This is the sermon for Sunday morning, March 8th, 2009.
DEVELOPING A BE-ATTITUDE ATTITUDE PART 1
LIVE AND NOT DIE.
Matthew 5:1-16 ISV – 1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hillside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he opened his mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 “How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
4 “How blessed are those who mourn,
for it is they who will be comforted!
5 “How blessed are those who are humble,
for it is they who will inherit the earth!
6 “How blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness,
for it is they who will be satisfied!
7 “How blessed are those who are merciful,
for it is they who will receive mercy!
8 “How blessed are those who are pure in heart,
for it is they who will see God!
9 “How blessed are those who make peace,
for it is they who will be called God’s children!
10 “How blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
11 “How blessed are you whenever people insult you, persecute you, and say all sorts of evil things against you falsely because of me!
12 Rejoice and be extremely glad, because your reward in heaven is great! For that’s how they persecuted the prophets who came before you.”
13 “You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It’s good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We are starting a new series this morning entitled, “Developing a be-attitude attitude.” We are going to look at the first 16 verses of chapter five that we read this morning; going through verse by verse for several weeks until we are done.
These 16 verses are what are commonly called, “the beatitudes.” They are part of the three chapter sermon that Jesus preached that is traditionally called, “The sermon on the mount.” This sermon has been described in many different ways:
• The Compendium of Christian Doctrine.
• The Magna Carta of the Kingdom.
• The Manifesto of the King.
I simply call it, “The greatest sermon ever preached.”
There are so many truths within this sermon that we are going to take our time to study.
Let me state right off the bat that as I read through this text, I see that I’m lacking in every attitude listed. I’m sure that if we were all honest, we’d each come to the same conclusion.
The problem with this though is there is an expectation within this passage that the followers of Christ are expected by Him to live out. If we are lacking how is this possible?
Well, this is what this sermon is about this morning.
In order to develop a Be-attitude attitude you must first be born again.
John 3:3 ISV – “Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Within these first 16 verses of Matthew 5 are Kingdom principles that the King – Jesus Christ – expects us to live. They are to be present realities in our lives.
When Jesus began this sermon, notice what Matthew says about the people present.
Matthew 5:1 ISV – When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hillside and sat down. His disciples came to him…
There was a crowd that came up to Him. If you were to study Matthew 5-7, you will see the make up of the crowd. Within the crowd were:
• The curious.
• The sick.
• The skeptic.
• The religious elite.
• His disciples.
These first 16 verses are actually more than likely addressed to His disciples, and not the rest of the crowd. The reason I state this is because these are Kingdom principles and only Kingdom citizens can live them out.
Now the first step to begin to live these principles is the born-again experience. This is more than just repeating a prayer, but it is the Spirit changing you making you a new creature in Christ.
Let’s look at a few passages.
John 3:14-15 ISV – 14 Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Here Jesus’ description of Him being lifted up is referring to the Cross. Notice that it states that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. Or, in other words, Live and not die (suffer eternal torment in hell).
The word “believe” both in vv. 15 and 16 has nothing to do with casual mental belief. In fact, this belief is only produced by the Holy Spirit. In Greek the word means, “to become committed too, to have complete and total confidence in, to become persuaded, to commit one’s trust too, to rely on.” In fact, the Amplified Bible translates it as, “To cleave or cling to Him, to trust in Him, to rely on Him.”
Why do I state that it is the Holy Spirit that produces this type of belief? Well, let’s go back to John 3.
John 3:5-9 ISV – “Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t be astonished that I said to you, ‘All of you must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Easy believe-ism is out the door. It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to become born-again, or born from above, in order for us to live the life Christ expects in our text.
When the Spirit does His work in you, you become a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ISV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have disappeared, and—look!—all things have become new!
When you are born-again, you are in Christ, a new creation. You have died to sin and the living for the flesh and are now newly alive, living for Christ. This new life is not some decision you make, but it is through God Himself, who has reconciled you to Himself through Christ. Let’s look a few verses in 2 Corinthians 5 that speaks this truth.
2 Corinthians 5:18 ISV – All of this comes from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ISV – 14 The love of Christ controls us, for we are convinced of this: that one person died for all people; therefore, all people have died. 15 He died for all people, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the one who died and rose for them.
One more point and then we will close this morning.
Not only does the Spirit do a work in us, making us a new creation – He also helps us live out this new life in Christ.
John 14:15-17 ISV – 15 “If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father to give you another Helper, to be with you always. 17 He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it neither sees him nor recognizes him. But you recognize him, for he abides with you and will be in you.
Notice that our proof of our love for Christ will be that we will keep His commandments. How is this done? Not through the flesh or human effort. It is done through the Helper, the Holy Spirit, that not only abides with us, and but lives inside of us.
Let’s look at the next way that the Holy Spirit helps us live out this new life in Christ.
John 16:13-15 ISV – 13 Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own accord, but will speak whatever he hears and will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. That is why I said, ‘He will take what is mine and declare it to you.’
He will help us by giving us revelation and clear understanding into the teachings of Jesus and His Word. This revelation glorifies Christ, and takes the truths of Christ in the Bible and declares them too us.
You do not need a college degree to understand Scripture, you have the Author, the Holy Spirit living inside you and explaining it too you.
This revelation is not some new fad or doctrine either, but it is accurately interpreting what the text says.
Let’s look at one final way the Holy Spirit helps us live the life of Christ – these beatitudes.
Romans 8:26-28 ISV – the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes with groans too deep for words, 27 and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to God’s will. 28 And we know that he works all things together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
The Spirit prays for us by praying through us. He prays for us according to God’s will. And since we know that, then we can have confidence that all things work together for our good, because we love God and have been called by Him according to His purpose. If you look at the actual context of this passage, right before chapter 8 we have chapter 7, in which Paul declares that he cannot live out these kingdom principles himself – he needs a deliverer. And this deliverer is none other than Christ and the life of the Spirit He produces inside of us (chapter 8’s theme).
He prays through us and for us in two different ways:
• Through our groans and cries. This is mentioned in the verse. This is our mourning over our sins and weaknesses, which is mentioned in Matthew five and we will cover in the coming weeks. The Holy Spirit prays through our mourning and our tears.
• Praying in the Spirit, or praying in tongues. This is one of the 9 gifts of the Spirit that He gives to individuals. If God has gifted you with this gift, one of the purposes is so that the Spirit can pray through you the secrets of God, and so that during your weak times, and the struggles of living out these Kingdom Principles that we will look at in the coming weeks, you might be built up. Let’s look at a couple of Scripture references that support this.
1 Corinthians 14:2 ISV – For the person who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands him, because he is speaking secrets in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:4a ISV – The person who speaks in a tongue builds himself up…
This series is going to weekly challenge us, because we will see areas that we are lacking. Don’t be discouraged though. We may not have the strength to live these principles out, but we don’t do it in our own strength, we do it in the power of the Spirit. If you are a follower of Christ – you’ve been born-again; you have the Spirit revealing the truths of God’s Word too you; and you have the Spirit living on the inside of you praying the will of the Father over you.
This is great news. Don’t give up, but live and not die. Live in Christ and see Him do great things through you.