2b. "How to Be Really Well Off"

Matthew 5:9–16

Today, we focus on two things: the last two of eight Beatitudes (vv. 9–10) and Jesus' blessing for those of us who demonstrate our faith in him.
The eight reassuring Beatitude verses document what we, as doers of God's Word, must do to be really well off, including our answering of the following highlighted questions. Answering them correctly will enable you to know that you're holding fast in your faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How to Be Really Well Off

Matthew 5:9–16 [Click to open and read this passage. Re-click to close it.]

. . .
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.



Salt and Light
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:9–10

This Beatitude (v. 9) gives meaning to the term "disturbing the peace." Time and
again, Jesus disturbed the peace: Jesus deliberately provoked the Jewish religious hierarchy; he violated cultural taboos, spending too much time with the wrong people; he called people away from their homes and their jobs and their families; he then told people to seek the Kingdom of God at the expense of all other seemingly noble aims; and he turned his world upside down, sometimes literally. Remember what he did to the money-changing tables in the Temple?

Jesus upset the Jewish and Roman leadership enough that they both resorted to putting him to death to silence him. The Prince of Peace was most certainly guilty of disturbing the peace!

“Disturbing the peace” implies upsetting some kind of equilibrium; unsettling some kind of status quo. Jesus says: Blessed are the peacemakers. It comes back to what we learned last week about the need to become a "doer." Making peace is a creative, active thing that we're to do, making peace by advocating for and bringing into being the good that God intends. Are you guilty of disturbing the peace?

Peacemakers! Jesus said such people are blessed. Jesus said such "doers" will be call-
ed children of God! How are you doing at keeping the peace?

The eighth Beatitude (v. 10) has two key words: "persecuted" and "righteousness." Persecution is something none of us want if we're honest with ourselves. It's simply no fun. But Eugene Peterson's Message version states something very key to what this persecution does when we encounter it: "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom." Are you being persecuted for your actions?

Looking at righteousness in verse 10, you ought to ask, "What righteousness, mine or Jesus'"? Does this mean making a commitment to God? I looked up the Greek to try to understand this verse better. The word in this passage for righteousness is Dikaiosune. Simply put, righteousness is a state or condition that is acceptable and pleasing to God. This is impossible without the blood of Christ.

Matthew 5:11–12

Although there appears to be similarity, this passage differs significantly from the Beati-
tude about the persecuted. That eighth Beatitude has to do with being persecuted for doing the right thing, whereas vv. 11 and 12 are about being persecuted for your belief in Christ. For example, when people say, "How can you believe in something you can't see? Only dorks do that." Such a challenge is going after your faith; what you believe with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's making you feel as though you're worthless for your belief and it would be better for you to just quit than to keep following it.

But the bigger difference lies in the second verse. It speaks first of the greatness of your reward, which is in heaven. The verse concludes by reassuring you that you're not the only one to be persecuted for trusting in the Lord. The prophets were insulted, beaten, jailed, and killed for their beliefs. The apostles were treated the same way.

So what should we do? We should rejoice because we know we're holding fast in our faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:13–16

After preaching the Beatitudes, Jesus tells the disciples of their responsibility in society. The focus of God’s action is the entire world — not simply the Church or Christians. ‘Let your light shine before people that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven.’ It's about what we, "doers of the Word," do in this world.

Apostle Peter told of what we who are blessed are to do in this world (1 Peter 2:9–10).You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received God’s mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Salt of the Earth<<click to open)  In the first place, Christians are to be the salt of the earth. When we want to stress a person’s worth we often say that he or she is the salt of the earth. In the ancient world, salt was highly valued. The Greeks called salt "divine." Salt performs two important functions: it's the commonest of all preservatives; it keeps things from going bad. For millions of people in the world, salt still has this purpose. In the second place, salt gives taste and flavor to food. Food without salt is insipid. The Christian’s task is to be the salt of society, preserving, reconciling, adding taste, giving meaning where there is no meaning, and giving hope where there is no hope. It's about the quality of life. How are you doing at being the salt of the earth?

Light of the World<<click to open)  We're also called to be the light of all the world. It means that we're to be light in all aspects of the world’s life. Jesus Christ is the true light of all the world. He's lit a light in the life of each of his followers. Christian disciples are called to rise and shine; to be torch bearers in a dark world. We shouldn't try to hide the light that God has lit in our lives. Rather, we ourselves, as doers of the Word, should visibly shine so that others may see our good deeds and praise God.

For us to become the "salt of the earth" and "light of the world," we must be faithful
doers of the Word in all our daily actions.

How are you doing?


 

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