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01 Introduction to the Beatitudes

Conrad Vine
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Conrad Vine

President of Adventist Frontier Missions

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  • June 15, 2020
    9:00 AM
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Well good morning to our online to our congregational audience this morning as today we're going to start walking through the Beatitudes and following Jesus through the Beatitudes I'd like to thank Pastor Bryce for a warm and gracious welcome as my privilege to be able to share with you today what it means to walk with Jesus through the Beatitudes when I was studying in seminary I was often intrigued by the prophecies of Daniel in the prophecies of Revelation but I came to realize that the bits of the Bible that we tend to think of as being simple to understand that we tend to skip over in our reading such as the Beatitudes are actually pregnant with very deep spiritual significance and so it's my privilege to walk with all of us here today as we go through this week through these incredibly powerful teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we're going to be focusing on Matthew's version of the Beatitudes there are 2 versions of the Beatitudes one in Luke Chapter 6 and the other in Matthew chapter 5 but we're going to be focusing during this week on the on Matthew's version of the Beatitudes and at this morning we're going to have a brief overview to the Beatitudes themselves they're going to focus on the 1st of the Beatitudes blessid the poor in spirit for that is the kingdom of heaven and from Tuesday through Friday we're going to be focusing on 2 Beatitudes per day what do they mean what was Jesus saying and how does this apply to us today we are truly living in troubled times and it's important for us as followers of Jesus Christ to know what it means to follow him in a practical way is important for us that our Christian faith is expressed in the daily decisions we take day by day and so as we go through the Beatitudes I pray that like me you'll be blessed as we discover what Jesus was saying and as I speak my prayer is that the Spirit will speak to each of our hearts but before we open the Beatitudes invite you to bow your heads with me and we will ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us this morning so shall we pray. Well Heavenly Father I want to thank you for these beautiful teachings of Jesus I think you fathers that they echo down through the centuries and they apply to us today I ask father that your spirit will speak to our hearts you will move our feet you will transform our thinking as we reflect on the simple yet profound teachings of our Lord and Savior I ask Father that you forgive me for my sins that you hide me behind the cross of Calvary that you anoint me with your spirit today that what I share will be from your throne of grace I ask this mercy in Jesus name men the Beatitudes really are a series of brief statements they are simple words and yet they have profound meanings these teachings of Jesus are primarily for His disciples when we read in Matthew chapter 5 Jesus is giving these teachings to the 12 the disciples who have gathered around him yes there is a wide a crowd out there but in the Beatitudes Jesus is speaking to those who are photos of his they are His disciples He is teaching them what it means to live as a follower of Jesus Christ and so these teachings of Jesus they apply to any today in any corner of the Glow wherever you may be watching online anybody today who considers themselves to be a follower of Jesus then these Beatitudes for you now are Jeff before we get into the 1st beatitude let's just reflect for a moment and what it means to be bless it because we're very familiar with the foot with the expressions bless it are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God and so forth but what does it mean to be blessed that. Well we find actually that in the Greek and Hebrew there are 2 words for glass and the 1st of those words in the Greek is unit a or we get the word eulogy from that of the Hebrew equivalent is Barack Oz or Barack or this word does not appear in the Beatitudes either in Matthew nor in Luke now the sense of the word in a gale is that when you are praying for God's blessing upon somebody this is the word you would use so for instance if you are saying Oh Father I pray your blessing upon this family as a symbolic on this journey Oh Father we pray for the blessing of your presence as we gather to worship you this morning oh we might say decided 6 per 6 persons bad father we ask for your blessing to rest upon the sick child of yours that is the word that is a situation where you would use your leg ala but that is not the word that Jesus uses the word that Jesus uses is Macarius in the Greek and Hebrew it is a seer and the word Makarios is not used in a wish list when you want wishing to invoke God's blessing but it is a word that recognizes an existing state of happiness or blessedness or oneness with God In essence the word Makarios affirms equality of spirituality that is already present you are not asking for this from God Jesus is describing this is what it means to live in my kingdom we might say that Sister Jones is a blessin sister within our church we're not asking God for a blessing when we use that phrase but we are affirming a quality insisted Jones as life that already exists. In the Beatitudes it's important that we understand the distinction between these words you'll go on Macarius for instance a 3rd beatitude says this blessid other me for they shall inherit the earth now we are not to understand this to mean if you are me then you will inherit the earth that would be using the word you like a way that is not what Jesus uses uses the word Makarios what he's saying is that bless it other people sorry the point is not exhortation to a kind of behavior Jesus is simply affirming that in this life there is a blessedness for the me and by the way they have the promise that they will inherit the earth we will come to that beatitude tomorrow as we journey through these Beatitudes together. And so the term Makarios is important for us to reflect on this morning the next thing I want to stress in the instructions of the attitudes is the is the structure of the Beatitudes and I'm trying to move the slides on the forward if we can move to the next slide back to. This structure the Beatitudes is different in Luke to Matthew and here we have on the screen the Beatitudes in Luke Chapter 6 and what are some of the observations we can make about this version of the Beatitudes Well you notice there that the Beatitudes in Luke It starts with 4 blessing statements and those 4 blessid statements are paralleled by 4 wos statements and so for instance we have if you turn in your Bibles to tune into the passage which talking about Luke Chapter 6 it says blessid are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God So bless it on the poor of the top of Luke Chapter 6 and then on the bottom half of the Beatitudes there we have whoa to the rich whoa to you who are rich for you have received your consolation then the 2nd positive the attitude is blessid are you who are hungry now for you shall be filled and that's parallels in verse $25.00 by the by by the word it says whoa to you who are full now for you shall be hungry then the 3rd positive the attitude is found in verse 21 it said Blessitt are you who weeping now for you shall laugh and that is paralleled by the 3rd woes of these Beatitudes in verse 25 that says blessid awoke you who are laughing now for you will watch mourn and weep and then finally now the for the 4th of these blessings is in verse 22 bless it are you when people hate you when they exclude you revile you and defame you on the account of the Son of Man rejoice in that day and leap for joy for surely your reward is greater. Heaven for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets This is the longest of the Beatitudes both in Matthew and in Luke and in this one focuses on persecution and this is paralleled in verse 26 by the word that goes with it is said Woe to you when all speak well of you for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets so what can we learn about these teaching of Jesus what it means to follow Jesus just from the Luke's version of the be asked to choose well we notice that where does Jesus actually appear in this version of the Beatitudes he doesn't appear in the 1st the 2nd the 3rd the 5th the 6th the 7th or the 8th he doesn't appear in these Beatitudes he appears in the 4th beatitude which is the longest and that has to do with persecution and you notice that in this the attitude about persecution that it speaks about negatives Blessed are you when people hate you when they exclude you when they were vial you and when they defame you you have 4 negatives and then you have the heart of Luke's Beatitudes that's where Jesus appears on account of the Son of Man and when Jesus enters the picture when we're facing persecution then everything becomes positive rejoice in that day and leap for joy for sure your award is great in heaven for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets that is you will be counted among the prophets because you spoke up for Jesus Christ the turning point in this beatitude is the presence of Jesus in this beatitude here we see that Jesus literally he is in the heart of the Beatitudes he is in the middle of the Beatitudes he appears in the heart of the longest which is the 4th of these Beatitudes what are lessons we learn from this was simply this that it is unbiblical to assume the just because things seem to be going well in life in a material sense that things must be well with God. And it is also dangerous to issue that just because things appear to be going badly in life for you your hungry your weeping you are hated by all men and your poor it is dangerous to Schumer just because things appear to be going badly in life that somehow things are going wrong with God And so this beatitude invites us to look beyond our reality the realities of experiencing today if we cannot shewn that if I'm rich therefore I am blessed by God if I am poor therefore I am cursed by God Jesus is denying the prosperity gospel within these beatitudes and he's inviting us to look beyond our physical condition how wealthy we are how happy we are how full We are now stomachs and reflect on our walk with him that goes beyond transcends these physical realities we also see in this beatitude that Jesus is the heart of the Christian life. This invites us to ponder does it not is Jesus Christ at the heart of our lives today is he an afterthought Is he a footnote is he someone that we may talk about on Sabbath morning or is he really at the heart of our daily existence because these Beatitudes are given to guide us in daily living and so the challenge in Luke's Beatitudes the challenge to us is to ask is Jesus Christ at the center of my life or to put it another way does my life revolve around Jesus Christ and His presence and my teachings day by day so then we come to Matthew's Beatitudes if you want to turn your Bibles to Matthew chapter 5 and we see that that Matthew structures the Beatitudes in a different way in Matthew's Beatitudes we see that we have a series of blessid statements and we're just going to go through than now beginning in Matthew chapter 5 in verse to that and again Jesus is speaking to His disciples so if you're watching this you're in the congregation you're watching it on the live streaming and you're wondering what does it mean to follow Jesus Christ today these Beatitudes are a wonderful starts point for that discovery that journey of discovery what it means to follow Jesus and so Jesus starts in verse 3 by saying blessid are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven bless it are those who mourn for they shall be comforted blessid are the meat for they will inherit the earth Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled blessid other merciful child receive mercy bless that other pure in heart for they shall see God bless it all the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God but I said of those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and then again on persecution verses living through 12 blessid are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of. Evil against you falsely on my account rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets that were before you now whereas in Luke's version of the Beatitudes you have 4 positive blessings followed by 4 negative woes and Jesus is in the hearts of those Beatitudes in Matthew's version of the Beatitudes Jesus doesn't appear in any of those Beatitudes until the very final one which is the one on persecution in verses in Lebanon 12 and if you take a look at those verses just a bit more closely you notice that just as just as Luke has done so so Matthew balances out the positives with the negatives so it starts out Blessed are you when people revile you that's a negative when they persecute you that's a negative and that's all kinds of evil against you falsely that's a negative and then the turning point is on my account the presence of Jesus is it that is the heart of the last of these Beatitudes So in the midst of persecution for the name of Jesus Christ when it is done when you are persecuted for Jesus Christ then the situation is changed then the positive skin rejoice be glad for your reward is great in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you so where as in Luke's Beatitudes the question is it is my life revolves around Jesus is that Jesus and His teachings are they the center of my life and this everything else revolves around them this is a great question for Christians today we listen to many voices you may listen to this media outlet that media outlet you might like this politician or that politician you may actually without realizing it be following the philosophy of your favorite movie star or pop singer or have a list too. But in these Beatitudes who are invited to to in listen to the words of Jesus and Jesus alone to allow Jesus to be the center of our life that our life revolves around him and we are guided by the principles of his teaching that is what it means to follow Jesus and in Matthew's Beatitudes is not just that our life revolves around Jesus but Jesus is the climax of our living that our dream our hope our desire is to see is to see Jesus again face to face if I have no desire to see Jesus tomorrow why would I live for him today if I'm not filled with the hope and joy of of him saying Well done good and faithful servant why would I put up with persecution on his account today just around the world even in this last week I've been tragic stories of martyrs for the faith and there was a young boy late last week who was brutally killed by a mob I won't say whether it's on the other side of the world a young Christian boy was killed for his faith and he did not recount his faith known he was facing certain death for that young boy the hope of seeing Jesus once again was enough to get him through that Chuck chapter of persecution but if Jesus is not the goal of our life if meeting Jesus is not the purpose is not our driving hope if we do not have the blessid hope but we have a knowledge of Jesus but are of the hope and the love of Jesus in our hearts that it's going to be hard for us to make it through those times of persecution and so these Beatitudes even though they're structured differently in Luke and Matthew they contain important questions for us today what does my life revolve around today is Jesus really the center of my life what is the focus of my life today am I really yearning to meet Jesus I hoping to meet with him one day and he well done the government good and faithful servant. How does my relationship with Jesus affect whether I'm blessed and today or not indeed Mitt let's turn that question around Can I be blessed by God today if Jesus is not the center of my life and the focus of my life if I do not build my life upon the rock which in the context of the sermon amount of the teachings of Jesus himself then when the storms of life come my house will fade away is a wise man the wise woman build the house upon the rock that is the teachings of Jesus that allows us to survive the storms that come our way in life so with this kind of instruction in mind for the Beatitudes I want to invite us now to reflect on the 1st of the Beatitudes is a beautiful beatitude as one that we're very familiar with maybe we'll learn to it we memorize it in part find us if this is the 1st time that you are hearing these Beatitudes I invite you to spend some time just chewing them over them in your mind turning out turning them over and asking what does God have to say for you in these beautiful these simple but profound teachings of Jesus so the 1st beatitude and the only be at you going to spend time on in today's seminar together is found in verse 3 of Matthew 5 and it says there blessid are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven or somebody wants said I need help I can't do it alone so what is Jesus talking about in this beatitude. Well it's interesting that Luke has this statement Luke says Jesus says that Blessed are the poor losers not say blessid are the poor in spirit those Matthew says bless it are the poor in spirit and so we might ask ourselves you know if Matthew is writing later to a wealthy a Christian community than Luke has Matthew sold out he doesn't want to offend his rich audience was Luke says Blessed are the poor that this really means that those who are financially Paul Luke Matthew says Blessed are the poor in spirit so he softens it away from a financial aspect as Matthew sold out to a wealthy a Christian community is he trying to soften that the impact of the Gospel after those who have are wealthy in material goods but who are maybe poor in spirit. Well I would say absolutely not because the expression poor in spirit is a profound expression of Kingdom living and why is that well 1st of all we'd say this that in the Gospels poverty is neither a hindrance nor is it a condition for salvation nor is but neither is poverty a result of salvation Jesus does not teach a prosperity gospel here but neither does he deny a prosperity gospel he simply saying that poverty is Nigh is little a hindrance nor a condition nor the automatic result of salvation the Franciscans are a famous author of monks they take vows of poverty and Saint Francis of Assisi he committed his life to poverty and and even to this day the Franciscans they do they take vows of poverty and all through the dark ages all of Middle Ages we had mendicants those who were friars who walk around begging begging for their daily needs that was never the intent of the Franciscans Francis of Assisi his intent in setting up the order was that the monks would not depend on people who they would work for their own living and working for a living on their farms they would necessarily be subsistence farmers and therefore poor but over time this evolved so the Franciscans would actually start begging people for for the funds that they would live on but in this by the attitude of Jesus Jesus does not idealize poverty and he does not sanction or explain that poverty is an ideal spiritual condition Matthew does not say that you can be bipolar in body but rich in spirit nor does he say that if you are rich externally that somehow this affects the state of your walk with God Furthermore in this beatitude here we cannot take a poll now Rich later attitude that if I'm poor today financially in the world I can look forward to the the time when I will inherit the kingdom of God and all the riches thereof No we cannot take this message from the beatitude rather Matthew throughout his gospel presents God as a god who lacks nothing. In Exodus Chapter 3 verses 7 and 8 and that we reflected on this in our sermon 2 nights ago when on the call of Moses we realize that God's goodness to Israel was revealed in the elimination of all conditions that lead to poverty and human want because God promised Moses that he's in xs chapter 3 he promised him a good land a broad land a land flowing with milk and honey no longer would they be moving around in the wilderness living day to day from the manner that would fall but now they would lead settled agricultural lives able to plant their crops able to have honeybees and so forth and so God's goodness is revealed in the promise land that promise to Moses of Exodus 37 through 8 in the elimination of those conditions that lead to poverty and need he poverty and the silence suffering that it represents represents a denial of the goodness and the perfection of God They represented a nihil of God's intent for his children I served for many years in refugee situations and I can tell you this that refugees in refugee camps they often come across as being aggressive and they snatch and they grab whatever they can and when when you come to a refugee camp if you're working there and you have money in the bank and you have food in your fridge and you have a supermarket down the road that you can go get food from your not worried about your daily bread and that changes how you live but if everything is snatched away from you and you have to leave your home and now you're living in a camp and there are 50000 people fighting for food supplies and there's only food supplies for 20000 people you're not going to survive and you not going to feed your family by being polite. You suddenly have to fight for everything you can possibly get and I'm 7 refugees owns in many parts of the world I've seen the transformation that takes place in the human character when you up reduced to abject poverty and you have to fight for your daily subsistence good manners being polite standing in queue it goes out the window and one location where I used to serve the crowds was so aggressive that we used to pile old rusty cars burnt out wrecks in front of our warehouses just to slow the flow of the crowd towards the food warehouses it was a crowd control measure because if you have rusty cars and heaps of scrap metal all around your warehouse people have to clamor over it to get left food this is a form of crowd control I want to tell a young intern I said we would live in food in this part of this part of a country and at the moment we give food to 50000 families a month in this part of the world and this is with address many years ago and I said but we have to reallocate 10000 family assignments to another region where there's a fresh wave of refugees and I'd like you to go up and tell the people there that we're reducing from 524-0000 families getting food now this young man was eager to please and he went off there and he came back with his tail between his legs it was a painful experience. Telling people that you are removing their daily bread is not an easy experience and in this beatitude here we realize that poverty and all the silent suffering that it represents represents a denial of the goodness and the perfection of God It reduces us beyond what God intends us or God intends us to be Secondly we see in this beatitude that salvation comes to those who are poor in spirit but what does this mean will invite you to turn your Bibles to Isaiah Chapter 66 where I desire talks about this concept of the poor in spirit and Isaiah Chapter 66. And many theologians believe that Jesus is building on this teaching Mizar Isaiah Chapter 66 we see there in verse 2 and in Jesus' eyes I is talking in verses one through 4 about what is acceptable worship to God and in the midst of this pass this passage about what is acceptable worship to God We see their eyes I a chapter 66 the 2nd half of that verse it says there but this is the one to whom I shall look to the humble and contrite in spirit who trembles at my word now I desire rarely uses the word poor at all in his book sometimes he uses it refer to those who do not have sufficient to eat so it is if you turn back to Isaiah 58 and verse 7 as I says there that the kind of worship the God seeks for he says is it not to share your bread with the hungry and to bring the homeless poor into your house that is one instance where as I use word poor to afford to refer to those who are literally hungry and have nothing to eat. But the normal use in the book Isaiah of the word poor does not refer to those who are fist physically hungry I desire use his word poor to describe those who are humble enough to know that they are in desperate need of God's word and who tremble at his word and so back here and I as I chat to 66 for this is the one to whom I shall look this is God speaking to the humble and contrite in spirit who tremble at my word essentially what Jesus is saying is the kingdom of God cannot be received by full hands Jesus is warning us against a worldly self-sufficiency when we have an absence of physical need then we start to trust in ourselves in our physical resources and we no longer need to trust our Heavenly Father for our daily bread Jesus is also warning us here against a religious self-sufficiency many of his crowd listening to him when he 1st spoke these words if you turn back to Matthew 5 many of them were Pharisees and Sadducees they would say to Jesus later in John's gospel we are the children of Abraham they were proud of their ethnic heritage that they were the descendants of Abraham but yet they looked down on the Gentiles they had a sense of ethnic self-sufficiency they had a sense of religious self-sufficiency because they follow the teachings of Moses and in this teaching here blessing on the poor in spirit that is those who know they need God's grace and who tremble at God's word Jesus is counseling us against a sense of religious self-sufficiency. Now for some of us here today in our congregation of you watching online what would some religious self-sufficiency look like it might mean for instance believing that your name you've been baptized and we praise God for that he that believeth them is baptized shall be saved Mark 1616 that is well and good but there are some people who then lives their lives wander away from God I've had experience as a pastor where a church board will say I will pass by and we haven't seen this person for 20 years please could you connect with them and ask to they still consider themselves not scientist or not and when you connect with them they may be living in Texas and your church is in Maine for instance the other end of the country and as you talk with them you realize a leading and entirely godless life and you say well our church board would like to know would you like your name taken off the church rolls and I say Oh no I don't want my name take I want my name on the church rolls why well just in case pastor just in case it's kind of like it as perch insurance policy it's in the back pocket I know I'm not I know I'm not leading a godly life but it's just in case I need it Jesus is cautioning us against believing that because we have godly parents or Christian education or praying grandmothers all terminal degrees that we live lives of good deeds that we have a great intellectual understanding of doctrine and we need seemingly upright a moral lives he's cautioning us against your lying upon that for our right standing for I haven't you father the poor in spirit are those who come before God with empty hands. Who do not bring anything to God who do not say to The Heavenly Father you owe me salvation because a look how good I really am but they come before God with a sense of utter. They they realize their lack of of worthiness and they come before God with a desperate sense of their need for His Grace now lives Thirdly the poor in spirit according to this power this have the attitude Jesus they already dwell within the kingdom of God and what is this kingdom within the Gospel of Matthew which is the sovereignty of God in the lives of individuals and communities in the Lord's Prayer later in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 verse 10 Jesus teaches us to pray Viking them come which implies that there is a future manifestation of His Kingdom but then in Matthew chapter in Luke chapter 11 verse 20 Jesus says to the Pharisees he says but if it is by the finger of God and I cast out the demons then the kingdom of God has come to you so in the teachings of Jesus there is a present benefit station in the kingdom of God and there is a future manifestation of the Kingdom of God we might say there is the Kingdom of Grace today and there is a kingdom of glory tomorrow and this beatitude Jesus has bless it all the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven that is they live within the Kingdom of Grace today and they have the hope and the promise that when the kingdom of Glory of manifest is manifest when Jesus comes again they will be found in the Lamb's Book of Life so what are the implications of this beatitude for us today well firstly poverty is a sign that God's plan for humanity is not being fulfilled. Turn in your Bible to Matthew Chapter 11 just a few chapters later and John the Baptist he's not sure whether Jesus the Messiah to send messages to Jesus and so are you really the one that we were hoping for are you really the Messiah of God and Jesus answered in Matthew Chapter 11 in verse 4 and this is what he says he says Go and tell John what you see and hear the blind receive their sights Elaine walk the Lexus or cleanse the deaf hear the dead are raised on the poor have good news brought to them and bless and is anyone who takes no offense at me only well fed Christians would assume that food would not be a tangible manifestation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God to chronically hungry Christians and the reality today in many parts of the world is that the cycles of Jesus are hungry a number of years goes my privilege to preach in Haiti and I when I stood up to preach I realized that all the children were fast asleep in the pews and when the service was over I asked the pastor I said How come all of the children are asleep he said Well Pastor said they have one meal a day that meal today is off to church they've gone 24 hours without a meal they've gone to school yesterday they're living in the heat those children are chronically hungry that's why they're sleeping through a sermon. And so however you break the bread of life from the Word of God Those children are looking for a literal loaf of bread to satisfy their hunger it is only well fed Christians would assume that the bringing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not involve ministering to the physical needs of those who are in need today the teaching of the power of the sheep and the goats later on in this gospel of Matthew 2531 through 46 indicates to us today that any share in the future kingdom of God is equated with our efforts today to alleviate the impact of poverty and suffering as Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me food therefore it's a proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ of the Kingdom of God is to have any impact today I want to challenge us today by reflecting on the fact that preaching the gospel must be accompanied by reversing the conditions and alleviating the impact of human suffering and human poverty we cannot just preach the gospel and leave people hungry. The bread of life is and is physical as well as spiritual blessing on the poor in spirit as Jesus we recognize our own desperate need of God and we ask God to meet our needs but in so doing we are to be sensitive to the needs of others physical and spiritual and were invited by Jesus beatitude to minister to those who are caught up in the snares of poverty Secondly and we turn back this beatitude here Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven the obvious implication here is that a proud spirit is a cause of stumbling that will keep you out of the Kingdom of God If the poor in spirit are in the kingdom of God Those who are humble those who tremble at the Word of God Those who have a need of their self their lack and their desperate for God's grace in our lives then the corroboree is also true that those who are filled with their own self sufficiency who come to God on the basis of their own merit and their own words in a sense a father you owe us our eternal salvation because look how good we are then those people are outside of the Kingdom of God. The poor in spirit acknowledge God as the ultimate source of power of life and of meaning and so in this gospel particularly Matthew chapter 13 verse 43 or 4 through 46 the poor in spirit reorder their lives in order that they may serve those in need around them going to turn there for a moment Matthew chapter 13 where Jesus talks more about what it means to be in the kingdom of God and the Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven in Matthew chapter 13 Jesus has 3 parables about what it means to live in that kingdom of heaven and you see there are just we one of those parables Now verse 45 Matthew 13 again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls on finding one pearl of great value he went and sold all that he had and he bought it now the important thing about this description of the Kingdom of God is Jesus is not saying that the Kingdom of God is the pearl What is he like in the kingdom of God too he says the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of find posts that is it is the process of searching for the pearl of great value that is a description of what it means to experience the kingdom of God What does that mean in practice Well if you know there is something of great value in your garden that you see you lay aside everything in your life and you focus singlemindedly on finding that thing of great value in your God And yes the kingdom of God is that searching process it means putting aside those things that may tie me down putting aside those things that are of secondary importance putting aside those things that distract me from from making Jesus the center of my life and the focus of my life. And so in this beatitude here Jesus is inviting us to Toto and away from those material things in our lives that offer a false sense of security and to search for the Pearl of Great Price and it is in the searching for the pearl of great price that we are emptied of self-sufficiency and we trust in nowhere the foundation of men Jesus and His teachings in our lives day. And then there is thirdly and we turn back to Matthew chapter 5 and finally here let's it are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven the poor in spirit live today by the principles of the Kingdom of God You cannot say that you dwell within the kingdom of God but refuse to live by the principles of the Kingdom of God if we if we call ourselves disciples and follows of Jesus Christ we've been born again into God's Kingdom then we are to live the principles of that Kingdom and in practical terms the poor in spirit in Matthew and in Isaiah they they strive for justice for peace and for righteousness therefore those who are poor in spirit do not stand idly by while injustices are being perpetrated while conflicts are encouraged and while rights Mrs trampled upon in our families in our churches room wider society know the empty hands that are empty that they can receive God's salvation are not made lame in the process rather these empty hands that receive God's salvation our strength and precisely so that we can serve our neighbor that we can meet our neighbors need for bread and food and security and housing and they can receive the love of god bless it are the poor in spirit of they are not limp Christians who who are who often no benefit to society those who come to God with empty hands when we receive the salvation from God Our hands are strengthened that we might be a blessing in our community that we might live out the principles of the Kingdom of God in all of its beauty in our broken and battered communities wherever we may be living today so I want to close with a few questions for personal reflection today do I come before God with truly empty hands do I come before God today with a sense of my own self sufficiency. I work for the church I haven't as parents I studied had not been to scholars judge God knows me so my salvation or do we come before God with a sense of our own lack a sense of our own worthiness that we tremble at the Word of God we realise our sinfulness we come before God say Father help me not because I deserve it but because you are merciful and you do like to be merciful to your children secondly how do we respond to those who are caught up in poverty today we can respond intellectually how do we respond practically and wherever we may live in the world today you will always find those who are caught up in poverty living down your own than your own streets or within your own community it is not hard in our world today to find those who are struggling to feed their children or to put a roof over their homes over their heads how do we respond to those caught in poverty and whose kingdom I am I living today does my life reflect the values of the Kingdom of God Or does my life reflect the values of the kingdoms of this world these are good questions bless it all the poor in spirit said Jesus for theirs is the kingdom of heaven the world will see the principles of the kingdom of heaven lived out in the lives of the poor in spirit those who are humble those who have no sense of self sufficiency those who realize that they live by the grace of God day by day and those whose hands are strengthened as they receive God's grace to be a blessing in their community to bind up the brokenhearted to heal those who are hurting to feed the poor to bring them home shelter to the homeless to visit those in prison etc etc What promise or invitation from God is there for you today in this beatitude is God speaking to your hearts this morning this evening wherever you may be watching blessing said Jesus are the poor in spirit. If you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart as I share these words with you today do not harden your hearts do not say I'll think about this tomorrow do not say to I'm busy today all think about this in a more convenient time no less that blessing said Jesus Ah the poor in spirit today as we hear these words do not harden your hearts to not quell the movings of the Spirit upon your heart but ask God that you indeed will be counted among the bless the blessid who are poor in spirit that you may experience the blessings of living in God's Kingdom today as we journey through this Beatitudes we're going to look more deeply it's the remaining Beatitudes over the coming 4 days is my prayer as we journey through these Beatitudes will not just be learning stuff for our heads but we're going to be experiencing the transformation of heart that comes when the Holy Spirit works upon us and brings a harvest of righteousness in our lives today tomorrow and in the coming days weeks and months May God bless as major news be at Jesus again remember blessing all the call in the spirit. 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