by Pastor David Wick, Ph.D
May 3, 2013
Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew chapters 5 – 7, stood in stark contrast to the teaching of the religious leaders of His day. The religious leaders presented conflicting opinions; Jesus taught with a note of authority (Matthew 7:28 – 29). The religious leaders were covetous lovers of money (Luke 14:16); Jesus was not materialistic (Matthew 6:31 – 33). The religious leaders were concerned about appearances (Matthew 6:1, 5); Jesus emphasized authentic spirituality. Jesus gave eight characteristics of that authentic spirituality at the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, characteristics that are known as the Beatitudes.
The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin and means “blessedness.” Blessedness is a state of happiness that is not dependent upon external circumstances; in other words, blessedness is joy. The Creator, who knows our innermost needs, knows how to provide that supreme happiness: “In Thy presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11 ). Jesus, though called “The man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3) possessed joy, joy that He wanted His followers to experience always: “These things I have spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11 ). The Beatitudes can be said to contain Jesus’ prescription for joyfulness.
The Beatitudes are not eight separate categories of people, but rather eight characteristics that are to be true of all believers in Jesus – and not just to a spiritual elite. The Beatitudes are unlike spiritual gifts, which God bestows as He chooses, so that gifts differ from one believer to the next (1 Corinthians 12:7 – 11). Rather, the Beatitudes are like the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22 - 23) in that they describe many attributes of the same character which was fully realized and exemplified in Jesus.
During May and June, Lord willing, we will look at the Beatitudes, beginning with an introduction that will examine what blessedness means, and the relationship of the Beatitudes to the Gospel, and then continuing with an examination of each of the eight characteristics in order to appreciate the picture they give us of the ideal Christian, and of Jesus Christ Himself.
Backyard Bible Club is on the way
Spring is upon us (maybe?), and it’s time to start gearing up for summer ministry at Riverview. One of the highlights of our summers is our Backyard Bible Club (ByBC) ministry. For the past five years, people from this church have held Backyard Bible Clubs in their homes every summer, doing ministry and preaching the gospel of Christ right from their own backyard. It has been a thrill to see ministry leave the walls of the church and enter into the communities where we live. This summer we will once again be offering you the opportunity to be equipped to do ministry where you live through this year’s ByBC program, “Things Hidden.”
By way of Jesus’ parables, it teaches kids that the truth of God can be hidden from those with blind eyes and hard hearts, and encourages the children to soften their hearts in order to see the truth of God. Our goal is to make the children of our communities aware of the call of God upon their lives, and to encourage them to respond to that call in faith, and to warn them not to harden their hearts.
Backyard Bible Clubs meet in the homes of people from the church every day for a period of four days (June 24 - 27), where children participate in a Bible story, games, crafts, snacks, music, singing, and scripture memorization. All materials, resources, and training needed to run a Backyard Bible club are provided by the church. On the last day of the week all of the neighborhood clubs meet at the church for a closing day of festivities.
ByBC is an effective way for us as believers to work together to “show Christ” to the children and families in our communities. You’ll be able to share your faith with families in your neighborhood by inviting them to learn about Jesus from your own home. Also, you’ll be able to establish new friendships with families you may have never met, and enrich relationships with families you already know. It’s a fantastic way for you to be involved with and minister to members of your community!
This summer we will be holding several ByBC training events in which you can learn all about the ministry and how to either host a club at your home, or partner with someone else from the church to do ministry in the community. Plan to attend these training events and be a part of this exciting ministry.
ByBC Training Nights:
May 12 & 26, and June 9 & 23
Adult Classes - Winter 2013
The following classes will be offered on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. for adults starting Jan. 6.
1st & 2nd Corinthians
taught by Matt Glewwe
taught by Milt Hildebrandt
Discovery Bible Series
taught by Pastor David Wick