Well, this weekend has been a time of great fellowship, deep soul searching, faithful preaching and thankful praise. Our partnership with Wellspring Church, a Sovereign Grace Church in our neighboring town of San Leandro, was a special treat as they are a pleasure to be around and their spirit contagious for the glory of God and His Gospel.
Our speaker, Jerry Bridges, was invited to speak to us on the subject of “The Beatitudes: Humility in Action.” He broke the beatitudes into four groupings, defined them and then fleshed out how they embodied or bore fruit with humility, but not simply an attitude of humility, but rather a humility in action.
He stressed that each beatitude is an expression of the normal Christian life and that the idea of blessed is not happiness as man understand it to be, but rather to be in the position of enjoying the favor or God. Although we equate God’s favor with the good times, it is often in the difficult times of life that we experience the favor of God.
1. Poor in Spirit
To be poor in spirit is to be fully aware of our own sinfulness. Just like the the tax collector in the parable fo the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, or Isaiah before God (Isaiah 6:1-8), we cry out to God recognizing our sinfulness. Being fully aware of our sin is not only a necessary reality of our salvation, but it is also the attitude a believer should be growing in, being more and more aware of our sin. And, when we are fully aware of our sinfulness we, who have embraced Christ, can rejoice because we appreciate what Christ has done for us on the Cross.
2. They who Mourn.
The mourning that Jesus has in mind here is the mourning over our sin, but there is more to it than just that. We mourn not just because we are aware that we have sinned, but because our sin is against God — “Against you only have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4) This is contrition and brokenness of heart that God is calling us to.
We must apply the Gospel every day because we are all sitll, although saved, practical sinners. A person who is growing in Christ is continually mourning over their sin. That mourning, however, is not self-centered, but God-centered, and the means that God uses to be restored to Him and to help us identify with the culture around us.
As John Newton said, “I am a great sinner, but I have a great Savior.”
If you want to be humble you must go to the cross and dwell there…
Meekness is not spineless, weakness of character of the like. Nor is it simply a disposition of natural character. It is the result of the spirit’s work in us as well as something we should be pursuing.
Meekness is an enlightened awareness of the sovereignty of God. An awareness of His authority and ultimate control over His creation (Job 34:18-19) It is a submission toward God recognizing that He is graciously working his will to our good. The opposite of meekness is arrogance.
There are two ways we can respond to difficulties in life: We can be defensive and say, “I don’t deserve this” or we can despairingly declare, “I do deserve this.” But the reality is that we don’t get what we deserve, but we are getting what we need. So, meekness toward other people grows out of our attitude with God – we bear patiently with them, accepting both criticism and personal injury without retaliation.
Mercy is the other side of the coin from meekness. It speaks to how we treat others when they do something against us. Just like the good Samaritan, we should show mercy or compassion. Mercy is the same as compassion…which is hands on mercy. Mercy is granting forgiveness to the guilty especially in light of my comparison of their guilt to my sin against God.
The parable of the unforgiving servant speaks to the kind of compassion we should have for others. Unlike the servant who, having been forgiven by God of an unpayable debt and does not show like compassion for a man’s small debt, we extend mercy. Grace addresses our guilt while mercy addresses the condition we are in because of our guilt. It is important to recognize that in this parable the cost to the master for being merciful. He was willing to be out a whole lot of money to be merciful…it should cost us.
In all these beatitudes we are reminded to see the beauty of the Gospel, but we cannot see that beauty unless we are willing to see our sinfulness, mourn over our sin agains God, allow His sovereignty to fashion our attitudes toward difficulty and to respond to others with grace rather than retaliation. It is because of the Gospel that we can live with humilty in action.
Message #1 – “Humbled Over Sin“.
Message #2 – “Meek and Merciful“.