#1/18 — Beauty for Ashes: How Christ Brings Joy From Your Pain
September 1st / 2nd 2012
by Pastor Colin S. Smith
Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed… Matthew 5:1-3
Over these last weeks, I have immersed myself in these words of Jesus and they have had a profound effect on me in at least three ways:
I am finding the Beatitudes compelling Jesus speaks about a life that is blessed by God. Who would not want to listen to Jesus as he shows us the path on which blessing is to be found? Everyone wants to be blessed. We want to be blessed in life and blessed in death. We want to be blessed in eternity.
The opposite of blessed is cursed. Nobody wants that. But here the Son of God speaks about a life that is blessed and people who are blessed. That leads me to say, “I want to be one of those people! I want to take a fresh look at myself and be sure that I am pursuing a life that is blessed.”
The Beatitudes do more than describe a blessed life, they actually give us the means by which we may pursue it. I want to show you, from these words of Jesus, how you can make progress in the Christian life.
If you are a follower of Christ, you probably know what it is to feel stuck in your Christian life. You want to grow and to become more like Christ, but somehow you lose momentum.
You may not believe that a person’s heart can pump faster while they are sitting at a desk, but my heart has been beating faster, as I have seen how the Beatitudes give a key to progress in the Christian life.
I am finding the Beatitudes searching Jesus describes the person who is blessed by God. That begs the question: Is He describing me? Am I displaying more of the marks of a person who is blessed? What matters is not that I say, “I’m blessed,” but that God pronounces me blessed. Jesus describes those who are blessed right here.
The Beatitudes are leading me in worship What you hear in the words of Jesus you will see in the life of Jesus. There is total integrity in the Son of God. Christ practices what He preaches. Meditating on these beatitudes is leading me to worship, because worship happens as we glimpse the glory of the Son of God.
Today’s message is an introduction to the series. I want us to become familiar with these Beatitudes and for us to learn how to use them. I see this teaching, and the question is: How do I use this? How do I put it to work in my life? You can use the Beatitudes as: 1. A tool for discernment; 2. A key to progress; and 3. A window to worship.
A Tool for Discernment
Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, a multi-campus church located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and president of Unlocking the...