Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 5

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

June 7, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 5

Read: Matthew 5

Matthew 5: 3-11 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Think

Over the centuries, the goals we set for our children have shifted dramatically. In the 18th century, simply seeing them survive to adulthood was the main aim due to harsh living conditions. Fast forward to the 19th century, and it’s all about securing a stable job. Now, in the modern day, the target has evolved once more: we want our kids to be happy. But this desire isn't just limited to our children; it seems to be the driving force behind our entire culture. Think about the 1970s, often dubbed the "me decade." Even now, we're still very much focused on personal improvement—our bodies, minds, relationships—all in pursuit of happiness. Yet, despite all this effort, there’s a glaring paradox. So many people are unhappy.

Take Ernest Hemingway, for example. Here's a guy who grew up in a deeply religious home but decided to chart his own course, leaving his childhood faith behind. Hemingway chased excitement through his writing, multiple marriages, and even by engaging in warfare. Yet despite leading what many might consider a thrilling life, he described his final years as being as empty as “a radio tube when the batteries are dead and there is no current to plug into.” His life, packed with adventures and accolades, ended in tragedy when he took his own life. It’s a stark reminder that having it all doesn’t necessarily mean feeling fulfilled.

This is where Jesus' teachings, the beatitudes, come into play. He used the term "blessed," which many modern translations interpret as "happy." But the happiness Jesus talks about isn't about what's happening to us externally; it's about a profound inner joy that doesn't depend on life's ups and downs. This kind of blessedness comes from developing characteristics like humility, purity, and a peacemaking spirit—qualities that draw God’s favor regardless of our external circumstances. These qualities only come from him.

So, what Jesus offers is essentially a happiness hack that turns conventional wisdom on its head. He tells us to seek happiness not in accumulating things or thrilling experiences, but in transforming our hearts and minds to reflect the values of his kingdom. This approach to life creates a joy that is not only more profound but also more lasting. It's about looking for fulfillment in places that truly matter beyond what the world typically tells us to chase. Jesus wasn’t just suggesting a different way to be happy; he was completely redefining what it means to live a fulfilled life.

Apply

Take some time this week to read through the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). As you read, ask yourself which of these blessings feels most challenging to you and why. Is it being meek? Seeking righteousness? Being a peacemaker?

Pray

Lord, you call me to be meek, to mourn, to seek righteousness, and to make peace. Help me to understand and live it out, so I can experience true joy. Help me be encouraged as I go through this journey of becoming more like you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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