Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – The Pure in Heart – Part 1

Let me share with you a little bit of my life. I was a teenager, and I was living my life, like every other teenager, maybe a little bit more intense than most of them. Until one day when someone asked me to take a look in my heart.

I did not pay attention at the beginning, but later I decided to take a look in my heart. And it was not a surprise when I found out that my heart was dead, totally lifeless. But not only that, it was worse, that heart was the proof that God was not there, neither His life nor His joy. This is the heart without Christ, or before Christ: It is dark, it is dirty, it is smelly.

I learned that I should ask God for a new heart, and He would give it to me. I went to the cross and asked God for a new heart. I gave my old one and received a new one. That changed everything in my life. My whole life was changed. Now I had a new heart from God inside my chest, and I wanted to keep it clean and pure.

In the next Beatitude Jesus talks about this: Matt. 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” 

This Beatitude talks about Holiness, and Sanctification. The difference is that it is from inside, from the heart. It is about how I will take care of this new heart that I have.

Let us take a look at those words used here by our Lord Jesus:

Pure: The word means, clean, pure, clear of responsibility, innocent.

Heart: heart, mind (seat of thought and emotion). The heart was thought to be the seat of the inner self (composed of life, soul, mind, and spirit). “Heart” is similar in meaning to “soul,” but often the “heart” has a focus on thinking and understanding

It is important for us to understand that in the Bible HEART = MIND

This is why Jesus said:

Matt. 9:4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 

Mark 2:8 ¶ Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 

Today we have the division between mind and heart, but in the Bible they are together. They feel with the heart and they think with the heart.

1 – A PURE HEART BEGINS WITH GOD

The first thing that we must realize is that a pure heart is not fruit of our religiosity. It is a product of God’s action in our lives. This is what the prophet Ezekiel tells us:

“Ezek. 36:25-26 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” 

In this text God is promising a new heart to his people. It is important for us to understand that Heart = Mind. God is promising a new mindset for His people, so we would see the world in a different way.

When we come to Christ with our poor, dirty, and broken heart, He will change our heart and will give us a new one.

This why Paul says: 2Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 

In Christ we have a new heart.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – The Merciful – Part 3

We have learned that to be merciful we need to receive mercy from God. He is the source of mercy. We also learned that after we receive mercy, we are supposed to share that mercy with others. Today we will learn the next stage of being merciful.

3 – THE MERCIFUL RECEIVES MORE MERCY

This is what our text says: “Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

A. They will Receive More Mercy from God

It is important for us to understand that this mercy is from God. God will give to the merciful more mercy. That means, the more you give, the more you receive.

One thing very important for us to understand is that we have to start with what we have and gradually grow from there. Maybe you do not have courage nor the stomach to work with homeless people. You can start with people around you, people right in your congregation, people who have needs and you are the closest one.

As you go performing acts of mercy, God will supply you with more mercy, so you can keep doing your service.

In the Bible Jesus told us a story about being merciful. It is the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is a beautiful story and a great illustration about being merciful.

We find the story in the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37. The story goes this way:

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””

I underlined the main aspects of this story. The event, the people involved, and the conclusion. At the end Jesus asked the lawyer, who started this whole conversation, who was the neighbor of that guy who was attacked. The answer was “the one who had mercy on him.”

That kind of person is my neighbor. That person is the merciful one. They are those who see a need and do something about it. I hope and pray that we will be that kind of person.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – The Merciful – Part 2

In our first message about this important Beatitude, we learned that mercy, the real mercy comes from God. He is a merciful God and He shares with us his mercy. Here is the verse: Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

The second aspect in this cycle is that the mercy is not supposed to stop with us. We cannot be selfish and retain all the mercies that God has given to us. Today we will learn that there is another step in this cycle. 

2 – THE MERCIFUL SHARES MERCY WITH HIS/HER NEIGHBOR

After receiving mercy from God, we are challenged to share this mercy with people around us. 

This is one of the biggest challenges that we face in this whole process. We are by nature selfish and egoistical people. Even though we pretend not to be. We just love to accumulate whatever we receive from God, forgetting that He gave to us so we would be able to share with others who don’t have. Let us take a look at what we are supposed to share.

  1. Sharing Material Things – The first is the material possessions. We should share material things with people who have less, whatever their needs are. The world continues to be divided by the ones who have and the ones who have not. Those who have are supposed to share. This is what the Bible says: “Deut. 15:7-8 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.”

It is important for us to understand that God gave to us so we should be able to give to others.

  • Sharing Spiritual Things – We also should share spiritual things with those who need; the salvation, our love, prayers, support, etc. Unfortunately, we live in a time when we are so focused on material things, that we forget the spiritual aspects of life. As Christians, we should discipline ourselves to share spiritual blessings with others around us. This is what the Bible says: “Jude 22-23 Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

My friend, as you can see, the merciful that Jesus had in mind, receives mercy from God and shares with others who need them. Those mercies are material and spiritual. We cannot pick and choose which one we will share. The merciful should be able to recognize both needs and share mercy accordingly. In this way we will be blessed and extremely happy.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – The Merciful – Part 1

In the mid 80s I was invited to preach in a Youth for Christ conference in Brazil. At that time, it was considered the best youth camp in the country. They would bring the best Christian bands for the events, and I was the main speaker. Of course, I would not preach regular sermons.

Every night I would come as a different character and not only preach the message but also demonstrate the message. One night I decided to come as a homeless guy. I did not tell anybody about my intentions but only the band leader.

I do not need to tell you the reaction from the rest of the band, the crowd, and principally the security team. It was a challenge for me to get to the stage. Finally, the chief of the security team recognized me, after I identified myself to him.

The question is, why do we feel so uncomfortable with poor people? Why do we always think the worst? Is it guilt? Is it fear?

Today we will see the 5th Beatitude: Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

Happy are the merciful.

The first thing that we need to do is to define the word: “The word merciful includes feelings of pity, with a focus of showing compassion to those in serious need. It also includes kindness or good will toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.”

In the last Beatitude I mentioned that the righteousness should be toward our neighbor.

Neighbor is the closest person to me – This is the best definition for neighbor in the NT in my opinion.

The next step in that direction is to be merciful. To love a neighbor who is miserable, afflicted, and is in serious need.

Mercy is meeting people’s needs. It is not simply feeling compassion but showing compassion, not only sympathizing but also giving a helping hand. Mercy is giving food to the hungry, comfort to the bereaved, love to the rejected, forgiveness to the offender, companionship to the lonely. 

Let us take a look at Mercy’s Cycle:

1 – THE MERCIFUL RECEIVE MERCY FROM GOD

The Bible is very clear that God is the originator of all mercy. There is no mercy that does not come from God.

This is what the Bible says:

  1. Mercy Originates in God – Mercy is part of the character of God. Because of that every mercy comes from Him 2Tim. 1:2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  2. We Were Saved by His Mercy – The Bible says that we are saved by His mercy. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.” He also wrote to Titus and said this about our salvation: “Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 

As you can see my friend, mercy comes from God. He is merciful and because of that He shares His mercy with all of us.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice – Part 3

The last week of May and the first week of June, will be remembered by violence, death, riot, and destruction. On one side we have people protesting because of an injustice, on the other side we have people and their businesses suffering without being guilty of anything, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We know that some of the protesters are peaceful people just wanting to demonstrate their hunger and thirst for justice, but at the same time we know that some bad apples infiltrated in those protests and produced destruction all over.

In this text we will see the last aspect of this important Beatitude.

3 – THE DESIRE TO BE RIGHT WITH OUR NEIGHBOR

The last desire is to be right with our neighbor. We should treat our neighbor in a proper and Christian way. The Bible says that we should love our neighbor. In a practical way this is what Jesus said that we should do:

  1. Treat our neighbor in the way that we want to be treated – 

This is what He said at the end of the Sermon of the Mountain:

Matt. 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 

We should treat the others and do to others as we would like them to do to us. In other words, Jesus is saying to us that a Christian should put his or herself in the shoes of the others.

If it were me, what would I like the church, or my friends to do for me, in this situation?

The responsibility is on our side. We are the ones who should have the desire to be right with our neighbor. We are the ones who should go and offer help.

In Matthew, Jesus sums up this whole thing in the Greatest Commandments:

Matt. 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 

Matt. 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 

Matt. 22:39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

Matt. 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

As you can see the Great Commandment has these two directions, to God and to our neighbor.

Jesus says in this Beatitude that when we have this kind of hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be right with God, with ourselves, and our neighbor, we will be filled. The word means satisfied, be fed in abundance.

The Psalmist put that in this way:

Psa. 81:13 O that my people would listen to me,

                        that Israel would walk in my ways! 

Psa. 81:14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,

                        and turn my hand against their foes. 

Psa. 81:15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,

                        and their doom would last forever. 

Psa. 81:16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,

                        and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

In other words, the psalmist is telling us that if we have the desire to be right with God, and our neighbors, He will feed us with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock.

Psa. 81:16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

In this way we will be blessed, happy, and totally satisfied.

Have a blessed week,Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice – Part 2

In this Beatitude, Jesus is emphasizing the strong desire that every disciple should have for justice. This is why he uses words like hunger and thirst. We saw that we should have this kind of desire to be right with God.

In this article, we will take the next step, we will go to the next level. Here is the next desire that we should have.

2 – THE DESIRE TO BE RIGHT WITH OURSELVES

Yes, the second desire is to be right with us. Even though we have this desire to be in the presence of God, to please Him, and to obey Him, we struggle with our human and sinful nature. 

It is like Isaiah, when he contemplated God and His majesty in the Temple. Right after that he looked at himself and confessed that he was impure.

Even though we recognize that we are sinners we still have the desire to be right. The desire is there anyway.

  1. The struggle against our human nature – 

Even though we were saved, transformed, and regenerated, we still have our human and sinful nature as part of our being. And we will struggle with that our whole life, until we die. The apostle Paul is the one who exemplifies that struggle and shares it with us:

Rom. 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 

Rom. 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 

Rom. 7:23 But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 

Rom. 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 

Rom. 7:25 Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! ¶ So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 

In this text we see Paul’s desire to do the right thing, and the realization that he could not because of his human and sinful nature. It is important for us to understand that Paul here in this text is not talking about a time before he met Jesus and was saved, no, he is talking about a struggle that he had in his Christian journey.

My friends, did you ever have that realization? Did you ever come to the conclusion that there are many things that you would like to do, that are good, but you just keep doing the wrong thing?

There is a war inside of us, and only with the grace and power of God will we be able to win.

But do not forget that we must have the desire to be right. This beatitude is for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice – Part 1

Pragmatism, today we are bombarded by this philosophy. If we get the results that we want, it does not matter how we get them. The results are more important.

Is the end more important for you than the means? Do you believe that the good people finish last? Are you more preoccupied with the results than the way you get there? We hunger for position, power, wealth, status, and recognition.

The Beatitude that we will study today is this:

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

We need to define some terms:

Definition of righteousness: what is right, just, and the act of doing what is in agreement with God’s standards, the state of being in proper relationship with God.

This desire, hunger, and thirst for righteousness are fruits of the righteousness that came from Christ and His works for us. It is not something that we have by ourselves.

The steps for God’s blessedness must be taken before we get to this stage.

We have to be poor in spirit,

We have to mourn,

And we have to be meek.

When these steps are taken, we will have this strong desire for righteousness.

Let us take a look at those desires:

1 – THE DESIRE TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD

The first thing that we will have is the desire to be right with God. This desire means at least three things:

  1. The desire for the presence of God – When we go through all these steps, we develop a desire for the presence of God. A desire to be there, to have fellowship with Him to pray, to worship, and to know Him.

This is what the psalmist said in the Psalm 63:

“Psa. 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” 

The words used are earnestly, thirst, long for you, express this desire.

  • The desire to please God – The second aspect of this desire is a desire to please God. This is expressed in our desire to do what pleases God, and to do what He likes. 

This is what Paul wrote to the Christians, asking them to do everything that they could to please God.

1Th. 4:1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 

  • The desire to obey God – The third aspect is the desire to obey God. When we realize that we are saved by the Grace of God through the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will have this intense desire to obey Him and follow Him wherever He goes.

This is what the psalmist said:

Psa. 119:34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

As you can see my friend, to hunger and thirst for justice begins with the desire to be right with God.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Beatitudes: The Happiness That Nobody Wants – The Meek – Part 3

As we all know, we live in a time when we are encouraged to fight for everything. Being meek and gentle is not one of the best qualities that people look for in others. Our society struggles to accept the meek and gentle, but as Christians and disciples of Jesus we need to understand that being meek will bring wonderful results to our lives.

In this Beatitude Jesus makes clear about the result of being meek. Let us take a look.

3 – MEEKNESS WILL BE REWARDED BY GOD

Finally, we learn in this verse that there is a reward from God for those who are meek. There are two rewards for the meek:

“Matt. 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

  1. They will be Blessed – The word we already saw. It means the spiritual blessings and happiness that come from God Himself. They are internal and spiritual.
  2. They will inherit the earth – The second thing that they will receive is the inheritance of the earth. What everybody fought for the meek will inherit. 
    1. They will not need to fight for it – God Himself will give it to them.
    1. They will not receive it from the sinners – The sinners will not give the meek the earth. It is not the sinners who will give the earth to the meek, but God Himself.
    1. They will receive because it is their inheritance – It is part of the reward for belonging to the Kingdom of God and being poor in spirit, mourning, and being meek. 

Now you can see how difficult this sermon is. God expects all of us to be meek, and gentle, to submit to Him and to others. 

Even though we have the power to win and overcome, the gentleness that was planted in our hearts should take over and help us to be humble ourselves. Only in this way will we inherit the earth. 

Look around, one day God Himself will restore this earth and He will give it to those who are meek.

This is what the psalmist has to say to us about the meek:

Psa. 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 

Psa. 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil. 

Psa. 37:9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 

Psa. 37:10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 

Psa. 37:11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. 

Psa. 37:12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 

Psa. 37:13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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