Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – January 1, 2017
Theme: Building Blocks for Godly Living
Topic: Blessed Attitudes
Text: Matthew 5:1-8
Key Verse: Matthew 5:3: “”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)
Last (Christmas) Sunday we meditated on “The Purpose of His Coming” – why Jesus came, and man’s appropriate response to His coming. Key messages from that study include the following:
- The key purpose of Christ’s coming is to destroy the works of the devil by removing the devil’s authority and power over man and reconciling man to God. He came to die so that we would receive forgiveness of our sins and thereby be positioned to enjoy the full benefits of His coming. No one has an excuse to be dominated by the devil or live without God’s power any longer.
- Christians need to stem the continued commercialisation of Christmas by seizing every opportunity to remind the world of the pur pose of Christ’s coming and prompting people to respond positively to God’s love shown at Christmas.
We are starting the new year with a series of studies on the theme “Building Blocks for Godly Living”, each study focusing on an aspect of what makes for a godly life. In our first study – “Blessed Attitudes” we will examine the first eight verses of Matthew 5 – covering six of the nine statements of Jesus Christ which we call “the beatitudes”. Key point to note from this study should include:
- Jesus spoke the beatitudes to His disciples – those who already knew Him. The word “beatitude” means “happiness”. These sayings should therefore be seen as the key guideposts to a Christian’s happiness. It is possible to be born again but still not be happy.
- The first of the statements – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” is the anchor piece for the rest. To be poor in spirit is to have an attitude that says “I cannot make it by myself – I don’t have what it takes”. This is what makes us submit to Christ, yielding to the Holy Spirit in all things – humility, mercifulness, coping with life’s tragedies, longing for righteousness, etc.
- God cares most about our heart because all we do or say originate from there. A sanctified heart is one whose pure motives guide everything. We need to constantly examine our hearts for the motives behind what we do as it is possible to do the right things for the wrong motives. We also must be careful about judging others whose motives we may not know.
The term beatitude comes from the Latin word which means “happiness”. Jesus Christ did not direct these sayings to a crowd, but specifically to His disciples (vv1b-2). The implication is that being a Christian does not automatically translate to happiness. In the beatitudes, Jesus lists nine cardinal principles that bring happiness to the Christian. The first of these: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v3) anchors all the other eight. To be poor in the spirit is not the same as being financially or materially poor. It is to have an attitude that says “I cannot make it by myself”. One of the greatest obstacles to a fulfilled life is unwillingness to let God take charge of our lives. Indeed, modern educationists and many motivational coaches seek to build their client’s confidence in their ability to make it if only they believe in themselves. We certainly need self-confidence to succeed, but a confidence that is not anchored in God only massages the ego.
1. List some indications of a Christian’s failure to fully anchor his or her life in God, and how these rob the Christian of a fulfilled life.
Those who anchor their life in Christ are well-placed to handle life because their life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). There would be times of loss of loved ones, when we are counted among “those who mourn”. At such times, the Christian draws from God’s comfort for He says “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). When everyone else project themselves, fight to have the best for themselves and defend their turf, one whose life is anchored in Christ, while not docile, shows a meekness that recognises that “a person can receive only what is given them from heaven” – John 3:27. When we genuinely “thirst after righteousness” – when we purpose in our hearts to live right, we draw strength from God because “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life” – 2 Peter 1:3. Knowing that he himself received God’s mercy when he certainly did not deserve it, he shows mercy to the leastdeserving and does not insist on “getting even”. By so doing we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16.
2. Discuss how a Christian can show meekness without appearing to be docile or a “doormat” for others, especially in an age when we are encouraged to be assertive if we are to succeed.
The writer to the Hebrews echoed Jesus’ words “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (v8) when he wrote “… without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV). To be pure in heart is to have a heart that abhors evil and is drawn to doing good. This does not come about by obeying a set of rules but by appropriating what Jesus already accomplished, for He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14 NIV). It is therefore important not to see the beatitudes as a set of rules to live by, but a testimonial of what has happened inside.
3. Why do Christians not always reflect the virtues in the beatitudes if indeed they are redeemed?
Father, grant us the grace to live out the values our Lord Jesus Christ so clearly espoused in those nine profound statements – which we call “the beatitudes”, and in Your sermon on that mountain, in Jesus’ name. Amen.