Last month we began our study of the “Sermon on the Mount” with our introduction and the first two Beatitudes paving the way lets continue our journey through God’s word. Let’s begin October with Matthew 5:5 where we read: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Many of us who have been in or around church for some time remember cute phrases like; meekness isn’t weakness. Well there is a lot of truth in that little phrase. However, I am concerned that many in the church today have no real idea of what meekness is. I could follow others and give you a definition then move on, but to truly understand meekness you should be exposed to the meaning, not just a definition. Two men from scripture who characterize meekness were Moses and Paul. These men were not just leaders or preachers, they were men who made themselves available to God to accomplish His work, regardless of circumstance or situation. God’s message through these men went out to multitudes, many of them occupying high offices with influence over life itself.
Allow me to begin with a description of what meekness is not. It is not adopting a low view of oneself or discrediting the position, responsibility or authority God has given to an individual. Meekness recognizes all the attributes God has blessed one with; as the individual submits themselves to every manifestation of those attributes. In other words Meekness and obedience go hand in hand. It can be summarized by the character of unquestioned submission. The Lord Jesus Christ promised to those who subject themselves to His authority the unquestioned acceptance into His kingdom. Of course the beginning of this subjection is accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we often refer to being born again. I am consistently amazed with men and women I meet who are convinced heaven is reserved for the good and hell for the bad. If you think this is true please, please understand this! Eternal life (heaven) is reserved for the elect, those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It will be the elect who will have the ability to put meekness into practice in their lives. It will be the meek who will inherit the earth. The unsaved, unrighteous, unredeemed are characterized by a self-assertive pride that will lead them to refuse to submit to the authority of Christ. Likewise those who have and continue to follow the life of a Pharisees will never be part of Messiah’s kingdom and unless they repent, they have only hell to look forward to.
With meekness covered in verse 5 let’s move on to verse 6 where we read: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Those who truly experience the redemption of God have an appetite for the righteousness of God. Examples of those who had this appetite were; Moses, David, Paul, Daniel and even Peter. This appetite should characterize every believer (1 Peter 2:2). In this beatitude we are told specifically by the Lord those who have this appetite will be satisfied. There is a difference between being hungry and having an appetite. The hungry can be filled with anything, but those who have an appetite can only be satisfied with certain dishes. Again just like meekness only the redeemed can possess this appetite. The religious, a.k.a. Pharisees, are so satisfied with who they are there is no desire to satisfy God or be satisfied by Him. An important point to realize here is the religious are not necessarily redeemed. Those who are acceptable to God will always have an appetite for His righteousness and from that righteousness a heart of service to Him regardless of the circumstances or situations.
I think we may have space for one more beatitude this month. Let’s take a look at verse 7 where the Lord tells us: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Many times we hear Grace rightfully explained; Gods Riches At Christ Expense. If that is true about Grace and it is, how would we describe Mercy? How about this; mercy is God’s loving response to the needs of those who are the objects of His affection. By nature we are all selfish and because of this we are not naturally merciful; but God is merciful. True righteousness produces loving care and compassion for the spiritual and physical needs of others, including the needs of those who are lost. Look at the promise the Lord makes, those who show mercy shall (without question) receive mercy.
Mercy isn’t ignoring or justifying sin. It is understanding the sinner is in need of Christ’s mercy and to have that brought into their life requires the testimony of a witness (the Christian). The only way we can fill the role of a witness with a godly testimony is to have mercy in our heart. Mercy opens the door for Gods righteousness. Mercy only comes through Jesus Christ and it is there to be shown to everyone without exception.
The Pharisee had no desire for true righteousness, they felt no responsibility to the sinner, poor, sick, infirm or lonely; those experiencing these situations were considered under divine judgment. Christ taught us that true righteousness will produce a loving response to the needs of others, those we agree with and those we don’t.
I better stop here, for the months of November and December I will write about Thanksgiving and Christmas while planning to pick up our study of the “Sermon on the Mount” again in the New Year. So be sure to meet me here next month as we continue to look into Gods Inspiring Word. Until then God Bless you is my prayer!
Dr. Terry Cheek
Dr. Terry Cheek has over 20 yrs experience in ministry with 16 of them exclusively in the pastorate. Having an earned BA, MA, and Doctorate in Theology he is a...