Summer Preaching Series – The Beatitudes

I am excited about our summer series at Cornerstone. We are specifically taking the months of July and August to go through each of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). So, one beatitude per week.

The whole of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chs. 5-7) is par excellence in Jesus’ teaching on what it means to live in accordance with the kingdom rule of God. It is, by far, one of the most challenging sections of Scripture. But a true disciple of the kingdom and the King will desire to see these things become a reality in their life. Of course, this isn’t about earning the love, grace and favour of God. But those who have stepped into His grace, love and favour will long to walk in these things. As one author stated about the Sermon on the Mount:

‘But as we approach the sermon it is not with a bludgeon hanging over our heads, but with a beckoning, a divine beckoning, an offer to us to partake in the most wonderful life imaginable, beyond our fondest dreams.

Since the sermon is a revelation of the character and conduct of the most beautiful character who ever lived, it means nothing less than that we are being invited – being offered the opportunity of being made into that likeness. So we come to it not with the tense whipping-up of the will, but with the eager surrender of the will.’ (E. Stanley Jones, The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person, p150)

This past Sunday, while also giving introductions to Matthew’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Beatitudes as a whole, we specifically took time to look at the first beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Or as a few other translations give it:

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (NLT)

Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! (The Amplified)

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. (The Message)

I am looking forward to diving deeper into these most challenging words from Jesus Himself. Yes, to learn a little. But, more importantly, to be changed and stirred to live in accordance with these words.

If you would like to hear this past Sunday’s message, click on the icon below. Or you can download it from our podcast or iTunes.

Martin Luther King Jr Quote

I came across this quote by Martin Luther King Jr today and it was quite stirring:

To our most bitter opponents we say: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”

It reminds me of Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11).

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 meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

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

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

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

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

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

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.