Should You Run From Jesus Always?

Happy Are The...
Discovering Joy In The Beatitudes

INTRODUCTION (Sample Chapter)

Happiness is the great question confronting mankind. The whole world is longing for happiness and it is tragic to observe the ways in which people are seeking it. The vast majority, alas, are doing so in a way that is bound to produce misery. Anything, which by evading the difficulties, merely makes people happy for the time being, is ultimately going to add to their misery and problems. That is where the utter deceitfulness of sin comes in; it is always offering happiness, and it always leads to unhappiness and to final misery and wretchedness. – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, 1976. page 24

The BeatitudesWhat are the Beatitudes? The common answer is, “blessings.” The word beatitude is derived from a Latin word meaning happy, blessed, or blessedness, and that’s the word Jesus uses for eight declarations, in Matthew chapter 5, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.

So, what are the Beatitudes? Are these instructions on how to live a good life? Are these characteristics we must have in order to have eternal life? Are these blessings Jesus is pronouncing on certain groups of people? Or is Jesus simply instructing us on how we can be happy?

The Beatitudes seem paradoxical. The conditions and their corresponding blessings do not seem to match. By normal human standards such things as humility, mourning, desire for righteousness, mercy, and persecution are not the stuff of which happiness is made. To the natural man, and to the immature or carnal Christian, such happiness sounds like misery with another name. – John MacArthur, New Testament Commentary Matthew 1-7, 1985, page 142

What are the Beatitudes?

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is describing the characteristics of people who are in His kingdom. Basically this sermon is a series of comparisons with the worldly false teaching of the Pharisees. Jesus shows that the Pharisees are all about appearances and looking good on the outside. And that’s not good.

Kingdom residents have the right stuff on the inside. It is our heart attitude that is important. Jesus is making the point throughout the Sermon on the Mount that, once you get your heart right, your resulting words and actions will be right.

What Is The Purpose of the Beatitudes?

The Beatitudes are a part of the Sermon on the Mount. He begins this sermon by concisely describing the heart attitudes of kingdom residents, and the actions that result from having a right heart. However, although believers are in the kingdom now, we are not yet perfected.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8

So what are we to do? Jesus has the answer. In the Beatitudes He is also laying out the pathway of spiritual growth. The Beatitudes describe both the path to salvation, meaning the path to entering the kingdom, and the path of sanctification through which believers grow to be more like Christ.

What Does This Have To Do With Joy?

The only way to have lasting joy is when it is a gift of the Spirit, called the fruit of the Spirit. When you are saved you receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14) As a result you have the fruit of the Spirit:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. And as a believer, as you continue to grow in the knowledge of, and obedience to the Lord; your joy increases.

This path to salvation and sanctification, the Beatitudes, may seem cryptic and paradoxical as we start this journey. But they will make sense by the time you get to the end of the book. So let’s get going and start with a little background to help you understand what Jesus is teaching.

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All quotes from Jesus Always are copyright 2016 by Sarah Young
Hebrews 7:25 -- 2 Corinthians 2:14 -- John 8:29 -- Matthew 28:19-20 -- Isaiah 57:16 -- Psalm 103:9