The Beatitudes (2)
It is so good to see each of you here tonight. Turn with me in your Bibles tonight to . Let’s listen to the words of the Lord to begin with Jesus said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What is Christ calling us to here?
What does it look like to be poor in Spirit?
it means you realize what you lack, that your hands are empty before God the father when it comes to meeting His righteous standard. We all know this, but the real question is what does it look like in real life?
Poor = means you don’t have much
So imagine that the most gifted player on the high school football team is a Christian and is walking around living according to the words of Jesus. Does this mean that when he shows up for training at the beginning of the new season, that he should walk up tp the coach and say: “Well I dont know what I really have to offer the team, maybe the coach should look at every other player because I am not very good… is that what poor in spirit means?
A person comes for a job interview, and at the end of that job intertview the employer says: “Why should we give you this job?’
Should this Christian applicant supposed to sit there and say.... “Well Im not very sure actually, I uh i dont know if you should there are probably a dozen other people who can do it alot better than me?”
Is that what it means to follow the words of Jesus here?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE POOR IN SPIRIT, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE IN REAL LIFE?
Poor in Spirit simply means that you recognize your poverty before God, Jesus is not speaking here about men and women in relation to each other. But he is describing what a person feels, what a person knows, when he or she is face to face with the living God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit Jesus says for thier is the kingdom of heaven”
Poor in Spirit then describes a person who genuinely walks with God. You may be a multitalented sports superstar, you may be a high flying business man or woman, you may bea amazingly succesful mother, you may be a technical guru, you may even be a political genius, but if you have truly met with the living God then you recognize that before Him you have nothing to offer.
That of course is what one of the most talented people who ever lived before the time of JEsus Christ discovered. I’m thinking about Isaiah… What an amazing ministry he had, he was a preacher. Here was a man who was known and celebrated for his marvelous ministry, he was the silver tongued prophet. If Isaiah was around today, people would be cramming into conference halls just to hear him speak. If he was on twitter, he would have millions following him. Heres the testimony of this most gifted man, that would have been celebrated in his time for all of his skills. He says this,
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
AND I SAID:
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Well if Isaiah the prophets lost, where does that leave the rest of us?
You see what Isaiah is saying to us, the world may see my gifts, my talents, but before a sovereign and holy God, when I really got to know him… when I encountered Him I had a totally different view of myself. I see Have nothing whatsoever to offer to the one who knows what no one else does.
Isnt it interesting that Isaiah had been in ministry, preaching for quite a long time before this happened. But at one point in time coming before God with this intense proximity, God drawing near to him. It changed his view of himself fundamentally and that view changed his life.
HAVE YOU COME CLOSE ENOUGH TO GOD, HAS GOD COME CLOSE ENOUGH TO YOU, SO THAT YOU HAVE COME TO SEE THAT AT YOUR BEST.... HOWEVER MUCH WE MAY BE CELEBRATED FOR OUR VARIOUS GIFTS AND TALENTs, AT YOU BEST YOUR BANKRUPT BEFORE HIM.
Or is the truth really that God is at such a distance from you, that you have only a vague belief, and such and idea has never really pressed itself in upon your own soul.
Think about this: PRIDE can only live in the soul of a person who is far from God.
Pride puts its feet to the gas pedal, to get as far from God’s truth as possible because pride cannot exist in the presence of God. As Satan Himself having lived in the presence of God quickly found out.
When God’s presence came down to the temple, and of course it happened again in .
SMOKE FILLED THE TEMPLE?
Have you ever been caught in a fire? can you picture this?
The presence of God the smoke of god’s presence, is coming down into this temple, and pride staggers out of the soul, couging and hacking bc it cannot live in the awesome presence of GOd. Thats what happened to Isaiah, and the result was that the man became poor in spirit, and entered into the blessing of God. So what were seeing here is that being poor in spirit is in fact really the first mark of a person who lives close to God. Pride is always the mark of someone wholives at a guilty distance, because pride itself cannot live in the presence of God. The smoke of his presence is always suffocating to pride, so heres what were learning, whatever your position in this world, whatever talents God may have given to you, however celebrated you are in different spheres of life, you are in an entirely different position when it comes to God.
The gifted football player does have a talent to offer to his team, and of course he will be celebrated at school and he will get offers for scholarships to college, but when he stands before God he will know that he has nothing to offere there but only stands before God in His need.
The gifted graduate has a talent that is a gift to her company, she graduates and is fast tracked for promotion, and in the early years of her career she draws the attention of important people. But before God she will know that no metter how much attention she recieves and however celebrated she is by other people… she stands before God in all of her need and ultimately has nothing in her hands to offer. You have something to offer to your family, you have something to ffer to your friends, you have something to offer to your company, and to your team and if you walk with God, you will understand what the apostle Paul meant when he said “WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT YOU DID NOT RECIEVE?”
Where did these talents come from, how did they end up in you?
Who gave you all of this success, what did you have that you did not recieve, and since all that you have in your life, is the gift of God and you know it, how can arrogance ever stand with hands held high as if I had something to offer?
WHAT DO I HAVE THAT I DID NOT RECIEVE?
So this is the calling.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Now here is this amazing statement from the Lord Jesus Christ, He says for the people who know that they have nothing to offer before God, they are BLESSED, these people who are so aware of thier own lack, thier own need, thier inability to produce what god calls them to. These are the people who Jesus says are blessed, this is where blessing from God begins. To be porr in spirit, it is the gateway blessing of all these other things Jesus will teach us in the sermon on the mount. Wihtout this there is no other blessings within your reach, this is the gateway, this is only place that any of us can begin, and must begin.
Now did you know that Jesus speaks about Heaven in the present tense?
Did you ntoice that?
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THIERS IS the kingdom of heaven.
Now heaven is future is it not?
So we might expect Jesus to say, thiers WILL BE the kingdom of heaven. But thats not what He says.
He says theirs is the kingdom of heaven, now if you will notice all of the rest of them are in the future tense except the one that you would expect to be in the future tense, which isnt its in the present.
Blessed are those who mourn for they “SHALL BE COMFORTED” (future)
Blessed are the meek for they “SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH”
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they “SHALL BE FILLED”
But when it comes Heaven the only thing on the list that is in the future JESUS SAYS THIERS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!
Presnt tense Now
So Jesus is tlaking about a taste of Heaven, that you can have right now. Now you think about that and you begin to scratch your head and you say well life in this world is such a long way away from Heaven isnt it?
In what way can I have a genuine tatse of Heaven NOW, THis week?
Think about heaven what comes to your mind, streets of gold?
We aint got that
Redeemed people made perfect…
we aint got that now
The lion laying down with the lamb, the nations waging war no more....
every tear wiped away from our eye...
We havent got any of that now right?
So what taste of Heaven do the poor in spirit have?
REMEMBER THIS VERSE:
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
That is staggering, the Sovereign Lord of the universe who created all things, who is seated in the Heaven of Heavens, high and lifted up and Isaiah Saw his glory and it made him unravel at the sight of who God was in all his glory, and now this God who inhabits the glories of HEaven, says not only do I live in the high and holy place but I live with the person who has the contrite and lowly spirit.
Heaven is to live with God right?
The poor in spirit get a taste of it because God lives with them.
So if you want to remain at a guilty distance where God seems far away and there is no real sense of His presence, then continue in your pride. But if you want to feel Him as He walks through life with you, through all that you face this week this is where you must begin. GOD MAKES HIS HOME WITH THE PERSON WHO IS POOR IN SPIRIT!
Heaven is in the humble, before the humble are in Heaven.
So there is a wonderful blessing for the person who has come to church and you are feeling overwhelmed by some challenge, and no one knows except God. You keep saying to yourself “I dont have what it takes” and you dont know how you are going to move forward, and you know that the place you need to go is beyond your talents and your own ability, the circumstances of your life have brought you to the point that you are poor in spirit, you see that youve not got it. And JESUS CHRIST SAYS
I WILL DWELL WITH YOU
He wont just come near you in a service and then leave you this week, HE SAYS I WILL WALK WITH YOU IN THIS, I WILL LIVE WITH THE ONE WHO IS LOWLY AND CONTRITE OF SPIRIT.
Who kows her need, is aware of his lack. There is such a blessing for the one who came here this week and felt overwhelmed by temptation, it is probably lead you to fail in this last week and you dont know what to do, and it feels like too much for you. The very temptations that seem too much for you, are bringing you to the place of hope, the place where you are poor in spirit, and JEsus Christ comes to you and says IW WILL DWELL WITH YOU 24/7
you dont know what will happen this week, but I will walk with you in it.
I DONT KNOW WHAT TOMORROW HOLDS, BUT I KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW.
You wont be alone
BLESSED, BLESSED, BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
Heaven belongs to them… now
We have looked at the calling, weve looked at the blessing, let’s look at the applications:
People who are poor in Spirit give up the idea that God owes them.
As God’s creatures we oew a duty to Him but it is also easy in our culture to flip the whole thing around and live in a way that we think God owes everything toward us. We get the idea that we can write God’s job description, and tell him what to do, give him our 10 commandments, this si what were looking for out of you God, to provide certain blessings for our family. To insulate us from the sufferings that are experienced by others in this world. Then because we so easily slip into the role of god ourselves we demand that our needs be met in our time.
Pride says I gave him something and he owes me something in return, and as long as your heart is there you are on a path to bitterness and anger, and dissapointment. It kills blessing.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven
They say I owe God everything, and yet I have not been able to produce for Him and yet He has given me tremendous blessings which i do not deserve.
So people who are poor in spirit get away from that place, because pride cannot live in the presence of God and His blessing.
2. People who are poor in Spirit are not afraid to ask
THE POOR ARE ALWAYS BEGGING, AND THE ONE WHO IS POOR IN SPIRIT ARE ALWAYS FOUND IN PRAYER
do you have a desperate prayer life?
We have talked about using these beatitudes to measure ourselves, and the question becomes what does your prayer life look like, is there a spirit of a person who knows his or her own need?
Or simply a person who believes in god at a distance?
3. People who are poor in spirit are in a position to recieve.
Peoplewho always think they have something to offer to God come to God continually with thier hands full, Lord heres what i wanna offer to you, heres what I want to tell you what I have done… how can you recieve Gold when your hands are full of pebbles?
HereI come to God with all these little pebbles and God holds the gold in His hands but I cannot recieve the goold with my hands filled with worthless rocks...