Summary: A message looking at the first Beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." This series also served to introduce the launch of Celebrate Recovery.
“Poor in Spirit”
The Words of Jesus – The Beatitudes
FCC – October 7, 2007
Text: Matthew 5: 3
Introduction: Today we are continuing a new sermon series on The Beatitudes. This was the first recorded sermon of Jesus and He taught about attitudes for the Kingdom. Jesus took His followers up a mountain and taught them how they were to differ as disciples from the rest of the world. The Message referred to Jesus’ disciples as His ‘climbing companions’ (Matthew 5: 1-2). So during this time, we are going to challenge each of us to become climbing companions of Jesus as we journey up the mountain of God.
The first Beatitude that we are going to look at is found in Matthew 5: 3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Last week we talked about this word ‘blessed.’ It means more than just circumstantial happiness or that I will get want I want. No. It means that if I follow God I will be deep down fully satisfied. It really refers to the person who is content. So you can also translate the word ‘blessed’ to ‘o the contentment of.’ So the Beatitudes could be read:
• O the contentment of the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
• O the contentment of those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
• O the contentment of the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
• O the contentment of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. And so on…
“O the contentment of the poor in spirit.” Most of us are actually pretty full of our selves. We are fairly rich in spirit…we often have to hit rock bottom before we realize that we need God. But the truth of the matter is that we all have hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and we all need God.
Celebrate Recovery is a 16 year old Christ-centered recovery program that was started out of Saddleback Community Church in California. It has grown and spread throughout the United States and in several countries. The program is based on 8 CR principles based on the 8 Beatitudes. In Cape there are 3 Celebrate Recovery chapters: at Lynwood BC, La Croix, and Bethany BC. It is the dream of local founder of CR to have a CR chapter every night of the week in our area. God has put it on the hearts of some in our church to start a CR chapter here at FCC. So these next few weeks, we will look at the Beatitudes and then a principle of recovery.
Celebrate Recovery principle #1: Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
Isaiah 57: 15 For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
TESTIMONY - Before we look at this first Beatitude, we have a testimony from Bill **** about his experience in CR.
This morning I would like to ask three questions of our first Beatitude?
1. What is “poor in spirit?” Poor in spirit. Jesus is not talking about those who are financially poor, but those who are poor in spirit or poor in attitude. Let’s look at the word ‘poor’ first in the Greek. In the Greek language there were two words for ‘poor.’ The first one was:
pençs – In our world, there is upper class, middle class, lower middle class, upper lower class, and then lower class. This was the word used for the lowest rung of the working class. This person was a laborer, but was considered the lowest class and barely making it. It was often a laborer who worked for their daily bread. Today this would be a person with a job, but is still considered below the poverty line. This is not the word that Jesus used here.
ptôchos – If penes is the bottom rung of the economic ladder, ptochos is the person who can’t even find the ladder. They are bankrupt…they don’t have a job…they have nothing…nada. They are totally destitute, having absolutely nothing. This is the Greek word that Matthew used in the Beatitudes.
Jesus actually spoke Aramaic. And the Hebrew word that is akin to the word Jesus would have used for poor is ‘ani.’ This word describes the humble and helpless person who has no earthly resources and puts his whole trust in God.
John Stott – “To be poor in spirit is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, indeed our spiritual bankruptcy, before God. For we are sinners, under the holy wrath of God, and deserving nothing but the judgment of God. We have nothing to offer, nothing to plead, nothing with which to buy the favour of heaven.”