Summary: A summary sermon through the first 7 beatitudes in my Being the Believing series through the Beatitudes
Steps to Victory!
If you remember back about two months ago, I launched a sermon series, preaching on the Greatest Sermon Ever Preached by the Greatest Preacher that Ever Lived, Jesus Christ on the Sermon on the Mount that I titled “Being the Believing”. And, we started that journey with the Beatitudes introduced in Matthew chapter 5 verse 3.
If you remember when I started preaching through the Beatitudes, I stated that I liked to view them as a ladder, or the “Beatitudnal ladder”. That as I studied them I could not help but observe that these were all steps that led to the victorious Christian life. Yet to each step was dependent on the completion of the step before it. One of the problems facing our culture is that we like to have the best NOW, we are a self-entitled and instant society. We shun work. We are lazy. We expect to have everything our Grandparents had without going through the sweat, blood, time and work to have it!
And, this attitude has crept into the church in the past 50 years and so many think that they should have Peter walking on water and David slaying Goliath faith the moment they become Christians. That is why the health and wealth, prosperity message of today is taking root in our churches: its message can be summed up by: GREATNESS NOW! This is verified by the title of a book written by a leader in that prosperity camp “Your Best Life Now!”
Listen, Christianity is TOUGH! It is HARD! It is a journey! It is NOT instant! Like John MacArthur once said, if this is your best life NOW, you are on your way to hell!
(Saved…POW you are SUPER CHRISTIAN!). You ever see someone have great faith? (Lady in Friendship Manor-lost husband, legs, homes, car, job, dog in same accident…wheeling her room to room to brighten the knee replacement folks!!!) You DO NOT GET THAT kind of faith instantly or without work!
That is why I love the beatitudes! It is here we discover the Christian journey laid out in 8 steps! Take a step, receive a reward and move up, take another, receive a reward, and move up. And, by the time you hit the 8th rung of this ladder, you claim VICTORY! In fact, these Beatitudes have such a progression that when you reach the 8th rung, it is as if you have fought in the Greek coliseum, won the battle and have made your way up the stairs to the King and are prepared to be awarded a crown of victory, your ultimate reward! (PICTURE OF STAGE)
These 8 steps should be divided into two segments: the first four steps deal with our relationship with God and the last four deals with our relationship with each other:
Our Relationship With God:
Step One: Poverty “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” –Mt. 5:3
This does not mean that God blesses those that have no value, are junk and are nobody’s. God does not make junk and everybody is THUMBODY! For YOU are created in the image and likeness of God! And “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” –Zeph. 3:17
Do not believe the devils lie that you have no value, you are a creation of the living GOD and He loves you with an everlasting love.
This word poor means “to cower and cringe like a beggar, and to be pitiful, inferior and worthless.” To be “poor in spirit” literally means that you are spiritually bankrupt before God. To understand there is nothing you can do to elevate yourself up into glory, latch hold of God and claim heaven as your future home. You can’t bring your: Bible study, church attendance, money, good deeds, intelligence, baptism, church membership, degrees or positions held. It is simply a matter of falling on your face before the cross of Calvary, crying from your heart “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling”.
Hear me: Only this cry of brokenness will move God’s hand of grace in your direction. It is not about what you do, or who you are but what He has done and who He is. What did He do?
One day God looked down at a sinful humanity marked with rebellion and pride and said to His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, I want you to leave Glory, don the robes of humanity, be born of a virgin, become one of them that you might save all of them. Live, laugh and love for 33 years then lay your life down: suffer, be rejected, despised and hang on the cross made from the tree that you planted thousands of years ago, suspended ½ way between your home and ½ way between your world, with both turning their backs on you and die. On the third day, you will have the power and authority to raise yourself from the dead, defeating sin, Satan and even death itself! You will walk out of that borrowed tomb demonstrating to an unbelieving world there is power in the blood!