On today’s podcast, host Julie Jenkins continues walking through the Beatitudes, taught by Jesus and recorded in Matthew and Luke. Jesus is always forthright with us – revealing the blessings or sorrows we will encounter based on our obedience. As you listen, ask God to open your heart to His teaching. (Matthew 5:1-12, Luke 6:20-26)
Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the women world leaders podcast. I’m your host, Julie Jenkins. If this is your first time joining us. welcome. I encourage you to check out our previous podcasts as well as visit our website, www.womenworldleaders.com. Our goal at Women World Leaders is to empower you to walk in your God-given purpose. Some of the ways we do that are through teachings, devotions, prayer books, and the voice of Truth magazine. But one of the best ways you can grow in your God-given purpose is to get involved. God has a place for you in this ministry. We often say that we are reaching over 60 countries but did you know that we also have leaders in our ministry from several different countries? The devil certainly knows how to use technology but so does God. COVID pushed us into a digital platform and what the devil meant for evil, God used for good. One example is that we meet the fourth Monday of every month for a zoom prayer call. We gather and pray for specific needs for those on the call as well as for the needs of the ministry. If you would like to be involved, no matter where you are, send us an email at info at women world leaders.com.
On this, the Wednesday edition of the podcast we have the opportunity to walk through the Word of God together. And currently we are walking through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Before we begin, let’s pray.
Dear Most Holy God, as we dive into your teaching today, I ask that you be with us and show us clearly what it is that you want us to learn today. God Your Word is living and active and we know that it will meet us where we are and it is you Holy Spirit that allows us to hear your thoughts, direction, and love for us as we read Scripture. God cleanse us of all unrighteousness that we may hear your voice clearly. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Last week, we began our study of the Beatitudes, the blessings that Jesus presented to his disciples and others listening on that mountain so many years ago. We learned that God blesses those who with humility, put God first in their lives. And the blessing is that they will be granted eternity with God Himself. We learn that God blesses those who mourn. Jesus knew how hard this life was how heartbreaking things of this world can be. Yet he promised that he has overcome this world. And though we mourn, we will receive the comfort of God Himself.
We learned that God blesses those who are humble, who are gentle, who put others and their welfare above themselves. To me, this sounds a lot like a lot of parents out there. The reward he promises you who put others first, you will inherit the whole earth.
And we learned that God will bless those who hunger and thirst for justice. God promises that when we work for justice in his strength tirelessly and obediently, justice will come to pass.
So let’s continue with our study and see what else Jesus has up his sleeve. Matthew five verses seven through 12. In the New Living Translation says, God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right and the kingdom for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers, be happy about it. Be very glad, for a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
In these verses, we continue to see God’s rhythm those who walk in obedience to God’s call on their lives, will receive a reward that only God can give. It’s important to note that these rewards are not typically a treasure that would be cherished by worldly standards, but they are actually greater than anything that the world could offer. Remember the age old question, if you could have your three best wishes, what would they be, and you’re not allowed to say all the wishes in the world.
As a child, you might wish for $100, a new bike and your brother to stop bothering you all the time. As an adult, maybe your wishes more along the lines of a million dollars, a new boat, and a trip of a lifetime that you could take your whole family on, including that formerly pesky brother.
Well, as we grow in Christ, we begin to get glimpses of even more mature dreams, dreams that God wants for us, that are exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we could ever hope or imagine, dreams of hope and joy and the deepest form of happiness ever, despite what is happening around us. Those rewards often come from a place of growth, and sometimes even a place of suffering. As we look at these attributes that God calls us to, it’s important to note that Jesus exhibited each of these perfectly as he walked this earth in human form.
Let’s continue examining each action that we are called to as Christians, and the reward that God promises to bless us with when we walk in obedience.
Verse seven, God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Mercy also means compassion. The only other time this specific word is used in the Bible is in Hebrews 217, which says, Therefore, it was necessary for him talking about Jesus to be made in every respect, like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful high priest before God, then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
That is how Jesus exhibited perfect mercy, perfect compassion by giving his life for us. That is a compassion that is really difficult to wrap our heads around, it goes a bit beyond making a casserole for someone or giving up a prime a parking space. And yet, that is perfect compassion.
Don’t get discouraged by this thinking, I could never be that merciful, and throw in the towel. God grows us degree by degree, and he is patient, and he will never stop encouraging or teaching us.
So Jesus, while the greatest example of Mercy also is an example of being the recipient of the greatest mercy, he was brutally killed, exhibiting the greatest mercy, and then he was mercifully resurrected and seated at the right hand of God the Father.
This is a lot to comprehend. And perhaps I should just confess here in now that God’s ways are higher than I can understand or adequately explain. But I do know that I can live by faith, and that I can trust His promises. When I am wronged, I am instructed to show mercy and I can trust that God’s mercy will return to me.
When I am in a position to show compassion, I must remember that God is asking me to show compassion, and I can trust His compassion on the other end, even when it feels like I am getting the raw end of the bargain.
Verse eight says God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God
I’ve got to be honest, I have a love hate relationship with this beatitude it sounds beautiful. I want nothing more than to see God honestly, it’s a great reward. But the criteria, well, that requires me to have a pure heart. The word pure means clean, blameless, innocent, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt. Well, that’s not me.
And I’m guessing it isn’t you either. But there is hope. One of the sub definitions of pure is purified by fire. Fire is cleansing. By it, a metal worker is able to clean the impurities out of the metal. But fire isn’t fun. It burns and it hurts the flesh.
You and I alone can’t make our heart pure. But if we ask, we can trust our God to do it for us. And remember, we serve a gentle God. If we take responsibility for our sin and gives give ourselves to Him for cleansing, he will make our hearts pure.
First, John 189 says if we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
If we ask, confess and submit, God will cleanse our hearts and make them pure. And then we get to reward we will see the face of God.
Verse nine, God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
We all recognize the benefits of peace. But what is interesting here is that Jesus notes that on this earth, peace requires work. Some translations say blessed are the peacemakers, the word peacemaker, also connotates action.
We have a picture of peace from the 1960s that calm disconnectedness or people can think of peace as you don’t bother me, and I won’t bother you. But true peace indicates a wholeness, a completeness. We are created to be one family of God together. And that takes work.
God will bless our work for peace.
Jesus closes this section according to Matthew with these words, God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven as their got theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it. Be very glad for a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Throughout history, and throughout the Bible, God’s followers have been persecuted and mistreated. The truth is that the devil does not want God’s name to be proclaimed. If you are in a position where you are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, know that God is wrapping his loving arms around you right now. And that he is holding a place of great honor for you in Heaven. Stay strong, and cling to God, he will see you through.
Luke records a bit more as a warning to those who are relying only on what the world can offer. Beginning in Luke 624, what sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have only happiness now? What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now? For a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn into mourning and sorrow. What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
I think it is telling that we often focus on the blessings the What’s In It For Me, but we forget about the sorrows that I just read.
I asked you today to pay attention to the sorrows. If your focus on monetary wealth in the here and now? If it is no that that is not God’s will for you.
Do you turn away from the responsibility the that God has given you and focus your attention only on the pleasures of life? If you do, you’re missing out on God’s best for you.
Is your time spent lauding yourself at that others will see and remember your name? If so, will you pray about how you can shine Jesus name instead of your own?
The Beatitudes show us that God has blessings beyond her wildest imaginations, just waiting to rain down on us. But they also tell us that we are to carry out our end of the bargain, to be obedient to his calling. We are called to be humble, gentle, compassionate, merciful peacemakers, to work for justice, to allow God to purify our hearts, and to do right by God. Let’s not give up the fight, stay strong, for your reward is great in heaven.
Dear most holy God, you are so gracious and giving to us. You only ask that we put you first and obediently follow your call.
God. empower us in Your strength to be obedient. Thank you for reminding us that the rewards you offer are greater than we could possibly ask or imagine and certainly better than the rewards of the world. Help us keep our eyes on the best prize of all eternity in your presence as we walk the path that you have called us. In Jesus name, I pray
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