will permeate our who lives and we will want all of our relationships to be right, as well. Jesus is the reconciler of things, whether we take our text from 2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Ephesians 2:16; or Colossians 1:20–21. Jesus Christ came to reconcile all things. Thus, being a peacemaker is about our work as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. To perform this task, we must obey the command of Romans 12:18~If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV) There is a lot we can do to keep the peace.

Step #8: Get Ready: Persecution. Matthew 5:10~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (ESV) The key here is found in the word righteousness. This is not people talking about you because you’re a Christian Hump. No, I didn’t say good-looking. This is not a rump movement led by the east end of a westbound mule, that is the wrong Heel. What Christ Jesus said was if we live by the previous 7 requirements, and are blessed by God, there will be a natural result of persecution. If we are committed to purity and righteousness, we will be persecuted. Jesus explains people will revile us (criticize and castigate), they will persecute (tyrannize and torment) us, and say all kinds of evil (dishonorable, depraved and villainous) just because we profess and live like Jesus Christ, who said get ready and be blessed! Matthew 5:12~Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (ESV) Any persecution we endure in this life will be soon forgotten when we receive our great reward in heaven.

I hope and pray that today you will spend some time praising the Lord and thanking Him for all that He has done in your life and family. God is so very good to us and He alone is worthy of our praise.

The Quest

The Bible says the meek shall inherit the earth. As Jesus moves through His sermon on Mt Beatitudes that Day He share the first two steps to living the blessed life as recognizing our spiritual poverty and the perception of our sinfulness. Then He share Step #3: Allow Jesus to be Lord. Matthew 5:5~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV) Now Jesus Christ is the Lord over all, but we must acknowledge and allow Him to be. Meek is Not Weak; rather it means power under control, like a horse who is controlled by its master for useful work. Meekness is submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Meek people know who Jesus is and willingly submit to Him. If we are meek, we will inherit the earth, which refers to the new earth. I don’t want to inherit this place. Listen to the description found in Revelation 21:4~He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (NIV) That’s what I want, I want the new blessed life.

Step #4: Pursue Spiritual Food. Matthew 5:6~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (ESV) Who doesn’t want God to satisfy them? Well when we are right with God, we hunger and thirst for spiritual food, which is the Word of God. Man, I cannot wait for Bible Study, for worship and the word. Psalm 119:103~How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (NIV) When we are physically ill, we lose our appetite for food. Likewise, when we are spiritually sick, we have no spiritual appetite for God’s Word. However, when we are right with God, we hunger and thirst for righteousness and are filled by God’s holy Word. Jesus says to us let’s take a walk and sit hillside, as we learn of our poverty, the seriousness of sin, allowing the Lord to lead us in steps of righteousness as He feeds.

Step #5: Practice Mercy. Matthew 5:7~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are the merciful (ἐλεήμων eleēmōn), for they shall receive mercy. (ESV) Being merciful means you get, and so you give. Because we have received God’s mercy we give mercy. Merciful people, are not be bitter, resentful or vindictive. That is not what they received, nor give. James, whose letter absent of a return address writes in James 2:13~because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (NIV) You want mercy, then show mercy.

Step #6: Embody Purity of Heart. Matthew 5:8~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are the pure (καθαρός katharos) in heart, for they shall see God. (ESV) (καθαρός katharos) pure means free from contamination or defilement. In a nutshell, it’s being holy. Pure in heart means being morally pure, it’s being a person of integrity, doing what is right when nobody is looking. When we are pure in heart, we see God through faith. Hebrews 11:27 ~By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (NIV) Ole Mo understood life is to be lived for God by faith. As Christ Jesus teaches hillside on Mt Beatitudes, He says humanity is bound in spiritual poverty, in serious sin, so allow God to lead you, and feed your hungry soul, as you embody the purity of heart.

Today how might we take these steps and change our life to look more like Jesus? Who needs a phone call, text or card, even person visit to let them know that God has them on His heart?

Blessed are the poor…

We are all spiritually poor and have sinned. So today, as we join Jesus on the path of life let’s look at the first two steps that we receive from Jesus for living a blessed life (Matthew 5:3-12). We find 8 requirements of the blessed life. Technically, there are 7 requirements and 1 natural byproduct of a righteous life. As Messiah begins His sermon that day, it is with the best-known portion, we call the Beatitudes. Each one begins with the word (μακάριος makarios) which is to say blessed, it means joy or divine delight. The beatitudes, which are in a very specific spiritual order, share 8 requirements, or steps, for a believer to live a blessed life. 

Step #1: Possessing Poverty of Spirit. Christ Jesus begins in Matthew 5:3~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are the poor (πτωχός ptōchos) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (ESV) The word poor (πτωχός ptōchos) refers to someone who is destitute to the point of begging. So, being poor in spirit means acknowledging our spiritual poverty—we are sinners in need of forgiveness. In Luke 18, Christ Jesus tells the story of a very religious, self-righteous Pharisee and a publican (a dishonest tax collector) stop thinking about our author Matt, he is already turned his life around. 

Now, these two men go to the temple to pray. The Pharisee in his prayer, informs God of what a good person he is. Ever prayed one of those prayers? Lord I just finished serving at PHK, just gave groceries for the food pantry #me. In contrast, the publican says Luke 18:13~But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (NIV) Christ Jesus says the publican went home justified or saved Luke 18:14~I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (NIV) He was justified because he was poor in spirit.  

Step #2: Perceiving the Seriousness of Sin Matthew 5:4~Blessed (μακάριος makarios) are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (ESV) Recognizing how bad our sin is, should cause us to mourn over it, so we can be comforted by God. The guilt of sin is very difficult to bear. For example, listen to King David in Psalm 51:8~Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. (NIV) Guilt takes all the joy out of the life God created us for us, thus we feel guilty when we sin. This is the real reason the world wants to do away with shame or contrition Our guilt makes us feel broken and miserable, which draws us to God. Being blessed begins by knowing we are spiritually poor and have sinned.