We find God’s blessing when we come to worship Jesus Christ.

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12
We find God’s blessing when we come to worship Jesus Christ.
In Micah 5:2, we have a prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus at ‘Bethlehem’. This prophecy invites us to ‘go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about’.
At ‘Bethlehem’, we see ‘shepherds, glorifying and praising God’ (Luke 2:15,20). We also see Jesus our Shepherd. He is the One whom the shepherds worshipped. He is the One who ‘will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord…’
– He is ‘the Good Shepherd’. He ‘laid down His life’ for us.
– He is ‘the Great Shepherd’. He ‘was raised from the dead’ for us.
– He is ‘the Chief Shepherd’. He will ‘come’ again for us (5:4; John 10:14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4).
Jesus, our ‘Shepherd’, gives us ‘strength’ to ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God’ (Micah 6:8).
God’s blessing increases as we build our life upon Jesus Christ.
Life can be testing and trying. In all of this, God makes Himself real to us.
This is our assurance of faith: ‘The Lord restores the fortunes of His people’. He makes us ‘glad’ – In Him, we ‘rejoice’ (Psalm 14:7).
God Himself is the Sure Foundation for our lives: Build on Him, and you ‘shall never be moved’ (Psalm 15:5).
We long for God’s blessing, ‘O that salvation…would come…’ (Psalm 14:7). He will not disappoint us.
Do not be ‘the fool’ who ‘says in his heart, “There is no God”’ (Psalm 14:1).
‘Fear the Lord’- ‘and give Him glory’ (Psalm 15:4; Revelation 14:7).
We are to ‘act wisely’- ‘seeking after God’, ‘calling upon the Lord’ (Psalm 14:2,4). Do you want to ‘dwell on God’s holy hill’ (Psalm 15:1)? – ‘There is a way for man to rise to that sublime abode…’ (Church Hymnary, 357): Christ is the Way to God and Heaven (John 14:2-6).
Every blessing we enjoy comes from the Lord. All the glory belongs to Him.
Paul preached ‘Christ crucified’ with a determination ‘to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified’ (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:2). This is the message of our salvation – ‘Christ crucified… Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). All the glory belongs to God. We have no right to steal away any of the glory for ourselves: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Christ is our full salvation. ‘Let us rejoice and be glad’ in Him’(1 Corinthians 1:30; Psalm 118:24).
We enjoy God’s blessing most when we share it with others.
In Matthew 5:1, we see both ‘the disciples’ and ‘the crowds’.
The disciples are taught with a view to becoming teachers of the crowds.
Jesus’ ministry to the disciples had a dual purpose.
– It was for their own spiritual strengthening.
– It was training for the time when they would be entrusted with the Lord’s commission: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Do we read God’s Word solely for our own benefit? Or, do we have an eye for ways in which we can learn to share His Word with others?
In Matthew 5:3-12, ‘The Beatitudes’ show us God’s way of blessing. In verses 3-10, we have the general principles. In verses 11-12, we are challenged to apply these principles to ourselves: ‘Blessed are you…’
We might also describe them as the Be Attitudes, since they show us what we are to be.
Jesus teaches us that the way to happiness is the way of holiness.
The only alternative to the way of holiness is the way of hypocrisy. There can be no true happiness when we are walking in the way of hypocrisy.
Holiness is to take shape in our lives – the shape of Jesus Christ living in us. This is the truly happy life: the Christ-centered life.
We are not to live according to present appearances. We are to live in the light of the future Reality of God’s heavenly Kingdom.
We are not only to read the Beatitudes. We are to live them.

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