Text: Matthew 5:1–12
Theme: Blessed are they
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson from Matthew 5 serves as our sermon text for this
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 679:1-3 Oh, How Blest Are They
Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended,
Who through death have unto God ascended!
They have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.
We are still as in a dungeon living,
Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving;
Are but toils and troubles and heartbreakings.
They meanwhile are in their chambers sleeping,
Quiet and set free from all their weeping;
No cross or sadness
There can hinder their untroubled gladness.
A. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
1. If you have been in church any length of time in your life and you have
read through the Bible so many times you have lost count, there are certain
passages in Scripture that are more familiar than others. The Gospel lesson
for today is one of those texts. And it bears to be read again.
Matthew 5:1–12 (NASB95)
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat
down, His disciples came to Him.
2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely
say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the
same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This is the Word of the Lord…Thanks be to God.
B. Jesus said at the beginning of His earthly ministry:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
1. These words then serve as the doorway to the Lord’s earthly ministry and
the prologue to the Good News of salvation He brings to us.
2. It also serves as the doorway or prologue to the Sermon on the Mount, of
which we have heard the very beginning in our sermon text for this morning.
3. In turn, these verses are preparation for the rest of the sermon, which
shines the light of the great “Repent!”
C. Not only did “repent” open Jesus’ ministry; it opened the Reformation
1. Last Sunday we celebrated Reformation Day, so appropriately our Gospel
today leads us to the core message of the Reformation struggle and
2. Blessed Are They Who Repent and Rest Only in:
A. Sola Scriptura!
B. Sola Gratia!
C. and Sola Fide!
D. through Sola Christus!
E. Sola Deo Gloria!
I. Blessed are those who hear and know the Law.
A. The Sermon on the Mount does contain the Law:
1. “You shall not murder!”
2. “You shall not commit adultery!”
3. “Love your neighbor as yourself!”
4. Jesus says later in Matthew 5:
Matthew 5:17–20 (NASB95)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not
come to abolish but to fulfill.
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the
smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is
19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches
others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but
whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the
scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
5. However, we will see later that the purpose of this Law is not to
achieve personal or social perfection.
6. Yes, we are called to be better than the Pharisees and the teachers of
the law, not merely to follow the Law, which we are not capable of doing
anyway since we are prisoners of sin—as Paul reminds us in his letter to
the church in Rome, especially in chapter 7.
7. But we are called to fulfill the Law perfectly:
Matthew 5:48 (NASB95)
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
B. “Well, it’s pretty easy not to kill—but not to call somebody ‘you fool’
or not to be angry with someone?”
1. Have you managed that?
2. Not me!
C. It is less easy not to commit adultery, right?
1. But not even to look or think such thoughts?
2. Have you managed that?
3. Not me!
D. It is pretty easy to love those who are lovable or close to you;
1. it is less easy to love those who are sick or messy.
E. But to love those who hate you, to wish them well and to pray for them?
1. Have you managed that?
2. Not me!
F. The Law in the Sermon on the Mount is not to be abolished, certainly,
but neither is it a road map for personal or social perfection.
1. Christ asks his disciples to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is
perfect,” and the Lord himself knows best that his disciples will not be
able to be perfect, that they will fail.
2. Rather, the Law and its perfection in Christ’s teaching is a mirror in
which man sees:
A. his unworthiness,
C. and impotency.
3. Thus, the Law and its perfection in Christ’s calling exposes man’s need:
A. for God to break in,
B. for God to intervene,
C. for God to fulfill the Law perfectly.
4. The Law of the Sermon on the Mount is fulfilled in the perfect love of
which only Christ is capable and which reaches its fulfilling climax in
Christ’s saving cross.
5. That is the core discovery and message of the saving Gospel heralded to
the world by the Reformation:
A. Solus Christus!
II. Blessed are those who abide in Christ and his Gospel.
A. The good news of God breaking in with his salvation in Christ is
announced at the very beginning of Christ’s public teaching:
1. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [has come near]” (Matthew 4:17).
A. This prepares Christ’s listeners (including us) for what is going to
1. the Good News of Immanuel, God with us.
2. God is with us in Christ’s Word, that is,
a. in teaching and preaching,
b. in his acts of mercy, which show us who He is and demonstrate to us His
power to save.
c. in his calling and sending of his Church.
d. in bringing the visible means of His presence and salvation to our
worldly reality, namely, Holy Baptism and His holy Supper.
B. “Blessed (Gk: makarios) means “to be fortunate, well off, or to be
C. What then does it mean for the “blessed are the poor in spirit” (verse
1. That does not mean the “stupid ones,” as in to make fun of or ridicule
2. Rather, the “poor in spirit” are those who are aware of their human
condition, their condition in the light of Christ’s demand for perfect love—
A. that is, love as “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
3. The poor in spirit are aware of their condition of having in themselves
no spiritual or other capacity:
A. to improve,
B. to change essentially,
C. or to even save themselves.
D. These deprived ones, these who know they cannot achieve for themselves
the perfection they do not possess, these are the ones who will inherit the
kingdom of heaven.
D. “Blessed are those who mourn” (verse 4).
1. Mourn because of what?
A. In the light of the previous verse, they do not mourn because of any
social misfortune; rather, they mourn because of their own condition.
B. They mourn because they do not have the possibility or capacity to
improve or save themselves.
C. And these, who are aware of their pitiful condition and are devastated
by it, these will be comforted, for they are prepared for the news of
salvation, unlike those who boast of themselves.
E. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (verse 5).
1. No, this is not a Marxist idea concerning the violent revolution of the
working class, nor any other social utopia or happy ending in history.
2. Rather, again in the light of the previous verses, the word meek or
lowly refers to the lowly condition of man.
3. Lowly are those who are aware they:
A. “are dust, and to dust [they] shall return” (Genesis 3:19)
4. or who know that each of us is
A. “a worm” (Psalm 22:6).
B. These humble ones are saved or blessed and may be hopeful to receive the
whole earth when the Savior comes in victory to judge the living and the
F. These poor in spirit who know they cannot help themselves, these who are
mourning because of that, and these lowly who know their condition as
merely dust and worms do, indeed, “hunger and thirst for righteousness”
1. That is, these are they who long for God’s intervention in this world of
injustice and evil.
2. They cannot expect such righteousness by society advancing, since these
poor in spirit are mourning over man’s incapability and corruption and are
aware of man’s lowliness.
3. No! This righteousness must come with a break-in from the perfect and
the only just one, that is, God.
4. Only He Himself can fulfill the Law perfectly, and the hunger and
longing of God’s people will be fulfilled by Christ’s presence in their
(and our) world.
5. Only the hope of Jesus’ cross can satisfy their hunger for
righteousness, and they (and we) will be filled again, finally, when the
Savior returns, this time in glory.
6. Solus Christus!
G. “Blessed are the merciful” (verse 7).
1. Who are these?
A. They cannot be those who pursue self-improvement or some kind of social
progress toward a more decent life and society.
B. The previous verses show us that this cannot be the proper
interpretation, since we’ve seen that man does not have the potential to
improve in his real essence—nor the power to rescue himself.
C. Have we seen by now?
D. The Lord isn’t describing the human condition but instead the likeness
of the one who makes us his disciples.
2. The merciful one is first Jesus:
A. and then his disciples, since they are in Christ, who is the perfect
B. These, Christ’s disciples, will indeed be shown mercy at the throne when
Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead.
C. Sola gratia!
H. “Blessed are the pure in heart” (verse 8).
1. The pure in heart, in contrast to what we’re tempted to imagine, are not
the ones who are more “holy” or “set their hearts on good things” or “want
to do pure and good things.”
2. There is none among us who is pure in heart in this respect, as the
apostle Paul saw so clearly looking into his own heart in Romans 7.
3. He saw the battles he often lost.
4. Rather, the pure in heart are those whose hearts are not committed to
other loyalties but, instead, whose hearts search for the only true God,
who alone is the I Am.
5. Only these will, indeed, see God.
6. Solus Christus!
I. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (verse 9).
1. Once more, the reference here is not about any hippie activists who
think they will save the world if only there is no war.
2. The word peace here does not mean merely an absence of the negative,
war; rather, it is:
A. something positive,
B. something comforting,
C. something for which man’s heart is desperately searching,
D. something that is connected to man’s final rescue or salvation.
3. It is what is known in Hebrew as shalom.
A. It is something positive that we do not have in this world but that we
B. Jesus said:
John 14:27 (NASB95)
27 “Peace (Heb: shalom /Gk:eirene) I leave with you; My peace I give to
you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be
troubled, nor let it be fearful.
C. Clearly, this peace is something out of this world.
1. So, the peacemakers are the ones who receive such shalom, such eirene
from the Lord and carry it on.
2. Such will be called the children of God—and rightly so, since these are
the followers of God in flesh among us.
3. Sola gratia!
A. Here are some more thoughts on the word “blessed” (Gk: makarios)
1. possessing the characteristic of deity.
2. It indicates the state of the believer in Christ (Matthew 5:3-11)
3. Jesus declares “Blessed on account of Me, Luke. 6:20-22, “Blessed for
the sake of the Son of Man”.
4. The Christian is indwelt by God because of Christ and as a result is
5. Makarios differs from happy because happy is the person who has good
luck (for example, favorable circumstances).
6. A blessed person is one whom God makes fully satisfied, not because of
favorable circumstances, but because He indwells the believer through
7. To be makarios, blessed, is equivalent to having God’s kingdom within
one’s heart (Matthew 5:2,11; Luke17:21).
8. Makarios is the one who is in the world yet independent of the world;
his satisfaction comes from God and or not from favorable circumstances.
B. It is then these poor in spirit, lowly, mourning, and hungry for
righteousness, and these merciful and pure in heart peacemakers who will
take up the cross of their Savior.
1. They, too, will be ridiculed, rejected, and persecuted for their faith.
2. Persecution is a sign of the disciples of our Savior, just as it was the
case for the prophets and for the Lord himself.
3. Our own kinds of persecution are the sweet and intimate bonds that we
share with our Lord.
4. Therefore, we can be free, rejoice, and be glad in this persecution.
5. Our Lord assures us that we will receive the kingdom of heaven, for
we’ve been given faith in Christ.
6. That is, faith in our broken and bleeding Savior, who even on the cross
is the Lord of lords and King of Kings, who will one day judge the living
and the dead, and whose face we will see.
7. Sola Scriptura!
8. Sola Gratia!
9. Sola Fide!
10. Through Sola Christus,
11. Sola Deo Gloria! Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 679:4-5 Oh, How Blest Are They
Christ has wiped away their tears forever;
They have that for which we still endeavor.
By them are chanted
Songs that ne’er to mortal ears were granted.
Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us;
Lead us forth and cast this world behind us.
With You, the Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.
Text: Public domain
D. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.