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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blessed = Happy : Thoughts on the Sermon on the Mount

After this Sunday's message by Pastor Greg at Harvest on the Beatitudes, I was thinking about its implications to my spiritual life presently during this time of difficulty in the Inland Empire as the economy continues to plummet, and unemployment rises. Also, I was comparing it to other great speeches and works of history. Nothing can compare to the intellectual, social, and moral teachings within the Sermon on the Mount.

The Sermon on the Mount is the Greatest Sermon in History.
The Beatitudes are the beginning of Jesus' teachings in the most famous sermon of all human history, the Sermon on the Mount. The historical fame of the Sermon on the Mount over the centuries is impossible to compare. In American history, the Declaration of Independence is very influential and famous, which states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This changed the North American world and created a new national identity for people to live in freedom (in what is now the United States of America). More recently in the cultural revolution days of the sixties and seventies, the serious impact of Martin Luther King's speech I Have a Dream shifted cultural barriers and is remembered as one of the most significant and influential speeches for the good of humanity. These two types of reforms were influential and changed the course of their country and the way people thought about others and themselves.

The Sermon on the Mount, however, is the most revolutionary and transforming teaching every taught. It has impacted thousands of people over 2000 years of history, and the relevancy of the fundamental teachings by Jesus are literally not of this world. No one could ever teach with such authority, conviction, morality, and truth. This sermon has endured and possesses life altering and life changing power because those who are doers of the Word find happiness, because the teachings encompass a passion for holiness and dependency on Christ. It transforms lives more powerfully than the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King's speech I Have a Dream because it is a sermon by God himself. God incarnate, Jesus Christ the Son of God, spoke these words in which shatters the self-righteous, personal-pleasure, and narcissistic hope to have a good life on your own. The Sermon on the Mount purges the hearts of all men and conveyed a reality that defied all moral teachings and philosophy. Therefore, if you cling to any other influential historical writings, or moral teaching and philosophy, you will never find absolute happiness. Absolute happiness is found in absolute holiness. Absolute holiness is found in absolute truth. The words of Christ are these things, "Sanctify them by your Word. Your Word is truth" (John 17:17). The Sermon on the Mount begins with Jesus saying "Blessed are" those who do these things. In the Declaration of Independence, however, you will never find such Divine institution of blessedness because it was written for the governance of a nation. If you cling to civil right speeches, you will not be happy because of the constant divide against those who the speech is against, and there will be no rest while fighting for such a cause, even if it is a good cause. Happiness truly does rests in the Sermon on the Mount. The teachings pile-drive and suplex the applauded good works of man because it was written for the greater good of all those who believe in order to be satisfied in Christ through redeeming happiness and eternal blissfulness. The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon in history because it was given to us by Jesus who is the greatest Person in history.

Blessed = Happy.
The beginning of the Sermon of the Mount starts with the Beatitudes. These are attitudes that we ought to have as Christians. They begin with us emptying ourselves of all self-sufficiency and be filled with total dependency on the Lord. The first four are about our relationship with God, and the last four about our relationship with others. Here are the eight beatitudes by Jesus:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:4)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:5)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:7)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matthew 5:8)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:9)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:10)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:11)

Based on the authority of Jesus Christ and the Scripture, if you do these things, you will have a happy life. I have done these things personally, and when I remember these gospel-centered principles, I find myself happier than I could ever possibly imagine in the world of uncertainty and emptiness. I am excited to hear part two on the beatitudes by Pastor Greg next week!

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