November 22, 2009
Sermon on the Mount, #3
The Lord started right at the root of the blessings of God with humility before God for salvation. One cannot enter the kingdom of God apart from the new birth, John 3. One must realize that he is utterly without hope apart from Christ. He must humble himself, become as a child and come in simple trust in Christ for his only hope of the Kingdom of God.
SECOND BEATITUDE, v. 4, mourn. how do we view sins in our lives, in the lives of others and in society?
THIRD BEATITUDE, meekness. Meekness refers to being broken to harness, as you would break a horse or elephant for domestic use. The strength is not broken, but their will is subdued to the master.
FOURTH BEATITUDE, v. 6, hunger and thirst after righteousness.
For some reason known only to the translators, when the Greek was translated into English, the translators used two English words for the same Greek world: justice & righteous is the same word, meaning the same thing.
Righteousness means integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling and acting as defined by Moses. This same word is used again in in v. 10 & 20.
V. 6, our Lord used righteousness in the sense of right living. That is, a life lived that brings glory to God, rather than to man. Moses defines how to glorify God in our daily activity. Righteousness for salvation was dealt with in the first beatitude.
V. 20, For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The righteousness of v. 6 is that which is right and just in God's eyes.
The righteousness of v. 20 is that which is right in men's eyes of men; meeting men's corrupt standards.
We see in Jeremiah 31, that ones of v. 6, are living a lawful life because His law is written in their heart and they long to pleases their Lord.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
I will put my law... That is, the law as given through Moses, and developed by the Lord when he came, and the New Testament authors. They certainly will not fight against Moses, and attempt to get rid of him.
V. 6, speaks of a strong longing desire for the righteousness and justice of God to be fulfilled in our actions which will influence our society. This beatitude speaks holiness in thought, word and deed.
Rather than giving the quote, let me sum up what Tyng said in his 1843 lectures under heading "II. The use of the law with the pardoned and Justified."
1. It is the rule of life by which they are governed. They are made free from its penalties and threatenings, that with a new and grateful spirit they may be enabled to obey its commands. (Stephen H. Tyng, Lectures on the law and the Gospel, 1843. P. 61.)
Being made free from the threatenings and penalties of the law by faith in Christ, we are now free to obey the law with a new and grateful spirit.
In their adoption as children into the family of God, a love for his character, and for the holiness which distinguishes it, has been planted in their hearts. They are made to desire perfect holiness of character, which is the image of God, and the obedience to his law. (Ibid)
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Biblical freedom is freedom from the binding hold of sin, so we can obey the Lord:
Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Paul, in the light of Jeremiah, tells us that the obedience to the law is not the result of threathenings, but is the result of newness of spirit. However, the law is still the same law, and the newness of the spirit makes his people desire to be holy, even as he is holy.
1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth
himself, even as he is pure.
1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
And though they work not for wages, and their hope rests not upon any obedience to their own, the spirit which is given to them, leads them to press forward in every path of obedience, desiring to be perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect. (Ibid.)
The Spirit of God in his people will cause them to press forward in every path of obedience. It will give them the desire to live holy even as the Father is holy.
That law which requires supreme love to God, and universal love to men for his sake, is now written for them, not in tables of stone, as was Moses', but in the fleshly table of the heart. It is the rule by which they govern their most secret life. And though they actually come short of it in every particular, and are thus daily convinced by it of sin, it is the standard which they love, and which they aim, and by which they are governed with increasing uniformity through life.
The holy life, that is obedience to the law, IS NOT a "have to or else" situation as it was under Moses. It is now the governing rule or desire of the heart. If it is not the governing rule, there is no salvation. If there is no desire and power to depart from what we know is contrary to God's word, there is no salvation.
Certainly, this does not mean sinless perfection, but if one can continue in sin, the rule is not there. The rule of law increases in control of the heart where it has been written by the Spirit.
The holy precepts of the law are therefore still to be proclaimed to the people of God, that they may be made obedient and holy under their influence. (Stephen H. Tyng, Lectures on the law and the Gospel, 1843. P. 61.)
Rather than the precepts of the law being laid aside, they are to be proclaimed to God's people as the required rule of life. The indwelling Spirit then makes them obedient to that law.
Those who have no desire to know and apply God's rules of life are not his. There is no salvation if there is no hunger and thirst to know and understand the precepts of God's law of holy living as revealed in the Old Testament.
Again, these seven things are not some mystical feelings and inner attitudes, Rather, they are everyday actions that will bring a response from those around us.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
How is godly hunger and thirst after righteousness and justice exhibited?
First, it will be evident in just and honest dealings with one another.
Second, it will be evident in one's personal walk with the Lord. But it certainly will be more than what is called, Personal Piety. Sadly, Christianity has been reduced to not much more than Personal Piety.
Third, Godly hunger will be evident in one's attitude concerning sin in his life. Is it dismissed? Even though one many admit sin, how ready is he to confess, and how hard does he try to forsake?
Fourth, Godly hunger and thirst after righteousness will also bring one's feelings and actions under control to the word of God.
Fifth, it will be seen in one's attitude concerning sin around him. How strongly do we desire to see godly justice prevail in society around us?
This county has been condemned to destruction by Christians who read their Bible and pray, yet they keep their Christianity behind closed doors.
Does our desire translate into action, or is it no more than empty words?
Sixth, Godly hunger and thirst after righteousness will desire to be like Christ. What kind of price are we willing to pay to be like Christ?
Our hunger and thirst after righteousness will be as obvious as a candle in a dark room, v. 15. Do others see a godly hunger and thirst after righteousness and social justice in us? Or do they see someone who is pretty well satisfied with their lives and the situation around them?
For they shall be filled.
People do what they want to do; they are what they want to be.
If Christians had the same drive for righteousness as defined by Scripture as they do for their natural desires, the world would be conquered for Christ.
Hunger and thirst after righteousness and justice will result in life.
"Righteousness here is taken for all the blessings of the new covenant--all the graces of the Messiah's kingdom-- a full restoration to the image of God." Clark.
Do we hunger and thirst with the desire to be restored into the image of God which Adam lost? We will be totally restored one day in the next life, but that is no reason not to move in that direction now.
We need to ask the Lord to give us a hungry and thirsty heart after Himself. As one of my instructors in Bible college said, "We need our wanter changed." The hunger which the Lord places in the heart will be filled by God. The final filling will be heaven when we are delivered from this world of unrighteousness. Only then will the hunger and thirst will be completely satisfied.
FIFTH BEATITUDE, v. 7, blessed are the merciful..
Mercy can be defined as "That benevolence, mildness, or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves."
To the Jew of Christ's day, the word merciful signified two things: pardon of injuries and almsgiving. Merciful assumes that the person or animal is in a depressed condition, and the merciful heart takes what action it can to relieve that condition.
Let's first look at Mercy and God, and then at Mercy and Man.
Mercy and God
Mercy is associated with God's forgiveness, long-suffering, covenant, justice, faithfulness. But God's mercy cannot be separated from His truth and righteousness, judgment.
Psalms 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Mercy is an essential quality of God. He delights in mercy. His mercy endureth for ever is repeated 41 times in the Old Testament. But Godly mercy does not void the law of God. Rather, it fulfills the law in a merciful way.
God's mercy is summed up in Christ and the salvation He has made available to His people who were dead in trespasses and sins, and without mercy.
V. 7. The word merciful is only used one other time in the Scriptures, speaking of our merciful and faithful high priest:
Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. .
What a wonderful King we have: He was in every point tempted as we are, yet without sin. He can be a merciful and faithful high priest for His people because He has walked in their shoes.
Mercy and ManMercy is required of man toward man.
"That benevolence, mildness, or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves."
It is hard to be merciful toward those in a difficult situation when we have not had the same situation.
We may think the person deserves his bad situation, yet we are required to be merciful anyway.
The particular word from Matthew 5:5 is only used one other time, but there are several other words which express the same basic idea.
Proverbs 14:21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
V. 6. Justice and righteousness must be exercised with mercy, v. 7. But truth, justice and righteousness cannot suffer at the expense of mercy. That is, godly mercy cannot involve any kind of compromise of God's justice. Christ is our example. He alone was able to properly show mercy without compromising the justice and righteousness of the Father.
* Mercy is active. Mercy will be obvious in our actions toward our fellow man who are in need. In fact, James picks out mercy as the example of true Christianity:
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone..
* Blessed are those who forgive because they will be forgiven, and they will need to be forgiven again and again and again, Mat 6:14, 15;
* Blessed are those who aid the needy for they will receive aid in their need;
* Blessed are those who help others because they will be helped;
* Blessed are those who are kind because they will have kindness returned to them.
* Blessed are those who are merciful to the poor, the down trodden and the victims of evil in high places;
Mercy will act to do something about injustice. It will act to do something about the jobless situation and the hungry around him.
The hospitals were works of Christian mercy. Salvation Army and Church food pantries are Biblical gleaning programs which show mercy to those in need.
But mercy cannot compromise righteousness and justice.
* Mercy is revealed in our attitude toward animals.
Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Scripture defines proper actions of mercy toward distressed animals.
Exodus 23:5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
If we are required to show mercy, that is, help, and animal of an enemy, how much more are we required to show mercy to the owner of the animal?
* Mercy will be returned. We are promised that we will reap what we sow in mercy.
In Proverbs 11:17, in showing mercy, we do good for our own souls. In 2 Samuel 22:1 & 24-27, David was repaid by the Lord for his merciful actions.
Mercy will be repaid; kindness will be repaid.
If we sow in mercy, we will receive back mercy. What goes around comes around.