Summary: The poor in spirit understands that they are bankrupt before God. They have nothing to offer, nothing to plead, nothing with which to buy the favour of heaven. When we understand that, God can use us in a great way.
The Beatitudes describe what every Christian ought to be.
• Jesus says these are those who are truly blessed.
• And He expects us to manifest these traits.
• None of these traits are natural human tendencies; it is what we can become by the grace of God.
• They are attainable and achievable because of the work of God in our lives.
The Beatitudes clearly set a different benchmark from the world.
• God expects us to behave differently. This distinction must be maintained.
• In order for the world to know Christ, they must see Him through us.
• How we conduct ourselves, more than what we preach will bring people to Christ.
We are going to consider the first Beatitudes today:
• “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
• In order words, the poor in spirit belongs in the kingdom of heaven.
• There is no one in the kingdom of God who is not poor in spirit.
Obviously Jesus isn’t referring to poverty. He is not talking about being poor.
• Some interpreted it that way because it sounded that way.
• But that’s not right. The Lord says the poor IN SPIRIT, not the poor.
• We can be good, wealthy Christians. Abraham was one. King David was one.
• Material blessing can be a blessing from God.
• Nothing wrong with being rich; just don’t be greedy, and don’t hoard.
• Money is not the problem; it is the love of money that is wrong.
Jesus says the poor IN SPIRIT will be blessed.
• In a sense they are the ones who feel empty, who knows that there is nothing good in them.
• They are not full of selves. Rather they are longing and thirsting for righteousness.
• They are the ones who seek God, who longs to be filled.
Jesus himself declares, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” (Luke 4:18, quoted from Isa 61:1)
• Thus to be poor in spirit is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, our spiritual bankruptcy before God.
• For we are sinners, under the holy wrath of God, and deserving nothing but the judgement of God.
• We have nothing to offer, nothing to plead, nothing with which to buy the favour of heaven.
Are you empty? Only those who emptied themselves can be filled.
• If self occupies the throne of our life, then there is no room for God.
• There is no need of God!
• Man would not have embraced Jesus, if he has full trust in himself, that by his own efforts, he can make it through life, or even beyond.
• It is only when man acknowledges that he is bankrupt, only then will he seek God and accepts Christ.
Here we have a clear-cut distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world.
• To be poor in spirit is not admired by the world. In fact, it is despised by the world.
• They are those who are too weak to be in-charge of their own life, and therefore seek some kind of religion to give them emotional support.
You go to the bookstores, and you’ll notice that the self-help section is growing.
• Books on self-esteem, self-confidence, self-awareness, self-actualisation…
• Our culture is obsessed with self. “Believe in yourself,” the world says.
• People says, “I don’t believe in gods; I believe in myself.”
• The New Age gurus will tell you to realise the powers that are innate in yourself.
• We are told to be in love with ourselves. Be in charge!
This description seems to fit Peter before he really comes to know Christ.
• He has great confidence in himself. He told Jesus in Matt 26:33-35 "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."
• Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."
• But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you."
That is how confident he was, until he sees his true self in a real test.
• That is the kind of person the world celebrates, until Jesus steps in and said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
• It’s a reality check. Man feels that they have everything, they are in control.
• But the real fact is that man is fragile, weak and sinful, without God.
Being poor in spirit is to see yourself in the true light – and what is that: We are helpless without God. We are always in need of Him.
• The Lord says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)