God’s blueprint for the Christian life…

How should I live out my faith? What does a Christian look like? How should Christians behave and respond to God and other people? These are questions that many people are asking. People look for answers in books, or in advice from Christian ‘motivational speakers’, but our first response should be to look at Scripture. Scripture is God’s revelation to the world and yet so often we overlook it.

I recently had the privilege of preaching on Matthew 5:3-12, that well-known passage referred to as The Beatitudes. In the beatitudes we find God’s blueprint for the Christian life, it is what God says His people should be like. The beatitudes aren’t a checklist of deeds that will get you into heaven, but they are things that Christian should be and do out of a devotion to and love for the Lord.
Martin Luther said this about the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 5-7)…

“Christ is saying nothing in this sermon about how we become Christians, but only about the works and fruit that no one can do unless he already is a Christian and in a state of grace.”

So, as Christians this should be the fruit in your life…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:3-12 (ESV)

The overwhelming characteristic that Jesus is saying should characterise the life of one of His followers is humility. I’d like just to draw out three points from this passage to help us see that humility should be one of the distinguishing features in a Christian’s life.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

There is no coincidence that this is the first beatitude because this is the starting point from which every other one flows and this is the starting point for every Christian. When you hear the call of Christ on your life to repent you come to the point where you realise who you are as a person; sinful, broken, corrupt and unable to do anything to earn salvation. Only at that point when you are spiritually bankrupt, are you poor in spirit. It is at that point that we realise who we actually are as people and we confess our insufficiency and we cry out to God.

But more than that, poor in spirit should be the identity and state of mind for every Christian for the rest of their lives. The cry of our hearts should be, as the hymn writer puts it…

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die”

Christians should be humble because the only reason that we are Christians is because of God’s amazing grace that He sent Christ. But when we call to Christ, when we repent, the promise is that “theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven“. What a privilege it is to be granted so great a reward for the great work of Jesus Christ.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

When we realise our insufficiency and brokenness we should mourn because our sin caused us to live a life of rebellion against God. We lived contrary to God’s law and we rejected Him and that should mourn and lament over our depravity.

But we are not left to drown in our mourning, we are not hopeless! Because God comforts His people. Christians are comforted because our sin, which makes us rebel against God, has been deemed powerless by Christ on the cross. That is a comfort that will never grow faint, a truth that will never grow old and an inheritance that will never perish!

Our comfort will never go away because our comforter, our Saviour is eternal!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

As Christians our deep desire should be to become more and more like Christ every single day, by God’s Grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit that process takes place. But we are not passive in this process, we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Our bodies need  food and water to keep on living. If we go hiking on a hot day we will grab the nearest water bottle and empty it in seconds, we’ll grab a plate of food and keep going until we can eat no more. It is with that sense of urgency and determination that we should be pursuing a life of holiness.

We shouldn’t be flirting with sin or asking the question ‘how far is too far?’ we should be living every second with an almost unquenchable desire to have more of the holiness and righteousness of Christ! The promise is that we will be satisfied! That will only have is full effect in the end, in the New Creation, and what a day that will be when all the saints gather around the throne and worship God!

That’s just a snippet into God’s blueprint for the Christian life, why not spend the next 8 days taking one beatitude at a time and see how your love for Christ grows as you meditate on His Word!

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