Saturday, October 31, 2020

All Saints


November 1, 2020
Matthew 5:1-12

 Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. To that end, Lord Jesus, bless Your Word, that we might trust in You.

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.

This is exactly what John teaches in our Epistle lesson for today. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 3:1-3

Four powerful words. “And so we are.”

What the world sees as tragic or empty, Jesus sees as blessed. However, His descriptions might sound strange to human ears. Humility. Mourning. Gentleness. Peacefulness. Does not sound like a blessed life.

Jesus lived by these descriptions Himself. We take notice of them in His words and His actions. He Himself lived them all.  

We dare not recite these ‘blessed’ words as some sort of mantra. To the contrary, our national creed is one of optimism. Not hunger or thirst of any kind. 

Blessed are the peacemakers” says Jesus. V 9 But in our American culture those who pursue peace risk having their patriotism called into question. 

We live in a nation which says: Blessed are the well-educated, for they will get the good jobs.

Blessed are the well-connected, for their aspirations will not go unnoticed.

Blessed are you when you know what you want, and go after it with everything you’ve got. For God helps those who help themselves.

If we are honest, we must admit that the world Jesus asserts as fact is not the world we have made for ourselves. [1]

These statements are description, not prescription.[2]

Those who are blessed receive the gifts the Savior has given. And what has the Savior given?

1. There is comfort for those who mourn now – Vs. 4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

"Mourning" describes a person who becomes aware of his personal offense to God and the pain that he has brought to others by his sinful behavior. The believer who mourns sees beyond the consequences of his wrongdoing. Into the real offenses done to others.

For the poor in spirit who know their sin. They grieve over their guilt. They seek the grace of forgiveness. And for those who mourn. They understand. What sin and death have done to all people. And to our broken world.

Notice the Savior’s words. You will mourn. But you will be comforted.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. Yet worldly sorrow brings death.  -2 Corinthians 7:10

Mourning. Specifically over the sins we have committed against God. - Sorrow for the fact that our sins brought God’s Son to the cross.

Yet, through that agent of execution, brings life. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. -1 Peter 2:24

2. Then there is the fulfillment of the desire for goodness – Vs. 6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

To Hunger and thirst for righteousness; describes a man's relentless pursuit of God's righteous standards, which he can only gain from Christ.

He looks beyond himself for new standards of conduct and embraces God’s strength to obtain what he so desperately desires. Genuine humility, godly sorrow for one’s sin, and meekness leads to the desire to be right with God. 

And this righteousness; to be right with God, is attained only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Your blessedness comes from the Blessed One; Jesus, your Savior, the One who blesses.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21;

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. - 1 Corinthians 1:30

To gain the righteousness found in Christ, one must have confidence in His gospel and continue to obey the truth or practice righteousness. Thus John can write in our Epistle for today:  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous.-1 John 3:7

Because of His love, The Father not only calls us His children, He actually makes us His children. Saints, in contrast to the world, are supposed to do more than simply ''feel'' love. We act on it, as well. True spiritual fulfillment is given to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

3. There is mercy for those who are merciful now – Vs. 7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Notice, the merciful receive mercy. Mercy is only for the undeserving. You show mercy as you have been shown mercy.  To be merciful is that compassion expressed to those around them.  Seized by his own unworthiness, the believer in Christ reaches out to others with compassion. Because he too has been forgiven, he cares for the special needs of those around him.

Mercy is demonstrated, in part, by our willingness to forgive others. Because of this forgiveness in Christ. The saints of God forgive. Not merely when it’s the noble thing to do. Not when it’s convenient. And there are eyes upon you.

Not merely seven times. But 70 times 7! This is what Paul teaches when he says, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:31-32  

The merciful show compassion and forgive as Christ has loved and forgiven them. We ask for a pure heart. That we may seek the Lord. And serve His holy purposes.  We seek peace through the blood of Christ; the Prince of peace.

The mercy of God is the source of motivation to show mercy toward others. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. -Luke 6:36

Only the merciful will receive mercy. Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Yet mercy triumphs over judgment!  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.-James 2:13

4. There is a vision of God for the pure in heart – Vs.8 - Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  This is the only way in which you can see God.   

Pure in heart speaks not of a person's old heart but his new heart. God has given the ability to seek the welfare of others above the desires for self. Refusing to focus on themselves, true saints, sincerely open their heart to what God and others desire.

Pure in Heart means clean, pure of sin, sincere, earnest devotion to God. It is a pure longing for God. Serving Him only.

A pure heart is achieved by the help of God. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. -Acts 15:9

Christians are to be committed to cleansing their hearts (and lives) of sin.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness -1 John 1:9

To see God or maintain fellowship with Him requires purity of heart. As James teaches, Come near to God and he will come near to you -James 4:8

These statements. Of those who are blessed. These proclamations. These declarations.  Are not some new kind of new Law given to us.

They are not rules for the righteous. They are rather a description of those who are in Christ.

Saints of God - The reign of the heavens is yours.  These assertions describe both who Jesus is and what He gives to all who, by faith, have been incorporated into His family the Church.

You, child, are blessed. The Kingdom of the Heavens is yours! You shall see God. For you are called the sons of God - You belong to Christ.

Passive Sentences – 9%
Readability – 79.7%
Reading Level – 4.7
For All the Saints copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

[2] The list we find here is in the indicative mood, not the imperative.

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