1. Matthew 5:1-12
Lord began His discourse by saying "Blessed are...." and
His hearers must have been staggered by what followed. According
to Jesus, they were to be blessed in every condition which from
earliest childhood they had been taught to regard as a curse.
Our Lord was talking to Jews, and they believed that the sign of
the blessing of God was material prosperity in every shape and
form, and yet Jesus says Blessed are you for exactly the
"Blessed are the poor in
"Blessed are they that
The Beatitudes, for
instance, seem merely mild and beautiful precepts for unworldly
people but of very little use for the stern world in which we
live. We soon find, however, that they contain the dynamite of
the Holy Ghost, they explode like a spiritual "mine" when the
circumstances of our life require them to do so, and rip and
tear and revolutionize all our conceptions.
The test of a disciple is
obedience to the light when
these things come to the conscious mind. It is not that I hunt
through the Bible for some precept to obey. Jesus Christ's
teaching never leads me to take myself as a moral prig, but that
I live so in touch with God that the Holy Spirit can continually
bring some word of His and apply it to the circumstances I am
The motive at the back of the precepts of
the Sermon on the Mount is love for God. Read the Beatitudes with your mind
fixed on God, and you will realize their neglected side. Their
meaning in relationship to men is so obvious that it scarcely
needs stating, but the Godward aspect is not so obvious.
1. "Blessed are the poor
in spirit" towards God. Am I a pauper towards God ? Do I know I
cannot prevail in prayer; I cannot blot out the sins of the
I cannot alter my disposition; I cannot lift myself nearer God ?
Then I am in the very place where I am able to receive the Holy
Spirit. No man can receive Holy Spirit who is not convinced he
is a pauper spiritually."
2. "Blessed are the meek"
towards God's dispensations.
3. "Blessed are the merciful"
to God's reputation. Do I awaken sympathy for myself when I am
in trouble ? Then I am slandering God because the reflex thought
in people's minds is How hard God is with that man. It is easy
to slander God's character because He never attempts to
vindicate Himself. [Misplaced sympathy is not Biblical mercy and
does not honor God, but God will use us to demonstrate His
wonderful mercy in ways that turn their hearts to Him.]
3. "Blessed are the pure
in heart" that is obviously Godward.
4. "Blessed are the peace
makers" between God and man, the note that was struck at the
birth of Jesus.
...The motive of a
disciple is to be well-pleasing to God. The true blessedness
of the saint is in determinedly making and keeping God first.
Herein lies the
disproportion [discrepancy] between Jesus Christ's principles and all other
moral teaching: Jesus bases everything on God-realization
[expressed through continual trust and thanks to Him],
while other teachers base everything on self-realization
[self-focused aim to fulfill my personal goals for me!]...
Discipleship is based not
on devotion to abstract ideals, but on devotion to a Person,
the Lord Jesus Christ, consequently the whole of the
Christian life is stamped by originality. Whenever the Holy
Spirit sees a chance of glorifying Jesus, He will take your
whole personality, and simply make it blaze and glow with
personal passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. You are no
longer devoted to a cause nor the devotee of a principle, but
love slave of the Lord Jesus.
No man on earth has that
love unless the Holy Ghost has imparted it to him. Men
may admire Him and respect Him and reverence Him, but no man can
love God until the Holy Ghost has shed abroad that love in his
heart (see Romans V. 5.)...
5. "Blessed are ye, when
men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner
of evil against you falsely, for My sake."
It is not suffering for
conscience sake, or for convictions sake, or because of the
ordinary troubles of life, but some thing other than all that For My sake.
6. "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall
separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and
cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake."
did not say Rejoice when men separate you from their company
because of your own crotchety notions but when they reproach you
for My sake.
When you begin to deport
yourself among men as a saint, they will leave you absolutely
alone, you will be reviled and persecuted. No man can stand that
unless he is in love with Jesus Christ, he cannot do it for a
conviction or for a creed, but he can do it for a Being whom
he loves. Devotion to a Person is the only thing that tells;
devotion to death to a Person, not devotion to a creed or a
"O God, You are my God; early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You....
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:1-3, 7-8