Jun 252016

Word of GodMatthew 5:7-16

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

  • Only those with a pure heart and clean hands have access to God – Psalm 24:3-4
  • Who created the pure heart and the clean hands?
  • Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
  • We are blessed with a pure heart because Jesus says we are.
  • In today’s America what equals a pure heart? Quit smoking – good cholesterol LOL – doing the right thing.
  • What is the promise here for those with a clean heart? To see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

  • Peace = God’s shalom – A oneness with God
  • Forgiveness & Reconciliation between Christians
  • To share the peace of God which transcends all understanding
  • Before communion when the pastor says “The peace of the Lord be with you.”
  • And when we do the ‘passing of the peace’ around the congregation.
  • 1John 3:1-3 – sons / children of God
  • Hope in God = faith
  • Hebrews 12:10-11 – even if you don’t feel peace, you are at peace with God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Jesus is telling them that they will be persecuted
  • Remember one thing – this is persecution for righteousness – not about being persecuted for being a jerk.
  • Isa 52 – 53 – The suffering servant song
  • Jesus was persecuted for our sin … by us.
  • He was pierced for our transgressions … by his wounds we are healed
  • Modern day examples – the woman in the Sudan who was sentenced to death for being a Christian and marrying a Christian.
  • “Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was convicted on charges of “apostasy” — the crime of abandoning or renouncing a religion.”
  • ISIS to Iraqi Christians – convert or die.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

  • “against you falsely on my account”
  • They aren’t mad at us – they are mad at Jesus
  • If they hated Jesus they will hate us.
  • Walk up to a stranger and say “hey, I was just talking to a friend of mine about Jesus – what do you think?”
  • Confess Christ alone today as a military chaplain and see the fallout.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

  • Rejoice always – this is not new for you
  • It’s a long line of persecution before us.
  • Persecution has been going on for a long time to God’s people.
  • What does it mean if we do not face any persecution?
  • But through all of this – rejoice.

The Beatitudes were all gospel – who we are in Christ. The rest of the Sermon on the Mount is all Law … what God wants from us.

Salt and Light

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.

  • Why the example of Salt? What were the uses back then? Today?
  • Salt preserves
  • Salt also draws out flavor in food. We should be drawing good out of people.
  • Salt has a purpose and so do we. Serving is our purpose – our mission … don’t lose it.
  • The main thing is that we have a purpose and when that purpose is gone or becomes ineffective, we are no longer useful to God’s work.
  • Notice that Jesus didn’t tell us to be Sugar of the Earth. We aren’t to be sweet so everyone likes us.
  • We are to have a more productive use.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

  • Light attracts some … like moths
  • Light also makes some hide … like cockroaches.
  • See John 1
  • Where are we salt & light – here in class or out in the world in our everyday life?

15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

  • Somehow our good works show the glory of God to others
  • Does our light show off our good works?
  • Anything the Christian does is to give glory to God and to point others to this same saving Lord.
  • We are like reflectors of the light – Jesus is the true light who shines on us.
  • Like the moon reflects the light of the sun.


  109 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. If indeed it is true that “only those who have a pure heart and clean hands have access to God”…. I’m in a lot of trouble. I sure do pray, and believe, that Jesus is my pure heart and clean hands today.

  2. Aka “the Beatitudes are the Old Covenant.” 🙂

  3. They are not the old covenant.
    They are the description of the kingdom and it’s citizens.

    Unless you’re prepared to consign the kingdom which is (already/not yet) here and will endure forever to some damnable prior dispensation you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

  4. They sure are the “description of the Kingdom.” I’m grateful the Kingdom is now given to me through what Christ has done and not what I must do. Nor Beatitudes I keep. Having said that, when I live by these Beatitudes, I shall be exceedingly blessed, that is, full of joy.

  5. CC,
    We live by faith, not by sight. Quit looking in the mirror and believe. 2 Cor 5:21 bro!

  6. Jean. I’m not sure what you are talking about. That is all I believe. Not to look at oneself.

  7. MLD,
    Verses 13-16, Do you read this as addressed in an individualistic way, in a corporate way, or encompassing both dimensions?

  8. CC,
    You are a new creation and your life is hidden in Christ.

  9. Okay, Jean….

    I am a new creation. I am robed in Christ’s righteousness. It has nothing to do with me. Therefore, by faith I now receive all that the Kingdom of God offers. And that will indeed transform, that is, sanctify me and cause me to be more like Jesus. All by God’s grace.

    Therefore, there are not commandments, nor Beatitudes, that I must do for any of the above.


  10. This sermon was given to the disciples and through them to the whole church…period.

  11. CC,
    I’m not great at reading snark. I agree with your #9. Do you?

  12. Yes. As was the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

  13. Jean. I not only agree with number 9. I love it!

  14. I’m not sure why this is irritating me so much today, but it is…thus I will retire for the day before I am a living contrast to the Beatitudes.

  15. I do apologize for that, Michael. God bless you this afternoon.

  16. Costco, I think I said last week that the Beatitudes are a declaration by Jesus who the church is. Are you a part of his church? If so accept what Jesus has declared.

    Probably the biggest fight we Lutherans have with evangelicals is that the evangelical wants to look inward to see assurance of his salvation – to a cleaner heart, to purer actions and to less sin. A Lutheran will say that your salvation is totally outside of you and is centered only in the promises of God.

    The Beatitudes are not something you live up to – they are something you have been clothed with. That brother IS the good news.

  17. Jean, Unless it is clear that Jesus is speaking to an individual I always take the words of Jesus as a corporate statement – what he wants from His Church (Law) or what he has promised His Church (gospel)

    What sayeth you/

  18. The less I view myself, the happier I am. So in that sense, the more “saved”, I am.

    Though Christians who do view their own behavior can most definitely still be born again and have salvation, I think the key is to learn to view oneself less and less with each day that passes. That is what we can aspire to….and be blessed.

  19. CC – this is why your group has continual re-dedications / re-baptisms etc and we don’t 😉

  20. As we discuss in these passages of persecution (and I don’t want to open a discussion of him) but I think the lady I mentioned above is more the example of what Jesus is speaking of vs that husband and wife in Boise.

    ““Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was convicted on charges of “apostasy” — the crime of abandoning or renouncing a religion.”

  21. Re:19 Good point lol

  22. why not just take the Beatitudes at face value? good conduct and good attitudes have their rewards… in this life or the next… God’s choice…

    it struck me this afternoon that, on one level, it must have been difficult for Christ to return to the Father and leave His Church down here, knowing how awkward we are… how much we’d flounder around…

    i am grateful to everyone who posts here for goading me to ponder, to occupy my mind with what’s Eternal

  23. I remember when the EU was a mainstay of the folks who peddled “profit-see” (prophecy) for a living. I mean Hal Lindsey sold 28 million copies had sold by 1990. of the “Late Great Planet Earth” and made bank on that and other Biblical “junk bonds” Of course that is always good and the fact he and others made bank even though they were wrong again and again about end times scenarios, they made money and that is holy always. I am sure this will rack up some more sales in that part of the Jesus industry. To my shame I actually bought into the entire end time thing, looking for the hope etc. I have repented of that nonsense now, knowing it cant apply to the common folks but that is another post.

  24. Thank you for this study!

  25. Judging ourselves? Makes me think of 1 Cor. 11:28-31. Paul tells us to do it. We are told to “clothe ourselves with humility.” These things do not happen by osmosis. It requires a choice of our will. What we should not do is obsess over our guilt and weaknesses. There is clinical depression that runs in my family. If we obsess on our failures, we fall into a snare of the Devil. Judging ourselves needs to lead to the cross in repentance. We need to believe in forgiveness and take our eyes off of ourselves and trusting in ourselves and look up. There needs to be joy in this process realizing our own cleansing. Self-pity and clinical depression are snares. So is an arrogant smugness that refuses the active work of the cross in our lives, and refuses to ever look in the mirror.

  26. Mr Jesperson’s #25 – amen … we can’t have the (strong) mind of Christ, if we don’t focus on and learn of Him … renewing our minds? what an offer – what potential a child of God has… Romans 12:2 and there are others

  27. Mr. J,

    You haven’t represented Paul correctly. Here is what he actually said about judging oneself:

    “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Cor 4:3-4)

    What you fail to understand is that Christians have already been judged:

    “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

    Having been already judged, Paul is happy to declare:

    “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

    Now, you are certainly consistent and probably in the majority of American Christians who have never been taught the freedom of the Gospel. The Gospel is offensive to you and others because it’s got nothing to do with you.

    So, you want to look at yourself in the mirror. You can live with that yoke, if you so desire. But I’m going with Paul and Jesus, and I’m going to enjoy my freedom in Christ and look outside myself for my justification and sanctification to Christ alone.

    I believe that the Gospel (not your naval gazing) “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” I hope that no one misses out on this gift by their arrogance that they’ve got some role to play.

  28. In my #27, first sentence:

    It should have read: “You have represented Paul incorrectly.”

  29. Jean nailed the point that I made to CC earlier in his point to Mr.J.
    The evangelical has been train (because it is not in the scriptures ) to look into themselves, judge themselves and get busy fixing themselves.

    But hey, I’m just a guy listening to Cannonball Adderly on my way home from church.

  30. As I’ve written before, I believe that the beatitudes are far more than simply a declaration of who the Christian is positionally in Christ.

    They are a manifesto of what it means to be a kingdom person, they describe the attitudes and behaviors of the redeemed.

    To relegate them to some future dispensation or one that has passed steals away the very constitution of the church.

  31. Agree Michael with your #30.

    Good morning too!

  32. Good morning, Jean!

  33. I don’t know anything about who we are positionally – I think that is a cop out term .The beattitudes declare who the Christian is — not will be.

    If we look down further we see that Jesus declares that his church is salt and his church is light – not that someday we will be salt and one day we will be light.

  34. I particularly want to park for a while on what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

    The Protestants among us will agree that the Christian is “counted” righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    That is a settled matter.

    That is not, in my opinion,the end of the discussion, but the beginning of it.

    This calls us to certain behaviors and attitudes.

    I have this quote from Luther in my own notes;

    ‘The command to you is not to crawl into a corner or into the desert, but to run out, if that is where you have been, and to offer your hands and your feet and your whole body, and to wager everything you have and can do.’ What is required, he goes on, is ‘a hunger and thirst for righteousness that can never be curbed or stopped or sated, one that looks for nothing and cares for nothing except the accomplishment and maintenance of the right, despising everything that hinders this end. If you cannot make the world completely pious, then do what you can.’

  35. MLD,

    The problem with that is that we all know Christians who evidence little of these Beatitudes or little of these things irregularly.

    Either they are true of every Christian positionally or they are a steaming crock of nonsense as we see limited evidence of their existence practically.

    My belief is that while I have the perfect righteousness of Christ positionally, these are a guide to how those blessings should be lived out practically.

  36. Michael and MLD,

    In response to Michael’s #34, allow me to offer from Luther’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount:

    “Righteousness must here not be understood as being the Christian righteousness in general, whereby the person becomes pious and acceptable before God. For I have before said that these eight beatitudes are nothing else that a teaching about the fruits and good works of a Christian, which must be preceded by faith, as the tree and main body or sum of his righteousness and blessedness, without any work or merit, out of which these beatitudes must all grow and follow.

    Therefore understand here the outward righteousness, before the world, which we observe among ourselves towards others, that this is the meaning, short and simple, of these words: he is a really blessed man who perseveringly and assiduously strives to promote the general welfare and the right conduct of every one, and who helps to maintain and carry this out with word and deed, with counsel and act.”

    Luther goes on to specify that we each are to do the above within our individual callings (vocations).

  37. Which is through love Thu neighbor / serve they neighbor. Not by making me Or him pious

  38. I sat for 25 years of preachers teaching the list of how to develop the Beatitudes skill set. I don’t know about any of you but it never took with me.

  39. It has ‘took” with me (to a degree) and it took a long time.

    God forbid that I claim I do it perfectly or even well…but it informs me and breaks me.

    Let me give an example.

    I just finished teaching this section when it was decided that Trey would meet his blood father.

    I have hated that man with a holy passion for thirty years.

    He was the personification of evil in my eyes and the great and sovereign state of Oregon agreed and put him away for a while.

    Not long enough in the eyes of many, including me.

    My reward at the end of all things was going to be casting him in the pit…

    Now he was out and T needed to know where he came from.

    It was these verses about mercy that prepared my heart to extend mercy and walk in grace about this matter.

    Let it be known that I am neither nice or pious…but the blessing of the Lord came through obedience.

    These cannot simply be statements of “who” we are, they must reflect what we “do”.

    It is worthless to be something without acting accordingly.

  40. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
    (Micah 6:8 ESV)

    Righteousness and justice are inseparable in Scripture…we are called to be good and to do good.

    Righteousness is more than a forensic declaration…seeking it must be a way of life.

  41. I think that Michael’s passion for justice for immigrant communities and for corrupt church leadership are good examples of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, particularly because neither of them get him rich or thanked much, but yet, he is compelled to pursue them.

  42. Jean,

    Thank you and those are the places that God has called me to work that “His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

    Every time we pray that prayer we are asking Him to set things right that are wrong…that the description of the kingdom in this passage become reality.

    We are “ambassadors for Christ”…and this is the kingdom we represent.

  43. I confess that I am almost fanatical about this passage.

    While I see my brethren arguing like madmen over political platforms, the platform of the kingdom as expressed here is ignored…and often contradicted.

  44. Living out these Beatitudes is how we are salt and light…it is when we fail to do so that the salt loses it’s savor…

    I’ll shut up and let others talk now…while I ponder how the hell the kingdom has been dispatched to the old covenant…

  45. One more…

    It is my recognition of how far short I fall of this standard that keeps me “poor in spirit”…and totally dependent upon the grace of God.

  46. And that is who God has made the Christian. The Christian did not follow a 10 step program to be righteous / pious etc.

    Look we know that a Christian cannot do bad works.

  47. Michael,

    Commenting on your #42 (without getting too far ahead),

    In all the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we can pray each petition being mindful of the following:

    (1) What good things we are to pray for in this petition;
    (2) What evils we are to pray against;
    (3) for what benefits we are to give thanks; and
    (4) what sins of ours we must humbly acknowledge and confess in this petition.
    (Martin Chemnitz, The Lord’s Prayer)

    Think, for example, about how we might apply these 4 elements to the petition: “Thy will be done”

  48. “Look we know that a Christian cannot do bad works.”

    That is nonsense… or a redefinition of both bad and works beyond the scope of common language.

    I will be the last person to ever question the doctrine of salvation by by grace through faith and the imputation of the perfect righteousness of Christ.

    However, I will also be the last person to say that those works of God shouldn’t make a behavioral difference.

  49. Jean,

    I like that…I am also very fond of how N.T. Wright exegetes the prayer.

    We will avoid the temptation to jump ahead… 🙂

  50. well, i read #25 a little differently, i read the thoughts of someone who is working through the concept of obsession with performance toward the concept of confession and move on in Christ… it’s not what he read wrong, it’s what he read right – give him time and Mr. Jesperson will sort this out… he’s on the right track – IMNHO

    Jesus wouldn’t have given us a list, if there was no need for it… for me the list simply tells me that when these things show up in my life or in your life, we a blessed and blest…
    i guess that it does take a modicum of introspection to read the list … sometimes, even here, introspection does get between us and a focus on Christ – but we truly are living in two worlds, so i guess that’s an inevitable outcome – dunno

  51. My point at the beginning with CC and then commenting on Jean’s comment to Mr. J was that if we look inward to ourselves to see how we are doing, to see if I have committed myself enough to Christ – as I try to evaluate what God thinks of my is nothing more than the theology of glory. The commitment is not mine, the commitment comes from Christ and as Paul said (through Jean) we have been judged and if we want to know what God thinks of us we are to the cross where he has hung his son – to tell us what he thinks of us.

    And because of that he has declared who we are.Notice in the beatitudes, there is no hint that we are to do anything or how to do it. If you are his Church if you are a Christian – you are those things – there is no such thing as positionally (all that really means is that you really are not those things.)

    I am seated in the heavenlies with Jesus – it is not just I have the potential to be – remember, God and heaven are outside of time and space.

    This IS good news and not to be used like a workout chart you would find at the gym. Also it is not the power of positive thinking that will get you there.

  52. Can bad fruit come from a good tree? Can good fruit come from a bad tree?

  53. I remember why I’m not a Lutheran…

    Yes, we are seated in the heavens with Christ and we are counted as righteous.

    At the same time we are alive here and much of what we do is unrighteous.
    Thus, we are positionally a finished product.
    That’s good news.
    Practically, we still have work to do…the good news is that whether we work or finish that work, our position remains unchanged.

    I have large, thick files of Christians doing bad works…so perhaps we need to examine the fruit passage in context to see where the disconnect is.

  54. How about they are not from a good tree? 😉

  55. # 54… if that be the case it destroys the rest of your hermeneutic that (rightfully) declares us both saint and sinner.
    It moves salvation from a objective declaration of God to a subjective judgment of “fruit”.

    My guess is that that doesn’t work for you…

  56. But this is important in evaluating these passages. So when Jesus says you are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world – what should be my response? “No Lord, but one day I hope to be.”

    And about behavior change, I believe not that our behavior should change but our behavior is changed – and not because I followed the 10 step plan or that I can even see it or measure it – but that the word of God through the Holy Spirit makes the changes… or has already made the changes – I may be peaked out. 😉

    And what about my 2nd paragraph of my #51?

  57. Well I had a “winky” in my #54. I was trying relieve the Calvinist angst in the passage. 🙂

  58. We may be using different terms. I view bad works differently than I view bad acts.
    If I treat someone poorly at the grocery store who parked their cart in front of the dairy door I wanted to get into, by bumping their cart – that is a bad act and not a bad work – at least to me.

    Good works and good acts run the same course.

    Luther wrote a whole dissertation about how we sin even in our good works — how about that one?

  59. As to your #51, I’ve already spoken to the the difference between “positional” and “practical”.

    It seems to me that the structure of these not only speaks to the blessing, but implies a commandment… that we are not only to be these things (by a sovereign act of God) but to do these things as a response to His work .

    Paul and the apostles are always speaking of the need to strive and grow…I cannot simply assign all those exhortations to the category of “law” and ignore them.

  60. Look we know that a Christian cannot do bad works.<<<

    Utter nonsense.

  61. “We may be using different terms.”

    In my own tribe and in your own semantics are often used to support the hermeneutic whilst destroying the text…

  62. As far as I can tell, the problem with the “positional” language is that it breaks the inseparable connection between justification and sanctification, as though one could be a Christian without good works. That is impossible.

    On the other hand, MLD could acknowledge that the Holy Spirit through our abiding in the Word and faith does affect a renewal of the mind so that we might more fervently love our neighbor.

  63. Jean,

    The positional doctrine is always held simultaneously with the practical.

    When I speak of being positionally completed by Christ I am simply repeating this verse.

    “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
    (Romans 8:29–30 ESV)

    Practically, we are still working out the reality of what has been done for us.

    We hold the tensions between the two without releasing either.

  64. Michael – the point of the 2nd paragraph in my #51 – was the lack of command to be that and the lack of instruction on how to be that. — Jesus is saying “your are that” and he makes no comment about positional.

    As to us being conformed, again that is not by us looking inside of our self, seeing if a need or a lack and then finding the right instruction on how to correct that need – and that is what I spent the first 25 yrs of my Christian life being taught to do. You are a saved child or God , now go out and do something about it.

  65. Jean, to your #62 – read my 2nd paragraph of my #56.

    I did say just that. 🙂

  66. MLD,

    The point is that I am often, mostly, frequently, not that.
    I am often the very opposite of what is spoken of.

    Thus, if I am that completely, it is only in a positional sense.

    Practically, I need to acknowledge what I am and what I do and seek to conform that which I am in heaven with what I am on earth.

    This is only possible through the work of the Spirit…but it is a work that will continue until I am completely transformed on that Day.

  67. I agree with Kent Hughes here;

    Because Christ declares that hunger for righteousness is essential to spiritual health and satisfaction, we must carefully consider what it means. Some have supposed that it is the objective righteousness described in Romans that God reckons to the believer’s account, sometimes called imputed righteousness—“righteousness from God” (Romans 1:17; 3:21, 22; cf. Philippians 3:9). However, while the gift of such righteousness is foundational to every believer’s salvation, that is not what is meant here.

    Others have confined the meaning to social righteousness, the righteous treatment of the poor and oppressed. This is certainly part of the meaning because in the preceding context (4:12–17) Matthew quotes Isaiah 9:1, 2, which goes on to describe the social justice that will result from the coming of Messiah’s reign. However, the root meaning here is determined by the seven occurrences of “righteousness” in the Sermon on the Mount that indicate it means a subjective righteousness, an inner righteousness that works itself out in one’s living in conformity to God’s will—righteous living. Thus, those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” long to live righteously, and for righteousness to prevail in the world. It is a passionate desire, which begins with one’s own life, that all things should be lived in line with God’s will.

    This desire to live in compliance with God’s will is expansive. It includes an increasing sense of a need for God—a desire to be like him. To hunger and thirst for this righteousness means longing after the practical righteousness that the Beatitudes represent both personally and in the world. The one who hungers and thirsts wants the character of the kingdom. He pants after the fruit of the Spirit. He wants God’s will and all it entails.

    Hughes, R. K. (2001). The sermon on the mount: the message of the kingdom (p. 40). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

  68. MLD,
    “I may be peaked out.” LOL 🙂

  69. What is the righteousness we are to hunger and thirst for…and that we will be persecuted for seeking?

    Righteousness in the Bible has at least three aspects: legal, moral and social.

    Legal righteousness is justification, a right relationship with God. The Jews ‘pursued righteousness’, Paul wrote later, but failed to attain it because they pursued it in the wrong way. They sought ‘to establish their own’ righteousness and ‘did not submit to God’s righteousness’, which is Christ himself. Some commentators have seen such a reference here, but this is scarcely possible since Jesus is addressing those who already belong to him.

    Moral righteousness is that righteousness of character and conduct which pleases God. Jesus goes on after the beatitudes to contrast this Christian righteousness with pharisaic righteousness . The latter was an external conformity to rules; the former is an inner righteousness of heart, mind and motive. For this we should hunger and thirst.

    It would be a mistake to suppose, however, that the biblical word ‘righteousness’ means only a right relationship with God on the one hand and a moral righteousness of character and conduct on the other. For biblical righteousness is more than a private and personal affair; it includes social righteousness as well. And social righteousness, as we learn from the law and the prophets, is concerned with seeking man’s liberation from oppression, together with the promotion of civil rights, justice in the law courts, integrity in business dealings and honour in home and family affairs. Thus Christians are committed to hunger for righteousness in the whole human community as something pleasing to a righteous God.

    Stott, J. R. W., & Stott, J. R. W. (1985). The message of the Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian counter-culture (p. 45). Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    I think Stott nailed it…particularly in regard to “social” righteousness.

    We are to seek that God’s way be brought to bear in every sphere…

  70. Michael, “The point is that I am often, mostly, frequently, not that. I am often the very opposite of what is spoken of.” In your opinion.

    Stop using yourself as the base point of evaluation. Personally, I prefer God’s evaluation of both you and me.

  71. OK, I read both Hughes and Stott.

    So what they are saying is not that Jesus is making a declaration of who we are in Christ but they are saying that Jesus in his sermon on the mount IS the evangelical preacher I have been complaining about who IS giving me the to do list.

  72. MLD,

    That would be both naive and dishonest.

    I will agree with you that nothing can change my positional standing with Christ.

    However…another story to illustrate…

    The local pharmacy was purchased by Rite Aid and naturally, both staff and practices changed.

    I do not like change.

    At all.

    They managed to hopelessly screw up my prescriptions and greatly inconvenience me first time out of the chute.

    It took days to unwind.

    Before it was unwound, I became unwound myself.

    Instead of meekness and mercy, I chose rage and terror as my options to deal with them.

    It got to where if they saw my truck in the drive through,they would send out the one person they knew I wouldn’t scalp to speak with me personally.

    Everything I did was a complete contradiction to who I am in Christ.

    Thus, there has had to be much repentance and apology as this passage again brought me up short.

    The word of God to me was that I was positionally fine, but He was going to practically kick my backside up to my shoulder blades…

  73. MLD,

    That is not what they are saying at all and both make that clear.

    As your own Luther said, this passage is not addressing objective righteousness alone, but subjective righteousness as well.

  74. Ok, let’s cut to the chase and then we can drop it. In the Beatitudes is Jesus preaching the law (what I must do) or is he preaching the gospel and declaring who I am.
    I made my position clear in the middle of this study that the Beatitudes are pure gospel.

  75. MLD,

    We know that is your position.

    My position is that a strict law and gospel hermeneutic doesn’t serve this text well.

    I believe Jesus is preaching both…as He usually is.

    It’s more of “this is what I’ve done for you”, and “this is what that should look like”.

  76. OK, I know I said we would let it go, but you don’t see a difference in the way that the Beatitudes are presented vs the rest of the Sermon on the Mount?

    In the rest of the sermon he is using both the Law & the Gospel – you are the salt of the earth, BUT … / you are the light of the world, BUT…

    You do not see any of that in the Beatitudes or at least I don’t – I see nothing but blessings … which I do not see in the rest of the sermon.

    OK, enough of that. 😉

  77. #27. Sigh. There is more to interpretation of the scriptures then playing lets pick our favorite proof texts and throw them each other while accusing each of other of misrepresenting Paul, or worse, Jesus. I am not trying to do this, rather I was responding to what CC said. We each have our own glasses that we look at scriptures through. And our point of reference. Mine comes more from living under a cloud of not being able to live up to what Jesus calls us to. I am not trying to win an argument. I am listening. Many times the regulars here like to argue past each other while ignoring the point of views of others. I call that being argumentative, and I am not trying to do that. There are times when I can see truth in both points of view, but the pundits refuse to do that. Just being honest here. Short of it is there is a time and a way to judge oneself and a time not to. Otherwise the whole counsel of the scripture makes no sense.

  78. MLD #74,

    Every one of the blessings (i.e., the part that comes after “for”), describes a reward that all Christians receive. Therefore, Jesus is telling his disciples that the part before the “for” is indicative of a disciple, but not to despair, because you have a blessing.

    So, would it be right to say Jesus is painting a picture of the life of a disciple. Not in the form of commands, but in the form of “this is what a Christian is.”

    But, to give Michael a nod, is it also true that we can use the Beatitudes as a guide to keep us from meandering off the path to the left or to the right? For example, one could look at the Beatitudes to assess whether they are being fed a theology of glory at their local church or in their own studies or devotions.

    Paul did say that all Scripture is useful for training in righteousness.

  79. pretty much in agreement with MLD at #51 – and, yes it should be clear that developing the mind of Christ has nothing to do with mental gymnastics or positive thinking – except to the extent that, as we focus on Christ – learn of Him, we will, to that extent, be thinking correctly – we really will… it’s organic, there’s nothing contrived or artificial about it 🙂 hard to do with the demands of the modern world, but it is where we live in Christ…

  80. Jean – yes, some could if they wanted to take a blessing and turn it into a yoke. 😉

    This would be no different than taking the life giving blessing of “take and eat this is my body…. and take drink this is my blood…” and turning it into some type of work that if I do it right, I will be able to see the blessing somewhere down the road — instead of just receiving it instantaneously because Jesus gives it.

  81. It’s not a yoke to know what the kingdom is to look like and how we are to function within it.

  82. He has not told us what the kingdom is to look like – he has told us what the kingdom is.

    Your view (and i am sure this is a point the Calvinists and the Lutherans have fought over for 500 yrs) is that you would take the Beatitudes as a blue print for the kingdom that comes with an instruction book for how we should build it.

    I say the Beatitudes (and remember, I am only speaking of the Beatitudes) are a description of the kingdom he has built and populated.

    i am surprised that after hearing the Beatitudes the disciple didn’t run out, start Focus on the Family and Promise Keepers.

  83. MLD,

    I find your theology disturbing as it leaves us with no real instruction from God other than “believe and be baptized”.

    Why would God call us “ambassadors for Christ” unless we had a part to play in representing that kingdom?

    It’s as if God has done all things by divine fiat without any purpose for us at all.

    The point you continually avoid is that we rarely look like the description of the people in the Beatitudes…when we do not do we simply consign ourselves to the pit as “bad trees” or do we do something differently?

  84. Michael,
    I find your depiction disturbing. What is wrong with “believe and be baptized” – although I like better “repent and be baptized”

    So, when we are to go out and be ambassadors you presume that we are to have branch offices of the kingdom opened???

    What does the passage say about being ambassadors? Let’s look and let the scripture decide. 2 Cor 5
    17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    If that doesn’t say believe and be baptized I don’t know what else does. It says nothing about our holiness / piety and gives no command to tell others to be holy and pious.This going out is for one purpose and it is not to better ourselves or put us in good standing – this is to serve or brother to tell him, not how to act but to tell him to believe and be baptized. Just one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.

  85. Are you saying that if I do not act like a son of my father that I am not? I am his son whether I act it or not.

    I have not denied proper behavior at all – I just think it come from a different source than you do.

  86. “So, when we are to go out and be ambassadors you presume that we are to have branch offices of the kingdom opened?”

    That is what the local church is to be.

    You still haven’t answered my question.

    According to you, upon regeneration we become meek, lowly in spirit, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, etc.

    What do we do when that isn’t the case for ourselves or we observe this in others?

  87. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,

    We are declared by our new birth to be ambassadors — I would assume that you would say that our new birth has only made it possible that we could someday become these ambassadors. we need to change behavior and become ambassadors.

    I do because of who I have been proclaimed to be – I have it all by declaration. I don’t need to look inside to see if I have what it takes first.

  88. “Are you saying that if I do not act like a son of my father that I am not?”

    Can a good tree bear bad fruit?

    I only point this out as an obvious contradiction here…of course I believe that once one is in Christ one stays in Christ.

  89. “According to you, upon regeneration we become meek, lowly in spirit, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, etc.”

    I did answer that at the same time you were posting this Read my #85

  90. No, I would say that by the new birth we are ambassadors and this is the job description.

  91. I’m utterly confused.
    I find this all contradictory.

    That’s not good considering I start teaching the Revelation tonight… 🙂

  92. Your 88 missed the point of my 85. Just because I do not look like a son or act like a son does not mean that I am not a son – by God’s declaration.

    Just the same, I have been declared ‘meek, lowly in spirit, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, etc.” and just because I may not act like it does not mean that is not me.

    Question – am I a child of God positionally only?

  93. “Question – am I a child of God positionally only?”

    I’ve answered that a number of times.

    It would be semantical nonsense after bullying my way through the pharmacy to then claim that I was really meek and merciful.

    There are times when I’m most certainly not.

    It is a standard that I long for practically, except for those times when I don’t long for it at all….

  94. “No, I would say that by the new birth we are ambassadors and this is the job description.”

    All I can see in that job description of ambassador is to go out and tell others to “believe and be baptized.” Where are we told here to begin the holiness training to these guys?

    You have confused the Beatitudes with the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. The remainder of the sermon says exactly what you are saying – not the beatitudes. If you make it conditional you have stripped the blessing.

    Hey, I gave you 21/2 chapters of the sermon to say what you want to say – give me my 1/2 chapter of blessing to just be blessing 🙂

  95. We haven’t even touched on “pure at heart”, God help us all…

  96. “Question – am I a child of God positionally only?” –
    I’ve answered that a number of times.

    Give it to me one more time – I am dense. Yes or no will be satisfactory.

  97. MLD,

    I think the readers have been well served by the discussion.

  98. MLD,

    We are children of God both positionally and practically.
    However, we are not yet fully what we will be…

  99. Is the kingdom here or is it coming…both.
    It is here, but not in it’s fullness.

    See how this works? 🙂

  100. I’m off to church…

  101. “We haven’t even touched on “pure at heart”, God help us all…”

    I touched it in the lesson above – I think it is clear that only God has created out clean heart and clean hands – I don’t create or further that. This is why I quoted David who did not write Lord, help me create a new heart in myself – Lord give me the tools. 😉

    I think the discussion has been productive.

  102. “We are children of God both positionally and practically.”

    That’s right, whether I act like it or not. There is a whole thing on adoption in there that I have been adopted with no say in it at all. I get free food, clothes a bed to sleep in, just for being adopted. There is no “you must act this way or you have not really been adopted.”

    It is past my Sunday nap time.

  103. I completely agree, Michael – the readers (or at least myself) have been well served by this tennis match. And, I dare say, at least a little entertained! 😉

    I have even learned a couple things I didn’t know before.

    One thing that occured to me, that may perhaps satisfy both sides of the discussion, is that perhaps the proof (if proof is necessary) that we already are meek, poor in spirit, etc.. may be that we recognize when we have fallen from those, and are troubled by it. Like when I bark at my children for leaving doors open when they have been asked countless billions of times to close them. Then I am reminded “blessed are the peacemakers”, and realize I am not exactly promoting peace in the household with my current behaviour, and I go back and apologize. (Probably an oversimplification, but I am simply trying to make a point.)
    I think that, if I didn’t already have a new heart that is inclined towards these things, I wouldn’t notice my behaviour.

  104. I’m so needful of this beautiful and perfect summation of the Law to be something I aspire to but not made righteous by. Hence, it falls under a previous Covenant. And by that very Grace, day by day, I actually do live these Beatitudes out in my life. If ever so gradually. I marvel at the grace and wisdom of the One Who spoke these divine words.

  105. The kingdom that was inaugurated at Pentecost, is here today, and will be here in it’s fullness cannot belong to the old covenant.

    The old covenant has been fulfilled and passed … the kingdom is still coming and will be eternal.

  106. I didn’t think that being away from the evangelical mindset for 10 yrs was all that long, that I would totally forget how their thinking is derived. Did I actually believe all of that?

    Costco – are you really calling the Beatitudes a summation of the law? The declaration of blessing on the people of God is actually a restatement of the law?

    I don’t know if you still do it, but at the end of your church service, do you give the Aaronic benediction? Is this not a blessing to send your folks off with assurance of their salvation? Or are you somehow closing the service with a command to go out and fulfill the law?

    I can’t even get into which covenant this is for as I have heard that dispensationalist deny there is a new covenant that involves the Church at all, so I cannot discuss that confusion – so I will stick to the law summation question.

  107. Owen, I think you have it right – that you can recognize the things in yourself – meekness, being poor in righteousness etc, because your heart has already been change.

    God did not have to wait for you to ask – you are his new creation and that new creation comes with a clean, pure heart. Owen, I will pronounce you as a complete Christian — as opposed to some who may declare you half baked. 😉

  108. Owen,

    Thank you and thank you for participation.

  109. MLD – LOL! ( I’ll send you a copy of my new book, “The Complete Christian” ) 😉
    I have it on pretty good authority, however, that I won’t be complete in this lifetime.

    Michael – thank you for the opportunity to participate, I appreciate the group here.

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