July 8, 2007
INTRODUCTION – Review of the Big Picture of the Sermon on the Mount; summary of first two beatitudes or kingdom characteristics.
I. Understanding the term “meek” or “gentle” – Matthew 5:5 A. Various Translations K.J. = Meek NKJ = meek ESV = meek NIV = meek LB = meek and lowly NASV= gentle UNASV= gentle So why did the NASV depart from all the others? Possibly because “meek” doesn’t communicate well in our society today, and gentle or humble does and is fairly synonymous. How often do you hear of someone today spoken of as meek?
Amplified: “Blessed – happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions] – are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth.” J.B. Phillips – “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them!”
Folk who are meek, know they dod not deserve anything and have died with Christ to their rights to being noticed, appreciated, respected, etc.
B. Webster’s Dictionary: 1. enduring injury with patience and without resentment: mild. 2. deficient in spirit and courage: submissive. 3. not violent or strong: moderate. syn= humble; ant= arrogant.
C. Psa. 37:11 – context of
D. Praeis = greek word for meek or gentle; an adjective – only appears four times in the N.T. including Matt. 5:5 1. Matt. 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” The little 1 before “gentle” points us to the margin, which says, “or humble, meek”.
2. Jesus said in Matt. 11:29, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” NIV same; K.J. = meek and lowly; Context = Jesus confronted the crowds with their unrighteous judgment toward He and John the Baptizer. His objective was not to get them to respect Him more or treat Him nicer as much as it was to help them see how hard hearted they are – regardless of who God’s messenger is and how He carries Himself. He then rebuked some of the cities He had ministered in because they did not repent – even after all He did in their midst.
What was amazing about Jesus was – he could deliver these rebukes in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, and have no anxiety or concern about how these rebuked people treated Him or reacted to Him. That is meekness.
3. The Jews’ expectation of their King is that he would ride into Jerusalem on a stallion or chariot instead of on a donkey. “Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold Your King is coming to you, Gentle, and mount4ed on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” Matt. 21:5 Jesus was willing to be weak, that He might be strong. Appearance meant nothing to Him because His trust was in the Father, not in Himself.
4. Peter – speaking to wives in the context of having to live with disobedient husbands exhorted, “but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious i the sight of God.” I Peter 3:4 Peter’s concern is that these men might be won by seeing the transformation in their wives’ attitudes and character as they learn to depend on God and walk in meekness and gentleness – instead of nagging, threatening, throwing fits, controlling, etc.
The noun form of this greek word is Pra o taes, which is seen in several passages in the N.T. It is closely linked with humility in both the following two passages dealing with body life or one smothering ministry: “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” Eph. 4:2 “So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;” Col. 3:12
These four passages deal with how those in the leadership of the church are to deal with sin in their ranks: “What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” I Cor. 4:21 “Now I Paul myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” II For. 10:1 “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” II Tim. 2:24,25
E. “Dying to Self” poem
II. Putting on the characteristic of meekness – – So how can we grow in this most vital kingdom building characteristic of meekness? 4 ways A. Must believe His promises “they shall inherit the earth.” Only when we become convinced that God can and will do what He has promised He will do, will we be able to not take things into our own hands.
B. Must believe and care that this characteristic is truly precious in the sight of God (I Peter 3:4). The emphasis that scripture puts on character (such as meekness/gentleness) is still hardly seen and grasped by the church.
C. Must get to the place where we are ready for rest instead of anxiety (Matt. 11:29 & context)
D. Must pursue poverty of spirit and mourning over sin to be able to walk in meekness/gentleness (Matt. 5:3-5). It is a supernatural progression.
CONCLUSION – I have prayed for the Holy Spirit to revive His church with varying levels of fervency over the last 25 years or so. But the more I study the scriptures, the more I realize that that will never happen apart from people, nor will it happen apart from the godly character of God’s people. I often hear people point to signs and wonders and experiences in worship services as signs that revival is about to break out. And I do not ignore those things.
But I think a greater evidence will be when: church members relate to one another in gentleness and meekness – being truly dead to their own rights; and when disobedient husbands turn to Christ because of the meekness and gentleness of their parents, and disobedient church members repent of their sin and turn back to Christ because of the meekness and gentleness if their church leaders.