Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We’re in the sermon on the Mount and this, I was even getting ready a few minutes ago, thinking about this. I don’t know any other passage that I just love to talk about more than this passage deeply. Um, I am thankful and grateful for this season. Pastor Mark introed this time in our bodies life, where we are entering into the sermon on the Mount.
He en entered this last week called the sermon the largest. Sermon that we have by Christ in the entire scripture, the greatest sermon that we have, the most quoted sermon that we have in bit of scripture in the early church, part of the early deduc, K the teaching of the early church included this at even fast forward to our church.
This is the foundation for our celebrate recovery program. These verses in the beginning of this sermon, this sermon on the Mount. Has everything to do with the Christian life. And I am so grateful to March into it with you. And today we’re coming to the beginning. Part of this sermon last week looked, he went on the mountain side, gathered the people, his disciples to him, the people beyond him.
And he said these words, and it begins with the beatitudes, which are eight statements of blessing are the, and he goes through poor in spirit, the mourn, the meek, the peacemakers, and so on from there, he. Speaks these blessing words. And pastor Mark mentioned last week that these beatitudes, these eight blessing statements describe the values of the kingdom of God.
And then the sermon will go on and speak about what life is like practically in the kingdom of God. But today we come to this first one. Where Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. I just love to pray with you. As we enter
Lord, you have said many things in your word. So many things you have taught us. So many things that you have given us. Here in this introductory statement to your most dense teaching on what it means to live out your kingdom on earth. We thank you for this radical statement that you give us some pray for wisdom and Holy spirit power.
As we look into it. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Two routes that I want to give us of thinking that as we enter into these beatitudes statements that I think are going to be really important, the first route is this concept of kingdom of God. In this verse, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God.
This concept is decorated. All throughout the new Testament at matter of fact, once you start looking for it, you realize, Oh my goodness, Jesus is talking about this constantly. There is a future physical kingdom that will come revelations 20 speaks of this coming kingdom that will come in the future.
But most of the time when Jesus is talking about the kingdom, he’s not just referring to a future reality. He’s saying the kingdom has come now. Christ is talking about a spiritual kingdom that lives inside of his people. The benevolent rule of Christ that is occurring now that is happening within his people.
A true spiritual. Kingdom is an inside reality at this moment. And they be attitudes is the most dense teaching of what the values of the kingdom looks like. If you want to know what Jesus values in the spiritual life, how the King has laid out his kingdom, it is on this foundation. The second thing I wanted and we see this teaching.
That he gives where it says Jesus went through Galilee. This is Matthew four. Before he gives the sermon. Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people. We see this after the teaching in Matthew nine, Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom.
And healing every disease and sickness, the kingdom, the rule of Jesus has now come to his people. Second route kingdom of God. First, route second, route I want to mention is this word Makarios. This word, Makarios who used is the word blessing blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn blessed are the meek using this word?
Bless it. In each of these beatitudes, this word is not a generic word. This word is a very specific word. Greek philosophers and authors would use this word, meaning happiness or fortune or wellbeing. But it wasn’t just any type of happiness or fortune or wellbeing. It was a state of happiness that was reserved for the gods.
It was what Ambrosia, if you’re familiar, that term Ambrosia is the food or drink of the gods Makarios. Is the happiness or satisfaction. One of the gods Mark, Rob Morgan writes this about grief, Greek authors and poets, Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey and HESI had both Homer and HESI had spoke of the Greek gods as being happy Makarios within themselves.
Because they were unaffected by the world of men who were subject to poverty, disease, weakness, misfortune, and death. If you had to read any homework in high school where you’re one of those smart kids and are still reading homework, if you, you realize that Homer used a lot of words, It’s estimated that he’s only use this word, this specific word Makarios eight times.
This is not just a generic happiness. This is a specific happiness, a Supreme state of happiness. Play-Doh use the word not to just describe the gods, but also use the word to describe someone who was very successful in business that, that happiness usually reserved for the gods could be known on earth.
If someone was extremely wealthy Aristotle, and this is my favorite use of the word in Greek literature, Aristotle, use this word in juxtaposition to something else. He said this, if Makarios is here, the absolute opposite of Makarios is what he called the needy one Makarios for those who have all their needs met.
And the opposite is being in need. Makarios is a special state of happiness, only known to the gods or those who are extremely wealthy. Jesus goes on a mountain, gathers people around him, common folk around him and says Maccari OS for the poor in spirit. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What does it mean to be poor spear?
We’re gonna look at three questions. I think you may have gotten the notes on the way in, so no one complained if you haven’t received Ballantine notes. Yeah. Anyway, um, you got your notes on the way in, um, you liked that Shannon didn’t you? Yeah. Thank you. Um, And there’s three questions. We’re going to be shaping this, talk around this.
Uh, what does it mean to be poor in spirit? How do we become poor in spirit? And what is the kingdom mean for those who are poor in spirit? So again, you have, what does it mean to you? Poor in spirit, you have this biggest rally, right? You’ve got Jesus, who’s healing doing these diseases, talking about the kingdom and he comes to this mountain side and he comes to this mountain side with the people spread out in the acoustics, just writing.
Here’s the big rally. Here’s the big teaching point. Here’s the densest teaching. And here comes Jesus. The band stops. He walks out and he says to those who are inner poor. And they say, what does that mean? How can a King of spirituality say blessed are those who are poor in spirituality? What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
Well, when we look at poverty, we, poverty is a little bit defining something. What it isn’t right. We ask, well, what is, what’s the definition of darkness? It’s what absence of light, right? It is. And what it isn’t. Well, what is poverty? Physical poverty. Is the absence or the lack of necessary resources or the ability to get them that’s physical poverty.
It is found in what it isn’t in, what it doesn’t have spiritual poverty. On the other hand is the lack of being able to meet our own needs in the false treasures of the heart. It is found in what it isn’t. It is the inability to achieve Makarios us on our own. Scripture Jesus in particular teaches a lot about false treasures.
He speaks about this in Matthew six, he speaks about this in the gospel of John talks about the temptation of being caught up in these false treasures. And I want to talk about three false treasures, three things. We look for Makarios. In, and we actually do not find them there, but we find them in the poverty of not getting them right.
And I want to do that by looking at Matthew four, if you would, if you’re in your Bibles, we’re going to go back from Matthew five and Matthew four, because in Matthew four, we’ve got a famous passage of Satan coming to Jesus, right? Satan comes to Jesus in the wilderness, not really a fair time to come to Jesus.
Hasn’t eaten for 40 days, 40 nights. This fully man person has not eaten for 40 days. He is, he is on his death bed and many houses. Starving to death at this point. And Satan comes to him to entice him three times. And I believe in each of these enticing, he is, he is going after idols that are in our hearts are in the hearts of people for all time and culture.
This is the passage in Matthew four. Jesus was led by the spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry. That’s an understatement. The tempter came to him and said, if you are a son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered. It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God, then the devil took him to the Holy city and had him stand at the highest point of the temple.
If you are the son of God, he said, throw yourself down for it is written. He’ll command his angels concerning you. They will lift up your hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Jesus answered him. It is also written. Don’t put the Lord, your God to the test. Again, the devil third time took him to the high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
All their, I will give to you. He said, if you bow down and worship me, Jesus said to him away from me, Satan. It is written worship. It is written worship the Lord, your God, and serve him only. Then the devil left him and the angels came and attended him. Want to look at three treasures of the heart in this passage, the first treasure false treasure is self self-sufficiency self-sufficiency is satisfying my own, or others needs as a way of gaining my own sense.
Of happiness, spiritual poverty is moving away from the temptation to find my worth in what I can achieve or I can do self-sufficiency is an age old one. And here you have Satan coming to Jesus and being like Jesus. Wow. King of the universe. This is a little pathetic. Right. It came, some angel saw you when you were born, then you come amongst the poor.
Not that smart, come and start doing some miracles and, and maybe start in this thing. But now like, look at Jews before he had disciples and he says, look, this is, this is the King of the world dying on this hillside. And he says, Jesus, if you were really something. If you were even a little something, if you had even a little bit of magic powers in those paws, you could make that piece of rock, become a pizza.
Like, come on, man. This is pathetic. This is all you got. And he’s saying to Jesus, who of course could have fed himself anytime show that you actually can take care of your own needs. You think you’re going to change the world? You can’t even feed yourself and he’s playing on this temptation that lived, that lives in the heart of every one of us to show who we are by the fact that we can take care of me and mine.
The kingdom of man says I am satisfied because I am successful enough to take care of my own needs. It’s this temptation is to say that I am I’m good, or I am at peace. Uh, if I make enough, if I work hard enough people who struggle with this false treasure, see, see that, uh, find it easy to describe the world in terms of winners and losers and are desperately trying to push themselves in the winner category.
They love to be seen for how busy and capable they are. They value external signs of achievement, and they hate being thought of as a needy person, people who live by this kingdom experience pride when they can be self-sufficient or shame when they feel like they can’t first false treasure.
Self-sufficiency secondly, the approval of others, right. Satan comes to Jesus and he’s like, all right, okay. You’re not going to do the rocks pizza things. This what we’re going to do. Jesus. You see Jerusalem here. You see all those important people walking around in the temple courts. Okay. I got the plan.
What you’re going to do is you’re going to jump. And right, as you jump, the horns are gonna blow. The angels are going to come cause you can command them and they will Swift you up. And it’s this magical moment. You had one of these when you were born, but you wasted it on the shepherds. Now you can have it again in front of everybody and you will finally prove.
Who you are to people. If you just bow down to me, I’m just asking for that. But you will then have the approval of all these people. Your family will see what you are, right? Your town. We’ll see what you are. News will spread of the God that you are. If you just were jumped, you can see this what a scene it will be.
You will come out of this obscurity and finally matter. And Satan is playing on this temptation that you are something based upon the admiration that you receive. Spiritual poverty is moving away from the temptation to find our security, our meaning in our relationships. And that relationships could be the relationship with, um, uh, your, your, your work.
Your, your business, the people around you, your family, the disapproval of others feels like maybe if I get the approval of others, then I can take a sip at that Makarios. It is a false treasure as a incredibly intelligent anthropologist. Michael Scott says this of the sensation he says, would I rather be feared or loved?
Easy both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me. Right. This is the temptation of the heart of wanting to find ourselves in the approval of others. People who are very susceptible to this false treasure. Those of us who are susceptible to that, we work hard to be noticed by our families are our friends, our neighborhoods.
We can’t seem to get funny enough, spiritual enough. Beautiful enough, likable enough. And, and people, when we struggle with this, this, this desire, this false treasure to be approved of by others, we find it difficult to work on our inner world. Why? Because no one sees us working on our inner world. It’s because we are often so concerned with how we look on the outside this kingdom, the kingdom of approval.
Produces jealousy and loneliness comparison is the thief of joy. And when we are trying to find our way in the approval of others, we’re always trying to claw head and are always upset when someone claws ahead of us. Third false treasure. We see temptation to Jesus that can lead us into this understanding of poverty of spirit, moral authority.
Satan says to Jesus, if you only bow to me, I will give you moral power. I’m going to make these places, Jesus nations, you can have all these nations and people, you will have the deep satisfaction of ruling these people and being the one who defines what’s good and what’s bad. Jesus speaks to this HeartSpace and the Pharisees.
All the time spiritual poverty is moving away from the temptation to find our identity in being good and right to find maybe we don’t, maybe we haven’t achieved. Maybe aren’t self-sufficient as much as we want to be Maine. Maybe we don’t have the approval of others as much as we want, but at least at the end of the day, I can hang my hat on the fact that I’m a good one.
And I can gain my sense of identity in being better than other people. The kingdom of man says my source of happiness and satisfaction is that I am a better person and that those I disagree with or I’m in conflict with are worse. I am right. And it feels good. It is almost happy for those of us who struggle with this false treasure, this false kingdom to view the world as a dirty place.
We want to see it as so dirty and bad because it makes me feel more clean and special. Jesus was very strong against those who worked so hard to do good. On their own, this type of kingdom, this type of false treasure, so sneaky and insidious, it produces godlessness and it is poison to the gospel godlessness because it is choosing to try to do good without God.
Trying to be good without God is a slap in God’s face. This is how he spoke to the Pharisees. No matter how many Christian tattoos they tried to put on it was about themselves and poisonous because we know of nothing more discouraging to sinners than those who try to use their morality as a club. It teaches that Christ is not for everyone.
It is only for the good ones.
And I, I belabor that point of the false treasures because I think they are identifying and understanding them is the means to which we can understand this next question. And these last two will be shorter. How do we become poor in spirit? I don’t think there’s anyone in here. It’s like, man, I love being a proud person.
I love finding my identity meat. No, we we’ve tasted enough of that world. Enough of that kind of thinking that we know the sour after taste of it, we know the competitive and fearful world that it. Means to when we try after these false treasures worse here, right. And we’re gathering here and online because we want to understand what is real Makarios, what is real treasure?
So how do we, how do we get more poor in always going after, get more, do less to go after these false treasures. And I feel very, or go after these things that Chris Webb calls cancers to our soul. Here’s what I say. I don’t think this is a willpower thing. I don’t think we become poor in spirit by just shoveling out the false treasures.
And then finally attaining it. We become poor in spirit when we are truly shown the emptiness of the false treasures. We become poor when we realized that is not the way to get rich when we come to the place in our life and say, that is not Makarios. That much is not just for those who can be self-sufficient approved by others and have some sense of moral authority.
Ruth Riemer wife of Ralph Riemer. Who’s retired. Uh, from here, dear person to many of us, we were singing a song and callings where they attend Collingswood and Ruth was doing the worship song and the song was Christ is enough. And I just turned to Ruth and I said, Ruth, I know you believe that. And actually people of your generation like that, I’ve seen follow Jesus for a long time.
They believe that the Christ is enough. But I said, honestly, a lot of us who, who aren’t quite in that generation yet, we feel like Christ probably is enough, but what we want is Christ. And we want Christ and a good marriage Christ and the sad, uh, satisfying reputation Christ and some sense of moral authority Christ.
And we don’t just want Christ. How did you find out Christ was enough? She kind of blew me off. Bruce Ramer believe it or not. She said this, she said, Oh, Ben, that wasn’t smacking me by the way. I don’t know. I don’t know what that was. She said, Ben, it’s just what she said, words right around these. We have tried all of those things too.
We have played those games. We have just done it longer. We have seen how empty. Those false treasures are and truly seeing it in truly living our lives in pursuit of it. We finally come to more belief. This is not Makarios. That is poverty of spirit saying this does not hold my real treasure. The kingdom of God, muck is comes often through suffering SU seeing the emptiness of treasures.
It also comes through success through getting some false treasures and being like, this is not what it’s cracked up to be. But the kingdom of God is not for those who muscle, their way to spiritual poverty. It’s not for those who will their way to poverty and spirit. The kingdom of God is for those who can’t get.
It’s great. I don’t know why you’re here this morning. Didn’t read your Bible this week. Didn’t fight off temptation like Jesus did in Matthew four, the kingdom of God is made for those. Who have tried and sought after false treasures and probably still would if they were any good at it, the kingdom of God.
And you can imagine as he’s teaching these people who probably don’t know much, well, who’ve never not achieved power and who, who have a sense of, we just can’t get Makarios. And he said, guess what? The kingdom.
There is a better land and it’s a land where the King is King question three. What does the kingdom of God for though mean for those who feel who are spiritually poor? First off, it means wealth. Future images of the kingdom of God in the future includes feasts. There’s enough to go around. There’s unhindered joy.
There’s no risk of loss or death. There’s no need to fear. There’s opulence. There’s there’s beauty. There’s overwhelming sense of fortune and wealth. That physical reality is a spiritual reality now, but here’s the beauty, the kingdom, the beauty. The spiritual riches com from the pain of being poor Henry now and says this, how can we embrace poverty as a way to God?
When everyone around us just wants to become rich poverty has many forms. We have to ask ourself, what is my poverty? Is it lack of money? Lack of emotional stability, lack of a loving partner, lack of security, lack of safety, lack of self-confidence. Each human being has a place of poverty. That’s the place God wants to dwell.
How blessed are the poor Jesus says in Matthew five, three. This means that our blessing is hidden in our poverty. We are so inclined to cover up our poverty and ignore it that we met often miss the opportunity, who to discover God who dwells in it. Let’s dare to see the poverty as the land, where our treasure is hidden.
It means wealth. The kingdom of God for the spiritual poor means rest. This is the message of Jesus. It’s not that we attain or achieve the kingdom. It is that the King brings his kingdom to us, nothing to prove here, nothing to achieve here, don’t have to fight for territory or your corner of real estate here.
You don’t have to be more beautiful, more likable. You don’t have to mask your dysfunctions, your disorders, your mental health, your struggles, your temptations, just as I am just as you are. Because the kingdom is ultimately not mine or yours. It’s his, and the risen Kings reign of Makarios joy has enough room for each of us as a message paraphrase of Matthew 11, that I just love 28 to three 30, where Jesus says, are you tired?
Worn out, burned out on religion. Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me, work with me, watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
It means rest. And lastly it means love. It means love because love is the very fabric of every place where Jesus is. It is the thread that ties all of history together. Under this King. It is the very DNA of God. It is a, and I’ve, I’ve mentioned this to you before. It is one thing to say, God can love it is a deeper thing to say that God loves me.
It is an even deeper and truer thing to say that God is love. And we say that type of land is so far. From the world we live in, that type of thinking is so far CS Lewis has a great quote on this. He says, if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy the most probable the nation is that we were made for another world.
Jesus said this, my kingdom is not of this world. To which we say this upside down life, this different way of being with Jesus. So, uh, pastor Mark said last week, shockingly, different than the principles of the world. I would just simply say, we are not made for this world, but there is a world, a kingdom made for you
in conclusion. This is all written in the plural, which is interesting. It’s not blessed. It is the man who is poor in spirit. Blessed. It is the woman who is poor in spirit. Not bless it is the one who is poor in spirit. How much old Testament blesseds are written? It’s they it’s plural. Bless it is the community that operates not as this world blesses the community that doesn’t play popularity games.
Blessed is the community that does not hoard power, but submits to one another. Bless it are the ones in the kingdom who listened to each other’s story and pain, and don’t take advantage of each other because of it. Bless it is this village that does not operate in self-sufficiency approval of others and moral authority, but one that operates in spiritual wealth where there’s always enough to go around.
And an unprotected rest that includes all and love that binds them all together with their King, whose very name is love, love, Makarios love. And would you stand as we conclude, I’m going to do a prayer over you over me from awe Tozer, who, who loves and speaks often of this, these beatitudes. And then we will go.
This is from AWI Tozer, who will conclude our time. Pray with me father. I wanted though, no, the, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I can’t part with them without inward bleeding. I don’t know how to try to hide from the, the terror of the parting I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart, all those things, which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self.
So that thou may enter and dwell there without rival. Then shell thou make a place of your feet glorious then. Show my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it for the ice self will be the light of it. And there shall be no night there in Jesus. The King’s name. Amen. We are dismissed.