Summary: Today's message is on the first beatitude and how those who are poor in spirit. We'll be looking at what the word "beatitude" means and what it means biblically to be happy. We'll also explore how being poor in spirit increases our happiness.
Sermon On The Mount
“Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit”
Last week we looked at the meaning of the word “beatitude.” The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin meaning happy or blessed. Walter Bauer in his Greek-English Lexicon defines this word as the “privileged recipients of divine favor.”
Consider, those who are poor in spirit, who hunger and thirst for righteousness are the privileged recipients of God’s divine favor, therefore they’re blessed and happy.
In the Hebrew the word means not only to be happy, but also “to go straight.”
The fullness, therefore, of this word can be found in the very first Psalm.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NKJV)
And so those who are blessed are those who keep God’s commandments. They are the recipients of His divine favor.
Therefore all the beatitudes begin with the word “blessed,” or “happy,” and that’s because they reveal the secret of true happiness, which isn’t found in what we have, but rather in who we are in Jesus Christ.
Happiness in the Bible has a much deeper meaning than it has today.
Our modern word for “happiness” comes from the root word, “hap,” which means “by chance,” and it’s where we get our English word, “happenstance.” In other words, our happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. When things are going well, we’re happy, but when they’re not, our happiness flies right out the window.
But happiness in the biblical sense means spiritual joy and satisfaction that lasts regardless of conditions or circumstances. It’s a happiness that carries us through the pain, sorrows, losses, and grief associated with life itself.
That genuine joy or happiness can then come from being spiritually poor, which is diametrically opposed to our conventional wisdom. In our minds those who are blessed or happy are those who are rich and famous, the movers and shakers, the self-reliant and the self-confident.
But conventional wisdom is often at odds with biblical wisdom.
God’s wisdom our ways are radically different from what the world thinks. God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” (Isaiah 55:8 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul said, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV)
And so was we enter into today’s subject and this sermon series, we must ask,
• “Are we willing to accept the radical teaching of Jesus?”
• “Are we willing to let it change our lives in the radical way they’re intended?”
Out of all the subjects Jesus could have chosen to speak on to start His sermon, why did He choose the topic of happiness? The reason may be because He knew that true happiness was what everyone wants and is searching for, but few find.
“Psychology Today” asked 52,000 Americans what would make them happy. Their answers ranged from friends, social life, job, love, recognition, success, attractive, city life, rural life, religion, recreation, parenting, children, marriage, and their partner’s happiness.
What this reveals is that we try to find our happiness through the externals of life. It’s the when and then thinking.
• “When I get out of school then I’ll be happy.”
• “When I get a job, then I’ll be happy.”
• “When I get married, when I have kids, (and then) when the kids leave home, then I’ll be happy.”
The classic chapter in the Bible of humanity’s search for happiness is the second chapter of Ecclesiastes written by King Solomon who had everything. He’s considered still to be the wealthiest man ever. But what he reveals in this chapter is that everything the world considers would make them happy doesn’t. He basically gives us three.
The World’s Definition of Happiness
Solomon tried to find happiness through the accumulation of stuff. He was rich beyond imagination. He had cities built to just hold his chariots and horses. In other words he built cities to hold his cars. But in the end he found them worthless and useless.
(Ecclesiastes 2:1, 3, 10)
Next Solomon tried pleasures. He tried everything under the sun, even having 700 wives and 300 concubines. Whatever he desired he got, and he held nothing back.
(Ecclesiastes 2:4-6, 9)
Finally he tried power. Solomon was the greatest king to ever live. His wisdom was so great that royalty traveled from around the world just to have an audience with him.
We feel that if we just gain a little measure of success we’ll be happy, but what Solomon found in the end is that it was all without meaning or purpose.