The Beatitudes are intended to change EVERYTHING
When Jesus gave His sermon on the mount, those who heard it were "amazed." They were amazed because the content of that sermon was more radical than anything uttered before or since. The life that Jesus offered to those on that hillside was beyond what anyone could have conceived. Today this sermon is counted as the most important ever spoken, and yet today's finest minds, inside and outside the church, still don't appear to get the potential for change that Jesus laid out for them.
Like most who have spent their life, or most of it, in church, I have heard many sermons on the Beatitudes. Maybe more than most, I have also read numerous books that tackled the hope and opportunity that these simple sayings portended. Many of these teachings were quite beautiful and helpful in forming my Christian life. If you take your Christianity seriously, you probably think you have a pretty good idea of what Jesus was talking about that day. I certainly felt that way until late 2013.
The story begins almost a decade ago. I started a small group for the purpose of reading the Bible straight through in great detail. Members came and went over the years. On some evenings I had only two others sharing their thoughts about the verses we were covering. But we kept moving along and in the Fall of 2013 we finished the Old Testament and moved on to the New Testament.
During almost all of those nine years I had relied on Thru the Bible by J. Vernon McGee as my primary reference. I love Dr. McGee, and had previously read the entire 5 years of Bible exposition he shares on radio even today, many decades after his passing.
As we got into the Beatitudes, however, I was unsettled by his analysis. I felt that others had done it better, and that he was far too eager to make these passages about end times rather than now. I did agree with him on one thing; many Christians have taken the Beatitudes to be the "10 Commandments" of the New Testament, and have missed out entirely on the blessing of grace that Jesus came to proclaim.
In any case, I started doing an internet study on the Beatitudes. In the course of this study I found the most amazing sermons I have ever heard preached. The content was stimulating at every level, from visceral to intellectual, and from emotional to practical. But as a special additional blessing, the writing was just beautiful. I described it to friends as like listening to a picture. I was so amazed that I listened to all eight sermons four times. It may not surprise you to hear that these sermons were the work of Charles Spurgeon.
Of course, they didn't have recording equipment in the 1860's, so we don't have his voice. However, the sermons were transcribed at the time, and a reader has read these sermons very beautifully on YouTube videos available at http://bit.ly/Beatitudes1
In the meantime, please consider reading my just released book God Called - He Needs Your Decision! which is available on Amazon,
and as you read this, may also be available in all the other normal channels. You can read the introduction above or you can see some of the reviews here.
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The first chapter of The Beatitudes as You've Never Heard Them, begins here.