Tom Hinkle - Matthew 5

Jesus went up into the mountain and when He was set His disciples came to Him and He opened His mouth and taught them saying … then followed the Blesseds of Matthew 5.

On Wednesday night, for those of you who were not here then, I told a little story about a professing man who was asked by another religious man, “What is your doctrine?” He was asking questions about what we believe and that young man who was asked the question replied so wisely and said, “Matthew 5, 6, and 7.” That really is the foundation of what we believe in Jesus. Perhaps there is more to it than that but it seems that everything I have a question about, I somehow come back to Matthew 5, 6, and 7. As far as we know, this is the first recorded message that Jesus gave to the world in His ministry. Perhaps He spoke in other places at sometime but I don’t know but recorded in the scriptures, these three chapters as recorded was how He began His ministry.

It has been said that Matthew chapter 5 is the foundation for blessing and Matthew chapter 6 is the foundation for faith while Matthew chapter 7 is the foundation for truth. If you read that over in that manner, it does seem to follow in those lines. We all know that every house needs a foundation, every life needs a foundation, something to base our belief on. Actually when a person is asked about their doctrine, the doctrine that we believe, what they are asking is the foundation on which we base our faith, our trust, our love. Everything that we have in Christ, what are we basing it on? This foundation that we find in Matthew 5, 6, and 7 is a very, very solid foundation for life, for spiritual life.

Jesus ended this that is often called the sermon on the mount, He ended it with the parable about two houses - one that was dug deep and had a foundation on the solid rock and the other that was built on the sand without a foundation. So I do think that He even planned for us to accept these first words as a foundation for our spiritual life and what to base it on. When Jesus came into the world, He had 30 years previous to this of living on the earth amongst God’s people, hearing what they had to say about His Father, seeing how they were seeking to worship His own father that He had just come from very shortly before this. It must have been a real grief to Him to see how God’s people were seeking to serve Him in such a baseless way.

What Jesus came to was a very, very religious people - the most religious people, I believe, on the face of the earth in that day. They were zealous in their religion towards God. I can’t call it faith because it doesn’t seem like there was really any much faith in it. Those people were making sacrifices probably above all the nations around them. They were definitely a very religious people but they were not enjoying what they were doing and they weren’t getting anything out of it. That is what Jesus saw. He saw a people that were going through a lot of daily motions, prayer 3 or 5 times a day, very many rituals that were connected in some way of trying to please God as they saw things themselves, I guess. What He saw was, "These people don’t know My Father but they believe in Him. They are trying to follow the teachings that God once gave to His servant Moses but they are not happy about it."

We were hearing that this word blessed means happy and that is one of the finest definitions of it and probably one of the closest definitions of what blessed means. That is to be happy, something that will bring joy and peace. God always meant that His people would be living in joy and that serving Him would be a joy to them. One thing that I can say I have found personally and I have no hesitation to share it with you today and that is that when I am not enjoying my service to God, I can be very sure that He isn’t getting anything out of it either. He is no happier with my service than I am but when my service is bringing joy to me, then it is also bringing joy to God. Psalm 144 and verse 15 says, "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord," and that is exactly how God intended it to be, that any one of His children should be a very happy child.

Many of you are parents and you have seen your children go through very unhappy periods of time in their life. During times of rebellion, during times of unwillingness, during times of trying things in their own way and the joy leaves, even in a family. It would be very, very sad if the joy ever went out of this family. I really don’t know how long a person can continue when they are not happy. When we are not enjoying God’s way, it is only a matter of time until we are no longer in God’s way. So we need to be very watchful about our joy and be careful to ask ourselves, "Am I enjoying my service to God?" Because if I’m not enjoying it, God certainly isn’t enjoying it and probably the friends around me aren’t enjoying it either and it means that there is something wrong because God intended for His people to be the happiest people on the face of the earth.

When Jesus came, in His day, what He found was a people that were not happy. Yes, they said that they were serving God, they were doing their sacrifices, they were giving their alms, they were titheing, they were praying, they were doing everything that they were supposed to do, but they didn’t enjoy it! They weren’t getting the blessing out of it. So Jesus began His ministry with how to get the blessing out of this matter of serving God. That is what we all have to do. We all have to get the blessing out of it or it is going to do nothing for us and nothing for God.

I remember that man Jacob back in Genesis 32. You remember the night when he wrestled the night with the man, (one place calls him an angel but he was a servant of God anyway), he wrestled all night and when the dawn was coming he said, "Let me go," and here was Jacob’s reply, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." I wonder how often that is our feeling about this matter of serving God? Sometimes, we just can’t get there. We just can’t find the blessing in it and it seems like perhaps Jacob had been going like that for a long, long time. Trying to do it in his own strength, trying to do it in his own way and there came a time that he knew that he was close to God, he knew that he’d been sent someone from God, and there was a big struggle in his life. I don’t really know what the struggle was about, probably none of us do, but we know this, that Jacob said, "I cannot quit this struggle until I get the blessing of God." That’s just how important it is to get the blessing of God. That’s what we all need.

We all need the blessing of God in our service. That’s when it comes from our heart and we are here to please God and not to pacify God, when we are seeking with our service to get near to God not just to satisfy the law of God. It is with every endeavour to know Him and to bring joy to Him and in so doing, we find the joy of life for ourselves. That is the blessing of God so Jesus began to try to help these people to realise what they were missing and how to get it and what they would have when they did get it. That was His endeavour for them as well as for us.

If you look at these "blesseds," there are nine of them that are mentioned here. Maybe there are more but Jesus only mentioned these nine. I noticed that they are not things that I can do. If I go out and do such and such then the blessing is mine and yet the reward of each blessing is tremendous. It is quite unfathomable. When you look at what He said would be the reward of some of these blessings, they are eternal! They are above the ways of the world. They are rewards, enrichments in life that we could never have for anything that we would do on our own. It appears to me that every one of them is just a simple attitude. We have heard in some of the testimonies about our attitude - our attitude towards God - our attitude about ourselves - our attitude towards each other. There is so much and I know you can stop and think back in your life and see some place where just a simple attitude has made a difference in the outcome of some experience. Just the way you felt about it, the way you saw it and that is why these things that Jesus taught have so much to do with our peace and joy in serving God.

In the first one, I don’t know if I will go ahead and speak on all of these but we’ll see how time goes. He opened His mouth and He taught them saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." Theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. When you look at the blessing, how many people do you know that really have the Kingdom of heaven or are experiencing the Kingdom of heaven? Well, I don’t know if any outside of this tent are and I don’t even know how many inside this tent are but if you compare it with the multitudes in this world, it is not very many people that are knowing the blessing of the Kingdom of heaven or have an insight of the Kingdom of heaven here on earth. Well, He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for that is what they have. It is theirs, that’s their portion." So my attitude about my own spirit, what is it? Is it poor and needy or is it like those in Revelation 3:17?

He spoke to a church there and He said, "Behold you say that you’re rich and increased and have need of nothing but you don’t know that you are poor and wretched, miserable, blind, and naked." They had an attitude about their own spirit that was, "My spirit’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with my spirit, I don’t need anything." Like that man we were hearing about that said, "I professed way back and I don’t need the gospel any more." His attitude about the gospel was, "Oh, I picked it up once and put it in my pocket and now I have it." Wrong attitude. You’ll NEVER get the blessing of God with that kind of an attitude. It will just never exist.

The attitude of the poor in spirit, who are the poor people? I don’t know if you know any poor people or not because almost every country I’ve been in, it seems like the definition for "poor" is different. It seems like poor people are anybody that has less than me and rich people are anybody that has more than me. Maybe that’s true in the nations, I don’t know. But I know this that Moses, when God spoke to him, he said, "Who am I?" Exodus 11:3, "Who am I that God would choose me? Who am I that God would speak to me? Who am I that God would give me His blessing?" It tells us that he was the meekest man in all the earth, poor in spirit. It tells us in Luke 18 that there were two men that went up to the Temple to pray and one had that attitude, "I thank God that I am not like other men," and the other one said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." His spirit about himself was, "I need help." Jesus said, "Which one of those went down to his house justified having got what he prayed for?" Well, everybody knew which one it was, it was the one that was poor in spirit. I need, I have great needs and God is the only one that can meet them. That is the poor in spirit and it doesn’t matter how much we have already received but we always feel like we need more. We never feel like we have enough. That’s not wrong in the Kingdom of God because there is so much to be had. If we look at what we already have and compare it to what there is still to be had in this Kingdom of God, we’ll all say, "I’m pretty poor, I don’t have very much because look what Jesus had and that much could be mine." Jesus also said, "God giveth His spirit freely to them that ask." So we can have it. Sometimes poor people are poor simply because they won’t ask and in the Kingdom of God, it is definitely that way. If we see our poverty and ask God, He is sure to help us and He is sure to give it to us.

Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. I’ve wondered about that quite often and I think I have even mentioned it at a funeral or two. I have also heard it mentioned that way, thinking that it is a very great time of mourning when you lose someone that you love and it is true, we do find a lot of comfort in God at times like that. But one day, I came across a verse in II Corinthians 7:10, "For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of but the sorrow of the world worketh death." Godly sorrow worketh repentance and I really think that is the mourning that Jesus was talking about, sorry for our sin. It is the only way that we can ever get rid of our load of sin, to be sorry about it. That is what repentance is. It is when we are truly sorry, when there is mourning from the heart, "Why did I do that? Why am I that way?" Then to be able to tell God, "I’m sorry." Then we have the greatest comfort, the greatest comfort that anyone in this world will ever know is the comfort that comes from forgiven sin. There is no greater comfort than that, so I feel sure that that is what Jesus was talking about.

The blessing that is to come for those that mourn when they are sorry about their sin. We talked about that on the way over here from the last convention. Why is it that to say, "I am sorry," is the hardest words to speak when they often bring the richest reward? Not even just in God’s kingdom but to say, "You’re sorry," to someone that you have wronged. Why is it so hard? Yet it can stop so many wrong feelings. How will we stand if we don’t feel sorry for our sins towards God and we don’t mourn over the times we have taken our own way and the times we have resisted His will and the times we have just shut Him out from our mind. Jesus knew why these people weren’t getting the blessing. He knew there wasn’t much, "I’m sorry" in their hearts towards God or their fellow man and because of that they were missing the blessing of the comfort of the spirit of God. That is a blessing that we don’t want to miss.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. I actually meant to mention Moses in that one but that’s okay. Meekness we have heard about and it will cover some old ground like submission. Meekness is just submission. I won’t go into any of those stories of the animals and the meekness that they show. It tells us that Moses was the meekest man in all the earth, "Who am I?" That was written at the time of Moses because I am sure that Jesus exceeded Moses in meekness. However I like to find a man that is more like me even though I know that Jesus had the same human nature that I do, and He lived on this earth with it, but I love to look back on the life of Moses. Here was a man that had so much power over people and yet was so controlled. That’s the way I like to think of meekness, when there is submission then there is power, realising that any power without control is going to be a wicked power. So the only way that the power we have with each other will ever do any good is when it is under the control of God. That is true meekness.

Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. I like to tell the story about the home that my companion and I were staying in. We had bedrooms upstairs and the man of the home would call us for meals. Well, he called us one day for supper, you might call it dinner. We pulled up to the table and sat down. He was already sitting down and he just announced, "If you don’t like beans, supper’s over." The point being that sitting in the middle of the table was a great big pot of beans. He had cooked supper that night and she had gone for some reason so he just heated up a pot of beans and, "Well if you don’t like this, then there isn’t anything else." The unsaid part of it was that, "If you do like beans, then supper has just begun." There was more there than anyone could eat, he never lacked in quantity. So really that’s the way we stand before God today. If we don’t like what He has to offer, well, there isn’t anything else.

There is really no reason to be here at convention if we don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness. That is probably why there are others that aren’t here. I know that there are some who would love to be here but aren’t able, but you’d think the whole city would be here. They would be if they hungered and thirsted after righteousness. We don’t have anything else to serve. Children can’t come and say, "I want chocolate righteousness." It just doesn’t come in that form. It either this or nothing else. You know that even little children love the bread of life. Jesus said in Matthew 6, "I am the bread of life and any man that cometh unto Me shall never hunger and never thirst." He said, "Except you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you." So even though this is all God has to offer us, it is the best that there is. There is all you’d ever desire and you never need to hunger or thirst because you just come back to Him.

It is something we will continue to get hungry for but we won’t be like the man who said, "I heard the gospel so now I don’t need it any more." We’ll just feel our need of it more and more because this righteousness of God is something we are going to want to come back to over and over and over again. I sometimes tell people that I have no idea how many times I have had porridge for breakfast but I can probably count and remember every time I have missed breakfast. Okay, I don’t remember what I heard in convention last year. I might have some notes but I don’t take very many notes. I just don’t remember things like that that long time or even a short time. I don’t even remember all I heard last week but I do know this, that it fed my soul. I’m glad I was there and I’m glad I got fed and I went on the strength of it that day. Now today again, I am going to eat all I can again of the righteousness of God and of the bread of life and go in the strength of it today. God never meant that we should just fill up and then go for the rest of our life. He never planned it that way and it doesn’t work that way. We come over and over again to sit at His table. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness because they will get filled every single time. Not a matter of filling up and never come again, no, it’s just to come often and eat your fill every time.

Blessed are the merciful because they shall obtain mercy. In Matthew 18 is a long parable that started out with Peter asking this question, "How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times?" So Jesus said, "Not until seven times but seventy times seven." So it is about forgiveness and then from the 23rd verse till the end of the chapter is the parable about the king who forgave one for a whole bunch and one for just a little bit. That is what it was all about. That parable was an indication to go with what He taught Peter about forgiveness. One day, I just thought of it this way. It is a miraculous thing how God plans things and they just work. If you take, for instance just on a natural level, if I owe you a million dollars, there is no way in this world I am ever going to pay you. Especially with the job I’ve got! But if you owed me a million dollars and you couldn’t pay it then I could forgive it. You see, I can forgive a million but I can’t pay a million. So in this matter of forgiveness, there is never going to be a time when we can pay what we owe but there is never going to be a time that we can’t forgive what is owed to us. Like for somebody to say, "I’m sorry," it should be so easy for us to say, "I forgive you." That is what God is doing for us, there is no debt that He cannot forgive. Many debts that I will never be able to pay. In fact I don’t know of any debt that I have towards God that I could ever pay. I couldn’t pay off one of my debts to God but He’s willing to forgive them all. So if anybody owes me, I can be like God. God created man in His likeness and I don’t just know all the ways that is but this is one way I know that I can be like God. I can forgive because He forgives. What a wonderful blessing that is, blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. I mentioned that someplace else just recently. There are several definitions for pure but the one I like for it - pure, meaning, "of one substance," Just ONE thing. When we are pure in heart it is when we have no other motives. No wrong motives. When we have one purpose only. Just a single purpose to be right with God. When that purpose is in place in our heart, from our heart, we’re going to be right with everybody else. It is so easy when we have only one purpose in life. We can look around us at what’s happening in the world and it is pretty hard to accept some of the things that are going on and what it would take from us in the natural sense of life. But you know, if our heart only has one purpose, a pure heart, it has only one purpose and that’s to be right with God, Then really nothing else in this world matters. It’s not going to affect my purpose and nor will it ever affect my salvation. That’s where the blessing really is. It is the only way to get the blessing and that is to have that single purpose in our heart.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. It makes me always think of Colossians 3:15 when I think of the peacemakers. "They will be called the children of God." That is quite a thing. We kind of take it for granted that we should be the children of God, don’t we? The children of God gathered here in this tent. It almost sounds presumptuous that anybody would even say that and there are those in the world that have even condemned us for using that term but it is true and it is not presumptuous. God is out to make children for Himself and that is the blessing. Part of this blessing God is trying to give us is for God to make us His children. He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers," that is like God because God is a peacemaker.

That verse in Colossians says, "Let the peace of God rule in your heart." If I let the peace of God rule in my heart, there is no doubt that I am going to be a peacemaker wherever I go. Well, how did I make peace with God? I know how I made peace with God in the very beginning in my life. It was when I sacrificed my own will for His. When I said that in my flesh there isn’t anything that is important enough to miss a saved eternity. Then I got peace. I got peace from God and I got the peace of God. So often when there is not peace amongst us it is so often because there is not a sacrifice of the flesh, not willing to let go of the flesh, we hang on to that and then we don’t have peace. We lose our peace. That’s what happens to us inwardly in our relationship with God and that is what happens to us outwardly in our relationship with each other. We can easily be peacemakers IF we get the peace of God. He said, "You just let the peace of God be the rule, or the measure of everything." Measure everything that’s going on in your heart and life by the peace of God. If you have wonderings in your mind, "Now is this the best thing I could do, is this the right thing to do? Well, is the peace of God in it? Is this interrupting my peace?" Our God is very faithful to give us peace in what is right and He is also very faithful in withdrawing His peace when we are wrong. It would not be faithful of God to let us have peace when we are not right because someday it would come out that we are wrong and you’d say, "Why didn’t you tell me?" God is always trying to tell His people by His peace.

We heard something about the persecution and I just want to mention something. It says, "Blessed are they that are persecuted." In I Peter 3:14-18, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake." In Acts 5 and 41 is where they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for His sake. Imagine, counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. One way that we can be like Jesus is in suffering, being willing to accept being wronged for righteousness’ sake, for what is right in this world. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

II Corinthians 4:17. Before we quit I want to mention something in verse 13 and 14, "Ye are the salt of the earth but if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men." I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already heard this story about salt but I will repeat it again because there is a younger generation here that maybe hasn’t heard it. In those days, one of the major methods of obtaining salt was like when the dead sea that was very, very salty and when the shore would retract, that shore would go back in the summertime because it evaporated and it left a very, very salty residue. They would go and scrape this together and that is what they would use for their salt. They would scrape it into piles and take it away and sell it or trade with it and use it. I don’t know if it was just free for everyone to come and get it. I don’t know how that worked but I do know that they made these piles of salt and that was their salt. But later in the season when it would rain, then the rain would leach through those piles. The salt would be leached out and the white powder would still be there and it still looked like salt. It looked the same as it did before but you could put as much in the pot as you wanted to and it wasn’t going to help anything. There would be no savour, no flavour, or seasoning effect from the salt because it had all been leached out. So what do you do with it then? Well you’d just throw it out. You’d just tread it under your feet, that’s just how worthless it is.

In II Timothy 3:5, Paul said when writing to Timothy and was warning him about some things and one of the things he wrote about was, "Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof." That’s what Jesus was trying to impress on these people. That we could easily have a form of Godliness but not have the power of it. That is salt without a savour. That is exactly where Israel had come to be. They had a form of Godliness but they didn’t have the power of God because there was no blessing in it. They were not getting the blessing. This is what happens if people try to live the life or the form but not have the blessing of God in it. This has no savour in it. It is not going to enrich yourself, it is not going to enrich others and it is NEVER going to enrich God.

Then He added one more little parable, another little likeness. He said, "Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." We have heard some testimonies in this convention and in other conventions already about some folks who saw the light in some of God’s people and they brought them to the light. Like a city that is set on a hill. You know, if the light is in you, then you cannot hide it. He said, "It is like a candle but it shows up like a city," and you’d say, "Well, how can that be? A little candle lighting a whole city." Yes, that is just exactly the way it is. Your lives are the little candles that are the light of this whole city. For some, it is the light of the whole country but one little candle is enough to light the way for anyone who sees it. That’s what happens when you get the blessing. If you’re really serving God, not in the form but in the power of God, then your life will be a light that cannot be hid.

I have talked to some who have said, "Well, I have never managed to get anybody to come to the meetings - never brought one person to the meetings that has professed and made a life of serving God," and so, they feel a little bit defeated. I can assure you that God is not going to reward His people because of how many people they brought to the light but it is going to be according to how much of a light they were. Being a light not only comes from having the power of God and getting the blessing but it is what God expects of us and whether anybody comes to the light or not is not our responsibility but it IS our responsibility to be a light in this whole world.