In the last blog post, I began to talk about the differences between the world system and kingdom character as far as the Beatitudes are concerned. These wholly different values pull this one way or the other.
We must focus on the values Christ wants us to have, and throughout the Sermon on the Mount he tells us exactly what he expects of us. Some of it may seem impossible, but remember the Holy Spirit dwells in us to help us become the things Jesus declares in us.
Let’s continue with our study of the Beatitudes and how they affect our lives and our world every day. We will pick up with talking about the Beatitudes that Matthew has that Luke does not.
Matthew adds four other Beatitudes that Luke does not include. Some of them fit between the ones we have already discussed. His third beatitude speaks of being meek (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is an unusual characteristic, foreign to the world.
Most people think that being meek is a weakness, but it is a strength. To be meek, a person is humble in the power that they have. They show their strength at the proper time, but show restraint when it is not time to show that strength.
The know the right times to demonstrate strength and the other times to show humility. Meekness is a quiet strength people know you have without you having to use it. This may be one of the hardest Beatitudes not only to understand but to apply to our lives.
One demonstration we might all be able to join in is when we witness to others. When we live a lifestyle of godliness in front of others, they know where we stand on the issues. Every once in a while, we have to express our values to them, but there is a sense of what we stand for even if we don’t speak.
I find many times that people don’t like to swear in my presence. They don’t even know I am a minister and pastor, but they have a sense around me that I don’t like swearing. Every once in a while, if need be, I gently ask them not to do it in front of me. But I only need to do that if they do not catch that value in me.
The meek will inherit the earth. Through quiet strength, they are given the right to call the earth their own. It is a quiet rule, but strength and power are readily available to the meek. They will treat the earth the way God intended.
Next, Matthew as his fifth beatitude includes a blessing for the merciful (Matthew 5:7). Did you ever notice how easy it is to judge others and how hard it is to show mercy? Being merciful is a special gift from God.
Those who show mercy are special people. They offer God’s grace to speak through them before they judge a person’s circumstances or actions. They give each one of us the benefit of the doubt. Mercy is a rarity, a unique and unexpected reaction.
But each of us needs to learn how to be merciful to others, because this, according to the beatitude, is the only way to receive mercy. When you are able to be merciful to others, they will in turn be merciful to you. You will experience mercy from others because you show it to them.
Everyone needs to grow in mercy, especially in our day and age where our culture is so divided and so judgmental of everyone. We need to regain this wonderful and blessed state of being, to demonstrate mercy before judgment. As James says, mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
Matthew’s sixth beatitude speaks of the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8). Purity requires us to not mix one thing with another. We must not mix worldly and cultural ideas with the character of God’s kingdom.
It’s also demonstrated in purity of heart, where we don’t mix with the world or anything other than God’s kingdom. Then we will be blessed to see God himself. Because God is completely pure, completely holy, the only way we will see him is if we demonstrate the same purity.
Resist the urge to be like the world, to use world systems, or to think like them. We can love people in the world without being like the world. It’s often our distinctiveness, our difference and uniqueness, to the world that others become interested in our Savior.
The seventh beatitude for Matthew addresses peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). I’ve said it already, but our world is full of division and hate for one another. Even the language we use can be divisive. So the job of the peacemaker has not been made easy.
I have always been a fairly peaceable guy. I try to make sure that there is peace around me as much as it is in my power. No one enjoys conflict. That’s not the end goal for most people. But these divisive situations tend to appear.
It’s the people who are able to make peace who are called children of God. Those who make peace share a common quality with God, a characteristic that only he can give. God is the God of peace (). And peacemakers join him in his goals. They have a close relationship with God because they have the same values.
Matthew and Luke both finish the Beatitudes with the same focus of believers being persecuted for Jesus’ sake and name (Matthew 5:10-12; Luke 6:22-23). Matthew starts out by mentioning persecution specifically while Luke talks about persecution with practical examples.
His descriptions include hatred, exclusion, reviling, and calling your name evil. Matthew describes persecution as reviling, persecution, and falsely speaking evil against you. You can see that the lists are very closely related, showing that they are speaking of the same sermon from Jesus.
Matthew enhances the beatitude on persecution as persecution for righteousness’ sake. He adds that the persecuted inherit God’s kingdom. It could be argued that righteousness’ sake and on account of Jesus are fairly close together. But the sake of Jesus is mentioned at the end of Matthew’s list of descriptions of persecution.
Both Matthew and Luke finish with the same injunction that is completely antithetical to our culture, and the result you expect to being persecuted. Jesus tells us to rejoice and be glad when we’re persecuted. I don’t know about you, but I generally show the opposite reaction. I want to get offenders back.
But we put down the desire for vengeance and we rejoice, not because we enjoy being persecuted and treated this way, but because we have a great reward in heaven. Not all of our treasures are stored on the earth. Our treasures should be stored in heaven.
Persecution makes us long for the eternal over the temporal. We want to be with Jesus now, instead of to be on this earth. There is no reward for persecution now, but the reward comes later in heaven when we are there with Jesus for eternity.
We must never forget that persecution is based on our loyalty to Jesus. We can’t just call everything persecution. It has to be involved in serving Jesus and being treated this way because of him. The world hates Jesus, and it hates us because of him. If you are being persecuted for any other reason, it isn’t persecution.
Jesus sets the bar super high for us to demonstrate the kingdom character of the Beatitudes. This is not kingdom character he places in us after we are completely mature and perfect in him. It is character for now, the way we live for him on the earth right now.
Jesus is looking for people who demonstrate the states of being in the Beatitudes. The challenge is set before us. But we don’t have to do it on our own. The Holy Spirit works this character into our lives little by little.
There’s a whole different plane of existence when we demonstrate the Beatitudes in our world today. It may look like we are suffering but we’re rejoicing because there are greater things in heaven and on this earth. Greater things are yet to come for those who show the character of the Beatitudes.
It’s not going to be easy to live out these character traits, but we receive blessing when we do. Leave a comment and give me your opinion on how to show these values in our world today.