Title: The Good Life Text: Matthew 5:1-12; et al

I. Introduction A.   Seeking  the  “Good  Life”   Blessedness, beatitude, is what all of us are seeking all the time in and by everything we seek. Blessedness is always our end, whether our means is pleasure or power or riches or virtue or wisdom, or honor or anything else. Blessedness is the summum bonum, “the greatest good.” Everyone seeks it, but not everyone finds it, because not everyone knows where it is. Saint Augustine says, “Seek what you seek, but it is not where you seek it.”1 As Anthony Campolo states, “Each of us comes into the world with a predisposition to live in such a way as to inflict pain on those who love us most, and to offend the God who cares for us infinitely.”2 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. (Mark 7:21-22) God is all about blessing. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit is not deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2) Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly Nor stands in the path of sinners Nor sits in the seat of the scornful But his delight is in the law of the LORD And in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) B. II. The Seven Deadly Sins

B.

The Good Life 1. Where does it begin? NO to power NO to self-aggrandizement NO to Materialism YES to Word of God YES to the Will of GOD YES to the Worship and Service of God Then the initial call to us: “REPENT” Then-“FOLLOW ME!” 2. Where does it lead? The path of the deadly sins takes in one direction. The path of the Beatitudes takes us in HIS steps. • Pride is self-assertion, selfishness; poverty of spirit is humility, selflessness. • Envy resents another’s happiness; mourning shares another’s unhappiness. • Wrath wills harm and destruction; meekness refuses harm and peacemaking prevents destruction • Sloth refuses to exert the will toward the good, toward the ideal; hunger and thirst for righteousness does just that • Avarice is greed, the centripetal force to grab and keep the world’s goods for oneself; mercy is the centrifugal force to give, to share the world’s goods with others, even the undeserving. • Lust dissipates and divides the soul, desiring every attractive body; purity of heart centers and unifies the soul, desiring God alone • Gluttony needs to consume an inordinate amount of this world’s goods; being persecuted is being deprived of even ordinate necessities4

Seeking the Good Life A. Invitations Jeff Cook tells writes about the birth of his oldest son: When our oldest son was born, a good friend of ours got him a short-sleeved black Onesie with red trim. It has a picture of Darth Vader’s mask on the front, and underneath it in bold red letters, it reads, “Who’s Your Daddy?” It makes me laugh, but of course it refers to a sinister event. This is the temptation of Luke Skywalker to turn his heart and mind over to the dark side.3 Virtue and Vice Blessing and Cursing Life and Death

III.

Conclusion The Beatitudes offer me- and offer you- that reality. They are the antidote to the poisons we readily consume. If only we could see where they speak to the infected places inside of us, allow them to push back the void, and watch as they re-grow our humanity. If only Jesus’ words would speak directly to the deadly sins in your life and mine, perhaps we would know what happiness is. Perhaps we could truly say, “This is what I was made for. This is who I was meant to be…5 In other words I will have found the “good life”.

Text:
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Matthew 5:1-12; et al

For Follow-Up and Follow Through What particular sin among the deadly sins is your besetting sin? How does the corresponding beatitude relate to your experience with this sin or sins? How must your thinking change if you are going to truly repent? Why not confess your besetting sin to someone and ask them to pray for you this week?
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Kreet, Peter. Back to Virtue. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992) 86-87. As quoted in The Workbook on the 7 Deadly Sins, 18. 3 Cook, Jeff. Seven: the Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008) 28.

Kreeft, 92-93. Cook, 29-30

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