Summary: A sermon based on John Baker’s Book, Life’s Healing Choices, and for Celebrate Recovery. It is on the first beatitude "Blessed are the poor in spirit" Matthew 5:3
Evening Service for 2/22/2009
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
By 1934 alcoholic Bill Wilson had ruined a promising Wall Street career because of his constant drunkenness. He was introduced to the idea of a spiritual cure by an old drinking buddy Ebby Thacher. While in a hospital, Wilson underwent what he believed to be a spiritual experience and, convinced of the existence of God, he was able to stop drinking.
On a 1935 business trip to Akron, Ohio, Wilson felt the urge to drink again and in an effort to stay sober, he sought another alcoholic to help. Wilson was introduced to Dr. Bob Smith. Wilson and Smith co-founded AA with a word of mouth program to help alcoholics. Smith’s last drink on June 10, 1935 is considered by members to be the founding date of AA. By 1937, Wilson and Smith determined that they had helped 40 alcoholics get sober, and two years later, with the about 100 members, Wilson expanded the program by writing a book entitled Alcoholics Anonymous which the organization also adopted as its name. The book, informally referred to by members as "The Big Book," described a twelve-step program involving admission of powerlessness over alcohol, moral inventory, and asking for help from God. In 1941 book sales and membership increased after radio interviews and favorable articles in national magazines, particularly by Jack Alexander in The Saturday Evening Post.
A. In Celebrate Recovery, Rick Warren has developed a program that is similar to AA or other support groups. The difference is that this program emphasizes Jesus Christ and the principles of the Bible. In recent years AA and like groups are talking about a higher power and seem to be drifting away from Biblical foundations. Some in the AA program even seem to think that church is more harmful that good. Church is not a place for hope and healing.
B. In Celebrate Recovery, they talk about the 12 step program (AA). However, they tie it in with 8 choices based on the Beatitudes. Give a plug for Celebrate Recovery- Monday night at 7 pm.
C. This material tonight is adapted from Celebrate Recovery in a book by John Baker called, “Life’s Healing Choices.”
D. Tonight we are going to talk about Blessed are the poor in spirit. What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
E. Negatively, what "poor in spirit" IS NOT
1. "Poor in spirit" does not refer to financial destitution or material poverty.
2. "Poor in spirit" does not mean a lack of vitality or courage.
3. "Poor in spirit" does not mean a false humility which is designed to gain the sympathy of others.
4. "Poor in spirit" does not have anything to do with suppressing our personality.
F. I like what Today’s English Version says here, “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” The poor in spirit are those who, unlike the Pharisees of Christ’s day, realize they are spiritually bankrupt. They know that they need grace; they know their situation is hopeless, and so they know they must rely on God completely.
G. Part of our human nature is to refuse change until our pain exceeds our fear- fear of change, that is. We simply deny the pain until it gets so bad that we are crushed and finally realize we need some help. Why don’t we save ourselves a bit of misery and admit now what we’re inevitably going to have to admit later? We are not God, and we desperately need God because our lives are unmanageable without Him. We’ll be forced to learn that lesson someday. We may as well admit it now.