#252 – THE POOR IN SPIRIT (8/12/20)
The beatitudes have been called ‘the beautiful attitudes. They paint a picture of the ideal Christian; disciples of Jesus are to ‘put on the beautiful attitudes’. However, If I was to ask you what it means to be ‘poor in spirit’ you might say something like, to be lonely, grieving loss, be unhappy, to lack self-worth, be in poverty…not very beautiful! Today let’s begin to consider this first beatitude which disciples are to seek to ‘put on’.
Readings and reflections
1. It seems very strange to say that the blessed - the rich, happy, and ideal… are those who are in poverty of spirit!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:13)
What belongs to the ‘poor in spirit’?
One enters the Kingdom by being ‘poor in spirit’ so what do you think this means?
2. Paul, in Philippians 3, outlines the ‘riches’ he could have trusted in: his good upbringing, good conduct… However, he shows that he has lost all confidence in these things,
‘But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.’ (Philippians 3:7)
What does he consider these things and in whom is he now trusting?
A Christian has all the blessings that God has to give because they understand that they are spiritually bankrupt and can only be saved through the death of Jesus for them. Lloyd-Jones says of this first Beatitude that, ‘There is no more perfect statement of justification by faith only than this Beatitude’.
Have I come to God with empty hands? Am I trusting in Jesus alone for salvation and in the Spirit to transform me? Am I regularly singing something like “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling”? Am I overly focussed on outward appearance - looking attractive and successful? Do I rely on my initiative or am I prayerful?
To memorise this week
This week, why not begin memorising The Beatitudes?!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever been jealous of someone? Why was this?
Introduction - please share in your group
To be a disciple means that we learn from, in order to obey, Jesus. On Sunday, we began to look at the Beatitudes, which is an important section of Jesus' teaching.
Let's read the whole section together,
'Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."' (Matthew 5:1-12)
To be blessed means to be truly happy, and truly rich.
Billy Graham called the Beatitudes the beautiful attitudes. These are attributes that every Christian is to exhibit. As we do so, we will become a city set on a hill for the glory of God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
This week we will focus on the first Beatitude which reads,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
To be poor in Spirit is to realise that we are spiritually bankrupt. We realise that we need saving. It's to come to trust in Jesus completely for salvation and transformation. To such belongs 'The Kingdom of heaven' - they become citizens of God's Kingdom and have the certain hope of eternal life.
1. Would you like to share anything that struck you or something that God spoke to you about from Sunday's message or the devotionals this week?
2. What might characterise someone who is 'poor in spirit'?
3. To be blessed is to be truly rich; in what ways have Christians been enriched?
4. To be poor in spirit is to rely on Jesus completely for salvation; what texts of scripture would you use to reinforce this idea?
5. To be poor in spirit to to rely on God for transformation (sanctification); what texts of scripture might you use to reinforce this?
Investing and inviting
i) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
ii) How are you planning to 'invest and invite'?
iii) Finally, Who are you planning to invite to our carol service on the 20th?