The Opposite Way: Week 1
Jesus shows us the opposite way to live a countercultural life in the beatitudes.
Open: when Simone and i were on our honeymoon we took a short trip to Prague. We found ourselves going the opposite way on a tram street. That was not a good thing and We could have been really hurt, but going the opposite way of Jesus is a good thing and it will be the best thing for you to follow the countercultural way of Christ.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 NASB)
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit. (Blessed are the spiritually needy)
The world says that you are blessed when you can see the blessing. "The haves and the have nots". Jesus shows the opposite way is the way of need and spiritual poverty. We are blessed and filled if we are needy spiritually. If we are self sufficient and don't lean on the Lord for our spiritual filling, then we have everything we need already.This is a movie that came out a while ago about greed and envy and how we as people ar typically not satisfied with what we have. Are you satisfied only always in Christ are you in need of him and only him or are you in need of things of this world?
The degree of our reliance on God is directly proportional to the degree of His filling. An illustration of this could be three different sized cups from small sized to large sized they all three show us from their size their capacity to be filled. Some with more water some with less. For us those who have greater spiritual need can be filled by God with greater capacity much like the bigger cup.
2. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted (cry, weep, wail, grieve, sorrow, suffer)
Our world says blessed are those who are happy all the time having fun, doing enjoyable stuff, having great vacations, never being sad, etc.
What type of stuff do we typically mourn for? Are they always the type of things we should be mourning for? What has God said we should mourn for.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NASB)
3. Blessed are the Gentle for they shall inherit the earth (meek, lowly modest, small, humble)
Praupatheia is the Greek word here for gentleness. It could also be translated composure in the face of wrongs, Ignatius calls it a virtue that all believers should acquire.
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:29, 30 NASB)
The world says that the strong rule! The go getters, the athletes, the powerful, the leaders, the good looking, But Christ says the opposite way is becoming more and more gentle.
I met a student at the local high school where I minister who said he had gotten in like 50 fights. I tried to explain my story of how I had also been an angry guy and gotten in a lot of fights but I had found the opposite way of gentleness and peace and he just couldnt get it.
Christ's counterculture way could even maybe be dangerous because the world is aggressive and violent, and we should be gentle, needy, and sad or mournful. Are you ready to follow Christ's countercultural opposite way?