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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Three Verses (Matthew 5:8, 9, 10)
Date Posted: May 24, 2022

Some things are just too important to skip; today's message will deal, albeit in an abbreviated form, with three verses from the Sermon on the Mount. Two of these culminate The Beatitudes as they address what the blessed ones are; the third and last verse addresses what others do to the blessed ones.

Matthew 5.8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” In the absolute sense, there is no one that is pure in heart any more than there are any who are righteous due to their own efforts. The pure in heart are those whose heart is singularly focused on God and on serving Him. The pure in heart are not sinless; they are just forgiven. They walk in the light even as He is in the light and the blood of Jesus cleanses them from their sins (1 John 1.7). This verse pinpoints the difference between the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisee, and the righteousness that comes from God; the heart is the key difference. Service to God apart from the heart is not service to God at all; it is but a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal in His eyes and ears (see 1 Corinthians 13.1).

Matthew 5.9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Peace in the absolute sense is the objective of this beatitude. Jesus spoke in another place about peace, and it is most relevant to this beatitude. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14.27). The peace which matters most is not the peace which the world offers, but the peace which God's spokesmen offer through the terms of the Gospel. The peacemakers then are those who care enough about the souls of men to go out into the highways and byways and preach the gospel of peace. The feet of these emissaries are beautiful (Romans 10.15) in as much as they are prepared to declare the message of peace wearing the uniform of the Christian soldier (Ephesians 6.15).

Matthew 5.10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is interesting that this statement follows the beatitude of the peacemakers. It verbalizes the timeless principle that was first demonstrated in the lives of Cain and Abel. As far as any man knows, Abel's only crime was to worship God acceptably and live in a godly manner. Yet, he was killed by his own flesh and blood. Jesus' forerunner, John, was a contemporary example of this very principle. He was a peacemaker extraordinaire, but he was beheaded due to his stand for righteousness and godly living! Jesus knew that evil would always oppose good and that those who desire to live godly will always suffer persecution (see 2 Timothy 3.12). This principle was borne out in His life as well as in the lives of His apostles and disciples. So the peacemakers of the last beatitude would not know peace from a worldly viewpoint; rather, they would bear the brunt of the world's wrath in many cases.

From an overview standpoint, blessed (happy) is a state of mind. It does not come from what we have, or from the physical circumstances that surround us. Rather, happiness comes from within (who we are and how we react to the externals). Blessedness (happiness) does not mean having a painted on smile; rather, it is an inner glow that results from being true to yourself and the principles of God that are instilled within the godly heart. Happiness is not the absence of conflict; it is the calmness that results from living a life consistent with the will of one's Creator!

Are you happy (blessed)? If not, speaking frankly, there is but one person to blame. Happiness is like Smokey Bear says about preventing forest fires – ONLY you can do it!

Questions:

1. How can we know that the pure in heart does not refer to those who do not have sinful thoughts?

2. Will the peacemakers of the last beatitude know peace in the world? If not, why not?

3. What did Paul say would happen to those “...who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus”? (see 2 Timothy 3.12)?

4. Was Jesus a peacemaker? Was Jesus pure in heart? Was Jesus persecuted for righteousness sake? How much different can His followers expect to be treated in this world?

"God's Words For US" from Cecelia Lester

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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