Archives For Beatitudes

Welcome back to the new series, Livin’ the ‘Tudes here on ZachMalott.com! I am excited about this series that will also be developed into a book and Bible study. I hope that you will discover great meaning that you have never before seen in Jesus’ first recorded sermon in the New Testament. If you are just now discovering this series, here is a link to PART 1 that I hope you will take the time to read. The beatitudes are sequential. We will spend some time in each beatitude and relish the many facets of this finely-cut diamond that was cut by the trusting and faithful hand of Jesus Christ Himself and found in God’s word beginning at Matthew 5:3-10.

“Do you have a clear picture of the beatitudes and what they represent?  You CAN!”

We left off last week with the question of, “Why?” Why does mankind, in varying degrees, seem to gravitate towards the things that the Holy Bible, the word of God, calls sin? From a true, Christian worldview, the answer is simple. Mankind is fallen, meaning he has fell from grace, he turned away from his creator to follow his own ways. The Christian knows that this first occurred in the Garden of Eden when Eve, then Adam, first sinned (putting themselves first above God) and brought all mankind into the position of an enemy against God Himself. There it is. This is the answer of why: disobedience and lost fellowship with God.

Enter Jesus.

We can look at Jeremiah 31:31-34 and see where the new covenant was prophesied. We can then look at Hebrews 8. Click on the link and read it. Let God’s own words tell you about the new covenant that replaces the old. Let God’s word allow you understand who Jesus is. Then let us proceed to discover the path called The Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). If you are not a Christian, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, and you want to know Him and live for eternity with Him, CLICK HERE.

If you are a Christian and have a personal relationship with Jesus, you know that you have eternal life. Is your life being lived in obedience to God? Are you putting God first in your life? Do you know you CAN live out the Christian life that Jesus first described in the beatitudes? You CAN walk the walk that He modeled for us as he walked about during the 3 ½ years of His earthly ministry!  Do you have a clear picture of the beatitudes and what they represent?  You CAN!

Be here next week and find out!

Next week, we will delve into the first of the beatitudes. We will examine it and delve into the true meaning and context of the original language to see what the words really mean. We will pray together before we begin for Holy Spirit guidance and we will pray again after we end our study. In fellowship and love we will begin a journey that was granted us in Scripture in the first century by Jesus Christ, the living Son of Almighty God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“Father God, please bless this study of your word and let the Holy Spirit reveal the truths of your word and plant the seeds that lead to a righteous walk of an obedient and faithful servant of Christ Jesus.  It is in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.”

Will you join me?

Blessings,

Zach

Hello!

Welcome to Livin’ the ‘Tudes, a new blog series here at ZachMalott.com that will paint a moral picture of what it is and what it means to follow in The Way of Jesus Christ. We all have lives. We all exist in a particular location here on this earth. Some of us have no money worries. We were either born into a wealthy family and had the proverbial, silver spoon treatment since birth or maybe we made it on our own by doing things our way – with a little cheating, lying, taking advantage, etc to seal the deals. Some of us, however, have struggled for every little taste of self-worth, kind word, and piece of food that has kept us alive just to face another day of hardship. These two descriptions fit the elite and the so-called poverty-stricken of modern day society.

There is yet another part of society that fills the vast void between those who have and the have-nots. This part of society has existed because of an economy that was manufactured by that elite, rich group that — since the industrial revolution — has produced the largest segment of our society for many, many years: the so-called middle class. This middle class has replaced the surfs and slaves and this class works for others, the elite rich (those who control the world’s businesses and industries). Why are we discussing the class system in a post that is to reveal how mankind can follow Jesus in a world gone mad? Give me just a few minutes of your time and the meaning will become quite clear.

This brief and incomplete discussion of the history from societies around the globe, both past and present, point to a common denominator – the greedy, selfish governance of man. Mankind is part of a fallen creation that has existed since Eden with one, driving and domineering purpose: the benefit of self. This self, this burden that we place upon ourselves or others place upon us, is the illusion and not the reality.

For those of you who were born about 30 years ago, do you remember when the commodore 64 appeared for home use? I do. You were just being born around that time. The personal computer, Windows, Bill Gates, the internet, AOL, MSN, Google, Yahoo, the brick cellphone, the flip phone, flat screens, laptops, the iPhone, the iPad, the Android, etc. just to name some of the marvelous inventions we have today came along after that!  Where is this train of thought going?

“Mankind is drawn to the selfishness and greed-filled lifestyle like a moth to an open flame.”

Think about this. Anyone 25 years old or less doesn’t remember a time when the personal computer wasn’t around. I remember when Oswald shot President Kennedy on the streets of Dallas. Not one of the things listed above was in existence. Not one. The very things that our society not only enjoys but society as we now know it – depends on these things totally. Have you ever been a customer when the power goes out and you are trying to pay out at the register? I have. Mind-boggling. People can’t make change anymore!

I digress.

The point of the above discussion on change is to focus your attention from the present and to review the past 30 years to paint a portrait of change. There are many things that have changed. Since when, you may ask? How about since Christ was born into the human race? How about the middle ages, or perhaps, the renaissance? Actually, we don’t have to go quite that far back in world history to focus on real change. Let’s just go to the early 1900’s. There we see a time before the great depression, WWI was in the near future but has not happened yet, WWII wouldn’t be happening for another 30 plus years. When the Second World War did come about in the mid-40’s, we can look back over that period and see many changes in American life that have occurred. The one thing that really stands out to me is how slow change occurred back then compared to now: even over the past 30 years.

With this change now circulating through your thought processes, the purpose for the above discussion is at hand.   Let’s take an overview of human nature from the period of time just covered. I should think a brief look back at history would fill in that blank. All societies, for the most part, have self at the forefront. Selfishness, greed, hatred, cruelty, atrocities, and vulgarities, debaucheries, and every wrong act can be seen as the base of every past society as well as those in our present society today.  Mankind is drawn to the selfishness and greed-filled lifestyle like a moth to an open flame. Why is this? Because mankind, on his/her own (apart from God), are selfish beyond the wildest imagination of the thinking individual. The question is – why?

Next week, we will investigate the question of why. Why does mankind, in varying degrees, seem to gravitate towards the things that the Holy Bible, the word of God, calls sin?

See you next week to further investigate secular (outside of the will of God) lifestyles and how they fit upon that path called The Way by 1st century Christians. There is a way back to The Way. If it is followed, it guarantees to the follower a map that will lead to the closest relationship with Christ Jesus possible. Do you want that kind of relationship with Jesus? Will you join me through this series that points to that path?

Please comment on this series, your input is welcome and desired.

DISCLAIMER: The brevity and over-simplification of history above is necessary in order to summarize. I am not attempting to write a history book.

Blessings,

Zach

Hello and welcome back!

It’s so good to see you again!  I’m sorry to be late with this post but I am also late with my next post on my book blog, 21st Century Confusion also.  I could blame this past week’s ministry work and sermon prep for my tardiness but that would be only half the truth.

The other half of the story is that I have struggled with my strong desire to write and my even stronger desire to visit and to play with my new granddaughter over posting on my blog sites.

My granddaughter won out!

Those of you fortunate enough to have a new granddaughter, I am sure you will automatically forgive me.  For those of you who are not at the age where you have one, please go check out her photos and videos on my Facebook page. There is a real cute video of Belle riding a wild deer!

That’s right, a real, live, wild deer at 5 months old!

There is another video of her lying on her stomach and sitting up on her own!

Just type in Pastor Zach Malott to find me or go to the top, right-hand corner of this page and click on the Facebook icon which will take you to my page.  I think then you will see why I caved and forgive me then!

Ok, enough of my excuses and bragging rights!  Let’s proceed!

If you have not read the background information, please rest part one and part two of this Bible study series of posts first.  You can find them in the right-hand side bar.

So, who is ready to die?  Die to human selfishness, that is!  Who’s ready to live a new life in Christ!

The last two posts have given some background material for the study of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.  I am going to give you just a little more background before we jump into the first beatitude in order to provide you with the rest of the foundational platform—allow us to be on the same page as we begin our study together.

We have discovered that the beatitudes reveal the character of Jesus as a model for us to follow in our walk with Him.  We also discussed that the beatitudes do not just describe our actions but provide us with a picture of who we are in Christ!  Visualize it this way:

  1.  Who we ARE in Christ is the noun or SUBJECT!
  2.  What we DO is the VERB — stating our ACTIONS and revealing how we should ACT in Christ Jesus!

In other words, to follow Jesus — we must act like Jesus in our daily lives.  This is the snapshot given to us in the beatitudes.  While the world follows the truths of their own making (self-righteousness), the Christian puts on the real truth of God (God-righteousness) in the person of Jesus.

“We put on Christ like a new coat and throw the old, filthy coat away.  In other words, we rely on Jesus, and not ourselves in all things!”

Peter reveals the truth of the above statement in 1 Peter 2:11-12 by writing,

Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.  Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation” (HCSB).

What is Peter telling us above?

Well, what is it that the world is concerned about?

  • Money.
  • Power.
  • Sinful pleasures.

Jesus tells us to,

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matt. 6:33).

Look what Peter calls the Christian in 1 Peter 2:9-10:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (HCSB).

Jesus also said in Matthew 16:24:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me’” (HCSB).

With that being said, turn in your Bible to Matthew 5:3 with me.

The first beatitude is, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

The first thing we need to do is to do a quick word study.  The Greek word for poor literally means beggarly.  To be beggarly in spirit would mean empty of self.  Eureka!

Blessed in the Greek means happy.  It means happy in the sense of total contentment.  This is total contentment in God and not self.  Man was not made to be content in self.  He was created by God and for God to be in relationship with Him.

Man cannot be totally happy or completely content outside of God.  He will continue to fill himself with anything and everything to try to fill that need for God.  Being fallen in nature, man cannot be in relationship with God without turning to and believing in Christ and His righteousness, not man’s own righteousness which Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 64:6:

“All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind” (HCSB).

This tells us that we can’t live in relationship with God without becoming poor (empty, beggarly) in our selves so that we can be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and His righteousness.  We must be empty of self, we must deny self, and we must be filled with God.

We must be saved by our belief in Jesus, repent of our sins, ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, be baptized, and be filled with His Holy Spirit.  This is what allows us to be able to enter God’s Kingdom.

What is God’s Kingdom?  God’s kingdom = God’s people!

A king needs a kingdom!  The kingdom of God is the church!  The church is the people of God!  Without a people there is no kingdom.  You, Christian, are the kingdom of God and He is who fills your emptiness.  He fills your willing, beggarly emptiness with Himself.  He grants you His righteousness to replace your filthy rags of self-righteousness.

If you become beggarly in spirit, God can use you.  He can use you just as He used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many, many more.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:17:

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (HCSB).

This simply means that we must be empty of our self-righteous attitudes and filled with the Holy Spirit which is God’s attitudes.  We put on Christ like a new coat and throw the old, filthy coat away.  In other words, we rely on Jesus, and not ourselves in all things!

Let’s take another look at the first beatitude.  “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

TAKEAWAY

Let’s rewrite it in simple terms:  Those who empty themselves of their old, smelly, rotten sinful self-righteousness and becomes beggarly and totally empty of their own spirit and put on the righteousness of God Himself who wants to fill them with His Spirit so we can be back in relationship with Him are truly happy indeed with true, complete contentment because they have put on Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and have become His body, the church (the Kingdom of God).

When we are totally empty of all self-righteousness and self-confidence and then become filled with God’s righteousness and power — that is when we are weak in self and strong in Christ Jesus.  As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:10:

“So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (HCSB).

In the next post, we will look at the next beatitude, “Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, HCSB).

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  Are you willing to become an empty beggar in your own spirit, empty yourself of self-righteousness in all areas of your life, and become strong in and for Jesus by living as a true child of God?

Hello and welcome back!

This post will provide some background information before we start our first beatitude study, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3, HCSB).  If you have not read the earlier post: Part One

Reflections on Life

Wow!  The weather in New Mexico is crazy!  Yesterday, it was beautiful (sunny and warm) and today it is beautiful (cloudy and cold).  What I mean to say here is that I love all kinds of weather because I relish variety!  Looking out my study window, I am enjoying seeing the occasional flurries of snowflakes falling.

Birds are sitting on the branches of the tree and the wind is gently blowing through the newly blossoming buds of green.  Winter and spring meet in contest but it is spring that is gaining momentum and winter will soon fade into the past.

Come to think about it, what I just described above is like our lives, isn’t it?  We have seasons.  We are born and grow up in the spring of our lives.  Everything seems to go on forever, one day leading into another in an endless procession of springtime breezes.

Then summer is upon us.  We mature, get married, raise a family and the days just seem to become a blur as fall approaches while we aren’t looking.  When the first leaves of our lives begin to change from green to various tones of browns and yellow, we notice that our children are raising families of their own.  As we are raking the leaves of our lives, our children’s leaves are just beginning to bud.

I am now at the end of my personal, fall season.  The winter of my life is fast approaching.  I have raked the leaves, put away my rake and leaf blower, and I sit here looking out at the tree that is blossoming with new life — even during winter’s last efforts to hold on.  As I look at the birds sitting in its branches, I reflect upon the winter season of my life that is fast approaching and I rejoice!

  • I rejoice because I am still running the race!
  • I rejoice because I know where it is that I am going!
  • I rejoice because this season is in God’s timing and His timing is perfect!
  • I rejoice because I am His and He is mine!

What season of life are you now in?

What season is coming?

Where are you at in this season of your life as you walk with Jesus?

It all depends upon your understanding of the Christian character and how you are developing it!  Let’s take a look at some background information needed before we begin our study of the Christian character model that Jesus provided us in the Sermon on the Mount.

The Christian Character

Did you know that Jesus has provided us the perfect Christian character development course that has ever been written?  He has!  The entire world seeks after happiness!  Unfortunately, the method in which they seek happiness has a way of turning into unhappiness.  Why is that?  Why is it that happiness, the goal of every person, seems to occur fleetingly — only to dissolve into misery and dejection?

“The beatitudes describe the character traits that separate us from the character traits of the world.”

Could it be that the world is looking for happiness on the sinful road that leads to misery and rejection?  Yes, Christians, we need to be following Christ in order to obtain true happiness.  So many Christians are missing the meaning Jesus provided in the Sermon on the Mount.

There are so many of us are caught up in the religion of our walk that we sometimes forget that Jesus is looking at our hearts.  It’s not about what we—DO—it’s all about who we ARE!  It is not so much our DOING but our BEING!  Jesus died because we cannot DO the law!

He died so that we can BECOME like Him!  The Sermon on the Mount is not about our OUTSIDE but all about our INSIDE!  It had nothing to do with empty, external religious traditions but all about who we are in Jesus!

What is the Christian character that Jesus provides the blueprint for in the Sermon on the Mount?  What is it that will bring us that elusive happiness that we all so crave?  Jesus looks at our character before he looks at how we act.  It is our character that determines our actions.

What to Expect

In the beatitudes, Jesus shows us how Christians are to become like Him.  The beatitudes describe the character traits that separate us from the character traits of the world.  These character traits in the beatitudes are portraits of Christ and not a portrait of the world.  The beatitudes describe the divine difference between those IN Christ and those who are not.

[IMPORTANT]: Please remember and tuck this away in your heart:  The Bible tells us to be LIKE Jesus and not the world.  The beatitudes provide the vehicle in which to do so.  Please join with me next post for the first study of the beatitude, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3, HCSB).

 

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  WHAT DOES “POOR IN SPIRIT” MEAN?

Hello and welcome back!

I’m so happy to see you here once again.  I’m beginning a series on the beatitudes for those interested.

 It’s amazing just how fast time passes, isn’t it?  It just seems like yesterday that I posted my Easter piece on the 1st of April and here it is — already the 6th!  Life is so very, very short, isn’t it?  It is so short that we need to consider the importance of our Christian walk.  Each and every day that passes brings us closer to that day when we shall leave this earth behind and look Jesus in the eyes.

What shall we say then?

This post series is about the Sermon on the Mount that begins in Matthew 5. You can look upon this sermon of Jesus as a key that unlocks the Bible while providing you with the secrets of the Christian walk.   We will take each of the beatitudes and delve into the spiritual meaning of each one to discover the essence of what it is to walk behind Jesus from the cross to the grave.

Jesus presented the beatitudes in order to present you with a blueprint or treasure map to guide your steps in following Him.  When you glean the meaning of the beatitudes, you will understand how each one builds upon the other — leading you closer to Christ as you follow in his footsteps.  The beatitudes paint an accurate objective truth about holiness.

When looking spiritually at the beatitudes, we can compare the teachings of the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day with His teachings of the Law of God the way He wants us to follow them.  In other words — unlike Jesus — the Pharisees were claiming the law must be perfected in us before we are worthy of God. Jesus taught that if we follow Him we are already children of God.   Then we follow the law in love, not to obtain salvation from the law.  Salvation comes because of how Jesus lived the law.

We obey the law of God out of love for Jesus who died for us because we could not be perfect in God’s law. Only Jesus could and did keep the whole law.

“The sum of all of this is you are to mature as you grow — a process, not an event.”

The Sermon on the Mount presents and stresses the elements of this truth.  If you understand and live out the Sermon on the Mount, you will understand the kingdom of God, you will walk a new life that attracts others to Christ, and you will grow in Christ and be able to carry out God’s plan for your life.

Knowing the full meaning of the beatitudes will provide the foundation to the Christian walk.  This full, Christian walk will allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in and from you for the kingdom work.  Not only will we talk about Christ to others, but present His walk to them.  Which of the two do you think will best allow them to see Christ?

As we look the Sermon on the Mount, keep in mind that the beatitudes build upon the others.  Once the entire picture is understood we will then understand what it is Christ is telling us.  Each part or beatitude is just part of the whole.

Please understand that a person must be a follower of Jesus to understand the truth of the beatitudes and how to live them.  No one can ever live the beatitudes without the Holy Spirit living inside of him/her.  If we truly belong to Jesus Christ, we will not only understand God’s requirement for us to live holy but we will understand the power within us that can help us to live it daily.

 We read what the Christian’s hope is concerning temptations:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.  God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.”

We will discover in this study that you as a Christian have to keep God’s law.  Now, this does not mean that you are under the law but that you must keep the law.  The Sermon on the Mount was given to you by Jesus for the express purpose for knowing how to follow Him and what will give you the power to do so.

 It does not mean that we never sin.  It means that you must repent all sin, not live in it.  It means that we follow Jesus by learning the Sermon on the Mount and living by it.  The sum of all of this — you are to mature as you grow — a process, not an event.

I hope that this overview of the new post series on the Sermon on the Mount has excited you.  I pray that you will comment on the question always provided at the end of a post.  This will help to initiate dialog on each post which will help us all to grow in Christ!

Next post we will discover the full meaning of the first beatitude at Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN WE SAY, “I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS — NO TURNING BACK, NO TURNING BACK.”