Beatitudes - Those Who Mourn
In our world of positive thinking, good vibes, and escaping pain at all costs, we prefer to gravitate toward wishing for the best, rather than feeling sadness. During times of difficulty, we exhort others to “keep your chin up” and “don’t get down.” We encourage others, “it’ll be okay,” “stay positive,” “things will get better.” We utilized euphemisms to soften the pain of death – lost, passed away. So what do we do when life’s not okay, when things don’t get better? How do we go on when we experience the harsh realities of sin and the sorrows of death?
In His Sermon on the Mount, JESUS taught His disciples about living for the Kingdom of Heaven while still living on earth, The beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10) are the character qualities of those approved by God in His kingdom. The first beatitude we discussed last week was “poverty of spirit” – intellectual understanding of our spiritual helpless and emptiness apart from God’s grace. The second beatitude is the emotional counterpart – comprehension of our complete sinfulness and need for God’s grace.
Those who mourn over sin and death find comfort in Christ’s victory over sin and death. Living follows lamenting. Comfort follows mourning. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Beatitudes - Poor in Spirit
As children of God by faith in His Son, we share the same family characteristics. Yes, we vary greatly in just about every conceivable way, including spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personalities, experiences, and interests. Yet, according to the Bible, we all belong to the same family and therefore have the same family likenesses. The Characteristics of God’s Family are listed in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-10.
In the first words of this great sermon about Kingdom Living, Jesus began with the most important characteristic of the Kingdom of Heaven: “Poverty in Spirit.” Poverty of spirit is neither a financial, material position nor a depressed, emotional condition.To be poor is to be weak and helpless, to lack the resources to provide for, defend, and save oneself. Those who are poor in spirit on earth are rich in heaven because of Christ. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Stories of princes, princesses, kings and queens, crowns and kingdoms fascinate us. We read about them in history books and fiction. We watch movies portraying Princess Brides and like to read Princess Diaries. Whether it be great kings and queens of Scripture such as David, Solomon, or Esther, or rulers like King Tut, Cyrus, Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Kublai Khan, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip – the lives of monarchs captivate us.
In any Kingdom, life is to be lived under the rule and reign of the King. The boundaries, the blessings, and the behaviors expected of citizens of the Kingdom are formalized and enforced by the King. He is sovereign and yields to no one.
In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus sits down to teach the crowds and His disciples about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. Kingdom living is not about living an ideal life in an ideal world but about living with God in a broken one. It’s about living with the King as messed-up people in a messed-up world. Let’s look at Matthew’s Gospel for some background to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Cancel culture is the practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) people or businesses after they have done or said something considered objectionable, offensive, or politically incorrect. Cancel culture is generally group shaming. It’s a form of boycotting in which a person is then “canceled,” sometimes leading to massive declines in the person’s fanbase and career. The act of canceling could involve not watching an actor’s movies, no longer reading or promoting a writer’s works, no longer shopping at a particular store, avoiding a particular product.
Today’s mob-mentality of cancel culture is noxious, but it’s not new. The roots of cancel culture have been present throughout human history for at least 2,000 years. When Jesus attracted large crowds by his grace-based teaching of the scriptures and obtained celebrity status by his miracles, religious and political leaders took notice and became envious. Challenging their self-righteousness, questioning their authority, and calling out their hypocrisy, he went too far. They plotted to cancel Christ (Luke 23).
In a year when so much has been canceled and so many people are being canceled, we rejoice that death has been canceled (Luke 24:1-8). Christ canceled the power of sin and death so that we can live for Him!
Hosanna to the King
Many of the best love songs of all time sing of unending love, promises of love that will last, and commitment that will stand the test of time. Psalm 118 is a praise song about God’s unending love for us. It begins and ends with the same chorus, only with this song of praise, God keeps His promise of enduring love, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.”
Psalm 118 is the last of a group of psalms known as the Hallel or “praise”. The Jews sang the first two of those psalms (Psalms 113, 114) before the Passover meal and the last four (Psalms 115-118) after the meal. The Exodus (and Passover) pictured God’s redemption of His people, not just physically from slavery, but spiritually from sin. As the last song after the Passover, this would have been the last song that Jesus sang with His disciples before leaving for the Garden of Gethsemane.
Ruth and Jesus
At the conclusion of every movie, the scene fades to black. What follows is a list of credits to all the people behind the scenes who made the film. Nobody really pays attention to the credits, do they? Besides the superstar actors, it’s just a bunch of names of people we don’t know.
The book of Ruth ends the same way – with a list of names. It concludes with, of all things, a genealogy. A list of descendants. Yawn. But these last 4 verses should be read carefully. We discover that there is no better way for the Book of Ruth to end than to draw our attention to God’s ultimate purpose in His overall plan redemption—the person of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (Ruth 4:18-22). The final credits to the book of Ruth are really the cliffhanging introduction to the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew. What we discover at the end of Ruth that God is a faithful, covenant-keeping God, who redeems His people through His eternal Son, Jesus Christ.
The Blessings of Christ
In the musical, Les Misérables, based on the French novel by Victor Hugo, paroled ex-convict, Jean Valjean, shunned by society, is desperate for food and shelter. A catholic bishop welcomes him into his home and serves him dinner. Later, in the middle of the night, despite the bishop’s kindness, Valjean double-crosses him. Valjean remembers the silver spoon he used to eat his soup and stole the bishop’s valuable silverware. He is quickly caught by the police and brought back to the bishop’s home where the bishop verifies that the silver was a gift and, moreover, Valjean left the best of the silver, the candlesticks behind. As an act of blessing, the bishop declares to Valjean, “God has raised you out of darkness, I have saved your soul for God.”
Jean Valjean was redeemed by the mercy of a loving man. We have been Redeemed with the blood of a loving God.
As we continue the story of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:1-12), Boaz has agreed to redeem Ruth, but now he must wait until he finds out whether a closer relative will exercise his rights of redemption. What are the requirements of a Redeemer? Who qualifies? What’s the process? What’s the price of redemption? We’ll examine these questions and discover how Jesus, as our Kinsman Redeemer, paid the penalty for our sin and purchased our freedom to live for God.
Waiting on God
Most of the modern technologies intended to improve our lives have only caused us to become more impatient. We want instant access through instant messaging and Instagram. We expect instant results from our search engine. We cook our food in microwave ovens and instant pots. We live in a world of fast food, fast lanes, and faster downloads through our wireless network. We want rapid test results in 15 minutes not 24-48 hours. It’s not complicated – even kids agree that now is better.
Maybe the reason we don’t like to wait is that it indicates that life is out of control and, more importantly, we’re not. In the Book of Ruth, we have observed people waiting all through the story. Today, we discover that waiting on God’s plan to unfold builds our faith in Him (Ruth 3:12-18).
Sunday Service Times
Communion Worship Service in English (Auditorium)
K- Grade 5: Children enjoy worship service in the main auditorium with their families. Children will be dismissed to Children's Church midway through the service.
Servicio de Adoración en Español
11:00 am (Student Ministry Building)