The Blessings of the Kingdom part 2
Topic: Blessings Verse: Luke 6:21–6:26
“The Blessings of the Kingdom”
Theme: It is not external morality or superficial religious activity, but the internal knowledge of sin and reliance upon the righteousness of Christ that saves.
I. The Delight of a Focus on the Savior – 6:20-23
A. They Are Aware of Their Need – v. 20
- At some point during the chaos of the crowd attempting simply to touch him, Jesus decided that the time was right to provide a sermon that is perhaps the most significant message ever delivered – “And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say …”
- Luke’s account of the what is called “The Sermon on the Mount” is significantly condensed which provides some explanation for slight variations from Matthew’s more extended account.
- Both accounts are inspired by the Holy Spirit and perfectly suited for the purpose of each gospel writer – even as Luke provides an account designed to emphasize the necessity of the work of grace in a person’s life to save them from sin.
- The affect of grace will result in certain characteristics common among all who are genuinely “born again.”
- Jesus here dramatically establishes that external morality and superficial religion cannot save, but true salvation comes only to those who by grace gain what is called “the knowledge of sin” and the resulting reliance upon the righteousness of God.
- This righteousness is not something that anyone can establish on their own – that is, it cannot be self-righteousness gained through any amount of “good works.”
- Rather, it is the abandonment of one’s own merit and acknowledging that because of sin, one is bankrupt in the eyes of God – alarmingly impoverished of anything that would be pleasing to God.
- As such, the Gospel message is not only unacceptable, but offensive to a self-reliant externalist who believes that salvation is secured through their own effort.
- The Gospel is a series of bad news/good news messages – yet some sinners do not listen long enough to hear the good news because they are so offended by the bad news.
- Thus, Jesus delivers His most famous sermon by providing a series of “blessings” – called the Beatitudes.
- He begins “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
- “Blessed” [μακάριος] – refers to being in a favored position before the Lord – well-being through a position of privilege.
- In the context of our verse, it describes the state of being born-again, favored in the eyes of God through grace.
- It is contrasted to the “woes” pronounced later – which refers to a person in an “unfavored” position.
- Being “poor” [πτωχός] here does not refer to finances or material possessions, but a condition of a person’s soul wherein they consider themselves possessing nothing of value in the eyes of God – cp. Matthew 5:3.
- It describes the person who is utterly destitute, cowering as a beggar dependent upon the graces of some benefactor to provide what they have no means to acquire.
- Jesus says here that when a sinner comes to realize that they have no righteousness and turns to God to supply what is lacking, gains the entire Kingdom of God – “for yours is the kingdom of God” – cp. Matthew 6:33.
B. They Aspire for Righteousness – v. 21a
- The second characteristic of the saved is that they yearn for righteousness – “Blessed are you who hunger now …”
- Again, this is not a reference to a physical appetite, but to the aspiration or yearning for the righteousness that has been acknowledged as missing.
- Whereas being poor focuses on what is lacking, being hungry focuses on what is needed.
- The term “hunger” [πεινάω] – describes the yearning or longing, actual meaning is to feel the pangs of the lack of food.
- Anyone who yearns for the righteousness of God and comes by faith “… shall be satisfied” [χορτάζω] – a reference to being full or satiated at some point in the future.
- This is a reference to the total satisfaction that will be ours when we receive the fullness of the inheritance from the hand of the Lord – full conformity to Christ Jesus and His righteousness.
- There is clear insinuation to what will be enjoyed in the Millennial Kingdom and ultimately to the eternal state.
- Meanwhile, we experience varying levels of being “satisfied” as we feast on the God’s Word – cp. Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 119:103
- This hunger is experienced as we yearn to find conformity to Jesus Christ – the growth in grace that enables us to overcome our flesh and experience the power of God to live righteously and godly.
- God’s Word is absolutely crucial in this process as it is the means by which we are fed we will listen to it preached, read & study it ourselves, memorize it, pray it, discuss it with other saints, apply it, and deliberately & consistently submit to it.
C. They Agonize over Sin – v. 21b
- Yet another characteristic of the saved is that they continue to struggle over the presence of sin in their lives – “Blessed are you who weep now …”
- Instead of being satisfied with the amount of righteousness that has been provided in Christ, we continue to grieve over the presence of sin.
- “Weep” [κλαίω] – describes a person who feels an extreme level of sadness and mourning over their sin – unable to “be okay” with sin in their lives.
- This describes the person who remains actively confessing sin because of a desire for a clean conscience before the Lord.
- Such sorrow is the godly sorrow that leads to repentance described in 2 Corinthians 7:10.
- This describes the person who is willing to “own” their sin – not flaunting it around airing all of their flaws indiscriminately; but, one who finds the sincerity and integrity to be transparent with other saints – admitting that they are struggling and seeking the strength that comes through genuine fellowship (Community Groups ought to be one place where this is able to occur in an environment of love, trust, and accountability).
- The promise given to such ones is that “… you shall laugh” [γελάω] – describing the state of being carefree – relieved from the burden of sin they are joyful and expressive of their delight in their glorified state – cp. James 4:6-10.
D. They Appreciate Their Blessings – vv. 22-23
- Such hope enables believers to endure – the knowledge of their blessings fortify them to suffer under the animosities of the lost.
- We are told that those who are poor, hungry, and weeping are blessed as well because the transformation in their lives will result in persecution that will do nothing but intensify.
- Jesus says: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.”
- They will “hate you” [μισέω] – a reference to someone possessing a strong aversion to someone, detesting you – describing their sentiment.
- But they will also “ostracize you” [ἀφορίζω] – a reference to more than an attitude, it describes how they will discourage interaction with you – to eliminate contact – again referring to seeking to limit or eliminate your influence.
- Then they will “insult you” [ὀνειδίζω] – describing the effort to revile or mock you as a way of shaming you so that you will remove yourself. Notice that all of these presuppose that their efforts to shut you up are NOT working!
- Finally, they will “scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” [ἐκβάλλω] – a reference to driving your name out – expelling you and forcing your exit because of who and what you represent – “the Son of Man.”
- The command here is that when such things happen, we not shrink back as intimidated and muted by their tactics, rather. “Be glad in that day and leap for joy …”
- There are two reasons given why we should respond joyfully:
- “For your reward is great in heaven” – being persecuted for the name of Christ increases one’s reward – James 1:12
- “For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets” – it causes one to be numbered among the godly and faithful men who were clearly blessed by the Lord
- These are the marks of a person who has been saved – they don’t do these things in order to be saved, they do them because they are saved – this is the good news!
- Describe an occasion when the realities of an eternity without Christ caused terror in your own soul - when you were truly “poor” in the way that Christ described.
- How does spiritual hunger affect you - how do you respond to being hungry (describe what you do)?
- What is the difference between a sorrow that causes you to weep over sin verses a sorrow that causes you to weep over the consequences of what you’ve done?
II. The Disaster of a Focus on Self-Sufficiency – 6:24-26
A. Your “Fitness” Is Temporary – v. 24
- Again, these next several verses are in direct contrast with the previous four results from embracing the Savior.
- Instead of knowing the eternal blessings that results from the knowledge of sin, repentance, and commitment to the grace of God, there are woes pronounced against unbelievers.
- “woe” [οὐαί] – describes a warning of an impending state of hardship, distress, or suffering; it results from being in a condition of “disfavor” with God.
- Instead of realizing their destitution of righteousness, being devoid of anything pleasing to God, these condemned people think that they have everything that they need.
- Luke says: “Woe to you who are rich …” – they believe that their lives are all that they ought to be.
- In their delusion, they are constantly encouraging themselves, patting themselves on the back for their self-identified and self-describe virtues.
- Instead of enjoying the blessing of God and of the Kingdom as those who are poor are able to both enjoy and anticipate, these self-righteous people “… are receiving your comfort in full.”
- That is, what they are currently experiencing is the best it will ever be for them – what awaits them in judgment will not bring them any encouragement, enjoyment, or “comfort.”
- Their destitution will be when they stand before the Lord in judgment.
B. Your “Fulfillment” is Temporary – v. 25a
- Continuing to contrast those who look to Christ to supply what they lack, Jesus says: “Woe to you who are well-fed now” – describing the person who is not craving the righteousness of God but because they are “rich,” they are full of themselves.
- They have absolutely no appetite for anything that God has to offer them – they are completely fulfilled by what they themselves have obtained.
- Jesus declares that such a state of disfavor with God will result in the insatiable craving for blessing later, but to no avail – “for you shall be hungry.”
- “hungry” [πεινάω] – refers to feeling the pangs of the lack of food – the desire for something, anything from God’s hand, but they will be eternally starving for it.
- This speaks of their intensified awareness of their lack of righteousness when they are rejected by God in judgment.
C. Your “Festivity” Is Temporary – v. 25b
- Whereas those who have been enlightened by grace to their sinfulness and Christ’s righteousness and they great heartache & sorrow that leads to repentance, those who reject Christ live carefree – “Woe to you who laugh now …”
- Instead of being burdened by the weight and significance of their sin, unbelievers are carefree and merry – unaware of the imminent and inevitable accountability that will overwhelm them.
- What they do not realize is that when God’s judgment falls upon them, they will “mourn and weep.”
- “mourn” [πενθέω] – this is often associated with death – a grief that causes one to know unparalleled levels of sadness and consideration of all that one has lost.
- “weep” [κλαίω] – the wailing that results from the despair over the loss of something precious and dear.
- For eternity, sinners who fail to grieve over their sin and repent in light of the grace of God will be inconsolable – cp. Luke 13:24-28.
D. Your “Fame” Is Temporary – v. 26
- Luke completes these contrasts by referring to the popularity and fame that the ungodly have among the ungodly – “Woe to you when all men speak well of you …”
- A reference to receiving the praise of men – by the men who are ungodly and therefore rejoice in ungodliness.
- They association with Israel who knew the judgment of God because of their idolatrous and spiritually unfaithful pursuits – “for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.”
- Whereas they are hateful to those who bear the truth and proclaim the Gospel, they enjoy the affirmations, encouragements, celebrations, and appeasements that false prophets provide them – cp. 2 Timothy 4:3.
- With whom ought we seek to find approval and popularity – the world that is passing away, or God who has the ability to bring eternal joy and blessing? – cp. 1 John 2:15-17.
- Discuss common ways that people live for today instead of eternity - which do you struggle with most?
- How does the “fear of man” affect you - in what ways are you commonly guilty of allowing it to affect your testimony for Christ?
- How does the trivialization of sin reflect the lack of the fear of God?