Bible Reading, Feb. 9

Feb. 9
Genesis 40

Gen 40:1 It happened after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt.
Gen 40:2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker.
Gen 40:3 He put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
Gen 40:4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. They stayed in prison many days.
Gen 40:5 They both dreamed a dream, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison.
Gen 40:6 Joseph came in to them in the morning, and saw them, and saw that they were sad.
Gen 40:7 He asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, saying, "Why do you look so sad today?"
Gen 40:8 They said to him, "We have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it." Joseph said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Please tell it to me."
Gen 40:9 The chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, "In my dream, behold, a vine was in front of me,
Gen 40:10 and in the vine were three branches. It was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes.
Gen 40:11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand."
Gen 40:12 Joseph said to him, "This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days.
Gen 40:13 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your office. You will give Pharaoh's cup into his hand, the way you did when you were his cupbearer.
Gen 40:14 But remember me when it will be well with you, and show kindness, please, to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house.
Gen 40:15 For indeed, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon."
Gen 40:16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, "I also was in my dream, and behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head.
Gen 40:17 In the uppermost basket there was all kinds of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head."
Gen 40:18 Joseph answered, "This is its interpretation. The three baskets are three days.
Gen 40:19 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off you, and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from off you."
Gen 40:20 It happened the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants.
Gen 40:21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand;
Gen 40:22 but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them.
Gen 40:23 Yet the chief cupbearer didn't remember Joseph, but forgot him.

ONE WITH GOD by Gary Womack


In the early dawn of man's introduction to the newly created Earth, Adam stood alone among the fresh scent of new (yet full grown) trees and the lullaby sound of young streams. He was surrounded by the grandeur of God's creation of both plant and animal life. Eden's treasures withheld nothing from his enjoyment and pleasure with the exception of one tree located in the midst of this garden paradise. Yet, amid those idyllic surroundings, something was missing that all nature could not satisfy. And so, it was observed by the Divine Creator, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (Gen. 2:18)
The final creative act, performed while Adam slept and underwent God's surgical procedure of removing one of his ribs, was a masterpiece of Divine workmanship. (Gen. 2:21-22) "And He brought her to the man. And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'" (vss. 22-23) In consideration of Adam's proclamation, it is recorded for all time that "... a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (vs. 24) God's institution of the law of marriage is forever set in stone in those words. From henceforth this Divine arrangement would commence an everlasting cycle to ensure the continuation of the society of mankind over the face of the Earth. This relationship between man and woman was, and still remains, the standard against which all perversions are declared as sinful before the eyes of its Author.
As we look at the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis, the creation of man and woman are stated as a single work, even though the next chapter goes into greater detail as previously noted. However, notice how Divine inspiration records that account; "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen. 1:27) God created man as a pair. Therefore, being "one flesh," both man and woman are a complete unit by God's design.
It is sad that the sanctity of the marriage relationship has been so disregarded in our society. However, this is nothing new. Even during Christ's earthly ministry, He encountered a lack of respect for the institution of marriage. The Pharisees confronted Jesus with the question; "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" (Mt. 19:3) To their shame, Jesus replied, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (vss. 4-6) It is little wonder that Jesus referred them to the scriptures that recorded the origin of God's arrangement for marriage and declared it to be the work of God in joining them together.
It is not likely that these Pharisees, in their apparent disregard for the marriage bond and their preoccupation with the Mosaic allowance for divorce, would have been impressed by the lesson Paul taught Christians at Rome. Paul used the analogy of the lifelong bond of marriage to teach that they had been freed from the old law by death in order to be married to another. How could they have comprehended this unless they understood that "...the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." Rom. 7:1-4)
Notice that Paul spoke of being "married...to Him who was raised from the dead" - that is, to Christ! How many recognize that "...as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" and that "you are all one in Christ Jesus"? (Gal. 3:27, 28) By that very act we are making a commitment as binding as the marriage that it is. Paul emphasized the intimacy of this marriage when he wrote that "...he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1 Cor. 6:17) Such a spiritual analogy is comparable to that of two becoming one flesh.
As mankind continues to digress in his disregard for God's arrangement of one man for one woman for life, where the two become one flesh, we see the fabric of society fraying and unraveling so that every perversion imaginable is quickly approaching the status quo. (Read Rom. 1:24-28) As divorce rates sore and society becomes indifferent to the sanctity of marriage, there is a resultant failure to be impressed with the commitment involved in such a bond. That being the case, the impact of Paul's teaching regarding the relationship between Christ and the church is lost.
Without a healthy understanding of the commitment of God's marriage arrangement, how are we to be impressed with the command, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph. 5:22-25) Without understanding the proper roles in marriage, how are Christians supposed to comprehend the deep, self-sacrificing love of Christ for them, or their submissive role of commitment to Christ within His church?
Furthermore, without being impacted by the bond that is to be realized between two in marriage, how are we to be impressed with Paul's teaching on this matter when he wrote, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."? (Eph. 5:30-32)
When Paul wrote of the relationship between husbands and wives in his letter to the church at Ephesus (Eph. 5:22-33), his purpose was to define the church's relationship with Christ. How do you describe the relationship between physical man and the spiritual God of Heaven? To convey such a spiritual concept demanded an illustration that our fleshly mind could relate to and understand within this physical realm in which we live. Hence, the relationship between a man and a woman wherein the "two become one flesh" best defines the relationship between a Christian and Christ. (Or, when referring to all Christians as a collectivity - the church) What would otherwise be a mystery, is defined within the context of the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, Paul concluded his remarks about husbands and wives by saying, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Eph. 5:32)
In Paul's description of the roles of a husband and a wife, he emphasized the necessity of a man loving his wife as being compared to the love of Christ for His bride, the church. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph. 5:25) Jesus declared that "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (Jn. 15:13) There is no doubt of Christ's love for His bride because He has proven it by the ultimate sacrifice of life; "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us." (1 Jn. 3:16) If there is not this level of commitment in marriage, how is man to comprehend his commitment of love to Christ as His bride?
The prophet Jeremiah recorded the words of God as He spoke of His love for Israel; "...I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." (Jer. 31:2) We can understand the influence of love that draws another to one's side. It is that same kind of love that has drawn us to His side. Therefore, "We love Him because He first loved us." (1 Jn. 4:19) With such love as He has lavished upon His beloved bride, how easy it should be and how willing she should be to love Him in return by honoring Him in obedient submission as her Head. So Paul has written; "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Eph. 5:22-24)
The proof of the genuiness of our love for Him is in our obedient submission to His will. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." (1 Jn. 5:3) Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." (Jn. 14:15) Understanding that each person who has entered Christ by means of baptism (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) is a part of the body of Christ (Eph. 5:30), it should also be understood that, collectively, as His church, we are subject to His will. Therefore, His church has not been given legislative power to make law, but rather to submit to His written law as it is contained in the New Testament.
The creed books of denominations and the failure of many other religious groups calling themselves the church, are testimony to the fact that they have not submitted to the will of God but have rather legislated their own laws. All such religious groups who have organized themselves outside of the pattern that has been revealed in the New Testament (Phil. 1:1), have disregarded the will of God. The same can be said in regard to the worship that is offered in many places without regard to the New Testament pattern. In short, Christ's bride will not characterize herself with the "outward adornment" of the trappings of that which attracts the attention of the fleshly minded, but rather will be characterized by her "incorruptible beauty" as seen in her heart (see 1 Pet. 3:3-4) So it was said of early women who honored their husbands; "For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands." (vs. 5)
The bond between Christ and His bride is one that is to be honored unto death. Again, this is understood in the context of the marriage vow between a man and a woman. Solomon wisely said, "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed - Better not to vow than to vow and not pay." (Eccl. 5:4-5) In today's society, many marriages are entered with the attitude that if it doesn't work out we will just get a divorce. Within that attitude there is found no real commitment, and the vows are without any substance.
When one is baptized into Christ, a commitment is being made for life. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection." (Rom. 6:3-5) Such a relationship should not be entered lightly.
To all who take their relationship with Christ lightly, these words ought to be considered; "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." (Heb. 3:12-14) Peter says of those who choose to disregard their vow of faithfulness to Christ, "...it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'A dog returns to his own vomit.' and, 'a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'" (2 Pet. 2:21-22)
"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4) The purity of the marriage relationship is to be constantly guarded and maintained. Anytime the vow of marriage is corrupted, it has become adulterated. So it is when Christians decide to be unfaithful to Christ.
- Gary V. Womack - April 2006

Does God's Heart Break? by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Does God's Heart Break?

I have some grasp of the truth that God is "other" than we though I know I'm a long way behind others in understanding it. I know we're not to waste our time pitying Godhe doesn't need our pity. I know we can grieve him (for the Bible says so) but I'm unsure how far I'm to take that and I know he rejoices over us. I'm not sure how "human" God is but I do recall Jesus paralleling his Father's response to a loving human father and I remember (in the Old Testament) that God likens himself to a mother, a father and a husband. Somewhere in all this I think we're supposed to acknowledge that God and we are alike (there's room in here for discussion on "the image of God," isn't there?).
I recall the protest of John Stuart Mill against religious double-talk that included saying God was "good" but then insisted that "good" doesn't mean relative to God what it means when we use it of people. Granted that we need to be careful and that the word "good" might be used of some things that a closer examination shows aren't good. Granted that, Mill was certainly right to say that he would not call God "good" if it didn't mean what it normally meant when it was used of a good woman or man. For why would we praise God for being "good" if good has no real meaning? Mill (perhaps a bit pompously) went on to say that if he is sent to hell for that, "then to hell I will go."
With all of that and my uncertainty as background, I can't help thinking God must be the greatest sufferer in the universe.
Two people spoke to each other in whispers, pouring out their hearts to each other, in all sincerity, telling one another that the day began with thoughts of each other and ended the same way. They committed themselves to one another for all their lives, wrapped their souls around each other so that it became hard to tell where one began and the other ended and their first thought when they opened theirs eyes in the morning was that he or she was in the world so whatever happened at least they'd experience it together. Then he (or she) began to change until he (or she) became a perfect stranger! And in all the agony of the agony what especially grieves the one still in love is this: the other thinks this is a lovely world without them. How can it be? How can it be that now she might as well not exist? How can he smile, rejoice, sing, eat with pleasure, spend time with others in familiar places without a thought of her? How can it be that any thought of her causes no emotional ripple and that the sight of her prompts only a casual nod (and the more agonizing precisely because it is casual)?
Will she get over it? Should she get over it? Those are not my concern at this moment. Is the pain deep? Has the soul been shredded? Has the heart been broken? And, my real question: Does God, whose love is infinitely purer and deeper, experience anything like that?

Does God Break Our Hearts? by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Does God Break Our Hearts?

If it's true as we believe that God came to us in and as Jesus Christ and if it is true as we believe that God put him to grief (Isaiah 53:10) then the answer's yes. In a garden one evening Jesus came to three disciples and said to them (Matthew 26:38, REB), "My heart is ready to break with grief." Will God break our hearts? Yes, if it suits his gracious, generous and holy purpose.
But when we say God will break our hearts we're not to think of him acting as in a vacuum or without purpose. He doesn't will us pain because he takes pleasure in giving us pain nor does he act utterly independent of the life and its relationships that he has given us.
Does God give us rain? Of course! The psalmists praised him for it, Jeremiah saw it as one of the proofs of God's true divinity and Jesus saw it as a mark of God's universal generosity. But they all knew he didn't simply will rain to fall out of a cloudless sky. They knew about winds, clouds, heat and the like. For all their knowledge of "secondary agents" they knew that ultimately it rained because God said, Rain! (Just as G.K. Chesterton knew the sun rose in the east each morning because God said, Get up!) It makes no sense to say that because we can trace the physical development of a rain shower (or anything else) that God is not bringing it about. I can understand the non-believer being satisfied with a merely mechanical explanation but one who takes the Bible seriously won't go that direction.
The same is true with grief. God's grief-bringing instruments are surely numberless but the one behind them all is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes the grief has nothing to do with punishment or chastisement! Sometimes it has more to do with (for!)
others than with (for) us. Sometimes the grief arises because God has so shaped us that when we meet sin and entrenched evil we grieve profoundly at the loss of others. Sometimes our pain is because we are the body of Christ bearing the sins of the world and suffering for the world. Can you believe that?
And we need to bear this in mind as we reflect on suffering and loss: if humanity hadn't brought sin to the table God would not have brought pain and loss. God means to bring us fullness of life, in fellowship with him, and if it means subjecting the human family to grief in order to gain that purpose he's willing to do it. (See The Divine Paramedic.) The "natural laws" God willed and sustains were made to bless us but in a world of human sin God is perfectly willing to use the instruments of blessing as instruments of redemption even when it involves pain and loss.

The Beatitudes - II (5:3-12) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Beatitudes - II (5:3-12)


1. At the beginning of "The Sermon On The Mount," we find that section
   of Scripture commonly referred to as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
   a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
   b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
      certain qualities

2. As suggested in the previously lesson, it is as though Jesus was
   answering two questions people might have been asking:
   a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
   b. What benefits do they receive?

3. In our previous study, we looked at the "The Beatitudes" from the
   viewpoint of the question:  "Who will be the citizens of the
   a. We saw that their character would involve eight inter-related
   b. We saw that they would be poor in spirit, mourning for their 
      sins, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart,
      peacemakers, and willing to suffer persecution

4. In this study, we shall look at "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
   of the question:  "What  benefits do they receive?"
   a. Is the kingdom of heaven worth the effort to develop such 
      qualities of character?
   b. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever persecution we might

[I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!"  This becomes apparent as
we take time to consider the blessedness of the citizens of the 


      1. It is the first word of the sermon
         a. Just as it is the first word of the Psalms - Ps 1:1
         b. Just as it is found in the beginning words of Revelation 
            - Re 1:3
      2. It is used nine times in nine verses (which is why this 
         section is called "The Beatitudes")

      1. It can literally mean, "how very happy!" is the one described
      2. We can also infer this from Mt 5:12
         a. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad..."
         b. Or as found in Luke:  "Rejoice in that day and leap for
            joy!" - Lk 6:23

[The benefit of being in the kingdom of heaven is the condition of 
blessedness, a state of true happiness!  To understand why, let's now
look at...]


      1. As defined in a previous lesson (cf. Mt 4:17), those who 
         receive the kingdom...
         a. Are under the kingly rule of God
         b. Are in a spiritual kingdom
            1) Which today involves being in the "church," the present
               manifestation of the "kingdom of heaven" - Mt 16:18;
               Col 1:13; Re 1:9
            2) Which will involve the "new heavens and new earth" in 
               the kingdom's future and eternal manifestation - Mt 25:
               34; 2Pe 1:10,11; 3:13; Re 21-22
      2. Note that the first (5:3) and last (5:10) beatitudes include
         this expression...
         a. Which I take to imply that the blessings in between 
            likewise apply to those in the kingdom
         b. Just as the kingdom is both present and future, we shall
            observe that the blessings described involve both present
            and future

      1. This is in reference to those who mourn over their sins and
         spiritual poverty
      2. They are comforted even now - 2Co 1:3-5
      3. They shall be comforted in the future - Re 21:1-4

      1. In one sense, they inherit it now
         a. As a result of putting the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33;
            Mk 10:29-30
         b. Though they may have less than some who are wicked, God
            enables them to enjoy it more! - Ec 5:19-6:2
         c. This explanation seems to be consistent with the context of
            Psalms 37, from which the phrase was taken - Ps 37:1-11,
      2. But in another sense, there yet remains a promise concerning a
         "new earth" for those in the kingdom now - 2Pe 3:10-13

      1. That is, with the righteousness which we so desperately need,
         found only in Christ - Php 3:8-9
      2. Received presently, through the precious blood of Christ 
         - Ro 5:9
      3. Received in fullness when adorned in the white linen of 
         righteousness in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb 
         - Re 19:5-9

      1. Those in the kingdom enjoy the forgiveness of sins now through
         the blood of Jesus - Re 1:5-6
      2. They shall also be shown mercy in the future by escaping the
         righteous wrath of God in the Day of  Judgment - Ro 5:9

      1. Presently, citizens of the kingdom can see God through their
         Lord Jesus Christ - Jn 14:6-7
      2. But in the future, we shall see him face to face - Re 21:3;

      1. Even now we are called the sons of God - 1Jn 3:1-2
      2. How much more so, in the future! - Re 21:5-7


1. Perhaps we can better understand why those in "the kingdom of 
   heaven" are truly called "Blessed", for while...
   a. Poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
   b. Mourning for their sins, they shall be comforted!
   c. Meek in their relation to God and man, they shall inherit the
   d. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness, they shall be filled!
   e. Merciful to others, they shall obtain mercy!
   f. Pure in heart, they shall see God!
   g. Makers of peace, they shall be called sons of God!
   h. Persecuted for righteousness' sake, theirs is the kingdom of

2. Certainly the benefits of the kingdom outweigh anything this world
   has to offer, or any persecution it might inflict!
   a. For there are blessings now "in this life"
   b. And there are blessings "in the age to come" - Mk 10:28-30

2. But the "blessedness" of the citizens is only for those who have the
   "characteristics" of the citizens in ever-increasing measure...
   a. Do we have the qualities described in "The Beatitudes"?
   b. If not, do not the blessings described in "The Beatitudes"
      encourage us to develop such qualities?

May this sermon of Jesus motivate us to examine our attitudes, to see
if there is not room for improvement in our relationships with both God
and our fellow man!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

The Beatitudes - I (5:3-12) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Beatitudes - I (5:3-12)


1. As we begin to take a closer look at "The Sermon On The Mount," we
   notice first that section known as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
   a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
   b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
      certain qualities

2. It is as though Jesus was answering two questions people might have
   been asking:
   a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
   b. What benefits do they receive?

3. My treatment of this passage will be somewhat different than normal
   a. Most examine each beatitude in detail before going on to the next
   b. But I will look at the entire section in an overall fashion twice
      1) Looking at it from two different perspectives
      2) Taking two lessons to do so

4. In this lesson, let's consider "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
   of the question:

                  "Who will be the citizens of the kingdom?"

[In other words, what is the character required of the citizens of the


      1. Only those who have all of the qualities described will truly
         be citizens of the kingdom
      2. For it should be evident that some may be...
         a. "Poor in spirit," but do not "hunger and thirst after 
         b. "Mournful," but are not "pure in heart"
         c. "Meek," but are not "peacemakers"
         d. "Persecuted," but not "for righteousness' sake"

      1. It takes all of these qualities, working in conjunction with
         one another
      2. In this the passage is similar to 2Pe 1:5-11
         a. Where various qualities are also listed
         b. Where each are needed in conjunction to one another ("add
            to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge...")
      3. Only then can one have "an entrance will be supplied to you
         abundantly into the everlasting kingdom"

[How the qualities are inter-related becomes apparent as we consider 


      1. "To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of
         ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no
         righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by
         the rich grace and mercy of God" (Barnes)
      2. I.e., convicted of one's own spiritual poverty
         a. Exemplified by the tax collector in Lk 18:13
         b. Such people God will accept into His good favor - Isa 57:
            15; 66:1-2
      3. The opposite of "poor in spirit" would be "proud of heart,"
         and those who are such are more like:
         a. The Pharisee in Lk 18:9-14
         b. The Laodiceans in Re 3:17-19

   B. THEY "MOURN"...
      1. But do so in a specific sense:  over one's own spiritual 
         poverty, one' sinfulness
      2. Like David did after his adultery with Bathsheba - Ps 51:3-4
      3. Note the relationship between these first two characteristics
         a. Unless one is first "poor in spirit"
         b. They will not "mourn" over their spiritual poverty

   C. THEY ARE "MEEK"...
      1. This means gentle, easy to be entreated
         a. They would rather suffer injury than inflict it
         b. Not out of weakness, but out of humility, realizing one's
            own poverty of spirit, one's own sinfulness
      2. A good example of meekness is Moses
         a. He was certainly not a weak or timid man - Exo 32:19-20;
         b. But when personally attacked, he was very humble - Num 12:1-3

      1. They look for the righteousness which will meet:
         a. Their spiritual poverty
         b. Their mourning over the same
      2. To "hunger and thirst" suggests not a half-hearted search, but
         one exemplified by:
         a. David in Ps 42:1-2; 19:12-14
         b. Paul in Php 3:7-15a

      1. Loving towards those in misery (e.g., the "Good Samaritan")
      2. Possessing a forgiving spirit toward those who sin against
         them (Hendricksen)
         a. As Jesus had toward those crucifying Him - Lk 23:34
         b. As Stephen had toward those stoning him - Ac 7:60
      3. Jesus stressed this characteristic on several occasions...
         a. Later in this sermon, in teaching on prayer - Mt 6:14-15
         b. In His parable of "The Unforgiving Servant" - Mt 18:21-35
      4. This virtue grows "out of our personal experience of the mercy
         of God." (Lenski)

      1. Defined as "singleness of heart, the honesty which has no
         hidden motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in
         all things." (Lenski)
      2. Refers to one who is sincere, honest, without hypocrisy
      3. That such a quality is necessary to see God, see Ps 24:3-4

      1. They devote their lives to making peace by following the
         Prince of Peace
         a. Making effort to be at peace with all men - Ro 12:18-21
         b. Helping others to be at peace with God by proclaiming the
            gospel of peace - cf. Ro 5:1; Ep 6:15
      2. "At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet
         peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work
         to keep and to make peace where peace is threatened or lost.
         Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the
         footsteps of the Prince of Peace." (Lenski)

      1. "The tense and voice of the verb (passive perfect) may be
         regarded as permissive:
         a. "Who have allowed themselves to be persecuted, or have
            endured persecution"
         b. "The idea is that they did not flee from it but willingly
            submitted to when it came to them." (LENSKI)
      2. In what way, is explained in verse 11, and includes being:
         a. Reviled or reproached
         b. Persecuted
         c. Slandered falsely
            -- All for Jesus' sake
      3. That such persecution would often afflict those who are
         citizens of the kingdom, see Ac 14:21-22; Php 1:29-30; 2Ti 3:12


1. Such are the characteristics of those who will be citizens of the
   kingdom of heaven:
   a. They are poor in spirit (realizing their sinfulness)
   b. Thus they mourn (for their sins)
   c. Thus they are meek (gentle toward God and others)
   d. Thus they hunger and thirst for righteousness (which they 
      desperately need)
   e. Thus they are merciful (for they know they need mercy)
   f. Thus they are pure in heart (seeking to please God with 
      singleness of heart)
   g. Thus they are peacemakers (making peace with others, having found
      peace with God)
   h. Thus they are persecuted for the kingdom of heaven (misunderstood
      by the proud and arrogant who are still in their sins)
   -- Eight graces, all inter-related and working together to produce
      the right kind of character

2. Such is the character of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven...
   a. Involving eight graces, all inter-related
   b. Working together to produce the right kind of character

3. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever effort might be involved in
   developing this kind of  character?
   a. We shall see the answer to this question in our next study.
   b. As we view "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint of another

         "What benefits do the citizens of the kingdom receive?"

But if you are poor in spirit, mourning for your sins, hungering for
the righteousness that God provides only in Christ, what are you 
waiting for?  As Ananias told Saul of Tarsus:

     "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
     away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac 22:16)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011