THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT -- LESSON ONE
"Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit"
I. The greatest sermon ever delivered, by the
greatest preacher who ever lived, began with the
words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit...."
II. The multitude Jesus saw on that mount in Galilee
in the first century was not likely much different
from any multitude he might face today.
(Matthew 4:25; 5:1,2).
A. An inner circle of disciples, the casual curious,
and the critics. A general cross section of
mankind: Successes, failures, literate,
illiterate, the disappointed, sorrowful and
B. All alike were seeking the same thing:
Happiness or contentment.
C. He was moved with compassion and spoke with
authority, for he was the greatest authority
who ever spoke on the human predicament.
D. He is still the greatest authority on human
happiness and he would still speak the same
true words with the same compassion and
III. POVERTY OF SPIRIT IS THE FIRST KEY TO
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, AND ALSO A
KEY STONE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF
CHRISTIAN CHARACTER AND JOY (Matthew
I. WHO ARE THE TRULY BLESSED PEOPLE?
A. Happiness is not born of outward
circumstances or conditions (Luke 12:15).
B. Neither is it a result of what one fails to have.
C. Blessedness depends primarily upon what we
1. Not the house, but the man who lives
2. Not the garments, but the woman who
3. Not the car, but the person who drives it.
D. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
1. You may say, "Perhaps he is right; but I
cannot work up much enthusiasm for it!"
2. But you are surely half convinced:
"Wretched are the proud in spirit!"
3. Perhaps our dullness of interest is because
we do not understand Jesus.
II. POVERTY OF SPIRIT IS A QUALITY
POSSESSED BY ALL TRULY
HONORABLE PERSONS, FOR IT IS A
QUALITY WHICH PRECEDES HONOR
(Proverbs 18:12; Matthew 23:11,12).
A. It is "the state of being humble in spirit;
freedom from pride and arrogance."
1. It is to be "lowly, unassuming,
2. Its synonyms are "lowliness, meekness."
3. The opposite of "pride, arrogance, conceit,
B. One who is full of himself and self-sufficient
cannot be called poor in spirit.
1. Augustine and others have named pride as
the greatest of all sins. Why?
2. Is pride the devil's greatest device (2 Cor.
3. Pride destroys the right relationship
between God and man (Psalm 10:4;
Romans 1:21,28; etc.).
III. GOD'S VIEW OF HUMILITY IS VASTLY
DIFFERENT FROM MAN'S.
A. What he requires of his children includes
humility; Isaiah 55:8,9; 57:15; 62:1; Micah 6:8;
B. He desires that we think soberly and honestly
of ourselves: Enough, but not too much
(Romans 12:3; etc.). Jesus revealed the worth
of the individual (Matt. 16:26), and each child
of God should have a wholesome self-respect:
C. Christian humility is not a cowering, crawling,
fawning, toadying, grasshopper attitude of
faithless base humility toward men (Numbers
13:33). Humility must flavor our character but
not dominate it: Christian humility is to be
childlike and teachable: To know and feel
our own unworthiness, insufficiency, deep
needs; and to be willing to learn and lean upon
a higher, wise and divine power. (Philippians
IV. EXAMPLES OF HUMILITY CAN HELP US
UNDERSTAND ITS MEANING.
A. Moses, who carried the reproach of Christ
(Exodus 3:11; 4:10; Numbers 12:3).
B. The ten spies came back with a sense of
littleness (Numbers 13), but were merely
faithless and poor-spirited, not poor in
C. The one talent man was trusted by his master,
but was full of pride and cowardice (Matthew
D. The older brother was a case of "abundant
spirit" (Luke 15).
E. The publican who prayed, not the Pharisee,
was poor in spirit (Luke 18).
F. George Washington helped soldiers move heavy
timber (Minister's Monthly, 8/66).
G. Jesus Christ carried the sins of the world
1. In His life humility was a
wonderful/powerful key (2 Corinthians 8:9).
a. "Son of Man hath not where to lay his
head" (Luke 9:58).
b. "I can of myself do nothing" (John 5:30;
c. "I have given you an example...A servant
is not greater than his lord" (John 13:3-17).
2. In His teaching: "Friend, Go up higher"
3. In His death: His greatest humiliation,
and the supreme example of all (Philippians
IV. ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE POVERTY OF SPIRIT
THAT ENRICHES US.
A. To know one is poor: Be conscious one is
needy, insufficient, limited, without spiritual
power and strength (Jeremiah 10:23; 1 Peter
5:6,7; "I Need Thee Every Hour;" etc.).
1. See room for improvement and recognize
human need of God's help: Awareness of
2. To be childlike, teachable, willing to learn
3. The Bible says pride blinds, deceives, defiles,
keeps many from becoming God's children,
condemns, and generates havoc and chaos,
not harmony or unity.
B. To be attentive to God's voice,
submissive to his authority,
responsive/obedient to his will, in
conversion, salvation, in worship and in life
(1 Peter 5:6,7).
1. Our wills must be obedient to the will of
God (Matthew 7:21).
2. When Ben Franklin signed the Declaration
of Independence he said, "We pledge our
lives, fortune and sacred honor."
3. When we become God's children, we must
pledge even more, our all, to Christ, God's
Son. (2 Corinthians 5:15).
C. To be "a living sacrifice:" A willingness to
live and serve according to God's
purpose and will (Romans 8:28, 12:1,2).
1. This requires a willingness to be
inconvenienced, and to place God's will
above self-interest as the primary
motive for action (Philippians 2:3-5).
2. Willing to carry the burdens of others
(Galatians 6:2; Luke 14:11).
3. Willingness to take second, third, or tenth
place, because God's will has been placed
above self-interest (Matthew 26:39).
V. THE BLESSEDNESS OF SUCH POVERTY
A. Jesus said it is the key to happiness (Matthew
1. Do you say, "I cannot get excited or
enthusiastic about it"?
2. What are the reasons why it is the first
key to blessedness?
B. It unlocks the door to salvation from sin
1. It makes hearing and obedience possible
2. It precedes repentance: Must no longer
trust self above God and his word (2
3. It leads to justification (Psalm 149:4; Luke
18:9-14). One full of himself, who is self-sufficient
and self-satisfied, is not and can
never be full of Christ (faith).
4. God dwells with the contrite and humble
(Isaiah 57:15; 66:2).
C. Poverty of spirit is essential for effective
prayer: It can improve the believer's life if an
act of surrender to God's will, and it is a
necessary condition of acceptable and powerful
prayer (Proverbs 28:9; Luke 18:9-14; 1 John
D. It is essential to produce/maintain unity
1. "Each counting other better than himself"
(2:3; Romans 12:16).
2. Lowliness and meekness produce harmony
and peace (Ephesians 4:1-3)
3. It is therefore a bulwark against discord and
E. It enables one to render his greatest and most
godly, righteous, joyful and rewarding service
(Matthew 18:4; John 13:17).
1. VIP's James and John sought pride of place
2. There are many barriers to Christian
service, but poverty of spirit helps us to
overcome those barriers and fit us for
effective service in God's kingdom (2
3. The largeness of our ability to serve depends
upon the spirit that fills and rules our
hearts: i.e., pride vs. true humility
F. It is the grace which enables us to be finally
exalted (Psalm 138:6).
1. We thereby avoid God's displeasure and
receive his rich divine grace: "God resisteth
the proud, but giveth grace to the humble"
(James 4:6, 10).
2. Humility precedes honor, exaltation and
makes possible the most glorious hope:
Resurrection to eternal life with God, Christ
and the angels in heaven (Philippians 2:9-11;
Luke 14:11; 18:14).
I. We may never reach perfection on earth in
humility, or the other Christian graces. But an
extremely important question is, Are we striving
toward it with "all diligence" (2 Peter 1:5-9)? Are
we truly going that direction and growing
II. To the proud, haughty, self-sufficient, the first
beatitude may mean little or nothing. But to a
meek, lowly believer, going the second mile and
turning the other cheek are important duties and
wise responses to evil during crucial tests: "Why
not rather take wrong? Why not rather be
defrauded" I Cor. 6:7)? Does this seem out of step
with your mental outlook and manner of life? Do
you prefer to defraud or be defrauded?
III. If we are "wise and understanding," we will
remember that only the poor in spirit enter God's
kingdom, are fitted to serve in his kingdom, and
qualified to remain in his kingdom where we are
guarded and kept by faith so as to be welcomed
into "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ" (James 3:13; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2 Peter
- - Charles E. Crouch
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