The Beatitudes

In this section, we are studying the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12 using John Stott’s workbook The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character.  We will also be reading relevant excerpts from Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount,  Gregory of Nyssa’s Sermons on the Beatitudes, and Kenneth Bailey’s chapter on the Beatitudes from Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. This study is for eight weeks.

The Beatitudes – Repenting of Our Sins, pt.2

Now the comfort comes through participating in the Comforter. For the gift of comforting is the special operation of the Spirit, of which may we made worthy, through Jesus Christ. – St. Gregory of Nyssa
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The Beatitudes – Learning Gentleness, pt.1

For Aristotle, the virtue of meekness is “the man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is praised.”
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The Beatitudes – Learning Gentleness, pt.2

For Gregory of Nyssa, in this Beatitude Christ promises that it is the humble and reasonable man who obtains reentry into the perfect spiritual state found in the land of the Garden of Eden.
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The Beatitudes – Becoming Righteous, pt.1

Throughout Scripture, “righteousness” arises not simply in the negative of doing no harm, but includes the affirmative duties to “show mercy and compassion on the outcast, the oppressed, the weak, the orphan, and the widow” and “to have a burning compassion for the oppressed.”
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The Beatitudes – Growing More Holy, pt.1

This Beatitude draws our attention to the purity of the internal, not the external. For “the LORD does not judge on outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7.
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The Beatitudes – Growing More Holy, pt.2

Although the pure in heart cannot see God’s Essence, we can see God’s “energy”, such as his Goodness or his sanctifying Grace.  Once our hearts are pure, our eyes are open to see the Divine throughout all of his Creation and especially his interaction with us.
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The Beatitudes – Making Peace, pt.1

Here the Lord honors those who find pleasure in diligently trying to make peace, not only so far as they are themselves concerned, but also among other people, that they may help to settle ugly and tangled disputes, endure contention, guard against and prevent war and bloodshed. – Martin Luther
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The Beatitudes – Rejoicing Through Persecution, pt.1

When we look at this final beatitude, Jesus does not call all persecution “blessed.” Rather, it is only that persecution that arises out of a righteousness grounded in interpersonal relationships and the rights and duties we owe to one another and to God.
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A Sermon on the Beatitudes

So what does that return look like? A return to the beatific plumb line is not a matter of your own effort to just be better tomorrow. Rather it is a true return to God Himself. If your heart is out of plumb seek him out. Be in constant prayer with God.  Words are unnecessary….
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