Summary: Beatitudes mean declarations of blessedness. If we were asked ‘what does it mean to be blessed’, our answers would not be what we find here in this list. But we know our way of thinking contrasts God’s way. The beatitudes reveal what our attitude should be.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (part one)
Read intro in study bible. Beatitudes mean declarations of blessedness. Blessed means more than just happy, since happiness is dependent on circumstances. Blessedness refers to the ultimate well being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who are saved. In all the nine beatitudes we see a declaration of blessedness followed with the reason why. Blessed are the…for they...
One would look at this list of what brings blessedness and probably be confused because if we were asked ‘what does it mean to be blessed’, our answers would not be what we find here in this list. But as we so often see in the bible, our way of thinking contrasts God’s way.
And there’s the struggle we face-conforming our way of thinking to God’s; continuing to progress in performing Rom. 12:2-being transformed by the renewing of our mind. In the beatitudes we gain a new understanding as to what brings blessedness. Let’s take a look at the beatitudes to find out what our attitude should be. Today-first three.
1) Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Matt. 5:1-3, "Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
The term poor in spirit is deceiving. We might think it would be something undesirable. Who wants to be poor in anything? But being poor in spirit is a good thing. Being poor in spirit means I’m someone who has recognized my own spiritual poverty and wretchedness. I have recognized my sinfulness. Being poor in spirit is a blessing because it represents humility. And humility is a blessing because it opens the door to the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 18:1-4, "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Pride makes me think I'm someone great. Pride will cause me to feel I'm worthy of heaven. But humility allows me to see my great need for atonement. Being poor in spirit brings me to the place of recognition that I've done nothing to deserve heaven but because of Jesus' sacrifice I have the privilege of going there. And being poor in spirit allows me the blessing of God's revival.
Isa. 57:15, “For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
To revive means to restore. When someone's heart stops beating the paramedics try to revive the person. That's what God does with us. When we find ourselves kneeling at the foot of the cross in humble submission he will revive us; he will renew us. One of the synonyms for revive is breathe life into. That's what God is doing when we come to him. He is breathing the Holy Spirit into us. He is coming to live with us.
God takes up residence in the hearts of those who have godly sorrow and repentance. Does he live in the hearts of the proud and arrogant? No. Why? Because they think they don't need God. Or they think they already have God; they're confident of their own righteousness.
Luke 18:9-14, "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
One of these men was religious; the other was not. One felt he was entitled to God's favor; the other knew he didn't deserve it. One gave God his resume; the other gave God a cry for mercy. One went home justified; the other did not. The one who would've been the likely candidate for God's approval didn't receive it. The difference is one was humble and one was not.