Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: Eternal Reward, part 8.
length: 61:38 - taught on Jan, 19 2021
Tuesday January 19, 2021
Matthew lists 8 Beatitudes. Luke lists four balanced perfectly by four woes, showing us that relationships are reversed in God’s kingdom.
And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.”
Four rewards and four woes. Christ reversed the relationships of the old kingdom.
This is the full extent of Luke’s record of the Beatitudes. He lists four while Matthew lists eight. Luke’s emphasis is a great reversal of relationships in the new Kingdom vs. the old kingdom. His four blessedness’ are perfectly balanced with four woes.
We should understand that in their time there was not near as much money in the hands of everyone as it is now. Today, even the poor in America are “well-fed,” but that wasn’t true then. There wasn’t much of a middle-class in first century Palestine.
However, like today and in every age, many of the poor then imagined that happiness would come if they could get great possessions. Imagine how surprised the crowd was when they heard Jesus tell them the opposite of what they were sure of. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
What every person needs is not a change in their circumstances, but a change in their knowledge of and relationship to God. That truth is the opposite of “wisdom” of the old kingdom.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.”
Jesus was not teaching that poverty, hunger, persecution, and tears were blessings in themselves. In heaven, the place that is only filled with God’s blessing, all of that is missing.
“and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Our Lord states His blessings and woes only in light of the current fallen world where the love of things supersedes the love of God. Jesus is describing the inner attitude of the man who loves his relationship with God above all other things.
Compared to Christ, all of us are poor spiritually. When any of us looks into the face of Christ with humility, we realize that compared to Him, we lack very much. He is unconcerned with material wealth and very concerned with spiritual wealth. Every humble believer realizes he is spiritually poor.
He also understands that anyone in this world who considers himself rich is deceived. If it is the spiritual life that makes us rich then every single human being on this planet is poor and hungry and in a sad state. We know that God is going to fulfill all that we are capable of, but now, in our infancy, no matter how more mature we may think we are from the past or in comparison to others, we are poor. So be it, and thanks to the grace of God we understand this and are not ashamed as children are not ashamed of their lack of growth.
Anyone who thinks he is rich in this world is very deceived indeed.
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
“Whoever has” refers to spiritual things. To him, more shall be given and he shall have an abundance. We must imagine that eternity plays a factor in that abundance given. And, “whoever does not have,” is the one without any spiritual life, and “what he has” is his idea of richness from things, but these will be taken. Death itself is the biggest loss for them while it is the biggest gain for the believer.
And so, the Lord spoke to them in parables. He stopped speaking to them in their own “tongue” if you will, and spoke in a way that demanded a desire for the spiritual.
In another instance Jesus explained this so simply in another parable.
Life does not consist of possessions.
And someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." 14 But He said to him, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." 16 And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a certain rich man was very productive. 17 "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' 18 "And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' 21 "So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
The point of the parable is that the man was not rich towards God, and when his life ended, his opportunity to be rich towards God had closed.
How is one rich towards God? He knows God, follows God, lives under the commands of God willingly and joyfully. It cannot be faked. All of us must “come and see” for ourselves.
Therefore, the relationships in the kingdom of heaven are reversed from what they have been in this world where people have thought that goodness and prosperity is tied to things and circumstances. This is what we mean by relationships - how a person reacts or responds to the world around them, the people, the material, the events, circumstances, rumors, etc.
Since in the Beatitudes “your reward is great in heaven” the reversal of the old life without Christ to the life of His kingdom is the source of those rewards.
Notice the reversals in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain — 2 for He says,
"At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you";
behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation" — 3 giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited, 4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors [source of reward in 1CO 3:8], in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
The Lord’s Beatitudes have similar reversals.