Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 months ago

Blessing The Poor In Spirit


Rev. Paul Johnson

Five will be looking at the first threeverses of Matthew, Chapter Five I'll read through the first twelve. Listen for this is the word of the Lord seeing the crowds he went up on themountain when he sat down his disciples came to him and he opened his mouth andhe taught them saying blessed. Are the poor in spiritfor theirs? is the Kingdom of Heaven Lester those who mourn for they shallbe comforted lester the meek, for they shall inheritthe earth bless. It are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the Merciful, for theyshall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, blessed are the Peacemakers, for theyshall be called Sons of God. blest are those who are persecuted forRighteousness Sake, for theirs? is the Kingdom of Heaven Blessed? Are you when others revile youand persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on myaccount, rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven, for so theypersecuted the prophets who were before you as far the Redif God's word. May Hebless it to us, please be seat it this morning we you hear some famouswords famous words from one of Jesus's, mostfamous sermons. These words open, Jesus's, famoussermon on the Mount. This sermon that contains the next T. sthat's found of the ex few chapters of Matthew's Gospel contains some ofJesus's most well known instructions. It contains lessons that we've allprobably grown up with whether you grew up in a church or not here is where Jesus says that we are tolove our enemies. Here is where Jesus tells us to turnthe other cheek to judge, not lest you be judged, diddo unto others as you'd have them do. Unto you and the moral absolutes Jesus willdescribe in this sermon are alarming. Many of Jesus's statements in thesermon are truly shocking. I mean there's a reason. His sermon onthe Mount is so memorable and has a lot to do with just how surprising a lot ofit is, but even if Jesus moral teachings areshocking and surprising at least they're still ratherstraightforward, I mean it may have been surprising. Thefirst time you heard Jesus calling you to love your enemies, but it wasn't exactly confusing. You weren't wondering what he meansthere. So what about these beatitudes? What about these opening string of ofblessings blessed are the poor in spirit blessare those who mourn blessed are blessed? Are we can easily follow along when whenJesus is teaching us about what is right and what is wrong, but I found it harder to grasp what isgoing on with these blessings have to confess, as a young Christian,I didn't know what this meant am I supposed to be meek. I thought I wassupposed to be courageous. Am I supposed to want to inherit the earth shouldn't it be better to desire?Heaven like, I think what we see here is there's athere's, a poetic character that these blessings take. I meanthere's balance to these words, there's...

...symmetry, there's simplicity, to whatJesus is saying. I mean there's structure, obviously to these openingwords, but there's not a lot of explanation. So, what's going on with thesebeatitudes what's happening here in these blessings, it's easy to find many interpretations. It's easy to find many many pitfalls aswell, especially when it comes to what to dowith them, how to apply them. One of the most common opinions is toview these blessings simply as commands I mean obviously when when Jesus saysblessed are the poor in spirit, then there's a part of us that instinctivelywants to reread these words as if they say, if you want to be blessed,therefore, you must be poor in spirit. It's very easy for us to readconditionsinto these blessings. That's one way to solve the question of whatdo I do with these words but they're? Not really there are theyanother interpretation I've heard is to break down or to break apart theseblessings. To sort of ask the question: Well, which are you? Are you more poorin spirit? Are You more meek? I haven't googled it, but I'm sure there's anonline quiz. You can take that will classify you, maybe you're more of apiece maker, maybe you're morning, but when we categorize these blessings,when we split apart these blessings when we park them out as maybe you'rehere or there, we then fail to see the unity that Jesus is drawing all thesethings together, he's not dividing them out among vervains people of variousstatuses. Well, then, what is Jesus doing here ifhe's not giving commands? What's he what's he giving if he's not breakingup these blessings? What is it that is holding them alltogether and we're going to answer that questionin a couple of ways? First, I want to start with the opening couple verses before verse. Three, we hear Jesus that he's seeing the crowds and he wentup the mountain when he sat down his disciples came tohim and he opened his mouth and he taught them so Jesus going up to a mountain wherehe then sits down. He opens his mouth and he teaches he opens his mouth on the top of amountain to teach them what it means to be blessed before God. Does that sound at all familiar? Can you think of any other leader inIsrael's history who likewise ascended a mountain in order to deliver God'sWord to God's people? It's very easy to see a parallel with Moses here. In fact, Jesus sermon on the Mount willlikewise remind us and comment on the Ten Commandments which Moses himselfreceived and delivered to God's people, and this isn't the first time inMatthew's Gospel that Jesus's life has reflected the life of Moses, both Jesus and Moses, when they wereinfants, their lives were threatened by a tyrannical king. Both Jesus and Moses had to flee, whileother infants in their town were put to death. Both Jesus and Moses lived in exile fora time where the king, while the king lived, who sought their life and the similarities, don't end therewhen when Jesus was baptized, it recalled various imagery of Moses andIsrael's passing through the Red Sea,... event which the Apostle Paul calls abaptism as well. After his baptism, Jesus went into theWilderness where he was tested, like Moses, like Israel and as Moses ascended Synie, to receivethe law of God, how Jesus ascends another mountain. In order to speak God's Word to God'speople and at the similarities we see aregiven to highlight their differences. The point is not to view Jesus is justanother Moses or a new Moses, but as the fulfilment of what Moses himselfwas looking forward to back in Dudar Onyma Chapter Eighteen,the Lord told Moses that I will raise up for them a prophet like you fromamong their brothers, and I will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak to them all that Icommand him. What we see in Christ is one like Moses,but one greater one, so much greater than Moses. I mean Moses ascended MountSinai in order to first receive God's word before he could then speak toGod's people. What does Jesus do? He goes up opens his mouth. It speaks on Mount Sinai, Moses had to go upalone and if any other person or animal came too close to the mountain, it wasto be stoned at that mountain. The people stood infear before the holiness of their God. The crowd was told to stay back to stay away. But what does Jesus do? He goes up the mountain and he bringshe brings his disciples. He brings the crowds with him. This mountain is not a place of terror,it's a place of peace and though Jesus will preach the lawwith all its perfections. It's not in the context of judgment, but of grace for Moses would also speak to God'speople of blessings, but he would also speak to them ofcurses and for Moses, the blessings and thecurses come after the reading of the law. As we hear in Deutoronomic seven, youshall therefore be careful to do the commandments and the statutes and therules that I command you to day and because you listen to these rules andkept them and do them the Lord will, God, your God will keep you well keepwith you. The Covenant and Steadfast Love Heswore to your father's. He will love, you bless you and multiply you I meanin this makes sense. Doesn't it of course, God should bless perfectobedience shouldn't. He is this. What his ownrighteous justice would require, and yet the problem is, none of us arerighteous, and the history of Israel showed they deserved. God's curse, nothis blessing, because the law given by Moses does notgive us a process for saving ourselves. Rather, it shows to us. Our inability law reminds us that we are not underGod's blessing, but because of our sin, we deserve his justice. We deserve hiscurse and yet what is the first word out ofJesus's mouth? The first word out of Jesus's mouth isa word of Blessing Mal admit. As a young Christian reading,my Bible. I was continually confused by what Jesus was staying here, so I'm happy to shear after years of study after seminaryeducation,...

...sorry, after what all the trainingright that we receive has taught me, and if you don't remember anything elseabout this sermon, I want you to remember this I'll say it twice. Even when Jesus announces these blessings, here's what Jesus is doing. Jesus is blessing when Jesus announces these blessings Jesus is blessing. I don't know why that took me so long to see and it's a blessing- that's not heldout to you in the future to one day hopefully grasp and receive the blessing is for you to day. As we see, then that Jesus is more thanjust a prophet speaking God's word to his people. He is the Prophet whospeaks not just God's word, but with God's own authority. This is the final prophet, who is also the king, the perfect king, the perfect king, who embodies theperfect wisdom of the Lord. I think there's a reference to Sol to proverbsthirty one here and in proverbs thirty one King Lemuelis given this wisdom saying. First of all, it's not forkings! Oh, let me well, it's not for kings to drink wine, for rulers to takestrong drink lest they drink and forget, what's been decreed and pervert therights of all the afflicted starts with saying what kings are notto do: They're not to act out of selfish greed, drinking strong winethey're not to open their mouths for that sort of thing rather later in proverbs. Thirty one open your mouth for the mute for the rights of all who are destitute,open your mouth judge, righteously, defend the rights of the poor and theneedy. Jesus goes up to this mountain, to openhis mouth, to judge on behalf of the poor and theneedy and to bless them. The day has finally arrived at theProphet Isaiah looked forward to, and I say as sixty one. The spirit ofthe Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring goodnews to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of prison tothose who are bound to proclaim the year of the Lord'sfavour to comfort all who mourn. This is how Jesus will later verify toJohn the Baptist that he is indeed the Promised Messiah, because these thingsare being fulfilled through his ministry. Good news is being proclaimedto the poor. CAPTIVESS are being set free, those who mourn are beingcomforted. We hear that from these very words ofblessing this morning, we're just going to look at verse. Three blessed are thepoor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Now Jesus has been announcing. The goodnews of the Kingdom of Heaven throughout his ministry He's alreadydeclared repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and he can declare that as the king ofthat kingdom and as the king of that kingdom, he is now dispensing handing out the blessings of hiskingdom. He says blessed are the poor in spiritfor the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. I don't want you to miss howshocking these words are. Blessed are the poor?...

Is there a time when you looked atsomeone in absolute poverty and said boy, they sure look blessed, I mean to our ears. It almost soundssarcastic. It almost sounds uncaring. What do you mean the poor are blessed?They can't put food on the table. You're telling me they're blest, that's astonishing, but Jesus says blessed are the poor inspirit. So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? What is it the categorizes, the poor, those who are in poverty have havenothing to offer. Those who are destitute are without theability to purchase things for themselves, and surely this is the spiritualcondition of every one before our holy God. The Perfect Law of our God reveals oursin. It reveals our inability to earn or to achieve any sort of gain orblessing from our Lord and yet here Jesus declares the poor inspirit to be blessed because to them belongs the Kingdom ofHeaven Jesus announcing the blessings of thekingdom as they are being spread out to those who cannot earn them. The poor in spirit have nothing tooffer, and yet what did they gain? Everything? Isn't this? What the Gospel declares tous in Romans, five for when we were still weak at the right time, Christ died for theungodly, for one will scarcely die for arighteous person, though perhaps for a good person, one would dare even to die,but God shows his love to us and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and yet there's morehere to being poor, there's more here to being poor in spirit. This condition does not just describeour our spiritual state before the Lord on another level. That also describesour condition in this world. Again and again, these beatitudes, orthese blessings of Jesus, will describe and will confront us withour position and place not just as those before God but before others inthe world. So what does it mean to be poor inspirit before our neighbors and before the world? Christ isn't making the point that it'smore virtuous to be physically poor, rather he's describing how the worldsees us he's describing how the world treats us. The spiritual life that were given inthe Kingdom of Heaven looks like poverty to the world. What does the world do to their poor? It looks down on them, pities them. The poor, helpless before theirneighbors, the poorer subject to all kinds of of abuse and neglect for to be poor in spirit doesn'treflect. Your Bank account just look at how often David is cryingout in the psalms. Acknowledging that he has nothing to be poor in spirit is to be treatedby the world as those who are despised to be looked down upon, because our investment is not in thethings of this world. We look poor in the eyes of the world, and yet, as Paul tells us an effusionsone, blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessedus in Christ, with every spiritual blessing in the hevenly places...

...and yet to the world. It looks likefoolishness to the world that only cares for itself. Spiritual blessingslook like a bad investment, and it isn't this exactly what Christ himselffaced, though, having a right to the veryriches and blessings of heaven. Christ laid those down to share in thesufferings to share in the afflictions of the poor, in spirit as Paul says in Second Corinthians Ate,for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was richyet for our sake, he became poor so that by his poverty we might becomerich. Christ was despised. Christ was hatednot because of his financial situation, but because he was dismissed asworthless. He was unwelcome because he possessed nothing that this world trulyvalues he was afflicted. He was oppressed allthe way to the cross to the same cross, which is foolishnessto the world, which is yet the very wisdom and powerof God. For Dear Salvation, their Christ paid the penalty, our sindeserved and in the Empty Tomb, Christ provedvictorious over the sin and death that defines so much of this world, and if we are looking to Christ byfaith, if we are placing our trust in him, then we've been united to him,both in his suffering and in his resurrection, as Paul says in Second Corinthians, forthough our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed dayby day. So on the top of this mountain Christis not handing out conditions that must be met. He's distributing his promises. That, though there is nothing we can doto become wealthy in the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ bestows his blessing on the poorin spirit on those who mourn on those who aremeek on those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Christ blessings are unconditional and though they speak of unseen andeternal things notice. How Jesus says this, it doesn't say the poor in spirit willbe blessed one day when they inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, not what he says now. The fullness ofthe Kingdom of Heaven is indeed future, but the blessing that Jesus is givingis here. The blessing is now blessed are the poor in spirit, because the blessings of Christ are forto day, and so in Christ we are poor, we areweak, we are foolish in the eyes of the world, and yet we are already blessed byChrist, not because of what we will one daypossess, but because of what you already possesshere and now, but you've been given Christ himself and because Christ himself has claimedyou you who are poor in spirit. Christ purchased you with his own blood you who are despised in the eyes of theworld you who are looked down upon by a world too caught up in its ownfleeting desires, which never satisfy know that this world is not your home. You belong to your saviour. All the while suffering the slings andarrows of a world that is fading away is Paul, says and Colossians. Three ofthen, you have been raised with Christ,... the things that are above, whereChrist is seated at the right hand, of God set your minds on things that are abovenot on things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hiddenwith Christ in God, so, just as they look down on Christ, just as they despised him and rejectedhim, the world will do the same to you and yet knowing what an honor it is to be labelled poor in spirit alongwith our saviour, the world doesn't value the blessingsthat Christ gives through his kingdom and yet what greater honor is there andto claim this title of poor in Spirit along with Christ, from Christ's handsto receive the very blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven, which are yours now to live as citizensof that greatd and eternal and perfect city? All the While we see a world struggling a world failing a world which needs to hear this samemessage of blessing. Blessed are the poor inspirit, for there is, is the Kingdom of Heaven Amen? Let's pray, I.

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