Declaring War in the Heavinlies

Ephesians 6:12 Our battle is not against flesh and blood but powers and principalities of this dark age, therefore we must equip ourselves with armor and weaponry to prepare ourself to be part of the Army of the Lord. Here you will find weekly teachings, thoughts and discussions to help you keep your mind centered on the things of His kingdom. May God give you strength, wisdom and grace through all that you do.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Are The Humble: Matthew 5:3

Happy Are The Humble

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Welcome to week 2 of my 10 week series "Happiness According to Jesus" this week's focus will be on Humility; Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit".  The Beatitudes also known as; "The Sermon on the Mount" was Jesus' first and most important sermon.  Jesus began his sermon speaking about the poor in spirit  moreover, the humble fore a reason.
    Jesus is introducing a new way of living a new way of happiness a new type of blessedness a “makarios” (the Greek word we looked at last week that meant blessing) different to everything in the world, different to everything people were used to and had been exposed to at this point. This is a happiness that is not produced by the world therefore it is not subject to change by the world or the circumstances of the world. 
Jesus was introducing a new standard of living a selfless standard, with a focus that was not external it was internal.
    When Jesus was preaching the Sermon on the mount He was preaching to the multitude but the message was really only to His disciples and when I use the word disciples I mean his closest followers not the many who followed Him but were not committed to His teaching.  The reason that the message was tailored to those who were committed to His teachings were because only those with faith in Jesus Christ can know this kind of blessedness.  The only people that can know this kind of blessedness is the people that know that they can’t live this way on their own. No one that doesn’t have the power of God operating in their lives can experience this kind of blessedness. No one who had not come to this point of humility could experience these great blessings.
    When looking at the Beatitudes they seem like a complete paradox or in complete contrast to everything that the world knows.  Chapter 5:3  Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven… Why does Jesus begin with the poor in spirit. 
It is a fundamental characteristic of a Christian!  It is a necessity to anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God! You can not enter the kingdom of God with the Spirit of Pride.  Without being poor in spirit, you can not receive grace!  Without understanding how poor we are we can never understand how glorious He is! Proverbs 16:5 says, "Cursed are the proud. God gives grace to the humble." This has to be at the very beginning. That's why it's first. Listen, the only way to come to God's kingdom is to confess your own unrighteousness, confess your inability to meet God's standards, confess that you can't do it. You can not come to God unless you know your Spiritually bankrupt and that’s the way you have to live your Christian life.
    What does it mean to be poor in Spirit?  What kind of poverty is it? Lets look at the term poor.  Poor in Greek is the word “ptochos” it literally means a shrinking from something or someone, to cower and cringe like a beggar. Its not just poor its begging poor.  Ptochos poor, beggar poor in many cases a man is crippled, blind, deaf, dumb in total dependence of someone else.  This to Jesus is happiness?  How can that possibly be?  Well He's not talking about physical begging, physical poverty, but He's talking about poverty of spirit.  A man can not work to own His own salvation. He is totally in dependence of Jesus Christ. He is absolutely incapable of anything and totally dependent on grace. So Jesus says happy are the destitute cowering cringing beggars (ptochos).  The world tells us happy is the rich; happy is the famous, happy are the self-sufficient and the proud. God identifies with people who beg on the inside, not people who are self-sufficient, not people who can work out their own salvation, not people who believe in their own resources, but those who are destitute beggarly. It doesn't mean poor spirited in the sense of lacking enthusiasm. It doesn't mean lazy or quiet or indifferent or passive. It doesn't mean that at all. A poor in spirit individual is one with no sense of self-sufficiency. Listen, when you admit your weakness, when you admit your nothingness, that's not the end, that's the beginning, but that, is the hardest thing you will ever do. Jesus is saying the first thing you've got to say is, "I can't. I can't do it. I can't." That's poverty of spirit.
    Let me talk for just a moment why it is important to look at some words in the “original” Greek.  When we read our Bibles weather we are reading the “King James Version (KJV)”; the “New King James Version (NKJV)” the “New International Version (NIV)” the “New American Standard Version (NASV)” the “English Standard Version (ESV)” or one of the many other versions out there what we are reading is a translation from a Greek Manuscript.  There are approximately 5700 Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament available today.  These were written from Arabic and Hebrew languages between the first and fourth centuries.  When examining the Greek words we can often get closer to the original text, the original meaning that the authors were hoping to get across.  That is why I’ll sometimes take a word and look at the Greek just like many Pastors and biblical scholars will do to try to get closer to what the Bible was actually trying to say.     

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