The Beatitudes, Pt. 2
Oct 25, 2020
We open again with the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever preached. Jesus Christ.
- It begins with the Beatitudes.
- This morning we take up verse 5.
I want to acknowledge the book Studies on the Sermon on the Mount by D Martyn Lloyd-Jones is the best thing I have read on Jesus’ sermon.
- Lloyd-Jones influenced what I will share this morning.
- I am taking a slower pace to mine that gold Jesus left for us here.
Verse 5 raises a few immediate questions I aim to address.
- “What is meekness?”
- “What does it mean to inherit the earth?”
- “Why being meek qualifies someone to inherit the whole earth?”
Inheriting the earth might seem way out there, but I contend everyone wants to inherit the earth!
Our last Presidential debate center’s on inheriting the earth. Both parties represent what our country is fighting over.
“Just review the main arguments.”
- We can do better with Covid than you can.
- We can keep the people alive longer than you can.
- We can provide better healthcare, so sick people to get better.
- We can manage world energy resources better than you.
- We can protect wealth better than you can.
- We can keep people from hating each other better than you can.
- We can make the earth safer from world enemies than you can.
- We can define marriage, law, and sex better than you can.
Both sides of the political spectrum are making strong assertions to have the answers to these realities. Round and round the debates go.
Make no mistake, I have strong convictions for conservative politics.
- To preserve religious freedom.
- I am pro-life versus being pro-murder. I will vote accordingly.
Certainly, people want to inherit the earth!
- Like the Jews in Jesus’ day who wanted the earth by means of political power.
- Yet, Jesus tells us the one true way to ensure that you will have the whole world!
- One way. One kind of person. Not for four years.
- For the most part, this way is the one single attribute is missing from our presidential debates and that is, “meekness.”
- The very thing Jesus says ensures inheriting the earth is missing.
- Missing in how our world naturally thinks!
- What gets you what you want and it is nowhere present.
People on large and small scales want possession of the “earth.”
- World conquest is a theme throughout history.
- What people crave.
- They always have.
- According to Christ, the whole world is given to the meek and only to the meek.
- People instinctively trust their personal strength and power and abilities for achievement.
- Self-assurance and aggressiveness are the resources they claim!
- If you do not have what you want, then press harder!
- For the Christian, it is the exact opposite!
- The Jews wanted Jesus to give them the world through military.
- When Jesus came he clarified, “This is not the way.”
You say Jesus’ promise is not realistic. And, certainly not practical.
- A Sunday school promise that with no quantifiable blessing for now.
- No shoe leather.
- Let us get down to work to survive this moment in our nation’s history.
- Leave this promise for the afterlife.
- This attitude is agnostic!
- What you must fight and suffocate regularly in your heart.
Just ask, “How worried am I regarding the outcome of this presidential election?”
- “How fired up you are when certain issues come up?”
- “Is your world threatened?”
Be honest as to whether Jesus’ promise comes into play at all.
“Does this promise apply for now or are we supposed to give it a cursory nod and file it for our days in hospice care?” Applied in heaven.
Jesus’ words are meant to strike happiness inside our hearts.
- He repeats the word “Blessed” nine times in a row for a reason.
- Jesus provides the path towards happiness - the path of self-denial.
- “Blessed selflessness.”
Nine promises for happiness
1. Poverty promises heaven (vv. 1-3)
2. Mourning promises comfort (v. 4)
As I said last week these Beatitude Attitudes build on each other.
- Strung together driving toward self-denial.
- To be “poor in spirit” is looking in the mirror to renounce self-reliance.
- Renunciation based on your sin.
- Our deep and clear sin causes us to “mourn” (v. 4).
- When we take an honest look, we repent.
- Stop forcing things and rely on the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
This brings us to meekness.
3. Meekness promises the earth (v. 5)
a. What is meekness?
What meekness is not
Meekness does not mean indolence or that you are a pushover.
- A wet noodle.
- Being affable or easygoing by nature.
- Meekness is not weakness but we need to defined this more deeply.
- It does not mean you are “nice.”
- A dog or cat nicer than another.
- Something purely biological is not what we are talking about.
- Meekness is not personality even basic character.
- Meekness is not someone who is quick to compromise or to maintain peace at all cost.
- Rather than disagree, smooth it over.
- Meekness is compatible with authority.
ESV Numbers 12:1-3 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.2 And they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" And the LORD heard it.3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.
The case can be made that all spiritually strong leaders in Scripture were meek:
- Abraham who gave preference to Lot.
- David who yielded to Saul.
- Jeremiah preached in isolation from the other prophets.
- Stephen died as the first martyr.
- Paul who yielded his intellect willing to write from prison.
The supreme example of meekness is Christ.
ESV Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
- This is the demeanor of Jesus, but not his only demeanor.
- Any godly person also has real indignation.
- Both Moses and Jesus were also angry.
- Moses gets mixed reviews.
“Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating up Hebrew slaved, faced Pharaoh to demand release of his people, and we so angry at the orgy that Aaron and the people were having around the golden calf and that he smashed the first set of the tablets of the 10 commandments.” [Quote]
- Jesus was angry with scandal within the temple worship and angry with false teachers such as the Pharisees.
ESV John 2:13-17 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade."17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Meekness does not cancel out righteous indignation.
So how do we strike the balance?
ESV Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Aristotle had a fixed method defining meekness:
- Something between two extremes.
- Not spending to excess or being a miser hits the happy medium of being generous.
- Not given to orge (extreme anger) or excessive angerlessness.
- Selfish anger is always a sin but there is selfless anger toward moral dynamics in our world.
What meekness is
Meekness is first inward and second outward.
- Never enough to behavior modify.
- Never enough to make commitments not yell.
- You come to the state of mind that says I do not desire to yell.
Meekness should be understood in light of others.
- Meekness has to do with how others assess you.
“It is one thing to see sin inside yourself and it is quite another to have someone else point your sin out to you.” [Lloyd-Jones]
Meekness is the true view of yourself in respect to others.
- Overflow of being humbled by your own sin.
- Meekness or gentleness is the fruit of the spirit.
ESV Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
The “fruit” of the Spirit is just that one “fruit” meaning “gentleness” and “self-control” go together.
- Notice that this fruit proves you belong to Christ.
- Meekness comes from being under the control of the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18).
ESV Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Meekness is impossible apart from the Spirit.
More than just a tall order.
- Someone meek is not proud of himself, does not seek self-glory.
- There is nothing about him that he wants to brag about.
- Opposite of what mainline psychology teaches.
- Assess yourself higher.
- You are better than you think you are.
- Your value and worth are your driving motivation to assert yourself.
- To achieve and excel because of your value.
Someone who is meek is not demanding.
- Does not seek personal rights or privilege or deserved possessions.
- Status is unimportant.
The mindset of our Lord.
ESV Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Lloyd-Jones said: We spend our whole lives watching ourselves. But when a man becomes meek he has finished with all that; he no longer worries about himself and what other people say. To be truly meek means we no longer protect ourselves, because we see there is nothing worth defending. Se we are not defensive; all that is gone. The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself. He never talks to himself and says, “You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you.” He never thinks: “How wonderful I really am, if only other people gave me a chance.” Self-pity! What hours and years we waste in this!” To be meek…means you have finished with yourself altogether, and you come to see you have no rights or deserts at all”
I am painfully aware of my own selfishness.
- Most everything I do and everyone I approach I am self-oriented.
I compare this experience with talking to someone on FaceTime.
- You see the larger image of the person on your phone screen while you also see your smaller image of yourself up in the corner.
- When you are truly engaged and listening to the person you are talking to, you forget about the smaller image of you.
- Unconcerned with how you are coming across, what you look like, or your facial expressions.
- It is almost funny to watch someone who is supposed to be FaceTiming with you who is focused on their little image on the other line.
- Mirror Mirror on the Wall.
[D.A. Carson] “Individually, each man tends to assume, without thinking, that he is at the center of the universe; therefore, he relates poorly to the four billion others who are laboring under a similar delusion.”
- When you are meek you realize nobody can harm you.
[John Bunyan] “He that is down need fear no fall.”
- No one can say something too bad about you.
[Lloyd-Jones] “You need not worry about what men may say or do; you know you deserve it all and more…The man who is truly meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.”
ESV 1 Peter 2:19-23 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
Practically meekness is a controlled desire to see other’s interests advance ahead of your own. [Carson]
b. What does it mean to inherit the earth?
This promise is literally fulfilled in two ways.
- Physically and spiritually.
Physical promise originates with the LORD’s promise to Israel made in Psalm 37.
ESV Psalm 37:9-13 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.
- This promise made by David applies to all believers in the future millennial reign.
- All part of the New Heaven and New Earth will know this blessing for all eternity.
“Why does being meek qualify you to inherit the earth?”
- The answer to this question answers why we experience inheriting the earth now.
- True meekness is only what believers can know.
- So, only believers receive this eternal reward.
- What is kept for us in heaven (cff. v. 12; 1 Pet. 1:4 “…an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”).
In what sense does a meek person “inherit the earth” now?
- Someone who is Meek?
- Has inherited the earth, already, in this life.
These are Beatitude Attitudes and this attitude of meekness is knowing you have everything. Because you are content!
ESV 2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
ESV Philippians 4:19 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
ESV 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness,"20 and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours,23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
This attitude is for now and looks to the future.
- 1 Corinthians 6 says the saints will judge the world.
- Romans 8 calls us “children of God who are heirs of God.”
- We inherit the earth with Christ.
Being meek is uncommon and uniquely Christian.
- The natural man is not meek.
- The question of character is a loaded question regarding this election.
- Each candidate pointing to the other hoping another shoe will drop.
- Emails serving as portals looking inside the person’s heart.
- “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Still, everyone’s character is under God’s scrutiny.
- The Word of God is our standard.
- The character of Jesus Christ.
- Only achievable through Christ by the Holy Spirit.
- The fruit of the Spirit.
This blessing called meekness is spiritual contentment.
- More than an expectation for presidents.
- Meekness is what Christ expects of every blood-bought believer.
Believers by the Spirit can look inside and see what is truly there.
- What is grotesque and what Christ alone redeems.
- Mourn over sin and find joy in grace.
This alone grows meekness inside you – observable by others around you.
Meekness is what people will see and you will not see.
- You will lose track of you.
- Face to face time with Jesus becomes more and more about him and less and less about you.
- Self-pity begins to lose, and contentment begins to win.
ESV 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.