Passionate & Blessed
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 5:3–5:5, Luke 5:29–5:32, Matthew 5:6, 1 John 2:15–2:17, Mark 7:5–7:7, 2 Timothy 2:22, John 6:35
Passionate & Blessed
Week four of a ten week series discovering the pathway to God's blessings by learning and living the Beatitudes of Jesus
Matthew 5:3-5 NIV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Luke 5:29-32 NIV
29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Roots. Shoots. Fruit. Reactions
The sequence of the Beatitudes matters. The first three speak to what goes on beneath the surface in our hearts--spiritually desperate, broken, and surrendered. From there, signs of grace and new life begin to become in our lives.
Matthew 5:6 NIV
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
We tend to think of righteousness negatively and restrictively. People who are smug and self-righteous are a turn-off, but righteousness properly understood is positive and attractive.
Righteousness is right-ness.
Righteousness is good-ness.
Righteousness is God-ness.
It’s everything wonderful about God’s love, honesty, justice, mercy, beauty, and holiness. It should be desired not dreaded.
Our Righteousness as People
(1) Our perfect righteousness in Christ
knowing Jesus as Savior
(2) Our progressive righteousness in life
following Jesus as Lord
The Blessing of Righteousness
Righteousness connects passion (what we desire deeply) with religion (how we live morally). Because of our selfishness, our stubbornness, and our sinfulness, we just can’t seem to merge those two worlds together. Yet Jesus says our passion and our religion aren't just meant to come together, but that when they come together in us, that’s when we’ll experience the deepest and richest blessings of God.
NO Righteousness = passion without religion
These are people who on the outside don’t seem to care at all about morality. They live with great passion in life, but it’s all self-focused. This is what you see with the Younger Brother in Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son. He tells his father he wants nothing to do with him, and asks for his share of the family inheritance, which he precedes to blow through in passionately chasing after everything he thinks will bring him-pleasure and make him happy. It looked like he was having a good time, but it left him empty inside (he was far from “being filled”).
1 John 2:15-17 NIV
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
EMPTY Righteousness = religion without passion
Empty righteousness looks impressive. It looks spiritual. It looks incredibly religious. People like this can be faithful churchgoers. They can put a lot of money in the offering plate. They can quote a bunch of Scripture from memory. From all appearances, they’re as faithful and as devout as you’ll ever see. But something’s not quite right. Going back to Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son, this is exactly what you see with the Older Brother. He’s dutiful. He’s compliant. He’s everything on the outside that you would want a son to be. But on the inside? His heart is bitter, jealous, and resentful. Why? Because that’s what happens when you do the right thing while your heart’s in the wrong place.
Mark 7:5-7 NIV
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
TRUE Righteousness = passion + religion
True righteousness is when passion and religion come together in us. A
lot of people have got Christianity all wrong. They think that it’s “all rules, no joy,” but that’s not it. No, Jesus invites us to a life where our hearts will become even more alive than they ever have been before, when we direct our passion, our hunger, and our thirst toward His righteousness.
If there isn’t joy, passion, or excitement with your faith, then you’re doing it wrong. If you think being religious means dialing back your emotions and shutting down your heart, then you’re missing out on the abundant life that Jesus promises to everyone who knows and follows Him.
2 Timothy 2:22 NIV
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
What about you?
So which of those three best describes your life:
A life marked by No righteousness—all passion but no religion?
Empty righteousness—all religion but no passion? or
True righteousness, where passion and religion come together?
If it’s anything but that last one, you’re going to miss-out on the blessings God wants to give you. You’re going to miss out on the life you were not only created to life, but also on the life that Jesus freely offers you-to-experience because His death and His resurrection.
Let today be the day that you come to Jesus… or you come back to Jesus… and pursue the life of true righteousness that were always meant to live.
John 6:35 NIV
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Meekness starts with our surrender to God, then it becomes apparent in the way we treat others. Pastor Dan
1. Think of someone you’re having a hard time with right now. How are you tempted to respond to them? As a Christian, how do you think you should respond to them?
2. Jesus said that He is gentle (meek) and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29; 21:5). Read the verses below and note how Jesus responded to people who gave Him a hard time. Would you say His responses were meek? In what way—or not?
· Matthew 12:9-14
· Luke 7:36-47
· Matthew 16:21-23
· Luke 23:33-34
3. Pastor Colin Smith said, “There is a definite order to the Beatitudes, and each one flows from the others that went before.” With that in mind, how does this third Beatitude “flow from” the first two? How does being poor in spirit and mourning over our sin help us trust God and respond gently to people who offend us?
4. What does it mean that the meek will inherit the earth? How might people who first heard Jesus say this have understood it? How do you think Jesus intends for us to understand it today? Check out Psalm 37:5-11; 1 Peter 3:8-12; Matthew 19:28-30; Revelation 21:1-3, 7.
5. Of the three blessings Jesus promised in the first three Beatitudes—the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s comfort, and inheriting the earth—which one appeals to you most? Why?
6. Think again about the person you’re having a hard time with right now. What will it look like for you to trust in God and respond gently to them?