“It’s all there. Everything that a peasant in Galilee can relate to as a part of life under Roman rule: the need to rely on God, the worry about daily nourishment, the constant struggle to stay out of debt, and, finally, a reminder that in the midst of this cruel life, succumbing to the temptation to lie, cheat, steal, or sleep with another man’s wife is a false act that will only lead people farther and farther away from God. The crowd is stunned as Jesus finishes. The speech is less than two thousand words long. Yet there is great power in its brevity. “The Sermon on the Mount,” as it will come to be known, may be the most important speech in history.” (O'Reilly, Bill; Dugard, Martin (2013-09-24). Killing Jesus: A History).
The beatitudes are eight statements taught by Jesus. They are the essence of Celebrate Recovery. They show how Jesus thought. They are concerned with virtues and how a believer in Jesus Christ can achieve those virtues. The Beatitudes are a map of life, a series of directives helping us on our journey to be with God. They also designate the actual condition of people who follow God's guidelines. The Beatitudes initially seem to be merely soothing and beautiful precepts for overly spiritual and seemingly useless people, but of very little practical use in the rigid, fast-paced workdays of the world in which we live. We soon find, however, that the Beatitudes contain the “dynamite” of the Holy Spirit. And they “explode” when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do so. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations—it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us. The Sermon on the Mount, might be the most important speech in history.
Beatitudes--Their Significance And Meaning
They Beatitudes are simply stated, but are profound in meaning. They guide. They point. They teach. They show us the values that Christ cares about. These values if followed, can not only bring a believer into a state of peace and happiness, but also right into the Kingdom of God after our journey on this earth is over. The Latin word for blessed is beatus, from which we get the word beatitude.
The beatitudes are found at Matthew 5: 3-12 5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
CR:Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
AA:We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
CR:Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
AA: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
CR: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
AA: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
CR: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, God and someone I trust.
AA: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
CR: Voluntarily submit to very change God wants to make in my lfe and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
AA: We admitted to God, to ourselves and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
CR: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those that have hurt me and amends for harm I have done others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
AA: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
CR: Reserve a daily time with God for self examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God's will and practice it.
AA: We humbly ask Him to remove all our shortcomings.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
CR: Yield myself to God to be used to bring his good news to others both by example and by word.
AA: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
As you read about each of the beatitudes you might look into your own heart and examine your feelings towards them. Are you trying to follow each one of them? I think you will find that you need a rather humble, almost a childlike attitude towards each one of them if you are to be successful in following them. In fact Our Lord mentioned many times about how we needed to become more like children in our attitude and in our thinking towards many of the things in this life. Two verses in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew are good examples.
Matthew 18:3 "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child, will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
"The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produces a sense of despair in the natural man—exactly what Jesus means for it to do. As long as we have some self-righteous idea that we can carry out our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to continue until we expose our own ignorance by stumbling over some obstacle in our way. Only then are we willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “Lord, I cannot even begin to do it.” Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you . . .” (5:11). This is the doorway to the kingdom, and yet it takes us so long to believe that we are actually poor! The knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work. "
Chambers, Oswald (2010-10-22). My Utmost for His Highest, Updated Edition (p. 203). Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
The First Beatitude
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The meaning of the word "poor" in Greek means one who has nothing and is completely empty. Was Jesus saying the economically poor are blessed? No, for there is no spirituality in poverty. Poverty in itself is not blessed, because the poor can be as arrogant and as ungodly and as lost as the rich. So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means that the poor are those who realize that they can never achieve salvation on their own and instead put their complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
The poor in spirit are those who are not self-assertive, self-reliant, self-confident, self-centered, or self-sufficient. The poor in spirit are not baptized in the waters of self-esteem. They do not boast in their God given characteristics such as their birth, their family, their nationality, their education, their physical looks, their race, their wealth, or their culture. None of that matters. The poor in spirit are those who are conscious of their sins and know in their hearts that they are completely unworthy of the grace that a most holy and loving God pours down upon them. They realize that all their righteousness is, as Isaiah said, like filthy rags before a holy God.
So poor in spirit means that we come to God, conscious of our sins and our utter lack of righteousness. It means that we profess that we are totally unqualified to commune with, and have fellowship with God, and that we do not deserve any of the gifts that God is trying to bestow upon us. The poor in spirit realize that all our assets are actually liabilities before God, and that we should view these assets as Paul viewed them--as loss, as garbage, as rubbish.
It means that we have absolutely no hope of salvation without Jesus Christ. It means to realize that we are full of sin and in desperate need of God's grace and righteousness, and the poor in spirit realize that these can only be obtained by faith in Jesus Christ.
In Luke 15 we see how the prodigal son became poor in spirit. In his pride and arrogance he left his father's house, wasted his inheritance and fell into great need in some far away country. During a severe famine, this son had no job and nothing to eat. At that point, the text says, he came to himself. He went back to his father and said, "I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21). That is being poor in spirit.
We also see an example of being poor in spirit illustrated again in Luke 18 in the account of the Pharisee and the tax collector. It is the story of a man who was confident of his own righteousness and who looked down on everybody else. Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed this about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of what I get.
The tax collector stood at a distance. He felt he wasn't even worthy to look up to heaven, so keeping his eyes on the floor he said, "God, please have mercy on me, for I am nothing but a lowly sinner." (Luke 18:9-14). That is being poor in spirit. What was the result of the prayers of these men? The Pharisee went home condemned, while the tax collector went home justified. Only the poor in spirit will enter into the kingdom of God. Why? Because they come to God having full knowledge of their own lostness and their own sinfulness. They readily confess that they are full of guilt and are totally unqualified to enter into the kingdom of God. The poor in spirit are the ones who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Principle One: Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable (Step One). “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matthew 5:3)
Personal CR Note: I have learned that I am empty/nothing without Christ.
ABS: I should be all powerful.
Dr. Washton, "Willpower is not Enough," talks about the Addictive Belief (thinking) System (ABS):
Among the beliefs that contribute to any addiction are: (examine your hurts, habits and hangups and you will find one or more of these existing).
1. I should be perfect
2. I should be all-powerful (controlling self and others)
3. I should always get what I want.
4. Life should be without pain and require no effort. (The core of addictive thinking is inherent in this belief. If we insist on avoiding emotional pain, on being comfortable all the time, we will have to seek ways to avoid reality, to escape our mood.
The Second Beatitude
2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
The person that mourns is the one who recognizes that he is a sinner before God. Such a person mourns over his various sins because he recognizes that not only do his sins greatly hurt our heavenly Father, he also realizes that he is empty of righteousness, and does not even begin to deserve salvation and the joys of heaven. This miserable, but repentant sinner, realizes that only through the grace of God does he have forgiveness and salvation. Jesus says such a person is blessed, and there is no greater blessing than to receive such divine approval. Those who are blessed in this way by God will see God and dwell with him forever.
Do you mourn for the many sins you have committed? No one mourns unless the Holy Spirit convicts him of sin and reveals to him that he is a violator of the laws of God. We must also realize that as believers we all have violated God's law but only true Christians, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, will realistically declare that not only are they spiritually bankrupt, but they are completely lost without Jesus Christ living in their lives. And only Christians will declare that they are by nature enemies of God, acknowledging that to sin means to set oneself against a holy God. The unbeliever on the other hand feels that this is nothing but foolishness, and he has no time for any of it. For the wicked refuse to take down such barriers to God as pride and arrogance. Psalm 10:4 "The wicked are too proud to seek God; God is in none of their thoughts."
Thus, the mourning of Christians referred to in this beatitude is not because of financial loss, terminal sickness, the death of loved ones, loneliness, a divorce, or some rejection being experienced. Christians mourn because they realize that they have sinned against a holy God and have brought dishonor to his name. And this dishonor of God's very name brings great mourning to the true believer. The true believer mourns when he sins because he knows that the sin just committed brings great pain and sorrow to God. And this mourning by the true Christian is the kind of mourning recorded by Paul in Romans 7:24, where he says, "What a wretched man I am!"
It is also the kind of mourning that brings unbelievable joy and hope to the believer. Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For sadness in a Godly way makes for repentance that leads to salvation". That's right, it is Godly mourning and sorrow that leads to repentance which brings salvation to those experiencing it. Godly sorrow causes us to loathe, despise, and repudiate sin, and this leads the believer to sincerely repent of those sins. Those who experience Godly sorrow truly forsake sin and turn to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the necessary steps to eternal salvation.
What is the promise to those who mourn? They will be comforted. Who will be comforted? Only those who mourn, meaning only those who repent. Only those who grieve over their sins under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and cry out to God, saying, "Woe is me! I am a sinner. I am unclean. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I have sinned grievously. My sin is so great". They will be the ones who will be comforted. Why will only such people be comforted? Because they alone know that Jesus Christ came to seek and save that which is lost. They alone look to the cross of Jesus Christ and realize that Christ died for their sins.
Using the prodigal son once again as an example, it tells us in Luke 15 of this young man who became very dissatisfied at home, and looked to the world for answers. This man left his father's house to go to a far country to experiment and find pleasure with sin, but soon the fun was over. He became famished, lonely, brokenhearted, and rejected by all. But by God's grace this young man came to himself, became sober and began to think clearly and Godly.
In verse 20 of Luke 15 we see this young man going back home. He was now a poor, wretched, miserable, naked specimen of humanity, but he was going home to his father. He mourned and wept as he walked, and when he reached his father, he said, "Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son. Just make me a servant of yours at the lowest rank, for I need to be comforted. Save me, for I am lost."
How did the father react to his son? He cried out in joy and then comforted him. The father hugged and kissed him and gave him a fine garment to wear. He told the servants to put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. He ordered a great celebration with music and feasting. And when the other son questioned why the father was doing these things, the father said he had the greatest of all reasons: "This son of mine was dead but is now alive; he was lost but now is found" (Luke 15:24). What awesome comfort this son now had.
Personal Note: I spent a life time failing to love God with all my heart, mind and soul. I mourn my behavior with sorrow and regret.
ABS: I should always get what I want. I wanted to party and that is not compatible with God like behavior.
Principle 2: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ours selves could restore us to sanity.
The Third Beatitude
3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Principle 3: Consciously Choose to Commit all my life and will to Christ’s control and care.
Step 3: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God. We must surrender.
The Greek word for meek, praus, was used to refer to domesticated animals. The word does not refer to a wild, unruly animal; it refers to a strong and powerful horse or an ox that was trained and disciplined so that it could be controlled by a human. The word meek used in Matthew 5:5 refers to a strong person who is under control--a God controlled person. A meek person is a man or woman of God whose strength is controlled by God. He or she is controlled by God in thought, word, will, emotion, and action. The meek man is one who submits, not to his own will or to the will of the world, but to the great and gracious will of God.
A meek man is not a weak man. He is not wishy-washy, effeminate or timid. He is not someone who you can walk all over. A meek man is not passive and spineless. In fact the meek man is just the opposite. The one who has put their faith and their trust in Jesus Christ will be meek before God, but mighty and bold before the world and before Satan. To the sinful world and to Satan the meek person is a stronger person.
What makes a person meek? They see God. And they see God in everything. No one becomes meek unless they can see this infinite, personal, almighty, all-wise, all-holy God, and when they see God they are immediately humbled. When we are able to see God by faith, then that is the time when the Holy Spirit allows us to become meek. Thus the meek person does not rely on himself, saying, I can do all things. I have confidence in myself. After all, I am strong and able. No, the meek person says, I see God, and he is able and willing to help me. I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.
A meek person is the one who by faith sees God as great, and himself as nothing. And because of that, he submits to the righteous will of this great God. A meek person is the one who proclaims, "Not my will but Thine will be done." He submits to the will of his heavenly Father and does not argue with the Holy Scriptures where God's will is clearly revealed. Therefore, the meek believer that is being led by God is having this quality of meekness constantly being produced within him.
In Psalm 37:3 it says, ""Trust in the Lord and do good." Faith is trust. The meek person trusts the Lord, meaning he rests in God by entrusting his whole life to him. His whole being is resting upon the sure foundation of the almighty God. The meek man knows that his past, present and future rests in God. He has heard the gospel proclamation which says, "Come unto me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." The meek person who comes to Christ and trusts in him for his salvation is always at rest in God. Jesus Christ is his rest, no matter what circumstances he is facing.
A meek man is patient. He has a long view of life, knowing in the end it is not the wicked who win, but the meek. How can he be sure of this? The meek person knows that in the end God wins, and if God wins then the meek win. God himself tells us that the meek, not the wicked, will inherit the earth. The wicked may indeed possess the earth for a short time today, but the Lord tells us that when he comes back, the meek shall possess this earth. Psalms 76:9 "Then God arose to judgment, to save all the humble of the earth".
Personal Note: I have learned to give control to God. I SURRENDERED my life to Jesus Christ. I call it Intelligent Delegation. I made God the COO of my life. By that I mean that I made Jesus Christ the Chief Operations Officer in my life. As a business man. I exercised Intelligent Delegation (Surrender) when I CHOSE to make Jesus Christ to be my COO. As a business man, I knew I could not run a business by myself. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for there is Power in Weakness.” When I am weak, my COO is strong. With ID I gave Control to God which liberates me for more important work, to do God’s will, His purpose for me.
ABS: I should be perfect and all powerful, I should always get what I want and life should be without pain and require no effort.