This is the sermon for Sunday morning, March 15th, 2009.

DEVELOPING A BE-ATTITUDE ATTITUDE PART 2
Destitute
Matthew 5:3.

Matthew 5:3 ISV – How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Matthew 5:3 AMP – Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

We are continuing our series from Matthew 5:1-16, “Developing a Be-attitude attitude.” This morning we are looking at the subject, “Destitute.”

We all remember the images on the news a couple of years ago of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that it brought. And of course they are some here who suffered through Hurricane Ike when it devastated Galveston and other places in Texas. Many people went from one day having a normal, happy life, to the next, being completely destitute. They lost homes, jobs, careers and the worst lost of all – family and loved ones.

Being destitute is never an easy thing. It brings with it sorrow, depression, fear, anger, worry and a whole list of other emotions and complications.

But God can bring comfort, and His very Kingdom in the midst of situations like these.

God still works through our destitute times. But today, we want to focus on a certain type of destitution and what our text has to say concerning this. Let’s begin looking into our text this morning.

What does it mean to be blessed?

Matthew 5:3a ISV – How blessed are those…

Many people in the world and in the church as well view being blessed or blessings as some material or outside occurrence that happens too people. If you have money – you’re blessed; if you have a job – your blessed; if you have a perfect marriage – you’re blessed; if there isn’t any sickness amongst you and your family – your blessed.

Well, let me state first off that all those outside influences and things have nothing to do with the fact that you are truly blessed or not. This belief that material natural things dictate God’s blessings is almost an exclusive American concept – it isn’t true in third world countries, and neither is it true in New Testament Christianity.

We need to discover what the word “blessed” really means. It is a very difficult word to understand and even translate from the Greek. Some translations and Strong’s concordance itself define it as, “Happy, or Happiness.” And while this is true, this definition does not do it justice. Let’s look at a few definitions that are better:

• More than a temporary or circumstantial feeling of happiness, this is a state of well-being in relationship to God that belongs to those who respond to Jesus’ ministry (ESV study Bible).
• This term meant “happy” or “honored”. The English word “happy” comes from the Old English, “happenstance.” Believers’ God-given happiness is not based on physical circumstances but inner joy (Free Bible Commentary Online).
• Blessed does not just mean to be happy and prospering. It has to do that people should feel fortunate because their condition reflects that they are in a right relationship with God (Interactive Study Bible).

Notice how the AMP bible translates it.

Matthew 5:3a AMP – Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions)…

I think that the AMP hits the nail on the head in its defining of the word, “blessed.” It means that our satisfaction is not in our outward conditions – whether life is going our way and we are healthy, wealthy, and pursuing the American dream; our satisfaction is in God’s favor toward us and the fact that he has saved us. For this reason alone, no matter what takes place in our world, we are truly blessed.

Now let’s look at who this type of blessing is for.

The blessing is for the spiritually destitute.

Matthew 5:3a ISV – How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit….

The Greek word means more that just “poor.” It literally means, “destitute and abject poverty.” And this is not just talking about physical destitution, but spiritual.

What does it mean to be spiritually destitute?

• You are spiritually bankrupt. You cannot change your spiritual condition. You are totally powerless to save yourself.
• You recognize that if you do not have God’s help, then you will be hopelessly lost in your condition.
• You are spiritually inadequate and physically inadequate to save yourself. No amount of good works, prayers, positive thinking will change you.
• This, my friends is called the doctrine of total depravity or total inability. It is not that you are as evil as you possibly can be, it is the fact that you cannot save yourself, it is impossible. If left to your own devices, you will be eternally, and hopelessly lost.

It is when a person understands that condition that they are blessed. Why? Because it is when this condition is revealed to you, that God’s kingdom comes on the scene.

The blessing that the spiritually destitute receive is the present reality of God’s Kingdom.

Matthew 5:3 ISV – How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Matthew 5:3 AMP – Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

Kingdom of heaven means, “The reign of God, or the reign of Christ.” It is not just some future promise. Notice that the verbs are present tense. It belongs to those who are spiritually destitute now, in the present life, not just some future reward! In Greek Grammar this is called: “present indicative.”

Using the AMP and Greek Grammar as our guide, we have this present truth: We find satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, when we humble ourselves, and rate ourselves as insignificant, and unable to save ourselves. God’s Kingdom presently belongs to people with this type of attitude!

Let’s look at one final point this morning.

A Biblical example of this reality is found in parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector.

Luke 18:9-14 ISV – 9 Jesus also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves because they were righteous, but who looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, ‘O God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—thieves, dishonest people, adulterers, or even this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of my entire income.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. Instead, he continued to beat his chest and said, ‘O God, be merciful to me, the sinner that I am!’ 14 I tell you, this man, rather than the other, went down to his home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Notice the reason that Jesus told this parable: Because some thought they were righteous and better than others. The Pharisee in the parable should have known to humble himself, but instead he presents his good works and compared himself with people who were spiritually destitute as being above them. God didn’t justify this man, for he didn’t recognize his absolute need for God’s favor. On the other hand, the Tax Collector approached God recognizing his condition: a sinner, someone unable to save himself. He humbles himself to the point that he doesn’t even look up to heaven when he prays. In is destitute desperate time, he cries out to the only one who can save him – His God. God justifies him and exalts him.

What can we learn from this parable? We cannot justify ourselves before God. God is the one who justifies. All we can do is humble ourselves before him and bring our sins to Him. When we do, we find favor, satisfaction, and the present work of the kingdom – lifting us up from our condition.

CONCLUSION

The Desperation Band sing a song with these lyrics, “I need you Jesus to come to my rescue, where else can I go?” There is a lot of truth in that phrase. We need Christ. We cannot save ourselves. No amount of good works is going to earn a ticket to heaven. We must all recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt. If you approach God realizing your spiritual destitute condition, God’s kingdom presently belongs to you. And what are the results of this truth? Favor with God and satisfaction in Christ.

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