This is Sunday morning sermon for Sunday, April 5th, 2009.
DEVELOPING A BE-ATTITUDE ATTITUDE PART 4
Meekness is not weakness.
Matthew 5:5 NIV – Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
We live in a culture and society that doesn’t truly understand Meekness. They rather find it offensive and weak to be meek, quite honestly. They think that in order to be meek you should just let people walk all over you, and offend you without ever getting upset, and ever getting mad.
Our society is also into self promotion. If you want a particular job, you must promote yourself. You have to produce professional looking resume’s that grabs the employer’s attention. If you want people to buy your product, you must promote yourself and advertise. If you want people to buy your music, you need to figure out a way to get it played in the media and online.
We are busy with all this self-promotion, looking out for number one, details. In our culture we just don’t have time for being meek.
Well, is this true?
Before we answer that, we must endeavor to understand what meekness is, and what it is not.
That is what this sermon is all about.
Let’s look at a few key points concerning the beatitude of meekness this morning.
What Meekness is, and what it is not.
Modern day definitions of the Greek word, “Praus (prah-ooce’):
Now all those modern definitions of the Greek Word are quite true, but they are lacking in meaning. We need to go back to the more ancient definition to really see what Meekness truly is.
Aristotle, a famous Greek Philosopher describe the Greek Word for Meekness as an honorable way of living one’s life. He didn’t describe it as what often people see it as: Some spineless coward, shaking in the midst of persecution, letting people just run them over with their words or actions. He described it as a thing of strength to possess.
Aristotle defined “Praus” as, “Anger under control;” or “Knowing when or when not to act in anger.”
This ancient definition of “Praus” brings a whole new meaning to what the word, “Meekness” really means does it not?
I’ve read other translators and commentators of this passage state that it means, “Power under control;” which is a very similar definition.
Now that we know what the word, “Meek” really means, let’s go back to our text and look at it this morning.
Meekness comes with a promise.
Matthew 5:5 NIV – Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Within this great sermon that Jesus taught as people gathered around Him, he has covered a couple things so far:
• That the Kingdom of heaven belongs to the ones who are poor in spirit.
• Those who mourn over their sins and the sins of others will be comforted.
And now Jesus next addresses this characteristic of the Kingdom that is often misunderstood – How that those who are Meek are blessed by God – and their inheritance is the earth.
What is so significant about this promise? Well, let’s first look at how the AMP translates this verse, and then we will tackle this question.
Matthew 5:5 AMP – Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!
Notice that the Amplified Bible states that the meek person is blessed by God, regardless of their outward conditions. I believe this means that the meek person is someone who is often maligned, attack physically, spiritually, or emotionally injured.
What is their inheritance? The very earth that maligned them, attack them, injured them!
Church, the world is against the true followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, the world, whether as anti-God forces or as false prophets and false believers within the church world hates the true followers of Christ.
Notice what Jesus Himself says.
Matthew 24:9-13 ISV – 9 “Then they will hand you over to suffering and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 10 Then many people will fall by the way and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people, 12 and because lawlessness will increase, the love of many people will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved.
The world, both inside and outside of the Body of Christ will hate the church and persecute the church, but the true follower of Christ will endure to the end – the great doctrine called Perseverance of the Saints.
What a great truth, that the ones who persecuted us, who spread lies and false rumors about us: they will not defeat us, but we will possess the very ground that they hated us on.
By the way, Jesus is quoting a passage in the Psalms. Let’s look at the passage.
Psalm 37:11 NIV – But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
To the Jew, they had this great promise, that they will inherit the land where all their wars and battles were fought and they will enjoy great peace.
How do we know this is talking about enemies and battles for the land? Let’s look more into the context that this verse is found within.
Proverbs 37:7-11 NIV – 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
Notice the anger that they possessed, but how they were to wait patiently for the Lord. In the Lord’s proper time, these persecutors will be cut off.
You see, the Meek do not seek retribution, they wait upon the Lord. They may get mad, angered and hurt, but they do not lash out in anger when they are attacked personally. However, if the persecutor does not repent of their persecutions, then the Lord will cut them off.
Ultimately, the earth we possess and the peace we will have will not be in this life, but in the life to come.
Is it ever wrong to react in anger, and to do so is not true meekness? Well, let’s look that the Meekness man who ever lived – Jesus.
Jesus is the perfect example of “anger or power under control” which is meekness.
Jesus was a man while on this earth, never sinned. He never committed a crime against the state, or against the people, yet he was accused and died a criminal’s death. He had the authority to call down a legion of angels to destroy his enemies, yet he didn’t. In fact, on the cross, he prayed and forgave his enemies – that my friends is power and anger under control.
Let’s look at a passage in Mark that shows this.
Mark 14:53-62 ISV – 53 Then they took Jesus to the high priest. All the high priests, elders, and scribes had gathered together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard. He was sitting with the servants and warming himself at the fire. 55 Meanwhile, the high priests and the whole Council were looking for some testimony against Jesus in order to have him put to death, but they couldn’t find any. 56 Although many people gave false testimony against him, their testimony didn’t agree. 57 Then some men stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We ourselves heard him say, ‘I will destroy this sanctuary made by human hands, and in three days I will build another one not made by human hands.’” 59 But even on this point their testimony didn’t agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Don’t you have any answer to what these men are testifying against you?” 61 But he kept silent and didn’t answer at all. The high priest asked him again, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I am. And ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
Now notice the power that Jesus had control over, He could have chose to destroy His enemies, but He didn’t.
Matthew 26:53 ISV – Don’t you think that I could call on my Father, and he would send me more than twelve legions of angels now?
Finally, notice that in the last act of His humiliation, he prayed for His enemies and sought the Father’s forgiveness of them.
Luke 23:32-34a ISV – 32 Two others, who were criminals, were also led away to be executed with him. 33 When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Jesus kept saying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
And yet, Jesus, being the perfect meek man will one day come back and truly inherit the earth, and we meek believers who endured hardship and persecution, with our anger and power under control will be with him and share in the inheritance.
Revelation 19:11-16 ISV – 11 Then I saw heaven standing open, and there was a white horse! Its rider is named Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many royal crowns. He has a name written on him that nobody knows except himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, follow him on white horses. 15 A sharp sword comes out of his mouth to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod and tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and his thigh he has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
One final question: Must we never react in anger and power and to do so would show that we are not meek? This is not necessarily true. When someone attacks us, we must keep our anger in check, but when someone comes into our assembly and mocks our Savior, we have the authority to drive them out.
Let’s look at Jesus as an example and some references from the epistles:
Matthew 21:12-13 ISV – 12 Then Jesus went into the temple, threw out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the moneychangers’ tables and the chairs of those who sold doves. 13 He told them, “It is written, ‘My house is to be called a house of prayer,’ but you are turning it into a hideout for bandits!”
1 Corinthians 5:1-7 ISV – 1 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the Gentiles. A man is actually living with his father’s wife! 2 And you are being arrogant instead of being filled with grief and seeing to it that the man who did this is removed from among you. 3 Even though I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit. I have already passed judgment on the man who did this, as though I were present with you. 4 When you are gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus and my spirit and the power of our Lord Jesus are present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord.6 Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough, don’t you? 7 Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough, since you are to be free from yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Timothy 6:3-6 & 11 ISV – 3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and refuses to agree with the healthy words of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teaching, 4 he is a conceited person and does not understand anything. He has an unhealthy craving for arguments and debates. This produces jealousy, rivalry, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and incessant conflict between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth. They think that godliness is a way to make a profit. 6 Of course, godliness with contentment does bring a great profit. 11 But you, man of God, must flee from all these things. Instead, you must pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Titus 3:9-11 ISV – 9 But avoid foolish controversies, arguments about genealogies, quarrels, and fights about the law. These things are useless and worthless. 10 Have nothing to do with a person who causes divisions after you have warned him once or twice. 11 For you know that a person like this is corrupt and keeps on sinning, being self-condemned.
In conclusion, Kay Arthur makes this statement: “Meekness is a sure cure for bitterness.” How true this is. Don’t hold on to the hurts, but give them to the Lord. Wait patiently for the Lord, you may never see the reward for being meek in this life, but know this, our inheritance will be the very earth that hated us, as we ride back with our Lord in His second coming.