Date written: February 26th, 2005
Scripture ref: Matthew 5:1-11
TITLE: Beatitudes – The Meek
PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will look at Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." We will answer the questions, 1) Who are the meek? 2) How shall they inherit the earth? And 3) What are some practical applications for this verse?
Objectives: Each should be able to answer these questions in their own study.
Aim: That each would understand more about meekness and the blessedness inherent in being meek.
1. Read: Matthew 5:1-11
2. About the Text:
1) This passage begins the famous Sermon On The Mount.
2) This sermon speaks concerning the character of those who will be in the kingdom of God.
3) All who would be citizens of God's kingdom should study and understand the contents of this great sermon.
3. The beatitudes
1) In this sermon, we are going to focus upon the first part of the sermon, know as the beatitudes.
2) Each beatitude has a particular form. There is in each one…
a. A declaration of blessing.
b. A description of attitude.
c. A disposition of blessing.
3) Each beatitude begins with the declaration of blessing.
a. The word for "blessing" in Greek is MARKARIOS.
b. The word contains idea of happiness and contentment.
c. 1 Cor.7:40 "But she is happier if she so abide…."
4) There is then the description of the attitude.
a. Here is why these are called the "beatitudes."
b. We are attitudes that describe who we are to be.
5) Then there is the disposition of blessing.
a. This is the actual blessing itself and the reason for the happiness.
b. This is also what we can expect will result from having the attitude described.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
I. Who are the meek?
1. The meaning of the word "meek."
1) Meek does not mean "weak."
2) This word in the Greek originally meant gentle, mild or kind and referred to an outward, observed attitude. It was the opposite of wrath and anger.
3) As a Christian aspect of character or attitude, the word indicates humility, equanimity and kindness. Possessing composure even under grueling circumstances. As a Christian attitude it is more inward than outward.
4) Daniel Webster says, "1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries."
5) Albert Barnes says, "Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harbored vengeance."
6) Charles Wesley said: "They that hold all their passions and affections evenly balanced."
7) Those who are meek are gentle, kind, humble, composed, and slow to anger.
2. Examples of meekness in the Bible.
1) Abraham displayed meekness when he allowed Lot to choose the herd lands (Genesis 13:8 "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsman and thy herdsman; for we be brethren.").
2) Moses was called the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3).
3) Paul was meek with those with whom he worked (1 Thess.2:7 "But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children").
4) Jesus was characteristically meek as well.
a. It was prophesied that he would be this way: Isaiah 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."
b. Jesus tells us to come to Him because he is meek: Matthew 11:29 "…I am meek and lowly in heart…".
c. 1 Peter 2:23 " Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:"
3. What is characteristic of those who are meek?
1) They will be saved from judgment – Psalm 76:9 "to save all the meek of the earth."
2) They will be exalted by God – Psalm 147:6 "The Lord lifteth up the meek."
3) God will guide and teach them – Psalm 25:9 "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way."
4) God beautifies them with salvation – Psalm 149:4 "he will beautify the meek with salvation."
5) They rejoice in God and His Holy One – Isaiah 29:19
6) He is the kind who turns the other cheek – Luke 6:29
II. How will they inherit the earth?
1. This is a quote from Psalm 37:11 which says, "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."
2. Commentators are split on the meaning of this phrase "inherit the earth."
1) Some believe that this is a symbolic expression referring to all of God's promises.
a. They argue that this expression goes back to God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:7 "And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
b. Since that land was already inherited by the people of Israel, they suggest that its later usage refers symbolically to all of God's promises.
c. Psalm 25:12-13 may indicate this: "What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth."
d. Psalm 37:9 states "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth."
e. Psalm 37:22 "For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off."
2) On the other hand, there are those who believe that this refers to all of the blessings and good things in this life.
a. They cite passages such as Mark 10:29,30 " And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."
b. And Proverbs 3:9, 10 "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
c. Paul tells us that all things belong to us: "All things are yours." (1 Corinthians 3:21).
3) Some suggest that this has reference to the new heaven and the new earth of which speaks both Peter and John.
a. 2 Peter 3:13
b. Revelation 21:1
c. But Jesus doesn't mention anything about a "new" earth here and the quotation from the Psalms is too coincidental not to have significance here.
3. My conclusion is that Jesus is referring to the same thing the Psalmist refers to in Psalm 37:11.
1) This appears to be physical blessings that God gives to those who display His holy attitudes in their life.
2) Moreover, there doesn't seem to be a lack of spiritual blessings for those who are meek as if they would need that promise.
3) The meek, in displaying their unique attitude, are often the recipients of great and wonderful gifts from those around them.
4) There seems to be a unique relationship between being meek and being physically blessed.
5) Thus, the meek inherit the earth because all things that are within it become theirs by virtue of their great and noble attitude.
III. What are some practical applications for this verse?
1. Meekness is required in our relationship with God.
1) They are commanded to seek the Lord – Zephaniah 2:3 "Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger."
2) God considers such qualities "precious" – 1 Peter 3:4 "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
3) It is necessary to receive God's word -- James 1:21 "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
4) The Christian walk requires it – Ephesians 4:1, 2 "with all lowliness and meekness"
2. Meekness is required when we teach others the gospel.
1) It is necessary when giving an answer to one who asks – 1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…".
2) It is necessary when restoring the erring – Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
3) It is requisite in the person of the gospel preacher – 1 Timothy 6:11 "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
3. Meekness is required in our relationship with others.
1) Titus 3:1, 2 " Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
2) Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
4. Meekness is required for our own personal benefit.
1) Meekness is necessary to behave wisely – James 3:13 "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom."
2) Meekness is part of the fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
1. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." We've noticed…
1) Who they are.
2) How they inherit the earth.
3) Some practical applications.