Sunday, October 25, 2020

All Saints Observed

All Saints (Observed)
Revelation 7:(2–8) 9–17
1 John 3:1–3
Matthew 5:1–12

Saints Are Blessed in the Eternal Presence of Christ All Saints

A great multitude … from all tribes and peoples and languages” cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne” (Revelation 7:9–10). Faith-filled saints from every place and time with unified voices eternally magnify the Lamb of God. As His beloved children, we, too, “shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Joined with the throng of angels and a myriad of saints, we shall “serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15). In our earthly tension vacillating between saint and sinner, faith and doubt, sacred and profane, we earnestly seek Jesus to calm our fears, comfort our spirits and forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ propels us forward, fortifying us in Word and Sacrament, to our eternal home. In the midst of our constant struggle as believers, we need to be blessed. And so we are. The poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, the merciful, the pure and the persecuted are all blessed, and we will most certainly inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:1–12).

O Almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which You had prepared for those who love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. Amen

Jesus introduces His Sermon on the Mount with nine beatitudes that detail the future blessedness of His disciples. These promised blessings are God's gracious gifts to those who repent of their sins and trust Christ for righteousness. Only after Jesus has assured His disciples of God's goodness to them does He call on them,, in the rest of His sermon, to be good and do good. When we recognize our own spiritual poverty when the Lord leads us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, when He makes us pure in heart so that we seek to worship only the true God, then we are blessed now and forever.

Observe both future and present tenses...

Life for the Christian is a life that is lived by faith - On this All Saints Day Jesus the greatest teacher who has ever lived gives a description of the child of God who has been incorporated into the family of faith. These Beatitudes are the gifts the Savior has given to you.

It is yours now and soon to come. Blessed now are present the rewards future…now and not yet.

They Shall See God
 Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)                                                                        
On this All Saints’ Day briefly consider the promise of Jesus that the pure in heart get to see God!

Everyone wants to see God; even unbelievers want to see Him so they can “prove” to themselves He exists.  This longing to see God is part of our being, and we will not be satisfied until this happens.  To thus behold God in His unveiled splendor is referred to as the Beatific Vision.  It is the most blessed, beautiful, wondrous sight ever.  Until now we have only beheld the creation, which even in its fallen state has a high degree of splendor, and through it we obtain a veiled picture of God.  We have seen nothing beyond this creation, and consequently no one can imagine beholding the Creator!  Moses expressed this longing when he asked to behold God’s glory [Ex 33:18].  Though God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to a friend [33:11], yet shortly after this high praise God explained to Moses,…no man can see me and live [33:20]. God was applying this to Moses; not even God’s “friend” could see Him and live.   

Why can no man—not even Moses—see God and live?  Because no man has a pure heart.  Impurity cannot remain in the presence of the Pure and Holy One, thus no one can see God and live. The Scripture associates “the heart” with man’s thinking and his attitude.  Every human since the fall of Adam is born with polluted thinking and a rebellious attitude toward God. The prophet Jeremiah bemoans this condition of man:  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? [17:9].  All I need do is look into my heart—especially in light of God’s law—and I realize the truth of Jeremiah’s statement; my heart is not pure, it is desperately sick. I cannot see God.

However in this life God allows His people to see Him, but only in a veiled way.  God allowed this veiled view of Himself for Moses:  So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen [33:22,23].  God allowed another veiled vision of Himself for Moses and the elders at the foot of Mt. Sinai: …and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. …So they saw God, and they ate and drank [Ex 24:10,11].  As they ate of the peace offering sacrifice, these chosen few “saw God”.  So too when we in this life eat of the body and blood of THE peace offering, we in an even greater way “behold God” while we thus commune.  But this is not yet the Beatific Vision.

Holy Scripture describes a time when His people will somehow literally behold Him.  Saint John wrote: Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is [1 Jn 3:2].  God’s people will thus see Him as He is, not because they have been extra good but because God has made them into saints.  A saint is a holy person.  There was only one saint who was holy because of His works.  This saint, the Holy One of Israel, went to the cross to bear our sins and thus bestow sainthood upon us.  Saint Paul marks the point of the bestowal of sainthood: But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God [1 Co 6:11].  This holy washing is none other than Holy Baptism, in which God made each of us saints: sanctified and justified children.  God thus gave unto each of us pure hearts.  In this life we strive to live as saints; as we behold Christ by faith we strive to love and live for others in the name of Christ.  Into eternity we shall enjoy the unfathomable Beatific Vision, for Jesus has promised, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Because of Christ’s cross and empty tomb, we will get to see God in His unveiled glory!

Matthew 5:1

Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ·
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

Matthew 5:2 
καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων·
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Having sat down, the posture of prophet, posture of learning. Another Moses, Jesus is THE prophet. He came to preach and to die. Works of mercy are out of His compassion. He opens His mouth like that of creation.

Matthew 5:3
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. To be poor is to rely on the mercy of God. These are indicative and the rewards are all passive.

Not blessed are the growing churches. The only command is "rejoice and be glad"

Matthew 5:4
μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are those who mourn, you are a Christian. You will mourn, but you will be comforted.  What do we mourn? As Jesus grieved over Lazarus.

Preach theology of grace as opposed to theology of glory.

Matthew 5:5
μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσι τὴν γῆν.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

  Meek inherit the earth. Meek are powerless, a picture of the cross. Inherit for free from those who would try to take by force. This is anti world. This is completely out of the realm of measurement and feeling

Matthew 5:6
μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται. 
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

 They will be engorged/enlarged. Their cup will run over for those who hunger after righteousness.

Your blessedness comes from the blessed one who blesses.

Matthew 5:7
μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται 
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

The merciful receive mercy. Mercy to the deserving is justice. Mercy is only to the undeserving. Show mercy as you have been shown mercy.

The unmerciful serving misrepresented the king who had shown mercy. He acts as if the king still had the debt hanging over them.

Matthew 5:8
μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.  
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 Blessed are the clean in heart because they themselves will see God. The only way in which you see God.

Matthew 5:9
 μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

 Blessed are the ones making peace they will be called God's sons.

Matthew 5:10
μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.  
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 The ones who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heavens.

Matthew 5:11
μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν [a]πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν ψευδόμενοι ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ.  
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

 Blessed whenever they reproach you and say all evil against you on account of me.

Matthew 5:12

χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν.  
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Rejoice be glad, your reward is in heaven. In this sameness the prophets were persecuted.

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

No comments: