The Sermon on the Mount, Part 4

Welcome to Timeless Truth with Pastor Jim Thomas. This season, Pastor Jim is leading us in a study of The Sermon on the Mount.

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, chapters 5-7.

The Beatitudes describe the lives of those whose faith, values, affections and allegiances have all been transferred to King Jesus and the kingdom of heaven. The Beatitudes offer a vision of the kind of life that is pleasing to God and the promised blessings for those who embody these qualities.

Three part pattern of the Beatitudes:

  1. Ascription of blessedness
  2. Condition in life or of the soul
  3. God’s response of faithful and redeeming love

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”
Eugene Peterson, The Message: Matthew 5:3-6

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

So, how should we understand this term “meek”? What is this condition of heart that Jesus calls “meek”?

The NT Greek word is praus and it means gentleness of spirit. It is the opposite to self-asserting and self-promoting. To be meek towards others connotes freedom from malice and a vengeful spirit. It flows from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This same Greek word can be used to describe strength that is under control.

“THE MEEK are those who are gentle, humble, and unassuming, simple in faith and patient in the face of every affront. Imbued with the precepts of the gospel, they imitate the meekness of the Lord, who says, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
Chromatius, Tractate on Matthew

“TO SEE what meekness is, you must look not at meekness but at Christ. Saying meekness is this or that sends you to concepts which are pale copies of reality. Saying “Jesus is meek” sends you to the living reality of it.”
Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion

“GENTLENESS, to be sure, is a fruit of meekness. But the main point about the meek is not their gentleness but their quiet faith and trust in God. The meek turn again and again to God for help, for direction, and for the sheer joy of it.”
John W. Miller, The Christian Way

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

The Greek word for hunger here is peinao and the Strongs Greek dictionary says this means to be famished or to crave. The Greek word for thirst here is dipsao which speaks of those who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.

“If I am a son of God, nothing but God will satisfy my soul; no amount of comfort, no amount of ease, no amount of pleasure, will give me peace or rest.  If I had the full cup of all the world’s joys held up to me, and could drain it to the dregs, I should still remain thirsty if I had not God.” 
G. A. Studdert Kennedy, The Wicket Gate

There is perhaps no greater secret of progress in Christian living than in healthy, hearty spiritual appetite.  Again and again Scripture addresses its promises to the hungry.  God  ‘satisfied him who is thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things’ (Ps. 107:9).  If we are conscious of slow growth, is the reason that we have a jaded appetite?  It is not enough to mourn over past sin; we must also hunger for future righteousness.”
John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount

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