During the month of September we will be starting a new sermon series in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16). As I’ve been studying and reflecting on this challenging and beautiful portion of Scripture, here are nine reasons why I believe a study in the Beatitudes will be beneficial for us as a congregation:
- They help us more clearly understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
- They help us to discern whether we truly belong to God’s kingdom as citizens.
- They show us what we are, can be, and will be by God’s grace. We can be this! The gospel changes us! And so they challenge and invite us: Will you point your heart in this direction? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to change your heart in this way? What a beautiful vision this is of the Christian life and Christian community!
- They show us what true human flourishing really looks like and how we experience it in our lives. Jonathan Pennington writes: “The Sermon [on the Mount] is Christianity’s answer to the greatest metaphysical question that humanity has always faced—How can we experience true human flourishing? What is happiness, blessedness, shalom, and how does one obtain and sustain it?”
- They rescue us from the anti-kingdom of God cultural air that we breathe. What do you really love? What do you really want? What are you really pursuing? What’s your vision of the good life? The Beatitudes expose these realities.
- They help us understand that becoming a Christian means we begin to look very different from the world around us: what we value and desire and want is different; what we love is different; our vision of the good life is different; our priorities are different.
- They help us as a church become distinct from the world so that we can be a more winsome witness to the world, thus contributing to our work of evangelism.
- They help us feel the wonder of God’s gracious gifts to those of us who are His disciples. In other words, they’re a cause of celebration for what God has done for us!
- To help us see the glory of Jesus because ultimately this is a description of Him. So praise Him as we see these things on display in Him!
I look forward to seeing you on Sundays. Be sure to invite friends (particularly non-Christian friends) to join us for worship.