Beatitude Series # 1
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
Matt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit
Original date April 11, 1999
Revised April 28, 2001
Intro. Light bulb Jokes
1. Calvinists None God has predestined when the light will be on
2. Roman Catholics None they use Candles
3. Baptists None Baptists do not Change light bulbs they simply Read the instructions and pray for the Light bulb to change itself
4. Methodists CHANGE????
5. Amish What’s a light bulb
6. Pentecostals 10 one to change the bulb and 9 to pray against the spirit of darkness
7. TV Evangelists 1 but for the message of Light to continue send in your donation today
8. Presbyterians 10 0ne to change the bulb and 9 to say how much they liked to old one.
9. Church of Christ 5 one to change the bulb and 4 to serve refreshments
10. Charismatic 3 one to cast it out and two to catch it when it falls
11. Worship leaders 1 but soon all those around can warm up to it’s glowing
As Christians we all serve the same Lord but as I look around Society today I witness the integration of Christians in a secular society. I can’t help but wonder, are we too much like them? In the early days of the New Testament church there was an obvious difference between Christians and the rest of the People in the world. It seems that we are not that different than our friends who don’t know Jesus personally yet.
What I am talking about have little to do with your car, house or clothing but the Principals and guidelines that you live by. There are some basic principals that 95 percent of the general population would agree to. And what I have found is that many of them still hold a very Biblical concept of Morality.
Most people will tell you that Stealing is wrong, extramarital infidelity is a sin, murder and mistreatment of another person is unacceptable.
But these are things that we all attest to, and they are things that we knew before we accepted Jesus. So My Question is this. What is the difference between you and your non-Christian friend?
How specifically has following Jesus Changed your life? How has your relationship with god set you apart from those who do not know the saving power of His Grace? What is it that makes you different?
If you will please turn to Matt 5:3 We are going to start Looking at the Beatitudes And Hopefully in the next 8 weeks we will answer some of these questions together.
Jesus is giving His sermon on the mountainside, and in this sermon He spells out 8 Life Changing Principals. They are 8 Principals that seem to be the Central Commands of Christian Living. They are not meant to be negotiated. Let me ask you a question? Do you want to experience radical Christianity?
Do you really want to be used by God to the fullest?
Do you want to see what God can do with people who are completely devoted to Him?
Do you want to see where God’s power will take us as a Church?
God said if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways. Then what.
I will heal their land
God gave us 2 central commands as Christians
1. Love God
2. Love your Neighbor
Every other command that He gives us can be traced back to one of these commands
Murder, Lies, Adultery, No idolatry, all come back to Love God or Love neighbor
In this case all eight of these principals help us either Love God more or Love our neighbor.
Matt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessedness simply means that you are in God’s favor it refers to an inner Joy
Some versions use the word Happy which seems like a contradiction when you get to verse 4 which would read Happy are those who mourn.
The word that is used here is meant to show spiritual fulfillment as well as to show that you or in God’s good grace
It is not meant to describe your conscious state of mind it is meant to describe the condition of your soul. Being blessed has little to do with my happiness but has everything to do with my spiritual condition.
Blessed are the poor in Spirit
Misconceptions: 1. Don’t we want as much spirituality as we can get?
Spiritual Poverty has nothing to do with Bible Knowledge
They are not related in this instance
2. I read a book this week that said that you in order to obtain Spiritual poverty you had to experience literal financial poverty. This is also incorrect. But before I tell you what spiritual poverty is: I feel like I should tell you what Spiritual poverty is not
Spiritual poverty is not
1. The man who went to a street corner to pray so the world could see
2. The man who said thank you lord that I am not like the woman who just put 2 cents in the offering plate
3. The rich young ruler who boasted that he had kept all the commandments since he was a child
4. Boasting about how good you are in the presence of the one who is perfect.
5. Trying to make it into heaven independently on the merits of “being a good person
Spiritual Poverty is
1. Isaac saying “ woe is me I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips
2. Building a boat in the middle of a desert before the earth had ever seen a drop of rain
3. The Widow woman who gave what little she had
4. A lifestyle of sacrifice where one realizes that they have absolutely nothing to offer God
For you and me spiritual poverty is the Goal, but not just that it is a new beginning, God uses spiritually poor people for extraordinary tasks in His kingdom.
Character traits of spiritual poverty
We realize that we have nothing to offer God
That is why Jesus said that we should become like Children
Because He wants us to acknowledge that we are nothing without him.
Being Broken before God means that we come to him and say “my life is completely in your hands. You are not my co-pilot you are the Captain of my ship.”
There is a song that I learned at camp a couple of years ago and it has become one of my favorites.
The Lyrics go like this.
It’s our confession Lord that we are week
So very weak but you are strong
And though we’ve nothing Lord to lay at your feet
We come to your feet and say help us along
A broken Heart and a contrite spirit you have yet to deny, your heart of mercy beat with Love strong Currents so let the river flow and let your mercies fall from heaven.
Being broken before The Almighty God proves that we are not all powerful. We become aware of His might, majesty and power. It is in this moment that we realize how far short we fall in the presence of the one who is perfect.
Being broken before God develops your perspective in 3 ways
1. You gain a new perspective on his mercy and provision
2. You have a more complete comprehension of yourself
3. You become more sympathetic to those around you
Like horses God will not be comfortable using us until we have shown ourselves broken before Him.
Brokenness means we realize that we have nothing to offer God
We realize who we are and we are willing to be used by God
A rabbi ran up to the altar, throwing himself on his knees, crying, "I’m nobody Lord! I’m nobody! Nobody!"
another rabbi witnesses his state of humility and unity with the One and is so deeply moved, he too runs to altar yelling, "Lord, I"m nobody! I’m nobody, Lord!"
The janitor mopping the floor is dumbstruck, and also deeply moved. Filled with piety and a fervent spirit, he drops his mop and also dashes to the altar, proclaiming, "I’m nobody! Oh Lord, hear me, I’m nobody! Nobody!"
He prostrates himself beside the rabbi repeating this mantrik cry, as the rabbi takes notice, turns to each other and with a gesture, says, "So, look who’s nobody."
Humility is not thinking of oneself poorly, it’s not thinking of oneself at all
Shortly after Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.
The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. "It’s perfectly all right, Madam," he replied. "Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend."
It was John Riskin who said, "I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them."
Humility before God allows Him to use us as He desires
Humility means we realize who we are and we are willing to be used by God
We rely on God’s mercy
A certain man was climbing a tree when suddenly he slipped, then grabbed at a branch and was hanging there. After an hour or so had passed he felt himself getting exhausted and looked up to the heavens and cried out: "God, help me, please, help me."
All of a sudden the clouds parted and a voice boomed out from on high. "Let Go!" said the voice.
The guy paused and looked up at heaven once more, then said: "Is there anyone else up there?"
Dallin Oaks an elder in a church said “The reality of our total Dependence on Jesus Christ should dominate every teaching and every testimony and every action of every soul touched by the light of the gospel”
It is a lifestyle of being Poor in spirit