Summary: Being a Christian is more than just holding the title, but also walking the walk and talking the talk. And the Beatitudes are key is helping us understand what is expected. (First four)
Title: A series on the Beatitudes of Jesus
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12
[ILLUS: There he stood, in the midst of the Golden Corral restaurant, with Thousand Island dressing dripping from his hair, over his glasses, down his face, all over his jacket, pants, & shoes. And I’m not talking about a little bit of Thousand Island dressing, I’m talking about 2 gallons of it!
What had happened was that a waitress carrying a 2-gallon container of Thousand Island dressing for the salad bar had paused for just a second while coming through the swinging doors of the kitchen, & the doors had caught her & knocked her forward, launching 2 gallons of dressing all over this guy.
Well, he went ballistic! He started shouting & cursing at her. “You’re so stupid! I can’t believe you could do such a stupid, stupid thing. This is a brand new suit & it cost me $300.” His wife chimed in, “Yeah, you’ve ruined my husband’s $300 suit, & it’s the first time he’s had a chance to wear it.” He screamed, “I want to see the manager!”
Thoroughly shaken, she went to get the manager, & the manager came out. Now picture this – here’s a guy with 2 gallons of Thousand Island dressing dripping from him, & the manager asks, “Is there a problem?”
The guy replies, “Is there a problem? She’s ruined my $300 suit. It’s brand new, & I want a new suit!” The manager says, “We’ll be glad to get your suit cleaned. Accidents do happen, & we’re really sorry about this.”
“No! No!” he said. “I don’t want my suit cleaned. I want a brand new suit, & I demand a check for $300 right here & now.” Well, to avoid a bigger scene, the manger goes back into his office, writes out a check for $300 & brings it to him.
APPL: Think about this! Chances are who would be wearing a brand new suit on Sunday? Probably someone who is either going to or coming from church and heard a sermon on “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or “Go the second mile”?]
[ILLUS: About Helen in a store lineup at Walmart.]
Today we are going to look at what is commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. Another way of describing them is “The keys to happiness and joy.” Are you having difficulty experiencing a joyful and happy life, then perhaps this message is for you this morning. All of the Beatitudes begin with “Blessed”, which means “happy” or “joyful”.
It’s important to note that these Beatitudes ought to represent the character of each Christian. All of these should be evident in the life of every believer. We don’t pick and choose which one we believes best suits our character and forget about the rest.
The Beatitudes can also be broken into two categories: the 1st four – Preparation of our character toward God and the 2nd four – Presentation of our character toward others.
Look at those who fall under the category of Preparation this morning.
1. BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT: (v.3 – READ)
Please note this is refers to being Poor in Spirit NOT poor in the pocket book. The poor in spirit refers to being poor in the sight of God. In other words, spiritually bankrupt. You ask: What does it mean to be spiritually bankrupt?
[ILLUS: Luke 18:9-14 – READ. The tax collector at that point in his life was spiritually bankrupt.]
The tax collector came to the realization that without God and God’s blessing and guidance in his life – his life would never amount to anything. The tax collector knew that he was unable to save himself and that he can never do anything that would make himself worthy in God’s sight.
In response to that all he knew to do was to humbly call upon the name of the Lord as a sinner who needs to be saved by grace.
[APPL: I believe that if there is one thing in these days that will keep people from having a meaningful relationship with God more than anything else – PRIDE. A proud person would be opposite someone who is poor in spirit – like the Pharisee. There is no forgiveness and reconciliation unless a person comes to the point where they say; I am a sinner before God. BUT great blessings are found when people humble themselves before God and great blessings are available for congregations who corporately humble themselves before God.]
The old hymn of the church best describes how we ought to approach God…
Just as I am, poor wretched blind
Sight, riches, healing of mind
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.