Summary: This sermon is based on chapter 7, of Charles Swindoll's book, Improving Your Serve. The sermon uses the first four Beatitudes as a character portrait of a servant.


A. Don’t you love asking kids what they want to be when they grow up?

1. Unlike the minion in the picture, I don’t ask them because I am still looking for ideas!

2. I like to ask them to see what is going on in their little heads.

3. This second picture is a good representation of the most common responses that children give to the question: what do you want to be when you grow up?

4. Notice their answers: Engineer, pilot, doctor, scientist, teacher, lawyer, writer, astronaut, veterinarian, athlete and actress.

5. One little boy said that he wanted to be a car mechanic or a garbage collector.

a. When asked why, he gave a classic boy answer: “So I can get dirty!”

6. What was your answer as a child? When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a policeman.

B. Let’s take that same question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and ask it another way.

1. Let’s imagine asking Jesus what He wants us to be when we grow up.

2. Suddenly, that changes everything right? Suddenly, it is a whole new question.

3. I can imagine Jesus answering, “I want you to grow up to be different. I want you to be a servant.”

4. We could interview thousands of children, and I don’t think we would ever hear any of them ever say that they want to grow up to be a servant.

5. Yet that is what God wants for each one of us – God wants us to become a servant like Jesus was a servant.

C. As we continue in our sermon series “Serving Like Jesus,” I want us to spend today and next week talking about the portrait of a servant.

1. Just what does a servant look like? What character traits form the profile of a servant?

2. I want us to turn to the Sermon on the Mount to try to answer those questions.

3. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, we see that Jesus’ main point is: Be Different!

4. Over and over again, throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated the way things were among the religious types of His day, and then He instructed them to be different.

5. The formula went like this: “You have heard…but I say to you…”

6. In the first section of the Sermon on the Mount, certainly the most familiar section to most people, are the Beatitudes.

7. I want us to see how these Beatitudes form the most descriptive word-portrait of a servant that is available to us.

D. Look with me at Jesus’ words: (Matthew 5:3-10)

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.

E. Let’s make three general observations about these statements of Jesus.

1. First, these are eight character traits that identify true servanthood.

a. When all eight are brought into a person’s life, a balance emerges.

b. This list is not meant to be a “multiple choice” list where we are free to pick and choose our favorites.

c. Rather, Jesus, our Savior and our example, has listed those qualities that lead to the different lifestyle that pleases God.

2. Second, these traits open the door to inner happiness and joy.

a. These attitudes, when pursued and embodied, result in true satisfaction.

b. This lifestyle offers fulfillment like nothing else on earth.

c. Each of the characteristics begin with the word “blessed,” which could also be translated “happy” or “how happy.”

d. This is the only time that Jesus repeated the same term eight times consecutively.

e. Those people who develop these attitudes find lasting happiness and joy.

3. Third, and finally, we notice that attached to each character trait is a corresponding promise.

a. Each characteristic leads to a promised blessing and what wonderful promises they are!

F. With that introduction in mind, let’s begin our investigation of each of the characteristics.

a. Rather than rush through all eight in a superficial manner in one sermon, let’s break them into two groups of four.

b. We will explore four in today’s sermon, and save the second four for next week.

I. A Servant is Poor in Spirit.

A. At first glance, some people mistakenly think Jesus is saying, “Blessed are the poor.”

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