The Beatitudes is what starts of this long sermon that Jesus gives from Matthew 5-7. Apart from the Lord’s prayer that we see in Matthew 6, this is probably the most famous portion of the sermon on the mount.
Let’s start by reading through all the beatitudes before we dig into the details.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
What is the one word that is repeated over and over again throughout the beatitudes?
- It is the word “blessed.”
- What does the word blessed mean? The word blessed means happy!
- So the beatitudes are really steps to happiness. We will discover how we can have happiness in this study. God wants to bless us abundantly, He wants us to be supremely happy! The Christian on this earth is not to be all doom and gloom, even though there are serious events that will come upon the earth at the end of time.
Let’s go to the first beatitude. The first step to happiness.
- Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- What does it mean to be poor in spirit? How can we be happy when we are poor in spirit? It doesn’t make sense!
- Remember that these are steps to happiness. This is the first step. But what does it mean?
- If we go to the New Living Translation, this is what it says:
- God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him.
- We can be happy when we realise our need for Jesus. The first step to happiness is self-realization. When we can understand our need, then we know the steps that are needed to take so that God can give us that happiness and joy in our lives.
- You see, many of us are unaware of our actual need for Jesus. As a result, we find many things that we do as a Christian a burden and not a delight.
What’s the next step in the beatitudes?
- Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
- How can we be happy when we mourn?
- Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
- It says that in the middle of the verse that when we look upon him whom we have pierced then we will mourn. But who is that referring to? That is referring to Jesus Christ.
- When we realise what our sins have done to Jesus, that what we did have put Him on the cross, then we will mourn for him. We will be in sorrow and sadness. We will be sorry for what we have done.
- Then you see why self-realization is so important. Without that, we will never be sorry for what we have done.
- What must this mourning lead to?
- 2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
- When we have godly sorrow. When we are truly sorry for what we have done and we mourn over it, the Bible says that it will work in us repentance.
- What is repentance? It is simply a U-turn. It will work change in us! Change that leads to salvation.
- There is happiness that we can have when we realise what we have done wrong and then we become sorry for it. And ultimately it leads us to have a change in life and will lead us to salvation.
What is the next step in our steps to happiness?
- Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
- What does it mean to be meek? How can we be meek?
- Matthew 11:28-29
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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.
- In order for us to go to Jesus we must realise that we have a heavy burden! That there is this burden that is making is labour. That’s the first step in the beatitudes right? Self-realisation.
- Then the act of going to Jesus, that is repentance, godly sorrow, mourning.
- And when we go to Jesus, what must we do? Learn of Jesus, because He is meek and lowly in heart.
- After we have realised what we have done wrong, and we make steps towards Christ, we must learn of Him. This is really where true repentance begins. We don’t have the power to change ourselves. We must come to Christ and learn from Him and allow Him to live in and through us. And the one characteristic that we will learn is meekness.
- What does it mean to be meek? It means gentle, humble. We will have a gentleness about us. And we will have a humble estimation of ourselves. When we have that sort of humility, it is easier to detect what is wrong with ourselves.
Now the next step!
- Matthew 5:6
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
- There is happiness to be found when we hunger and thirst after righteousness. What is righteous?
- 1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- Jesus is righteous!
- How do we hunger and thirst after Jesus?
- Psalms 119:172
My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
- To hunger and thirst after Jesus is to hunger and thirst after His commandments, His word. Did you know that even the commandments were first spoken to us in Exodus 20? It wasn’t just written down in stone but God spoke them to the children of Israel before writing it down.
- What else must we hunger after?
- Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
- We must eat of the word of God!
- Matthew 4:4
- We can find happiness when we hunger and thirst after the word of God. How do we learn of Jesus to be meek? We will find Him in His word. And the more time we spend in the Bible, the more it will change us to be like Jesus because His character is found in His word.
- But there still are steps after this. Eating and drinking of the word of God is not the end yet.
Beatitude number 5.
- Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
- What does it mean to be merciful?
- Luke 6:36
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
- We are instructed to be merciful just like the Father in heaven is merciful. But how?
- Hebrews 8:12
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
- Jesus tells us that to be merciful to others is to not remember the sins that they have committed against us.
- This is where the rubber meets the road for the Christian. This is where it all becomes practical. How can we forget the sins of others? It’s impossible right? But let’s look at Jesus’ other instruction.
- Matthew 6:12
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
- We are forgiven as much as we forgive others.
- Matthew 6:12
- When does a person need forgiveness? When they really have done something wrong. You can go and tell 100 people and tell what wrong this person has done to you and they will all agree with you because that person really has done something wrong against you. This is when forgiveness is needed.
- This is why the first few steps of the beatitudes is so important.
- We must have a self-realization of how bad we are and how much we need Jesus.
- We must mourn for our sins and have godly sorrow.
- We must go to Jesus to learn of His meekness and humility (to have a low estimation of himself).
- We must hunger and thirst after the word of God.
- If we don’t have this process in our hearts, it will be impossible to forgive those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is a spiritual issue. It can only be accomplished if we have Christ abiding in our hearts and allowing Christ to change our characters. We cannot do it on our own. And many people are miserable because we hold anger or bitterness or hatred in our heart for someone who has wronged us, not realising that forgiveness is what can help us to have joy and happiness again!
- Look at the beatitude and what is says – Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. If we are merciful to others, if we forgive the sins of others, then God will forgive our sins. But this is not even the last beatitude. There’s still more steps!
Beatitude number 6.
- Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
- Being pure in heart is the natural progression from the earlier beatitudes. But what does it mean to be pure in heart?
- Proverbs 20:9
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
- To be pure in heart is to be free/pure from sin. But isn’t that meant to take place after we mourn for our sin and ask Jesus to forgive us? That’s beatitude number 2!
- Remember the previous beatitude though? The merciful shall obtain mercy. That is the beatitude that proves whether we are pure or not. We are forgiven as much as we forgive others.
- When will we see God?
- 1 John 3:1-3
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
- We will see God at the second coming. If we have the hope of the second coming, purity of heart will be of utmost importance to us. That is what will occupy our hearts desire.
Beatitude number 7.
- Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
- What is a peacemaker? Someone that makes peace between two people. They are in conflict and you are in between them trying to reconcile them and help them to be friends again.
- We cannot be peacemakers when we cannot forgive a person right? We can’t teach another person to forgive if we ourselves have not forgiven in our hearts.
- That’s why these steps are progressive.
- But being a peacemaker brings happiness. We don’t like it when we have two friends that fight against each other. It ruins your time with either of them isn’t it?
- Steps to happiness. God wants us to be happy in this life. And this is His divine remedy.
Finally, the last beatitude.
- Matthew 5:10-12
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
- How can we rejoice when people are persecuting us? How can we be happy when people are saying all manner of evil things against us that are not true?
- You see, the joy comes in knowing that you were not the first to go through this. They persecuted the prophets before us. We can be assured that this will take place if we have followed the steps in the beatitudes.
- 2 Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
- So really, the beatitudes are steps to godliness. If we want to be happy, we must learn to live godly lives.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
- That is the purpose of the beatitudes, to turn us away from our sins and iniquities. That is the purpose of the blessings.
- So how we react when people are persecuting us and trying to hurt us will show whether we have followed these steps or not.
It’s not easy to follow these steps. It seems impossible. How can we forgive those that have hurt us? How can we rejoice and be glad in the midst of persecution and people trying to do us harm? In our own flesh, it is impossible. That’s why God has given us these steps. Steps that lead us to godliness, to turn away from our sins. We can’t do it in our own strength. If we could, Jesus would have come already.
Today, we need His word, we need that instruction in our lives. And if we would believe it and follow it, Jesus can make us more than conquerors through Him (Romans 8:37).
We must get on this ladder of progression. Look at the first beatitude’s promise if we are poor in spirit – “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now look at the last one we looked at in verse 10. If we are persecuted for righteousness sake the promise is “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The promise is the same! We just got to start and get on this ladder today. Let’s start by realising our need. And if you do, let’s keep progressing. Progressing until we can see God face to face.