The Beatitudes: Lessons of the Sermon On the Mount

ABSTRACT

The Sermon on the Mount is the teaching Jesus presented to the crowds including his disciples after having traveled from Galilee healing the sick, the demon possessed, the paralyzed, the severe pain infected, diseases, seizures, and all manner of illness. The discourse on the Mount is titled by scholars as the beatitudes. The beatitudes describe the behavioral characteristics of attitude and action of believers anticipated. It is the teaching on Christian character development and how God encourages and demands characters development by attaching rewards to them. “Blessed” in its Latin origin “beatus” signifies “blessed or happy;” meanwhile, the discourse on the Mount has been developed into eight lessons designed to educate believers regarding Christian living. Each lesson introduces the scriptural passage with the teaching outline while incorporating the subject, the complement, the exegetical and homiletical ideas, illustration, application, and exegetical insights from the Greek text. The lesson also adopts the introduction while discussing the historical context of the book of Matthew in order to reconstruct the setting and the purpose of the Matthew’s Gospel. It is followed by the discussion wherein the various elements of each lesson is delineated taking into consideration all necessary headings thematically. At the end of the discussion, glossary is added to help the reader understands some of the terminologies used in the lesson.

INRODUCTION

Historical Context

“While Matthew did not sign his own name to “his” gospel, the early church uniformly attested to the apostle’s authorship of the book. As early as AD 140, a Christian named Papias wrote that Matthew had compiled the sayings of the Lord in Hebrew (presumably before Matthew translated them into Greek for a larger audience). Matthew’s name appears in all the biblical lists of the twelve apostles, though Mark and Luke refer to him as Levi. His history as a tax collector distinguished him from the other apostles, and immediately after his call to follow Jesus, an event he recorded in Matthew 9:9. Matthew hosted a feast for Jesus in his home with an invitation list made up of Matthew’s sinful friends. Apparently Matthew did not think it odd that Jesus and he would associate with the sinful and downtrodden of society. Matthew is the most Jewish-centric of the four gospels. The apostle regularly invoked the writings of the Old Testament prophets in an effort to illustrate Jesus’ identity as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. However, the gospel of Matthew has been notoriously difficult to date. Several factors speak to a date ranging from AD 60–65. First of all, the book makes no mention of the destruction of the temple, an event which occurred in AD 70. Such a cataclysmic event likely would have received some comment, particularly in a book so clearly influenced by Judaism. The largely Jewish character of the book also suggests it was written at a time when much of the evangelism by Christians was directed more exclusively at Jews, something that became less and less common as the decades passed. Finally, many scholars believe Mark to have been the first gospel composed, making it most probable that Matthew was written soon after. The apostle Matthew, a Jew himself, offered a decidedly Jewish perspective on the ministry of Jesus. He included more than fifty direct citations and even more indirect allusions from the Old Testament. This exceeds any of the other gospels and indicates that Matthew had the Jewish population in mind when he sat down to write. Matthew’s extensive connections between Jesus and the Old Testament provide ample prophetic evidence for Jesus’ ministry but also give contemporary readers a glimpse into how first-century readers approached the Old Testament with a Christ-centered mind-set. In addition, Matthew’s gospel answers the question on the mind of every Jewish reader: “If Jesus is the King of the Jews, then where is God’s promised kingdom?” Matthew reveals that Jesus did offer the kingdom to Israel, but the offer was rejected (Matthew 4:1716:13–2821:42–43). God’s primary work in the world is now accomplished through the building of Christ’s church, after which Jesus will come again to earth and establish His kingdom ruling the world from Israel. Matthew wrote his account of Jesus’ ministry to show that Jesus was and is indeed the King, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. He reflected this concern in his opening line, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). From there, Matthew consistently took his readers back to the Old Testament, providing Old Testament testimony regarding the birth of Jesus, Bethlehem as the location of Jesus’ birth, the flight to Egypt, Herod’s slaughter of the infants, and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. In a world where many in the Jewish community had claimed the role of Messiah for themselves, Matthew’s commitment to grounding the life of Jesus in the Old Testament raised Jesus above the multitude of these false messiahs. The apostle painted a portrait of our Lord that highlights His uniqueness among all others to ever walk this earth. After enduring four hundred years of prophetic silence, God’s people must have wondered whether or not He had deserted them. After centuries of regular communication from God, the people found themselves without a genuine prophet or spokesman for God. However, the ministries of John and Jesus reminded God’s people that He had not forgotten them. God’s silence during that period was merely a precursor to pulling the linchpin of His redemptive plan. God hadn’t forgotten. He remembered His people. Matthew made that clear. It was true then, and it is certainly true today. Do you ever feel as though God has deserted you or that He sits in silence in the face of your requests? As we read through the pages of Matthew, not only do we see Jesus Christ revealed as Israel’s King and Messiah, but His coming to earth as God in the flesh reminds us of His deep love for us. Now resurrected and ascended, the Lord Jesus will always be with us, even to the end of time (Matthew 28:20). Christ’s commission to His followers is still His mandate to us today: “Make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). Christ’s work of building His church is the work He does through each of us.”[1]

LESSON ONE: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 3 of Matthew’s Gospel on the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there is the kingdom of heaven.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit (verse 3)  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The ones that desire Godly living.
2. The ones that seek the kingdom of God.
3. The ones those are unable to offer anything to God spiritually and depend on God.

EXEGETICAL IDEA: God blesses those who are poor in spirit when they desire Godly living, seek the kingdom of God, and feel inadequate to offer anything to God spiritually.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: God will bless you when you depend on him.

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. DEFINITION OF POOR IN THE SPIRIT:

A. The person who desires Godly living.

1.Matt. 5:3

2. Romans 12:2

3. 1 Peter 2:11

B. The person who seeks the kingdom of God.

1.Matt. 3:33

2. Luke 14:26

3. Matt. 6:24–25

C. The person who spiritually depends on God.

1. Isaiah 41:13

2. Proverbs 3:5–6

3. Psalm 16:8

ILLUSTRATION

Not many people enjoy going to the doctor, but according to Reuters, in 1994, one London accountant to that of an extreme. The 63-year-old man needed bladder surgery, but he couldn’t overcome his fear of doctors and hospitals. So he self-reliantly did what had to be done. He tried to perform the surgery upon himself. Tragically he got an infection and died. The coroner said, “Unfortunately, his drastic remedy went wrong. Since you became a Christian some years ago, have you tried to live this life in your own strengths or do you depend on God to live it? If you do not depend on God; then, it is a clear indication that you are not a Christian. The truth is that we cannot live this life except God empowers us through his Spirit while we depend on him. Depending on God is summarized what is called “Poor in the spirit.”

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We have learned that to be poor in spirit is to desire Godly living, seek the kingdom of God, and spiritually depend on God for the provision of your needs spiritually to live this Christian life. You can do so by being prayerful, recognizing that God is the individual who leads you daily in this Christian journey, and recognizing your inadequacy before God and submitting to him.

TEXTUAL ANALYSIS

Exegetical Insights

The Greek Text (Matt. 5:3–10)

3 Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματιὍτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.4 Μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.5 Μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν.6 Μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.7 Μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται.8 Μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται.9 Μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί,Ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται.10 Μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης,Ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

ANALYSIS OF THE GREEK TEXT

Makarios (Μακάριοι) (Adjective): It signifies happiness, blessedness to be envied. It describes a believer in an enviable fortunate position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) (verse 3). Among the categories of people discussed in the beatitude, the word Makarios is being repeated. Makarios is the pronouncement Jesus made to those who obey the scripture. It comes from the Latin word “beatus” meaning blessed or happy are those who practice the teaching of Jesus in their lives.

Ptochos (πτωχοὶ) (Adjective): It signifies poverty or being poor, destitute, or spiritually poor. It indicates complete lacking of resources such as earthly wealth. The use of this in Matt.5:3 indicates spiritual poverty instead of earthly resources deficiency. This poverty means dependence on God as the result one’s inability to provide spiritually.

Basileia (βασιλεία) (Noun): It is the Kingdom of God, Sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world and in the hearts of men. The realm of the king’s rules is basileia (verse 3).Being part of this kingdom rule leverages you as believer to use the kingdom power.

Pentheo (πενθοῦντες, noun comes from the verb pentheo) (verb): It means to mourn, to lament, grieving over death, to grieve over personal hope (relationship) that dies. E.g. coming to divine closure, refers to manifested grieve (verse 4).

Parakaleo (παρακληθήσονται) (verb): It means to call to or for, to exhort, to encourage, to comfort (verse 4). When believers grieve to live the life for the kingdom, God will comfort them. The original word “parakaleo” has do with admonishment or encouragement for those who decide to follow Christ. The Greek verb undergoes changes as it goes through conjugation. The Greek verb in the parenthesis, παρακληθήσονται, is the future perfect tense indicating a natural logical consequence taught by Jesus. If you will do this, this is what God will do for you.

Praus (πραεῖς) (Adjective): meek, gentle, humble, meekness (verse4). Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit (κληρονομήσουσιν) the earth. Κληρονομήσουσιν is in the future tense in the third person plural. Κληρονομήσουσιν means “They will inherit the earth.” One Greek verb conjugated can be a sentence with many wordings in the English language. As you read the Greek Bible, you will observe such sequence of changes in the Greek conjugation of verbs.

Kleronomeo (κληρονομήσουσιν) (Verb): to inherit, to obtain, to acquire, to possess (verse 5). Κληρονομήσουσιν comes from the transliterated “Kleronomeo.” Kleronomeo means I inherit, I obtain, I acquire.

Peinao (πεινῶντες) (Verb): to hunger, to be hungry, to desire earnestly (verse 6). Blessed are those who hunger (peinao). Peinao means I hunger or I am hungry. πεινῶντε comes from the transliterated peinao. . πεινῶντε is in the third person plural. οἱ πεινῶντες; those who hunger.

Dipsao (διψῶντες) (Verb): to thirst, to desire earnestly (verse 6). διψῶντες comes from Dipsao in the third person plural. διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, the ones who thirst for righteousness.

Chortazo (χορτασθήσονται) (Verb): to feed, to fatten, to fill, and to satisfy (verse 6). Chortazo means I feed, I fill, I satisfy. Χορτασθήσονται comes from chortazo. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. They will be filled (Χορτασθήσονται). Third person plural in the future perfect tense used.

Eleemon (ἐλεήμονες) (Adjective): merciful, full of pity (verse 7). Eleemon is an adjective that comes from verb Eleeo forming ἐλεήμονες (merciful). Eleeo means I pity or I have pity.

Eleeo (ἐλεηθήσονται) (Verb): to have pity, to have kindness, to have compassion (verse7). Blessed are the merciful (ἐλεήμονες), for they will be shown mercy (ἐλεηθήσονται). third person plural future perfect tense used.

Katharos (καθαροὶ) (Adjective): clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually guiltless, innocent, upright (verse 8).

Horao (ὄψονται) (verb): to perceive, attend to, to experience, to know by spiritual experience relating to relationship (verse 8). Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται); third person plural future tense.

Eirenopoios (εἰρηνοποιοί) (Adjective): Peacemaking, a peacemaker, loving peace (verse 9). Blessed are the peacemakers (εἰρηνοποιοί), for they will be called (κληθήσονται) children of God.

Kaleo (κληθήσονται) (verb): to call, summon, invite (verse 9). Κληθήσονται comes from the transliterated verb Kaleo. It is in the third person plural future perfect tense. They will be called children of God (αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται).

Dioko (δεδιωγμένοι) (verb): to put to flight, pursue, by implication to persecute (verse 10). Blessed are those who are persecuted (Μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι).

Dikaiosune (δικαιοσύνης) (Noun): righteousness, justice, divine righteousness (verse 10).

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

The word “blessed” formed the word “beatitudes.” Beatitudes inherit its blessedness from the Latin word “beatus” that signifies both “happy” and “blessed.” The beatitudes in the  Bible are series of eight lessons taught in Matthew 5:3–11 as deliberated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the poor in spirit signifies happy or blessed are they in the spirit; therefore, they will inherit the kingdom of God or theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Scholars agree that “poor in the spirit” does not indicate lacking in the spirit, rather it is that poverty that is not only physical, but it is also a spiritual condition that depends on the resources that God provides for the individual and the individual is unable to provide reciprocal return. It indicates that we humans nothing spiritual we can offer to God; therefore, spiritual poverty acknowledges that we depend on God to provide for us spiritually. It is an act of humility expressed to God so that he can equip us spiritually; then, will we be empowered to inherit his kingdom. The word “inherited” is the predicate noun that indicates something one receives from parents, grandparents, or other family members. The inherited or the inheritance can be a personality trait or a property in the Catskill or some things that are inherited genetically, like blue eyes or something that are inherited legally, like money or property one receives when someone dies. Blessed are the poor; for there is the kingdom of God or they will inherit the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the spiritual realm over which God reigns as King, or the fulfillment on earth of God’s will. The kingdom of God is God’s influence or rules over creations (humans, angels, and demons). The Greek word for kingdom is basileia that lies the Aramaic term malkut that Jesus used. Malkut refers primarily not to a geographical realm nor does it refer to the people living in the realm, but it refers to the activity of the King himself, his exercise of sovereign power. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for they will inherit the kingdom of God signifies that when we depend on God to enrich us spiritually by submitting to his lordship, he will allow us access to the use of his resources (spiritual power, anointing, or sovereign power) in order to control the affairs of this world. We will become God’s ambassadors or representatives on planet earth through the use of his power as stewards. God’s power will become our power. When we speak, we become the mouthpiece of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says that we are ambassadors for Christ as though God was making an appeal through us. Matthew 18:18 says, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:20 defines our position in God. Matthew 18:18 confirms our position with reference to the exercise of the dedicated power (authority) that God has given to the church. The actualization of the use of the spiritual resources is the result of Jesus becoming poor for us though he was rich in order that we can become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He was rich, but he became poor when he took the human form (John 1:14), humbled himself (Phil. 2:5), and died on the cross to redeem us (Eph 1:7). The inclusiveness of the above activities is called salvation. Salvation (soteria, Greek) is the deliverance from the penalty of sin, sickness/disease, demons, and satanic attacks. We are saved because we believe in Jesus Christ.

The Definition Of Poor In The Spirit

The Person Who Desires Godly Living

The primary characteristics of an individual who is poor in the spirit is the person who should desire living for God in total obedience. It is not possible to be poor in the spirit if disobedience is present in the individual’s life. Since the goal of becoming poor in the spirit is to access the spiritual resources from God through dependence on him; then, obedience must be the characteristics of believers since disobedience to the word of God will give Satan the edge to rule instead of God ruling; consequently, this robs the believer to have access to the spiritual power. This is dangerous and I term it as spiritual suicide. The believer who desires access to the spiritual resources of God must live Godly piety lifestyle. Are you a disobedient individual to God’s word? If you do, repent from sinful living now and turn to Jesus. Refusing to repent from sin will expose you to satanic attacks that will cost your death spiritually or physically or both.

The Person Who Seeks The Kingdom Of God

The secondary characteristics of the person who is poor in the spirit is the individual who seeks the kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33 admonishes believers to seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things shall be added to them. To seek is to go after a thing relentlessly. The things sought must be attained and maintained until the individual rests. The person who seeks the kingdom of God will go after God’s rules or influence. The individual will allow God’s sovereign rule or influence in his or her life. Allowing God’s influence or rule is the direct act of allowing righteousness to rule one’s Christian life and ministry. Righteousness is the act of standing right with God or the state of right standing relationship between God and the believer. Righteousness is what the believer is. When believer seeks God’s righteousness, he or she grows spiritually to reach spiritual maturity. During the period of growth, the believer is tested to enable the believer to develop patience; patience, character; character, hope, and hope does not disappoint the believer (Romans 5:1–5; James 1:2–4). When temptation comes, the believer learns to exercise the spiritual muscle through the exercise of patience. The exercise of the spiritual muscle during temptations allows patience or endurance to develop over times building spiritual stamina in the life of the believer. When the spiritual stamina is developed over times, the believer grows into Christian character and spiritual maturity. At this stage, God can depend on the believer to do the uncommon things. This is the period of knowing God by experience (hope). The individual knows God well and knows what God can accomplish through him or her (Daniel 11:32; Job 22:28). This is the period that the individual’s ministry is characterized by miracles and among others. Are you seeker of God’s kingdom? Are you overcoming temptations as the result of your obedience? Be a kingdom seeker and you will do the uncommon things unimaginable. What is your position in the kingdom of God?

The Person Who Spiritually Depends On God

The third characteristics of the individual who is poor in the spirit is the person who depends on God for spiritual riches. When we feel inadequate spiritually, we seek God through the spiritual disciplines called fasting and praying. We adopt these kinds of spiritual disciplines and among others. This individual hungers for righteousness through the exercise of these disciplines. This indicates that beatitude is used to re-enforce the others. The beatitudes mentioned in the passage are used simultaneously to re-enforce and to adopt the others.

            When we depend on God for spiritual riches, we ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7). God promises that when we will ask, we will receive, when we seek, we will find, and when we knock, the door will be opened to us (Matt. 7:8). If you are poor in the spirit, you should depend on God. To depend on God in order to enrich your spiritual richness, you must ask, seek, and knock. Asking, seeking, and knocking indicate unceasing spiritual activities. Believers are admonished to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:16). Asking, seeking, and knocking indicate unceasing prayer activity.

LESSON TWO: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: Today, we will elaborate on verse 4 of Matthew’s Gospel in lesson two. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed are the Mourners  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The mourners are tender hearted.
2. The mourners are repentant (Hosea 4:3; Psalm 119:36).
3. The mourners are broken hearted (Psalm 147:3; 51:17).
4. The mourners are closed to God (Psalm 34:18).

EXEGETICAL IDEA: God blesses the mourners because they have tender, repented, and broken heart; hence, they are closed to God.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Be a mourner!

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINETHE

I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MOURNERS:

A. The mourners are tender hearted.

1. Proverbs 28:14–24

2. Col. 3:12

3. Eph 4:32

B. The mourners are broken hearted.

1. Matt. 11:28–30

2. John 14:27

3. Psalm 147:3

C. The mourners are closed to God by virtue of being tender and broken hearted.

1. Matt. 11:27–28

2. Hebrews 4:15–16

3. James 4:8

ILLUSTRATION

I must confess that I had boyhood fears about death as an unbeliever. My grandparents lived right past a huge cemetery, and I found it possible not to see that cemetery every time we went to visit them. I was fascinated by what was on the other side of the road, but the reality is that I, like most of us, do not really like mourning. When I was in junior high school, a Christian school teacher died suddenly, and I was elected as a representative of our class to go to his funeral. I still recall attempting to introduce levity into that event because it couldn’t handle the grief. It was another way of avoiding something the Bible tells us we ought to deal with and, in fact, we ought to practice.[2]

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We have learned that mourning is dependent on God to provide the necessary needs we will need to live this Christian life. Mourners have broken and tender heart; therefore, God has promised that they will eventually be comforted based on their needs and their desires to help others. Mourners are kind hearted people and will desire coming to meet needs according to the prevailing situation. Look in your neighborhood, your church, and your community to see who have needs. Meet the needs that are within your power. Be generous givers to the vulnerable in society.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed are the Mourners

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. The mourners in scriptures are those who have a tender heart. The tender hearted individual is the individual who is easily moved to love, to pity people, or to have sorrow. The individual is compassionate or impressionable. It describes the individual who is kind, gentle, sentimental nature, or a loyal individual. God comforts those who mourn as the result of the kindness, the love, the gentleness, and the tender heartedness nature they expressed in their Christian lives toward others in the time of needs. These characteristics of the individual indicate Godly piety. Jesus said that if disciples love one another; then, the world will know that they belong to him (John 13:35). God has promised to comfort all those who mourn. The word “comfort” comes from the Latin word “comfortare” which signifies “to strengthen greatly.” To give comfort is to restore the mood or physical state of someone else. There is a law of reciprocity in Matthew 5:4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God comforts the individual who shows kindness or love to others. It exemplifies the law of sowing and reaping. What you sow is what you reap. Matthew 25:40 states, “The king will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” God will restore the one emotionally who shows love or kindness to the least or the brothers or sisters. Have you experienced comfort from God when you experienced a traumatic event in your life? Did God send someone on your way to help you?

Characteristics Of The Mourners

The Mourners Are Tender Hearted

The individual who mourns is the individual who is moved to show love, pity, and compassion to others. Love, pity, and compassion are moral attributes of God; therefore, God desires to share these moral attributes with believers; in this regard, believers who walk in love, pity, and compassion are in God’s will of expressed goodness. The act of comfort that God extends to the individual is the result of his favor extension to humanity. The law of reciprocity is working in this situation when it comes to God rewarding the individual based on the individual’s kindness or goodness toward others. God extends comfort to those who show love, pity, and compassion to others. In Matthew 9:36, when Jesus saw the crowds, the Bible says that he was moved by compassion and responded to their needs by raising the dead man. Jesus was also moved by pity and said that the people were sheep without the shepherd (Matt. 9:36). Mourners in the kingdom of God show love and help people in their time of distress. They help morally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically as they see needs of people. Have you seem yourselves helping people that are in needs? These people might not be part of your congregation, your community, nation, ethnic group, or your immediate family; notwithstanding, you are required to help by virtue of your call.

The Mourners are Broken Hearted

Because mourners are moved to show love, pity, and compassion towards those who have emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual traumas, they feel broken hearted. Broken heartedness has to do with crying and sobbing as well as feelings of melancholy. Broken heartedness has physical symptoms such as anxiety and increase heart palpitations. These symptoms go hand in hand with a broken heart. Jesus was anointed to heal the broken hearted individual according to Luke 4:18–20. Indeed God will comfort the mourners because they are broken hearted. Are you a broken hearted individual? God can restore you despite of your situation whether be physical, spiritual, emotional, or psychological.

The Mourners Are Closed to God

Taking the variables into consideration that mourners are tender and broken hearted; then, mourners should be closed to God by virtue of the above qualities if they meet them. In this discourse, I will suggest ten things presumably that bring one closed to God by practice and backed by biblical evidence. They include giving thanks to God, practicing humility, studying God’s word, memorizing scriptures, serving others, prioritizing prayers, dying to self, transforming thoughts, confessing and repenting from sin, and loving one another. From the above list, serving others and practicing humility are acts of being tender and broken hearted. This is the reason the mourners are closed to God by virtue of their relationship to those who are emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually traumatized and have needs. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 that if you did it to the least; then, you did it to me. This scripture proves the major premise or the generalization that mourners are closed to God taken into consideration the Biblical definition of mourners in the scriptures.

LESSON THREE: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: Today, we will elaborate on verse 5 of Matthew’s Gospel in lesion three: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

SUBJECT: Blessed are the Meek
COMPLEMENTS:
1. The meek are righteousness.
2. The meek are humble.
3. The meek are teachable.
4. The meek are patient.

EXEGETICAL IDEA: The meek will inherit the earth because the meek is righteous, humble, teachable, and patient.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Get close to God!

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MEEK

A. The meek are righteous (5:5).

1. Matthew 5:19–20

2. 2 Timothy 2:22

3. Acts 10:34–35

B. The meek are humble.

1. Zechariah 2:3

2. Proverbs 16:19

3. 1 Peter 3:4

C. The meek are teachable.

1. Proverbs 4:5

2. Proverbs 12:1

3. Proverbs 13:18

D. The meek are patient.

1. Eph 4:2

2. Phil 2:3

3. 1 Peter 3:3–4

ILLUSTRATION

According to Bill Farmer’s newspaper column, J. Upton Dickson was a fun-loving fellow who said he was writing a book entitled “Cower Power.” He also founded a group of submissive people. It was called DOORMATS. That stands for “Dependent Organization Of Really Meek And Timid Souls — if there are no objections.” Their motto was: “The meek shall inherit the earth — if that’s okay with everybody.” Their symbol was the yellow traffic light.[3] The meek are those who know themselves to be poor in spirit, who have learned, honestly and from their hearts, to regret all the dehumanizing and subhuman things in which they have been involved as wanderers in this lost world, and who now in humility want only the will of God. “Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). His meekness was shown in his acceptance of what God ordained, including endless battles with those recalcitrant and disappointing people whom he was trying to lead from Egypt to Canaan, including, even, the enormous disappointment of himself not getting into the Promised Land.[4]

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We have learned the importance of being meek as the believer. Meekness is the high degree of humility expressed in given situation of the Christian living. How meek you are in the kingdom of God determines how well you are accepted by God. God will always resist the pride; on the other hand, he will give grace to the humble. How genuine are you when it comes to humility? Learn serving others and refuse to claim your right even if you have the right to do. Ignore the ugliness of others and listen to Holy Spirit when it comes to making decision that may not be in your favor. Does it mean that you are stupid? No, it does not mean that you are stupid; however, you want to remain obedient to the Holy Spirit instead of following your own voice and passion. If want for men to understand your decision, you will sin against God. Smart people cannot walk with God. I am talking about worldly smartness.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are the Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Inheritance is the property or personality trait owned by an individual through blood or legal line or genetically predisposed mean. A meek individual is the person who is willing to go along with whatever other people want to do. The individual won’t speak up when he or she is treated unfairly. The meek person is humble, righteous, teachable, and patient individual. The meek person is gentle or soft. The meek will inherit the earth which indicates that the meek will own the earth or take ownership of the earth through the exercise of his or her dominion. The Hebrew Biblical word for the earth is called Adamah that signifies ground or the earth which occurs in the biblical account of the creation in the Genesis. Man is both made from the Adamah and lives in it; therefore, his duty to release his potential is linked to the corresponding duty to the earth. To inherit the earth is to exercise dominion to own the earth. In the other statement, the meek are blessed because they will own the earth through the exercise of the dominion the meek has been given. In the Genesis, God commissioned man to replenish the earth. He told man to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish…(Genesis 1:28). All these terminologies have the single idea of owning or inheriting the earth.

Characteristics Of The Meek

The Meek Are Righteous

The word “meek” is tied to Godly living; therefore, the first qualification of the meek individual is righteousness. It begins when the individual hears the word of God, repents from sinful living, and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. After this spiritual experience has occurred, the individual receives the fruit of Holy Spirit called the fruit of righteousness (Gal. 5:16–22). The person is made righteous through Christ’s death sealed by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17–21). The believer is clothed with Christ’s righteousness through imputation. Every born again believer is a righteous person and should be a meek person by virtue of the presence of the Holy Spirit who gives the fruit of righteousness to the believer. Meekness is the test of the Christian life. If you are a Christian, you should be meek. Are you a pride person? Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy (Matt.11:29–30). You cannot have Jesus and be a pride person.

The Meek are Humble

Humility is the mark of the Christian life called meekness. To be a meek person, one must be humble because every humble individual is gentle person. The lord Jess was meek, he humble himself to the death on the cross (Phil 2:5–11). He did not fight back when he was arrested to be killed. At his arrest, Simon Peter drew the sword and cut the ear of the high Priest’s servant. Jesus took his ear and put it back and told Peter that he was not leading a rebellion generation (John 18:10). Meek people do not retaliate or pay back evil for evil. Jesus was a pacifist. How do you react to an outside situation when your faith is being tested?

The Meek Are Teachable

The meek individual is always willing to listen to the views of others in order to learn despite of the deliberator’s educational background with reference to educational inferiority. The person is quick to listen but slow to speak during the exchange of ideas at meeting (James 1:19–27). The meek is eager to learn new things and to rehearse the things already learned some years ago. The teachability of the meek individual makes the person to be leadable, and pliable. We are admonished in the Bible to not lean unto our own understanding (Prov. 3:5–6). If we do not lean unto our own understanding, he will give us when it comes to decision making that affect our Christian lives and the ministry he has called us to. Are you a teachable individual? You can be when you are willing to listen to others’ views including your wife, children, and people God has called you to lead in the ministry.

The Meek Are Patient

Patience is the mark of meekness. Every meek individual should be patient. Patience is the quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate to a wrong doing and it is the opposite of anger is associated with mercy. This kind of patience is called makrothumia (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4). The second category of patience is the quality of self-restraint in face of provocation that does not succumb under suffering or trial and it is the opposite of fear and it is associated with faith. This patience is called hupomone (James 1:2–4; Romans 5:1–5). Because the meek is gentle, he or she hardly retaliates when someone wrongs him or her. The meek is given special grace through the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation (James 1:2–4; Romans 5:1–5). The meek has the fruit of the Holy Spirit called patience or long suffering; as the result, he individual will continue to live the Christian life in the midst of the unwanted (trials). What trials have you faced in life that the Lord has delivered you? Count your many trials that you have overcome and the blessings that followed after the trials.

LESSON FOUR: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 3 of Matthew’s Gospel on the fourth beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The meek are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
2. The poor in spirit are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
3 The mourners are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  

EXEGETICAL IDEA: The meek, the poor in spirit, and the mourners are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; therefore, they will be filled.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Fear God!

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. THE DEFINITIONS OF THE HUNGER AND THIRST:

A. They are the meek.

1. The meek are righteousness.

i. 1 Timothy 6:11

ii. Matt. 6:33

iii. Psalm 34:15

2. The meek are humble.

i. Col 3:12

ii. Eph 4:12

iii. James 4:6

3. The meek are teachable.

i. 1 Peter 5:5

ii. Proverbs 12:1

iii. 2 Samuel 3:16

3. The meek are patient.

i. Proverbs 15:18

ii. Romans 12:12

iii. 2 Samuel 5:4–5

B. They are the poor in the spirit.

1. The person who desires Godly living.

i. Romans 12:1

ii. 1 Peter 2:11

iii. Gal 5:22

2. The person who seeks the kingdom of God.

i. Deut. 4:29

ii. 2 Chronicles 30:18–20

iii. Matt. 6:33

3. The person who spiritually depends on God.

i. 1 Samuel 30:6

ii. 2 Chronicles 14:11–14

iii. 1 Peter 5:5–6

C. They are the mourners.

1. They are tender hearted.

i. Eph 4:32

ii. 1 Peter 3:8

iii. Eph 4:1–32

2. They are broken hearted.

i. Psalm 34:18

ii. 1 Peter 5:7

iii. Psalm 147:3

3. They are closed to God.

i. James 4:8

ii. Exodus 24:1–2

iii. Isaiah 55:6–7

ILLUSTRATION

I want to start off with a personal question. How many of you ate breakfast this morning? Now I want you to complete this statement, I ate breakfast because, a) I had to or I would offend the person who fixed it, b) I always eat breakfast, c) I don’t know why, d) I was hungry. I have another question for those who ate breakfast. How many of you came to church and had donuts before class started? Those of you who did eat refreshments this morning whether you ate breakfast or not, complete this statement, I ate donuts because a) I didn’t want to be unsociable, b) a friend who brought them was standing behind me and I didn’t want to offend him, c) they were free, d) I was still hungry. I want to ask one more question. How many of you are still hungry? The real reason I asked these questions is that the real question is‑Do we really understand what it means to be hungry? Jesus said that a blissful, happy life awaits the man or woman who is hungry and thirsty after righteousness. God will fill him. We will look at this lesson today.[5]

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We have learned the essence of being hungry and thirsty for righteousness. I can remember 35 years ago when I became a believer how hungry and thirsty I was when it came to bible studies, the memorization of scriptures, the fear of entering into pre-marital illicit sexual activity, and among others. You can express the genuineness of being hungry and thirsty for righteousness literally fleeing from the presence of sin, resisting temptations through your obedience to the Holy Spirit, recognizing that you are a holy nation and a kingdom of priests, reading of scriptures that talk about sin, and being committed to your Christian duties in the local church you are assigned.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

The beatitude of being poor in the spirit, being a meek person, and being a mourner are subset of the beatitude of being a person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness; therefore, the meek, the poor in spirit, and the mourner fit the category of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. In this light, the meek, the poor in the spirit and the mourners are discussed as the following:

They Are The Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Inheritance is the property or personality trait owned by an individual through blood or legal line or genetically predisposed mean. A meek individual is the person who is willing to go along with whatever other people want to do. The individual won’t speak up when he or she is treated unfairly. The meek person is humble, righteous, teachable, and patient individual. The meek person is gentle or soft. The meek will inherit the earth which indicates that the meek will own the earth or take ownership of the earth through the exercise of his or her dominion. The Hebrew Biblical word for the earth is called Adamah that signifies ground or the earth which occurs in the biblical account of the creation in the Genesis. Man is both made from the Adamah and lives in it; therefore, his duty to release his potential is linked to the corresponding duty to the earth. To inherit the earth is to exercise dominion to own the earth. In the other statement, the meek are blessed because they will own the earth through the exercise of the dominion the meek has been given. In the Genesis, God commissioned man to replenish the earth. He told man to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish…(Genesis 1:28). All these terminologies have the single idea of owning or inheriting the earth.

Characteristics Of The Meek

The Meek Are Righteous

The word “meek” is tied to Godly living; therefore, the first qualification of the meek individual is righteousness. It begins when the individual hears the word of God, repents from sinful living, and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. After this spiritual experience has occurred, the individual receives the fruit of Holy Spirit called the fruit of righteousness (Gal. 5:16–22). The person is made righteous through Christ’s death sealed by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17–21). The believer is clothed with Christ’s righteousness through imputation. Every born again believer is a righteous person and should be a meek person by virtue of the presence of the Holy Spirit who gives the fruit of righteousness to the believer. Meekness is the test of the Christian life. If you are a Christian, you should be meek. Are you a pride person? Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy (Matt.11:29–30). You cannot have Jesus and be a pride person.

The Meek are Humble

Humility is the mark of the Christian life called meekness. To be a meek person, one must be humble because every humble individual is gentle person. The lord Jess was meek, he humble himself to the death on the cross (Phil 2:5–11). He did not fight back when he was arrested to be killed. At his arrest, Simon Peter drew the sword and cut the ear of the high Priest’s servant. Jesus took his ear and put it back and told Peter that he was not leading a rebellion generation (John 18:10). Meek people do not retaliate or pay back evil for evil. Jesus was a pacifist. How do you react to an outside situation when your faith is being tested?

The Meek Are Teachable

The meek individual is always willing to listen to the views of others in order to learn despite of the deliberator’s educational background with reference to educational inferiority. The person is quick to listen but slow to speak during the exchange of ideas at meeting (James 1:19–27). The meek is eager to learn new things and to rehearse the things already learned some years ago. The teachability of the meek individual makes the person to be leadable, and pliable. We are admonished in the Bible to not lean unto our own understanding (Prov. 3:5–6). If we do not lean unto our own understanding, he will give us when it comes to decision making that affect our Christian lives and the ministry he has called us to. Are you a teachable individual? You can be when you are willing to listen to others’ views including your wife, children, and people God has called you to lead in the ministry.

The Meek Are Patient

Patience is the mark of meekness. Every meek individual should be patient. Patience is the quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate to a wrong doing and it is the opposite of anger is associated with mercy. This kind of patience is called makrothumia (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4). The second category of patience is the quality of self-restraint in face of provocation that does not succumb under suffering or trial and it is the opposite of fear and it is associated with faith. This patience is called hupomone (James 1:2–4; Romans 5:1–5). Because the meek is gentle, he or she hardly retaliates when someone wrongs him or her. The meek is given special grace through the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation (James 1:2–4; Romans 5:1–5). The meek has the fruit of the Holy Spirit called patience or long suffering; as the result, he individual will continue to live the Christian life in the midst of the unwanted (trials). What trials have you faced in life that the Lord has delivered you? Count your many trials that you have overcome and the blessings that followed after the trials.

They Are The Poor In Spirit

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. The pure in heart is the heart or spirit that is without malice, treachery, or evil intent. It is the heart that is honest, sincere, and guileless. Considering the characteristics of the pure heart, the person will see God. To see God is to have personal knowledge or revelation about whom God is, his attributes, and to hear him in your spirit with reference to what he wants you to do in your Christian life and ministry. Going to church without the pure heart is equal to spiritual deafness leading to insensitivity to the Spirit of God. This opens the gate of the enemy to infiltrate into the mind of the church going individual. Have you heard of the minister of God who has been accused of adultery, illicit sex activities or pre-marital sex, eating church money, or murder? This happened because the person opened the gate for the enemy (Satan) to infiltrate and the pure heart was no more; therefore, it was difficult for God to intervene. When believers open themselves to Satan, the devil will sift them like wheat, Jesus said (Luke 22:31–34).

            Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus that they will have personal knowledge about God (Eph 1:18). During the reign of the anti-Christ, the people who know their God will resist the anti-Christ (Daniel 11:32). Having personal knowledge about God in this generation enables believers to resist Satan and his temptations on the daily basis. No temptation has seized you except… (1 Cor 10:13).

The Characteristics Of The Pure In Heart Individual

The Pure In Heart Is Free From Evil Intentions

The person who is free from evil intentions or imaginations is the person who spends times in prayers, the word of God, and decides to obey God. Something should be occupying the mind to serve as the spiritual insulator or barrier for the enemy to infiltrate (2 Cor. 10:4–5; Matt. 4:4). The individual who is pure in heart should be free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21). Being free from evil intentions (hatred, murder, adultery, fornications, false witness, theft, slander, insincerity, dishonesty etc.) through the power of the Holy Spirit as the believers yield to the Holy Spirit to bear fruit (Gal 5:16–22) that enables believers to have personal knowledge about God and opens the gate for divine revelations. The pure in heart individual should be free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21).

The Pure In Heart Is Holy

The terminology “holiness” or to be set apart for the use of God is the term “sanctification” used in the New Testament called hagismos in Greek, which signifies basically to be “set apart” and dedicated to Yahweh, God’s use. It is the work of grace at salvation. In this discourse, I will introduce three processes of sanctification (holiness). They are instantaneous sanctification, progressive sanctification, and final sanctification. Each is defined and explained in the following paragraphs:

Instantaneous sanctification (holiness) is when one hears the word of God, repents from sin, and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is the period at which the sinner becomes acquitted or justified from the penalty of sin before God (Romans 5:1–5, 1 Cor 6:11). This kind of sanctification is also called justification by action carried out by God to enable the new believer to gain status of righteousness or regeneration through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling presence in the believer (2 Cor. 5:17–21; John 3:1–7; Eph 1:13). This holiness indicates the status of the believer in the kingdom of God as priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9); therefore, righteousness (instantaneous sanctification or justification) is the state or the condition of what the believer is. Instantaneous holiness gives believer the power to live progressive holiness.

Progressive sanctification or holiness is when believers daily obey God’s word to enable them resist temptations on the daily basis (James 1:2–4). While instantaneous sanctification enables believers to obey God, it does not infringe on their will or decision; therefore, believers should decide to obey God in order to maintain the holiness received at justification. In this light, progressive sanctification is what the believers do daily to remain holy (Eph 4:22–24; Gal 5:16).  This sanctification gradually separates the people of God from the world and makes them more and more like Christ.

Final sanctification is when believers have lived the Christian lives progressively and are qualified to see Jesus when he returns for the Second Advent or the believers die and are waiting in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19–31; Romans 8:23; 1 John 3:2–3; 1 Cor 15:54; Rev. 20:11–15). It is also called final glorification.

Apostle Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[ the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?(Romans 8:18–24).

            The above definitions for sanctifications tell us that salvation is the process over time that requires our obedience to God’s word. It is the journey that is rocky and the devil is fighting to see that no one goes to heaven; fortunately, we have overcome Satan by virtue of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven (Romans 8:31; 1 John 5:4; Hebrew 2:14).

They Are The Mourners

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. The mourners in scriptures are those who have a tender heart. The tender hearted individual is the individual who is easily moved to love, to pity people, or to have sorrow. The individual is compassionate or impressionable. It describes the individual who is kind, gentle, sentimental nature, or a loyal individual. God comforts those who mourn as the result of the kindness, the love, the gentleness, and the tender heartedness nature they expressed in their Christian lives toward others in the time of needs. These characteristics of the individual indicate Godly piety. Jesus said that if disciples love one another; then, the word will know that they belong to him (John 13:35). God has promise to comfort all those who mourn. The word “comfort” comes from the Latin word “comfortare” which signifies “to strengthen greatly.” To give comfort is to store up the mood or physical state of someone else. There is a law of reciprocity in Matthew 5:4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God comforts the individual who shows kindness or love to others. It exemplifies the law of sowing and reaping. What you sow is what you reap. Matthew 25:40 states, “The king will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” God will restore the one emotionally who shows love or kindness to the least or the brothers or sisters. Have you experienced comfort from God when you experienced a traumatic event in your life? Did God send someone on your way to help you?

Characteristics Of The Mourners

The Mourners Are Tender Hearted

The individual who mourns is the individual who is moved to show love, pity, and compassion to others. Love, pity, and compassion are moral attributes of God; therefore, God desires to share these moral attributes with believers; in this regard, believers who walk in love, pity, and compassion are in God’s will of expressed goodness. The act of comfort that God extends to the individual is the result of his favor extension to humanity. The law of reciprocity is working in this situation when it comes to God rewarding the individual based on the individual’s kindness or goodness toward others. God extends comfort to those who show love, pity, and compassion to others. In Matthew 9:36, when Jesus saw the crowds, the Bible says that he was moved by compassion and responded to their needs by raising the dead man. Jesus was also moved by pity and said that the people were sheep without the shepherd (Matt. 9:36). Mourners in the kingdom of God show love and help people in their time of distress. They help morally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically as they see needs of people. Have you seem yourselves helping people that are in needs? These people might not be part of your congregation, your community, nation, ethnic group, or your immediate family; notwithstanding, you are required to help by virtue of your call.

The Mourners are Broken Hearted

Because mourners are moved to show love, pity, and compassion towards those who have emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual traumas, they feel broken hearted. Broken heartedness has to do with crying and sobbing as well as feelings of melancholy. Broken heartedness has physical symptoms such as anxiety and increase heart palpitations. These symptoms go hand in hand with a broken heart. Jesus was anointed to heal the broken hearted individual according to Luke 4:18–20. Indeed God will comfort the mourners because they are broken hearted. Are you a broken hearted individual? God can restore you despite of your situation whether be physical, spiritual, emotional, or psychological.

The Mourners Are Closed to God

Taking the variables into consideration that mourners are tender and broken hearted; then, mourners should be closed to God by virtue of the above qualities if they meet them. In this discourse, I will suggest ten things presumably that bring one closed to God by practice and backed by biblical evidence. They include giving thanks to God, practicing humility, studying God’s word, memorizing scriptures, serving others, prioritizing prayers, dying to self, transforming thoughts, confessing and repenting from sin, and loving one another. From the above list, serving others and practicing humility are acts of being tender and broken hearted. This is the reason the mourners are closed to God by virtue of their relationship to those who are emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually traumatized and have needs. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 that if you did it to the least; then, you did it to me. This scripture proves the major premise or the generalization that mourners are closed to God taken into consideration the Biblical definition of mourners in the scriptures.

LESSON FIVE: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 7 of Matthew’s Gospel on the fifth beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed Are the Merciful  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The merciful person is compassionate.
2. The merciful person responds to human needs in love.
3. The merciful person forgives others.

EXEGETICAL IDEA: God blesses those who forgive and respond to the needs of others.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Show mercy to others!

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MERCIFUL:

A. The merciful is compassionate.

1. Col 3:12

2. Exodus 33:19

3. Isaiah 30:18

4. James 15:11

B. The merciful responds in love to the needy.

1. 1 Cor 16:14

2. 1 Cor 13:4–5

3. Col 3:14

C. The merciful forgives others.

1. Luke 11:4

2. Mark 6:12

3. Luke 17:3–4

ILLUSTRATION

One church that shows God’s mercy to those who have been overcome by sin, feeds the hungry and clothes the needy is Times Square Church in Manhattan, New York. God has enabled them to start several Christ-centered ministries that point people to Christ through the Word of God. They give people a safe place to begin to grow in Christ and they train people to live in manner worthy of the gospel which enables them live productive lives. They started Teen Challenge which is now a highly successful ministry helping those addicted to drugs and alcohol obtain freedom. They are also affiliated with Front Porch, a place for runaway teens, and Mount Hope Camp, ministering to destitute women and children.[6]

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We have learned that God shows mercy to those who do the same. We can do this when we learn to forgive people who wrong us and are involved in the business of giving or showing kindness to people who are in need. Look into your house among things that you so love. Take that belonging and give to someone who needs it. Never give out things that you have no use for; on the other hand, give out things that are precious to you. A Pastor friend of mine gave me a computer that I had to spend $150.00 to repair it. I did not want to do this but my son wanted this computer. I would have gone to the pawn shop to buy better computer than what he gave me.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. The adjective, merciful, describes someone who has compassion for other people especially when the individual is in the position to punish or treat someone harshly. To show mercy is the act of forgiving someone when the individual has wrong you. How many times should we forgive people when they wrong us? Jesus said in Matthew 18:22 “seventy times seven times” indicating every time. We should always forgive people when they sin against us. Do you have an unforgiving spirit?

Characteristics Of The Merciful Person

The Merciful are Compassionate

The merciful individual is compassionate in that the person shows kindness, caring, and willingness to help others. It is a word for a positive emotion signifying thoughtfulness and decency toward an individual who needs help. It you are truly merciful individual, you should be in the position to help others. In your Christian life, have you seen needs and met them knowing that you have the resources to do so potentially?

The Merciful Person Responds in Love to the Needy

The merciful person does not only show compassion, but the individual responds to the needy by walking in love. Love is that which seeks the object loved. The merciful is moved by compassion and love. Jesus was moved by compassion and he drew the multitude and healed many. Mercy generates love; love generates compassion and compassion fulfills the desire that love seeks. Without mercy there is no love; without love there is no compassion, and one does not walk in compassion except love is present; therefore, love is generative when it comes to demonstration. Mercy, love, and compassion are used interchangeably; however, they differ when it comes to function. Are you a merciful individual? Do you show love?

The Merciful Person forgives

Mercy is the love that responds to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way. At the center of mercy is forgivingness; therefore, mercy is forgivingness. People who lack mercy cannot forgive the wrong doing of others. If God had not been merciful, he would not have sent Jesus to die for sin for the pardon of our sin. The entire creation sinned against God. It took God’s love and mercy to pardon our wrong doing. If God forgave us when we sinned against him, who are obligated to forgive those who sin against us. Refusing to forgive our neighbor is the direct act of holding ourselves down and eventually become God’s enemies (Matt. 6:15).

LESSON SIX: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 8 of Matthew’s Gospel on the sixth beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

  SUBJECT: The Pure in Heart  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The pure in heart is free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19).
2. The pure in heart is free from murder (Matt. 15:19).
3. The pure in heart is free from fornication (Mark 7:21).
4. The pure in heart is free from theft, false witness, and slander (Mark 7:21)

EXEGETICAL IDEA: God bless those who have clear hearts for their neighbors and are obedient to the Christian living.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Holiness is the requirement for the Christian life.

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PURE IN HEART:

A. The pure in heart is free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21).

1. Psalm 24:4–5

2. Psalm 51:10

3. Jer 17:9–10

4. 1 Peter 3:3–4

B. The pure in heart is an holy individual.

1. Instantaneous holiness

i. 2 Cor 5:17–21

ii. Romans 5:1–5

iii. 1 Cor 6:11

iv. John 3:1–7

v. Eph 1:13

vi. 1 Peter 2:9

2. Progressive holiness

i. James 1:2–4

ii. Eph 4:22–24

iii. Gal 5:16

3. Final holiness

i. Luke 16:19–31

ii. Romans 8:23

iii. 1 John 3:2–3

iv. 1 Cor 15:54

v. Rev 20:11–15

ILLUSTRATION

Two theological students were walking along a street in the Whitechapel district of London, a section where old and used clothing is sold. “What a fitting illustration all this makes!” said one of the students as he pointed to a suit of clothes hanging on a rack by a window. A sign on it read: SLIGHTLY SOILED — GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE. “That’s it exactly,” he continued. “We get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a course book, or allowing ourselves a little indulgence in dishonest or lustful thoughts; and so when the time comes for our character to be appraised, we are greatly reduced in value. Our purity, our strength is gone. We are just part and parcel of the general, shopworn stock of the world.” Yes, continual slight deviations from the path of right may greatly reduce our usefulness to God and to our fellowman. In fact, these little secret sins can weaken our character so that when we face a moral crisis, we cannot stand the test. As a result, we go down in spiritual defeat because we have been careless about little sins.[7]

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

From study, we have learned that we have been made holy by virtue of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us; therefore, this status empowers us to practice holiness on the daily basis by saying no to temptations. Know that you are holy consciously, cognitively, and spiritually as per your Christian duty. Practice obedience daily when you are tempted which demonstrates that you are pure in heart.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. The pure in heart is the heart or spirit that is without malice, treachery, or evil intent. It is the heart that is honest, sincere, and guileless. Considering the characteristics of the pure heart, the person will see God. To see God is to have personal knowledge or revelation about whom God is, his attributes, and to hear him in your spirit with reference to what he wants you to do in your Christian life and ministry. Going to church without the pure heart is equal to spiritual deafness leading to insensitivity to the Spirit of God. This opens the gate of the enemy to infiltrate into the mind of the church going individual. Have you heard of the minister of God who has been accused of adultery, illicit sex activities or pre-marital sex, eating church money, or murder? This happened because the person opened the gate for the enemy (Satan) to infiltrate and the pure heart was no more; therefore, it was difficult for God to intervene. When believers open themselves to Satan, the devil will sift them like wheat, Jesus said (Luke 22:31–34).

            Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus that they will have personal knowledge about God (Eph 1:18). During the reign of the anti-Christ, the people who know their God will resist the anti-Christ (Daniel 11:32). Having personal knowledge about God in this generation enables believers to resist Satan and his temptations on the daily basis. No temptation has seized you except… (1 Cor 10:13).

The Characteristics Of The Pure Individual

The Pure In Heart Is Free From Evil Intentions

The person who is free from evil intentions or imaginations is the person who spends times in prayers, the word of God, and decides to obey God. Something should be occupying the mind to serve as the spiritual insulator or barrier for the enemy to infiltrate (2 Cor. 10:4–5; Matt. 4:4). The individual who is pure in heart should be free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21). Being free from evil intentions (hatred, murder, adultery, fornications, false witness, theft, slander, insincerity, dishonesty etc.) through the power of the Holy Spirit as the believers yield to the Holy Spirit to bear fruit (Gal 5:16–22) that enables believers to have personal knowledge about God and opens the gate for divine revelations. The pure in heart individual should be free from evil intentions (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21).

The Pure In Heart Is Holy

The terminology “holiness” or to be set apart for the use of God is the term “sanctification” used in the New Testament called hagismos in Greek, which signifies basically to be “set apart” and dedicated to Yahweh, God’s use. It is the work of grace at salvation. In this discourse, I will introduce three processes of sanctification (holiness). They are instantaneous sanctification, progressive sanctification, and final sanctification. Each is defined and explained in the following paragraphs:

Instantaneous sanctification (holiness) is when one hears the word of God, repents from sin, and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is the period at which the sinner becomes acquitted or justified from the penalty of sin before God (Romans 5:1–5, 1 Cor 6:11). This kind of sanctification is also called justification by action carried out by God to enable the new believer to gain status of righteousness or regeneration through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling presence in the believer (2 Cor. 5:17–21; John 3:1–7; Eph 1:13). This holiness indicates the status of the believer in the kingdom of God as priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9); therefore, righteousness (instantaneous sanctification or justification) is the state or the condition of what the believer is. Instantaneous holiness gives believer the power to live progressive holiness.

Progressive sanctification or holiness is when believers daily obey God’s word to enable them resist temptations on the daily basis (James 1:2–4). While instantaneous sanctification enables believers to obey God, it does not infringe on their will or decision; therefore, believers should decide to obey God in order to maintain the holiness received at justification. In this light, progressive sanctification is what the believers do daily to remain holy (Eph 4:22–24; Gal 5:16).  This sanctification gradually separates the people of God from the world and makes them more and more like Christ.

Final sanctification is when believers have lived the Christian lives progressively and are qualified to see Jesus when he returns for the Second Advent or the believers die and are waiting in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19–31; Romans 8:23; 1 John 3:2–3; 1 Cor 15:54; Rev. 20:11–15). It is also called final glorification.

Apostle Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[ the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?(Romans 8:18–24).

            The above definitions for sanctifications tell us that salvation is the process over time that requires our obedience to God’s word. It is the journey that is rocky and the devil is fighting to see that no one goes to heaven; fortunately, we have overcome Satan by virtue of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven (Romans 8:31; 1 John 5:4; Hebrew 2:14).

LESSON SEVEN: THE BEATITDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 9 of Matthew’s Gospel on the seventh beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed Are the Peacemakers  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. Peacemakers are friendly.
2. Peacemakers are agreeable.
3. Peacemakers are cooperative.
4. Peacemakers are adaptable.
5. Peacemakers are trusting. 
6. Peacemakers are easy-going.
7. Peacemakers are empathetic.

EXEGETICAL IDEA: Peacemakers bring humanity to God through the preaching of the Gospel message.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: You are mandated to win souls for Christ.

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PEACEMAKERS:

A. Peacemakers are soul winners.

1. Romans 10:15

2. 2 Cor 5:17–21

3. Psalm 119:165

4. John 16:33

5. John 15:16

B. Peacemakers are disciple makers.

1. Matt 28:16–20

2. Eph 6:14–15

3. Mark 16:15

4. Acts 1:8

5. John 1:45

ILLUSTRATION

In the real life experience with reference to litigation or law sue, the presence of conflict is imminent; therefore, the plaintiff or the complainer should have taken the defendant to the court system as the result of conflict existing between them both. The reason of the law sue is to get justice through mediation overseen by the judge for the conflict to be resolved. Until mediation occurs through the intervention of the judge, the conflict is resolved, and justice is played out in the case, the conflict remains between the offender and the person offended. If the conflict is not resolved, it can lead to repercussion as the result of the existing conflict. In the event before the judge adjudicates the case after the plaintiff has explained what has happened between him or her and the defendant, the defendant will have to respond to the allegation leveled against him or her with the goal to defend self against the allegation. At the conclusion of the case, the judge will give a verdict to acquit or to convict the defendant. If the defendant is charged as the result of losing the case, he or she will have to pay the penalty. If the defendant is not guilty of the allegation leveled against him or her, he or she will be acquitted. This analogy explains clearly what happened when mankind disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–15; Romans 5:12 – 18)

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

We were enemies of God as the result of disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; fortunately, Christ came and died for sin in order to establish the broken peace that existed between God and mankind as the result of the fall. We are saved by grace and have become reconciled to God through the death of Christ. The peace we have with God was paid for; in this regard, God has commissioned us to go to the world and preach this peace to mankind using his word. You can do this daily by telling someone that Jesus died for his or sin and leading him or her to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Not only preaching to the sinners, but also the life you live before them can bring them to the saving knowledge of Christ.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Peacemakers was an American pacifist organization. The name of the group was taken from a section of the Bible, the Beatitude or Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” The group was organized largely by Ernest and Marion Bromley and Juanita and Wally Nelson. The mission of this organization sought to gather, equip and mobilize peacemakers of faith across North America and beyond to engage in the work of peace rooted in justice.

            Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. What kind of peace is the Bible referring to? This peace is not a political, economical, religious, or worldly peace. Anytime a peace is mentioned, there has been a conflict that calls for mediation and a mediator. The mediator is needed because there is a need for conflict resolution. The first conflict that has existed in Biblical history is the conflict between mankind and his Creator, God. The emergence of the conflict was the result of disobedience carried out by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–15). Sin entered the world through one man Adam and death followed (Romans 5:12). The birth of death in the human race brought sicknesses, diseases, setbacks, disappointments, and the operation of demons in the lives of human beings. The sin committed in the Garden of Eden made mankind the enemies of God by virtue of the fall (Col 1:21). It took the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross to atone for sin in order to bring reconciliation between God and mankind (2 Cor 5:17–21). Jesus’ blood became the mediation and Jesus himself became the mediator for the New Covenant through his death on the Cross to in order to bring peace between God and humanity. We have peace with God because we have been justified through faith in Jesus (Romans 5:1–5).When we are reconciled through Jesus’ death, God gives us the ministry of reconciliation so we can reconcile man to God through the proclamation of the Gospel message (2 Cor. 5:11–21, ; Romans 1:16–17). The Bible says, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace (Romans 10:15). Believers become peacemakers of the kingdom when they preach the word of God to sinners persuading sinners to turn to God in order to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Preachers are peacemakers; therefore, they are called children of God. When sinners come to the saving knowledge of the Savior through the preaching of the Gospel message, peace is established between God and the sinners; until then, the wrath of God awaits the sinners. When a man’s way pleases the Lord, God will make his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Are you a peacemaker? You become a peacemaker when you are involved in evangelism and disciples making.

Characteristics Of The Peacemakers

Peacemakers Are Soul Winners

After the resurrection of Jesus, he announced his authority to his disciples and commissioned them to go to all nations and preach the Gospel. Nations refer to languages, ethnicities, or people groups by customs and cultures. This is called the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:16–20. He commissioned them to go (mission), to make disciples (church planting), to baptize them (inclusion), and to teach them (pedagogy) everything according to scriptures. He promised them that he will be with them to the end of the age. We proclaim peace when we are involved in evangelism, disciples making, and church planting. To make peace, we are obligated to obey the mandate of the Great Commission. We are mandated to God. While on the field of evangelism, the soul’s winner is anticipated to exhibit certain behavioral characteristics in order to be successful in the soul winning endeavor. We are required to be prayerful, friendly, agreeable, cooperative, and adaptable in order to win souls for Christ. These characteristics of the soul’s winner are wisdom driven. The Bible says that he who wins souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30).

Peacemakers Are Disciples Makers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. The Bible says that how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace (Romans 10:15). Their feet are beautiful because disciples making is the heart of God. God empowers disciples makers and blesses them. Are you a disciple maker? The disciple maker is required to exhibit certain behavioral characteristics in order to be successful on the field of evangelism. The disciples makers are encouraged to be prayerful, studious of God’s word, trusting God, easy-going, and empathetic. These personality traits enhance the works of the disciples makers on the field of evangelism and church planting.

LESSON EIGHT: THE BEATITUDE

Scriptural Reading:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (5:1–12 NIV).

Note: For our study today, we will elaborate on verse 10 of Matthew’s Gospel on the seventh beatitude: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

  SUBJECT: Blessed Are the Persecuted.  
  COMPLEMENTS:  
1. The persecuted faces hostility.
2. The persecuted faces singling.
3. The persecuted faces hassling.

EXEGETICAL IDEA: The kingdom of God belongs to those who are persecuted.

HOMILETICAL IDEA: Have you been persecuted?

TEACHING/SERMON OUTLINE

I. THE ELEMENTS OF PERSECUTION:

A. The persecuted faces hostility.

1.Acts 16:16–40

2. Acts 16:25–34

3. Acts 7:54–60

B. The persecuted faces singling.

1.Acts 9:1–9

2. Daniel 6:1–28

3. Acts 12:2

C. The persecuted faces hassling.

1. Matt. 14:1–11

2. 2 Timothy 4:7

3. 2 Timothy 3:12

ILLUSTRATION

During the Liberian civil war from 1989 December 24 up to 1998, people were singled out at check points, questioned based on their political and ethnic affiliations, sometimes beaten or killed. Such persecution was politically and ethnically driven. If you were caught by government soldiers at the heat of war in the 90’s, you were categorized as rebels especially if you were a male. You were beaten and sometimes killed by government soldiers. I can record in 1990 when the rebels captured Harbel, Firestone Plantation Company, Liberia, and retreated, on my way home, I saw government soldiers at New Building, Pepper Line. I sensed that we were in danger after I was called by one of the soldiers to report to him; immediately, I ran between the houses and hid myself into the toilet. They came around and began to search for me; fortunately, God saved me from their hands. These guys were blood thirsty and were ready to kill. On the other hand, if you were member of the ruling party or the National Democratic Party or worked in Doe’s government, you were the potential target for the rebels. In such conflict like civil war, persecution, atrocities, or human rights violations become the order of the day. Have you been singled out, harassed, intimidated, or persecuted as the result of your religious affiliation or your faith in God?

CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION

There are costs of following Jesus as Lord and Savior. Persecutions are inevitable; therefore, you will face them in various forms either by hostility, singling, or hassling. The Lord uses persecution to prepare us to meet the agenda of his calling upon our lives. During persecution, we gain experience and our faiths are developed to face the unknown; therefore, the Christian life is an asymmetric warfare; fortunately, the Lord promises that he will be with us to the end of the age (Matt. 28:16–20). Spend time with God praying and reading his word to help you overcome persecution. Read about other characters in the Bible that were persecuted before you and learn how they overcame. Read scripture that talk about your victory in Christ and be ready to face persecution at any time.

DISCUSSION

Introduction

Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted

Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Persecution has emotional, psychological, and physical effects on the person who has been persecuted as the result of the person’s nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, and social status. A person is persecuted by reason of these triggers. The level or the degree of the persecution depends on the magnitude or to what extent the persecution is carried on the individual. In the case of Silas and Paul, they were beaten and then put into prison (Acts 16:16–40). For Stephen, he was stoned to death under the command of Saul (Acts 7:54–60). These were persecuted as the result of their religious affiliations with the Christian faith. Such persecution resulted into physical, emotional, and psychological traumas to the victims. There is the reward of being persecuted as the child of God: Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the realm which God operates or his influence over creation. The kingdom of God has no connection to a place, but it is God’s sovereign rule over creation. Those who undergo persecution, the influence or God’s sovereign power belongs to them. To be empowered from above, one must pay the price. The anointing does not come over night. It must be sought through fasting, praying, and persecution.

The Elements Of Persecution

The Persecuted Faces Hostility

Blessed are the persecuted because the kingdom of God belongs to them. People who persecute are hostile, antagonistic, or unfriendly. Persecution that is hostile can be brutal and leads to the death of people. Stephen was persecuted and put to death through stoning. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison. This element of persecution is characterized by hostility leading to emotional, psychological, and physical traumas (Acts 7:54–60). Have you been arrested and beaten before as the result of your faith in Jesus? You might not have been beaten as Paul and Silas were beaten; nevertheless, you might have been mocked, singled out, marginalized, or harassed as the result of your religious or social status. These are forms of persecutions that are experienced by people all over the world.

The Persecuted Faces Singling

During the Liberian civil war from 1989 December 24 up to 1998, people were singled out at check points, questioned based on their political and ethnic affiliations, sometimes beaten or killed. Such persecution was politically and ethnically driven. If you were caught by government soldiers at the heat of war in the 90’s, you were categorized as rebels especially if you were a male. You were beaten and sometimes killed by government soldiers. I can record in 1990 when the rebels captured Harbel, Firestone Plantation Company, Liberia, and retreated, on my way home, I saw government soldiers at New Building, Pepper Line. I sensed that we were in danger after I was called by one of the soldiers to report to him; immediately, I ran between the houses and hid myself into the toilet. They came around and began to search for me; fortunately, God saved me from their hands. These guys were blood thirsty and were ready to kill. On the other hand, if you were member of the ruling party or the National Democratic Party or worked in Doe’s government, you were the potential target for the rebels. In such conflict like civil war, persecution, atrocities, or human rights violations become the order of the day. Have you been singled out, harassed, intimidated, or persecuted as the result of your religious affiliation or your faith in God?

The Persecuted Faces Hassling

The chain of persecution is channeled through a structural crime execution. During persecution by a hostile mean, the person is singled out from among the group and is either beaten or killed. This kind of persecution is common in the Bible and in modern time during a political uprising or upheaval. The other element of persecution that is not sometimes too severe is hassling. Hassling is the act of harassing someone directly or indirectly. Bullying or calling someone name in the form of mockery is hassling. Mocking the individual as the result of his or her religious affiliation is the form of harassment called hassling. Have you been hassled before because you believe in Jesus? Jesus said that blessed is the person who is persecuted (hassled) and insulted for my name sake. He said the same manner they persecuted the prophets that were before you, they will do the same to you. He said that rejoice because the kingdom of God belongs to you (Matt. 5:10–11). Have you been hassled as the result of your Christian faith?

GLOSSARY

1. Exegesis is the explanation of the biblical passages using history, geography, and the kind of literature in the bible (ex. Prophetic books, parables, letters, laws etc).

2. Historical context is what is being studied or found in history about the passages being studied as what is seen in Romans.

3. Geographical context is what that pertains to the land location, features, distance, or kind of people who live in that location.

4. Literary context defines what literature is being studied. For example, is the book law, letter, prophecy, or wisdom book? In this situation, Romans is a doctrinal book called a letter, addressed to the Romans Christians.

5. Dorea is the gift of righteousness obtained when one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior (Acts 2:38).

6. Doron is the gift of sacrifice man offers to God for appeasement especially during the Old Testament era (Matt 2:11).

7. Doma is the gift if ministry used to serve the body of Christ (Eph 4:8–13).

8. Charisma is the gift of the Spirit (Romans 1:11; 2 Tim 2:6; 4:14).

9. Exegetical Idea is the idea obtained from the biblical passage when the passage has been studied to find the meaning of the passage (what God was speaking to the original recipients that is applicable to the present audience). It is the true interpretation of the biblical passage that is used to preach to the present congregation of yours. Exegetical idea remains faithful to the meaning of the passage and does not deviate. The lack of exegetical skills in sermon preparation and delivery leads to false preaching and teaching in our churches today.

10. Homiletical idea is the preaching idea that is condensed from the exegetical idea or the main idea of the passage and it can be very short for the congregation to remember. Some call it the theme of the message or the subject of the biblical passage.

11. Complement is the completion of the subject in the biblical passage. For example, when Matthew 5:3 is studied, it is observed that the Bible teacher reconstructs and argues that to be poor in spirit requires ones to desire Godly living, to seek the kingdom of God, and to be unable to offer anything to God spiritually. The complement answers the question about the theme or the subject to complete it.Illustration is the device in sermon delivery that pins mental picture or imagery of the message.

12. Application is the act of doing or putting into practice what has been preached or taught. It is the goal of the sermon or the message being delivered. When the sermon is not being applied; then, it has lost its purpose or goal. It is still being debated in theological circles between liberals and conservatives that preacher should not applied sermon; instead, the Holy Spirit should make the congregations to apply the message; therefore, application should not included in the sermon or teaching outline.

Pastor Jallah Yelorbah Koiyan, M.Div, Founder, Praise Ministries International, Inc

[1]Charles R. Swindoll, “The Bible Teaching Ministry”. Insight for Living, n.p [Cited 14 May 2019] Online: http://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-gospels/matthew.


[2] Robert L. Deffinbaugh, 10 Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Matthew 5:4), n.p [Cited 12 March 2020]: Online: https://bible.org/seriespage/blessed-are-those-who-mourn-matthew-54.

[3] Rev. Brett C. Blair, E-Sermon Illustrations, n.p [ Cited 7 March 2020] Online: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/m/meekness.htm.

[4]Ibid., n.p.

[5]Ibid., n.p.

[6]Ibid., n.p.

[7]Ibid., n.p.