The Beatitudes


Matthew 5
1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 ” Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Jesus Gives True Rest


Matthew 11
25 At that time Jesus answered and said,
“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Ponder on what Jesus is saying:

  • Thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.
  • You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent.
  • You have revealed them to babes.
  • This seemed good in Your sight.
  • All things have been delivered to Me by My Father.
  • No one knows the Son except the Father.
  • No one knows the Father except the Son and to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
  • Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden.
  • I will give you rest.
  • Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.
  • I am gentle and lowly (humble) in heart.
  • You will find rest for your souls.
  • My yoke is easy. My burden is light.

Questions:

  • What is Jesus saying?
  • What has the Father hidden?
  • Who are the babes?
  • What has the Father delivered to Jesus?
  • How does Jesus reveal the Father?
  • What is Jesus offering?
  • What is His yoke?
  • What is His burden?
  • How is Jesus at heart?
  • What will we find in Him?

Based on Who He is, we have Jesus’ invitation: “Come to Me…I will give you rest.”

Will you come to Him? Have you come to Him? Are you at rest in Him?


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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A Good Foundation


10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

I. The Importance of a Good Foundation

  1. A good foundation will stand strong.
  2. It will not be shaken during times of upheaval.
  3. It will last since it is stable.

II. Jesus Is The Only Good Foundation – Psalms Chapter 1

  1. He Is Our Rock
  2. He Is Our Strength
  3. He Is Our Support

III. What kind of material are we using?

  1. Durable material like gold, silver, precious stones – These are materials of quality and meet with God’s sanction and are subject to reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
  2. Soft “flammable” material as wood, hay, straw – These materials will not meet with God’s approval so they are not subject to reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ; they are temporary and will be burnt up.

IV. Pay Day Is Coming!

Paul tells his readers that there is a fire coming and only quality building materials will survive the fire. The Lord will scrutinize the work of each and every builder in the spiritual house. Only the work of those who have used durable materials like “gold, silver, and precious stones” will survive the fire of the Lord’s scrutiny. Inferior and flammable materials like “wood, hay, straw” would be burned up. This would cause reward loss but “salvation with burns”.

Summary

The Apostle Paul says that as a master builder he has laid the foundation. This foundation is Jesus Christ and His teachings. This is the only true foundation that can be laid. He says that every Christian is building on that sure foundation. He cautions his readers to be careful about how they build on the foundation and what material they use in building on that foundation. He urges them to build properly with durable material instead of flimsy or flammable material.

He goes on say that a Day of the building’s inspection is approaching when “the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” v. 13.

If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. v.14.
If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. v.15.

Work refers to the type and quality of effort one puts in towards building up of the church; “gold, silver, precious stones” are quality materials, fit for construction on the foundation of Christ crucified. Conversely, “wood, hay, straw” are inferior materials, unfit for construction on the foundation Paul laid. The focus is on the quality of the material being laid on the foundation.

It is the individual worker’s responsibility in the Lord’s church as to the type and quality of material used in building up the Lord’s house.

Lesson: We must take care in building the church with permanent materials.

Application: If we want to build a church that lasts, we need to be careful as to how we build it. We must build the church with materials that will withstand the fire of God’s testing. The materials with which we build the church must be in line with the church’s foundation, that is, Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Our reward is dependent upon the type of material we use in our work.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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A Psalm of Thanksgiving


Psalm 100 – A Song of Praise for the Faithfulness to His People
1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor … Continue reading

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The Faithful Church

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no … Continue reading

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The Dead Church

1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

Message to the church in Sardis – Revelation 3:1-6.

To the church in Sardis, Jesus presents himself as “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1), signifying that He has the fullness of the Spirit and implies His infinite power.

At the outset Jesus says: “I know.” He always knows what each church and individual Christian is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians in Sardis know (3:1) what He is aware of:-

  • Their Works;
  • Their having a name;
  • Their being alive;
  • That they are in fact dead.

Jesus knows all about the church in Sardis. He notes some of their good points here. However, everything is not what they seem. They are working, they have a name, they appear alive, but “you are dead” says the Lord. The church appears to be physically alive, but it is spiritually dead.

So our Lord admonishes them to “be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (3:2). What a terrible evaluation! Even what they have “are ready to die.” Although they were doing something for the Lord, Jesus did not find their “works perfect before God.” apparently they are just going through the motions of serving the Lord and their hearts are not really in it.

Jesus therefore reminds them “how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent” (3:3). If they failed in this, Jesus says, “I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (3:3). Judgement and destruction would be swift and sudden.

Our Lord makes a note of “a few names in Sardis” who have not soiled or dirtied their garments [garments stand for character]. These are the faithful few who are living according to the Lord’s will and have guarded themselves against sin. To these faithful few the Lord promises, “They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” (3:4).

Jesus concludes His message to the church in Sardis with a promise to those who are faithful: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (3:5).

Lesson: Faithful overcomers in the church shall be “clothed in white garments” since their sins have been blotted out (cf. Matt.13:43: “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father”). Their names will always be in “the Book of Life.” Our Lord “will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Corrupt Church

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
25 But hold fast what you have till I come.
26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father;
28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ – Revelation 2:18-29.

Message to the church in Thyatira – Revelation 2:18-29.

To the church in Thyatira, Jesus presents himself as “the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass” (2:18), signifying His omniscience and consuming fire of the wicked and also His stability and permanence.

At the outset Jesus says: “I know.” He always knows what each church and individual Christian is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians at Thyatira know (2:19) what He is aware of:-

  • Their Works, “the last are more than the first”;
  • Their Love;
  • Service;
  • Faith;
  • Patience.

Jesus knows all about the church at Thyatira. He notes their good points here. However, things are seriously wrong in this church. Jesus has severe things to say against them: “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (2:20-23).

This implies that the church has a self-proclaimed prophetess who is sexually immoral (2:21). It appears that she has assumed leadership role in the church and is seriously undermining the doctrine of Christ through false doctrine and thereby causing the members (“My servants”) to sin through fornication (“sexual immorality”) and eating things sacrificed to idols (2:20). She was given time to repent of her sin but she did not. [Her deeds may be symbolic of spiritual immorality.] The Lord then pronounces judgement on her “I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death” so that all the churches shall know that He is the One who searches the minds and hearts. Hence He is figured as “who has eyes like a flame of fire” (2:18). He “will give each one of you according to your works” (2:22-23).

Jesus calls upon the church to repent with the grim warning that if it didn’t do His bidding, He would come quickly and “fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (2:16) [cf. Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”]

Jesus concludes His message to the church at Thyatira with a promise to those who are faithful: “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations – ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ – as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star” (2:24-28). “Morning Star” is a reference to Jesus himself (cf. 2 Peter 1:19, Rev.22:16). Our Lord promises to give them fellowship with Himself; they shall share His dominion.

Lesson: The Lord “searches the minds and hearts … and will give to each one of you according to your works” (2: 23). The church should not tolerate false and unauthorized leaders who lead the Lord’s servants to sin through false teaching. We should hold fast the doctrine of Christ, overcome falsehood and sin, and keep Jesus’ works until the end and then we will have fellowship with our Lord and shall share His dominion forever.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Compromising Church

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ” ’ – Revelation 2:12-17.

Message to the church in Pergamos – Revelation 2:12-17.

To the church in Pergamos, Jesus presents himself as “He who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12). He says this to a church which tolerates those who hold on to false doctrines and are causing others to stumble.

At the outset Jesus says: “I know.” He always knows what each church and individual Christian is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians in Pergamos know (2:13) what He is aware of:-

  • Their Works;
  • Where they dwell, “Satan’s throne is…where Satan dwells”;
  • They hold fast to Jesus’ name;
  • They did not deny Jesus when Antipas, one from among them, was martyred.

Jesus knows that the church in Pergamos is under tremendous pressure and stress because it is situated in an ungodly place “where Satan’s throne is” and “where Satan dwells” (2:13). They remain faithful to Jesus even after a fellow-Christian named Antipas is killed. However, in spite of their faithfulness in the face of tremendous intimidation and persecution, Jesus finds this to say to them: “I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (2:14, 15). This suggests that there are those in the church who are holding on to false doctrine and thereby acting as stumbling blocks to their brethren by causing them to “eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality” (2:14). There are even those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which Christ hates.

Jesus calls upon the church to repent of their sin with the grim warning that if it don’t do His bidding, He would come quickly and “fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (2:16) [cf. Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”]

Jesus concludes His message to the church in Pergamos with a promise : “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” He promises to give them of Himself to eat [Jesus is “the hidden manna” see John 6:31-33. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)]. Among the Greeks a white stone was a symbol of acquittal, as a black stone was of guilt. The white stone implies justification, innocence and victory [PNT].

Lesson: The church has to hold on to the true doctrine of Christ at all cost. We have to be careful and note those in the church who act as stumbling blocks by holding on to false doctrines which cause members to sin. The true and pure word of God should be the only doctrine of the church.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Persecuted Church

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’ Revelation 2:8-11.

Message to the church in Smyrna – Rev. 2:8-11.

To the church in Smyrna, Jesus presents himself as the “First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life” (2:8). He says this to assure those who were themselves facing death that He was resurrected and so would they be if they always remained faithful to Him even until death.

At the outset of the message Jesus says: “I know.” He always knows what each church and individual Christian is thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians at Smyrna know what He is aware of:-

  • Their Works;
  • Their Tribulation;
  • Their Poverty (but you are rich);
  • Blasphemy of so-called Jews “who…are a synagogue of Satan”;

Jesus knows that the church in Smyrna is under tremendous pressure and stress from many quarters. Yet they are faithful under tribulation. Jesus says, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)” (2:9). So, even though they are materially poor, Jesus says that they are rich – spiritually. Spiritual riches are more important to Jesus than material riches. The Jews always dogged the steps of Christians in the first century and discouraged them in every way possible. Jesus refers to them as “a synagogue of Satan” (2:9).

The church in Smyrna is about to be tested by the impending suffering they are about to face. “The devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested” (2:10). Some of them would be imprisoned and even killed. Jesus tells them not to fear any of the things that they are about to suffer. He says, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2:10). This is a promise of eternal life to those who always remain faithful to Christ even though they may have to die for their Lord.

Jesus concludes His message to the church in Smyrna with this promise: “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (2:11). Their future is secure forever.

Lesson: As Christians, we will face tribulation, persecution, scorn, and ridicule from scoffers. Our Lord said: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12). No matter what we face in life for our Lord’s sake, we have our Lord’s assurance: “Do not fear … Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Rev.2:10, 11). Heaven and eternal life are reserved for faithful overcomers. This is a promise from the ONE Who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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