Attitudes and Actions



Attitudes and Actions

Perry Duggar |

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to have the right attitudes and actions for godly living. This helps us better understand the Kingdom of God and our role within it.






Jesus at the Center of the Kingdom
Attitudes and Actions • Message 1
Perry Duggar
June 23, 2024



I. Introduction: A new message series, Jesus at the Center of the Kingdom.
Matthew 4:23-25; 5:1-2

 

A.Today’s title is Attitudes and Actions; it focuses on the Beatitudes.

 

John 13:17 (NIV)“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

 

Beatitudes (from the Latin beatus for blessed), suggest how we will experience God’s favor.

Blessed = Greek makariŏs = happy, favored by God, fortunate from His perspective.

Not a superficial feeling of well-being based on circumstances, but a deep supernatural experience of contentedness from being rightly related to God as we follow His will.

Following baptism (Matthew 3) and temptation, Jesus began His ministry in Galilee. (Matthew 4)

He traveled in the region (North Israel, pop. 300,000 in small towns) teaching in synagogues, announcing the Kingdom, healing illness and demon possession. (vv.23-24)

Word spread, and large crowds started following Him from throughout the country. (v.25)

 

Matthew 5:1-2 (NIV)Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside [so people could see and hear Him] and sat down [as rabbis did teaching]. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them. He said: [Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7]

 

This teaching explained how to live in God’s Kingdom while residing on earth.

It begins with the Beatitudes; right attitudes and actions are essential to live God’s way.

 

B. The Beatitudes include…

 

1. Inward attitudes. (Matthew 5:3-6)

 

• Poor in spirit. (Matthew 5:3. C/R: Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)

 

Matthew 5:3 (NIV)“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

 

Being poor in spirit is recognizing we are spiritually destitute apart from God, completely dependent on His grace, aware we have no way to deserve forgiveness or earn reward.

Jesus will not become central in our lives until we become poor in spirit, because preoccupation with self and personal desires, will displace His role in our lives.

The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit; this eternal possession exceeds all earthly ownership and can only be received when we understand that we don’t deserve it.

How do we become spiritually poor? Not by criticizing and demeaning ourselves, but by looking away from ourselves to focus on God’s infinite value, worth and glory.

APP.: Are you poor in spirit? (Hint: Do you think more about yourself or God?)

 

Mourning. (Matthew 5:4. C/R: Psalm 51:17; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:8-9)

 

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

 

Mourning is experienced for different reasons; here, Jesus is referring to godly mourning, deep inner agony, over personal sins first, but also sins of others and in our fallen world.

This mourning is blessed because it results in repentance, which is turning toward God.

Exposure of secret sins that causes sorrow, regret, guilt and shame, but not repentance (turning from sin, turning toward God), produces no spiritual benefit. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

As we become more intimate with God, more like Him in character (maturity), we become more aware of our sin, more sensitive to its effects on our lives, more eager to repent.

Blessedness does not result from the act of mourning by focusing on our sin; it results from reflecting on God’s gracious response—granting full pardon, complete forgiveness.

Mourners are blessed by God who comforts them by receiving and forgiving them.

APP.: Do I mourn and repent over my sins or overlook and make excuses for them?

 

Meek. (Matthew 5:5. C/R: Proverbs 16:32; Romans 8:28; 12:17-19)

 

Matthew 5:5 (NIV)“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

 

Greek praüs, (prah-ooce´) = “meek, mild, humble (NLT), gentle.” (Proverbs 25:28; 16:32)

I prefer meek (NIV) because praüs describes a condition of attitude and action; humble refers more to attitude and gentle to actions, but meek seems to better include both.

Meekness stems from trusting God’s goodness and sovereign control over every situation.

Meekness is not weakness, but a meek person will not exercise strength for personal defense, revenge, or selfish purposes; personal control is surrendered to God’s control.

Meek Christians accept circumstances—even difficult ones—without resistance and resentment toward God because they know He loves them and gives only what is best.

The meek may be overpowered on earth, will one day inherit the earth because it will be given to those who trust God for everything they need instead on relying on themselves.

APP.: Which is more evident: trust in God or reliance on self to get ahead? (self-interest)

 

• Hungry and thirsty. (Matthew 5:6. C/R: Psalm 42:1; 73:25; 1 John 2:15-17)

 

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” [to crave]

 

As hunger and thirst are necessary to sustain physical life, righteousness is required to support spiritual life.

Every person was created with a sense of emptiness, that something is missing, yet apart from God's revelation, we will not recognize what the need is or know how to satisfy it.

People try to quench this inner ache by filling it with what this world offers: money, power, possessions, pleasure, popularity, fame, ... but disappointment and dissatisfaction result because this physical world can’t satisfy spiritual needs. (1 John 2:15-17)

What is missing is being in a right relationship with God…righteousness, which makes us whole, removes aimlessness and provides our identity, value, and purpose as God’s child.

After becoming Christians, we are accepted by God, but we continue to desire greater godliness, increased intimacy with our Heavenly Father, so hunger and thirst persists.

Our desire for righteousness cannot be satisfied in this life, but we will be filled in heaven.

APP. What do you desire? Do you have an appetite for spiritual things or material ones?

 

B. Outward actions. (Matthew 5:7-12)

 

• Mercy. (Matthew 5:7. C/R: Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:12-13; James 2:13-16)

 

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

 

Mercy (Greek ĕlĕēmōn) is being actively compassionate by meeting people's needs, not merely feeling sympathy, but demonstrating concern by offering help in a practical way.

Mercy is giving food to the hungry, comfort to the grieving, love to the rejected, forgiveness to the offender, companionship to the lonely.

This beatitude does not teach that showing mercy to people results in receiving mercy from them, but that mercy provided to people results in mercy given to us by God.

Blessing from God is experienced as you express mercy, not only as a heavenly reward.

Recognizing God’s mercy to us encourages our mercy to others in need. (James 2:13)

APP.: Are you merciful (actively practically compassionate) even when it is inconvenient?

 

• Purity. (Matthew 5:8. C/R: 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Peter 1:3)

 

Matthew 5:8 (NIV)—“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

 

Pure in heart means our inner person, mind, will and emotions are clean and clear.

God provides us positional purity (standing, justification) when we trust in Jesus by crediting (imputing) Christ's own sinlessness to us.

We receive a new nature that can refuse sin, but to live purely requires effort through time in prayer, Bible-reading and following the Spirit’s leadership. (This is sanctification.)

When we live pure lives because of our love for God and appreciation of His goodness to us, we will see God—in heaven, but also on earth as we live in His Presence.

APP.: Do you minimize or rationalize sin or strive to avoid it to please (and see) God?

 

• Peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9. C/R: Proverbs 15:1; Matthew 18:15; James 3:17-18)

 

Matthew 5:9 (NIV)“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

 

The peace that Jesus refers to is more than the absence of strife; it is the presence of righteousness which produces true harmony by bringing parties that differ together.

Peacemaking is not avoiding areas of disagreement, especially areas involving sinful attitudes and actions, because sin is the source of every conflict with God and others.

Believers cannot avoid bringing God’s truth into a dispute for the sake of harmony.

Truth might produce anger before it produces agreement, but avoiding sensitive issues doesn’t build understanding, it encourages pretending and cements separation.

Settling for a truce without resolving issues honestly confirms sin in people’s lives and leaves them even farther from the Kingdom; confronting sin may lead to repentance. 

Peacemakers shall be called children of God bearing the likeness of their Father in heaven who provided peace by sending His Son to confront our sin and die for it.

APP.: Are you a peacemaker or a troublemaker or an avoider of all conflict?

 

• Persecution. (Matthew 5:10-12. C/R: John 17:14–16; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:14-16)

 

Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV) “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness [!], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed [2x] 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 [3X] the prophets who were before you.”

 

People who live righteously will suffer persecution—perhaps not imprisonment in our country at this time—but unfair treatment, criticism, slander, or rejection by friends.

Mere churchgoers or people who hide their faith and give the impression that they agree with what the culture and the crowd think, may receive no mistreatment.

But people who display their faith as Bible-believing-and-obeying Christians will suffer.

Righteousness confronts wickedness by its very contrast, without being argumentative.

If you compromise your convictions or cover them with silence or an appearance of acceptance of what is dishonoring to God, no one will notice, there’s nothing to attack.

If you suffer mistreatment because of your faith, you will be rewarded in heaven.

APP.: Are you suffering for your faith? If not, does your faith show?

Do you possess these inward attitudes? Do you display these outward actions?

Ask God to strengthen these Beatitudes in you so you can represent Him in our world.

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