Strength in Meekness

Journal Entry // February 8, 2023

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV)

Matthew 5:5

Who are the meek? This word always seems to come across as a character trait that is not truly something I would desire.  It sounds the complete opposite of what the world and the culture around me tell me I should pursue. Meekness in my mind is a timid, shy, passive, and cowardly person who lets anyone and everyone walk over them and treat them unfairly. Yet, this is not the picture that the Bible presents of the meek and this is where I typically go astray. I read this verse (and many others) and I think I understand what is being said, but I completely misunderstand or deviate from the truth due to my lack of understanding. As the ESV Study Bible says, “The meek are the gentle, those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength.” The reason I struggle with truly understanding and embracing this characteristic, this beatitude, is that meekness goes against my basic fleshly desire to assert myself and take control of life and every situation. As the saying goes that I hear spoken so often in various ways, “God helps those who help themselves.” This 10-word phrase of Jesus puts my self-centered, self-righteous, prideful attitude in check and points me back to humility and hope, trusting in Jesus to meet my every need.

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Mourning to Comfort to Joy

Journal Entry // February 4, 2023

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (ESV)

Matthew 5:4

As Jesus builds on the beatitudes, moving from spiritually poor beggars to those that mourn over their poor spiritual estate and the havoc that sin has wrought in their lives, he states the good news that there is a comfort to be found in this mourning. The mourning that Jesus is speaking about is directly related to the understanding of our spiritual poorness. When we truly understand the devastation of sin in our life and the world around us, when we truly know the depth of our disobedience and rebellion against our holy God, then we will find ourselves in a state of mourning. Mourning over the hurt and pain that results from an understanding of the sin in our hearts. As we reflect on our lives and the waywardness of our souls, those who are receiving the kingdom of heaven will be led into a state of mourning. A time of deep grief as the waves of loss and brokenness wash over us. A deep grief that comes from a longing to see forgiveness and healing from the Lord. The good news that Jesus proclaims in this verse is of this very longing being fulfilled. Those who mourn… they will be comforted.

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Spiritual Beggar

Journal Entry // January 28, 2023

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

Matthew 5:3

Jesus separated from the great crowds and has gone up a mountain with his disciples to teach them about the Kingdom of God. With his disciples gathered around him to listen, Jesus begins to speak and starts with a summary description of the whole of his teaching with a section of nine statements that all begin with the word “blessed”. This word, blessed, is sometimes translated and defined as happy. There is a sense in which happiness is a true outcome of these blessings, as the one who is blessed by God should be in a state of happiness over his being blessed but I think it means something a bit more than just a feeling of happiness. Especially as modern-day men and women typically think of happiness in response to getting what they want/desire or seeing personal gain coming from some material circumstance. No, the “blessed” that Jesus is talking about here is more about the person being approved by God. Not a fleeting experience of happiness, but an objective truth of our state of being approved by God. The blessing of God upon the people Jesus is going to describe is his approval. That God approves of the person and has given them his blessing is the central point. The person being blessed is not the focus. The focus is on the One who blesses. The One who gives his approval.

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Special Teaching

Journal Entry // January 25, 2023

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (ESV)

Matthew 5:2

As Jesus saw the crowds gathering and forming around him, he pulled aside his disciples to a mountain and taught them. This teaching was not meant for everyone but only for those that were committed to following Jesus as the promised Messiah. When Jesus had separated himself from the crowds and was just among his disciples, then he sat down, opened his mouth, and taught them. It’s important to see the intentionality of this teaching. It is something more than the lessons the disciples witness as Jesus interacts and engages among the crowds. This is something special and direct for those who are committed to following Christ. When Jesus opens his mouth and teaches his disciples, he is building in them the importance of interpreting life and the law through the lens of grace and obedience. He is teaching them what it means to abide in Him.

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Seeing the Crowds

Journal Entry // January 21, 2023

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (ESV)

Matthew 5:1

I have been considering the principles of the Sermon on the Mount for several weeks now during the quiet moments of the day and evening. It began with the Spirit bringing to my mind the words of various sections of this sermon that were intimately relevant to my spiritual journey. Words that comforted me at times and challenged me in others. These words of Jesus wooing and calling me into a deeper and more intimate relationship. A call to reflect on my union with Christ and to motivate me to strengthen this fellowship through a deeply personal communion with Jesus in the Spirit. So that is my plan over the next however many weeks it takes me to journal through the Sermon on the Mount. It could be a month or it could be several months. I aim only to interact and engage with Christ through this message of encouragement and challenge. I want to walk away from each reflection time with a more richly personal understanding of Christ and a heart filled to the rim with his mercy and grace.

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Life with the Father pt.2

Men’s Small Group // November 8, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson.

Matthew 6:19-34

Introduction

  • Hypocrite -> Deliberately  uses religion to cover up his sins and promote his own gains.
    • First step in battling hypocrisy is to be honest with God in our private life.
    • This is also the first step in all of life.
  • Today we are going to look at our anxious heart.
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Life with the Father pt.1

Men’s Small Group // November 1, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson.

Matthew 6:1-18

Introduction

  • Just like any sermon preached today, this sermon from Jesus builds on itself as it progresses. It expands and develops the central them of the message – The counter-cultural, righteous life of the Kingdom.
  • We have just finished working through Jesus expounding the law and calling us to a righteousness of the heart. A righteousness that goes deeper than trying to find the minimal requirement of the law.
  • The truly righteous man shows his righteousness in righteous deeds.
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Law & Relationships pt.3

Men’s Small Group // October 18, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John R. W. Stott.

Matthew 5:38-48

Review of Last Week

  • We are at the end of a 6 part interpretation of the law by Jesus, where he is explaining how Righteousness Works in Daily Life.
  • We need to remember that this righteousness Jesus is talking about centers on  Relationships. The commandment always promotes the righteous opposite.
    • Not Murder –> Reconciliation
    • Not Adultery –> Purity and Integrity
    • Not Swearing Falsely –> Truthfulness
  • This theme is carried on in todays section.
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Law & Relationships pt.2

Men’s Small Group // October 11, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom by R Kent Hughes.

Matthew 5:31-37

Review of Last Week

  • We are in the middle of a six part interpretation of the law by Jesus, where he is explaining how Righteousness Works in Daily Life.
  • We need to remember that this Righteousness Jesus is talking about centers on  Relationships. The commandment always promotes the righteous opposite.
    • Not Murder –> Reconciliation
    • Not Adultery –> Purity and Integrity
  • This theme is carried on in todays section.
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Law & Relationships pt. 1

Men’s Small Group // October 4, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom Life in a Fallen World by Sinclair B Ferguson.

Matthew 5:21-30

Fulfill the Law

  • Christ came to fulfill the law. All of the law finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
  • “You have heard that it was said” (v.21 & 27)
    • Notice that Jesus did not say, “It is written.”
    • This is Jesus expanding on verse 20. He is speaking directly to the oral traditions of the scribes and Pharisees that was imposed on the people.
    • These traditions had the effect of turning the law into a list of do’s and don’ts that were focused on external observable actions.
  • Jesus is teaching on the true nature of the law… As it exposes the motives and intents of our heart.
  • KEY POINT: “When an activity is forbidden in God’s word, its positive counterpart is commanded.” p.84
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