You know when I was thinking about what to preach this week, I got the news that Michael had passed, and my first thought was how sad and my second was what did he do to get promoted? I thought how he would finally get to meet Jesus and give thanks for His sacrifice in person. To worship God before us and be in the presence of all that is holy and righteous. To know the defining moment in our lives and to finally find out what we are going to be doing for eternity. Because I cannot simply believe that we will spend eternity as a mindless megaphone of worship. With no purpose to fill or role to play. God tells us that we still have work to do. God wants us to know Him for He already knows all about us. In all this I thought how lucky Michael was and how blessed to take his place among the children of God. Frankly, I was a little jealous and when Jan asked me what book I was going to preach out of I looked them over, selfishly searching for something to make me feel better about life, but Jeremiah was harsh and chapter 17 verse 5 says “Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. And 1 Corinthians was not much better as it speaks of the resurrection, but it was more of a warning chapter 15 verse 19 says “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” So, I went to the good doctor and Luke had what I needed. I realized that you cannot have a blessing without woes. We cannot have eternal life without death. We cannot be forgiven if we have never sinned and we cannot be children of God if we fail to acknowledge the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as One. And “He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.” The power came out of Jesus. The blessings flow from Jesus. All that we have and do in this life are from Jesus. Blessed are we and we don’t even know it. We read this account and hear that people and unclean spirits were healed just by being in proximity to Jesus. The power radiates from Him like a bonfire and we are filled with that power. Yes, we are filled with that power, with the Holy Spirit and what’s more Jesus told us to go forth and make disciples and that we would do even greater things in His name. Blessed are we. “Then He looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Please don’t confuse this with being actually poor it does not refer to your material wealth. It refers to your spiritual wealth and not how many dollars you make. many of the poor in spirit, those who don’t believe in God, who don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They don’t know the Word, they have no relationship with the Lord and no place in the Kingdom of God, they are the poor in spirit. Now hold on a second and I’ll unpack it for you because you’re probably going well just because someone’s unchurched or never professed Jesus, maybe never read the bible, (and a lot of Christians have never read the bible by the way) but I am talking about people who maybe they say well I’m not a Christian but I’m very spiritual, I believe in God and I don’t need the church. You know how I know this? Because I was one. So, since their very spiritual it necessarily means that they’re not poor of spirit right. They believe in God so their saved right? Wrong. John chapter 14 verse 6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But I say if you have the Kingdom of God offered to you, if you have the good news spoken to you and if you read the word of God for the people of God and your Lord and savior is Jesus Christ you can be none of those other things. For the Lord is always with you and as such you are full of the Holy Spirit and if you’re full of the Holy Spirit how can you be poor in spirit. You cannot. Blessed are we. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
Again, Jesus isn’t talking about La Tienda here.Luke chapter 4 verse 4 “And Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Blessed are we. How can you be hungry when you’re filled with the word of God? You cannot go hungry when you are in relationship with Jesus because you are always filled with the Holy Spirit you are always filled with the word, you will never hunger. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. How selfish of me of us to weep and to grieve for the passing of another into the kingdom of God. Because it is not there passing that fills us with grief, what fills us with grief is that we are left behind to face this world and to continue this fight until we are called home to solace and we should rejoice for those that the Lord calls home because one day we to will seek that reward and who would deny us our reward. Amen. We are blessed. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.” Our reward is great in heaven and we should be looking forward to that day when we can finally go home cast our crowns and hear these words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ [KJV21 Matthew 25:23] Blessed are we. But wait there’s even more, remember when I said every blessing has a curse. Every coin, every story has two sides and Jesus said “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Again, Jesus isn’t warning us about being rich there’s many good Christians out there that the Lord has blessed, and they are not ruled by their wealth but by the Lord. No rather it’s the same “wealth” that Jesus spoke about as a blessing it’s the other side of the coin. You cannot claim the richness of the Lord and yet still be destitute in the spirit. If you do, then you have received your consolation and your consolation is nothing, you will be destitute, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Blessed are we. And, “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. That prime rib isn’t going to take the place of the word of God. If you don’t have the word of God your soul will starve to death and you will never know what it’s like to be content, to be full. Blessed are we. And “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. This one is pretty simple all those who scoff at the Lord, at us, all those who persecute us the children of the Lord, are doomed. Like I said before, this life is not for everyone and not everyone will be saved. That’s a tough thing for a pastor to get through their heads.
But it’s also a valuable lesson that we all have to learn, not everyone can be saved or should be, which is why the Lord calls to us, not the other way around. The Lord doesn’t want everyone saved. If He did Pharaoh would have let the Israelites go, Judas would not have betrayed Jesus. For there to be winners there must also be losers, for every blessing a woe. Blessed are we. And, “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. Be careful, when you see everyone put somebody or something on a pedestal, they are guilty of idolatry. This is one of those that you really need to listen to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. [Matthew 7:15] Blessed are we. Because we are the children of God and we have the Kingdom of God and the People of God with us. Blessed are we and blessed is Michael as he enjoys his well-earned rewards and one day, we to will hear those words “well done good and faithful servant”. Amen.