Saturday, December 09, 2023

2023.12.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 5:7–9

Read Matthew 5:7–9

Questions from the Scripture text: Who are blessed (Matthew 5:7a)? What will they obtain (verse 7b)? Who else are blessed (Matthew 5:8a)? What shall they see (verse 8b)? Who else are blessed (Matthew 5:9a)? What shall they be called (verse 9b)? 

How does believers’ behavior show their blessedness? Matthew 5:7–9 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers’ behavior shows their blessedness by showing that they are about to come into their inheritance in Christ.

Merciful mercy-obtainers, Matthew 5:7. Believers have already received mercy. They are forgiven much, so they love the Lord much (cf. 1 John 4:20, Luke 7:47). They love the Lord much, so they love His people much (1 John 4:21) and love their neighbors much (cf. Matthew 22:37–39). Later in this sermon, we learn that we are much encouraged to ask God for forgiveness by the fact that His grace has made us forgiving (cf. Matthew 6:12). The grace that makes believers into forgiving people makes them into merciful people. 

But God’s grace never begins with making us merciful or forgiving. It begins by making us alive and forgiven (cf. Matthew 5:3-6). Only then does grace make us to be more and more merciful. Do you need to grow in being merciful? What you need is God’s grace, in Christ, by His Spirit. Look to Him, by use of His means, as you look to Him to use His means! 

And God’s grace that forgives us and justifies us and sanctifies us never stops there. We have been shown great mercy. We are continually shown new mercy (cf. Lamentations 3:22–23). But the greatest mercies are yet to come: first, when death carries us into the presence of Christ; and, then, when at the last day, rather than being cast into the lake of fire, we are vindicated by Him at the judgment, receive rewards that are according to His grace in Christ, and enjoy Him forever in a New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness dwells. Believers have obtained mercy already, but what great mercy believers have yet to obtain!

Single-minded seekers and obtainers of God Himself, Matthew 5:8.  The word “pure” has the sense of “cleansed. In Scripture, purity and holiness have a basic sense of singular devotion toward God. Competing trusts, competing values, competing motives, and competing joys are the essence of impurity, idolatry, and evil. When the Lord brings someone to faith in Christ, He increasingly gives that believer a singleness of mind to desire God and be devoted to God. 

More and more, the believer considers the knowledge of God to be the greatest blessing of all. And, more and more, this is exactly what God gives him. To see the glory of the Lord Himself in all of the creation. And especially to see God, more and more, through the Scripture—supremely so in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a believer, then this has been, and will be your experience: to see God, more and more, by faith… until you see Him even by sight, when you lay your eyes upon your God and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the last day. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!

Peace-making sons of the God of peace, Matthew 5:9. God is the peace-making God. The Father reconciles us to Himself by the death of His Son (cf. Romans 5:8–9). The Son Himself is our peace—not only making peace between us and God, but even with one another (cf. Ephesians 2:14–18). Indeed, the Spirit produces peace, even within us, where He has come to dwell (cf. Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:15). 

Yes, this means living in the manner of Ephesians 4:30–5:2 and Colossians 3:12–15), as we seek to live at peace with all men (cf. Romans 12:18) and help them be at peace with one another. But, even more than that, it means seeking others’ peace with God. Praying for their salvation (cf. Romans 10:1) and laboring for their salvation, in whatever manner God permits us to participate in His doing so (cf. Romans 11:13–14; 1 Corinthians 9:22; James 5:20). 

Nothing demonstrates the genuineness of our adoption like joining the great family work of the triune God of peace! How blessed! Not only to see God, but to be conformed to the image of His Son, to have His own character, His own joy (cf. Romans 8:26–30). The child of God that He has begun to make out of you, He will surely finish making!

Which of these marks of blessedness do you most see in yourself already? Which do you see least in yourself? What opportunities have you had to practice each? How can you grow in them? If they are yours and increasing, of what can you be sure (cf. 2 Peter 1:10–11)?

Sample prayer:  Our merciful, holy, peacemaking God, we thank You for the great grace in which You have saved us, bringing us out of ourselves, and into Christ, by the work of Your Spirit. Now, continue to conform us to Christ, by the work of Your same Spirit, until that work which You have begun, You will have completed in the day of Christ Jesus. For this assured and infinite blessing we ask confidently, through Christ, AMEN!

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

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