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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Beatitudes - II (5:3-12)

INTRODUCTION

1. At the beginning of "The Sermon On The Mount," we find that section
   of Scripture commonly referred to as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
   a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
   b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
      certain qualities

2. As suggested in the previously lesson, it is as though Jesus was
   answering two questions people might have been asking:
   a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
   b. What benefits do they receive?

3. In our previous study, we looked at the "The Beatitudes" from the
   viewpoint of the question:  "Who will be the citizens of the
   kingdom?"
   a. We saw that their character would involve eight inter-related
      qualities
   b. We saw that they would be poor in spirit, mourning for their 
      sins, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart,
      peacemakers, and willing to suffer persecution

4. In this study, we shall look at "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
   of the question:  "What  benefits do they receive?"
   a. Is the kingdom of heaven worth the effort to develop such 
      qualities of character?
   b. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever persecution we might
      endure?

[I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!"  This becomes apparent as
we take time to consider the blessedness of the citizens of the 
kingdom...]

I. THEIR BENEFITS SUMMARIZED IN ONE WORD

   A. THAT WORD IS "BLESSED"...
      1. It is the first word of the sermon
         a. Just as it is the first word of the Psalms - Ps 1:1
         b. Just as it is found in the beginning words of Revelation 
            - Re 1:3
      2. It is used nine times in nine verses (which is why this 
         section is called "The Beatitudes")

   B. THIS WORD INVOLVES GREAT JOY AND GLADNESS...
      1. It can literally mean, "how very happy!" is the one described
      2. We can also infer this from Mt 5:12
         a. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad..."
         b. Or as found in Luke:  "Rejoice in that day and leap for
            joy!" - Lk 6:23

[The benefit of being in the kingdom of heaven is the condition of 
blessedness, a state of true happiness!  To understand why, let's now
look at...]

II. THEIR BENEFITS ARE BOTH PRESENT AND FUTURE

   A. "THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
      1. As defined in a previous lesson (cf. Mt 4:17), those who 
         receive the kingdom...
         a. Are under the kingly rule of God
         b. Are in a spiritual kingdom
            1) Which today involves being in the "church," the present
               manifestation of the "kingdom of heaven" - Mt 16:18;
               Col 1:13; Re 1:9
            2) Which will involve the "new heavens and new earth" in 
               the kingdom's future and eternal manifestation - Mt 25:
               34; 2Pe 1:10,11; 3:13; Re 21-22
      2. Note that the first (5:3) and last (5:10) beatitudes include
         this expression...
         a. Which I take to imply that the blessings in between 
            likewise apply to those in the kingdom
         b. Just as the kingdom is both present and future, we shall
            observe that the blessings described involve both present
            and future

   B. "THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED"...
      1. This is in reference to those who mourn over their sins and
         spiritual poverty
      2. They are comforted even now - 2Co 1:3-5
      3. They shall be comforted in the future - Re 21:1-4

   C. "THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH"...
      1. In one sense, they inherit it now
         a. As a result of putting the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33;
            Mk 10:29-30
         b. Though they may have less than some who are wicked, God
            enables them to enjoy it more! - Ec 5:19-6:2
         c. This explanation seems to be consistent with the context of
            Psalms 37, from which the phrase was taken - Ps 37:1-11,
            16-29
      2. But in another sense, there yet remains a promise concerning a
         "new earth" for those in the kingdom now - 2Pe 3:10-13

   D. "THEY SHALL BE FILLED"...
      1. That is, with the righteousness which we so desperately need,
         found only in Christ - Php 3:8-9
      2. Received presently, through the precious blood of Christ 
         - Ro 5:9
      3. Received in fullness when adorned in the white linen of 
         righteousness in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb 
         - Re 19:5-9

   E. "THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY"...
      1. Those in the kingdom enjoy the forgiveness of sins now through
         the blood of Jesus - Re 1:5-6
      2. They shall also be shown mercy in the future by escaping the
         righteous wrath of God in the Day of  Judgment - Ro 5:9

   F. "THEY SHALL SEE GOD"...
      1. Presently, citizens of the kingdom can see God through their
         Lord Jesus Christ - Jn 14:6-7
      2. But in the future, we shall see him face to face - Re 21:3;
         22:3-4

   G. "THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD"...
      1. Even now we are called the sons of God - 1Jn 3:1-2
      2. How much more so, in the future! - Re 21:5-7

CONCLUSION

1. Perhaps we can better understand why those in "the kingdom of 
   heaven" are truly called "Blessed", for while...
   a. Poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
   b. Mourning for their sins, they shall be comforted!
   c. Meek in their relation to God and man, they shall inherit the
      earth!
   d. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness, they shall be filled!
   e. Merciful to others, they shall obtain mercy!
   f. Pure in heart, they shall see God!
   g. Makers of peace, they shall be called sons of God!
   h. Persecuted for righteousness' sake, theirs is the kingdom of
      heaven!

2. Certainly the benefits of the kingdom outweigh anything this world
   has to offer, or any persecution it might inflict!
   a. For there are blessings now "in this life"
   b. And there are blessings "in the age to come" - Mk 10:28-30

2. But the "blessedness" of the citizens is only for those who have the
   "characteristics" of the citizens in ever-increasing measure...
   a. Do we have the qualities described in "The Beatitudes"?
   b. If not, do not the blessings described in "The Beatitudes"
      encourage us to develop such qualities?

May this sermon of Jesus motivate us to examine our attitudes, to see
if there is not room for improvement in our relationships with both God
and our fellow man!
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