Spiritually Blessed

Spiritually Blessed

Matthew 5:1-3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” vs. 3

“When” and “Then”

Let’s start today by being a bit more interactive.  I am going to give you a hypothetical situation by saying “when” and you respond by finishing the statement starting with “then.” Try to answer with some amount of honesty and seriousness. Let’s start with a warm-up one.

When I leave church today… (You answer then I will ______)

Okay, got it, let’s try some more.

-When I win the lottery, then…

-When I retire, then…

-When I get that dream job I’ve been looking for, then…

-When I get that car I have always wanted, then…

-When God answers my prayer, then…

Many people live in the when and then. It’s the idea that they will only be happy, content, satisfied, etc. when something happens in their life that is not there right now.  We have to be careful with that kind of thinking, it can stop us from enjoying life in the here and now. It can also stop us from moving ahead in life because we can get mired into a thinking about what we don’t have.  We are starting a series where Jesus gives those who listen a new outlook on life by giving them a new perspective.  It’s found in Matthew 5 and today we are going to read verse 1-3. If you are able, please stand as we read God’s Word.

Read Passage – Matthew 5:1-3

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sermon On The Mount

Matthew 5 is one of the more famous passages of Scripture and one that many people may not be able to quote word for word but one that many people have a general familiarity with. This section of Scripture is usually called the Sermon on the Mount; mainly because of how it starts in verse 1-2:

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”  vss. 1-2

Jesus was a master at using his surroundings to communicate spiritual truths to people.  In our passage today he uses a mountainside to communicate to a large group of people in a way in which they can all hear him and see him. It’s funny, many pictures of this scene look like this (show picture) and yet I think it must have looked something more like this (show second picture). The Sermon on the Mount includes most of Matthew 5-7.

The “Be”-attitudes

  • Today we are looking a smaller section of the Sermon on the Mount called the “Beatitudes.” In your outline, I have kind of played with the words to put it in a way that is easily remember. I called them the Be-attitudes because it is the idea that Jesus is conveying to us attitudes that we can live by and/or attitudes we should have.

The word ‘Beatitude’ is not found in the English Bible. But it is derived from the Latin word ‘Beatus’ meaning ‘Happy’ or ‘Blessed’ and we see that in our Bible as each phrase is started with the word “Blessed.” Some of these phrases are the most quoted passages of the Bible. People tend to know them, if not specifically generally.

How To Get Spiritually Poor

Today we want to focus on verses 1-3 and in the next few weeks we will look at the ideas conveyed in the following verses. But for today, we are focusing on verse 3:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” vs. 3

The way I stated this is How To Get Spiritually Poor. So what exactly does Jesus mean when he says “poor in spirit?”

Caution: He is not talking about those that are destitute of possessions. Notice it does not read, “Blessed in spirit are those who are poor.”

Be careful not to misunderstand this passage just because the word poor is there at the end. It is not talking about material possessions or riches; it is referring to a condition, state of mind, or attitude. So this is statement is challenging our thinking about our spiritual state of mind, our spiritual attitude. It is also a very important way in which Jesus sets the tone for this entire section of teaching. This phrase unfolds for us in four aspects.

  1. Be Willing To Open Your Mind To Truth

First, poor in spirit embraces the concept that we are willing to open your mind to truth. The word poor in this passage comes from the root word to shrink or to cringe. It is the understanding that in light of who we are and who God is, he is truth. This idea is the idea that we can be self-confident and self-promoting and we shrink back or cringe back and seek truth; the truth that comes from God. This kind of truth brings us freedom as it states in John 8:32:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Knowing truth, God’s truth, sets us free.  Free from the bondage of sin, free from the  having to figure it out ourselves, free from the unknown.  Let me explain how you discover this kind of truth.

  • Ask God To Reveal It

First, you need to ask God to reveal it to you. He will; He doesn’t hold back, doesn’t toy with us, doesn’t make it difficult. He has given us his Son and  His Word. Ask Him. He says in Luke 11 that if we ask, we receive. This is not a game with God. He wants us to honestly and whole heartedly seek him and he will reveal himself and truth to us. So you read his Word, you spend time in prayer, and you watch and look for God’s revelation.

  • Wrestle With It

But it won’t be easy, you have to wrestle with it. We get set in our ways, we feel like we know what’s best, and we feel we can do it on our own. Many times learning God’s truth is not what we expect it to be and not what is most comfortable to us.

Ex. Jacob in Genesis 31 where God calls him to go back to his homeland. He is about to meet up with his brother whom he left on bad terms with when he swindled him out of his birthright and his Father’s blessing. The night before he meets with his brother he wrestles with God. It’s a difficult thing when God calls us to something and we aren’t completely in sync with him

2. Fully Believe Who God Is

The second part of poor in spirit is the concept of fully believing who God is.  As I stated, poor means to shrink back. When we shrink back, we allow God to take control and to be who he said he is; God.  Poor in spirit is the realization that we are not God(s). It is giving God his rightful place and acknowledging his power, glory, and majesty. Micah 6:8:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6;8

Our job is not to be God but to walk humbly with him. Notice it says “O mortal” or in other translations “O man.” We are human. We are not God but are the children of God. This walking humbly embraces that attitude of “poor” that is in the phrase poor in spirit.

Ex. Going back to the opening example, many people say something like, “When God does this, then I will believe.”

We have the privilege of coming along side God and believing and trusting him whole-heartedly. I like the way it is stated in 1 Timothy 6:16:

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1Timothy 6:16

When we fully believe who God is, we understand that his ways are not our way, his thoughts are not our thoughts, his ways and thoughts are so much higher and greater than our ever could be.

3. Look To The Son (Jesus)

A third concept included in poor in spirit is that it includes looking to Jesus and the work that he did. It is the realization that he gave it all, 100%, for us and we embrace what he did and and model our life after his by accepting his sacrifice for us and giving all we have back. Let’s look at this from a passage in Phil. 2:5-8:

“…have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Phil 2:5-8
Notice how this affirms what we saw in the previous point that we are not God and shouldn’t consider ourselves equal to him but we are co-heirs with Jesus.  We take on his mindset, his humility, and we imitate his obedience to the Father.  This is all done by keeping our eyes on Jesus and on the cross. It’s remembering he gave it all and for us, we are called to give it all as well.

4. Be Holy Spirit Led

Finally, this kind of poor in spirit attitude can only be experienced by being led by the Holy Spirit. The wonderful news is that when we look to the son and we accept what he did for us, God gives us the Holy Spirit that lives in his. We know this because he told us this in 1 John 4:13:

“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.”

1 John 4:13

Ever been left alone when you expected some guidance and direction? It’s not a good feeling an it is very unsettling. God doesn’t do that to us.  He would never do that to us. If you have the chance go to John 17 and read Jesus prayer and in it he talks about the need for him to go to the Father so we could have the spirit; and we do.

Here is another understanding of the word poor being used here. It is the idea of being without, not having something and the need to beg for it.  Not don’t fall into the trap of thinking of begging as bad.  Begging can be a good think.  It’s the idea of wanting something so bad, so desperately, yearning for it, desiring it, that you ask with all you have to get it.  Let me challenge you on this.  Many of us assume we will just get God’s direction and guidance and don’t put too much thought into it. This is the idea that you want it so bad that you are willing to plead hard for it.

The result is that we really feel the embrace of God as his children.  Romans 8:14:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14

Here is why it is so important to understand poor in spirit as the first thing that Jesus says in the sermon on the Mount and in the Beatitudes; it is the base for all the ideals and statements to come.  Our salvation is based on it; fully believing in God, looking to Jesus and living by the Spirit. And from that we have the promise of what is to come.

Spiritually Confident

I called this spiritual confidence. Listen to how verse 3 ends:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” vs. 3

We are promised an incredible gift; the kingdom of heaven. The ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is a unique title only found in the gospel of Matthew. This term is used interchangeably with ‘Kingdom of God’ in the other gospels. The Kingdom of Heaven is the Messianic kingdom promised in the Old Testament, to be established by the Messiah. (Daniel 2:44) Matthew presents Jesus as the Savior and King prophesied in the Old Testament.

The Kingdom of God (Heaven) is twofold:

  • It is Already Here: Luke 17:20-21: “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
  • It is Yet to Come: The Kingdom of Heaven will be fully realized and established when Christ comes back as the King and Ruler overall the earth. (Daniel 7: 13,14,27)
  • What a blessed hope and promise, Jesus offers to those who are poor in spirit! “The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

We don’t have to have “When” and “Then” thinking.  You don’t have to be content or happy when ”x” happens, you can have that joy, contentment, and peace now. You are a child of God and you can walk with spiritual confidence  .


About ronbow16

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