A pastor who served in California for a number of years shared the testimony of a Hollywood celebrity he knew, who had struggled for years with a drinking problem. But one of the most difficult things they had to deal with, was that this person kept denying that they really had a problem. They kept saying things like: “I can handle it; I don’t need anyone’s help.” But the pastor said things finally began to change (as they so often do) when this celebrity hit bottom, and finally dropped their pride, and asked for help. This celebrity later said that “the three most important words I ever said were: ‘I NEED HELP’.”
Those may indeed be the most important words anyone can say: “I need help.” Every child says: “Mom, I need your help.” “Dad, I need your help.” I was walking down our street the other day and at the end of the cul-de-sac a little 3-year-old boy had spilled his toys on the driveway and he looked up at me crying and asked for help. Children aren’t afraid to ask for help, are they? Do you remember how Jesus said that if we want to enter the Kingdom of God, we have to become like little children? This is exactly what He meant by that. He was teaching us that if we’re going to get to heaven, we have to be willing to humble ourselves, and say to God those “three most important words”: “I need help!”
Last Sunday we introduced our study of Matthew 5:3-12, a passage we often refer to as “The Beatitudes.” But we saw that these Beatitudes are not merely 8 random character qualities which God has decided to bless, but these are 8 qualities which together picture for us the character of Jesus Christ which it is God’s ultimate goal to work into our lives. We saw that when Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for good, that Romans 8:29 immediately follows that up by saying that He is causing everything to work together “THAT we might be conformed to the image of His Son.” We don’t have to wonder what the “good” thing is that God is working all things together for. The Bible tells us that He is working all things together “THAT” He might make us more like Jesus in our character. And we saw that Matthew 5:3-12 is where God has strategically placed the description of Jesus’ character: in the first words, of the first sermon of Jesus, in the first book of the New Testament. In this prominent place, God has written the goal that He has for each one of our lives. And the most important thing He wants to do in each of us is to build these 8 qualities into our character.
So this morning, we are going to look at the very first character quality Jesus gives us here in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” This first quality, as you might expect, is FOUNDATIONAL. All of the others are built on this one. And as Jesus indicates here, it is vital. You can’t even get into the Kingdom of Heaven without it! So let’s look at what it means.Continue reading