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Behold the King
“Life in the Kingdom of God” # 3 Matthew 5:3

Date:March 6, 2022
Author: Wayne J. Edwards

Introduction:


Many religions view the Sermon on the Mount as a list of ethical standards by which Christians should live. In that regard, they claim that poverty in itself is a virtue, and the absence of material possessions or the lack of financial resources reveals one’s faith in God. Some even take a vow of poverty to prove their faith and their trust in God’s provision.

However, Jesus used the term “poor in spirit” to describe those who are utterly destitute and completely helpless to provide their own way into the Kingdom of God. In Jesus’ day, a person in such physical need would be so ashamed of his position in life he would cover his face while he held out his hand and begged for help.

Jesus said this describes those who will be allowed into His kingdom; those so poor in spiritual things they beg God for His mercy and grace. We will explain this further in our next sermon in this series – “Behold the King: Life in the Kingdom of God # 3.

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Old Testament Reading: Amos 9:11-15 – New Testament Reading: John 3:1-21

Behold the King
“Life in the Kingdom of God” # 3
Matthew 5:3

   Matthew’s purpose in writing his account of the life of Christ was to prove to his fellow Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, the King, the Savior sent from God.

  • In the first three chapters, Matthew outlined the majesty of Jesus – His royal lineage, his miraculous birth, the homage of the Magi, the announcement by John, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the confirmation of God the Father.
  • In the beginning of chapter four, Matthew outlined the first miracles of Jesus – changing the water into wine, healing the nobleman’s son, assuring the woman at the well of forgiveness if she confessed Him as Savior.
  • Near the end of chapter four – Matthew outlined the message of Jesus “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
  • In chapters 5-9, Matthew outlined the ministry of Jesus as He taught the disciples what life is like in the Kingdom of Heaven (or God):
    • The miracles of healing were to illustrate the physical/spiritual realm of His kingdom.
    • The Sermon on the Mount was to illustrate the moral/ethical realm of His kingdom.
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described:
    • The Character of the King – Jesus modeled these nine characteristics in His earthly ministry.
    • The Character of the Kingdom – Jesus described the life of those who received Him as Savior and surrendered unto Him as Lord.

“The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed”
John R. W. Stott

  • God wants His people to be blessed – He wants us to experience that inner joy that comes from knowing the true meaning and purpose of life.
  • God wants His people to bless others – He wants us to show others the way to true happiness by seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness and allowing Him to supply our needs from His riches in glory.
  • In Ephesians 1:3ff – The Apostle Paul said when a person is born again, all the blessings that were given to Jesus when He returned to the Father are given to those who receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
  • In Ephesians 2:1ff – The Apostle Paul said those eternal blessings belong to every believer forever and ever, world without end, as God displays the trophies of His grace before the heavenly host.

1. The Position of Being Poor in spirit – Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

   In His first recorded sermon, Jesus said the fundamental characteristic of a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven is to be “poor in spirit.”

  • To be “poor in spirit” is to recognize our inability to make ourselves acceptable unto God by anything we can do, and we cast ourselves upon the grace of God!
  • As long as a person hopes to find happiness in this world, they will never comprehend the happiness that can only come from God.
  • As long as a person believes they can achieve God’s acceptance through their self-righteousness they will never be able to receive the gift of God’s grace.
  • Until we recognize how utterly worthless we are without Christ, we will never know how valuable we are to Christ.
  • Until we recognize the filthy rags of our unrighteousness, we will never appreciate the robe of righteousness given to us through Christ.
  • Until we die to ourselves, we will never know what it means to live “in Christ”.
  • Until we come to the end of ourselves, we will never fully admit our need for God.

2. The Definition of Being Poor in spirit – Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

   This is where the different interpretations of the Sermon on the Mount are manifest.

  • “Poor in spirit” does not mean one must give away their earthly resources and take a vow of poverty.
  • “Poor in spirit” does mean one must recognize they are utterly destitute and utterly helpless to provide their own way into the Kingdom of God.

Two Greek words are translated as “poor” in the Bible:

  • “Penes” – refers to the person who has to work hard every day just to provide for his own needs.
  • “Ptochos” – refers to the person without the ability to provide for his own needs; he is totally dependent upon others to provide his needs; he covers his face in shame because of his abject poverty, yet stretches out his hand and begs.
  • Those who are truly “poor in spirit” come before God, boasting of nothing except the absolute emptiness of their hearts before Him – openly admitting – “nothing in my hands I bring – simply to the cross I cling!”

“The Holy Spirit enters in His fullness,
the heart that boasts of nothing
but an aching void.”
Hudson Taylor

3. The Definition of Being Poor in spirit – Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

  • “Theirs” – those who humbly come before God with a broken and beggar’s heart.
  • “Is” – not “shall be” – not just when the “millennial kingdom” comes, or the “heavenly kingdom” comes, but the moment a person receives Jesus as their Savior.
  • “Kingdom of heaven” – we are no longer under Satan’s domain of darkness, but we are transferred into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. (Col. 1:13) – We are under the rule of Christ and the canopy of God’s grace.
  • We have the blessings of God’s peace, the freedom of God’s forgiveness, the power of God’s presence, the authority of God’s Word, the guidance of God’s wisdom, the assurance of God’s will, the promise of God’s glory, the fullness of God’s everlasting joy – for all of this is “in Christ”, and Christ is “in us” – the hope of glory!