Friday, August 18, 2017

56 - You Will Be Fortunate if You ...

According to the Book of Matthew, this is where the well-known Sermon on the Mount starts.  In Matthew it is three chapters long and we will be with it for awhile.

It is important to remember that in all His preaching Christ was preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom; His coming Kingdom. Mat. 4:23.  He is telling us how we must live if we expect ourselves to be fit to enter that Kingdom.

But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves. Mat 6:20  

The gist of the Beatitudes is: You must decide whether you want to live 80 (or so) years in comfort, destroying the lives of others, if you must, to gain what you want or deny yourselves some of the enjoyment of life so that others may have the comforts they deserve and in that way lay up treasures for yourself in heaven.

The Beatitudes

1.  Blessed (fortunate; well off) are the poor (a beggar; cringing) in spirit (mental disposition), for theirs is the kingdom (realm) of heaven (by implication happiness). Mat 5:3

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20

But woe (grief) to you who are rich (wealthy - the meaning of this word is very affluent.  It means having more than enough to live comfortably), because you have received your consolation (solace, comfort). Luke 6:24.

The way some Christians horde wealth and toys or squander their incomes pursuing pleasures one would think they have never heard this beatitude.  

The same idea comes through when one sees the over ornate, money wasting Sunday morning buildings of many groups that call themselves Christian.

2.  Blessed are those who hunger (severe cravingand thirst after righteousness (in character and action), for they shall be filled (to gorge; be fully satisfied). Mat. 5:6 

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Luke 6:21

Woe to you who have been filled, for you shall be hungry. Luke 6:25

Do any of us have a severe craving to be righteous?  We don't mind being righteous as long as it does not inconvenience us.

It is so easy to pray for the destitute people of the world but doing something practical to help relieve their hunger pangs is a totally different matter, isn't it?

From the other point of view: it is fantastic to see that organisations such as World Vision, The Red Cross, and many others can keep on fulfilling their mission because so many people keep on giving to the needy.

3.  Blessed are those who mourn (wail), for they will be comforted (to call near; to invite). Mat. 5:4 

Blessed are you who weep (cry; wail aloudnow, for you shall laugh. Luke 6:21

Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Luke 6:25

You may laugh at the unfortunate now but someday such coldness will be taken into account when your heavenly ledger is opened.

4.  Blessed are those who have been persecuted (to pursuefor righteousness' sake (on account of), for theirs is the kingdom (realmof heaven (by implication happiness).  
   Blessed are you whenever they revile (defame; taunt) you, and they persecute you, and they say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 
      Rejoice (be full of cheerand be exceedingly glad (jump for joy; exult), for great (much; many; largelyis your reward (pay for servicesin heaven (happiness, eternity), for so they persecuted (pursuedthe prophets who were before you. Mat. 5:10-12 

   Blessed are you when men (humans) shall hate (detest) you, and when they shall exclude you, and shall revile (defame; tauntyou, and cast out your name as evil (morally diseased), because of the Son of Man. 
   Rejoice in that day (can mean the judgement dayand leap for joy! For behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:22-23 

Woe to you when men (humansspeak well (usually morally) of you, for in like manner their fathers (literally or figurativelywould do to the false prophets (pretended foreteller). Luke 6:26 

5.  Blessed are the peacemakers (peaceable), for they shall be called sons of God. Mat. 5:9 

bless (speak well of; invoke a benedictionthose who curse (execrate; to pronounce doomyou; pray for those who mistreat (insult; slander) you. Luke 6:28

It really would be a lot easier to hope that something bad would happen to them!

6.  Blessed are the merciful (compassionate), for they shall obtain mercy. Mat. 5:7 

Love (in a social or moral sense) your enemies (odious; hostile), do good to those who hate (detestyou. Luke 6:27

7.  To him who strikes (to pummel with a stickyou on the one cheek, offer (present) the other also. And from him who takes your outer garment (winter coat), do not forbid the tunic either (a hip-length or longer blouse or jacket. Merriam-Webster). Luke 6:29

    Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your belongings, do not ask for them back. Luke 6:30.
   Do not beg them off. This probably refers to the way in which the tax-gatherers and Roman soldiers used to spoil the people. “When such harpies as these come upon your goods, suffer the injury quietly, leaving yourselves in the hand of God, rather than attempt even to beg off what belongs to you, lest on their part they be provoked to seize or spoil more.  Clarke

Here Christ is not saying that, in a normal situation, we do not have a right to protect our property.  He is saying that when a corrupt government official takes more than is justly his you will be further ahead just to "let it go".  You can not win against the officials anyway.

8.  Blessed are the meek (humble, mild), for they shall inherit (obtainthe earth (a region or the solid part of the whole ... globe). Mat. 5:5

9.  Therefore all things, whatever you desire that men should do to you, do even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Mat. 7:12  The Law (the Books of Moses) and the preachings of the prophets stand on this principle.

And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Luke 6:31.

This "Golden rule" is one step up from the pre-Christian "do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you".  It should not bother a Christian to be the first one, in any given situation, to do a good deed.

Blessed are the pure in heart (thoughts or feelings), for they shall see (to gaze with wide open eyesGod. Mat. 5:8

What a wonderful promise our Redeemer has given us: we will gaze with wide open eyes at our loving God.  What an incentive this is to keep our thoughts and feelings pure!

All definitions, unless otherwise noted, are from James Strong's dictionary of Greek words.