Summary: First Sermon of "The Beautiful Attitudes of Jesus" series which transitions us from studying the law into studying transformation through Christ Jesus.
The Beautiful Attitudes-Poor In Spirit
CCCAG September 3rd, 2017
Scripture- Matt 5:3
Famous inaugural addresses
We are going to begin today by quoting a few lines from the most famous presidential inaugural addresses, and we will see if anyone can remember the president who said them:
Tammie doesn’t get to participate, because she’s already read the message.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1865 at the end of the civil war
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
John F Kennedy- 1961
In speaking of a down economy upon him taking office, this president said-
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Ronald Reagan, 1981
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Inaugural addresses, whether they are given by a president, a leader of a company, or even a new pastor recently elected to serve a congregation are important because they communicate a vision. A vision statement is a way of communicating the direction and what that leader considers to be the important and non-negotiable principles in which they will lead a group of people.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is starting to attract large crowds of people so he gets everyone together to give His inaugural address as the Leader of the Kingdom of God, and tell us what is expected of the people who accept His invitation to be a part of this Kingdom.
Matthew Chapter 5 begins the Sermon on the Mount which is the vision and mission statement of the Kingdom- a kingdom that is transitioning away from justification by law into justification by grace.
Over the next several weeks, we will be studying the first few verses of Matthew chapter 5. Jesus begins this message by describing some characteristics that will be seen in the people who follow HIM.
These characteristics are called the beatitudes, and Jesus begins with the following Beautiful attitude that we will be studying today-
Matthew 5:3 ESV
“Blessed are the Poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”
These next several weeks we will be studying the Beatitudes, or as I like to say, the beautiful attitudes, or the BE this attitude. I purposefully scheduled this sermon series after the 10 Commandments because they take us from the Old Testament understanding of God into the complete revelation of who God is and what His ultimate plan is for humanity.
The 10 Commandments say what to do
The beatitudes say this is who you should be
The 10 Commandments govern our behavior toward God and others
The beatitudes say this is how you should think of God and others
The 10 Commandments deal with the external
The beatitudes deal with what is really on the inside.
So let’s look at our first beatitude of Blessed are the poor in spirit and what it means to us on the practical level.
First of all, let’s look at the word “Blessed”. Understanding this term helps us to really grasp what Jesus is telling us by giving us the beautiful attitudes.
I. Pursuit of Happiness
A. The word used for Blessed here in the beatitude is best understood as meaning happy. In fact, the Latin word for “Really Happy” is Beautis, so some modern translations translate that verse to be-
B. “Happy are those who know they are poor in spirit”
That’s the exact opposite of what our world and our culture tells us isn’t it?
This concept of happiness that exists today says that I know what will make me happy, and an infinite God just needs to bless my finite knowledge of what will make me happy, and then I’ll be fine.
If we sit back for a second and think about it- Isn’t the pursuit of this nebulous idea of happiness the source of most of our problems?
Most of our bad habits come from this idea of pursuing happiness. Another word that the church uses for this is called besetting sin.