BE ATTITUDES part two The I AM Teaching Us To Be
Matthew 4:17, 19 & 5:1-12
4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
4:19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
5:1-12 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
In Matthew 4:12 we pick up where we left off as Jesus has overcome the devil’s temptations. Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been arrested and withdraws into Galilee.
The next red letters we find are in verse 17 revealing the simple but powerful message that Jesus preached: REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!
This is a message for all people. Jesus came so that the whole world would have access to salvation (John 3:17), but His first priority was the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:22-28).
So this message of repentance is for all mankind, but here it was focused like rays of the sun through a magnifying glass on the nation who were called “the people of God”.
This is the same message John the Baptist had been preaching. John is now in prison but the message continues. We see Jesus take immediate steps to insure that the message will even get to US! The next words we hear Him say are (v 19): COME AFTER ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN!
Upon hearing these words, Peter and Andrew left their fishing business and became His disciples, as do Zebedee’s sons, James and John. This was the beginning of an unlikely band of 12 through whom all the world would hear the name of JESUS.
[Note: the J in Greek at that time was pronounced like the early J’s in other languages, as a Y. JESUS=YESUS correlating with the Hebrew pronunciation, YESHUA]
As we enter into the teaching of Jesus we must recognize that what He is saying may be in the hearing of a multitude, but was specifically for the disciples. His primary focus was on teaching these men. Keeping that in mind, and remembering that Jesus is the greatest teacher ever, you will be less likely to take what He says or does in a given situation and isolate it out of context.
That is one of the major pitfalls of the human mind and has almost single-handedly been responsible for every cult that has flourished under the thin guise of being based on the “teachings of Jesus.”
Be careful that you don’t take the “nuggets” that Jesus says and isolate them from the whole passage or scene in which it takes place. We have been guilty of that in so many of our “sermons” and as a result have ignorantly taught things that Jesus would never have said. We seem to think He is absent-minded, as if He is teaching along and suddenly just changes the subject and talks about something totally disconnected from the context of His discourse!
Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit, in His inspiration of the Scriptures, is senile. Every word, sentence and paragraph has been deliberately placed exactly where it is to teach us and to do the unseen, deep work of the Spirit in us. This can only be completed as we begin to observe the WHOLE COUNSEL of God in the incredible PANORAMA of the WHOLE WORD of God!
Then, as Jesus directs His focused power of teaching on His disciples, WE can become the target. Yes, I can be the receiver of ALL that He taught those disciples – if I am truly and completely His disciple too. Let’s join the inner group of those He has called out now… Matt 5:1-12, Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! (Matt 4:17, connected directly to repentance)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! (Isa 61)
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth! (Ps 37)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied! (Isa 55)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! (Matt 7)
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! (Ps 24)
“Blessed are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God! (look like Dad!) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! (completes the thought, connecting to poor in spirit. He elaborates:)
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad, rejoice, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (2Chronicles 36:16)
This passage is what we call the BEATITUDES and is the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is recorded in Matthew 5 through 7. The word that is translated “blessed” here means, spiritually prosperous with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions. In other words, having a great time walking with God no matter what is going on around you. This was an incredibly effective attention grabber. Jesus is assaulting every man’s perception of “the way things are.” Experience in this world says, “The person who –
• doesn’t push his way to the top;
• who allows his inner emotions and sensitivities to show;
• doesn’t take charge and make things happen the way he wants them;
• doesn’t down deep, really want monetary success enough to be merciless –
this person deserves to be trampled.” Jesus is shouting that the exact opposite is true. Be GLAD!? When people hurt you?! What?!
Remember the first red letters, “Let’s put aside your way of thinking and do things MY way, so that we can get the job done!” In chapter 5 He is continuing to arrest our attention by saying, “Things are not as they appear! You want to know reality? Listen and heed what I say and I will give you the true picture.” This sermon is also a prime example of the point that Jesus is not senile. When He says in v. 13, “You are the salt,“ He was not changing the subject.
The whole discourse is about one subject and its goal is single: to introduce fallen man to the absolutes of the Kingdom of God and show our relationship to it. In essence, Jesus is saying that if we are truly God’s children, we are part of His household and here’s the way things are seen and done in this Family!
BE ATTITUDES – HERE’S TRUE HAPPINESS!
“Happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous are:
• the humble, those who rate themselves insignificant (is this in conflict with today’s philosophy, or what?);
• those who mourn any separation from God and shun anything that would result in grieving Him;
• the mild, patient and long-suffering;
• those who are ravenous for and will militantly guard a harmonious relationship with God;
• those who can forgive and show kindness, not just to those who are kind, but especially to those who hurt them;
• those who have seen what they are at their core and allow every thought and intent to be purified by the Fire of God’s presence;
• those who cause reconciliation and bring peace wherever they are, instead of stirring up strife and quarrels;
• those who are persecuted for being like Jesus, doing things the way He does them and saying things He says;
• YOU, when people say all kinds of horrible things about you FALSELY because you are like Jesus (make sure they are false) –
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is:
• the Kingdom of Heaven
• the earth
• complete satisfaction & fulfillment
• seeing God!
• you’ll be called the Son of God (chip off the old Block)
• the Kingdom of Heaven
Twice He gives the Kingdom of Heaven as reward:
• to those who are humble
• to those who are persecuted.
To be persecuted is part of the package of repentance and receiving the Kingdom that is now in our reach. “They will persecute you… they hate me so they will hate you.“ When we change our citizenship from this world to our real Homeland, the Kingdom of Heaven, we are going to naturally do and say things that are crazy to the world. That difference is the very thing that makes you the “salt“ of the earth (v.13), a preserving and curing influence to that world. It is that very difference that makes you the “light“ of the world (v.15), a vessel for the Light from the real world, the Kingdom of God, to shine through; routing the darkness and exposing Reality. That difference may well get you killed, but it is the very thing that gives you true and eternal value.
In v. 16, Jesus says this, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble and good deeds, and RECOGNIZE, HONOR, PRAISE AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN!“