Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Series: Soul On Fire #1 To hear this message go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
Blessed? Hebrews 12:5b-10, Matthew 5:1-12, Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed is a spiritual word. It is a biblical word. And it has been hijacked by our culture. People may talk about “blessings” in their lives, but the nonbeliever has no idea what a real blessing is, because only the child of God truly knows what it is to be blessed.
The word “bless” in the Old Testament Hebrew is barak meaning to knell. The extended meaning of this word is to do or give something of value to another. God knelt down to “bless” us when he wrapped himself in human flesh as Christ and offered himself up for our sin in forgiveness (John 3:16). He continues to knell down to us as a father would crouch down in order to get close to his child and embrace him in love or to even discipline him (Hebrews 12:5-6). Yes, God’s discipline is also a loving blessing to those of us who will learn by it. We in turn “respect” (bless) God by giving him ourselves as his servants.
In the New Testament the Greek word used for “bless” is makarios meaning to extend (to be increased) to be made happy with a joy that is extended beyond ones circumstances. Jesus made this usage clear in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12). God’s blessing is offered to “the poor in spirit”, “those who mourn”, “the meek (humble)”, “those who hunger and thirst after righteousness”, the “merciful”, the “pure in heart”, the “peacemakers” and the “persecuted.”
Blessed does not just mean to be happy, fortunate or prosperous. Biblically speaking (and “blessed” is a biblical word) to be blessed is to receive something of value from God that brings joy beyond any circumstance. According to the Bible God’s blessing will only come to the one who believes and put’s their trust in Christ as savior and Lord. To us he has given “every spiritual blessing” and “in love” he has predestined us to be adopted as his children (John 1:12).
Stepping, Standing and Sitting Psalms 1:1-6 Surely, every right thinking person wants to be blessed by the God of this universe. To have God stoop down from on high to embrace you with his love and grace is the ultimate joy of life; however, his blessings are conditional even for the believer. I do not say that a believer’s promise of salvation shall ever be taken away regardless of the wreckless way one may live (“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29); however, habitual, unrepentant sin separates us from God and leads us away from God’s perfect will for our lives. We must have a passion for God above all else. We must seek him first to live a truly “blessed” life (Matthew 6:33).
The psalmist said “Blessed is the one” (Psalm 1:1) who does not walk in step with the wicked, stand in the way of sinners or sit in the company of mockers. Notice the subtle progression of actions in the one who drifts away from the blessings of God. First he walks in step with the wicked, then he stands with them, and then he sits in their company and participates in the mockery of the truth that he once believed! Watch out Christian if this is you for your Father’s blessed curse will come your way and discipline you. Try instead to look at the sin that would dissuade you from God’s blessed path in this way:
Imagine, a beautiful warm summer’s day in the park. You are barefoot at play with the ones you love and suddenly you step in it! It is thick, deep, dark and stinky and warm, oozing up through your toes. Truly you have stepped into the wickedness, but surely you wont stand there! It was a grave mistake! Move away quickly and drag your foot in the lake! Who would stand and thrust both feet into that foul mess? Inconceivably some do just that, while others even plop themselves down on their butts and sit in it while they mock those who run in the other direction!
In contrast, the one whom God will bless delights in His word (the law) and considers it both day and night. He runs through life’s “park” with the “shoes of peace” that God has provided (Ephesians 6:15) and stepping into wickedness will not be his downfall! He will be blessed in all he does but the wicked will not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Soul On Fire Romans 12:9-11, John 14:15-19 If we want a blessing from God then we must run towards his heart and be a soul on fire for him. Yes, we must bless the Lord—knell to (respect) him and offer ourselves to him in service, thereby extending his joy. Then will come his blessing far beyond what we could ever think or imagine. We can never out give God!
Our love for God must be sincere. If we love him we will keep his commandments. Loving God must be our soul’s passion and if it is then he promises to give us an advocate (lit. Greek: parakletos [paravklhto”] , “one called alongside”) to help keep our soul ablaze. That advocate, The Holy Spirit (Spirit of truth) will teach us of all things and remind us of everything that Jesus has said. He will fill us with the peace, presence and power of God ( John 14:25-27, Acts 1:8). The world (the unbelievers) will not see Jesus nor understand our passion for him. We will be considered poor in spirit by the world—”fools for Christ”(1 Corinthians 3:18), weak in our meekness, silly in our purity, and “Full of it” in our hunger and thirst for righteousness. We will be persecuted for his name sake, but never mind all of that Christian because we will be “blessed!” Jesus said so (Matthew 5:1-12).
Do you want to be a soul on fire? Do you long after God’s ways, are you waiting for his day? Are you running for his heart? Are you longing for his blessing or are you stepping, standing or sitting in wickedness? Lord, let us burn for you again… may we be a soul on fire!