What are the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount?

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is a sermon preached by Jesus Christ describing basic truths of how to live the Christian life. It is found in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7.  The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ longest discourse anywhere in the Bible and contains many well-known Christian ideas: the Lord’s Prayer, the Golden Rule, “Judge not, lest you be judged”, and the command to love your enemies.

The sermon gets its name from the location Jesus gave this teaching. Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain…”

Matthew 5 starts with Jesus preaching the beatitudes to His disciples and moves on to talk about many topics and basic Christian teachings in the next three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus gives instructions on a wide range of topics including: the law, anger, lust, divorce, taking oaths, revenge, loving your enemies, giving to the needy, fasting, materialism, anxiety, prayer, and more.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is summarized in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Beatitudes are the beginning 12 verses in the Sermon on the Mount that follow an unexpected formula: God showing blessing to attitudes not usually regarded as beneficial (like being poor in spirit, meek, and mourning).

According to the ESV Study Bible, the word ‘beatitude’ is derived from the Latin word beautus that means “blessed, happy.” The Beatitudes describe attitudes that are vital to a healthy and thriving relationship with God.

They also serve as a good tool for Christian self-examination. Look at these basic Christian characteristics and then ask yourself, “Does this describe me?

If the beatitudes do not describe your life, then perhaps you need to pursue God with a renewed purpose and pray that God would develop those attitudes in your life. It is also possible that these characteristics are not reflective of you because you are not truly a Christian.

Since the purpose for the Sermon on the Mount is to describe how Christians should live, it should be no surprise to see how Jesus ends the sermon in Matthew 7:15-27 describing three important truths about authentic Christianity:

  1. A genuine believer is recognized by the fruit that he or she bears for God (Matthew 7:15-20)
  2. Doing “God’s work” does not get you into heaven; knowing Jesus Christ gets you into heaven (Matthew 7:21-23)
  3. Foolish men hear the word of God and do not apply it to their lives. Wise men hear God’s word and apply it to their lives (Matthew 7:24-27)

Is your life characterized by bearing good fruit? Do you truly know Jesus Christ? Do you apply the word of God to your life, or just hear it and go on you way?


Unlocking the Bible invites you to join The Orchard Evangelical Free Church with several locations in Chicagoland to walk through the Beatitudes together the next several weeks through preaching by Pastor Colin Smith. You can join us in person or online by downloading sermons from Beauty for Ashes or by subscribing to our iTunes Podcast “Unlocking the Bible — This Week.”


Related Links:
Blog: 10 Obscure Yet Interesting Minor Bible Characters
Sermon Series: Repentance: The Hidden Path to a Transformed Life
Video: Is it possible to love God with all of your heart?
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Kevin Halloran is a Christian, blogger, and coffee aficionado. He serves with Leadership Resources International, training pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. Follow Kevin on Twitter or visit his blog.

Date Posted: Oct 2nd, 2012