Shaped by Jesus

Sermon Series:

Being Shaped by Jesus

Transcript

Mallorie Teel:


As I've been preparing for this week, God has been speaking to me through this passage of scripture, which I'm really excited to share with you. I've been able to see it through a different lens than I have before, and my prayer today is that this will be the same for you, that you will hear something new that you can take with you this week and think about and pray about, and that God can do something awesome in your life too. As we shift years. This last week Jeremy talked about being present with Jesus. Today we get to dig into what it means to be shaped by him. In the next week we get Carly who's going to talk to us about doing what Jesus did. Being shaped by Jesus is something that's discussed throughout scripture, but one of my favorite passages to talk about is Matthew five through seven, which is a sermon on the Mount.
The Sermon on the Mount is a how to for Christian living. One scholar wrote that if you want to catch a glimpse into the gospel, that you can look to the Sermon on the Mount because it's got all sorts of different topics that we can look at as we learn how to follow Jesus. And so today I'm going to call your attention to the attitudes as we mean, as we learn what it means to be shaped by him. So if you have your Bibles, go ahead and open it up to Matthew five, one through 12. If you don't, it's going to be on the screen for you and this is what it says. Now, when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down his disciple, his disciples came to him and he began to teach them saying, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me rejoice and be glad because great is a reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. This is the word of the Lord.

 

So as we dive into the attitudes this morning, there's a lot to unpack, but for today's sermon and because we could preach probably a whole series on the beatitudes and that we're focusing on prayer today, and I want to give us space and time to do that, we're going to focus on just three. As I was studying, I started to see this passage in a little bit different light and I began to wonder if these beatitudes mirror some of the stages and seasons in our spiritual journey. While the beatitudes aren't something to move through or complete, I wonder if there's something like foundational building blocks that lead to growth and depth in our spiritual life, and that's where I want to take us today. As we read the Beatitudes, Jesus invites us to catch a glimpse of what the kingdom of God should look like and how we are to imitate this kingdom as his disciples.


These beatitudes are truly the attitudes that Jesus desires for us to be. As we spend time being present with God, the beatitudes come to the forefront of our spiritual walk as we are shaped by Jesus. So the first one that we're going to look at today is blessed for the poor spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Before we can truly be shaped and transformed by Jesus, our job is to be poor in spirit. This season in our spiritual walk is so important in recognizing our deep need for God and in looking at our own brokenness. When we're poor in spirit, we begin to understand that we cannot journey through life alone. We may experience a mourning over our own sin and the sin that we see in the world around us.
If we don't intentionally spend time in our spiritual poverty, we cannot experience the fullness of God's kingdom or the beauty of love and sacrifice for us. Without taking this first step, we cannot experience the other beatitudes that God invites us into. As I was looking at what it means to be poor in spirit, I was reminded of a saying that we often say in counseling, which is what I'm currently in school for, it's that a commitment to mental health is a commitment to reality no matter the cost. And being an disciple or an apprentice of Jesus, as Jonathan often says, is really similar to this. If we're committed to the way of Jesus, it's a commitment to be dependent on him and it's an openness to being shaped by him no matter our personal cost. Being poor in spirit is a catalyst stage in our journey so that we can be moved to spend time with Jesus.

To be clear, while being poor in spirit is often the first attitude that brings us to Jesus. Over time, this need for God should only build within us. It should never go away. Being poor in spirit is what pulls us toward God, but then it motivates us to share the joy and the love that we found in our relationship with Jesus, with our community. If we want to be shaped by Jesus, we must be present and intentional in our time with him. This is a slow journey. It doesn't happen overnight. It's not easy. It requires us to listen. The Holy Spirit requires obedience. It requires us to sit in our convictions. It's a posture of surrender. To deepen our walk with Jesus, we must continually depend on him and remember that we cannot journey through life on our own accord and our own power.


The second beatitude that we're looking at today is blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. So being poor in spirit pushes us to hunger and thirst for righteousness as we seek and desire to be more like Jesus. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we are surrendering who we are to God and what we're doing is we're asking him to transform our life, being poor in spirit and hunger and hungry and thirsty for righteousness through sanctifying experiences. Living out these beatitudes requires us to wake up yearning for more Jesus and it's us inviting him to share sacred space with us while we are made righteous or made right when we enter into a relationship with God because he's forgiven us of our sins, we have the privilege of becoming more holy and like Jesus as we seek him.
As we read this beatitude, Jesus promises to fill us with righteousness when we seek him. This promise is reiterated later in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew seven, seven through eight, which is going to be on the screen and it says, ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who ask receives, he who seeks finds and to him who knocks the door will be opened. Jesus doesn't hide himself from us. As we read in scripture, he makes it really plain to his followers that he desires a relationship and that he's only going to unfold himself to us. In fact, Jesus said it not once, but he says it twice in this passage that all we need to do is seek to find, and this is what hungering and thirsting for righteousness is really all about.

 

In a podcast I listened to this week from John Mark Comer, which is kind of a pastor to pastors now, he does a lot with spiritual formation. He talks about how our ability to make big changes or experience lasting growth cannot come by way of willpower alone, and that's because our sin nature limits our capacity for change. This is often because living in the kingdom of God is backwards when we view it from our fallen human nature, it's a constant challenge for us as Jesus followers to obey Jesus and to follow his commands consistently. Over time though, as we seek Jesus, this becomes less of a struggle. With this in mind, we have the power to implement healthy spiritual practices and habits into our daily living that allows God to begin shifting and transforming our hearts and our minds. These small intentional actions and changes to the day-to-day living can include spiritual disciplines like prayer, a time of solitude, the reading of scripture, and maybe even fasting. These small habits help us to be postured and surrender and humility. As we seek Jesus and our small actions, we invite God into our life to make bigger changes. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness often requires us to set aside time and put away the distractions of life happening around us. Without spending time with Jesus, we cannot expect to fully know him or to experience true change. The daily decisions that we make now will impact the legacy that we leave behind.


Possessing a hunger and a thirst for righteousness also means that we seek justice and righteousness for the community around us. Jesus calls us to these practices as He commands us to be the salt and the light to care for the needy and to love our enemies, which are all great passages in the Sermon on the Mount. We were not meant to come into an intimate walk with Jesus just to keep it to ourselves. Instead, we must be the kingdom of God At work in the world we are shaped by Jesus, or when we are shaped by Jesus, we will begin to do what Jesus did and it will come from the overflow of our hearts and our commitment to Jesus as we live out who Jesus has called us to be. By inhabiting these beatitudes, we will become pure in heart, which is the last beatitude that we're talking about today.

 

This is bless or the pure in heart for they will see God. As Jesus refines who we are, we become pure in heart. As Jesus shapes us, we're emptied of our fleshly desires and actions, and very slowly these traits are replaced with the beatitudes. As I studied the beatitudes this week, I began to realize that these attitudes are really the fruit of a slow and intentional journey with Jesus. We have the privilege of embodying who Jesus was. When we commit to following him and we surrender who we are to him, the sacrifice of our time and our old ways of living will pale in comparison to the freedom, the love, the joy, and the peace that we experience with Jesus. By doing the hard work of grieving our sin, giving up control and seeking after God, we will be able to see and experience all that God has to offer us.

 

Exhibiting all the other beatitudes will come more freely when we release who we are to the Holy Spirit. Mercy and peace will become our disposition. Because we've experienced the mercy and the love of Jesus for ourselves, we will desire nothing more than to extend mercy and peace to our neighbors because we know the comfort of Jesus personally. We will get excited when we face trials and challenges because someone else will have experienced the opportunity to know God in the message version of scripture, bless or the pure in heart, for they will see God was translated to your blessed. When you get your inside world, your mind and heart put right, then you can see God in the outside world. My prayer for us is that by seeking to be shaped by Jesus, we will begin to see the world with God. Glasses on. We will be more loving, more compassionate, more merciful, more forgiving, and more like Christ, so that the kingdom of God, so that the world can see the kingdom of God too.

 

English writer, Elizabeth Rendell. Charles described Marcario, which is the Greek word for blessed as a heart that is in harmony with itself at rest content, satisfied full of all the music of which human hearts are capable. From the soft murmurs of content to the thunder of ecstatic rapture. All that is involved in all the words expressive of human bliss, reaching up to divine creative joy. We were designed to experience this kind of life with Jesus, and by being present with Jesus and allowing him to shape us and to mold who we are, we step into the imitation of a lifetime. As we transition into a time of prayer, may this time be a time of reflection and awareness about where you're at on your spiritual journey and how you can be more refined by Jesus to love as Jesus loved and to do as Jesus did. Let's pray.


Jesus, I just thank you for this time together, the time to be in reflection. God, I pray that you would illuminate the areas of our lives that we can work on, the areas that need to be shaped and molded by you. God, I pray that you would help us to be reminded of the importance of spending time with you, the importance of leaning into your Holy Spirit, the importance of conviction. God and me, we go to work for you and the world that's around us. Jesus, we love you and its near name we pray. Amen.

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