Summary: First in a series of sermons on the Beautitudes in order to develop Christian character
TEXT: Mat 5:1-3
· (IL) WHEN CONGRESS FLED TO BALTIMORE, ON THE APPROACH OF THE BRITISH ACROSS NEW JERSEY, MR. ROBERT MORRIS, OF PENNSYLVANIA, AFTER MOVING HIS FAMILY INTO THE COUNTRY, RETURNED TO, AND REMAINED IN PHILADELPHIA. ALMOST IN DESPAIR, WASHINGTON WROTE TO HIM, AND INFORMED HIM THAT TO MAKE ANY SUCCESSFUL MOVEMENT WHATEVER, A CONSIDERABLE SUM OF MONEY MUST BE HAD. IT WAS A REQUIREMENT THAT SEEMED ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO MEET. MR. MORRIS LEFT HIS COUNTING-ROOM FOR HIS LODGINGS IN UTTER DESPONDENCY. ON HIS WAY HE MET A WEALTHY QUAKER, AND MADE KNOWN HIS NEEDS. “WHAT SECURITY CAN YOU GIVE?” THE QUAKER ASKED. “MY NOTE AND MY HONOR,” PROMPTLY RESPONDED MR. MORRIS. THE QUAKER REPLIED: “ROBERT, YOU SHALL HAVE IT.” – THE MONEY WAS SENT TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, THE DELAWARE WAS CROSSED, AND VICTORY WON!
· Robert Morris – a man of true character
· Jesus is talking about Xn character in the Beatitudes
· Begin series on the Beatitudes – see ingredients of Xn character
I. IN THE BEATITUDES JESUS TALKS ABOUT XN CHARACTER
A. Jesus emphasizing who people "are" rather than what people do
1. Who we "are" on the inside is what’s important
2. Mat 15:19 - For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder,
adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, & slander.
These are what make a man unclean.
3. If we "are" the right kind of person, we’ll "do" the right
4. Conduct flows out of character
(IL) John Wooden, former basketball coach for UCLA Bruins: "Be more concerned with your character than w/ your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
B. "Blessed" used in each Beat
1. Gr: "happy in the genuine sense of internal joy, not dependent on outside circum."
2. Doesn’t diminish when things go wrong
3. Implies inner satisfaction that doesn’t rely on outward circum
C. Worldly happiness based on externals; things; circum can take away
1. Depending on them can lead to disappointment
2. J talking ab internal happiness, not based on circum
II. BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
A. Those who realize their spiritual poverty
1. To be a person of Xn character, we must recognize our sinfulness
2. Recognize we can’t stand B4 a holy G, can’t please cause of their sin
B. Lucado: "...an acknowledgement of moral destitution, an admission of inward poverty. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy & are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy. They don’t brag, they beg."
1. No self-sufficiency, pride, boasting, but a deep realization of sinfulness before God
C. Barriers to acknowledging spiritual poverty:
1. Don’t like being told we’re sinners; that we can’t stand on our own
2. Sin isn’t a popular sermon topic
3. Yet it is the reason Jesus came & died
D. Barrier #1: Rationalization & Excuses
1. Convince ourselves something isn’t sinful
2. Someone: "Few are willing to deny they are sinners, but few are also willing to admit they are sinning."
a. Admit we’re sinners, but won’t admit something was a sin
b. "This is the 21st Century – get with it!”
c. "Come on, I’m only human."
d. "That’s just the way I am. “
e. “It wasn’t my fault. If he or she hadn’t...don’t this or that.”
(IL) Garden of Eden – God talked to Adam about eating the fruit. He said,
“The woman that you put here gave me the fruit.” Eve then said,
“The serpent beguiled me.”
(IL) Paul Harvey told story about a lady who was overweight who blamed
it on the traffic on the city street. Go to bed at night and the traffic
outside her window would keep her awake. So, rather than lay there
awake, she’d get up and eat. Her reason for being overweight wasn’t
her overeating or a physical problem she had, but rather the traffic
3. Rationalize/excuses throws sense of spir poverty out the window
4. Result is sin gets a foothold in our lives
a. Hurts us and those we sin against
b. Hurts our witness
c. Offends God and hurts our relationship with the Him
E. Barrier #2: Not calling sin sin
1. If G says it’s sin, it’s sin
a. Not simply a mistake…human nature…poor judgement
b. Not redefined by the latest trend, constitution or latest ruling
from the Supreme Court, parents, teachers, or chaplains
c. It’s hard for us to say that we sin
F. How to hurdle these barriers
1. Spend time in the presence of God & ask Him to reveal Himself to you
a. Worship, Reading Scripture, praying & being aware of answers