As Jesus begins the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:20, he presents four beatitudes. It is a shorter list than he offers in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and each of these four is also found in Sermon on the Mount. Here, however, he also adds a corresponding woe.
These beatitudes are characteristics of Christians. Every living thing has certain characteristics that distinguish it from other creatures, and that is true of born-again Christians. These are the characteristics that define and distinguish Christians. These are the reasons a Christian is blessed, and they are blessings in themselves.
Four Principles of the Beatitudes
(Adapted from Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
1. All Christians are to be like this.
These beatitudes are not something that Christians should aspire to. These are not marks of a mature Christian. Every Christians, from the most recent convert to one who has believed for seventy years, possesses these characteristics.
2. All Christians are to manifest all of the beatitudes.
It is not that some Christians will possess one beatitude and others will possess another. Each one of the beatitudes is an essential and defining characteristic of a true Christian.
3. None of the beatitudes is a natural characteristic.
That is, in our fallen state, we do not naturally possess these characteristics. There are other things that characterize Christians — compassion, for example — that can be found in some form in the world. But the beatitudes are completely foreign to those who do not belong to Christ.
4. The beatitudes define the difference between Christians and non-Christians.
Jesus presented four beatitudes on this sermon, which define Christians. He offered four corresponding woes, which define those who are of the world.
What are these characteristics, why are they blessings, and how do they manifest themselves in Christians? Listen to the sermon to find out.