Our summer worship series at Northside Church is entitled “Blessed to Be a Blessing.” We will explore the eight Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12. The passage introduces the Sermon on the Mount.
The sermon’s familiarity might disguise its revolutionary message. Jesus described the radical nature of Christian discipleship, calling for complete commitment. He made a series of earth-shaking statements, culminating with the challenge, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect!” (Matthew 5:48)
Note that Jesus was teaching the disciples. He was not telling the crowds how to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Instead, he was instructing his followers how to live within the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus did NOT describe a way to salvation through human effort. This was the mistake the scribes and Pharisees made. They attempted to reduce the Law to a series of actions that could be defined and measured. This works-righteousness approach viewed salvation as a transactional analysis: do these things in order to gain salvation.
Jesus invited the disciples into a new reality. He succinctly summarized the call to salvation in the words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” In the Sermon on the Mount, he described the kingdom life of those who have been saved. Works complement faith. Believers practice these spiritual principles in response to God’s salvation.
It’s a shocking message, and Jesus’ words turned the world’s values upside down. The Lord challenged the disciples to a radically different lifestyle as citizens of heaven’s kingdom. Kay Arthur calls the Beatitudes the “Be-Attitudes” because they describe the attitude and aptitude of Christian disciples.
Join us in person or online this Sunday at Northside Church as we begin a journey through the Beatitudes.