SOTM – The Beatitudes

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

One’s true happiness through life is the product of having a right relationship with God the Father. Man is not fully capable of achieving this by his own accord and therefore falls short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Man was created in the image of God and had a perfect nature, he was created sinless and had no thoughts towards disobedience. Man was righteous and able to be in the presence of God and walked with God in the Garden of Eden. I think that the Garden of Eden was a prototype of Heaven and all was in harmony with the will of God the Creator. Then that evil fallen angel Lucifer came to seek, kill, and destroy and tempted man that he could be as God, and man fell. Sin entered into the world and since all has been under the curse of death. Man could no longer be in the presence of his Creator and the relationship was broken and man in his natural state was lost.

The meaning of the word “blessed” in Greek means fortunate, well off, happy, and it is a state that here in this world man experiences from time to time but man’s longing is to live in a state of happiness perpetually. This motivation, which is often self-centered, has been the cause of much sorrow in the world, as man cannot find true happiness apart from a right relationship with his Creator.

The first three Beatitudes have to do with the view of man in comparison to his sinful nature in the revelation of the righteousness of God his Creator. As the Apostle Paul explains. “I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:9-12) When man views his state in the state of God’s perfect holiness he realizes that he is totally impoverished and devoid of goodness. Man realizes that he is but a wretched worm in the light of God’s truth. There must then be an admission of his shortcoming and a desire to return to the perfect image he once had.

For man to seek righteous living he must first know the depths if his unrighteousness. Man must know that he is enslaved by his worldly living. Man cannot help, by his nature, to be involved in a love affair with the world. Many a man relates the world into only what he can have of it that benefits him first and others after. Some even go farther to see themselves as the center of the universe. In both ways it becomes all about themselves and they fall into the trap of living for self. They become caught in the three legs of sin. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

God cannot build upon a foundation that is prideful, self-centered, and filled with personal ambitions for their own good. These characteristics must be removed and for that to happen one must be aware of his spiritual poverty. God who knows the heart of a man must empty these faults of character before He can fill them with the fruits of His Spirit. “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10) It was this way when I went through basic training in the Army that they had to break me down before they could mold me into the soldier they needed me to be.

Being poor in spirit is not a condition that the world will admire. The follower of Jesus is not to be living for self, nor for the approval of men, but is seeking that which is pleasing to the Father. “And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15) This is repentance, not just giving something up but turning towards something far better. Poor in spirit is a willingness to surrender to the authority of God that He might be in control and govern our lives according to His plan and purpose. Thus, we pray “thy will be done.” When we look and see the many blessings the Lord pours out upon us each and every day, that He is faithful and true, and that He is always before us leading us to victory, then we realize how unworthy and undeserving we are for the love and mercy He has shown towards us. “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.” (Genesis 32:10)

The pathway to happiness is knowing our sinfulness and the poverty of our spirit. Now we realize that we have traveled along the broad road that leads to our own destruction. That we have followed the wisdom of the world that leaves us here in that last minute alone and hopeless. That vision that can see no further than the horizon and no more. We seek that which is everlasting, a true vision that will carry us to the borders of Eternity and beyond in His Kingdom. A narrow path that leads only to the everlasting arms of a loving Heavenly Father. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

If we follow this narrow path set before us that takes us out of our spiritual poverty into the richness of God’s glory, then we shall see the Kingdom of Heaven. The New Testament uses the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven interchangeably. The Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule over the universe and in which the Kingdom of Heaven is a part. We can view the Kingdom of Heaven in two lights. To those who have committed their lives to the rule of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this world are in a present Kingdom of Heaven. They are the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and are ambassadors of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. They represent God and His Kingdom before men that the light of His truth may be known.

Let us always be mindful, be watchful in prayer that Jesus is returning and will establish His Kingdom here on earth. This is a future Kingdom of Heaven that is coming and will be on earth for 1000 years and Jesus will sit on the eternal throne of David and rule the nations. Then and only then shall there be peace and goodwill towards all men. This the answer to our daily prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) We eagerly await for the voices of the Kingdom of Heaven to proclaim it. “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, January 10, 2016

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