Matthew 5:1-12 Sermon – The Beatitudes

In this sermon Tim unpacks the beginning of the sermon of the Mount, the Beatitudes giving us five things to remember when reading Jesus’ blessings: that It’s a description of Kingdom living, that blessing is about being in sync with God, that the Beatitudes relate to one another, that Jesus lives this out and that the Beatitudes form in us through proximity, proximity and proximity to Jesus.

05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can't wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week! SERMON NOTES: Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023. Find out more here: Find us on Facebook here:
  1. 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
  2. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  3. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  4. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  5. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks


Well today as we get into the Beatitudes… which is just the Latin word for Blessings…

  • We are going to continue to center ourselves in the reality of Jesus Kingdom
  • These words coming as light into the darkness…
  • A guide, as to what life looks like as we come under the reign of the Kingdom of Heaven. 
  • A description of the fruit produced from our proximity to Jesus and coming to live as a renewed humanity under his reign!

And a reminder, that we must never separate the Preacher on the Mount from the Sermon on the Mount. 

  • The one who sets such a high bar for our righteousness, is also the one who stoops down in the dust and says to the woman caught in adultery… “neither do I condemn you”
  • So as we start today in Jesus startling claims of who is blessed…
  • Let’s read from the middle of chapter 4 to give context, and to ground these words in the ministry of King Jesus. 

Matthew 4:17-5:10

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

A couple of years ago I was part of a small team that went to Nairobi in Kenya on a short term mission trip from this church. We had an amazing time.

  • And after a week and a bit of visiting schools and projects and churches… we were able to go on a safari in the Masai Mara game reserve. 
  • And we had a wonderful local tour guide who just seemed to know where to look for the animals we had come to see.

One of the most impressive moments was his spotting one of the great finds up a tree in the distance… 

  • Now none of us could see anything but leaves from a distance. But as we approached, low and behold, lying up in the tree was the most beautiful leopard just hanging out.
  • Our guide knew where to look and what the distinguishing marks were… where as all we saw from a distance was the tree. 

There is a nice moment in the clip from The Chosen, where Jesus says to Matthew that he has decided on his opening for the Sermon on the Mount

  • And he describes the Beatitudes as; “A map, directions where people should look to find me”
  • What we have in the Beatitudes is the distinguishing marks of those who belong to God.
  • For those looking to find Jesus, there is a sense in the Beatitudes, that they will spot Jesus through his followers. 
  • They will find Jesus through our way of living, marking us out from the rest of the world. 
  • So wouldn’t it be wonderful to be recognized by the marks of the Beatitudes as belonging to God!
  • There is Suzy, there is Peter, there is Liz… merciful, pure of heart, a peacemaker. Amen?

Suggest 5 things to us today from these remarkable blessings…

  1. It’s a description of Kingdom living.
  2. Blessing is about being in sync with God
  3. The Beatitudes relate to one another
  4. This is the life of Jesus
  5. They form in us through proximity, proximity, proximity…

OK, Firstly, the Beatitudes describe Kingdom living. 

  • What’s the Kingdom?
  • Well we read from mid chapter 4 because before we get to the Beatitudes, we are told that Jesus preached that the Kingdom of Heaven had come near 
  • And he called disciples to follow him. I guess you could call them the first citizens of Jesus kingdom. 
  • Probably didn’t seem like much at the time? A few fisherman following a carpenter’s son.
  • But because the Kingdom of Heaven had come near in Jesus, it’s no surprise that he begins to heal the sick and cast out evil.
  • According to Matthew’s gospel, this is all good news!

So what is the Kingdom of Heaven?

  • Well the prophets in the OT and the expectation at the time of Jesus was that God would establish his kingdom at the end of time…
  • God’s people’s enemies would be wiped out, and a time of renewal and healing would be established. 
  • But Jesus comes announcing it has come near… before the end of time…
  • The Kingdom of Heaven has broken peacefully into time as we know it.
  • The future has begun to spread into the present… heaven invades earth…

So in the Kingdom, God has come in his Son to establish the rule and reign of heaven on earth

  • And the beatitudes describe the life that God blesses when heaven get holds of a person’s life. Right? The Gospel grabs us… consumes us… it turns us upside down…
  • The Beatitudes are not so much a description of the law that citizens of the Kingdom of heaven are expected to follow
  • It’s more a description of the life that emerges within them as they become followers of the new King. 
  • Change varies… heard some people complaining about one Christian… jerk… yes but before he became a Christian he was a complete jerk… on a journey!

Secondly, the blessing Jesus proclaims is the fortunate state of those in sync with God. 

  • Immediately before Jesus starts his sermon we are told that large crowds had begun to follow Jesus. 
  • This was the result of his preaching that the Kingdom of heaven had come near
  • It was the result of him healing the sick and paralyzed…
  • It was the result of those with severe pain and demon possession being healed. 
  • So you can imagine the type of crowd who were following him. Not exactly the Melbourne Cup crowd or those in line at Hugo’s on a Friday night…

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted…

  • Blessed… for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven!
  • Jesus is bestowing this blessed state on the crowd, peasants, fisherman, the sick and downtrodden… 
  • Blessed are you. In sync with the nature and heart of God. 
  • Blessed are you!

Some translations have the Greek word Makarios translated as “happy” but I don’t think this really captures what Jesus is saying…

  • Afterall “happy are those who mourn…” No… 
  • And happiness is a feeling… often related to a temporary emotion or circumstance
  • The life Jesus is describing is a deeper reality.
  • It describes the state of your life and behaviors when you are in sync with the Kingdom that Jesus is establishing on earth. 

So this is very different to the fake world of Instagram #blessed!

  • Right? Now you may have been very hard working and very fortunate and given great opportunities… and the result of that might be big homes and fast cars…
  • But Jesus is not bestowing “blessed” on those trappings of a consumeristic Western lifestyle.
  • And that should be uncomfortable for… well for all of us here!
  • This is upside down… blessed… in sync are the meek… the pure in heart… the peacemakers…

OK, thirdly, the Beatitudes relate to one another…

  • So this map for finding Jesus followers, these distinguishing marks of citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, seem to flow through a persons life.
  • So following Jesus leads to a realization that we are poor in Spirit. 
  • Put simply, it’s humbling when you take stock of your own life and all of it’s flaws… and it leads to a humility of Spirit…

We then begin to mourn over the condition of the world and our own lives. 

  • That creates a desire to be meek… we no longer need to be in control all the time… and we begin to submit our strengths and gifts and resources to God’s will.
  • Kingdom people then become very, very hungry and thirsty… not for sensual desires or fake projections of happiness…
  • But for righteousness and justice. Our appetites get re-ordered.

Well it’s no surprise then that citizens of heaven become merciful. When you are poor in Spirit and mourning, meek and hungering for righteousness…

  • We get shaped by the merciful King to show mercy towards other people. 
  • That leads to a purity of heart. Merciful, humble people desire to love others and keep their motives and minds and hearts pure. 
  • And of course that leads them to seek peace. Peace in their own lives and peace in the world around them.

And finally, sometimes they find themselves in trouble… persecuted even for following this way of life. How could it be otherwise?

  • In a world that is hungry for prestige and power and is drenched in unhealthy lusts and lies and divisions…
  • These merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers get in trouble… 

Remember Wilberforce? They marginalized and mocked him for trying to end slavery.

  • Remember Bonhoeffer? They executed him for trying to live Christ like in Nazi Germany and standing up against Hitler.
  • Remember Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. They assassinated him for trying to end segregation through non-violence and the civil rights movement.
  • Remember Bishop Oscar Romero who pursued holiness and stood tirelessly on the side of the poor and mistreated in El Salavdor… he was murdered…

Does anyone here want to follow Jesus Christ? (pause)

But remarkable things begin to happen in us when our lives are taken over by King Jesus.

  • Not a thing of our own strength… but a pattern of life through which people begin to see Jesus!
  • Blessed… for yours is the kingdom of heaven, you will be comforted, you will inherit the earth, you will be filled, you will receive mercy, you will see God… 
  • You will be called the children of Heaven! 
  • Amen?

Now just quickly, in terms of those blessings… those rewards or the fruit of this kind of life that Jesus bestows as the blessing? 

  • Maybe you’re asking when exactly Jesus do I get to experience the promised blessing?
  • Well the answer is now (pause) and then.
  • You will see God, receive mercy, be filled somewhat now.
  • You will see God, receive mercy, be filled fully then!
  • Right that clear? Moving on… haha no..

You see with the arrival of Jesus and the inherent blessing of these behaviors, the blessings are already and not. 

  • They are already because the kingdom has come near, but not yet as the Kingdom is still fully to come. 
  • They are now because Jesus has come… but they are not yet because he is not yet fully reigning. 
  • The merciful don’t always receive mercy back… the mourner aren’t always comforted… the peacemakers are not always heralded as children of God…
  • But they will be!

One of the hardest things that I am privileged to do is to take funerals and sit with people in the hardest moments of their lives.

  • Are they comforted by God? Do they experience peace? 
  • Well often they do in the midst of full on storms of life…
  • But they also carry the loss for the rest of their lives… 
  • But one day they will be swept up in glory… and see those loved ones again. 
  • The blessings are now… but they are also not yet!

OK, fourthly and just very briefly on this point, the Beatitudes are a portrait of Jesus. This is his life.

  • And I make this point simply because Jesus manifests these blessings so beautifully in his own life. 
  • In his humanity we see his mercy and purity of heart. We see the peacemaker and poor in Spirit. 
  • We can tangibly experience his meekness and righteousness
  • So when we desire to have these distinguishing marks… like spotting that leopard…
  • We can gaze upon Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. We can look to him for our model.

And then finally today… how does all of this take shape in our lives? And I want to suggest proximity, proximity, proximity!

In my 20’s I spent 6 years living overseas… first was in South Africa and Kenya and I started speaking with some South African phrases… now, now… cool bananas…

  • The I moved to London and like most pretentious young Aussies I adopted a bit of a West London accent. Yes darling… fabulous!
  • And I learnt that water was pronounced with a t… not warder…
  • Then it was off to Canada… and I had to slow right down in order to be understood… and my abouts became aboots… 
  • Good fun… but really it was speaking like what I was surrounded with… our proximity to others shapes who we are!

Well there is not shortcut to exhibiting the distinguishing marks of the Beatitudes other than proximity to Jesus. Proximity, proximity, proximity…

  • That’s why Jesus calls those fisherman to follow him and they leave their nets and become disciples… 
  • This is about discipleship. The slow, formative work of becoming like our master!
  • They get lots wrong… as do we… but their lives began to be shaped by their time with Jesus. 
  • And for us there is no easy way to become blessed, but by becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and spending time with King Jesus. 

Sometimes you come across real saints of the Christian faith….

  • And I always notice that they spend a lot of time gazing upon Jesus and in prayer
  • You always notice that they have gotten real low and spent time and resources on being amongst the poor and forgotten….
  • They have a way of slowly dying to the old selfish self… and arising in new life to the service of others…
  • Proximity, proximity, proximity… get close to the King and let his life shape yours!
  • Amen?

Ministry Time… (SLOWLY)

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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