Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sermon Notes: Happiness Is... (The Beatitudes pt 1)

Now that life is a little more stable and predictable for me, I'll try to post more regularly.

John MacArthur has an incredible, God-given gift of teaching: he might be the best speaker I've ever heard! I've never heard him say anything contrary to the Bible. He treats it as ultimate truth and frequently backs up everything he says with scripture in context. You can find all his sermons and many other resources for free at Grace to You. Even if you don't agree with everything he says, I'd encourage you to take a look at what he says and check him by the Bible.

What I'm posting here is an outline I've made with the main points of John MacArthur's sermon, "Happiness Is..." It's the first of his sermons in a series on the Beatitudes (found in Matthew 5:1-12). By reading my post, you'll get most of the main points, but you will miss out on hearing his complete explanation in his wonderful preaching style!

Title: Happiness Is...
Passage: Matthew 5:1-2
Series: The Beatitudes
Pastor: Rev. John MacArthur
Date preached: September 3, 1978
You can read or listen to this sermon here.

Lake Galilee and the Golan Heights

Blessedness is happiness in a biblical context, not talking about a superficial attitude based on circumstances. It is talking about an inward attitude based upon the very indwelling of the character of God Himself.

The Jewish ideas about happiness in Jesus' time:

  • Pharisees believed happiness was found in tradition or legalism. They said “Go back.”

  • Sadducees believed happiness was found in present, modern liberalism. They said “Go ahead.”

  • Essenes believed happiness was found in geographical separation from the world. They said “Go out.”

  • The Zealots believed happiness was found in political revolution against Rome. They said “Go against.”

Jesus went against all those ideas and told them His kingdom in inside. (Luke 11:39)

Why we should study the Sermon on the Mount:

        1.     It will show you the absolute necessity of the new birth, that you can never please God        
                on your own, in your flesh.
        2.     It clearly points to Jesus Christ and is an insight into his mind.
        3.     It’s the only way to happiness for Christians.
        4.     It’s the best means for evangelism. If we ever live the Sermon on the Mount, people will 
                be astonished.
        5.     God will be pleased if we live it out.

The Sermon on the Mount is perfectly structured:
        I.      Introduction
       II.     Citizens of the Kingdom
      III.     Righteousness of the Kingdom
      IV.     Exhortation to enter the kingdom
       V.     Conclusion (the effect the sermon had)

The style of the sermon was official, solemn and dignified, and it was Jesus’ heart:

  • He sat down (v. 1). When a Jewish rabbi sat down to teach, what he said was official
  • He opened his mouth (v. 2). This is a Greek colloquialism which is used to indicate solemn, grave, dignified, serious, weighty statements.

  • He opened his mouth (v. 2) is also sometimes used to speak of somebody who shared his heart intimately.

The sermon was addressed primarily to the disciples, because they were the only ones who could live it out. Many people would like to follow Jesus teaching, but only those who know him are able to.

I will post part two in a week or so...

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Bible Faith Outreach Orphanage

This is a picture of the lush verdant mountains of Papua New Guinea.
But at present, PNG is experiencing an “El Nino” weather pattern. In areas with high altitude, frost is killing the plants, and in many places, a drought is drying up water sources. About eighty percent of the country’s food comes from the Highlands where the frost is destroying crops. In Australia, when a crop fails, it's easy to import food from elsewhere. In rural PNG where over 80 percent of the population lives, no crop = no food. No rain = no drinking water.

When I first heard about the frost and drought on the news, I was quite concerned. I spent 2013 and 2014 living in the remote highlands, and I have a love for the people of PNG. Where I  lived, the situation is apparently ok, but in many other areas, food is running low and government aid is tardy and inadequate.

An article on the news brought to my attention the plight of Bible Faith Outreach Orphanage in Mount Hagen.

A local woman known as Aunty Rosa gave up her job of twelve years with MAF and began caring for orphans and street kids full time. She provides them with food, school fees, and the love of Jesus. Money is always needed, but now that food is getting more expensive because of the drought, the need is even bigger.

Please consider making a donation to these kids. You can donate through orphan list (you will be required to make an online profile for the website), or directly through paypal using the email address

I know they would also appreciate prayer.

For more information about the orphanage, you can look at their website, facebook page, or this blog post. You can also contact Dave Schreier (who runs the website) at if you have any other questions.