"Blessed saints", Sermon / Matthew 5:1-12/ Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday November 3rd 2019 / Season Of Pentecost, All Saints Day Observed / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Theme: “Blessed Saints”
Intr – Saints: Who are they?
_Saints in Heaven – Christians that departed in faith in Christ to be with the Lord. They are with Christ (Phil 1:21), praising the Lord (rev 7) and even shouting to Him “until when” (revelation 6:9)
_Saints on Earth – You. Did you know you are a saint? As long as you are in faith in Christ, you belong to the “Communion of Saints” (The Apostle’s Creed). This is what Paul tells us in Romans chapter 1 – we were called “to be saints”.
1 - How do you become a saint?
_By practicing what Jesus lays out in the Gospel today?
_By attaining the goal of not committing sins anymore?
This is only possible because the Holy One – Jesus – has clothed us with His blanket of righteousness.
2 – LIFE – the Beatitudes
All saints day seems to be a day to talk about death. It is for sure, but the main theme today’s LIFE. Life everlasting.
Both related to the saints in Heaven and the saints on earth.
_In Heaven (what we believe about life after life.)
_The saints on earth – the beatitudes.
3 – The Beatitudes
_While we are still waiting for our permanent home in Heaven, we walk in this World as sinners who are saints saved by Grace. To this life here, Jesus brings us the Beatitudes. Jesus lays out the beautiful sermon in Matt 5, talking about faith in action.
_Saints redeemed by Christ are still sinners. But they are invited to live with Him and for Him. In Matthew 5 Jesus shows some aspects of this life as saints in Christ here on earth. Also, how preachers should open their mouths and preach. 
Jesus lays out the beautiful sermon in Matt 5 talking about faith in action. The tone of the Beatitudes is set right of the bat by Jesus: “his is a delightful, sweet and genial beginning of his sermon. For he does not come, like Moses or a teacher of law, with alarming and threatening demands; but in the most friendly manner, with enticements and allurements and pleasant promises. And indeed, if it had not been thus recorded, and if the first uttered precious words of the Lord Christ had not been given to us all, an over-curious spirit would tempt and impel everybody to run after them even to Jerusalem, yes, to the end of the world, if one might hear but a word of it all.” But note well: “But he shows with these words that no one understands this unless he is already a true Christian.”(Luther)
Why Jesus calls us “blessed” for doing those things? Because they are fruits of a living faith. When you live your faith active in love, you know that is a living faith, connected to Him. You know that you remain as a saint saved by Grace. You know that the connection with Him is there – the saving faith.
Some of the characteristics of the life under Grace as a saint in this world can be highlighted by some words in the text. Please pay attention and see how they go against the grain of the culture of then – and the culture of now.
_Meekness – The opposite of pride and a quarrelsome spirit. “Therefore choose one of the two, whichever you please: either to live with meekness and patience among the people and keep what you have with peace and a good conscience, or with racket and rumpus to lose your own, and besides have no peace. For this is settled, the meek shall inherit the earth.”
righteousness: Here Jesus is not talking about righteousness in general, but calls us blessed when we strive to promote justice where we are living. The opposite of trying to fight for your own rights, playing the victim, using subterfuges under the appearance of right to obtain advantages. Christians strive for righteousness, whether it is seen or not, whether it is rewarded in human terms or not, we will see at last that perhaps one single soul might be delivered from the jaw of the devil and brought into Heaven by our witness as Christians.
_Mercy – As opposite to the vengeful spirit of the religion of then – as opposed to the vengeful spirit of our time, where unfortunate words you said or posted long ago may be unearthed just with the purpose of throwing you down and assassinate your reputation. “This is now one side of mercifulness, that one takes pleasure in forgiving sinners and those at fault. The other is to be beneficent also towards those who are externally in need or require help, which we call works of mercy, from Matthew 25:35. This feature too the ostentatious Jewish saints knew nothing about.”
_Pure at heart: As opposed to the “|pure at the façade”, which is a good description of the pharisaic spirit and also of the spirit of our time. It doesn’t matter what goes on your heart, as long as your façade is clean enough, and as long as you belong to the right side of the aisle, you are good. Here Jesus shows that living your vocation, no matter where you are. “But that is a pure heart that is ever on the lookout for God’s word, and takes this in place of its own thoughts. For only that is pure before God, yes purity itself, through which everything that comes in contact with it and belongs to it is and is called pure” “Therefore, let us understand rightly what Christ means by a pure heart; and notice again, that this sermon was principally aimed at and sharply directed against the Jews”.
_Peacemakers: The name says it all. Saints on earth try to bring peace to people as much as they can, wherever they are. “Here the Lord honors with a high title and excellent praise those who find pleasure in diligently trying to make peace, not only so far as they are themselves concerned, but also among other people, that they may help to settle ugly and tangled disputes, endure contention, guard against and prevent war and bloodshed; which is indeed a great virtue, but very rare in the world and among the sham saints”
_Persecution - I would say this is the hardest one. We should consider ourselves blessed when we are persecuted. We don’t like it, we don’t like to suffer. But Jesus points to the fact that if you are persecuted for being faithful to His word, that shows that your still remain as a Saint – a sinner saved by Grace in the arms of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “But we have this assurance, that it is not our fault that things are not going right. For we would be heartily glad if everything went right, and have done our part by teaching, exhorting, beseeching, entreating and yielding, even towards our enemies, offering them peace, and everything that we ought to do; yet we accomplish nothing, except that they persecute, slander and abuse us most shamefully, and cannot cease until they may cool their rage in our blood”
Always remember though: Jesus starts with “Blessed are those – the emphasis is in Him, not in us. He makes us saints. He sanctifies us along our life. And He eventually saints us, when our hour comes. It starts and ends in and with Him.
Christ has killed death. We have life in Him; new and full life. Still, facing death in this life is not an easy thing. Especially, when by our human standards, someone was too young, or went too early, as we hear and say. When that time comes when we have to be separated for a while from our loved ones, while we await the blessed reunion on the last day, we may think of this:
Grandpa passed away at the age of 91 years old. For nine decades he brightened the lives of many people around him.
That lady had the end of her life in her late fifties. Throughout all those years she certainly brought smiles to loved ones’ faces and was able to impact lives with her being.
The young man died before the age of 20. It was a very hard and painful moment, however, it were almost 20 years of a life where he brought joy to his parents, his family, to many.
The couple, after hearing the baby's heart on the seventh week, received the news in the ninth that the pregnancy would not continue on.
How long does a life need to exist to bring joy to our lives? 70 years? 7 months? 7 weeks?
Jesus Christ used about 33 earthly years when He was with us to fulfill His mission and to become the most important person in our lives. He not only makes us smile and brightens our life, He brings happiness in its full sense and state. And it doesn't take Him more than a second to make this certainty take hold of our heart.
When we think about those hearts that leave us to depart to Heaven, He brings the news that really comforts us: human time is specific; God's time has no end. Whether it is seven days or eight decades that you have lived with someone, when you and that person are connected to Him through faith there is an eternity ahead of you - with way more than a smile.
We don't know how much time we have left with the lives that make us smile here. But we know that from we can enjoy every second as a present, and thank God for the time a life lasts. For if the time of a life of a loved one matters, more important than that is how God through it brings blessings to ours.
And even more important – and comforting - is the assurance that death is transitory. Life, in Christ, is blessed forever.
Cc – All saints day: a day to remember the dead. But above all it is a day in which to reflect upon and thank God for LIFE. The blessing and Grace of living as a saint saved by Grace here. The eternal blessing of living as perfect saints into life everlasting. He is with us here. We will be with Him there. For death is transitory; Life is forever.
“Here the evangelist with a formal stately preface declares how Christ disposed himself for the sermon he was about to deliver; that he went upon a mountain, and sat down, and opened his mouth; so that we see he was in earnest. These are the three things, it is commonly said, that mark a good preacher; first, that he take his place; secondly, that he open his mouth and say something; thirdly, that he know when to stop.” Martin Luther. Commentary on the Sermon of the Mount http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/37luther1.htm Visited Nov 1st,2019
 Martin Luther, web link cit. “Then there would be plenty of money forthcoming to build a good road, and every one would boastingly glory how he had heard or read the very words that the Lord Christ had spoken. O what a wonderfully happy man would he be held to be who should succeed in this! That is just the way it surely would be if we had none of our Savior’s words written, although much might have been written by others;”
 “Righteousness must here not be understood as being the Christian righteousness in general, whereby the person becomes pious and acceptable before God. For I have before said that these eight beatitudes are nothing else than a teaching about the fruits and good works of a Christian, which must be preceded by faith, as the tree and main body or sum of his righteousness and blessedness, without any work or merit, out of which these beatitudes must all grow and follow. Therefore understand here the outward righteousness before the world, which we observe among ourselves towards others, that this is the meaning, short and simple, of these words: he is a really blessed man who perseveringly and assiduously strives to promote the general welfare and the right conduct of every one, and who helps to maintain and carry this out with word and deed, with counsel and act.”
“For here you have a consolatory, certain promise, with which Christ allures and attracts his Christians, that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled; that is, that they shall be delightfully rewarded for their hunger and thirst by seeing that they have not labored in vain, and that at last some have been reached who have been benefited; and it will be manifest not only here upon earth, but still more hereafter, when every one will see what such people have accomplished by their diligence and perseverance, although things do not now go as they would like, and they have nearly lost heart; as when a pious preacher has snatched so many souls out of the jaws of the devil and brought them to heaven; or a pious faithful ruler has helped many lands and people, who bear this testimony of him and praise him before the whole world.”
 Martin Luther, web link cit.
 Martin Luther, web link cit. “But the Scripture speaks of this pure heart and mind, that it is quite consistent with it that one be a husband, love his wife and children, think about them and care for them, and busy himself about other matters that belong to such a relation. For all this God has ordained. But what God has ordained, that cannot be impure — yes, it is the very purity with which we see God. Thus, when a judge acts in his official capacity and condemns a criminal to death that is not his office and work, but God’s. Therefore it is a good, pure and holy work (if he be indeed a Christian) which he could not do if he had not already a pure heart. Also, that must be called a pure work and heart, although a man or maid-servant in the house performs a dirty, filthy task, as hauling manure, or washing and cleaning children.”
What then is a pure heart? or in what does it consist? Answer: It is easily told, and you need not climb to heaven nor run into a monastery after it and make it out with your own thoughts; but be guarded against all such thoughts as you call your own, as against so much mud and filth, and know, that a monk in the monastery, when he is sitting in his deepest contemplativeness, and thinking of his Lord God, as he paints and imagines him to himself, is sitting (if you will pardon me) in the dirt, not up to his knees, but over head and ears. For he is following his own notions, without any word of God, which is simply lying and delusion; as the Scriptures everywhere testify.(…). So with a common rough mechanic, a cobbler or a smith, who sits at home, though he be personally unclean and sooty, or smells badly on account of being blackened and soiled, and thinks: My God has made me a man and given me a house, wife and child, and ordered me to love them, and with my labor to nourish them, etc. Now observe, he is making a heart matter of it with God, and, although outwardly he stinks, inwardly he is perfectly fragrant before God. But if he gets to be highly pure, so that he also embraces the gospel and believes on Christ (without which indeed that purity cannot be), then he is pure through and through, inwardly at heart towards God, and outwardly towards everything that is under him upon earth, so that everything that he is and does, whether he goes, stands, eats and drinks, etc., is pure to him, and nothing can make him impure; so when he looks at his own wife or sports with her, as the patriarch Isaac, Genesis 26:8, which to a monk is disgusting and makes him impure. For there he has the word of God, and knows that God has given her to him.
 Martin Luther, Web link cit.
 Martin Luther, Web link cit.
 Martin Luther, web link cit.