What's the Word on the Street?

What’s the Word on the Street?

Some clever people have said that the resurrection was just a made-up story while others have said that some people only saw a vision of Jesus after His death. However, the New Testament and the early church maintained that Jesus was raised from the dead physically, supernaturally, and to never die again. Here’s the question- What’s the word on the street?

Point 1: Who do men say I am?
A. READ Matthew 16:13-17
B. Jesus in essence said, “What’s the word on the street?”
So they said:
a. John the Baptizer- this is what Herod the tetrarch believed (Matt 14:1-2)
b. Elijah- forerunner to the Messiah
c. Jeremiah- maybe some Jewish traditions surrounding his name (prophet of doom)
d. One of the Prophets- shows the great variety of opinion
C. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
a. This was a major step in the training/ministries/lives of the disciples
b. This was a God-given insight that separated them from the rest of the multitudes.

Point 2: The First Easter Sunday
A. READ Matthew 28:1-10
B. What was the word on the street that morning?
a. Most did not believe
b. Some believed
c. Many wondered

Point 3: This Easter Sunday
A. What is the word on the street today?
B. What is the word among this church?
C. What is the word in your homes?
D. Who do you say that Jesus is?

Do you really believe what you say you believe?
Let’s confess with Peter that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Peter also proclaimed on that first Pentecost of the church:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

Matthew 5:9 The Peacemakers

This is the Word of God- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Notice how Jesus moves from purity of heart to peacemaking. Remember purity of heart is true sincerity. So, it is only natural that out of a sincere heart we deal honestly and openly with others which is essential to the work of reconciliation… I am going to call your attention to many Scriptures this morning in the hopes that the Spirit of God may use His Word in your hearts.

Point 1: Peace Through Christ
A. God made peace through the cross of Christ – reconciliation, restoration, justification
B. Peacemaking is a Divine Work –
a. SEE Col 1:19-21 “For it pleased the Father that in [the Son] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled...”
b. SEE Eph 2:13-15 Of the division between Jews and Gentiles the Scripture says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…”
C. The cost of peace is extraordinarily high.
“True peace and true forgiveness are costly treasures.”

Point 2: Peacemakers
A. Christians are to seek wholeness and harmony in all aspects of life –
a. SEE 1 Cor 7:15 “…God has called us to peace.”
b. SEE Ps 34:12-14 “Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”
c. SEE Rom 12:17-18 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
d. SEE Rom 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
B. We need to make peace in a variety of situations:
a. World/Community – lessening tensions, seeking solutions, ensuring effective communication
b. Church – unity must be defended
c. Families – reconcile marriages, settle sibling rivalry, mend parent-children bonds
d. Individuals – reconcile people to God
C. Evangelizers
a. Evangelism is peacemaking and it involves proclamation.
b. But, it is more than only proclamation. We must be willing to get in the mess.

Point 3: Sons of God
A. This word “sons” was intentionally chosen as opposed to children. In ancient times, sons did what their fathers did. They learned of their fathers and imitated them. They studied under them in order to take over the family business. SEE Rom 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
B. We are sons/daughters of God when we promote that peace we’ve been talking about because we do what our Father has done and is in the business of doing – loving, forgiving, serving, making peace!
C. As follows, those who give no thought to making peace are offspring of the Devil.

Matthew 10:34-39 reminds us that not every attempt at peace is successful.

Yet, we must pursue peace. God has done it at all costs in the person of Jesus, our Lord. Peace is a staple of Christianity. It is a mark of distinction. Sure, a few other “religions” like to talk about “inner” peace, but how many of the, seek it for others? How many non-Christians seek to restore the relationship between people and their loving Creator?

Is there someone that you need to seek peace for today?
Is there someone that you need to seek peace with today?
Do you need to seek peace with God today?

Matthew 5:8 The Pure in Heart

We are well aware that there is wrath to come. God is a holy God, completely righteous, and can not pass over the sins of people. The only way to escape that wrath is to believe in the Lord Jesus who is both Just and Justifier. Because He went to the cross and bore our penalty as our substitute we have access into the grace of God. Yet, how is it that we enter that grace? By faith!

You have come to faith in Christ by all sorts of means. God has called you out through your parents, a friend, a stranger, preaching, reading your Bible…all sorts of ways. Now it is my responsibility to keep you in that faith…to keep you established and firm, and not moving away from the Gospel which you heard. If you move away from the Gospel – if you forsake Christ – you will extinguish your faith and in essence forfeit your salvation. So, I am working hard to keep you strong in your faith. I want you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Great God and Savior!

This is not an easy task for any of us. Sin rises up in us and pulls us from the Lord. Sin forces us to trust in ourselves and not Jesus Christ. Sin convinces us that we “aren’t that bad, and are mostly good.” That is exactly what the rabbis of Jesus’ day were convinced of- personal righteousness. They had formulated a system of “Cleannesses.”

Point 1: What Comes Out – Matt 15:10-19

Point 2: Cleanse the Inside – Matt 23:23-27

Jesus continually reinforces the idea that cleanliness comes from the inside. God couldn’t care less about the outward appearance of a person because He knows what is in us. He pierces to the depths of us and knows our hearts. As a matter of fact, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things!

From the lips of God comes the beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Point 3: Pure in Heart
A. Inner Attitude – The Heart is the Mind (Thoughts)
B. Pure – Primarily means Cleanliness and Sincerity (but of the heart)
--Moral Uprightness, Utterly Sincere, Single-Minded Devotion to God (contra idolatry)
C. It means that your “whole life, public and private, is transparent before God and men.”

Point 4: They Shall See God
A. Holiness is a prerequisite for entering God’s presence – Ps 24:3-6
B. David knew this and said elsewhere, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps 51:6, 10).
C. Only the pure in heart will see God “now with the eye of faith and see his glory in the hereafter.” Truly Seeing God – 1 Cor 13:12
Isaiah said that he saw God – Isa 6:1 ” I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up,
and the train of His robe filled the temple.”
Job believed he would see God – Job 19:26 “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
that in my flesh I shall see God.”
David believed the same thing – Ps 17:15 “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”
Yet, in Ex 33:20 Moses was told by God, “You cannot see My face;
for no man shall see Me, and live.”
So, we have a great promise in this beatitude. We can not see God here – in our sin, in our fallenness, in our rebellion – BUT when this age comes to an end the pure in heart shall see God!
We will dwell in that unapproachable light! Isn’t that amazing?

If I was to boil down the main part of my responsibility, it is to help you see God!

Isn’t that what we all want? We want to be in heaven surrounded by those who have gone before us, the angels who proclaim “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come,” and best of all we will stand before the Lamb in our white robes.

Only the pure in heart will see God. Are we perfect? Certainly not, but perfection is our standard. We will one day be perfect and I figure that we might as well work on it now. I can’t help but realize how sinful I am when I read this beatitude. It is not about the outward deeds or restraints – it is about the heart. You can’t see my heart, but God can. I can hide my sins from you, but I can’t hide them from God! He knows my heart. I only pray that it gets purer day by day. I can’t do it alone and neither can you. We need a mighty work of God. We need His hand to touch us and make us whole. The inside of our cups need to be cleaned, not the outside.

Do you want to see God this morning? You can see Him with the eye of faith now and face to face in the age to come. The Lord Jesus invites you to come to Him. He can purify your heart.

Matthew 5:7 The Merciful

This is the Word of God- “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

: We need to distinguish Mercy and Grace. Mercy is the loving response prompted by misery – answers the unhappy - relief Grace is the loving response when undeserved – answers the unworthy- pardon

Point 1: Background

A. Mercifulness is one of God’s most fundamental attributes.
a. SEE Ex 34:5-6 -- Merciful is the first thing God says on connection to His name.
b. Moses reiterates this key point in Dt 4:31 “the LORD your God is a merciful God.”

B. This is a key prophetic theme:
1) Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
2) Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”

C. “Merciful” embraces at least four characteristics:
1. Having Compassion
2. Being Generous
3. Providing Nurture
4. Forgiving Others

D. Jesus doesn’t elaborate on the recipient.
a. Sometimes a Stranger
b. Even an Enemy
c. Most definitely a brother or sister

Point 2: Blessed are the Merciful

A. SEE Ps 41:1 and Prov 14:21 – This is what it means to be merciful.

B. SEE Matt 18:21-35
a. The master had pity upon his servant and even completely forgave his debt.
b. The servant did not show mercy toward his fellow servant.

C. This beatitude anticipates 6:12, 14-15

D. NT Scripture References:
1) 1 Jn 3:16-17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
2) Matt 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Point 3: Obtain Mercy

A. Being merciful doesn’t earn mercy, but you can’t receive mercy if you haven’t repented. In turn, you can’t claim to have repented and not have a merciful response to those in need.

B. We NEED Mercy!
a. When we have a proper view of ourselves, we can view others appropriately.
b. We are sinners in need of mercy – others are sinners in need of mercy.

C. Lamentations 2:22-23 “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Conclusion: Many see that there is a structure to Matthew’s beatitudes. The first three comprise a set which is completed by an interjected beatitude and then there are three more in a set which are bracketed by an ending beatitude. The first set can be titled “Humility Before God” and the second set can be titled “Mercy Towards Men.” The first set elaborates the inward attitude of a kingdom citizen and the last set describes the outward expressions that stem from within.

All Christians have been given a degree of discernment. Some have a higher degree and some have a lesser degree, but we can all determine a situation from a godly perspective. We have the Spirit of God counseling us! This beatitude speaks to a way of life. We are meek (Lord Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner) and can view others with the mind of Christ. When we view ourselves this way, we can not help but be merciful on others. This is a day-after-day, moment-after-moment kind of thing – yet, with our discerning hearts we can observe people in certain conditions that need our immediate and undivided attention.

We need to interrupt a bad day, miserable circumstance, or depressed situation with:
1. Compassion
2. Generosity
3. Nurture
4. Forgiveness

Rom 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”