Saturday, February 15, 2020


Sermon Summary (2/02/20) “Who Are the Truly Blessed?”
 (Matthew 5:1-12; Ephesians 2:8-9)

Blesses are the meek.  We are a manly country, rugged individualists.  Remember the Marlboro man?  “The one, the proud, the Marine.”  But blessed are the meek  I’ve always had interpreting the Beatitudes.  Who are the blessed?  Actually, I think Matthew had problems, too.  Luke recalls Jesus’ saying as “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”  Matthew must have had some rich friends, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of Heaven.”  I think Matthew had difficulty interpreting who was blessed.

Maybe here’s the bigger question?  Who has access to the kingdom of God?  What does it take to get into heaven?

Here’s another question.  I’ve always wondered, did Paul get it right?  Are we saved by grace through faith? (Eph 2:8)  Do you know word, “grace,” does not show up in Matthew, Mark and Luke?  Where does Jesus say we are saved by grace?  What does Jesus require of us?  Poverty?  Meekness?  Do we need to be persecuted?  Must we be in a continual state of mourning?  Here’s what Jesus says in Luke, “Woe to you that are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.”  Would joy keep us from the kingdom of God?

Where is the message of grace in the Gospels?   Actually, right here in the Beatitudes.  I want you to picture the setting of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus on the mountain surrounded by his disciples,; then the whole mountainside filled with the “sat upon, spat upon, ratted upon,” to use the phase of Simon and Garfunkel.  It was show and tell time.  I can see Jesus walking through the crowd, placing his hands on the ragged, “Blessed are the poor”; on the downtrodden, “Blessed are the meek”; on the crying, “Blessed are those that mourn.” 

These people do not gain entry because of their status, but because of the grace of Jesus Christ and the great faith they are displaying by being on the mountain with him.  This is a story of grace.  There is no payment they can make to get into heaven.  There is no joy they can display.  Not even their righteousness would do.  They were devoid of religion, unable to read the scrolls if they even knew what the scrolls were.  They were “saved by grace through faith, it was not of your own doing so that no one could boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

Jesus has just turned the worldly standard upside down.  The Beatitudes are the Gospel’s statement of grace.  Jesus is saying, “Hear the good news, there is nothing you can do save yourselves, it has already been done.”

We then need to do everything we can to protect our faith.  We need to remember our baptismal vows: “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace?”  We need to say “Yes” continually.  We need to “Repent” continually.  Place our lives before the Holy Spirit to examine our motives, “Did I trust Christ today, or did I depend on myself as my only guide?”  We are followers of Jesus Christ.  Let our lives so demonstrate that faith.  Do everything you can to protect your faith.

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