Sermon on the Mount – Creating a Counterculture - Part 2 (Matthew 5:4-5)
My first introduction to the Christian lifestyle as a new believer was the book of Matthew and until chapter 5 it was a storybook, and suddenly, the book was speaking to me – when I was going through the beatitudes for the very first time, I remember feeling I was going to have to renounce the world and live as a nun. Blessed are you when you are persecuted? Blessed are the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry? To be honest, it scared me.
But as I developed a relationship with Jesus, I’ve come to understand that His heart is to bless those who are becoming like him. We are not just to be the poor, the mourning and meek, the pure and the persecuted. We are also the comforted, the inheritors of the earth, the satisfied, the children of God, the rewarded. Why do we do these things that crucify the flesh? so that we can be raised with him, in glory and fullness of life. His blessings always surpass the cost, it is always disproportionate. That is how we are to view this passage - not as a list of rules, but as a doorway to blessing, inheritance and reward.
Last week navaz spoke about this upside-down kingdom that's so countercultural, that goes against the grain of everything that the world teaches us. And today I want to talk about the inside out kingdom. The world looks at performance and rewards the outcome, but God looks at the heart. Before going on to things like murder, adultery and divorce, Jesus addresses mourning meekness, mercy, purity - he addresses the matters of the heart for everything we do flows from it. Our scripture for today is Matthew 5: 4-5 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Take the opportunity during our 3 days of fasting and prayer to set time apart to mourn in the spirit over your own sins and the sins of the world and we will experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
i. Not an inflated opinion of ourselves - To be meek means to have an accurate estimation of ourselves and others. Closely connected to mourning - if we cannot see and mourn over our own sin, we will have an inflated opinion of ourselves. (illustration - Instagram filters) Meekness is not a personality trait but a heart attitude. All of us are called to be meek. Phil 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” How about people who are lower than you in socio-economic status, in righteousness, inexperience… this is how - we wash their feet. Serve those who are below you because when we serve, we get to know their stories.
ii. Not a doormat - Meek does not mean weak. it does not mean to give up all power and just be a yes-person. That is false humility - to not take responsibility for ourselves and blame others for the state we are in. meekness does not mean a lack of confidence - it means having a rightly placed confidence - not in our flesh but in God. In fact, all the great leaders we see in the bible were mighty meek men - it’s not an oxymoron. Not only is meekness a quality of great leaders, but it is a qualification for leadership in the church - 1 Tim 3:2-3 “ Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, ..., respectable, hospitable, able to teach...not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” Leadership requires that we take ownership for our own selves and our decisions, while still maintaining a posture of meekness and gentleness. Consider Stephen - the great martyr who saw Jesus himself welcoming him into heaven as he gave up his life for the gospel - his assignment was not preaching to thousands but to be a server for the Greek widows at meals.