All Saints Day
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
November 1, 2015
Central Passage
Matthew 5:1-12

In the name of the FATHER and of the + SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.

The first words that our Lord says about His disciples, about those who have ears to hear and who take up their cross and follow Him, is that they are blessed. Blessed are they, the Lord says.

And the disciples of Jesus are blessed for the exact reasons you would think they are blessed. They are blessed because there is stored up for them an eternal inheritance, a kingdom prepared for them before the foundations of the world were laid.

In this world the followers of Jesus receive all that is needed to support this body and life but with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life. So blessed are they who are poor and who hunger and thirst, blessed are they who are persecuted for the Lord’s name and for the gospel. Blessed because they shall receive the crown of life at the resurrection.

Not everything goes right in this life. Perhaps all of us would all like to live in Mayberry with Sheriff Taylor and Barney Fife, where life seems to be more endowed with blessings and goodness than with troubles and heartaches, but we don’t. We live in reality where happy endings really are fairytales and happily-ever-afters are like shadows or the wind in the trees. No, our happily-ever-after won’t be in this life but in the life of the world to come. So we look to Jesus and think on things above and press on toward the goal.

We shouldn’t be afraid of poverty. We shouldn’t be afraid of going hungry. Our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask. We shouldn’t be afraid of persecutions. We shouldn’t be afraid of our reputation being smeared or damaged. The reason we are afraid of our reputation being smeared is because that in this life a reputation is currency where money can’t be. You can’t buy a job, but your reputation can land you one or keep you from one. You can’t buy friends but your reputation can make you popular or hated and jeered at. It doesn’t even have to be your real reputation, what your reputation should be. It can be, and usually is, what others say of you. That’s the real currency of your reputation. And in many instances you want to defend that, you want to put your best foot forward to land that job or make those friends. But the disciple of Christ, their reputation is hidden in Christ.

All you have to do to ruin your reputation before God is exalt yourself. Hold yourself up as an example to others and God will humble you as an example to others. Consider yourself good and God will ask, “Why do you call yourself good? There is only One who is good.” To ruin your reputation before God all you have to do is think that for whatever reason, of course God is going to bless you and love you. To have a good reputation before God is to put all your hope in Christ.

To ruin your reputation in this life all you have to do is put your faith and trust in Christ. Speak His name with reverence and awe and your reputation in the world is ruined. Generally it’s because by being a Christian people think you’re going to judge them, that you’re going to be judgmental. And some of you are. You shouldn’t be. No one should walk away from a Christian feeling judged for their sins. Maybe they should walk away feeling the loneliness of unbelief, but not for their sins. If you judge then you will be judged. Judging others for their sins is the opposite of being poor in spirit or meek. And don’t fool yourself, talking about them once they’ve left the room is still judging them.

All you have to do to ruin your reputation is forgive the unforgivable and love the unlovable and do good to sinners. Confessing your sins will also ruin your reputation. Not even because of

the sins themselves, but because by confessing your sins other feel the weight of their sins and will hate you for it. The more you look like Christ and act like Christ, the more others will hate you. They will hate you because they hate Christ.

Blessed are you when the world hates you and says all manner of evil about you for Christ’s name. For yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Remember your Lord whom the world hates. He was crucified with robbers and murderers. He was spat on and jeered at even by those who called Him “friend”. But even here He did not glory in this persecution but gloried in His Father. His disciples do the same. Our joy is in our heavenly Father who promises us, as He promises Christ, eternal life. Christ is raised from the dead. Blessed are those who are in Christ because they are beloved of the Father and are inheritors of an eternal kingdom. Blessed are they for theirs is eternal joy, eternal love, and eternal peace with God.

Don’t be afraid of poverty. Don’t be afraid of going hungry. Your heavenly Father knows what you need before we ask. Don’t be afraid of persecutions. Don’t be afraid of our reputation being smeared or damaged. Christ who is your life is raised from the dead and so shall you be. So shall all the saints be. Glory to God in the highest.

+ In Nomine Iesu +