top of page

Merciful~Pure in Heart~Peacemakers~Persecuted




Princeton Christian Church

Matthew 5: 1-12 February 18, 2024


A man got saved one Sunday night, and before he left the service, he said he was concerned about how the other men at his job were going to react to the change in his life since had obeyed the Gospel and was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his sin.


The following Sunday, he came back to church. He seemed to be doing okay. He even witnessed to others there in the service. He talked about how he got saved on the past Sunday and how he had wondered how he would be received at his job. He went on to say things went much better than he expected. In fact, here is what he said, “The men didn’t even notice anything different about me. I don’t think they even found out I got saved.”


I am afraid that happens more often than we might want to admit. When we have been obedient to the Gospel, the way we behave, the way we work, and the way we speak should be so different from our old ways that people will know that something has happened. And that is when we have the opportunity to share Christ with those who don’t know him.


There must be some major differences between those who profess Christ as Savior and those who don’t. You ask: “What differences should there be between believers and nonbelievers??”  Isn’t it just like God to give us answers to the questions we have? And the answers to that question are listed in what we call the beatitudes in Matthew 5.


The first 4 – Poor in Spirit – Those Who Mourn – the Gentle – the Hungry, and the Thirsty - had to primarily deal with our relationship with God, whereas the final four deal primarily with our relationship with others.

  •  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  •  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

  •  “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

  •  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Remember, you can only learn how to properly deal with other people after you have your relationship with God in order.


In other words, the 1st four deal with what it means to be a Christian, and the 2nd four deal with how a Christian ought to behave.


In the first four, the focus is on the person’s needs. In the later ones, the focus is the person’s responsibility.


So, let’s look at each of the last four of the Beatitudes:


BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL: (v. 7 – READ)


“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

The first work that is required of the Christian is that of mercy, not piety or religion, but mercy. Mercy is a sense of pity plus a desire to relive the suffering.


In other words, pity + action = mercy. Therefore, just to be emotionally moved by a story or event is not being merciful.


Those who take pity and don’t act, are like the saying, “Too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly value.”


[ILLUS: Good example - The Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37 – review story.]


Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

When we give our lives to God, our view of ourselves and others changes in such a way that we not only see people as people, BUT we see them as individuals who desperately need to be saved from their sins.


You see people as being victims of Satan and his tactics. Our attitude should be like that of the Good Samaritan, who acted without judgment. He acted with great love and mercy.


Scripture says that those who are merciful will be shown mercy. It is almost like the measure by which you show mercy to others, God will also show mercy to you. Just as much as we need the merciful hand of God each day, likewise, we need to extend our merciful hand toward others.


BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART: (v. 8 – READ)


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

This beatitude shifts our attention from charity to purity, from practical Christianity to internal holiness.


What is meant by the heart? God is interested in your heart. If one contains purity of heart then it’s almost a guarantee that the rest of him/her is pure as well. The opposite is also true: if a person’s heart is impure then you can be sure so is the rest of him.


Jesus said in scripture: “He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a person ‘unclean."


What kind of internal purity does Jesus have in mind? A pure heart is a heart without defilement or contamination. The word “pure” literally means clean. A pure heart is a clean heart that is free from dirt. But purity is more than the absence of dirt. It is also the presence of good things. Paul says that we must fill our minds with Christ.


Because each and every day, we are being bombarded with the filth of this world. So, it is necessary to as much as possible to stay away from such harmful and impure activities.


Is it realistic for you and me to even think it is possible to be pure?


We can be sure of one thing: in the world we live in it certainly is not easy…


TV programs exploiting sexuality and the family unit,


Peer pressure to conform to the world’s standards, especially to our younger generation.


Global erosion of morals and values (starting at government levels),


Considering the type of person you are and the world that bombards you – is it possible for you to have a pure heart? ABSOLUTELY!!! HOW???


We can never do it on our own. It can only be possible through the grace and mercy of God.


To those who are pure in heart, Jesus promised that they will see God.


Remember when Moses went up Mt. Sinai and saw only the back of God? He said the experience was too overwhelming for a human being.


I wonder how we are going to react when we finally get the opportunity to see Jesus face to face.


Some of us think we’ll just walk up and talk to Him – scripture says that the angels can’t even do that – they cover their faces.


We sing… “We shall see Jesus just as they saw Him; there is no greater promise than this…” We should hold tight to that promise and look forward to it.


BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: (v. 9 – READ)


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers” deals with the Christian’s social responsibility.


How does my faith impact not only me or my personal life but how does my faith impact the world around me or society and culture at large – family and friends?


We need to get some understanding of what it means to be a peacemaker. A peacemaker is not someone who settles for peace regardless of the cost.


For example, rather than cause some controversy, the person brushes the issue under the carpet – that’s not being a peacemaker.


Again, being easygoing or being passive is not the same as being a peacemaker.


A Peacemaker is someone who is prepared to pursue peace and pay a high price if necessary. At times, peace is costly, like the grace of God.


ILLUS: God was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. God established peace with people through the death of his son. It was costly, and it was not achieved overnight.


Think about World War 2; before world peace was possible, 100,000 people had to die. World peace was extremely expensive during the 1940s.]


[APPL: There are three realms of peace, first in the home. If you cannot keep peace at home among family members because of arguments or disagreements or, in some cases, violence, then chances are you will have a challenging time in your other environments.


Your home life will set the stage for further arguments and disagreements at your work, social activities, church, or school, and, secondly, in the community – the second realm of peace.


Paul writes in Romans 12:18:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.”

That sometimes becomes difficult because we are dealing with people and people’s issues every day. Not all the time will people agree with every decision – they make it personal.) We deal with people from all different social and economic backgrounds and positions in life.


Finally, in society at large- the third realm of peace.


Society does not always agree with the morals and values of the church and Christians. Yet, we are called upon and expected by God to uphold those morals and values. If someone takes exception to us because of what we stand for then that’s unfortunate.


Scripture says the peacemakers will be called sons of God because they reflect the work of the Son of God who brought peace Himself.


What an honor for you to be called a Son or Daughter of God alongside The Son of God! An honor and privilege not to be taken lightly.


BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED: (vs. 10-12 – READ)


“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

How the beatitudes progress from one to another is not by accident; there is purpose behind it.


I’m not sure if you noticed before, but PEACE is followed by PERSECUTION – quite a contrast there. I believe Jesus does not want his disciples to get the impression that the Christian life is a Rose garden.


From time to time, some people try to paint that type of picture. Come to Jesus, and everything, every day will be hunky dory. Never a care ever again.


Jesus will take away your sin, your suffering, your pain. He will make you prosperous. He will guarantee you a first-class ticket to heaven and a front-row seat. He will give you that Mercedes Benz if only you have enough faith.


That’s so far from the truth!!! That is the Prosperity Gospel that is being preached today by many well-known false (and Wealthy) teachers.


True discipleship of Jesus Christ is very costly. For Jesus and his disciples, it involved suffering and persecution by others who disagreed with their faith.


When we share our faith today, we often receive that persecution as well. Certainly not to the extent that the disciples and the prophets before them did.


However, it is possible a time may come when we will be persecuted in like manner.


Just so we get it, Jesus repeats Himself in verses 11-12.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Peter describes the persecution and suffering one can expect from following Christ. (1 Peter 4:12-19 – READ)


Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

One of the harsh realities of being a Christian is that it is going to be costly.


In recent years, especially, people don’t want to hear about the costs of being a Christian. They just want to hear about the benefits.


But here is what happens: the church begins to soften the gospel message and presents it as just another cheap offer of a cheap product.


They sell Jesus and the gospel in a way that’s attractive to the listener, just like advertising a big sale item at Walmart.


Now, salvation is free. But discipleship is costly. But it is never too costly because of the reward. It is worth every day of obedience to our Father and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ!


Scripture says blessed are those who are persecuted, for they will receive the kingdom of heaven. In fact, we are to rejoice when we are persecuted because we know that great is our reward – CITIZENSHIP IN HEAVEN!!!


Conclusion:


When you look at this passage as a whole, it can be very easily seen that not everyone is going to go to heaven; not everyone who says they are a Christian is a Christian.


Being a born-again believer is not just a title that you wear as a badge on your shirt. It is not a title we have earned.


Being a Christian involves guidelines. It involves a solid, deep relationship with Christ and a character and actions as described in the Beatitudes.


If our life is not measured according to those guidelines – those teachings in Scripture, then we must let God do some restructuring in our lives.

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page