February 02, 2020

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



First Lesson; Micah 6:1-8

Second Lesson; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31                        

Sermon Text; Matthew 5:1-12


Let us hear what Jesus says, as He begins His Sermon on the Mount.  This is the introduction to His sermon, taken from Matthew, chapter five, looking at the first twelve verses.  This is God's Word, in Jesus' name.


When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up onto a mountain.  When He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  He opened His mouth and began to teach them.  He said these things:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

because they will be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle,

because they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

because they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

because they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

because they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

because they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, because theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven.  In fact, that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


This is God's Word.


If I were to ask you what is the most famous sermon that has ever been preached, what would be going through your mind?  Would you maybe be thinking of a sermon that Billy Graham could have preached?  Or, maybe a sermon Martin Luther had proclaimed?  Maybe the Apostle Paul from The New Testament?  Or, maybe the prophet Moses from The Old Testament?  But, if you were thinking Jesus, preaching The Sermon on the Mount, you would be correct.  The Sermon on the Mount is not only the most famous sermon that has ever been preached, but it is also the sermon that is the most misunderstood.  Jesus preached this sermon on a mountain in Galilee, which is in northern Israel.  The Beatitudes, the portion of our text we are looking at today, is the introduction in to His whole sermon.  Matthew chapter five, chapter six, and chapter seven encapsulates the whole Sermon on the Mount.  But today, we are just looking at the introduction, The Beatitudes, are statements of blessings.  (I will get to that in just a little bit.)

It was probably about two weeks ago I picked out this worship guide, and planned the whole service.  During the course of this week, I was preparing my message to share with you.  I was beginning to look at the wealth of material, and the wealth of information on The Beatitudes, the commentaries, and sermon helps offer, I came to this statement, this one sentence.  As I read it to myself, I thought, “I am in trouble.” 

Here is what the sentence says. 

“Do to the length and depth of this text it might be better to preach a series of eight sermons on The Beatitudes!” 

And so, I thought to myself, “It is too late to change the service.  So, either I need to preach eight sermons to you, or preach one sermon that is three hours long!  I didn't think you guys would like that very much.” 

I thought, “What am I going to do?” 

So, instead of getting overly specific in our text for today, instead of getting overly specific in The Beatitudes today, I am going to keep it very general.  Then, what I want you to do, during the course of the week, is I want you to keep The Beatitudes in front of you, go back during the course of the week, and look at The Beatitudes Jesus is laying before us today. 

In keeping it general, here are the things we need to know, and we need to understand, in looking at The Beatitudes.

-What is the big deal about The Sermon on the Mount? 

-What is the big deal about The Beatitudes? 

Well, I know some of you have as a Bible, The Concordia Self Study Bible.  It is the NIV, the New International Version, from 1984.  In The Concordia Self Study Bible there is just one sentence in the commentary that says this about what we are looking at today.  “Jesus gave the sermon as a standard for all Christians, realizing its demands cannot be met in our own power.”  

As we hear that sentence, we need to understand once again the two main teachings in scripture.  The two main teachings in scripture are The Law, and The Gospel. 

        -The Law shows us our sins.  The Law tells us what to do, and what not to do. 

But, along with that, or in keeping with that, all of scripture tells us there are three uses of The Law.  I want to walk through that with you.

-The first use of The Law is a curb, The Law as a curb.  What does a curb do?  A curb refrains, or a curb holds back.  Think about a car on a road.  The curb holds back.  It refrains the car from driving off of the road.  The Law, as a curb, is for all people, of all time.  It is for believers, and unbelievers.  When Martin Luther wrote The Explanation to The Conclusion of The Ten Commandments, he simply wrote this about The Law, as a curb. 

“God threatens to punish all who transgress these commandments.  Therefore, we should fear His wrath, and do nothing against these commandments.  But, He promises grace, and every blessing to all who keep these commandments.  Therefore, we should love, and trust in Him, and willingly do according to these commandments.”

The Law serves as a curb for all people, of all time, believers and unbelievers.  And, even unbelievers understand the consequences of sin.  The Law is a curb for them, and for us.  It refrains, or holds us back from breaking The Law.

-The Law also serves as a mirror.  That is the second use of The Law.  Now, when you look in to a mirror, or when you hold a mirror up to your face, what do you see?  It shows you a representation of who you are.  It shows you what you look like.  That is what The Law, as a mirror, does.  As we look at the mirror of God's Law, it shows us who we are.  It shows us our sins.  Again, The Law, as a mirror, is for all people, of all time, for believers and unbelievers.  Even unbelievers look at The Law of God, and see their sins.

But, it is the third use of The Law I really want to focus on. 

-The third use of The Law is a guide, or a ruler.  The uniqueness of the third use of The Law is it is only for Christians.  It is only for believers in Jesus, as their Savior.  It is for believers in Jesus, as their Savior, who know their sin, acknowledge their sin, recognize their sins, and now look at God's Law, and use it as a guide.  They use it as a ruler.  We want to live according to God's Law.

So, today, as we look at The Beatitudes, we see The Beatitudes were preached by Jesus to His disciples, and to His followers on a mountain in Galilee.  The Beatitudes show us how we should live our lives.

The second main teaching in God's Word certainly is The Gospel.  The Gospel always, always, always points us to Jesus.  The Gospel always tells us who Jesus is.  And, The Gospel always tells us what Jesus has done for us. 

-Jesus has lived a perfect life. 

-Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. 

Now, you have heard me say this before.  And, you have heard other people say it to you.  People who have believed in Jesus as their Savior all of the days of their life may not fully appreciate the blessings they have, because of their faith in Jesus.  The person saying that usually is somebody who has come to faith later in life.  They say they truly appreciate the blessings God has given to them, because of what Jesus has done for them.  They understand the blessings they once did not have, because they didn't believe, but they now have, because of their faith in Jesus.

Yesterday there was a funeral here at Holy Cross.  I happened to be visiting with one of the funeral directors for a little while, before the service took place.  He brought this up, and started talking about it.  I was not the one who brought up the subject. 

He said, “Pastor, I want you to know that moments after I sit down, and start making arrangements with the family for the funeral, I can tell pretty quickly which of those families believe in Jesus, and which don't.”  He said, “Those who believe in Jesus, as their Savior, even though they are going through tremendous loss, because of the death of a loved one, they have comfort and they have hope.  But,” he says, “when I am sitting down with a family of somebody who does not believe in Jesus, as their Savior, and I am making arrangements with them, it doesn't matter what I say, there is no hope.  There is no comfort I can give to them, because they don't believe in Jesus, as their Savior.”
It reminds me, and hopefully it is a reminder to us, that in this world, many people are looking for happiness, and many people are looking for blessedness in the wrong places.  They are looking for happiness in money.  They may be looking for happiness in parties.  They may be looking for happiness in self-improvement programs, or expensive cars, or luxurious homes.  But, there is no way we are going to find true happiness, or there is no way we are going to find true blessedness in a list of things like that.  It is the list from our text, The Beatitudes, the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, in which we can find true happiness, and we can find true blessedness.

Shortly before our text, Jesus was in His hometown.  He was in the city of Nazareth.  He went to the synagogue, as was His custom.  Jesus was asked to read the scripture lesson that day.  So, a scroll was taken out by an attendant.  It was handed to Jesus.  He opened the scroll.  It was the prophet Isaiah.  Jesus read this portion from scripture. 

“The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”

After finishing the scripture reading, Jesus rolled up the scroll, handed it to the attendant, sat down, and said,

“These words are fulfilled in your hearing.” 

Those words are also fulfilled in our text for today.  One of The Beatitudes Jesus proclaimed was this. 

“Blessed is the poor in spirit,

because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Those words are fulfilled once again today.  Jesus tells us where true happiness is found.  Jesus tells us where true blessedness is found.  It is not in who we are, and it is not because of what we have done.  But, it is because of who He is, and it is because of what He has done for us.

Here, in just a little bit, some of you are going to be coming forward for The Lord's Supper.  Before we come up for The Lord's Supper, we are going to join in singing The Agnus Dei, or we are going to sing The Lamb of God. 

This is my practice.  When we sing that before The Lord's Supper, I can't help but look at The Lamb of God that is on our altar.  The Lamb of God that is on our altar has blood that is being shed, and it is going in to a cup, or going in to a challis.  It is always a reminder of who Jesus is, and what Jesus has done for us. 

Jesus is God. 

Jesus is The Lamb of God. 

It is through His shed blood

that He takes away the sin of the world. 

So, whether it is through the hearing of this message, or through your receiving of The Lord's Supper, may you truly hold on to, and cling to the happiness, and the blessedness we have, because of who Christ is, and because of what Christ has done for you.

Therefore, what is our take away from this message today?  The take away is this.  This year, during our Chapel Series in our school the theme is Walk with God, and Talk with God.  More or less, every other week, we are going back and forth between a talking with God message (which is thinking of our life of prayer, our heart to heart talks with God).  It is alternated with looking at individuals in life who walked with God.  Really what they are doing is they are showing The Beatitudes in their life, and the way they live their life. 

One of the examples we looked at this last year, during our Chapel Series, was a man by the name of Eric Liddell.  (He is the Chariots of Fire guy.)  Eric Liddell won the gold medal in the 400 meter Olympics in 1924. 

After those Olympics, he went on to become a missionary in China.  He served as a missionary in China for twenty years. 

But then, there came some conflict between the Chinese and the Japanese.  He was arrested by the Japanese.  He was in prison for a couple of years.  Eric Liddell never spoke any Japanese, and the guard who was watching over him at the camp never spoke any English.  But for two years they crossed paths twice a day, during the roll call at the beginning of the day, and the roll call at the end of the day. 

One morning Eric Liddell didn't show up for roll call.  The Japanese soldier, the Japanese guard, through an interpreter asked, “Where is Liddell?” 

Through the interpreter, the other prisoners said, “He died just a couple of hours ago.” 

The Japanese guard said, “He was a Christian wasn't he?” 

Now, how would that Japanese guard know that?  He never spoke any English.  Eric Liddell never spoke any Japanese, but he still knew Eric Liddell was a Christian.  How did he know that?  It is because he walked according to his life of faith.  He knew who Jesus was.  He knew what Jesus had done for him.  He wanted to live according to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.  He wanted to live according to The Beatitudes.  He knew what true happiness, and true blessedness was. 

Guys, you know that as well.  The Beatitudes show true spiritual blessings, true spiritual blessings, because we know who Jesus is, and we know what Jesus has done for us.  Through His death on the cross, He has forgiven us of all of our sins.

So, we close with prayer.



We pray you would keep our eyes ever focused on you, and your blessings, which are ours by grace alone.  We pray this in your name.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, shall be now, and forever more.