Matthew 5:1-3 Have you ever tried to witness to someone who saw absolutely no need of salvation? They simply did not see themselves as a sinner, and certainly did not need a some Savior that lived two thousand years ago to help them today. It is sort of like trying to give a jug of water to a person that is about to start across the desert but he does not know what a desert is. He is not thirsty now so does not want to be bothered with the water. You are trying to give him what you know he will desperately need but he has no idea of what is ahead for him.Have you ever tried to witness to someone who saw absolutely no need of salvation? They simply did not see themselves as a sinner, and certainly did not need a some Savior that lived two thousand years ago to help them today. It is sort of like trying to give a jug of water to a person that is about to start across the desert but he does not know what a desert is. He is not thirsty now so does not want to be bothered with the water. You are trying to give him what you know he will desperately need but he has no idea of what is ahead for him.
Many lost folk believe that they are not that bad of a person. They will challenge you to look at how bad my neighbor is. Look at that drunk or that murderer or that liar or thief. “In fact,” they reason, “compared to them I am a pretty good person.” I have run into a lot of folk like that along the way and you probably have too.
It is interesting that Jesus deals with this false assumption concerning ourselves with the very first words of His sermon.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “POOR IN SPIRIT?”
The word “poor” here literally was a word used to describe a beggar: one who has nothing. We understand what a beggar is, one who is destitute, in the depths of poverty. We describe it as being poor. Poor of what? There are different ways of being poor.
WHAT JESUS DOES NOT MEAN
HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT BEING POOR MATERIALLY.
Many have tried to say that Jesus was commending being poor materially. That is not the case at all. There is no spiritual merit in being poor. In the broad sense, it does seem that those who have less of the world’s wealth are more open to the gospel of the Jesus Christ. I wish it was not that way but worldly wealth seems to give us a false sense of self-sufficiency. I worked for General Motors for eighteen years. They were the largest car produces for decades. But since have gone through bankruptcy and are now number three. The parking lot where I once worked has weeds growing in it. There is no such thing as job security unless you’re an undertaker.
Some would protest and declare that the Bible says “money is the root of all evil.” Really, is that what it says, NO! It says, in 1 Timothy 6:10 “the love of money is the root of all evil.” It is not you having money that is the problem. It is, does your money have you?
In spite of all that, the Bible does not teach that poverty is a beneficial thing. Poverty is no guarantee of spirituality.
In fact, some of most covetous people are those poor materially who are always lamenting what they do not have. If only I had this or that, then things would be better.
It is not whether we are rich or poor in material things that matters. It is our attitude towards things that matters. The real question is are you rich in the things of God? If you know Christ you have eternal riches that will never be taken from you.
(2 Corinthians 8:9) “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT BEING “POOR SPIRITED.”
POOR MOUTHING YOUR SELF
Someone who “poor mouths” claims to be poor in order to benefit from others. Do you remember the old Charles Dickens character “Uriah Heep?” He had a phony humility. He would say something like, “O, I’m just a nothing, I’m not good at anything, I’m, just your “umble” servant.
Uriah Heep was faking it in order to manipulate people’s feelings to get what he wanted. It is a wicked phony spirit, where one glories in being “poor spirited” when in reality the true spirit is just the opposite. They have an arrogant pride in being able to get what they want out of others.
BEING POOR OF AMBITION
There is no merit in our doing nothing for ourselves. We are reaping the harvest of the second generation of the “entitlement mentality.” The thinking is pretty much across the board that “I” am entitled because, and they plug in their reason. That might be politically correct but it is not only unbiblical it is anti-biblical (against Bible teaching).
(Ephesians 4:28) “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
What is the biblical principle? Everyone that is able should work. And in that he will have the ability to help the helpless: those who cannot work.
God has given us a personality, and certain talents, and spiritual gifts along with opportunities to use them. Our lack of ambition or initiative reveals our laziness not our spirituality. Living by faith does not mean mooching off others.
God expects us to use our lives to the best of our abilities. What is the key and control upon whatever we do? “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
This must become our constant mirror, is what I am doing for my glory or for God’s?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “POOR IN SPIRIT.”
IT IS THE OPPOSITE OF BEING RICH IN PRIDE
Or to be rich in ourselves.Remember we said the word “poor” means to destitute, empty.
Jesus wants us to understand that we are spiritually empty, spiritually bankrupt, having nothing to commend ourselves to God. We are beggars before God.
IT IS THE BEGINNING OF THE TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE
It all begins here with becoming spiritually empty. Spiritually, all our religious baggage needs to go. That means all of our preconceived ideas of what saves, what makes one “spiritual.”
This first word deals with an emptying but the rest of the beatitudes speak of fulness. Our becoming spiritually empty is essential to our salvation.
Conviction precedes conversion, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ condemns before it renews.
We find here the foundation of the SPIRITUAL LIFE. We enter into Christ realizing our great need of forgiveness of sin, and we continue in Christ in daily need of His filling, enabling, and leading.
HOW DO WE BECOME POOR IN SPIRIT?
WE WILL BECOME “POOR IN SPIRIT”
WHEN WE SEE GOD RIGHTLY.
Until we see God in all His holiness, righteousness, and in His perfection we will not be confronted with our own wickedness and sinfulness.
It is the testimony of Scripture.