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We are making a journey through the “be”attitudes. We’ve considered how humility, and repentance, lead us to happiness. Today is about being TEACHABLE. Becoming teachable also leads us to happiness. Refer to the Beatitudes printed in your pew leaflet, and which was our reading. We’re going to focus in on verse five: “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)
Meekness is not WEAKNESS. Most people equate meek with weak, inferring a person without any backbone at all. But in this scripture, the word “meek” is the same word used to describe the bridling a horse, or the taming a wild animal. Meekness is the result of the process the teaching or training an animal. The animal has not become “powerless” – but its power has been brought under the control of the trainer. What does this suggest for Christians? When we describe a meek person, we’re NOT talking about a spineless wimp. We ARE talking about a person whose life has been brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and God is in control of their life.
Meekness = power under CONTROL
The Bible tells us Jesus was meek in Matthew chapter eleven: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Matthew 11:29 (KJV)
Jesus was meek, and look what he did to the money changers in the Temple. He made a whip out of cords, and drove all of the money changers from the temple. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He spoke loudly: “Get these people out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a shopping centre!” Jesus was in full control of His actions. He thought about what He was going to do. He took the time to make a whip. He was in control of his his anger. I think that if he had not been in control, he would have rushed in there, acted crazy, and would not have taken the time it took to make a whip.
So what is this beatitude telling us?
I think it is saying that if we allow God to lead us – teach us – guide us – as we journey through life it is a lot like saying, “Jesus, I’ll drive, and you just tell me where to go. If you say turn left – I’ll go left. If you say turn right – I’ll go right. If you say turn around – I’ll swing 180 degrees. If you say stop – I’ll press hard on the brakes”. I think it is saying “It’s my life to live God, but I’m turning my destination over to you. You are my teacher – You are my trainer – You are my Lord.”
We find that extraordinarily hard to do, though!
The meek ones are sensitive to the divine will of God. They allow God to be in control. They are not easily provoked or irritated. They are humble. They are not proud, self sufficient or stubborn. They are not unmanageable or ill tempered. They allow God to take control. They allow God to train and teach them. They become teachable. In other words: meekness is self control empowered and directed by the HOLY SPIRIT. People who are meek are sensitive to the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We will keep our head and use our intellect and our energy for God’s glory – and when God calls us be bold — we are submissive enough — teachable enough – that we don’t hesitate to step up to the plate. We admit that we don’t know it all — but we are more than willing to follow the One who does. Meekness is following the leading of the Holy Spirit and obeying the teachings of God, so let’s look at five big ideas of meekness:
1. Be teachable, not UNREACHABLE
We can never aspire or gain the quality of Meekness without first having a teachable spirit. We’ve all been in a place where we won’t admit we don’t know it all, and that’s a stumbling block for humility. Look for opportunities to continually learn. Faithful Christians try to learn more about Jesus. I believe he wants that from us, as we see indicated in Matthew chapter eleven: “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.” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
It’s interesting that Jesus says, “Learn of me.” He wants us to know more about Him. He wants us to be teachable – not unreachable. Every day we should pray, “teach me more about You today, Lord, help me to learn something today that will make me more useful in Your kingdom. Help me Lord to learn something about You that I can pass on to others.” Every day we need to search our hearts, to see if we have a teachable spirit. Why? Look at what it says in Luke chapter six: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 (HCSB)
So that we can become like Jesus and teach others what we have learned. I cannot speak for you – but I want to be more like Jesus. I want to be “fully trained”. I want learn as much about Jesus as I possible can.
- How about you?
- Do you have a desire to learn more?
- Are you teachable? Are you reachable? Remember: “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
2. Be gentle not JUDGEMENTAL
“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with — even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” Romans 14:1 (MSG)
Happiness comes when you accept people the way they are. They have not reached your standard of perfection – but you welcome them and love them anyway. They should not have to obtain your standards for you to love them and you are to treat them with gentleness.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.” Galatians 6:1 (HCSB)
Test this: how do you react when someone you know makes a big mess of their life? Do you say, “I told you so? I could see that coming. You blew it. How could you be so stupid?” These are not signs of meekness. Meekness is treating people with gentleness not
3. Be an actor not a REACTOR
Take the initiative when bad things happen. Look at what Romans twelve says: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:17, 21 (HCSB)
But Mark, we are British! Here is a fact: In this life you will get HURT. It’s how you respond to these hurts of life that matters. What is your normal reaction when people hurt you? Retaliate? Get even? Stab them in the back? Ignore them? Unfriend them on Facebook? Or do you love them? Forgive them? Treat them with kindness? Meekness is a matter of choice. Remember how we defined meekness earlier in the sermon? Meekness = power under CONTROL If you fly off the handle – you have lost control. When you tell someone, “You make me so angry.” you’re admit they have control of your emotions, and you are reacting to the world in a negative way. You don’t have to – you can act, you can take control. If you don’t have control of your emotions – who does? You can respond with patience, kindness and love.
“Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil . . . but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:17, 21 (HCSB)
We choose to react to people – or to take control of our emotions and act in love toward people. Our choice.
4. Be understanding not DEMANDING
Secretly, We all want to be first? Who really wants to be in the longest – slowest line at the super market? When things don’t go your way – how do you behave? Understanding or demanding? Do you vent frustration on anyone nearby or do you look for opportunity to learn from the situation? We learn to be patient. Practise makes perfect so if we ask God for patience, He gives us opportunities to learn patience. Patience is a learned ability – just as meekness is too.
“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” Philippians 2:3-5 (MSG)
Paul gives three things to do and three things NOT to do.
Here are the three dont’s:
A. Don’t push your way to the front.
B. Don’t sweet talk yourself to the top.
C. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own way.
Here are the three do’s:
A. Put yourself aside to help others.
B. Forget yourself and lend a helping hand.
C. Think of yourself the way Jesus thought of Himself.
The lesson from this scripture? I have a choice.
I choose to be rude, or I choose to be patient. I choose to be helpful or hurtful. I choose to be a blessing – or I choose to be a pain in the neck. I choose to be self centred – or I choose to look out for others. I choose to be understanding – or I choose to be demanding. The choice is mine and the with my final point, my choice is …
5. Be tender without SURRENDER
You cannot please EVERYONE. Someone once said, “That’s a fact. 50 percent are happy when you come – and 50 percent are happy when you go.” No-one will please everyone. ‘To some you’re a hero – to others you’re a zero.’ A test of your maturity is how you handle disagreeable people. Meekness is not compromising your convictions. You can be tender without surrender. Meekness is not weakness – but it is handling conflict with gentleness. Pick your battles. Don’t argue over something that doesn’t matter. Don’t fight over something that doesn’t make that much difference. But when something does make a difference – be tender without surrender.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NASB)
Meekness is learning to disagree – AGREEABLY. Meekness is learning to get along with people even though you don’t see everything eye to eye. You can agreed to disagree – and you respect each other because of it. Something I have always tried to build my ministry upon is that, In the essentials we have unity; in the nonessentials we have liberty; in all things we have charity. We need to get along with others – even if we see things differently. I have never seen a marriage where the couple agree 100 percent of the time or seen a church where everybody is in total agreement with one another. But I have seen situations where people love one another and have reached a point of unity. I have seen churches where there is unity with diversity. This is how God has intended His church, each of us have a unique function, each have a unique gift. We need variety and need each other.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NASV)
God has brought us together for the common good. He has placed us here to get to know one another – to help one another. He has placed us here to serve Him and to serve one another. We are not all the same – there is supposed to be diversity – and unity. Pauls illustration shows that we can have unity with diversity in the Church. Paul says later on in First Corinthians chapter twelve: “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 (NKJV)
I’m the newcomer but I have often thought about how this Chapel celebrated 200 years here a few months ago, and I think about unity with diversity. To some we’re the hero – to others we’re a zero. Do you think there weren’t struggles? Do you think there weren’t disagreements? Do you think they always saw everything eye to eye? Of course there were! People are people and they don’t always see eye to eye. They don’t always see things the same way. But somehow they stuck with it and the made it work. They learned to get along even with their differences. What a legacy we have in this church. What a rich heritage we have right here at Stoke Row Chapel. We have different ways we conduct baptism. We have different ways we offer communion. We worship with different styles from time to time. How can we do these? The answer is simple:
- we all have the same Saviour
- we have the same Lord
- we have the same Heavenly Father and He loves variety
- He loves diversity and He loves unity
Because Jesus is our Lord – we can be tender without surrender. We can be understanding not demanding. We can be teachable not unreachable. We can be gentle not judgmental. All because Jesus Christ is our Lord and our Saviour. He is our teacher – and we learn of Him.
“Blessed are the meek – (the teachable), For they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5