by Daniel McCabe
The Sermon on the Mount
Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”
Lincoln had his Gettysburg; Martin Luther King, Jr. had his dream on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial; and Jesus had his Sermon on the Mount. You can probably quote a line or two from each of these famous messages. Lincoln longed to see his war-torn nation discover “a new birth of freedom” in the coming years. Exactly one hundred years later the Birmingham preacher also longed for a day when he would see his four little children living in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the “content of their character.” Ground-breaking messages for their day, yes, but both rooted in the biblical message that only a nation that knows God will know no hatred or prejudice.
A nation or soul that has a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ has experienced a changed heart. And changed hearts lead to changed character. In his Sermon on the Mount and specifically in the popular eight beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-10, Jesus explains not what one must do to be forgiven of his sins, but rather what one will look like after he has been forgiven. In fact, one will look remarkably like Jesus.
#1—“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor have little or no means to provide for themselves. The poor in spirit then recognize their need to depend upon God. Only then can they enjoy his rich character.
#2—“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” The mournful know the true depth of their sin. They know that it offends God, yet they turn to him in their brokenness to find the healing for sin that only he can provide.
#3—“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek have a proper appreciation of their strengths and limitations. They do not long for more than God gives and they rejoice in the successes of others.
#4—“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” A righteousness-hunger finds no satisfaction in sin. No tolerance for partial obedience. No joy in complacency.
#5—“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful show mercy because they have learned the power of mercy in their own lives. When one has received pardon, he is far more eager to grant pardon.
#6—“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The pure in heart have no secrets to hide. Behind closed doors you would find them living just as they do in the open.
#7—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The peacemakers live above the chaos of daily pressures. They sow seeds of calm and joy wherever they go.
#8—“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The persecuted realize that the battle is the Lord’s as did David when he stood before a Philistine warrior-giant. The persecuted will not compromise their righteousness to escape ridicule or shame.
Jesus said that those in a right relationship with him will look like that. Do you see yourself in his words?
Further Reading: Matthew 5:1-10; Luke 6:17-49
Dr. Daniel McCabe is the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Spring, Texas. He is a contributing editor for The Jerusalem Connection Report. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.