Expressway Baptist Church We will air weekly sermons recorded at Expressway Baptist Church. Sermons are written and delivered by our Pastor Daniel McCrosky.

Sermon Series: The Life of Christ: From Creation, to the Cradle to the Cross to the Crown

Sermon Title: The Sermon on the Mount: The King’s Mandate- Happy are the Humble

Sermon Text: Matthew 5: 3

Sermon Date: July 10, 2016

God wants us happy. Psalm 144:15 says, "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." God wants our lives filled with joy. God wants to bless us. He wants us to experience bliss, a deep inner happiness, not produced and not affected by emotion or by changing circumstance, a kind of blessedness and a kind of joy, a kind of bliss, a kind of happiness that is not subject to outside forces but only inside ones produced by God in the heart.

The first twelve verses of the Sermon on the Mount explain the purpose of Jesus' sermon: that believers know true happiness. The rest of the sermon deals with how happiness is possible  and the life-style that produces true happiness.

The Greek word translated "blessed" (makarios) is an adjective meaning "happy" or "blissful." Makarios comes from the Greek word makar, which speaks of being happy in a way not dependent on circumstances. Their happiness was thought to be unaffected by the poverty, problems, and death faced by men, so it described a state of contentment and bliss unaffected by circumstances.

The only people who will ever experience blessedness are those who belong to God and Christ. Second Peter 1:4 says that believers are "partakers of the divine nature." That means we can know the same happiness and contentment known by God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 5-7 Jesus was confronting a whole society of professional religionists. They were divided into four main groups within Judaism.

1. The Pharisees

The Pharisees believed that happiness was found by observing tradition and minute points of the law. They sought blessing by obeying the extensive body of oral and written tradition that developed over the centuries.

2. The Sadducees

The Sadducees thought that happiness was found in modernism and liberalism. They advocated putting aside the past in favor of an updated religion.

3. The Essenes

The Essene movement advocated happiness through separation from the world. But that separation was primarily geographical separation. They just moved out of town.

4. The Zealots

The Zealots believed that happiness would be found once Rome was politically overthrown.

There are five important reasons for studying the Sermon on the Mount.

A. It Shows the Necessity of the New Birth

The Sermon on the Mount shows that we can never please God on our own. Only those who are "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4) can know the happiness Jesus spoke of.

B. It Reflects the Mind of Christ

The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps Scripture's clearest reflection of the mind of our Lord. Anyone who desires to know how Christ thinks needs to study the Sermon on the Mount.

C. It Teaches the Only Way to Happiness

If you want to be happy and filled with the Spirit, don't attempt to seek those things through a mystical experience. Study the teachings of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount and put them into practice.

D. It Provides the Surest Means of Evangelism

If all Christians fully lived out the principles taught in the Sermon on the Mount we would knock the world over for Christ! There is power in a transformed life.

E. It Shows Us how to Please God

Christians are a privileged people. Only they can please God because only they know His Son. Studying the Sermon on the Mount and applying its message enables believers to be pleasing to God.

 

The idea that Jesus deals with the inside and with our attitudes and our feelings and our thinking does not mean that there’s no commitment to the outside.  Because when the inside is right, the outside is right.  Faith without works is what?  Dead.  There’s going to be an outside.  You were created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  But the true outside, the real outside can only be produced by the real outside.  The Christian, while he puts his emphasis on the spirit, is also concerned about the letter.  But he is not concerned only about the letter.  He must never consider the letter apart from the spirit. 

On the one hand, to claim the spirit without living according to God’s law is to be a liar.  On the other hand, to try to live out the law without the spirit is to be a hypocrite.  They both go together.  The spirit is the right attitude and the letter is the obedience that comes as a result.  True spirituality, then, starts on the inside and touches the outside. 

as we look at these blesseds, these judicial pronunciations of God.  “Happy is the one who does this, who thinks this way.”  We see a sequence.  Look with me quickly at verse 3.  First we see the poor in spirit.  “Poor in spirit” is the right attitude towards sin, which leads to mourning, in verse 4, which leads after you’ve seen your sinfulness and you’ve mourned, to a meekness, a sense of humility, then to a seeking and hunger and thirst for righteousness.  You can see the progression. 

And that manifests itself in mercy – verse 7 – in purity of heart – verse 8 – in a peacemaking spirit – verse 9.  The result of being merciful and pure in heart and peacemaking is that you are reviled and you are persecuted and you are falsely accused.  Why?  Because by the time you have been poor in spirit, mourned over it, become humble, sought righteousness, lived a merciful, pure, and peacemaking life, you have sufficiently irritated the world so they’re going to react.

But when it’s all said and done, verse 12 says you can “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

  1. What Does It mean to be Poor In Spirit

The verb in the Greek means “a shrinking from something or someone to cower and cringe like a beggar.”  The ideal is someone who is cowering in the corner with one hand covering his face as to not to be seen and the other extended to receive some food or money. You are pleading for grace and mercy from somebody else.  You have no resource in yourself to even live.  Total dependence on somebody else. 

The poor in spirit are those who recognize their total spiritual destitution and their complete dependence on God. They perceive that there are no saving resources in themselves and that they can only beg for mercy and grace. They know they have no spiritual merit, and they know they can earn no spiritual reward. Their pride is gone, their self-assurance is gone, and they stand empty-handed before God.

It’s the broken and the contrite.  “Blessed are the beggars,” says Jesus.  Blessed are those whose spirit is destitute.  Blessed are the spiritual paupers, the spiritually empty, the spiritually bankrupt who cringe in a corner and cry out to God for mercy.  They are the happy ones.  Why?  Because they’re the only ones who tapped the real resource for happiness.  They’re the only ones who ever know God.  They’re the only ones who ever know God’s blessedness.  And theirs is the kingdom.

Poor in spirit, the absence of pride, the absence of self assurance, the absence of self reliance.  There must be an emptying before there can be a filling.

  1. How to be Poor in Spirit
  2.   Always look to God. 

 Read his Word.  Face his person in its pages.  Look at Christ.  Look at Christ constantly.  As you gaze at Jesus Christ, you lose yourself. 

  1.  Starve the flesh.
  2. Constantly ask God
    1. How Do I Know if I am Poor In Spirit
    2. You loses a sense of self.  Self is gone.  It’s gone.  All you think about is God and his glory and others and their needs.
    3. You will be lost in the wonder of Christ. 

You will be in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “gazing at his glory.”  You will be saying, “Show me the Lord,” and it sufficeth.  You will be saying, “I will be satisfied when I awake and thy likeness lost in the wonder of Christ.”

  1. You will never complain about your situation.

You know why?  You don’t deserve anything, anyway.  Right?  What have you got to offer.  In fact, the deeper you go, the sweeter the grace.  The more you need, the more abundantly he provides.  When you lack everything, you’re in a position to receive all grace.  There are no distractions, you see.  You will suffer without murmur because you deserve nothing.  And yet at the same time you will seek his grace.

  1. You will see only the excellences of others and only your own weakness.
  2. You will spend more time in prayer

Why? Because a beggar keeps on begging.

  1. You’ll take Christ on his terms, not yours. 

What are Christ’s terms’? You pick up your cross, denied yourself and follow Him. To save your life you must first lose it. To be exalted you first must be cast down low.

  1. You will have an overwhelming gratitude to God. 

 Why?  Because you will realize that every single thing you have is a gift from him.

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