The Scripture Speaks
Our God Is
Bible Study: 10:00 AM
Worship: 11:00 AM
Evening Worship: 12:15 PM
Wednesday Bible Study
9871 Big Creek Road
Ellijay, GA 30536
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"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him; and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying." Matthew 5:1-2. This sermon touched on the very nature of God. When Jesus speaks, we should listen. "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:28-29. Jesus was the teacher. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, understood Him to be a "teacher come from God." John 3:1-2. Do we need to hear any other? Can a teacher who has not come from God satisfy the needs of the human spirit? Jesus is to be heard. His message can heal us; comfort us; sustain us. His words can lift us to a higher plane of living. His words can inspire us to a higher calling of life. The multitude that heard Jesus speak heard the words of God. Surely their lives were made better as they descended the mountain. When you and I go the moutain to hear Jesus, do we listen to the one who has the authority to speak? Do we hear Him with the attitude, "Speak, Lord. Thy servant hears."
The discourse from the mountain covers three chapters. He begins with those timeless beatitudes. These are our approach to God. Unless we become the poor in spirit; those that mourn; the meek; those who hunger for righteousness; the merciful; the pure in heart, the peacemakers; the persecuted for righteousness' sake; the reviled. we cannot come to God. He then shows us how to be Godly. We are taught how to pray and that we must forgive. He then teaches us the true meaning of life and what our search should involve. He directs us to that rule of life that is the law and the prophets. We treat others as we would desire them to treat us. His lesson speaks of the two choices that we have. "Enter in." Which road will we walk? What will be our destiny? A word of warning is given. Not all teaching should be heard. Jesus is the only authority. And finally, the builders of life are discussed. We are building for the future of eternity. Whether we stand or fall into ruin will be decided by the way we hear the teachings of Jesus.
The Sermon on the Mount is preached by Jesus Christ. The sermon covers three chapters of Matthew's gospel. At Matthew 5:3-12, we have a list of beatitudes. These are pronouncements of blessings. Here is heaven's directive for being truly blessed (happy). The world has false forms of happiness. Those who follow the world's prescription for happiness ultimately find themselves unhappy. Meditate upon Jesus’ steps to being truly blessed in this life and in the life to come.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3. This begins man's ascent to godliness. The "poor in spirit" accepts a life of humbleness. The "poor in spirit" choose to become a slave for God. The "poor in spirit" recognizes the need for God and the obligation to be submissive unto Him. The attitude stands in contrast to pride and arrogance. "A proud look" is the first of the seven things which God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19. A "proud look" is not something which God simply dislikes, but rather, He hates. Pride will lift a man above God. The "poor in spirit" have chosen to be under the authority of God and, as a result, reap the benefit of being blessed by God. The "poor in spirit" are willing to be directed by God's counsel and wisdom. God's rules are never questioned by the "poor in spirit".
The "poor in spirit" seeks to be owned. A surrender is made. God has been made the Lord of life. Remember the words of John which are recorded in John 20:28, "My Lord and my God." The "poor in spirit" have seen the nail wounds and understand the sacrifice which heaven made. A poverty of spirit is about sacrifice. The "poor in spirit" seeks to be molded. They become the clay in the Master's hand. They become whatever He desires them to be. They do not fight against His will, but rather, give themselves in humble obedience to His will. The "poor in spirit" seeks conformity to the Master. They see who He is and desire with all their heart and soul to become like Him. The "poor in spirit" walks in the steps of Jesus and ever prays to become what He is. And the promise, "theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus offers the divine prescription for true happiness. Follow the words that He speaks from the mountain and life's happiness is secured. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4. Jesus came to Nazareth and read the words of Isaiah as a fulfillment of His ministry. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18-19. The ministry of Jesus included the healing of the broken-hearted and comfort to all those who mourn. The Christ would turn mourning into joyfulness.
Spiritual poverty causes us to lament. The poor in spirit have learned to mourn. Why do the poor in spirit mourn? The sin in our own lives brings a godly sorrow that leads us to repentance. II Corinthians 7:10. As we surrender ourselves unto Jesus, we feel the burden of our transgression. James gives this instruction, "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness." James 4:9. Until we learn to mourn and weep over the sin in our own lives, we will not come to repentance. The poor in spirit mourn over a world that is lost in sin and refuses to come unto the knowledge of the truth. We weep over those of our loved ones who are outside of Jesus Christ because they will not obey the gospel of Christ. We are sensible to the disease of sin and the tragic consequences that do and will befall those who walk in this lifestyle.
The poor in spirit lament the trials and sorrows that befall us and those about us. Jesus showed us that we can mourn because of sorrow. "Jesus wept." John 11:35. His heart felt the grief that Mary and Martha were experiencing. The Christian is admonished to "weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15. As our brethren weep, we weep with them. But the promise is always, "they shall be comforted."
From the mountain, Jesus pronounced blessings upon those of a peculiar character. "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5. Jesus could recommend this quality of life as He himself was of a meek disposition. In His invitation, He declared that "I am meek and lowly in heart." Matthew 11:29. Meekness is one of the garments of the Christian. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, meekness." Colossians 3:12. We are commanded to "follow after meekness." I Timothy 6:11. In order that we might walk worthy of our calling, we must do so in meekness. Ephesians 4:2.
The meek are "patient in tribulation." Romans 12:12. The meek are able to have patience in injury. We are not moved by insult. Jesus stood in the presence of Annas, the high priest. Jesus was slapped by one of the officers as He answered the inquiry of the priest. The words of Jesus reveal His meekness. "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" John 18: 23. The world may call our heavenly citizenship into question, but we react in a calm and quiet spirit. Meekness shows no sudden anger, malice, or vengeance. The enemies of right living may smite us on one cheek, but we simply turn the other. As Stephen was being stoned, he called upon God. He even asked, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Acts 7:60. The meek accepts the situations of life with a resolved commitment for the help of God. The meek man has no aspiration of superiority. The lowly man esteems others better than himself. Philippians 2:3. In quiet humility, the meek go about just serving God and depending upon Him.
The blessing of the meek is the benefit and enjoyment of earth. Meekness is that quality of life that promotes health and comfort. The meek man is the one who has learned to live the undisturbed life. He has learned to live unmoved by the arrogance and ugliness of others.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6. As food feeds the body, so righteousness feeds the soul. Appetites of the flesh are temporary. We feed physically that which is in a constant state of decay. Jesus points us to another virtue of the spiritual life. "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Isaiah 55:2.
The righteousness of God has been delivered unto us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17. Righteousness guards us from sin, "Awake to righteousness and sin not." I Corinthians 15:34. We approve ourselves unto God by wearing the "armor of righteousness." II Corinthians 6:4-7.
The Christian is to pursue righteousness in our walk with God. "Follow after righteousness." I Timothy 6:11. The throne of God is a "scepter of righteousness." Hebrews 1:8. God "loves righteousness and hates iniquity." Hebrews 1:9. Kingdom subjects seek to be as God. Through the sacrifice of the righteous One, a "crown of righteousness" is laid up for us in the heavenly land. II Timothy 4:8. Jesus instructs us not simply to seek righteousness, but to "hunger and thirst after righteousness." We who engage in this wonderful pursuit will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7. The peculiarities of the kingdom continue. Divine keys are given by Jesus for those who will be the subjects of His kingdom. We must be merciful if we would attain the perfection of God (Matthew 5:48) for God is merciful. "But God, who is rich in mercy," Ephesians 2:4. Mercy is one of His divine attributes. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy..." I Peter 1:3. We are the recipients of His abundant mercy which has been richly poured upon us. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus 3:5. Our journey into the kingdom has been paved with the mercy of a loving God.
We must show kindness and compassion in our walk of life. Jesus taught a "certain lawyer" the meaning of neighborliness by telling the story of the Samaritan traveler. The Samaritan stopped in his journey to help the beaten man who had fallen among thieves. A priest and a Levite passed him by. Their cold heart failed to beat with compassion for the helpless. Jesus' question was answered, "He that shewed mercy on him." If you would have life, "Go and do thou likewise." Luke 10:30-37. The "elect of God" are to put on "bowels of mercies." Colossians 3:12. The garment of lovingness is worn by the child of the King and him who would perfect godliness. Those who would present their bodies as a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1) are to "shew mercy with cheerfulness." Romans 12:8.
At the "throne of grace" we find the mercy which we constantly need. That mercy continues to flow from the God who loves us and the priest who offered Himself for us. Hebrews 4:16. The merciful shall obtain mercy. "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." James 2:13.
"Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8. The heart decides human conduct. "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things that defile a man." Matthew 15:18-20. The heart either purifies or defiles the character. We are called to purification. "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" Jeremiah 4:14. Heaven's charge is "purify your hearts." James 4:8. As we cleanse the heart, we will cleanse the conduct. The Pharisees were outwardly clean, but were inwardly filthy. They appeared as whited beautiful sepulchers, but within were full of dead men's bones. Matthew 23:26-28. This condition of heart was repulsive to the Savior. He declared to them that they were hypocrites. A life cannot be pure unless the heart is pure.
A heavenly question is asked in Psalm 24:3: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?" The place where God abides is holy. The hill of the Lord is pure, clean, and free of defilement. The answer is: "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Psalms 24:4. A pure heart gives birth to an unpolluted character. This is a character that is free from fleshly and worldly lusts. Even while living in a defiled land, the pure in heart travel the high road of holiness.
The blessing of the pure in heart is that they will see God. "Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14. The pure in heart will see God with the eye of faith. "By faith, as seeing him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:27. But, the pure in heart will see God in the eternal world. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." I John 3:2-3.
"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." The Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) calls His followers to make peace. Peace was created by the Lord Jesus Christ as He died upon the cross. He built the bridge of reconciliation between God and man. Ephesians 2:16-18. As a result of His sacrifice, the church lives in harmony. "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Galatians 5:15. The works of the flesh, which cause division, have been crucified. Lust produces war; the spirit produces peace. Galatians 5:24-26. The "fruit of the spirit" makes for peace. Galatians 5:22. The Christian, a citizen of Christ's kingdom, works for peace. As inner peace grows and matures, so outward peace is promoted. The kingdom of God is a refuge of peace. Peace between God and man insures peace between man and man.
The uniqueness of the kingdom of heaven upon the earth is an environment of peace. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." I Corinthians 14:33. Christ's kingdom is not propagated by fire and sword. The nature of God and His realm of righteousness does not claim the hearts of men by bigotry and intemperate zeal. Disciples of Christ proclaim the reign of Christ through the spirit of love. "But speaking the truth in love,..." Ephesians 4:15.
War and strife divides; peace unites. The citizen of the heavenly realm will "study to be quiet". I Thessalonians 4:11. Christ's followers make every effort to settle strife and conflict. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceable with all men." The children of God are peacemakers.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you,and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:10-12. The cross invites persecution. The world persecuted our Lord and will persecute His followers. The mother of the disciples seeking the chief seats in the kingdom was asked, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" When they responded that they were able, Jesus told them, "Ye shall indeed drink of my cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with." Matthew 20:22-23.
The world disdains right living. "All that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12. Evil seeks the overthrow of the righteous kingdom of God. Godliness brings opposition from the forces of darkness. The cross of Jesus Christ and His kingdom have created a warfare against the evil of this present world. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12. Persecution will come when we shine the "light of the glorious gospel of Christ" (II Corinthians 4:4) into the lives of evil men. Persecution will come when we stand for the right and oppose the wrong. Persecution will come when we speak for God and against Satan. War brings persecution.
God's people at Smyrna were going through persecution and suffering. Revelation 2:8-11. They were not to fear. If they endured, the crown of life would be given to them. Persecution is the work of Satan to overthrow faith. Tribulation is the work of God to purify the heart and fit it for the eternal kingdom. True devotion stands the test by fire.