3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus begins His sermon with a series of statements - church history has called them “the beatitudes”

I always hate it when the church works so hard to make the Bible impossible to understand.

Jesus begins by talking about what every human on earth desires to know and understand - Jesus begins with instructions on HOW to be HAPPY

The Whole World wants to be happy!  Every man or woman who has ever walked the face of this earth desires to be happy!  

  • The declaration lists the “pursuit of happiness” as one of the inalienable rights given to every human being
  • Blaise Pascal - 
    “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

Jesus knows this fact of the human existence - in point of fact - Jesus INVENTED this fact of human existence.  It is God who set us on the search for happiness, and only God can be the end of this journey- God set us on a search for happiness because he IS the end of that search.

God wants us to be happy - This is a controversial statement i know but it is true, the problem is that we underestimate the kind of happiness that God desires for us! 

CS Lewis - the weight of Glory

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Jesus does not offer us the momentary fleeting empty happiness of a drug, or a roller coaster ride, or a sexual encounter, or a chocolate cookie - he offers real deep solid and eternally expanding JOY that we will experience in deeper more meaningful ways forever and ever

So Jesus teaches us about true and ETERNAL joy - "Happy are the"

He begins where we need to begin - 

Happy are the poor in spirit  WHY? because theirs is the kingdom of Heaven

so what does this mean? - simply: happy are those who realize that they have nothing, God owes them nothing - they live in the full and constantknowledge of their spiritual, tangible and moral bankruptcy.  

  • Our lives are a vapor - here one minute and gone the next
  • Anything we have came to us from God in the first place
  • Anything we do or make -
    • the ability to do that thing came from God
    • because we are innately flawed and broken everything we do and or create is deeply flawed and broken as well
  • we have no ability to be righteous
  • we have no ability to be truly and deeply good because within our own attempts to be good there are motives which are selfish and broken.

Why are these people happy??????

“for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” - all of it.  The Kingdom belongs to those who know the truth about themselves - we have nothing - But God would give us everything!

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Luke 12:32 - Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Isaiah 57:15 - For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place: with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones

James 4:6 - But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Psalm 14:6 - You would shame the plans of the poor,

but the LORD is his xrefuge

It is only in this place of spiritual poverty that we can begin to receive from God - 

Only a cup that is empty can be filled

Only a student who knows nothing can learn everything

Matt 19:23-24 23And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

  • "the eye of a needle” - was the small “door-size” gate that was left open at night.  Camel’s could not get through it while carrying anything on their backs and even then they would be forced to get down on all thier knees and crawl.

The kingdom of heaven cannot be earned - It can only be given.

The kingdom of heaven can only be received by GRACE as a gift from God

  • Gal 2:21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousnessc were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
  • Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

If you attempt to earn grace you will lose it -