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Beatitudes Part One - Poor In Spirit

February 5, 2017

PP - The Beatitudes – Sermon One
Beautiful Choices

PP – Matthew 5:1-12 NIV

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.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


  • Most have heard of the Beatitudes of Jesus.
  • Beatitudes comes from the Latin word meaning “blessing.”
  • [ Powerful word that means “divine joy and perfect happiness”. ]
  • There are 8 blessings Jesus talks about in His Sermon on the Mount.
  • To understand these blessings, it’s important to know a few things upfront:
  • It’s tempting to read this and think of it as a checklist on what to do in order to receive the blessing that Jesus is describing. Its not a formula to follow:
  • “ I want to inherit the earth, so I will be Meek” (even thought I don’t know what Meek means).
  • Next up, I really want people to be merciful to me (especially if the Patriots lose today), so I’ll be merciful to them.
  • The reality is, there is nothing we can ever do to receive these blessings.
  • Jesus is describing what one would LOOK like who truly follows after Him. It’s only when we surrender to Him and fall under His Grace that we can possibly walk in this way and, as a result, receive these blessings.
  • If we look at the Beatitudes as a list of things we have to do in order for God to accept us, then we start to believe our salvation can be earned…and that is dangerous thinking. Because we understand that the Bible teaches us it is by grace we are saved, not by our words.
  • We can talk all day long about ourselves and describe ourselves however we want, but truth is quickly revealed by how we act.
  • At some point your words and your actions will meet face to face.
  • I can tell you that I’m the most compassionate person you will ever meet, but when there is one donut left on the plate, and you and I are standing there looking at each other wondering who will make the first move…I will be two bites into that donut before your brain sends the signal to your hand.
  • On social media, I can post wonderful looking, eye catching positive quotes about grace, forgiveness and mercy and a couple hours later I can cut someone down who happens to have a different opinion than me….I know that never happens though.
  • You see, The Beatitudes is a contrast of an eternal Kingdom and a temporary world.
  • The Beatitudes are not superficial acts we accomplish just “on a good day”, but heart changes and a way of life.
  • There is no Beatitudes tracking app that you can download (at least not yet).
  • Imagine “swipe left” if you didn’t show mercy today
  • Or “swipe right” if you were meek
  • I got a trophy because I met 4 out of 8 of my Beatitudes today!
  • The Beatitudes are not distributed at random. We shouldn’t look at it as , “I have a poor spirit” and “this person has meek spirit”
  • And we don’t get to pick and choose….why? because
  • These are values that describe Christ-followers as they grow.
  • We become poor in spirit and we mourn and we become meek and hungry for God and merciful and pure in heart and peacemakers as we pursue God and become closer to Him.
  • These values become our core as we die to ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
  • What does it mean to die to oneself?
  • When we recognize that what God calls Holy and righteous and what God calls sin trumps our definition of the same…..even if we have the world on our side.

Today we are talking about

Poor in Spirit

PP – 1. Verse 3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

  • If I were to ask you today, what does it mean to be poor in spirit, what would you say?
  • Basically it means that you look at yourself…then you look at God….and you are completely humbled.
  • This means we have to come to some conclusions about ourselves.
  • We really have nothing good to offer in and of ourselves.
  • We are not, inherently “good”.
  • And this is completely opposite of what we see and hear today. This “poor in spirit” attitude just doesn’t sit will in our culture today where:
  • Everyone is good
  • Nobody fails
  • We’re all #1
  • All of our drawings are ‘refrigerator-worthy’
  • We’re told not to change (not to die to ourselves)…just be who you are
  • Don’t let anyone or anything change you.
  • Your beautiful just as you are.
  • And this is scary place to be.
  • Think about it for a moment…if all this were true…what’s the point of a relationship with Christ? I mean, really…if you are being told that you have it all together and you are fine just the way you are…..and that you should just tune out those who disagree and as long as you love yourself then you are good to go then that’s all you need……Really?
  • But this is what happens all too often. I believe its one of the reason why we don’t see true conversion to Christ these days….why bother if, from your point of view, everything is as it should be? What does Christ have for you that you can just pretend you already have for yourself? You want to accept Christ because you just want to ‘make it’ into heaven…then you are completely missing out on living a powerful, fulfilled life while here on earth.
  • Unless and until we realize that we are lost and need a Savior, we will continue in our own self-serving ways.

Here are some gentle reminders of who we are without God:

  • Isaiah 53:6 says: “All of us, like sheep, have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”
  • Paul said in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  • An in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of your sin is death – (Separation from God – spiritual death) – but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
  • Isaiah said it this way in Isaiah 59:1-2: “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor His ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.”
  • In Mark 7, we read a fascinating story.
  • Syro-Phoenician woman
  • She came and begged Jesus for help for her daughter who was possessed by a demon.
  • Jesus sounds harsh – unlike Him – out of character as he says:

“Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.”

The “children” Jesus referred to were the Jews.

This woman was a Gentile and even though the comment of “If there’s any left over, the dogs get it” sounds harsh, keep in mind that if she were asking a Jewish leader, she would most likely have been ignored. If they DID choose to speak, it would have been a rebuke.

Jesus offers hope by merely suggesting that crumbs would be offered if there were any left…this was all the hope she needed.

  • Lets take note of this woman’s heart:
  • No arrogance
  • No “I’m entitled”
  • Rather, she accepted her status as a Gentile. She was mature in her response. And she was amazing in her faith.
  • Yes, Lord. “Of course, Master. You are right. The children of God first – but even a dog eats the crumbs that fall.”
  • With that, Jesus healed her daughter of demon possession.

Only when we recognize our need of the Savior…only when we realize God is holy and I am not…only when I come to terms with the fact that I can’t be satisfied and fulfilled in this life without Jesus the Lord…only then and then only can I have a relationship with God that isn’t from the head only, but also from the heart.

  • With all of our efforts to succeed, to make a name for ourselves, to feel good about ourselves, to build self-worth and value and esteem; I’m telling you today it does not truly come until you realize that you are a sinner, an enemy of God, and you need Jesus to make it all alright.

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

2. This poor in spirit value continues after our relationship with Jesus begins. We must always be aware of our need for God.

A. Jesus said in John 15:5, “Without me you can do nothing.”

B. The Wise Man wrote in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding…”

And once we simply acknowledge God and trust His heart for us with all our heart, He takes the lead and we just follow.


Pastor Waller has shared this and it stuck with me:

  • John the Baptist, Mark 1:1-6

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

  • Vss 7-8 (MSG)
  • As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
  • Insert whatever earthly title you want but in the end we must never lose sight that we are merely the stagehands and Jesus is the star.
  • And there are no different classes of stagehands…a stagehand is a stagehand. When we start to elevate others or ourselves especially in then church….then we cease to be the church.
  • And it’s when we mess it up in life and think that – “our marriage is about me, work is about me, the world is about me;” when that happens we push out Jesus…and we try to take his place on the stage…and we fail because, not matter what we call ourselves…we are JUST stagehands.
  • So, how is the Holy Spirit dealing with you today?
  • Do you need Jesus in your heart?
  • Do you need to take a look at your marriage? Your attitude? Your heart?