Summary: It is when we truly realize how needy we are for God that we find happiness
I. It is interesting how some people who went through the Great Depression can brag about how poor they were.
A. "We were so poor when I was growing up that the mice that lived in our house always ate out."
1. "You've heard of powdered milk--we were so poor when I was growing up, we had powdered water."
2. Joking aside, the Great Depression was no laughing matter, but at the same time it may have had more happiness than our age of material wealth.
B. Holly J. Morris, "Happiness Explained," U.S. News & World Report (9-03-01), pp. 46-54; submitted by Jerry De Luca, Montreal West, Quebec
1. More than 60 scientists have done research on happiness and here are some tidbits of their findings.
2. Although the U.S. standard of living has increased since W.W. II, there is no increase in the number of people who regard themselves as happy.
3. "Once income provides basic needs, it doesn't correlate to happiness. Nor does intelligence, prestige, or sunny weather. People grow used to new climates, higher salaries, and better cars."
C. Verses 1-2 Jesus is preaching to a large multitude on a mountain. In fact chapters 5-7 of Matthew are called “The Sermon on the Mount.”
1. These few chapters has been called the core of Jesus’ ethical and religious teaching.
2. Many take only these words and try to live by them.
a. They throw out the virgin birth, the perfection of Christ, the suffering of Christ upon the cross, Christ’s atoning death and His supernatural resurrection, heavenly ascension, and His inward dwelling within the believer.
b. But the teaching of Christ can not be ripped from who He is.
II. What will truly make us happy?
A. A new car? A new job? A new body? A long trip to Hawaii? Win the Powerball Lottery? Complete physical health?
1. The world’s notion of happiness comes from the outside.
2. If the circumstances are just correct.
3. If we handle every condition correctly then maybe we will find happiness.
B. Jesus was a counter revolutionary one sense.
1. Jesus gave a whole different definition of happiness or blessing.
a. Jesus definition has to do with our relationship to God and our hunger for Him and Him alone.
b. Circumstances which seem perilous and destructive actually can move us closer to Him and give us something which we could not receive if all external conditions were pleasurable.
2. Behind it lies the clear cognition of sin as the fountain-head of all misery, and of holiness as the final and effectual cure for every woe.
C. A literal Greek translation "happy in the genuine sense of internal joy, not dependent on outside circumstances"
1. This happiness does not diminish when things go wrong
2. Implies inner satisfaction that doesn’t rely on outward circumstances
3. Worldly happiness based on externals; things; circumstances can take away
a. Depending on them can lead to disappointment
b. Jesus is talking about internal happiness, not based on circumstances
III. Happy ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
A. Jesus is saying that happiness comes from recognizing that we are humanly sinful, in debt to God for everything, and will find our sufficiency only in His grace.