Monday, June 05, 2023

2023.06.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 5:1-12

Read Matthew 5:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Jesus see (Matthew 5:1)? Where did He go? What did He do there? Who came to Him? What did He open (Matthew 5:2)? To speak what kind of speech? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:3? In what are they poor? What is theirs? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:4? What will be done to them? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:5? How? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:6? For what do they hunger? What else do they do for righteousness? What will be done for them? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:7? What will be done for them? Who will be blessed in Matthew 5:8? Why—what (Whom!) will they see? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:9? What will they be called, of Whom? What is happening to the ones in Matthew 5:10? For what are they being persecuted? Why are they blessed—what do they have? Who are blessed—pay attention to the pronouns—in Matthew 5:11? What three things will be done to them? What has to be true about the veracity of the denouncing, for this blessing to apply? For Whose sake must this be done to them? With what two commands does Matthew 5:12 begin? What do they have, in what measure, and where? Who else has received both this hardship and this blessing?

What does the blessed life look like? Matthew 5:1–12 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the whole of the Christian’s blessedness is not from himself but in and from Christ.  

It’s important to note that Jesus is moving away from the multitudes and isolating Himself with His disciples (Matthew 5:1). Multitudes generally prefer wealth, levity, pride, feasting, self-seeking, licentiousness, resentment, and ease (basically the opposite of each of Matthew 5:3a, Matthew 5:4a, Matthew 5:5a, Matthew 5:6a, Matthew 5:7a, Matthew 5:8a, Matthew 5:9a, Matthew 5:10a, Matthew 5:11). But believers have something better: Christ Himself and all that comes in Him. So Jesus pulls His disciples aside from the multitudes. He sets before them their blessedness in direct opposition to that of the world.

But notice how all of these are things that are ours in Christ. Every believer is someone who has realized that, without Christ, we have nothing but poverty (Matthew 5:3a). But with Christ, we have the entire kingdom in Him (verse 3b). 

If we mourn over our sin and misery and all ongoing effects of the fall, as those who hate everything that is against Christ (Matthew 5:4a), then we must surely be comforted in the completion of the working out of the effects of His victory (verse 4b).

If we do not advance our own reputation or our own interests but meekly know our place as unprofitable servants at best (Matthew 5:5a), we find that resting in Christ elevates us to the status of joint-heirs with Him (verse 5b)—even if, for a time, we suffer as we wait for the inheritance (cf. Romans 8:17).

If our hunger and thirst is for righteousness, we will be constantly hungry and thirsty (Matthew 5:6a)! Christ Himself will be satisfying, and we can praise God that He is completely satisfied with us in Him. But, He is not satisfied to leave us as we are, and we are not satisfied to remain as we are. Trying to live that way is a common mistake of our antinomian age.

However, here is a marvelous guarantee: we in whom the Spirit has created this hunger shall ultimately be filled. The work that He has begun in us WILL be completed (cf. Philippians 1:6). We WILL be conformed to Christ’s image (cf. Romans 8:29–30). And even as we purify ourselves as He is pure, we are doing this precisely because we have that assured hope that we will be like Him (cf. 1 John 3:2–3). 

There is a marvelous freedom that comes from being resting upon Christ. We are free to show mercy (Matthew 5:7a), to have a single-minded pursuit of God (Matthew 5:8a), and to release bitterness by forgiving (Matthew 5:9a). In particular, the singlemindedness toward God called “purity of heart” in Matthew 5:8 will find its mark. “Seeing God” is that ultimate glory, that beatific vision, that we will enjoy in the day that our hunger and thirst for righteousness are satisfied (cf. 1 John 3:2–3 again). We will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:8b), even the mercy of being adopted as children (Matthew 5:10b), but the greatest part of our blessing as children will be to see our Father (Matthew 5:9b).

So, Jesus has set before us the world-dwarfing blessedness that belongs to those who have Him. And now, we are brought back to “the world” who are the “they” in Matthew 5:11. The disciples can see over their shoulders the multitude down the mountain. This is no small group that is reviling and persecuting and falsely speaking all kinds of evil. 

But, if this is coming to them for the sake of Jesus, these attacks have the exact opposite of the world’s intent. For the attack themselves are reminders and verifications that they have Christ! So, the Lord commands us not only to be comforted, but a double and intensified command of celebration. Rejoice! Be glad! Indeed, be exceedingly glad! The prophets before them suffered much for the hope of Christ; now the disciples (and we!) have a clear view of Christ Himself. So, let them (and we!) rejoice exceedingly over Him!

What are some specific situations in which you are treasuring Christ instead of things or circumstances that an unbeliever would treasure? Who is attacking you for His sake, and verifying to you your identification with Him? How are you doing with the command to rejoice over this?

Sample prayer:  Lord, apart from You, we are poor, miserable, lowly, and needy. But You are all our riches, happiness, exaltation, and sufficiency. Come now, we pray, in this worship service, and be all those things to us by Your Spirit, which we ask in Christ’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

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