Matthew 5 - The beatitudes - Part 2

SERMON TOPIC: Matthew 5 - The beatitudes - Part 2

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 1 April 2012


Sermon synopsis: Matt 5:7 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'
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(Part 2)

Matt 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 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.”

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.


James Tissot - The Beatitudes Sermon - Brooklyn Museum

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






Poor in spirit

theirs is the kingdom of heaven



will be comforted



will inherit the earth


Hunger and thirst for righteousness

will be filled






will be shown mercy


Pure in heart

will see God



will be called sons of God


Persecuted because of righteousness

theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Matt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (NIV)

We are merciful when we show compassion for the miserable or wretched, who are in need of material or spiritual assistance - or perhaps forgiveness.

Being merciful doesn’t mean performing occasional and isolated acts of compassion. We should be habitually merciful.


Feeling sorry for, or having compassion for those who are suffering, is only the first step in being merciful. When we actually do something, that is the most important part.

James 2:15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.


Mercy sometimes entails providing the material and practical needs of others:

Matt 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…”

Prov 14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Rom 12:13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.


Mercy sometimes entails meeting the spiritual needs of others. Our ministries must be motivated by love and mercy. To illustrate this point, consider the case of Nicholas Bhengu, where John Bond recalls:

I asked Bhengu whether he felt anything when he prayed for the sick. Actually, he spoke of that sense of compassion. He said that invariably when he felt like that, a healing occurred. Bhengu told me of a dream he had… from which he dated his healing ministry. 1

1 Bond%20Book/ Spiritual%20Happenings.html

Up to that time he had prayed for the sick but with small results. In his dream, Bhengu, who was very fastidious about hygiene, found himself in a Basotho hut surrounded and pressed by people afflicted with loathsome diseases. He shrank from contact with them as they reached out towards him.

Then in his dream he saw Jesus descend through the thatched roof of the hut. Jesus moved among the sufferers touching them and healing them . Then He ascended through the roof again. As He went, He turned to Bhengu and spoke. “You do the same” He said. From that time, great miracles began to attend Bhengu’s ministry. 1 1 Ibid

This is reminiscent of Jesus who was motivated by compassion to touch the unclean leper when he healed him. The leper, who was an outcast, would have never felt a human touch since his disease became apparent.

Mark 1:40-42 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”

A 24-year-old man infected with leprosy.

In fact all of Jesus’ ministry was motivated by compassion for people:

Matt 9:35-36 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.


Matt 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matt 20:33-34 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.


Mercy sometimes entails forgiving those who have wronged us.

Wesley’s Notes on Matt 5:7 - Whatever mercy therefore we desire from God, the same let us show to our brethren.


The merciful and compassionate will be blessed by God:

Prov 14:21 … blessed is he who is kind to the needy.

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

The blessing:

Those who extend forgiveness will receive God’s mercy.

Matt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.


Those who are merciful to others receive God’s mercy. It’s a spiritual principle. Like it or not, the Bible repeatedly teaches us that mercy and forgiveness from God is dependant on how we treat those who have wronged us.

Luke 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


Those compassionate towards others who are less fortunate materially, will be repaid at the resurrection:

Luke 14:12-14 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The merciful will receive the kingdom:

Matt 25:34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (NIV)

In the Greek, the word for “pure” has the idea of “clean, pure, unsoiled, and not dirty.” It was used to refer to refined metals such as gold, iron, and silver. That is, the word referred to metals with all the impurities removed. It was also used to refer to clothes that had been washed clean and to grain that had no chaff... “Pure” referred to all of the undesirable elements being removed. 1

God can purify hearts that were once impure. Even after his terrible sin David prays:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10)

1 pp/ series/ Life/ LH045/ LH01.html


People’s New Testament - The Jew, under the tuition of the Pharisees, cared little for the state of the heart, so that outward forms were duly kept. Jesus, however, demands that the heart, the affections, the mind, shall be purified, as the fountain from whence flows the moral and religious life. A pure heart begets a pure life; an impure heart, a corrupt life.

Out of the men’s hearts comes all kinds of evil which makes us spiritually ‘unclean’.

Matt 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked. (KJV)


Have you noticed how some people can see something dirty in almost every situation? The impure can see something dirty in everything, while the pure in heart look for goodness and purity in everything around them.

Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

And so Paul warns Timothy:

2 Tim 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


But how can we be pure in heart?

Study and live by God’s Word:

Psalms 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Remember that Jesus will come one day and we’ll have to give an account of our lives:

1 John 3:2-3 … But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.


Don’t succumb to peer pressure

1 Tim 5:22 … do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

Avoid sexual immorality

1 Thess 4:3-7 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God … The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.


Don’t grumble

Phil 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

Check your thought life

Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.


The Biblical teaching about strongholds is that they exist in our thought life, not external places in a town where Satan resides:

2 Cor 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So the battle is in the mind. To be pure in heart we need to take every thought ‘captive’ and submit it to the scrutiny of the Scriptures – making it obedient to Christ. That is the battle against strongholds.


The blessing:

The pure in heart will see God.

Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

Matthew Henry: Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity.


Barclay: O the bliss of those whose motives are absolutely pure, for they will some day be able to see God.

The Message puts a nice angle on the passage implying that the promise of seeing God is not only a future blessing, but that by being pure we see God in everything.

Matthew 5:8 You’re blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. (The Message)

You will be the recipient of God’s goodness:

Ps 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.


Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (NIV)

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


Matthew Henry: 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!

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 Message)

Matt 5:9 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! (Amplified Bible)


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. 1

1 Bond%20Book/ Sanctifying%20Spirit%20of%20God.html


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. 1

1 Ibid


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

1 Ibid


The blessing:

They will be called sons of God.

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

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.


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

GOD’S WORD Translation - Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

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.


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…

Jesus further expands by saying:

Matt 5:11-12 “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. (NIV)

Matthew 5:11-12 “Not only that - count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens - give a cheer, even! - for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” (The Message)


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.”

And Paul says it is inevitable:

2 Tim 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…


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…

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 and perseverance

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.

No shame at bearing Jesus’ name

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



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

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.

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.

Suffering is inevitable – misery is a choice.

Often we rationalize that we can praise God not because of the circumstance, but despite the circumstance.

However in the Book of Acts we see an example of praising God not only despite the suffering, but because of the suffering! After Gamaliel persuaded the Sanhedrin not to execute the apostles, note what happened and the Christian 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.


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!’

“I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room…” 1

1 prayercoach/ 2009/ 11/ 29/ thank-you-for-the-fleas-about-corrie-ten-boom/


They thanked God for the fact they were together. They thanked God they had a Bible. 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. 1

1 Ibid


“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.’

“And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.” 1

1 Ibid


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.



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Scripture taken from The Message (The Message)

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