Anybody who knows anything about Jesus’ teaching is familiar with the Beatitudes, a series of conditional blessings which begin the Sermon on the Mount. The word ‘beatitude’ is derived from a Latin word referring to a state of happiness or bliss. Far from being the cosmic killjoy that many accuse Him of being, God desires to save humanity from their tragic lostness, to give them power to obey His will, and to make them happy. And in these opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly sets forth the way of blessedness for those who come to Him.

‘Makarios,’ the Greek for ‘blessed,’ means “happy, fortunate, blissful.” The fullest meaning of the word had to do with inward contentedness that isn’t affected by circumstances. This is the kind of happiness that God desires for His children–a state of inner joy and well-being that doesn’t depend on physical, temporary circumstances. The world says; “Happy is the go-getter, the one who pushes everyone else out of the way, the one who gets what he wants, where he wants, and how he wants. Happiness is doing your own thing. Happiness is grabbing all the gusto you can. Happiness is acquiring. Happy are the rich and famous, the beautiful and the popular.” However, Jesus makes it clear that true happiness or blessedness isn’t derived from what we have, or what we do, or where we are. True happiness or blessedness comes from rightly relating to God and responding to His call.

Because blessedness is fundamentally an element of the character of God, when we partake of His nature through Christ, we partake of God’s blessedness. And so, it becomes very clear at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus is speaking of a reality that is only for believers. Others can see the kingdom standards and get a glimpse of the kingdom blessings, but only those who belong to the kingdom have the promise of personally receiving and experiencing the blessings. To be blessed isn’t a superficial feeling of well-being based on circumstances, but a deep supernatural experience of contentedness based on the fact that one’s life is right with God, no matter what’s happening in our around them. And The great thing about the Beatitudes is that they’re not just glimpses into some future beauty; they’re not even golden promises of some future glory; they’re triumphant shouts of permanent joy here and now, that nothing in the world can ever take away from the child of God!

At first glance, the Beatitudes seem paradoxical, as the conditions and their corresponding blessings don’t seem to match up. By normal human standards such things as humility, mourning, desire for righteousness, mercy, and persecution are not the stuff of which happiness is made. However, the Beatitudes teach us that misery, endured for the right purpose and in the right way, is the key to true and lasting happiness. This message doesn’t fit the world’s standards because Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, but of heaven. And His way to happiness or blessedness, which is the only true way, is by a much different route.

This series will unpack the principles and promises contained in the Beatitudes so that we can better experience the happiness and blessedness that God has for us.

SERMONS

Sermon:  “An Introduction to the Principles & Promises”

Preacher:  The Rev. Canon Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, June 12, 2022

Scripture:  Matthew 5:1-12

Handout:  Part 1. HO

Sermon:  “The Poor in Spirit”

Preacher:  The Rev, Canon Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, June 19, 2022

Scripture:  Matthew 5:3  and Luke 18:9-14

Handout:  Part 2. HO

Sermon:  “The Meek”

Preacher:  The Rev. Canon Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, June 26, 2022

Scripture:  Matthew 5:5 and Matthew 18:1-6

Handout:  Part 3. HO