Summary: Second in my Being the Believing series through the Beatitudes
The eight beatitudes should be viewed as stepping stones that are all building on each other, ultimately culminating in a powerful position and blessed state. In the business world we call this the corporate ladder: you start in an entry level position, work and claw your way up and by the time you reach that last prong, you are rewarded with: that corner office, a giant pay raise, position, popularity, promotion and power. I like to view beatitudes as our Lord’s version of the corporate ladder, a “beatitudnal ladder”: as we start at entry level, we work our way up through faith and maturity so that by the time we reach the top we are well equipped to enjoy the reward at that last rung.
The first rung of this ladder was found in Matthew chapter 5 verse 3 where Jesus states “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Remember this word blessed does not mean happy, happiness is subjective (sun/rain, check/bill). Blessed speaks of an inner satisfaction tethered to salvation in Christ, not subject to emotions, feelings and fear nor dependent upon circumstance.
So, when God blesses us, he is actually approving our lives. This is a lesson that we all need to hear today: stop seeking approval from creation and solely align yourself to the approval of the Creator. How freeing it is when you stop trying to please everyone around you and simply live for the One within you!
Friend you can go around exhausting yourself trying to please everyone that comes into your life, as for me, I will endeavor to find rest in simply seeking the approval of God in my life.
So, if you are seeking the approval of God this morning that first step is to acknowledge that you are poor in spirit, or spiritually bankrupt. Admit today that salvation is not based on what YOU do, or who YOU are but what He has done and who He is!
Salvation is a very personal matter between you and the Lord, to come to a place in your life where you recognize your beggarly poor state, need for rescue and run to the cross to find there is still room for you!
That is the first run on this ladder, it must start here.
Our next beatitude is found in Matthew chapter 5 verse 4, so standing if you will when you find it so that we can show reverence as we read His Word.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
1. To recognize our sin is to mourn over our condition.
I believe the reason that so many churches have lost their power is because so many Christians have lost their focus. And, when you take your eyes off of Christ they fall on people. So many “Christians” are in the church causing so many problems because they are so focused on everyone else.
You know what…some of the meanest, bitter, critical, cynical, unforgiving people you will ever meet sit next to you in church Sunday after Sunday. That is the result of taking your eyes off of Christ. I believe this is the main reason 4000 churches close their doors ever single year in our country. No wonder Billy Graham when he looks into the American church sanctuary states that as many as 70% of church members are not regenerated, not true Christians. They might have walked down an aisle, said a prayer, been baptized and are now singing there is Power in the Blood but there is no power in their lives because they have never been transformed and regenerated through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How do we fix this? Matthew 5:4 by mourning over our sin.
To recognize our sin is to mourn over our condition.
I was watching a Mark Lowry video the other day and he stood before a full house and talked about how Jesus started the church with the outcasts of society (prostitutes, drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, tax collectors, smelly fishermen, even a Samaritan woman! And, the church grew! It grew because one beggar would tell another beggar where the food was! Now that the church has grown, we are inside holding the doors closed not letting anyone else in because we are judging those outside because they sin differently than we do. It is time we fling those doors open, let them in so that they can experience the peace, position and power we have found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Mark then stated that he has hatted the sin and loved the sinner too long. He said, “I don’t have time to hate your sin, hate your own sin! How about, you hate your sin, I’ll hate my sin and then we just love on each other!