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Blessed Are The Merciful

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Blessed Are The Merciful (Mat. 5:7)

Wade Webster

For several weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

God is a holy God and requires holiness of those who approach Him. He is gentle and expects gentleness. He is peaceful and expects us to be at peace with our fellow man. He is merciful and demands the same. Since mercy is the attribute that we are considering this week, let’s remind ourselves of this attribute of God. Consider how God described Himself to Moses on the mount: “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7). It is always enlightening to hear how a person introduces themselves. They usually stress attributes that they value or hold in high esteem. They reveal by what they say how they want others to see them or to know them. Obviously, our assessments of ourselves can be and often are flawed as humans. However, God’s assessment of Himself is as perfect as He is. The very first attribute that God mentioned to Moses about Himself was mercy. Clearly, God values mercy in Himself and in those who stand before Him. Jesus declared, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36).

In addition to being like the God that we worship, we must be merciful to obtain mercy. Solomon noted, “The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh” (Proverbs 11:17). In like manner, James wrote, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). The truthfulness of these verses is clearly driven home in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mat. 18:23-35). The man in the parable lost the great mercy that he had been shown because of the small mercy that he refused to show his fellow man. We must not make the same mistake. The best of us comes before God in desperate need of mercy. To receive it, we must show it. We should come before God with the attitude of the publican who smote his chest and begged for mercy (Lk. 18:9-14). With such attitudes God is well pleased.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s remember that God is a merciful God and that He desires mercy in those who come before Him. If we come before without having shown mercy, then we will leave as empty as we came.

Blessed Are the Meek

Friday, September 03, 2021

Blessed are the Meek (Mat. 5:5)

Wade Webster


For a couple of weeks we have been considering the attitude that we are to have in worship (John 4::23-24). To analyze and adjust our attitudes we have been examining the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will consider Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. “ 

Two men come to mind when we think of meekness - Moses and Christ. Moses was described in the book of Numbers as meek above all men on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). I believe that you will agree that this is quite a description. Eventually, One would arise like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15). We know from the New Testament that the One like unto Moses was Jesus (Acts 3:19-26). Of course, one of the ways that Jesus would be like Moses would be in His meekness. As you recall, Jesus described Himself as “meek and lowly in heart.” We read, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus invited men to come to Him for rest. He invited them to take His yoke upon them and to learn of Him. To take someone’s yoke upon you was a Jewish idiom that meant to take someone as your teacher. Jesus was inviting men to take Him as their teacher and to learn from Him . Unlike the yoke of the scribes and Pharisees which was hard to wear and heavy to bear, Jesus’ yoke was easy and His burden was light (Matthew 23:4). Jesus puts no unnecessary burden upon His students. He gives no busywork or meaningless assignments. What He asks is not grievous or burdensome, but reasonable (1 John 5:2-3; Rom. 12:1). Perhaps, you are thinking that this is all good, but what does it have to do with the attitude that we are to have in worship. It has everything to do with it. Every Sunday, we come to Jesus to learn from Him and to worship Him. Meekness is essential to both of these endeavors. Meekness is required in both teachers and students (2 Tim. 2:24-26; 1 Pet. 3:15). As a teacher, Jesus is meek and lowly. As students, we must be the same. James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). An attitude of meekness is essential to receiving the word of Christ. Without meekness, we will leave worship no better than we came.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we have an attitude of meekness. Let’s make sure that we are ready to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn.

Blessed Are Those That Mourn

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Blessed Are Those That Mourn (Mat. 5:4)

Wade Webster

Over the next few weeks, we are going to consider the attitude that we are to have in worship. As you know, one of the requirements of true worship is that it be in spirit or with the right attitude (John 4::23-24). Each week, we will analyze and adjust our attitudes by examining one of the beatitudes of the Bible. This week we will look at Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”

Nine different Greek words are used in the New Testament to speak of the sorrow that can afflict a man’s soul. The word that is used here by the Lord is the strongest of them all. It refers to a deep, intense, and heartfelt grief. The word was usually reserved for the grief that a person felt at the death of a loved one. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, used this word to describe Jacob’s grief when he was handed Joseph’s bloody coat and he believed that his son had been torn to pieces by a wild beast. We read, “Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him” (Genesis 37:34-35). I believe that you will agree that this was a strong and severe grief.

Now that we understand the depth of the word, we need to understand the specific application that Jesus was making. It seems clear that Jesus was speaking of spiritual grief and not physical grief. He was using the strongest word available to speak of mourning over sin. Just as God is with us in our physical grief (2 Cor. 1:3-4; John 11:35), He is with us when we mourn over spiritual things. He is near those who have hearts broken over sin. David declared, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalms 34:18). David knew that a heart broken over sin was the sacrifice that God most wanted. Again, we read, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). Those who truly mourn over sin are comforted by God. They are blessed and comforted in the knowledge that their sins have been removed and are remembered no more (2 Sam. 12:13; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 9:26).

As we get ready to worship this week, let us mourn over sin as we would mourn over the death of a loved one. Let’s remember what our sin cost God (John 3:16). If we will come with broken hearts, we will leave with healed hearts. God will comfort us in the knowledge that our sins have been removed through the blood of His Son (Eph. 1:7).

Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit (Mat. 5:3)

Wade Webster

As you know, one of the requirements of true worship is that it is in spirit or with the right attitude (John 4:23-24). For the next few weeks, we will analyze and adjust our attitudes by examining the beatitudes of the Bible.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with this beatitude. It seems logical for us to begin our study the same way. Although Jesus wasn’t specifically talking about worship, He was talking about the attitude that should be true of those in the kingdom in both service and worship.

The Greek term that is translated as poor in this passage was used to describe the beggar Lazarus who sought the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table (Lk. 16:19-21). Poor is from a verb that means to “shrink” or “cower.” It described the action of beggars at the time. A beggar would crouch in the presence of a potential benefactor, hold out one hand to receive a gift, and cover his face with the other hand. For sure, the beggar avoided making eye contact. It seems clear in this beatitude that Jesus was talking about spiritual poverty, and not physical poverty. There is nothing inherently better in being physically poor or inherently worse about being rich. Jesus was talking about being poor in spirit and not poor in silver. He was describing the man who knew his spiritual bankruptcy before God. No doubt, the Bible student is reminded of the Parable of the Pharisee and Publican. We read, “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14). The publican displayed the poverty of spirit upon which Jesus pronounced blessing. The Pharisee displayed the opposite attitude. If our worship is to be acceptable, then we must imitate the humble publican and not the haughty Pharisee.

As we get ready to worship this week, let’s check our attitude. Let’s make sure that we are poor in spirit. Then, and only then, will our worship be acceptable.

Do Not Swear

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Do Not Swear (Jam. 5:12)

Wade Webster

As James draws his little letter to a close, he gives a succinct sermon on swearing. He wrote, “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment” (Jam. 5:12). As we examine this passage, we will see the prohibition, the prescription, and the precaution.

The Prohibition: James instructed his brethren not to swear by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. The words “above all” put a priority on the prohibition (Eph. 6:16; Col. 3:14; 1 Pet. 4:8). The Greek tense suggests that this was an ongoing problem for James’ brethren. They were instructed to stop doing it. Likely, the prohibition in this passage reminds the Bible of similar statements in Scripture. One of the Ten Commandments warned against swearing by the name of God. We read, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). The Hebrew word translated as “in vain” refers to a light or flippant use of God’s name. God’s name was to be used carefully and with great reverence. In the Sermon on the Mount , Jesus declared, “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37). It seems clear that Jesus and James were addressing the same problem. Individuals were swearing by a host of things - heaven, earth, the temple, the altar, Jerusalem, etc. They were careful not to invoke the name of God. They believed that only oaths that used the name of God were binding. Both James and Jesus were condemning this deceitful practice.

The Prescription: James’ prescription for the deceitful oaths was for the brethren to let their “Yes” be “Yes,” and their “No,” “No.”. Notice the little word “but.” It is a word of contrast. James’ brethren were supposed to be different. They were to be men and women of their word. They were not to lie one to another. To the Christians at Colosse, Paul wrote, “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:9-10). They were to provide for things honest in the sight of all men (Rom. 12:17).

The Precaution: James ended his words about swearing with a precaution. He warned the brethren about falling into judgment. God would not hold guiltless those who misused His name (Exod. 20:7). He would judge all liars (Rev. 21:8). These brethren might fool some with their deceitful oaths, but they would not fool God. Everything is naked and open to His eyes (Heb. 4:13). He would bring everything into judgment, even the secret things (Rom. 2:5-6, 16). Jesus declared, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mat. 12:36-37).

Having discussed the tongue in detail in the third chapter, James addressed it one final time before the book closes. Hopefully, his brethren were listening.

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