Hello and welcome back!
It’s so good to see you again! I’m sorry to be late with this post but I am also late with my next post on my book blog, 21st Century Confusion also. I could blame this past week’s ministry work and sermon prep for my tardiness but that would be only half the truth.
The other half of the story is that I have struggled with my strong desire to write and my even stronger desire to visit and to play with my new granddaughter over posting on my blog sites.
My granddaughter won out!
Those of you fortunate enough to have a new granddaughter, I am sure you will automatically forgive me. For those of you who are not at the age where you have one, please go check out her photos and videos on my Facebook page. There is a real cute video of Belle riding a wild deer!
That’s right, a real, live, wild deer at 5 months old!
There is another video of her lying on her stomach and sitting up on her own!
Just type in Pastor Zach Malott to find me or go to the top, right-hand corner of this page and click on the Facebook icon which will take you to my page. I think then you will see why I caved and forgive me then!
Ok, enough of my excuses and bragging rights! Let’s proceed!
If you have not read the background information, please rest part one and part two of this Bible study series of posts first. You can find them in the right-hand side bar.
So, who is ready to die? Die to human selfishness, that is! Who’s ready to live a new life in Christ!
The last two posts have given some background material for the study of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. I am going to give you just a little more background before we jump into the first beatitude in order to provide you with the rest of the foundational platform—allow us to be on the same page as we begin our study together.
We have discovered that the beatitudes reveal the character of Jesus as a model for us to follow in our walk with Him. We also discussed that the beatitudes do not just describe our actions but provide us with a picture of who we are in Christ! Visualize it this way:
- Who we ARE in Christ is the noun or SUBJECT!
- What we DO is the VERB — stating our ACTIONS and revealing how we should ACT in Christ Jesus!
In other words, to follow Jesus — we must act like Jesus in our daily lives. This is the snapshot given to us in the beatitudes. While the world follows the truths of their own making (self-righteousness), the Christian puts on the real truth of God (God-righteousness) in the person of Jesus.
“We put on Christ like a new coat and throw the old, filthy coat away. In other words, we rely on Jesus, and not ourselves in all things!”
Peter reveals the truth of the above statement in 1 Peter 2:11-12 by writing,
“Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation” (HCSB).
What is Peter telling us above?
Well, what is it that the world is concerned about?
- Sinful pleasures.
Jesus tells us to,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matt. 6:33).
Look what Peter calls the Christian in 1 Peter 2:9-10:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (HCSB).
Jesus also said in Matthew 16:24:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me’” (HCSB).
With that being said, turn in your Bible to Matthew 5:3 with me.
The first beatitude is, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
The first thing we need to do is to do a quick word study. The Greek word for poor literally means beggarly. To be beggarly in spirit would mean empty of self. Eureka!
Blessed in the Greek means happy. It means happy in the sense of total contentment. This is total contentment in God and not self. Man was not made to be content in self. He was created by God and for God to be in relationship with Him.
Man cannot be totally happy or completely content outside of God. He will continue to fill himself with anything and everything to try to fill that need for God. Being fallen in nature, man cannot be in relationship with God without turning to and believing in Christ and His righteousness, not man’s own righteousness which Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 64:6:
“All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind” (HCSB).
This tells us that we can’t live in relationship with God without becoming poor (empty, beggarly) in our selves so that we can be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and His righteousness. We must be empty of self, we must deny self, and we must be filled with God.
We must be saved by our belief in Jesus, repent of our sins, ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, be baptized, and be filled with His Holy Spirit. This is what allows us to be able to enter God’s Kingdom.
What is God’s Kingdom? God’s kingdom = God’s people!
A king needs a kingdom! The kingdom of God is the church! The church is the people of God! Without a people there is no kingdom. You, Christian, are the kingdom of God and He is who fills your emptiness. He fills your willing, beggarly emptiness with Himself. He grants you His righteousness to replace your filthy rags of self-righteousness.
If you become beggarly in spirit, God can use you. He can use you just as He used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many, many more. Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:17:
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (HCSB).
This simply means that we must be empty of our self-righteous attitudes and filled with the Holy Spirit which is God’s attitudes. We put on Christ like a new coat and throw the old, filthy coat away. In other words, we rely on Jesus, and not ourselves in all things!
Let’s take another look at the first beatitude. “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
Let’s rewrite it in simple terms: Those who empty themselves of their old, smelly, rotten sinful self-righteousness and becomes beggarly and totally empty of their own spirit and put on the righteousness of God Himself who wants to fill them with His Spirit so we can be back in relationship with Him are truly happy indeed with true, complete contentment because they have put on Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and have become His body, the church (the Kingdom of God).
When we are totally empty of all self-righteousness and self-confidence and then become filled with God’s righteousness and power — that is when we are weak in self and strong in Christ Jesus. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:10:
“So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (HCSB).
In the next post, we will look at the next beatitude, “Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, HCSB).
Until next time!
QUESTION: Are you willing to become an empty beggar in your own spirit, empty yourself of self-righteousness in all areas of your life, and become strong in and for Jesus by living as a true child of God?