A. The last two weeks we have stressed that the Sermon on the Mount is ethical and moral teaching for Christians. It presupposes the new birth, for it was given to Christ’s disciples (Matt. 5:1); that is, these followers of Christ had placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
NOTE: The Sermon on the Mount does not tell us what a Christian is but what a Christian does. It tells us what to look for in those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. This sermon is truth, not for the unsaved or for nations but for individual Christians in practical living.
B. In Matt. 4:17, Christ was preaching the truth of the kingdom of heaven, which is a reference to the future millennial kingdom. Now in the Sermon of the Mount he is giving spiritual truth to any group of disciples waiting for the kingdom to be established on this earth.
C. Every believer since Adam and Eve will have a part in the millennial kingdom. Even the Church will have its part in the future kingdom. Christians today are children of the earthly kingdom of our Lord, even though they are not yet in the kingdom. When a person trusts Christ, he receives eternal life and is guaranteed a place in heaven or the eternal kingdom, but he is also guaranteed a place in the millennial kingdom to be set up by Christ on this earth.
NOTE: As children of the kingdom, Christians, through their obedience to Christ now, give the world a preview of what the millennial kingdom will be like. The earthly kingdom will be a time of peace, righteousness, mercy, and justice and so on with Christ ruling over all men. Christians today, when they submit to Christ and display peace, righteousness, mercy, justice, love and so on, are producing on a minor scale what the kingdom will be like on a world-wide basis. The Christian is to show forth all the virtues of the Beatitudes to demonstrate to the non-Christian world what the future kingdom is going to be like, when Christ reigns over this earth.
II. PURE IN HEART: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
A. To have a pure heart, does not speak of sinless perfection, for this would contradict several of the other Beatitudes. The world says, “Blessed are the level headed, and the soft soapers.”
B. Purity of heart first speaks of openness of life. It deals with sincerity and genuineness toward others with an absence of guile and hypocrisy. Purity of heart deals with relationships. In relationship to God and man, he is free from falsehood. The whole life is transparent before God and men -- this is public as well as private. Purity of heart gets down to the “nitty gritty” delivered from the hypocrisy in the life. What are our motives?
C. Purity of heart also speaks of cleansing, for the true child of God hates sin in his life because he knows that God hates it. The pure in heart take not of foul thoughts, vile imaginations and evil desires and long for deliverance from them. The pure in heart are discontent with unbelief, pride, coldness of affection and weep in secret over unholiness.
NOTE: Today there are so many professing Christians that are content with a mere outward form of godliness but their hearts are far from the Lord. Yet, true Christians desire greater purity of heart. In fact, the more pure the heart becomes, the more conscious the Christian becomes of the indwelling filth in his own life.
NOTE: This sixth Beatitude condemns and lays an axe to the most of that which now passes for so called Christianity. Men are so prone to have a religion of the head rather than of the heart!
D. The pure in heart shall see God. They will see God through the eye of faith now and shall see him in the future earthly kingdom and for all eternity.
III. PEACEMAKERS: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
A. The world says, “Blessed are the tough.” But Christ says it is the peacemakers that shall be happy and blessed of God.
B. A peacemaker is not an “easy-going” person or a “peace at any price” individual. It is not one who says, “I will do anything to avoid trouble.” A peacemaker is not an appeaser or a compromiser, for often so-called peacemakers lack a sense of justice and right. Nor is a peacemaker one who believes in pacifism or non-resistance, for there are some justifiable reasons for war.
C. A peacemaker is peaceable, for a quarrelsome person cannot be a peacemaker. He desires peace and he does all he can to achieve it. He is a person that sees there should be peace between individuals, groups and nations, and he finds Biblical means and methods for making peace. A peacemaker goes out of his way to produce peace.
NOTE: There can be no peace without pain.
1. God made peace with man at the pain and expense of the death of His only Son, Jesus.
2. If we are involved in a quarrel, there is the pain of apologizing to the person we offended. Or he pain of rebuking the person who offended us. Or there is the pain of refusing to forgive the guilty party until he truly repents. Forgiveness is essential to peace but how can we give forgiveness when there is no repentance? (Lk. 17:3)
3. If we are the arbitrator (peacemaker) between two estranged individuals or two groups at odds, then there is the pain of listening, ridding ourselves of prejudice or preconceived idea, striving to sympathetically understand other’s views, and risky misunderstandings, ingratitude and failure to be fair.
D. To be a lover and worker after peace is one of the distinguishing marks of those who are followers of the Prince of Peace. The miracle of grace in the Christian’s heart now causes the Christian to regard all God’s creatures in benevolence, desiring to promote their best interests. (Titus 3:1-6). Christians are commanded to live peaceable with all men if it is at all possible (Rom. 12:18).
NOTE: In the future kingdom, there will be peace. Christians, as children of the yet future kingdom, are to work for peace to show non-Christian world what the kingdom will be like, hoping that many in this world will respond to Christ out of a desire to be a part of that glorious kingdom to come.
E. The Christian’s first responsibility as a peacemaker is on an individual, man to man basis. He is to live peaceably with his fellowman, so he can bring peace between the unsaved world and God; that is, these non-Christians can be brought to saving relationship with Jesus Christ. It is obvious that if Christians are bitter or warlike towards individuals in this world, they will never hear the gospel of Christ when it is preached by the Christians. Sinners must be brought to see the Prince of Peace in all of His glory and saving power, and we as Christians are representatives of the Prince of Peace.
F. Secondly, the Christian has a responsibility to groups within his community to be a peacemaker.
APPLICATION: This could apply to the race problem in our city and country. Christians, of all people, must show love towards men of all races, and prove to the world that in the true Church of Jesus Christ there are no racial distinctions.
NOTE: The tragedy is that evangelicals should be leading out in the race issue, not by marching, picketing or violence, but by exercising the love of Christ, looking at men as Christ looks at them. To God, it is not the color of skin that is important; it is the condition of the soul that is all-important. We can never be a peacemaker with race prejudice in our hearts. The black man will never listen to the gospel the white man proclaims until the black man sees the love of Christ in the white man’s life.
G. Thirdly, the Christian has responsibilities internationally. We have wars, hot and cold, rumors of wars and constant international tension. What is wrong with this world? Sin! Behind it all is human lust, greed, selfishness and self-centeredness.
NOTE: The Christian understands that the basic problem of the world is not political, economic or social but man, who himself is sinful. Christians can grasp why the League of Nations failed, and why the United Nations Organization is apparently failing. The problem is man, not his environment. Until man is changed inwardly, he will never want real peace. Only Jesus Christ can change men and make them peaceable persons.
NOTE: Christians are not so naive to believe that there will be no more war by mans efforts to prevent it but we are to strive for Peace. Those who know the Prince of Peace should demonstrate a peace like attitude. Christians should never be war-like but Christ like.
H. The peacemakers will give evidence of true salvation and men will call them the Sons of God. The non-Christian will recognize the true Christian to be a follower of the Prince of Peace.
A. For you here this morning without Christ, I want you to understand peace cannot begin in the world until men are submitted to the Prince of Peace. When men are at peace with God through Jesus Christ, then a spirit of peaceable-ness prevails in the individual soul.
B. It is sin that has separated you from God and you have no peace in your heart! Only Jesus Christ can forgive your sins and bring battle raging in your soul to an end. What must you do to be at peace with God? Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.