There are several "what or who is the greatest" that could be argued for all time. Who is the greatest basketball player? What is the greatest football team? Who was the greatest president? But, there is one such list that is easy... What is the greatest sermon of all time? Hands down it is found in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. To top it all off it was also given by the greatest teacher of all time. Jesus. This is a look at my favorite parts of that sermon.
If you check the subtitle in your Bible, Matthew 5:2-12 is probably called the Beatitudes which is defined by dictionary.com as, "noun supreme blessedness; exalted happiness." In this Jesus gives his followers and the people listening on this day His keys to "exalted happiness."
What does it mean to be meek? Meekness if the attitude of being overly submissive or extremely patient. I don't know about you life, but when we start talking about patience I started squirming a little. This is one area I truly struggle, but my struggle is not waiting on something for myself, rather the actions and attitudes of others. I find myself most angry when a person does something I stopped doing long ago when I became more mature. For that person to not be at my level of maturity is appalling to me. Then I realize, usually much after the fact, that I was once exactly where that person is and rather than tear them down I should build that person up, because I have been brought up from the same path.
This one is easy to understand. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to crave righteousness as if it were food or water. Something we must have and would go to great lengths to obtain. If we were in a situation where we needed to find food or die, we would exhaust all possibilities to make that happen. This needs to become our attitude toward righteousness. It is not enough to talk about righteousness as though it were an unattainable idea, but instead chase and pursue it as a promise for those saved from the bondage of sin.
I remember being a higher school student when the tragedy of September 11th took place, and Osama bin Laden was given credit for the attacks. The U.S. government put a huge reward for the capture of bin Laden, and the teenage me was thinking, "man, I would shoot bin Laden myself for the things he did and the money would just be a bonus." Luckily my teenage self was never in a place to make that happen, but God did work on my heart using bin Laden. (I bet you never thought you would hear that!) He revealed to me through the Bible that before Christ, I was seen just as disgusting as bin Laden. (Isaiah 64:6) Think about that for a moment. Before you came to Jesus, you were just as lost and guilty of sin as Osama bin Laden, and Jesus died for you anyway. Knowing this, how could I ever look down on, despise, or reject a person who needs Jesus? I can not. I will attempt to grasp the mercy that was shown to me and pour it out on others.
Whether good or bad, what is the motive for why you do things? To be honest, we all have a tendency to do good things when it will result in something we want. It is much easier to make the right choice when it will benefit us, but is the benefit to yourself what motivates you to the action? Being pure is about more than avoiding the bad decisions and fleeing evil, but also having the pure heart to choose to do right simply because it is right.
In churches across the U.S. the idea of actually being persecuted for our faith is a foreign concept. Most church goers do not think the Bible is serious about the persecution to come for believers. Of course there are different levels of persecution for people, but Jesus clearly says we will be persecuted. (John 15:20) Maybe the focus for believers should not be,
"will I be persecuted?"
"why am I not being persecuted?"
For starters: I am nothing special, I love Jesus and He is my Lord. I am the husband of a godly woman. She is working with me to raise a godly child. I am a teacher. I love to read and write.