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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 3 - CITIZENS OF THE KINDGOM (MATTHEW 5)

NOTE: ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ARE IN PARENTHESIS.

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT MATT 5 AND THE SERMON ON THE
MOUNT. THERE IS A LOT OF MATERIAL TO COVER AND I DECIDED TO
CONCENTRATE ON THE BEATITUDES.  THE BEATITUDES STARTING OUT THE
SERMON BEGIN WITH THE WORD "BLESSED." "BLESSED ARE YOU...." THE WORD IN
THE GREEK MEANS "FORTUNATE", "WELL OFF" OR "HAPPY."  AREN'T THOSE TERMS
THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DESCRIBE YOU?  I WOULD.  SO LETS FIND OUT
HOW.

I. BEATITUDES
      A. TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK BRINGS OR WOULD BRING YOU HAPPINESS?
(LIST ALL SUGGESTIONS ON THE BLACKBOARD)
      B. READ MATT. 5:1-3.
      C. WE ARE TOLD THAT THE FIRST WAY TO HAPPINESS IS TO BE POOR IN
SPIRIT.
            1. THIS IS NOT ON YOUR LIST.
            2. THE GREEK WORD FOR POOR IN SPIRIT MEANS "CROUCHING" OR
"CRINGING" AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE AN HONEST  BEGGAR WOULD COME TO ASK
FOR MONEY.
                  a. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS REALLY BEING SUGGESTED AS A
ROAD TO HAPPINESS WHEN MATT. TALKS ABOUT THE "POOR IN SPIRIT?" (IDEA IS
THAT YOU COME TO CHRIST REALIZING THAT YOU ARE POOR AND NAKED AND A
BEGGAR SPIRITUALLY AND YOU SAY "GOD, I NEED YOU!" THOSE PEOPLE ARE
FORTUNATE, HAPPY, BLESSED.)
            3. HOW WOULD YOU SUGGEST THAT A PERSON MOST OFTEN COMES TO
THIS POINT OF REALIZING THAT HE IS A BEGGAR? (SOME OF LIFE'S TOUGHEST
CIRCUMSTANCES ARE A BLESSING BECAUSE THEY BRING US TO THIS POINT OF
REALIZING WHAT SPIRITUAL BEGGAR'S WE REALLY ARE.)
                  a. AND WHAT IS THE RESULT FOR THESE PEOPLE? (V.3 SAYS
THESE PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN!)

      D. READ MATT. 5:4.
      E. MOURN.  THIS IS NOT ON YOUR HAPPINESS LIST EITHER.
      F. THE GREEK WORD FOR "MOURN" REFERS TO INTENSE MOURNING. IT GOES
BEYOUND GRIEF.
      G. HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY BE HAPPY WHEN WE ARE INTENSELY MOURNING? 
THE TEXT JUST DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE, DOES IT?

(THERE IS A VERY INTERESTING AND UNIQUE STORY IN EZK. CHPT. 9 THAT IS A
PARALLEL TO THE FINAL JUDGMENT.  THE STORY TELLS OF SIX WARRIORS AND A
SCRIBE.  THE SCRIBE GOES ABOUT THE CITY AND WRITES A MARK ON THE
FOREHEAD OF ALL WHO "GRIEVE AND LAMENT" (NIV) OR "SIGH AND CRY" (KJV) OR
"SIGH AND GROAN" (RSV) OVER THE SINS THAT ARE COMMITTED.  EVERYONE THAT
DOES NOT HAVE THE MARK IS KILLED BY ONE OF THOSE SIX WARRIORS. SO
SURVIVING TURNS ON WHETHER YOU "SIGH AND CRY" ABOUT THE SINS THAT ARE
COMMITTED.

PUTTING THIS ALL TOGETHER, V.3 (OF MATT. 5) TALKS ABOUT THE POOR IN SPIRIT,
AND V.4, I THINK, REFERS TO THOSE WHO REALIZE THAT THEY ARE POOR IN SPIRIT
AND ARE TRULY CONCERNED ABOUT IT.  SO THOSE WHO ARE COMFORTED ARE
THOSE WHO NOT ONLY REALIZE THEIR NEED, BUT ARE SAD ABOUT THIS GULF
BETWEEN THEIR CHARACTER AND PERFECTION.)

      H. READ MATT. 5:5.
            1. IS MEEKNESS ON YOUR HAPPINESS LIST?
      I. A SUGGESTION THAT I SHOULD BE MEEK SURE GOES AGAINST MY GRAIN. 
HOW ABOUT YOU?
            1. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS REALLY MEANS THAT WE SHOULD BE
MEEK? GREEK=MILD, GENTLE.  (THE PHILOSOPHY OF SECULAR SOCIETY IS TO
BRING ATTENTION TO OURSELVES.  WE SAY, "THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE DONE."  "THIS
IS WHAT WE OWN." "THIS IS WHAT WE THINK."  JESUS IS SUGGESTING A DIFFERENT
PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE.  HE SUGGESTS THAT WE FOCUS ON GOD AND HIS WILL AND
NOT FOCUS ON US.  THE AMAZING AND IRONIC THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT THOSE
WHO ARE NOT PUTTING THEMSELVES FIRST WILL INHERIT EVERYTHING--THE
WHOLE EARTH!)
      J. READ MATT. 5:6
            1. IS BEING HUNGERY AND THIRSTY ON YOUR HAPPINESS LIST?
            2. WHAT TO YOU THINK IS MEANT BY "HUNGERING AND THIRSTING
FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS?" (A LITTLE DIFFERENT ANGLE ON THE IDEA OF MOURNING
BECAUSE OF OUR SITUATION.  WE KEENLY WANT TO HAVE THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
THAT JESUS GIVES.)
      K. THE TEXT SAYS THAT THESE PEOPLE WILL BE FILLED WITH
RIGHTEOUSNESS. RIGHTEOUSNESS DOES NOT JUST FALL OUT OF THE SKY ONE DAY,
WE HAVE TO WANT IT.

      L. READ MATT. 5:7. 
            1. IS MERCY ON YOUR HAPPINESS LIST?
            2. HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEARD THAT MARION BARRY HAD
BEEN ARRESTED ON COCAINE CHARGES?
            3. DID YOU SMIRK AND SAY, "BOY I'M GLAD THEY GOT THAT GUY AT
LAST."  I DID. ESPECIALLY I THOUGHT THE TIMING WAS GOOD BECAUSE HE WAS
GOING TO ANNOUNCE HIS CANDIDACY FOR RE-ELECTION AS MAYOR THIS SUNDAY.
            4. BEFORE TOO LONG I REALIZED WHAT A HORRIBLE ATTITUDE I HAD. 
I WAS GLOATING BECAUSE THIS POOR FELLOW WAS CAUGHT IN A VERY ADDICTIVE
SIN.
            5. WHAT ATTITUDE DOES THIS TEXT SUGGEST THAT WE HAVE?
(MERCIFUL)
            6. WHAT IS THE "DOWN-SIDE" IF WE DO NOT HAVE THIS ATTITUDE?
(MERCY WILL NOT BE SHOWN TO US.)

      M. READ MATT. 5:8. 
            1. IS THIS ON YOUR HAPPINESS LIST?
            2. THE WORD  TRANSLATED "HEART" MEANS THE INTELLECT, THE
CONSCIENCE.
            3. DO YOU THINK THAT BEING "PURE IN HEART" MEANS THAT YOU ARE
SINLESS?
            4. WHY DIDN'T JESUS SAY "HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO HAVE PURE
ACTIONS?" (THIS ALL GETS BACK TO MY THEORY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS,
SALVATION, IS A MATTER OF ATTITUDE, MOTIVES, AND NOT ACTIONS. JESUS IS
LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ATTITUDES SUCH AS THOSE WE HAVE DISCUSSED
THIS MORNING.  THEY MAY NOT HAVE PERFECT ACTS, BUT THEY HAVE A PURE
ATTITUDE.  OUR ACTIONS WE CAN OFTEN CHANGE THOUGH DETERMINATION.  BUT
HOW EASY IS IT TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE? THAT IS WHY ONLY JESUS CAN
CHANGE OUR HEART AND WE MUST THROW OURSELVES ON HIM.)

      N. READ MATT. 5:9
            1. IS THIS ON YOUR LIST?
            2. DOES THIS REFER TO THOSE WHO GET ALONG IN THEIR MARRIAGE? 
HOW ABOUT THOSE THAT HELP TO RESOLVE PROBLEMS? (THE REFERENCE THAT
CHRIST MAKES IS TO BRINGING MEN INTO HARMONY WITH GOD.  CHRIST CAME TO
SHOW THAT GOD IS NOT OUR ENEMY AND THAT IS OUR TASK TOO.)

      O. READ MATT. 5:10-12. THESE VERSES TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS
TO US RATHER THAN WHAT KIND OF ATTITUDE WE SHOULD HAVE.
            1. THIS WAS NOT ON ANYONE'S HAPPINESS LIST.
            2. HOW CAN YOU BE HAPPY IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES? (THERE IS A
WAR GOING ON BETWEEN CHRIST AND SATAN.  JESUS SAYS THAT WHAT WILL
MAKE YOU HAPPY DURING TIMES LIKE THIS IS KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE
MEMBERSHIP IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.)  
            3. AS YOU THINK BACK ABOUT TOUGH TIMES, DID IT MAKE YOU
BETTER OR BITTER?
            4. ALSO CONSIDER WHETHER YOU FACED TOUGH TIMES BECAUSE OF
"HIS SAKE" (V.11) OR BECAUSE OF SOMETING THAT YOU DID.

II. LAW AND THE BEATITUDES
      A. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN ON A MOUNTAIN (SINIA) AND THE
BEAUTITUDES WERE GIVEN ON A MOUNTAIN. (MATT. 5:1)  THESE TWO GREAT TIMES
OF LAW GIVING ARE OFTEN COMPARED.
      B. READ MATT. 5:17-18.
      C. DO THE BEATITUDES SEEM TO YOU TO BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS?
      D. WHAT ABOUT THE DISCUSSION THAT JESUS HAS IN MATT. 5:21 THROUGH
THE REST OF THE CHPT.?  THIS IS WHERE JESUS SAYS THAT ANGER IS PART OF
MURDER AND LUST IS PART OF ADULTERY. ISN'T THIS INCONSISTENT? (ONCE AGAIN
ATTITUDE IS THE IMPORTANT PART.  JEUS SAYS THAT WHAT GOD IS REALLY
INTERESTED IN IS YOUR ATTITUDE.  YOUR ATTITUDE CAUSES THESE SINS.  THE
BEST WAY TO GUARD AGAINST THE SIN IS TO GUARD AGAINST THE ATTITUDE OF
LUST AND ANGER ETC.)

III. NEXT WEEK: MATT. 5&6.