Summary: Remember, Jesus is speaking of spiritual poverty. He never condoned utter poverty as good. He is speaking to the person who has an utter sense of his own destitution in the sight of God, who can only say, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." That person
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
Someone has said that the beatitudes are called that because they are good attitudes to be in. Yet such attitudes are not popular today in the world or even in the church. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." That Idea is repulsive to many. The world would have us be proud in spirit, haughty, arrogant, self-sufficient, self- reliant. Poor in spirit speaks of lowliness, repentant, needy. Yet Jesus said such are "blessed."
The word translated "blessed" is "makarios" and describes the joy which has its secret within itself. It is a joy which is completely independent of chance and change. It is a joy which comes to us even in our pain and sorrow.
It is a blessedness which exists here and now, not something we will enter, but have entered, and will find its consummation in the future.
It could also be translated, "To be congratulated are the poor in spirit." Congratulations are in order to the person who recognizes his desperate NEED for Jesus Christ in his life.
"O the bliss of being a Christian, O the joy of following Christ. O the happiness of knowing Christ as Master, Savior and Lord."
This cannot happen until we recognize that we are poor in spirit. That we are sinners in need of a Savior
Just who are the "blessed ones." They are the poor in spirit who are conscious of their utter need for Christ.
NOTE: This does not mean poor spirited, no backbone, false humility that says I am worthless, no good.
There are two words for poor in the N.T.
1. PENES: Speaks of a person for whom life is a struggle. It is the reverse of affluence. However, this person manages to get by in life.
2. PTOCHOS: Abject poverty - possessing nothing -acute destitution. It is this word that is used in our text.
Remember, Jesus is speaking of spiritual poverty. He never condoned utter poverty as good. He is speaking to the person who has an utter sense of his own destitution in the sight of God, who can only say, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." That person who is so conscious of his desperate need and is certain that God and God alone can supply that need. The Kingdom of heaven is his.
Let’s look at some biblical examples of poor in spirit.
I. THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN (LUKE 18:9-14)
Remember, Jesus is speaking to those who "trust in themselves that they are righteous." and "who despise others." SELF-EFFORT: If you are trusting in your self-effort to get into the Kingdom, I have news, You aren’t going to get there. We can only come to Christ with nothing.
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to thy cross I cling.
A. THE PHARISEE. This man went to the temple to pray. Now that is commendable. Men ought to pray. But this man "Prayed with himself." Oh he thought he was praying to God. He had "I" trouble. Not "eye" trouble, but "I" trouble.
"I" am not like other men
"I" fast twice a week
"I" give tithes of all which
Note his arrogance, pride in what he has done or is doing. That is self - righteousness. He certainly was not "Poor in Spirit." He had "NO NEED."
B. THE PUBLICAN. A tax collector also went to pray. Notice his attitude and his brokenness.
He stood back (humility)
He did not look up. He was so conscious of his guilt, his sinfulness before a holy God.
He beat his breast as an expression of his deep sorrow over his sinfulness.
His prayer was not very elegant, at least not as elegant as the Pharisee had prayed. All he could say was, GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER.
Jesus said THIS MAN WENT HOME JUSTIFIED. THE SELF-EXALTED PERSON WILL BE ABASED. THE HUMBLE PERSON WILL BE EXALTED
II. SMYRNA AND LEODICEA (REV 2:9 AND 3:17)
Let’s take a look at two of the churches in the Revelation:
A. SMYRNA (REV. 2:9) This church could be called the rich poor church. They were POOR in terms of possessions, wealth. They faced many tribulations and pressures.
Oh but they were RICH, really rich, in terms of faith, hope, love before God. God was present in that church.
B. LEODICEA (REV 3:17) They could be called the poor rich church. They were RICH in material wealth and possessions. They had everything money could buy. I can imagine a beautiful building with chandeliers, pipe organ, cushioned pews, etc. Big choir, staff, dynamic preacher,etc.
1. But they were LUKEWARM toward God, toward others. God wanted to "SPIT" literally "VOMIT" them out of his mouth.
2. Not only were they luke warm they were spiritual paupers, spiritually ignorant and did not know that they were "wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked-"