A Summary Comment
Many years ago I had the honour of interviewing John R. W. Stott for a television show. I brought my copy of his classic, “The Message of The Sermon on the Mount” to the studio. He graciously singed it. As we waited for the crew to make the final lighting adjustments, we talked about the “sermon”. I’ll never forget his summary of the beatitudes. I can’t quote him directly, but this is what I remember of what he said:
The first four beatitudes are about our attitude towards God: We are poor in spirit, our bankrupt souls are dependent on him; we mourn the corruption of our fallen nature, but in meekness offer moldable hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit; and in all of this we find ourselves constantly hungry and thirsty for Jesus.
The last four beatitudes are about our attitude towards our neighbour: we refuse to judge; we have no secret agenda which will exalt ourselves and diminish the other guy; we will make peace, not war; and we’ll suffer hardship to tell our world that the Kingdom of Heaven awaits.
Stott made it clear that these were “preaching points”. Which they are. But they’re worth remembering.