The Sermon on The Mount – Poor in Spirit


RG 11/18/2015

Last week we did an overview of the Sermon on the Mount

In it Jesus tells us how to approach God – the attitude fit for service to Him

Approach God dressed in Christ’s Righteousness

We serve Him with the Attitude of Christ

He restates the Law from God’s perspective – What it is and what it is not

What it is not: Not a 10 step program for working your way to God

What it is: Godly principles for staying in close relationship with God and principles that would bind the nation Israel (the family of Jacob) together.

Who are those present at the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus, seekers, Disciples

Who are those who would seek out Jesus?

Whose character does Jesus reveal in the Beatitudes?

Key Verse from last week: 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven

This sermon happens early in the ministry of Jesus.

It happens near Capernaum some 70 miles north of Jerusalem

It happens shortly after Jesus has selected the 12 Apostles from his many followers.

It happens at a time when all of Israel is occupied by Romans, when the religious leaders have an agreement with the Romans to help control the masses, when there are only two classes of people: roman citizens and slaves.

Compare the circumstances of the initial giving of the 10 commands to the time and circumstances of Jesus

The sermon is presented primarily to His disciples in the presence of a crowd who have gathered primarily to be healed.

Today we will zoom in on one or two of the Beatitudes we spoke about last week.

We will look at examples of characters in the Bible and examples from Jesus teachings to illustrate the point He is making to His disciples.

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This first blessed attitude is the key to the kingdom

The sick seek a healer

The poor seek a benefactor

The abused seek refuge

Those taken advantage of seek a new order of things

The morally and spiritually bankrupt must seek forgiveness and hope.  It is these who seek a Savior.

It is to this last group Jesus is speaking

He not speaking of their physical circumstances but the spiritual condition.

In coming to Christ as savior we find also a Healer, benefactor, a refuge in times of trouble, a new order of things, forgiveness and hope

Who are those who are seated and listening to Jesus? What attracted them to Jesus?

Seekers from Northern Israel, Syria, Phonecia and Greeks from the Decapolis.

They are: slaves, poor, weak, hungry, sick, abused, injured from too much labor, the disenfranchised, those who serve the whims of others. They have a healthy dissatisfaction for the status quo; they have little happiness in this world.

They came to be healed and to find hope.

The disciples:

Those who left everything to follow Jesus

Some had been followers of JTB who went to Jesus based on John’s testimony

How would this audience have received this teaching; the poor will inherit and kingdom? How would you respond in their circumstance?

It would have startled those who came for healing.  What did He just say? The poor are blessed? I am blessed?

I have never heard teaching like this?  Tell me more.

I left home, family, church community to follow You

We had a kingdom now the Romans have it; you say we have a kingdom in heaven?

Was Jesus talking about their circumstances?

Their circumstances brought them to Jesus

God uses hardship, difficulties and even tragedies to draw us into relationship with Himself

Jesus was not talking about their physical circumstances.

What was most lacking in the lives of everyone present?

A relationship with God

The blessings of God

The Joy of knowing God

How do we come to understand our need of a savior?  What would cause us to seek salvation and cherish it?

The drawing of the Father

Conviction of the Holy Spirit

Accurate self analysis in the presence of God

Examples from Jesus Teaching:

The Tax collector Luke 18:13-14

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Centurion Luke 7:6

6Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof;

The Prostitute Luke 7

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.

”The Canaanite Woman

Even the dogs eat the scarps from the children’s table

By Contrast the Rich young Ruler

17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 18“Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’

20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Examples from men of the Bible Old and New Testament


Psalm 51:17

17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise


1 Kings 3:7 –

7″Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.


Job 42:5-6

5“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; 6Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”


Is 6:5

5Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

John the Baptist

Mt 3:11

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.


Luke 5:8

8But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”


Romans 7:18

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out

24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The World Says:

Our problem is self esteem

We must build and shape our image

Make our own way

Blaze our own trail

Stand up on our own two feet

To the winner go the spoils

He who dies with the most toys wins

Concluding Thoughts:

So what does it mean to be “Poor in Spirit”?

A sense of powerlessness in ourselves

A accurate assessment of our own spiritual bankruptcy, a helplessness before God

A knowledge of the perfection of God and His Christ and a sense of moral uncleanness before God

Knowledge of personal unworthiness; I have nothing to offer God except that which He has given me.

A knowing that I stand before God solely because of the blood of my Savior Jesus Christ.  The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  It is all grace.

Phil 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

God Says:

Do not think too highly of your selves but esteem others greater than yourselves

You were dead in your sins and trespasses, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except by me

No one comes to except the Father draws Him

It is by grace you have been saved so that no man can boast

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

Therefore brothers offer your bodies a living sacrifice Holy and Pleasing to God, this is your reasonable act of worship. Do not conform to the patter of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is

Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

He who would be first must be servant of all.  He who would serve God must have a servant’s heart.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What does it mean to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world

Our Kingdom is in the realm where God and Christ are present.  It is right here right now and still not yet.

We experience the kingdom when we participate with God in our own sanctification and in cooperation with His Spirit in service to God.

Ro 8;14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.