Monday, October 16, 2017

The Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying…Matthew 5:1-2

As Jesus began His ministry he had throngs of people following him as He traveled from place to place proclaiming the message of salvation and healing people.  One particular day, Jesus say crowds of people coming towards Him so He went up on a nearby mountainside and sat down to teach.  This was one of the most notable messages of Jesus, known as the Sermon on the Mount. 
Jesus had been telling everyone that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand and had been urging people to repent!  In this message, Jesus lays out what living a life built on the foundations and character of the Kingdom would look like. 
The sermon began with what we know as The Beatitudes.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells of the character qualities of a true Christian, the people of God.  In this message, He teaches a humble message about how we can be transformed by the virtues He lays out that will ultimately lead to our reward in the next world.  There are eight Beatitudes that Jesus taught that day and in the next eight days we will take a close look at these Kingdom characteristics that are the marks of a believer.  The first Beatitude is Blessed are the Poor in Spirit. 
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. V. 3
The first characteristic Jesus taught that day on the mountain is Blessed are the poor in spirt.  To be poor in spirit means to be humble.  When we realize that all the good we have and all the good that is in us only comes from God and not our own doing, then we are poor in spirit.  It is not about being downtrodden or sad.  That is not what Jesus was talking about.  To be poor in spirit, we discard ideas of our own goodness and spiritual self-sufficiency, or any other thing that stands between us and God.  What the poor in spirit have:
  • The poor in spirit have given up their desire for harmful and superficial things.  They have assessed their values correctly.  Having done so, they have invested in the things of greatest value.  Their priorities are proper, and they are seeking first "the kingdom of God.
  • The poor in spirit are not inflated by egotism, not easily bruised, not always seeking their rights.  They possess a resilience of spirit that keeps them from being crushed.  Such persons are not disappointed because the world will not devote itself to making them happy. They are dependent upon an invisible means of support.
  • The poor in spirit have a teachable spirit. They are receptive people who know they need God's help and are ready to receive the help God gives. They know their own insufficiency.
Being poor in spirit is not a suppression of your personality. You don't have to be ashamed of your personal abilities, the money you have worked for, the car you drive, or the house you live in.  Humility is not the putting down of our personal qualities but being unpretentious about our life.  It is about feasting at His table of grace and giving Him all the glory. 
For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven  This is the great reward for being “poor in Spirit.”  To possess the Kingdom is to be possessed by God.  The Kingdom of heaven on earth begins with right spirit but is entered by service.  Obedience founded on trust opens the gate to the Kingdom.  All the power and blessing of God begins with humility.  Being “poor in spirit" is the foundation for the greatest spiritual blessing.
Scripture to Claim:
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6
than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. John 13:12-16

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