Sapphire Sky

August 13, 2018

The Key To Happiness

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 10:11 pm
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A sign from the Church of the Beatitudes, near the Sea of Galilee

Thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount …

 

The famous opening to the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, starts with this sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The pursuit of Happiness.

What makes you happy?

What does it mean to be happy?

How do you define happiness?

If we honestly answer this question for ourselves, we often expect to find happiness at the end of our pursuits. The businessman expects to find it at the next promotion or closed deal. The athlete looks for it after the next win. The concerned parents look for happiness in their “successful” children. The romantics look for happiness in the man or woman of their dreams.

We find temporary happiness at the top of the mountain that we are climbing. But like the old song about the bear that went over the mountain, all we really see is another mountain. The happiness of success, of reaching your goals is temporary.

Common descriptions of a happy person today would include adjectives such as: smart, successful, wealthy, winning, powerful, proud, self-reliant, trouble-free, and able to get everything he wants.

The descriptions of a happy person in the first century would be very similar. The Greeks valued the wise and the educated. The Romans valued the powerful and the ruthless. The Jews valued the devout and the pious.

But Jesus gave a completely different view of the happy person. The happy person was not the powerful, the successful, the educated, nor the pious one. The happy person was low enough to enter God’s kingdom.

Jesus used a word for “happy” which has a much deeper meaning than the fleeting good feelings that we may have. The true happiness gives you joy and hope, even through terrible circumstances. This word is often translated as “joyful” or “blessed”.

“‘Blessed’ implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.” – Warren Wiersbe 5

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The happy person is not the wealthy or the wise one, but the one who recognizes that they have nothing that they can give to God! When you come to God, you don’t start on your knees, you start by crawling on the ground! It is only when you realize that you are totally destitute that you can come to Him. Happy are those who recognize their absolute, total need for Him, for these are the ones who are in His kingdom!

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

The happy person is not the one who is laughing, but the one who is mourning. We have nothing to offer God, and our very nature is to rebel against Him and disobey Him. The truly happy person is the one who is brought to grief over his failure to please God, for he will be comforted. It is when you mourn over your disobedience that you can come to God for forgiveness, and He will comfort you.

 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

The happy person is not the assertive and the proud, but the one who is humble and restrains himself. It is the one who responds with humility — even when pushed around — that is part of God’s kingdom. The meek and the humble are looked down upon in our culture, but these are the ones who will rule over the earth.

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

The happy person is not the one who is content, but the one who is starving for justice and an upright life. The members of God’s kingdom earnestly desire to see right done in the world. Those who need to see righteousness like this will be brought to God Himself — the true source of everything right and good in the world!

 

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

The happy person is not the one who is served, but the one who helps others who are in need. The members of God’s kingdom will show kindness to those in need, even when they are getting what they deserve. For it is those who are showing mercy who realize how much mercy God has given to us! We were the destitute, the mourning, and the humbled!

 

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

The happy person is not the one who follows after life’s pleasures, but the one who pursues God’s glory. This is the one who keeps his heart pure and set apart for God. God shows mercy to those who have come to Him in humility and grief, and he cleanses their hearts and makes them pure. These are the ones who can truly know God!

 

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

The happy person is not the winner, but the one who negotiates peace. This is the one who works through interpersonal conflicts in order to bring unity among others. But this is also the one who goes to the lost ones who have rebelled against God, and shows them that they need to repent and turn to Him. The peacemakers are the ones who work for peace between others, and peace with God. When we negotiate peace, we are representing God Himself as His sons. Not simply children of God, but sons of God, bearing His image and authority.

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Finally, the happy person is not the one who is free from trouble, but the one who is harassed for the sake of Jesus Christ. We identify that we are part of the kingdom of heaven when we are persecuted and harassed for His sake. We are also in great company, including all of the great prophets of old, and we will have a great reward in heaven!

This is the key to ultimate happiness. We will go through poverty, mourning, humility, and persecution, but we have the ultimate joy of knowing that we will be with Jesus Christ in His kingdom!

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. – Philippians 2:14-15

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.1 Peter 2:9

 

Previous Post: The Message of the Kingdom


Matthew 5:1-16
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“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.

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

 

Luke 6:17-26
And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.


 

Matthew 5:1-2
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Luke 6:17-20a
And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

See the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount here. Tremendous crowds came to hear Him and be healed by Him. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up into the mountain with His disciples.

Luke’s account gives an overview of Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry, similar to what is described in Matthew 4:23-25.

Jesus sat down as He began to teach. This was the customary posture for a rabbi to sit down when he would begin to speak officially.

“We need to remember that, though a heavenly people, we have earthly responsibilities, and these are defined for us in this greatest of all sermons having to do with human conduct.” – H.A. Ironside 7

 

Matthew 5:3
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 6:20b
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:24
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

This first section of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), is commonly called the “Beatitudes”. This is from the root word, meaning “supreme blessedness; exalted happiness”, see here). These are formal statements by Jesus Christ, defining what brings blessedness or happiness to his disciples.

Jesus started out His sermon by saying that the truly happy ones are those who are poor in spirit. Those who realize that they have no resources on their own but must rely totally on God, will find His happiness.

The beatitudes were formal statements showing the blessings between God and man (e.g. Psalm 1:1, Proverbs 14:21, Proverbs 16:20, Proverbs 29:18). 8

“Each of the beatitudes is pronounced on the one who possesses a certain spiritual quality. This indicates that entrance into the kingdom is based on one’s spiritual condition.” – Toussaint 4

Jesus uses the word makarios (μακάριος) throughout this passage to describe those who need Him. It can be translated as either “blessed” or “happy”.

“‘Blessed’ implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.” – Wiersbe 5

The promise for the poor in spirit is the kingdom of heaven. Only those who recognize their own spiritual poverty can gain entrance into the kingdom.

Luke’s account does not give more of a context about what makes the subjects poor. Are they physically or spiritually destitute? Matthew’s account shows that Jesus was referring to the spiritually destitute.

Luke’s account also contrasts the “blessed” with the opposite word, ouai (οὐαί), meaning “grieving” or “woe”. Those who think they are rich in this world will be poor in kingdom of heaven.

“The four ‘woes’ show that there is a price for immediate comfort, wealth, etc. — that is all you will get. Jesus did not say that these things were wrong. He said that being satisfied with them is its own judgment.” – Wiersbe 6

“The door to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is very low and the only people who come in crawl.” – John MacArthur 9

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. – James 4:10

 

Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Luke 6:21b
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Luke 6:25b
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

Next, Jesus taught that the happy ones are those who mourn. While this seems like an oxymoron, it follows the first beatitude. You first recognize that you are spiritually destitute (“poor in spirit”), which then causes you to grieve over your fallen state. But the path to true happiness lies through this grief, because it is then that God can bring you to Himself, giving you the true comfort.

The promise of comfort is parakaleō (παρακαλέω), the same root word used for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, who will come aside us through our difficult times. See here for more about the role of the Holy Spirit.

Luke’s account includes that those who weep now in this present age will be the ones laughing in the kingdom. Those who are laughing now (show no remorse about their condition) will be the ones who are weeping later, when they have lost the opportunity to know Jesus Christ.

“Growing older in Christ does not mean that you will cry less – it might mean that you will cry more – but it redefines what you will be crying over” – Stephen Davey 10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. James 4:8-9

 

Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

The word “meek” is not very popular in our culture. One definition in Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “deficient in spirit or courage” (see here). This was similar in the first-century Roman culture, where weak children were left to die, and only the strong were respected.

But the Biblical term for “meek” does not mean a pushover. The Greek word was praus (πραΰς), which implied a warm fire, a gentle breeze, or a helpful medicine. All of these things are comforting in small doses but can be deadly if left out of control. Compare the warm hearth to a forest fire, a gentle breeze to a hurricane, or a helpful medicine to a deadly poison!

The best Biblical definition for meek is, “power under control”. It is not for the weak or the complacent, but for those with the wisdom and humility to not push back on others. This is the character of those who are in God’s kingdom, who will rule over the entire earth.

One good example in scripture is Moses. He could be angry and stubborn, but God called him the meekest man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).

“Meekness is having the ability to strike back but resisting the urge to get even. It is the power of Jesus Christ cleansing the temple with a whip, to defend the honor of His father. It is the silence of Christ before Pilate, unwilling to defend Himself.” – Stephen Davey 11

“The world admires the pushing, self-assertive man. Jesus Christ was meek and lowly in heart. Those who partake of His spirit are the ones who get the most out of life, after all.” – Ironside 7

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:12-13

But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.Psalm 37:11

 

Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Luke 6:21a
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
Luke 6:25a
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is a deep, substantial need to see righteousness in this world. We want to see justice in this world, and our own lives to be right before God. God promises that those who earnestly seek this, like a thirsty man searching for water, will find it.

This is another characteristic of those who belong to Jesus Christ, and are in His kingdom. They earnestly desire to see right done. Luke’s account abbreviates the same blessing, but also adds the warning. Those who do not desire righteousness do not belong to Him. They will be lost and hungry.

“The idea of hunger and thirst is not that you are dissatisfied, it is that you’re desperate” – John MacArthur 1

“Such hunger and thirst – such deep, earnest desire – gives evidence of the new life. These desires are not given to mock us. Satisfaction is the promised portion of all who thus yearn after God, in whom alone righteousness is found.” – Ironside 7

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.Philippians 3:8-9

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1-2

 

Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Happy are those who show mercy, because they will receive mercy to them.

This does not necessarily mean that mankind will show you mercy; the example of Jesus Christ Himself shows that this is not the case. This also does not mean that God’s mercy to you is conditional on you being merciful. This is contrary to the rest of scripture (e.g. Titus 3:5).

But this means that when you are merciful, know that God will show mercy to you. We show that we have the love of God in us when we show mercy to others (1 John 3:17). 2

“Mercy is giving attention to those who are in misery” – Stephen Davey 2

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
– Psalms 103:11

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:22-23

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
– Psalms 18:25

 

Matthew 5:8
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Happy are those who are pure. Happy are the holy.

God promises positional holiness to all who trust in Him. He declares them as holy based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But this is talking about personal holiness — the desire to live your life as set apart for God. Those who live their lives as pure and set apart for God will continue to see God for themselves.

Some commentators have interpreted this “purity” as single-mindedness (e.g. James 1:5-8). But even wicked people can have pure or single-minded motives. For example, the prophets of Baal were single-minded when they opposed Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Purity is more than just pure motives, it is also a holy life.

“Positional purity is what God does for Christians. Practical purity is what Christians do for God.” – Stephen Davey 2

“The pure in heart are those who put God’s glory above all else. To such He reveals Himself. They see His face when others discern only His providential dealings.” – Ironside 7

The entire belief of the Scribes and Pharisees was that you start from the outside. You reform your externals and then God will show you favor. But Jesus was teaching the opposite. You need to start from the inside.

There is a progression across the beatitudes. You recognize your disobedience to God and realize that you are truly poor in spirit. You have absolutely nothing. You mourn over your sin and come to God in meekness, hungering and thirsting for His righteousness. God gives His mercy to you and gives you purity of heart.

“You’ll never see God, you’ll never be in God’s kingdom, you’ll never enter God’s presence, you’ll never have His forgiveness, you’ll never know the Redeemer that comes out of Zion, you’ll never know what it is to come and drink of the well of salvation, you will die frustrated in your sins – unless your heart is pure.” – John MacArthur 12

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
– Proverbs 4:23

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
– Psalm 24:3-4

 

Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Happy are those who actively work to make peace. The peacemaker is not passive but is actively negotiating peace between estranged parties.

There are two levels of peace that we should pursue. The first level is to make peace between mankind. Those who have the ability to resolve conflicts between people will be blessed.

But there is a greater level of peacemaking expressed here. This is a peace with God. This involves those who enable others to turn from their sins (repent) and submit to God. You are being a peacemaker when you share the gospel, even though it may make your life more difficult, leading to rejection or persecution. 3

It is important to know that peace is not simply a “cease-fire” or the absence of fighting. That is only a stalemate. There is only peace when the real problems become addressed and resolved, restoring fellowship between the two parties.

The promise for those who make peace is that we are representing God as His sons.

“We bear the dignity and honor of God the Father as we negotiate peace.” – Stephen Davey 3

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.Romans 14:19

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.James 3:17-18

 

Matthew 5:10-12
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Luke 6:22-23
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
Luke 6:26
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

The final promise of happiness is for those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. We are promised that the world will be against us because it is against Jesus Christ. The word for persecution has the meaning of being hunted or harassed. 3

Unlike the active role of the peacemaker, this is a passive role of the disciple, allowing persecution to come to him. It is also continuous: the persecution continues to come at you over and over again.

It is important to note that Jesus is not teaching about suffering the consequences or punishment for our own actions (1 Peter 4:14-16). But Jesus says that we should rejoice when we are attacked for the sake of Jesus Christ, because we will have a great reward in heaven. Luke’s account even adds, “leap for joy”!

When we are persecuted, we are promised a great reward in heaven, but we also identify with the great prophets who were persecuted for God.

In making this promise, Jesus also affirms His own deity. He likens Himself to the fulfillment of righteousness and the cause of the prophets who have gone before. 13

“We all shrink from false accusation, but we may find comfort as we remember that our Lord Himself was not exempt from this. There is blessing as we go through these experiences in fellowship with Him, not even attempting to justify ourselves, but leaving it to Him to clear us in His own way and time.” – Ironside 7

“When they treat us the way they treated Him, it is evidence that we are starting to live as He lived, and that is a compliment.” – Wiersbe 6

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 3:12-15

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19

 

Matthew 5:13
“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.

Luke 14:34-35
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

We are compared as salt to this world. There are many possible ways that the analogy of salt can apply for us to this world, but the important point is that salt is passive, and that salt holds back decay. Salt does not actively work to fight back agents of decay in the food which it contacts. Salt is simply present, and its presence restricts the decay.

In the Roman world, nothing was more valuable than salt. Roman soldiers would often be paid with salt, leading to the term, “worth his salt”. 14

Other possible aspects of the analogy of salt:

  • Salt ls a flavorant. It gives food its flavor. Likewise, we impact the world around us.
  • Salt creates thirst. Likewise, our presence gives people a thirst for God.
  • Luke’s account indicates also that salt was used to make soil more productive. Likewise, we cause the world to bring forth fruit of repentance to God. 4
  • Salt represented purity. Likewise, we represent purity to a sinful world.
  • A single grain of salt is useless. Likewise, we are only effective as part of the greater body.

A pure salt cannot lose its flavor. However, it is was common in the first century for salt to contain impurities. Over time, the impurities could become more dominant than the actual salt, causing it to lose its flavor. The analogy for believers is clear. Impurities in our life can render us to be ineffective to the rest of the world.

The consequence for flavorless salt (i.e. ineffective believers) is not that they are destroyed. Rather, that they are set aside and are no longer useful.

One negative example of this in scripture is the example of Abraham and Lot in Genesis 18:22-33. Lot moved down to the wicked city of Sodom, which God was about to destroy. Abraham begged God to spare Sodom and God agreed, but only if there were ten righteous people living there. But Lot failed to influence the people around him and there were not even ten people to save the city. Lot was flavorless salt.

“We inhibit a decaying society from fully expressing itself. And in that way, we are not sugar, we are salt.” – Stephen Davey 14

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.1 Peter 2:9

 

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 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.

Unlike salt, light is active to the world around it. The presence of light causes the darkness to disperse.

Jesus designated Himself as the light of the world as long as He was in the world (John 8:12, John 9:5). In His absence, we are to shine for Him as lights in a dark world.

We are not commanded to find a way to shine. We are already shining. We are to be visible, and not hide our light.

“The reference to the ‘city on a hill’ is at one level fairly obvious. Often built of white limestone, ancient towns gleamed in the sun and could not easily be hidden. At night the inhabitants’ oil lamps would shed some glow over the surrounding area.” 15

This passage also shows the reason for our good works. Our good works do not gain us entrance into His kingdom, but they cause our light to shine. The end result of our good works is that people will give glory to God the Father. We do good so that we can give God glory!

“The good works set the tone for the rest of the sermon. They are to be performed out of a pure heart as the hallmark of the disciples’ lives.” – Toussaint 4

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. – Philippians 2:14-15


 

[1] John MacArthur, Happy Are the Hungry, Matthew 5:6, 10/22/1978

[2] Stephen Davey, Happy Are the Helpful and Holy, Matthew 5:7-8, 4/13/2008

[3] Stephen Davey, Happy Are the Harassed, Matthew 5:9-12, 4/20/2008

[4] Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King, Kregel Publications, 1980, Matthew 5:1-16, pages 85-98

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Matthew 5:1-16, Pages 18-19

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Luke 6:20-26, Pages 155-156

[7] H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Matthew 5, The Principles of the Kingdom, Part 1

[8] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, SP Publications, 1983, Luke 6:17-26, pages 219-221

[9] John MacArthur, Happy Are the Humble, Matthew 5:3, 9/10/1978

[10] Stephen Davey, Blessed Are the Brokenhearted, Matthew 5:4, 3/16/2008

[11] Stephen Davey, Happy Are the Helpless and Hungry, Matthew 5:5-6, 4/6/2008

[12] John MacArthur, Happy Are the Holy, Matthew 5:8, 11/12/1978

[13] This shows the greatness of Jesus Himself:

  • First, the persecution is to be on account of Him, therefore He must have greatness in the eyes of men.
  • His disciples who are unjustly persecuted will be greatly rewarded in heaven, therefore He must be great in the eyes of God.
  • The disciples of Jesus are compared to the prophets of old who spoke for God. Therefore, Jesus is identifying Himself with God.

From Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King, Kregel Publications, 1980, Matthew 4:12-25, pages 85-98 4

[14] Stephen Davey, What’s Next, Matthew 5:13-16, 11/15/1992

[15] D.A. Carson, Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Zondervan, 2010, Matthew 5:1-16

 

 

2 Comments »

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