Summary: Jesus started the sermon with a startling announcement that the “poor in Spirit” are the ones who will be blessed and get to be part of the Kingdom. What does this mean?

The Jesus Manifesto: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:3; Luke 18:9-14

Chenoa Baptist Church



Kanye West is a musician, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. He’s also Mr. Kim Kardashian. He is famous for being outlandishly arrogant and calls himself “Yeezus.” In a recent interview, he said this about himself:

“I’m going down as a legend, whether you like me or not. The Bible had twenty, thirty, forty, fifty characters in it, don’t you think I would be one of the characters of the modern Bible? My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live. I am the number one human being in music, that makes any person living or breathing number two. I am the number one impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh.”

When we hear those words, don’t they make us cringe? Why? We wince because he’s so full of himself. He’s delusional. He’s prideful. It’s hard not to laugh at Kanye when he talked like this. By the way, Kanye has said publicly that he is a Christian.

Let me begin the sermon with a confession. Oftentimes, in my heart, I’m much closer to Kanye than I am to Jesus. And I bet, if you were honest, sometimes you are too.

Review from Last Week

Last week, we began our summer sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. Let me give you a couple of reminders about the section we are studying called the “Beatitudes.”

* The word “Beatitude” means “blessed.” We learned that to be blessed literally means to be “approved by God.” Max Lucado says we get “the applause of heaven.”

* Jesus painted a picture of what a disciple of His Kingdom looks like as they live out their faith in a lost and dying world.

* I’m sure there were many in the crowd that was terribly disappointed with this sermon. They wanted a leader that would end the Roman occupation of their land and restore Israel to its former glory.

* Only believers can live out the Beatitudes. Without the Spirit, it is impossible for us to live these out. Just as an apple try doesn’t have to try to produce an apple, we don’t have to try to live these virtues. As we surrender to Jesus, the Spirit works through us to produce the virtues of the Beatitudes.

* They are a package deal. We cannot pick and choose. There are eight Beatitudes listed. The first four deal with our relationship to God. The second four deal with our relationship to others. The first and last are in the present tense. The second through seventh are in the future tense, indicating a “now and not yet” quality to Jesus’ teaching.

* They are not a “to-do” list. They are a “to-be” list. The Beatitudes are a manifesto for being on mission for His Kingdom. To be or not to be…like Jesus. That’s our question for today.

Turn with me to Matthew 5. Let’s read this together.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

We are going to dive deep into the first Beatitude today. We will spend most of our time in Luke 18, so you might want to turn there in your Bibles or your Bible app.


The Paradox of Poverty

About five years ago, we built an addition on to our house. Our boys were teenagers and they had friends coming over all the time. We wanted to host our small group and have room for guests.

We hired a friend of mine to be the contractor and we built it with our bare hands. I’m not the handiest of guys so this was a real learning experience. The first thing he did was dig a huge hole in the back of our house! I was confused and he explained you have to dig down deep and make a strong foundation so that part of the house will be solid and safe.

That’s what the first Beatitude is. It is the foundation on which all the other Beatitudes rest.

Jesus sat down, looked around at the disciples and the crowd, and said, “Blessed are the powerful and pretty, like Brad Pitt. Blessed are the strong. Blessed are the self-sufficient.” Is that how He started the sermon? He did not.

He started the sermon with a startling announcement that the “poor in Spirit” are the ones who will be blessed and get to be part of the Kingdom. What does this mean?

First looks look at what it doesn’t mean:

* It is not false humility. I heard of a guy who was given a medal at church for his humility. The next week, he wore it to church and they took it away from him!

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David Robinson

commented on Oct 2, 2020

Beautiful message Jefferson! I appreciate your insights and most important your willingness to share your heart. I'm preaching this week on this passage and struggling to find the right words to say. Thanks for the encouragement this morning. God bless!

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