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
are the Beatitudes? The common answer is, blessings.
The word beatitude is derived from a Latin word meaning happy, blessed,
or blessedness, and thats 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
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 thats 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
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 lets
get going and start with a little background to help you understand
what Jesus is teaching.
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