What does it mean to be merciful? Our culture seems to be lacking in it. Scripture provides us with so many excellent examples. Being merciful begins with an understanding of how God has been merciful to us. Then we are to go and extend mercy to others.
What does it mean that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are satisfied? Perhaps the better question is to ask what are you hungering or thirsting for? Is it satisfying you? If you aren’t pursuing righteousness, then it doesn’t bring anything that is lasting or peaceful or joyful or eternal.
What does it mean to be meek? It’s not what the world thinks in regard to meekness. What Jesus means is entirely different from what the culture views to be meekness. The Bible gives plenty of portraits of those who exhibited meekness. Let’s consider together what Jesus meant when He said that the meek are blessed (something the world thinks impossible), and will inherit the earth.
What did Jesus mean when He said that those who mourn would be both blessed and comforted? We discover that Jesus is speaking here about those who mourn over their sin. The person who is poor in spirit recognizes his or her spiritual bankruptcy and then mourns over sin. When there is a proper attitude regarding sin, we will admit that we have wronged God and seek to do something about it. True mourning over sin takes the next step of repentance in order to be right with God. We must have a right attitude about sin and not treat it casually or callously. See it as God does and then grieve over it. This leads to another step of Christlikeness.
In this new year, we will be looking at spiritual growth. A good place to begin that journey is with the Beatitudes. In this opening message, we will discover what it means to be poor in spirit. Join us on our journey of being more like Christ this year.
What is it about Christmas that evokes wonder? As we reread the gospel accounts of the birth of Christ, we can’t help but be drawn into praise of God for sending us His indescribable gift. Let’s join in giving God the praise He deserves.
Visit any business, organization or charity and asked them what their purpose is and they will tell you why they are in existence. Any business must answer the fundamental question why. Why do we do what we do? Why are we here? We, you and me, have a purpose. Oh, scientists and sociologists and philosophers all try to answer that basic question. They observe and research and ponder and create theories and postulations about the why of our being, but fall short, because they have neglected the source by which that question can be answered. The Bible tells us we were created to glorify God. But if we know God, we can’t fulfill our purpose. So Jesus came. The Bible tells us His purpose. Jesus came to seek the lost. Jesus came to serve the lost. Jesus came to save the lost. Salvation puts us back into a right relationship with God so that we can fulfill our purpose of glorifying God. As we celebrate Christmas remembering the words of the angel who announced his birth to Mary, then to Joseph and then to the shepherds, the angel said this baby was to be named Jesus. He will save His people from their sins. His name, Jesus, and His title, Christ, tell us His purpose.
How do you pick a book? Is it the cover? Or maybe the title? Perhaps it’s what you read on the back of the book. Someone said that you can never underestimate the power of a good opening line. If that’s the case, when you read the opening sentence of Matthew, you may wonder whether the book is worth continuing since it opens with a list of names in a genealogy. Yet, when you give it in-depth scrutiny, you begin to understand how important the genealogies are, especially in the line of Christ. Their identities give us a window into the past but help to verify the accuracy of the historical records and substantiate that Jesus is the Messiah. The impact from the genealogies reveals both the humanity and deity of Jesus, but also gives us the purpose that Jesus came to save us.
What do the prophecies about Christ point to? Among the many in the Old Testament, our focus in this message will be on three. There is the promise of a redeemer. There is the promise of a relationship. There is the promise of a ruler. The Old Testament looks forward to that point of time in which the Messiah will come to seek and save the lost. He is Immanuel – God with us. Prophecy also points to a second coming of the Messiah. The prophecies of the Old Testament are wrapped up in the one who was swaddled in strips of cloth, whose birth we celebrate this time of year, the Messiah, Jesus Christ the Lord.
Why are we to rejoice? Why are we to give praise and offer thanksgiving? Verse 1 tells us, because the Lord reigns. No matter how chaotic things appear either through natural disasters or man-made atrocities, God is in control, He is ruling from His throne. This Psalm looks forward to a day when God’s judgments will be meted out. He will do so in righteousness and justice. He reigns, therefore respond by rejoicing.