Matthew 5 - The-beatitudes - Part 3

SERMON TOPIC: Matthew 5 - The-beatitudes - Part 3

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 October 2018


Sermon synopsis: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. [Matt 5:9-11]
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(PART 3)

The Beatitudes are a set of teachings by Jesus from his famous “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in Matthew 5:3-12.

The term ‘beatitude’ comes from the Latin adjective ‘beatus’ which means happy, fortunate or blissful.

The Greek word used in the Beatitudes for ‘blessed’ is ‘makarios’ which means: supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off - blessed, happy.

James Tissot - The Beatitudes Sermon - Brooklyn Museum

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. [Matt 5:9-11]

The Greek word used in the Beatitudes for ‘blessed’ is ‘makarios’ which means: supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off - blessed, happy.

The word ‘blessed,’ the first word of each beatitude, isn’t a word we use every day. While most English translations use ‘blessed,’ some modern Bibles use ‘happy’ instead. Somehow substituting ‘blessed’ for ‘happy’ seems to trivialize the word. There isn’t really a good substitute or more modern English word for ‘blessed’.

According to the People’s New Testament, “The word blessed is first applied to God, and means more than happy, as it has sometimes been translated. Happiness comes from earthly things; blessedness comes from God.”


This is the manifesto of the kingdom of God, but unlike a worldly kingdom, there are totally different values:

Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; they echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality and compassion. 1

The teaching is expressed as eight blessings. Each Beatitude consists of two parts:

A condition: “BLESSED ARE…”

The outcome: “THEY WILL…” or “THEIRS IS…”

1 Wikipedia – Beatitudes "http:// wiki/ Beatitudes">http:// wiki/ Beatitudes


Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matt 5:10]

People’s New Testament - The Jews expected a conquering kingdom, and its citizens to be lords among the nations, but Christ pronounces a blessing on those who are persecuted, not for misdeeds, but for righteousness. These shall have the kingdom…

Are these words of Jesus still relevant today? Maybe in our enlightened society persecution of Christians is a thing of the past?

According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.


Christians suffer numerically more than any other faith group or any group without faith in the world.

Christians are the most persecuted religious group. They make up 33% of the world’s population, but 80% of all acts of religious discrimination are directed at them.

Of the 100-200 million Christians under assault, the majority are persecuted in Muslim-dominated or Atheistic (Communist) nations.

Every year Open Doors publishes the World Watch List of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. The 2018 List has the following countries as its top ten: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran.


Paul says that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12).

John Piper writes, “How could Paul make such a sweeping statement?... He makes it on the basis of a deep conviction about the nature of Christianity and the nature of the sinfulness of man. He is convinced that there is such a tension between the message and way of life of Christians on the one hand, and the mindset and way of life of the world on the other, that conflict is inevitable. This conviction is rooted in the nature of fallen man and the nature of the new creation in Christ. Therefore, it does not go out of date. It is still true today. Sooner or later, a deeply God-centred Christian will be mistreated for the things he believes or the life he lives.” 1

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Jesus told us to expect persecution:

John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.”


Matthew Henry: This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest… Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire … the rich, the powerful, and the victorious… With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.

In this Beatitude we find that not all persecuted people are blessed, only those who suffer persecution for the sakes of Jesus.

Matt 5:10 (GOD’S WORD Translation) - Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of...


Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Matt 5:11-12]

Jesus further expands by saying:

Our response to persecution should be:

No questioning or surprise at what’s happening

1 Pet 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

Love and prayer for our persecutors…

Matt 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

… along with blessing and kindness.

1 Cor 4:12-13 … When we are cursed, we bless… when we are slandered, we answer kindly.


After being falsely accused and sentenced to death by crucifixion, Jesus prayed on the cross for his tormentors:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)


When in about 36 AD the deacon Stephen became the first Christian martyr, note his response to his executioners:

Acts 7:59-60 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


Patience, perseverance, endurance

James 5:10-11 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord… You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about…


1 Cor 4:12… when we are persecuted, we endure it…

Heb 10:32,35-36 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering… So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.


Joy - because of the great reward that we will share with the prophets, who endured similar treatment.

Matt 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ignatius of Antioch, when sentenced to death by the Emperor Trajan responded: “I thank Thee O Lord, that Thou has vouchsafed thus to honour me. I am God’s grain, to be ground between the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become a holy loaf for the Lord.”


Joy - because of the blessing, great reward and honour of being identified with Christ.

1 Pet 4:16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

As Polycarp was led into the arena he was heard to pray: “Lord God, Father of our blessed Saviour, I thank Thee that I have been deemed worthy to receive the crown of martyrdom, and that I may die for Thee and Thy cause.”


In AD 203 Vibia Perpetua, a 22-year Christian noblewoman living in Carthage (North Africa), was arrested in a new wave of Roman persecution.


At the time of her arrest, she was the mother of an infant she was nursing.

When her pagan father visited and pleaded with her to deny that she was a Christian, Perpetua responded that it was impossible that she be called “anything other than what I am, a Christian”. 1

Witnesses in the stands described Perpetua in the arena as “young and beautiful”, “a pure and modest Christian lady”, “with shining countenance and calm step, as the beloved of God, as a bride of Christ, putting down everyone’s stare by her own intense gaze”. 1

1 "https:// index.php/ history/ 355-perpetua-courageous-christian-martyr">https:// index.php/ history/ 355-perpetua-courageous-christian-martyr


When Perpetua and her friends entered the stadium they were singing Psalms in such a joyful demeanour that the crowd demanded that the Christians be scourged first. 1

Perpetua encouraged the other Christians: “You must all stand fast in the Faith and not be weakened by what we have gone through.” 1

Those in the amphitheatre who had witnessed her martyrdom reported that Perpetua and her servant, Felicitas, came into the arena “joyfully as though they were on their way to Heaven.”

1 Ibid


Her bold testimony: “I am a Christian and cannot deny Christ” was repeated throughout the Empire. Her example of Christian resolve and Christian courage, choosing to suffer and die with a clear conscience, rather than deny her Saviour, inspired generations of Roman Christians to stand firm in the face of relentless persecution. 1

1 Ibid


After the Sanhedrin have the apostles flogged, note the response.

Acts 5:40-41 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

Often we rationalize that we can praise God not because of the circumstance, but despite the circumstance. However in the former example 5 we see the apostles praising God not only despite the suffering, but because of the suffering. They are “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering”.


When they were moved to Barracks 28, Corrie was horrified by the fact that their reeking, straw-bed platforms swarmed with fleas. How could they live in such a place? It was Betsie who discovered God’s answer: “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ 1

Corrie stared at Betsie; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room. They thanked God for the fact they were together. They thanked God they had a Bible.

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They even thanked God for the horrible crowds of prisoners, that more people would be able to hear God’s Word. And then, Betsie thanked God for the fleas. “The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’ ‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. ‘It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances. Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.’ 1

1 Ibid.


Women’s barracks in a German concentration camp

“And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.” It turned out that Betsie was not wrong; the fleas were a nuisance, but a blessing after all. The women were able to have Bible studies in the barracks with a great deal of freedom, never bothered by supervisors coming in and harassing them. They finally discovered that it was the fleas that kept those supervisors out.

Through those fleas, God protected the women from abuse and harassment. Dozens of desperate women were free to hear the comforting, hope-giving Word of God. Through those fleas, God protected the women from much worse things and made sure they had their deepest, truest needs met. 1

1 Ibid


The persecuted are blessed:

James 5:10-11 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered…

1 Pet 3:13-14 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

1 Pet 4:13-14 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.


The blessing:

Great is your reward in heaven

Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”

Heb 10:33-35 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.


Our faith is proved to be genuine

1 Pet 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Our character is developed

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy, rather it tries to make us great enough for life. - James L Christensen.

Don’t pray for a light load – pray for a strong back.


Those who endure patiently will be spared going through the Tribulation:

Rev 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

A crown of life is promised to those who persevere under trial:

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. [Matt 5:9]

The Message paraphrases Matt 5:9:

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

The Amplified Bible renders it as follows:

Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous - with life - joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!


Abraham the peacemaker: When Abram and Lot’s herdsmen quarrelled over land for pasture, to avoid further conflict Abram graciously suggested that Lot have first option in choosing a separate area. Lot chose the well-watered plain of Jordan to the east, while Abram went south to Hebron (Gen 13).


Isaac the peacemaker:

Gen 26:19-22 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 


Then they dug another well, but they quarrelled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”

In the context of arguing about disputable matters of conscience, Paul says:

Rom 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.


There are some Christians who expend more energy on fighting other Christians, than they do on fighting the devil. Jesus said:

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matt 12:25)

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)


And so as peacemakers we should strive for unity (although obviously without compromising our Christian principles).

John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”


Peacemakers try not to destroy God’s work or the church, which is the body of Christ. On that point I like this anecdote about the A/ G Zulu evangelist Nicholas Bhengu.

When he was a young Christian before he entered the ministry he attended a church pastored by a lady missionary. He did not like her and he knew that many in the congregation did not like her either. He came to the point where he determined that on the next Sunday he would stand up, confront the lady missionary and invite those who would to come out with him to form their own congregation. He was determined on this course.


 Saturday night came. The next day would be the confrontation. Bhengu had a dream that night. He saw a gigantic pair of legs surmounted by a torso which stretched up into the clouds. The head was hidden by the clouds. He saw himself attacking the legs with a machete and a chopper. He hacked at them so that the blood spurted and the bone was exposed. Then all at once the clouds above him parted.


 He saw the face. It was the face of Jesus Christ. He was hacking at the body of Christ. Next morning he rose from sleep, packed his few belongings into his little suitcase, and crept out of town saying farewell to nobody. By a dream God had prevented him from committing the grievous sin of destroying part of the body of Christ, the church. 1

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Jesus doesn’t say “Blessed are the peacekeepers”, but “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Peacekeepers try to keep the peace which already exists. Peacemakers bring peace where there is existing conflict between two or more parties.

Matthew Henry comments: “They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers!”

Barclay renders Matt 5:9 as follows: “O the bliss of those who produce right relationships with one another, for they are doing a God-like work.”


Abigail (1 Sam 25) was a peacemaker. She stopped David when he was heading out to fight with Nabal.

Nabal insulted David’s men, who had helped and protected Nabal’s shepherds. When David heard about this, he became very angry. He put on his sword and got together 400 men. He intended to fight and kill Nabal. Abigail, the peacemaker, heard about what Nabal had done. She knew there would be trouble. She gathered large amounts of fruits, sheep, and bread, and hurried to David to give him the food. She wanted David and his men to know she was grateful they had helped her husband. She asked him to forgive her husband and herself. Abigail reasoned with David. She helped him see how important it was for him to stop. 1

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Abigail said Nabal had done wrong, but it would also be wrong for David to do harm in return. Later, when David became king, he would be a better king and a better man because he had not taken revenge on Nabal. David listened to Abigail’s advice. He was sure God had sent her to keep him from doing wrong. David thanked Abigail and didn’t fight with Nabal. 1

1 Ibid


Most of us want peace. Very few of us are willing to make it. If we breeze through the Beatitudes, we might mistake peacemaking for a passive quality, one possessed by people who mind their own business. Their virtue is found primarily in avoiding conflict. But that is certainly not Jesus’ intended teaching. A peacemaker does not avoid conflict. A peacemaker engages conflict—not to inflame it, but to resolve it. A peacemaker is one whose posture is primarily active; relentless in the pursuit of justice, harmony, repentance, and reconciliation. 1

Into a violent world that is filled with conflict and hatred, Jesus sends us as his peacemakers.

1 "https:// learn/ articles/ blessed-are-peacemakers/ ">https:// learn/ articles/ blessed-are-peacemakers/


Our ultimate example as a peacemaker is Jesus, who solved the conflict between God and man.

Eph 2:13-18 (ESV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

As peacemakers we need to actively seek to reconcile people to one another, but also to God.


The blessing:

We will have the honour of being called God’s children.

Matt 5:9 (NLT) “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”

We will reap a “harvest of righteousness”:

James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

And to those who strive for unity in God’s work and with fellow believers, God has promised eternal life:

Psalm 133:1,4 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!... For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.


The Prayer of Francis of Assisi (1181/ 2–1226):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



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