Summary: Part 2 - God cannot resist true humility in his children.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was finishing our teaching on the life of Moses, I told you that I have a weakness for heroes. A part of what makes heroes so attractive is their rugged independence. They just don’t need anyone else…however, that’s really not a strength.
In fact I need to learn how to love the heroes…the ordinary people…who need others. But that is counter intuitive to our culture. We are taught early on that if you can’t do it yourself, you’re weak.
Do you know what I’m talking about? It think you do.
For some of you, everything you have and everything you are is a result of your own hard work and determination. Because your parents or your teachers or your spouse or your employer…whatever…failed and let you down, you have become a self-made individual. You don’t have to depend on anyone because you have learned that, for the most part, you CAN’T depend on anyone. So you have done it on your own and you are strong.
The world in which we live teaches us that it is a sign of weakness to be dependent upon anyone for anything. We are a do-it-yourself culture. Anyone who can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps and “make it happen” is probably not trying hard enough or they are just plain weak. That’s the message we get…and often it is the message we send.
But is it the message of God? Is this the kind of thinking and the kind of living that Jesus calls us to? Does he call us to be strong, able to do it ourselves, or does he call us to a different kind of living? Does Jesus call us to be self-sufficient, as we’ve been taught, or is his way of thinking and living UPSIDE DOWN compared to what we have been taught and instinctually know?
The first beatitude…the first of Jesus’ statements about experiencing true JOY (which is so much more than mere happiness)… reveals to us the attitude that GOD calls us to have in regards to being powerfully self-sufficient. This first beatitude is important because it opens the door for all the others…this one is essential ground work.
So, what does God say about our desire, our instinctual drive to be self-sufficient?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
There is so much packed into this one simple statement. In fact, if we truly understand what Jesus is saying here, it will change EVERYTHING…our lives should never be the same if we understand this truth and let it transform our hearts…let’s unpack the powder-keg statement and see what it takes to start living the UPSIDE DOWN WAY OF GOD
-This is the beginning of all 8 beatitudes.
• Greek word is makarios - Most often translated “Happy.” But it is much more than happiness
Jesus wasn’t a Greek, he was a Jew and he thought like a Jew so his understanding of “Blessed” would have been Jewish in nature
• Hebrew word is ashr – Most often translated as “Happy” but it wasn’t just a statement of fact, it was typically used as an exclamation…”OH HOW HAPPY!”
But it is even more than that…the Hebrew word for “blessed” comes from a word that means “to be on the right path” or “to be moving in the right direction.”
So this happiness…this blessedness…that Jesus talks about is a result of being on the right path…moving towards God.
…THE ROLLERCOASTER ROAD (OSAGE HILLS) TO BARTLESVILLE AS WE WENT TO VISIT GRANDMA/GRANDPA AS KIDS…
POOR IN SPIRIT:
Jesus teaches that the right road…the joy, excitement and happiness of life with God comes when we are Poor in Spirit.
• The word for poor is ptōchos: This is a word that goes beyond just having a need or a lack of something. This is a word that indicates ABJECT POVERTY.