Grace, peace, and mercy to you beloved in the name of Christ.  I trust that you are walking in the Spirit on this day.  Since this is a Bible study please get your Bible out. 🙂  Read along with me Matthew 5:1-10.  Read. Our study passage is v.5.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.   Christ adds a promised blessing to each trait of the Believer. In this Beatitude He confirms the OT blessing upon God’s people of inheriting the Promised Land.

Psalm 25:12-13. Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.

The definition of meekness.

John Wyclif (1329-1394) translated this verse, blessed be mild men. The Greek word (praeis) – humble, gentle, considerate, courteous, patient, and self-controlled.

In many ways the first Beatitude we looked at, being poor in spirit, is very similar to being meek or gentle.

Psalm 51:17   The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (Isa.57:15, 66:2)

Meekness consists in these three things: 1) it bears injuries, 2) it forgives injuries, 3) and it returns good for evil.

Meekness bridles anger. (Ps.38:12-13) Meekness checks our tendency to be hasty or too-quick with our words of anger or displeasure.

Ephesians 4:25.  Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.  26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,  27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Sometimes we refer to anger as malice, a hatred of someone and a desire for their ill.  Meekness is opposed to malice.  Malice is heart-murder. (I Jn.3:15) Malice is devilish. (Jn.8:44) Malice is unlike Christ. Christians are to imitate Christ and not the devil.  (Mt.11:29)

Related to this, meekness is opposed to revenge. Vengeance belongs to the LORD and not to us. (Rom.12:19, Jer.51:56, Ps.94:1)

The Bible says it is the glory (or the honor) of a man to overlook an offense. (Prov.19:11)

Likewise, meekness is opposed to all bitter and evil speaking especially speaking against other people. (Jas.3:6, I Pt.3:9, see the 9th commandment – WLC 143-145)

Ephesians 4:31.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Psalm 37:10.  Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.  11. But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. (Ps.37:22, 29, 34)

The occasions for our meekness.

Meekness is a humble and gentle disposition of thoughts and affections particularly under suffering, when our wills are crossed, during some time of pain or privation.

Meekness has to do with our heart-gentleness towards those opposing us or causing us grief.

This is evident from the audience to whom Christ is addressing.  Jesus is speaking to His disciples, those people that deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Him. (Mt.10:32-39)

In other words, Jesus is not addressing people that are experiencing unbroken ease and enjoyment in the world, but just the opposite.  The world is opposing them for Christ’s sake, as He Himself was treated. (Jn15:17-27).  And He is teaching us how to respond in a way that pleases and honors God.

Suffering and opposition are normative for the true Christian; this is what God in Christ has called us to in this life. (Acts 14:22, Phil.1:29, Rev.1:9, 7:14)  But only for this life.  Our next life consists of all glory and joy.  Listen to what God tells us.

Now in the kingdom of grace.

John 16:32.  These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Then in the kingdom of glory.

Psalm 16:11.  You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Beloved, gird your loins and look to Christ as you face the real realities of being a lover of Christ in a Christ hating world.  (Gal.1:4, 2 Cor.4:4)

Believing that life in a fallen world as a Christian should be easy diminishes our ability to respond gently and calmly when the realities of hard things inevitably come.  (Ps.73, Exod.15:24)

Also, trying to live for self and sin will rob us of the Spirit-graced ability to practice meekness and gentleness.  Trying to live by the Spirit AND the flesh is not possible; our flesh will rise up in peevishness and meanness.   (Rom.8:3-14, Lk.6:31-35, Jas.4:1-5) We shall reap what we sow.  Beloved sow to the Spirit and you will practice meekness.  (Gal.6:7-10)  

The reasons for our meekness.

It is natural for our fallen flesh to be angry when our pleasures are removed, and we are the target of bitterness and suffering.

Saving grace.

However, as true Christians, we are not natural people, we are born again by the Holy Spirit, we are new creatures in Christ who can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  (Rom.8:9, I Pt.1:3, 23, 2 Cor.5:17, Phil.4:13, I Jn.4:4-6)

Biblical Christianity will work meekness in us.  The Gospel of Grace tells us we cannot merit favor with God, we deserve perdition, and no good thing dwells within us. (Rom.7:18)

The world thinks meekness is weakness, spinelessness.  The beatitudes assume a new heart, the natural man has neither the inclination nor the ability for mildness. (Rom.8:7)  Yet, it is actually the “strongest” most mature Christian that is the meekest.

Romans 15:1-2  Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

Lloyd Jones puts it this way: Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others…the man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.  This makes him gentle, humble, sensitive, and patient in his dealings with others.

The fundamental thing that we do as Believers that gives us the ability to be meek or patient under pain is that we have right views of God.  And only the true Believer does have right views of God.  And I will say, only the true Believer that is practicing living by faith and not by sight has right views of God.

Think of this.  When we truly believe that God is holy and sovereign and good, then we believe He has a right to do with us as He sees fit.  And not only that, but when we acknowledge His infinite mercy saving us from our sins in Christ Jesus we further vindicate His government over us even in our most trying times.  (WCF 2.1-2, 8.3-4, 1 Cor.6:9-11, I Sam.3:18, Job 1:20-22)

Of course this extends even to His permitting afflicters to afflict us.  (WSC 11, Job 1:8, Lk.22:31, Eph.1:11)

Think of this.

Romans 8:28.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.   29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;   30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.   31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?   32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Titus 3:1.  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,  2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle (meek), showing every consideration for all men.  3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Do you see how right thoughts of God our Creator and Redeemer, who is for us, calms our spirit and enables us to say in every situation, Thy will be done, He is the Potter and I am the clay.  (Mt.6:10, Lk.22:42, Isa.64:8)  Shall the Judge of all the earth not do right? The heart of the Believer in meekness says, Yes God will do right. (Dt.18:25, Dan.4:35)

The Exemplar for our meekness – Christ.

As Christians we are disciples of Christ.  A disciple is literally one that learns from another; we are learners of Christ.  He is our Master we are His students.  He saves us.  Now we live for Him.   

Matthew 11:29.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle (praus) and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.   30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Phil.2:5, see 2 Cor.10:1)

Part of living for Christ is studying Christ.  How did Jesus respond when He was hated and reviled and opposed?  Read Isaiah 53.  Look at the mock trials of Christ.  Look at the betrayal of Judas.  All Christ’s disciples fled in His hour of need.  He died a wretched vile death on a cross.  And dying Jesus said, Father forgive them they know not what they do. (Lk.23:34) That is meekness.  That is what we are to emulate.

The practitioners of meekness – Christians.

Here are just two examples from two eminent servants of the Lord.  Abraham exercised meekness when he deferred to his young nephew Lot. (Gen.13:8)  Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. (NAS uses – humble) (Num.12:3)

In the NT Peter tells us this, 

I Peter 2:19.  For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.  20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.  21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;  23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; (2 Cor.10:1)  

Part of living for Christ is obeying all that Christ commanded us. (Mt.28:18-20)   How did Jesus tell us to respond to our enemies?  Read and pray over (and practice) Luke 6:27-38.  

The objects of our meekness.

There is a two-fold meekness.  Meekness towards God.  And then meekness towards Man.

God.

Meekness towards God implies submission to God’s will.  God reveals His will to us in two ways.  In providence, meaning what actually occurs in our life.  Since God governs all His creatures and all their actions, we can conclude that God is intimately governing our life.

So, we submit to God’s will meekly when we carry ourselves calmly and without grumbling or complaining under God’s providence or government of our lives.  Read I Samuel.3:18.  Let God do to me what He sees fit.  I will submit and respond calmly and gently to His will, even though it is very painful to me.

God most specifically and clearly reveals His will to us in His Scriptures. If something in God’s word crosses our wills; we take the words of Christ on our lips – not my will but Thy will be done.  (Lk.22:42)

Meekness towards God means to let our thinking, emotions, and actions be governed by the Bible.  Thomas Watson writes, he that is spiritual meek conforms Himself to the mind of God and does not quarrel with the instructions of the Word, but (he does quarrel) with the corruptions of his own heart. (Jas.1:21)

The opposite of meekness towards God and His will in our life is anger at God or complaining back to God – grumbling.  Think of the prophet Jonah who was so angry at God he wanted to die. (Jon.4:9)  God hates it when we grumble.  (Exod.16:1-9)

The usefulness of meekness with God.

Meekness makes us fit for communion with God to worship God and serve God.  Think of it, without meekness towards God how can we really (with honesty and efficacy) worship or pray to God?  With meekness to God’s will we can serve God with joy and gladness.

Man.

Meekness toward man is a grace of God whereby we are enabled by God’s Spirit to moderate or govern or control our passions, our emotions especially our anger and anxiety.

The Bible accounts the spirit of meekness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Gal.5:23)

Meekness calms and moderates our passions.  Meekness checks our distempered emotions.

The usefulness of meekness with men.

Meekness towards man makes us fit for communion with other men, it makes us civil and calm towards other men, it promotes peace which in turn promotes fruitfulness.  How can a society of men (of any size) produce anything of worth if its members are at war with one another? (Mt.12:25)

Taking these two things together, meekness towards God and towards man – meekness adorns the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, it adorns true religion.  It brings credit to Christ and it woos others to come to Christ and it shuts the mouths of those that oppose Christ.

In summary, the meek or the gentle person is the person who is not resentful, he bears no grudges, and he does not mull over injuries sustained.  Positively, the meek find their refuge in the Lord and they commit their care and way to Him. (Isa.26:3)

Psalm 37:5   Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  

Proverbs 16:3   Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.

The apostle Paul told pastor Titus to teach the Cretan Christians the following:

Titus 3:1-2  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,  2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.  {Almost same admonition in Eph.4:2}

It is especially needful to exercise meekness or gentleness towards others when they oppose us and oppose the Gospel particularly and even those Christians who for whatever reasons oppose sound doctrine and sound practice.

So the meek man resists the incitement of personal resentments, resists taking revenge, and is not quick to take offense. (I Cor.13) The meek man is a quiet man (I Thess.4:11), who would rather bear wrongs done against self than sin.

2 Timothy 2:24.  The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,  25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

The blessedness of meekness.

They shall inherit the earth.  We will inherit the Promised Land.  And the Promised land will constitute the entire new heavens and new earth. (Heb.11:16, 2 Pt.3:13, 2 Cor.5:17, Rev.21;1)  To “inherit” the kingdom implies a number of truths:

This blessing is a gift from God, we do not earn it ourselves. (Mt.6:33)

By God’s grace, Christians have a “right” to the inheritance.

The Believer will certainly receive this heavenly new heavens and earth.

Matthew 19:28.  And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.  30 “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. (I Cor.6:1-3)

2 Peter 3:13.  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Revelation 21:1.  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.  7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

A  M  E  N

 

 Study Questions 

  1. Define meekness. What are the three elements of meekness – what does meekness do?  (Ps.51:17, Isa.57:15, Isa.66:2, Ps.38:12-13, Eph.4:25-27, Jas.3:6, I Pt.3:9, see the 9th commandment – WLC 143-145, Eph.4:31-32, Ps.37:10, 2 Cor.10:1)
  1. In what occasions is meekness especially seen or needed? Is the meekness or the gentleness that Jesus is requiring of His disciples needed when they are affirmed or opposed? What lessons do we learn about the Christian life by this? (Mt.5:1-12, Mt.10:32-39 ,Jn15:17-27, Acts 14:22, Phil.1:29, Rev.1:9, 7:14, Jn.16:32, Gal.1:4, 2 Cor.4:4, I Pt.4:13)
  1. Where does the ability and the desire to be meek come from? What does this teach us? How should we respond?  (I Cor.4:7, Eph.2:1-9, Gal.5:23, Rom.8:9, I Pt.1:3, 23, 2 Cor.5:17, Phil.4:13, I Jn.4:4-6)
  1. How does a right understanding of the nature of God affect our meekness? (WCF 2.1-2, 8.3-4, 1 Cor.6:9-11, I Sam.3:18, Job 1:20-22, WSC 11, Job 1:8, Lk.22:31, Eph.1:11, Rom.8:28-32, Mt.6:10, Lk.22:42, Isa.64:8, Dt.18:25, Dan.4:35)
  1. Who is the perfect example of meekness for our imitation? Describe some ways and circumstances in which our exemplar exhibited meekness.  What do we learn by this? (Mt.11:29-30, Phil.2:1-11, 2 Cor.10:1, Isa.53, Lk.23:34)
  1. Name and describe certain circumstances of Bible figures that manifested meekness.(Gen.13:8, Num.12:3 – think of more 😊)  How and why are we as NT believers to manifest meekness?  (I Pt.2:19-23, Mt.28:18-20, Luke 6:27-38)
  1. What two ways does God reveal His will to us? How do we express meekness towards God’s will?  How do we express a lack of meekness towards God?  (I Sam.3:18, Lk.22:42, Jas.1:21, Jonah 4:9, Exod.16:1-19)  How is meekness towards God useful in our service of God? (Isa.26:3, Ps.37:5, Prov.16:3)
  1. How do we express meekness towards man? How do we express our lack of meekness towards man? (Num.16, Prov.25:23)   How is meekness towards man useful in our service of others?  (Titus 3:1-2, Eph.4:1-2, I Cor.13, I Thess.4:11, 2 Tim.2:24-26)
  1. What is the blessedness of meekness? (Mt.5:5, Ps.25:12-13, Heb.11:16, 2 Pt.3:13, 2 Cor.5:17, Rev.21;1, I Cor.3:14, Col.3:24, Heb.11:26, Rev.11:18, Rev.22:12)
  1. What is does “inheriting” a kingdom imply and teach us? (Mt.6:33, Mt.19:28-30, Mt.25:34, Jn.14:3, I Cor.6:1-3, 2 Pt.3:13, Rev.21:1-7)  How then should we live? (I Pt.1:16) 

 

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