The Blessings of Being a Christian
Early in Christ’s ministry, He sets the example of how we should progress as Christians. In all the gospels, we see an example of Christ’s baptism. Even though He was the Son of God and knew no sin, He knew that He must set the example. How could He ask other Christians to follow through in believers baptism if He (himself) had never experienced it? If you notice, in everything Christ did, He always set the model example that we, as Christians, should follow. In Chapter 4, it says then - at that time, immediately after His baptism - Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by diabolos - the accuser, Satan, the Devil. Notice it was forty days and forty nights Christ had been in the wilderness before He was tempted. It is a good reminder for us that Satan knows that the strongest will resist and waits until we are at our weakest and most vulnerable before he will attempt to come after us with His deception. He deceived Christ by appealing to His bodily/physical hunger, by the desire of the mind - how Christ should use His power to command angels to save Him, and the third time Satan tempted him with the desire of power - all this could be yours IF you worship me. Each time, Jesus resisted and countered Satan with scripture - It is written. God used this time for Christ to prepare for His earthly ministry.
After these temptations, Satan left Him and angels came and ministered to Him. after this temptation, Jesus hears of John the Baptists arrest and imprisonment began His ministry.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Early in Christ’s ministry, He calls his first helpers, the Disciples - Simon Peter, Andrew, James (the son of Zebedee) and his brother John. Jesus went through Galilee teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the gospel, healing diseases and afflictions. During this time, many heard of Jesus and were bringing their sick and afflicted, demon possessed, paralytics, those who had seizures, everything in which they could not be healed by from local healers. And Jesus healed them. Everywhere He went, and everyone that was brought to Him.
25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Not that He did not want to, but because He was human and required rest and time alone with the Father, He retreated up into the mountain.
Can you imagine the type of constant, non-stop requests that Christ would get once people saw He was able to heal what was thought to be unheal-able for their family member? Even with this pressure packed on Him, Jesus took time to get away and be with His Father. We should remember that, regardless of how busy life gets, how much the pressures of this world gets us down, or how hopeless a situation seems, we should always take time to find quiet time to be with our Father.
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
Seeing the crowds - Christ knew when He needed to get alone.
Jesus often removed Himself from the commotion of everyday life so He could pray. We see 25 times in scripture where it mentions Jesus praying. He knew the need to separate Himself and seek that alone time.
16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Went up on the mountain - Removed himself to the area where He could be alone
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Sat down and disciples came to him - He remained there overnight, and after being alone with the Father, He called the disciples to Him. Jesus never let the opportunity to teach the disciples go to waste.
We, too, should be teaching/preparing the next generation of leaders - where we get the term discipleship. What would come would be the beatitudes - the blessings (makarios) that are required to make true disciples. These blessings are the spiritual joy and satisfaction (peace) that lasts regardless of the conditions we face.
We are truly blessed people, even when it seems things are falling apart around us. The Beatitudes of our Lord are powerful, holding before the world a descriptive picture of the true disciple of God. The Beatitudes cover the glorious hope and reward the believer can expect, now as well as in eternity. Notice who the beatitudes were written to - not the lost, not those in need, but to the disciples. Why? Because they, too, would face temptations just as He did and would need to draw on the strength of God through the same prayer in the middle of ministry and would need to get away and be still with God. The problem is, we do not view the blessings in the same light as God - through holy and righteous eyes - and instead we desire blessings to come through earthly things.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Compassion and Discipleship are two of the first traits we see modeled in ministry.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
We cannot do ministry alone, as your pastor. It takes others being taught, discipled, and coming together to accomplish the task given to us by Christ.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Poor in Spirit
Poor in Spirit
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Being poor in spirit does not mean that a man must be poverty-stricken and financially poor. Christ is not talking about material poverty. He means what He says: poor in spirit. Being “poor in spirit” means several things.
1) To acknowledge our utter helplessness before God, our spiritual poverty, our spiritual need. We are solely dependent upon God to meet our need.
2) To acknowledge our utter lack in facing life and eternity apart from God. To acknowledge that the real blessings of life and eternity come only from a right relationship with God (see note—Ep. 1:3; see Jn. 10:10; Ga. 5:22–23).
3) To acknowledge our utter lack of superiority before all others and our spiritual deadness before God. To acknowledge that we are no better, no richer, no more superior than the next person—no matter what we have achieved in this world (fame, fortune, power). Our attitude toward others is not proud and haughty, not superior and overbearing. To be poor in spirit means acknowledging that every human being is a real person just like everyone else—a person who has a significant contribution to make to society and to the world. The person poor in spirit approaches life in humility and appreciation, not as though life owes him, but as though he owes life. He has been given the privilege of living; therefore, he journeys through life with a humble attitude and he contributes all he can to a needy world out of a spirit of appreciation. The poor in spirit are weary and burdened for the world. They know the truth of this world and of eternity.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Broken hearted, like the feeling that occurs when we experience the death of a loved one. Deep, desperate, helpless sorrow. We must approach our sin in this manner, broken hearted before God. But there may be times where we go through rough times in life where we face troublesome times that weigh heavy on us. But we are comforted by the Holy Spirit, as settled peace, almost a relief to us when we turn our worry over to God.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
A strong, but tender and humble life. It is a disciplined person, because they are God-controlled.
Hungry and Thirsty
Hungry and Thirsty
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
A starving SPIRIT, a real hunger for God and everything righteous. If we truly are hungry and thirsty for righteousness and to DO righteousness, we find earthly satisfaction with God knowing of our eternal destination.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Forgiving spirit and a compassionate heart, showing mercy and benevolence. Doing so means we are also forgiving to those who have wronged us.
Pure in Heart
Pure in Heart
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Clean heart - a humans we are born into a sinful world, but we have an opportunity and a decision to have a clean heart, purged of sin, and Holy in the eyes of God through Jesus Christ.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Peacemakers bring men together; to make peace between themselves and God, others and God, and among each other; to solve disputes and erase divisions; to reconcile differences and eliminate strife; to silence tongues and build right relationships.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
To endure suffering for Christ; to be mocked, ridiculed, criticized, ostracized; to be treated with hostility; to be martyred.
⇒ Being reviled: verbally abused, insulted, scolded, mocked (cruel mockings, He. 11:36).
⇒ Persecuted: hurt, ostracized, attacked, tortured, martyred, and treated hostely.
⇒ Having all manner of evil spoken against: slandered, cursed, and lied about.
We suffer persecution because the world does not know God nor Christ. The ungodly of the world want no God other than themselves and their own imaginations.
3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.
Christ follows these teachings up in verse 13
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
We are blessed, if:
We remember the one that saved us, because we inherit heaven
We the state Jesus delivered us from, because He comforts us.
We are humble, because they are happy on earth.
We are hungry and thirsty to learn the word of God, because in that lies true satisfaction.
We are merciful - treating others as we wish to be treated, and we too will receive God’s mercy from our sins.
We are pure in heart - remembering what God did for us when we asked forgiveness of our sins, because we will see God.
We are the peacemakers - with God, among ourselves, and with each other, Because then we will be known as the sons of God.
We we suffer persecution for His name sake, just as Christ would endure persecution for us leading to His death.
BUT one final teaching came with that - “You are the salt of the earth”. What does salt do? It flavors, it provides vital elements, and it preserves. But what happens when salt is exposed to the elements? It loses its flavor. What good is flavorless salt? It has no value, no purpose, and is no longer useful. Folks, we can try to remember the blessings Christ taught His disciples and now us through the beatitudes, but if we do not use those in our every day life,WHAT GOOD IS IT? You see, salt MUST to be shaken out and scattered around for it to be useful! We too, must share the Gospel of Christ to be useful to Him. It truly is a blessing to be a Christian!