Studying for this week’s lesson has been a challenge for me and that’s exactly what I prayed for this week. I asked God to challenge me and he certainly did. I am going to split up the Beatitudes because there is so much we can learn from these 10 verses. Keep praying that God will show me his words and that I will portray them in the way he leads.
Take a minute and read Matthew 5:3-12. This lesson will mainly focus on verses 3-4.
The Beatitudes are some of my favorite passages in the Bible and I like to think of them as the “Attitudes” we should “Be”. The word “Beatitude” is the Latin word that translates as “Blessed” and Jesus starts out each Beatitude with this word. Warren Wiersbe says being blessed is, “an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that does not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.” When Jesus says we are blessed, that means we are truly satisfied and content with Him. “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6). If we walk with the Lord, he is all we need. The points he makes in the next few verses are the things that will bring us closer to him.
- Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
a. What exactly does “poor in spirit” mean? The NLT translates as, “who are poor and realize their need for him”; Berkley translates as, “they who know their spiritual poverty”; Wiersbe translates as, “to be humble, to have a correct estimate of oneself.” It is basically saying that we realize our sin and that we need a Savior. We cannot do things on our own. We have been humbled and realize we aren’t worth anything. David Guzik explains, “Poverty of spirit cannot be artificially induced by self-hatred; it is brought about by the Holy Spirit and our response to His working in our hearts.” The Holy Spirit leads us to a place where we let go of our pride and our personal independence and accept that we need God. Guzik goes on to explain that this realization must be a “prerequisite” for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. You cannot enter God’s Kingdom unless you know that you are a sinner and you turn from your sins.
b. How can we develop this attitude? James 4:7-8;10 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Commit yourself and yield to God’s authority. Satan cannot hurt you if you are walking closely with Christ. Lead a pure life and be humble before God. Heaven will be rewarded to those who “realize their need for him.”
- Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
a. Before studying this scripture, I thought that this verse meant anyone who was mourning over the loss of a loved one or someone who is grief-stricken over the things of this life. But God has shown me that this goes hand-in-hand with being “poor in spirit.” We actually mourn the evil in our hearts and the sin that we have done. Guzik explains further, “The ancient Greek grammar indicates an intense degree of mourning. Jesus does not speak of casual sorrow for the consequences of our sin, but a deep grief before God over our fallen state. What do those who mourn actually mourn about? Their mourning is not over just anything, but they mourn over sin. To really be followers of Jesus, we must mourn over our sin and the ruin and separation from God that comes to our life from sin.” When Adam sinned, the human race was separated from God. God blesses us and comforts us when we mourn over our nature of sin and our realizing we need him.
b. How can we develop this attitude? James 4:9 says we are to, “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” When our spiritual poverty is identified, we should grieve over the things we have done and ask God for forgiveness and the comfort that only he can bring. “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” (2 Cor.1:3). His comfort can come to us through His strength, encouragement, and hope. John MacArthur says, “the comfort of Matthew 5:4 is future only in the sense that the blessing comes after the obedience; the comfort comes after the mourning.” We have to mourn to be comforted. And only Jesus can give us that comfort. When we are weary and heavy-laden, he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).
May God reveal to you the severity of your spiritual poverty, which will lead you to a humble mourning, which will lead you to a comfort you’ve never known.