The Sermon on the Mount is the King’s manifesto of His kingdom principles, as taught by our coming King. When the King delivered this, the greatest of all sermons, His words must have been strange in the ears of His disciples, and amazing to the listening multitudes.
May believed that John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah. They had heard him declare, “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ” as the prophet Isaiah said (John 1:23; also Isaiah 40:3). To prepare the way for the coming of the King, John preached repentance. He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). After the Lord’s baptism by John (in the river Jordan), His temptation in the wilderness, and the imprisonment of John the Baptist, Jesus began His public ministry (Mark 1:14, 15). He preached repentance, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The King could not set up His kingdom on earth because national Israel would not repent and believe the good news of the kingdom.
John the apostle said, “He came to His own [Israel], and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11, 12). Some did repent and receive Him by faith, as their Messiah. But the national leaders of Israel, and the Romans, nailed Him to the cross. Jesus, knowing that He was to die for the sins of the world, promised to come again and establish God’s kingdom on earth, and to sit on the throne of His glory (Matthew 25:31), which is the throne of His father David, according to the flesh.
God made an unconditional promise to King David when He said: “I will set upon your throne the fruit [descendants] of your body” (Psalm 32:11). God promised King David that He would be born of His descending line according to the flesh (Romans 1:3). He, the God-Man, would be seated on the throne of David (Acts 2:30; cf. Isaiah 9:6, 7).
The King could not establish His kingdom or the Messiah as their King. We do not have the King’s manifesto. Even though we are in this corrupt world system, the Beatitudes (with an open heart, a receptive mind, and happiness) are not found in the things you have. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In this verse we have old things and new things. The old things are the fruits of the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14), the new things are the fruits of the new man in Christ.
Happiness is one of the new things we find when we practice daily His kingdom manifesto.
40-1 The Poor in Spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 3). The poor in spirit are empty of all spiritual pride; they know that spiritual pride is the spirit of this age of which Satan is god (2 Corinthians 4:4).
To be poor in spirit is to have “a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15) – to be conscious of your unworthiness. Peter demonstrated this quality when he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:1-11). The Pharisee of the parable boasted in his religious pride, but the contrite and humble tax collector was truly “poor in spirit” (Luke 18:9-14).
40-2 The Mourners
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (v. 4). This paradoxical Beatitude can be understood only by the believer. How can a bereaved person be blessed amid grief? Because he knows that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5), that God has promised to comfort the mourner in this life and in the life to come. Heaven’s joys will abundantly compensate for earth’s sorrows.
We should also mourn for lost souls. Paul grieved for his “countrymen according to the flesh,” and longed desperately for their salvation (Romans 9:1-5). Some lost souls lament their life of sin when they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The penitent publican “beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13). Mourning is a part of the repentance. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (v. 4).
40-3 The Meek
“Blessed are the meek [gentle], for they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5; Psalm 37:11). The philosophy of the world is the exact opposite of this Beatitude. People of the world consider the meek person to be weak and cowardly, a Caspar Milquetoast to be treated with contempt. The most gentle, meek, humble person that ever lived on this earth was the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am gentle and lowly [humble] in heart, and you [that come to Me] will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30). This gentle Son of God entered the temple as the Jews were preparing for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:1-51). He overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and with a whip of cords He drove out those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves in the sanctity of the temple. He said, “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:13-16). Was this the act of a weak and cowardly man? Yet He is the Man who said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5).
To know the characteristics of a truly meek (gentle) person, study this passage: “Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:13-19).
No, the meek are not weak; they are “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
40-4 The Hungry and Thirsty
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (v. 6). We have often heard it said that the world is hungry for the gospel of the grace of God. But if this were so, the whole world would be saved in a very short time. The truth is that people of the world hunger and thirst, not for righteousness, but to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16, 17). This yields no lasting happiness. By faith Moses chose to suffer affliction alongside God’s people, rather than enjoy the passing happiness and fleeting pleasures of sin. The happiness of sin is short-lived, but the happiness of the godly life is eternal (Hebrews 11:23-29).
The scriptures describe two kinds of righteousness:
1) Legal or self-righteousness, which is man’s vain effort to establish his own righteousness by his own works – works of the law (Romans 10:1-3). Such “law works” cannot save (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8, 9); they produce only self-righteousness, which in the sight of God is “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
2) The righteousness of God in Christ. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). Faith alone brings lasting happiness. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Believers live the righteous life, but they do so not in order to be saved, but because they know they are saved. Happiness is salvation’s reward; in this life there is no greater joy. And there is even better to come: John said, “We know that when He is revealed [when Jesus comes again], we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). We shall see Him in all His glory. This will be heavenly happiness.
40-5 The Merciful
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (v. 7). This Beatitude does not mean that, if you show mercy to people, they in turn will show mercy to you. Some will, but not all; some may even persecute you in return. We cannot expect to receive mercy from those who do not know our merciful Savior. Jesus Christ showed mercy throughout His earthly ministry. He healed the sick, He cleansed the lepers, and He made the dumb speak, the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. He raised the dead and fed the multitudes. He never failed to show mercy, but did He obtain mercy from the people? No, the Roman army, the religious leaders, and many of their followers joined efforts to put Him to death. They showed only religious hatred for God the Son (Matthew 26 and 27; cf. Isaiah 53:1-12). “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” – but not from sinful humanity!
We are to show mercy, knowing well that the recipient may never show mercy in return. We are to bestow it in the name of our merciful Christ, who Himself will reward us in this life and in heaven. An illustration is the parable of the Good Samaritan, spoken by Jesus in answer to a lawyer who asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Jesus told of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who was robbed, wounded, and left half dead by thieves. A priest came by and saw the man, but did not stop to help; he showed no mercy. A Levite also came along, stopped to look, then continued on his journey; he showed no mercy. But a Samaritan saw him, had compassion on him, and helped him without expecting anything in return. Jesus asked the lawyer, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” When the lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him,” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:25-37). “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”.
40-6 The Pure in Heart
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (v. 8). The unsaved man cannot have a pure heart as long as he rejects the Lord Jesus as Savior (Acts 4:12); the things of God are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14). The natural (unregenerate) “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Who are the pure in heart?
1) They are void of hypocrisy (Psalm 24:3-5).
2) They have room for only one master, Christ (Matthew 6:24).
3) They thirst for God as a deer thirsts for the water brook (Psalm 42:1).
4) They have a newly created heart (2 Corinthians 5:17). David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10).
5) They confess and forsake all known sin (Proverbs 28:13).
6) They never try to hide sin from God (Psalm 32:5).
7) They are able to sin but cannot be happy in sin (Psalm 51:1-4). When they sin, they repent and seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
8) They are spiritually minded; they have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15, 16).
Only they will see God.
40-7 The Peacemakers
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (v. 9). To become this kind of peacemaker, we must first be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). To be justified is to be declared just by Almighty God because of the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. For God to declare us just, we must believe that:
1) Christ was offered on the cross to bear our sins (Hebrews 9:28);
2) He was buried and in the tomb three days and nights;
3) He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Now that we have peace with God, we can also share our faith with those at enmity against God (Romans 8:7, 8). A peacemaker is one who shares the gospel with those who are lost, showing them how they can have peace with God, after being justified by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
40-8 The Persecuted
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (vv. 10-12). This is a beautiful and vivid description of mature Christians. They are reviled and persecuted because they love the Lord Jesus Christ, and have been given the righteousness of God. How do mature Christians respond to such persecution? They rejoice and are exceedingly glad, because they know the speeches against them are lies. They also know that a great reward awaits them in heaven.
Persecution harassed the church from the start. The apostles were arrested and tried before the Sanhedrin for preaching Christ and for doing many miracles in His name. Some wanted to put them to death, and even though Gamaliel persuaded the Sanhedrin to let them go, they were beaten before their release.
But this did not stop them from preaching the gospel. “They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:33-42).
Master Outline 40 – Citizens of the Kingdom
 The Sermon on the Mount is the King’s what?
 What message did John the Baptist preach to prepare the way of the coming king?
 After what three (3) great events did Jesus start his public ministry?
 What unconditional promise did God make to King David?
 Why did the King not set up His Kingdom on Earth?
 The ______________________ reveal the ______________________ of true
 Happiness is not _____________________ in the things you have, but in what you are
________________________ ____________________ ____________________.
 The poor in Spirit are empty in what?
 To be poor in spirit is to have what?
 What parable did Jesus use that demonstrated this virtue?
 Explain how a bereaved person can be blessed amid grief?
 Mourning is part of __________________ _____________________.
 What is the promise to those who mourn?
 Another word for “meek” is ____________________________.
 Explain how the philosophy of the world opposes this teaching.
 The meek are not weak but what?
 State the promise to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
 Is the world hungry for the gospel of grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? YES or NO. Explain.
 Describe two (2) forms of righteousness in the Scriptures.
 What is salvation’s reward?
 Does the Beatitude mean that if we show mercy, people in turn will show us mercy? YES or NO. Explain.
 Did Jesus ever fail to show mercy? YES or No. Explain.
 What example did Jesus teach us concerning extending mercy?
 Can an unsaved man have a pure heart? YES or NO. Explain.
 What are eight (8) attributes of the “pure in heart?”
 Are the attributes listed above law or grace? Explain.
 What are three (3) things must we believe to be declared just by God?
 Describe a peacemaker.
 The beatitude of the persecuted describes what type of Christian?
 Did persecution stop the early believers?
 Will we suffer persecution?