17. Sermon on the Mount 2

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:5-7).

In this message we will discuss three blessed states, which are: [1] Blessed are the meek; [2] Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness; [3] Blessed are the merciful.

Blessed are the meek
The meek are blessed for they shall inherit the earth. But who exactly are the meek? It is certainly not they who hide themselves because of timidity or inhibitions. The Lord said meekness rather than weakness would be blessed. Meekness does not include being unconcerned about others and every day life. That is not meekness but apathy. Nor does meekness mean a lack of zeal for God or the staying clear of troubles and excesses caused by others. Christian meekness does not undermine but balances the affections and the mind. Instead of producing fear it propagates true faith in Christ.

The meek have a calm confidence and assurance in God. They continually say, “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good” (1 Samuel 3:18). The meek, though knowing the truth, may be persecuted for it, yet they remain “Zealous for his God” (Numbers 25:13). The meek are masters of their own selves and hold to the noblest of purposes. They control their temperament, anger, and desire. The meek are never found wanting in Christian love and mercy, but go beyond mere human compassion as they reach out to others around them. This Christ-like meekness even extends to every one of their enemies and persecutors.

That the meek “shall inherit the earth” seems to fly in the face of the wisdom of this world, but though the world may hate and war against the meek, they remain steadfast and sure. The meek conquer the earth without the need for armed aggression and fear, for they are motivated by the love of God. False religion has always used intimidation and force, whereas faith is the power the meek use to win the lost to Christ. These are they who will rule and reign with Christ throughout His Millennial Kingdom.

Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness
Only those who earnestly desire true righteousness will be filled with it. From righteousness springs up every holy temper, for it is found growing in the love of God. Hunger and thirst are the strongest of all our bodily appetites, and should be so in relation to our spiritual appetites also. We eat and drink, but do not stop doing so after a single meal; instead we want more on a daily basis or at regular intervals. Our craving for meat and drink, or any of this world’s goods, is only a poor example of our appetite for Heavenly things.

It is not possible for a believer to fully satisfy his soul, as he yearns for the Living God, in this life, yet he is blessed in so doing. Some think that righteousness is living a moral life, being religious, and being charitable to one’s neighbour, but the righteousness the saved long for goes far beyond this. The righteousness we speak of comes from being “joined unto the Lord in one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17), having “fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3), and walking “in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7).

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled with the very thing they long for, even with righteousness and true holiness. God will feed them with the bread from Heaven and with the water of life. They will be filled because they do not waste time and money searching for “that which is not bread” nor do they “labour for that which satisfieth not” (Isaiah 55:2). For them only pure religion, which is built upon the power of godliness, will suffice. Such righteousness and its blessing can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the merciful
The merciful will be blessed with the mercy of God. Here ‘mercy’ implies compassion, tenderness and gentleness. The most important quality of mercy is ‘brotherly love.’ We may think that we are doing wonderful things for God, yet it is all meaningless if we do not possess Christ-like mercy.

Christian mercy overcomes evil with good, and it stands apart from all harshness and sourness of spirit. It is not bitter or vengeful; instead it desires to see all men blessed by God (see 1 Corinthians 13). The merciful truly love God, their neighbour and their enemies. True mercy is the opposite of a hateful and bitter spirit, for it springs from the love of God.

The merciful will obtain the mercy of God. They will be blessed in all their ways. Such mercy will be repaid a thousand times over in this life and in the next. They will continually know of God’s rich mercy being bestowed upon them (Ephesians 2:4). As they walk in love, they will experience God’s love in every possible way. 

The world will never be won to Christ through religion or military strength, even though some have used such methods in the past. The Jews, the Muslims, and the Heathen will never come until they see real Christianity being displayed in this world. The church has a great need of meekness, righteousness and mercy today. Each individual believer must lay down his life for Christ’s sake, and continually overflow with His love, or else we will never be effective witnesses (Romans 12:1; 1 John 3:16). The lost will not know Christ through opinions or circumstantial religion. It will take a wonderful manifestation of the true sons of God to accomplish that (Romans 8:19). 

19 October 1739