Read an Excerpt
The Christian’s Character—Part 1
Have you ever met anyone whose claim to be acceptably
“religious” is that he or she “just lives by the Sermon on the Mount”? Maybe you’ve said those words yourself without studying the profound implications of Jesus’s teachings. His idea of “happy” or “blessed” doesn’t start where ours does.
In this well-known passage of Scripture called the Beatitudes,
Jesus did not tell us what to do in order to gain happiness.
Rather, he described the character of a person who is happy or blessed.
1. Suppose you are eager to join an organization (maybe a fraternity, a club, or a sports team). Would you expect admittance based on your good points or your weaknesses? Explain.
Read Matthew 5:1-6.
2. Why must a person acknowledge spiritual need in order to enter the kingdom of heaven?
What makes it difficult for people to believe that
God accepts them on those terms?
3. What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
4. How does the emphasis in verse 3 differ from the emphasis our culture places on self?
5. What is our natural reaction to mourning? Why?
6. By declaring mourners as “blessed,” what part of life was Jesus affirming?
7. What kinds of mourning are there?
How can mourning fit in with poverty of spirit?
What kind of comfort do such mourners receive?
8. Contrast what Jesus said in verse 5 with the general human concepts of power and meekness.
9. What does meekness not mean?
10. How does meekness work out in everyday life?
11. What promise is given to the meek?
Do you see this happening in any way? Explain.
12. Put verse 6 into your own words.
What characterizes a person who hungers and thirsts? What is this “righteousness”?
13. Describe a person you know who hungers and thirsts after righteousness. What freedoms does such a person have?
14. How does your own personal hunger for righteousness affect your sense of fulfillment in life?