What Does It Mean to be Poor In Spirit?

In His longest recorded sermon, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11), Jesus begins by describing the attributes He looks for in His followers. He promises something special awaits those who attempt to develop and live out these attributes. Fair warning, however, like a salmon swimming upstream, our sincere attempts to develop these traits will create opposition since each beatitude goes against the current of society’s typical way of life. But as challenging as this way of living may be, God meets us in our humble efforts. For He desires for us to be close to Him and experience His abundant life.

Beatitude #1

In His first beatitude, Jesus states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). What exactly does this mean? Why would God want us to be “poor in spirit”?

Some people think Jesus is referring to financial poverty with the thought that being poor will keep riches from being a relational hedge between us and God. While it’s true that Jesus warns us of the dangers of seeking riches (Matthew 6:24), this doesn’t seem to be His aim in Matthew 5:3. So what exactly is Jesus referring to?

Jesus is concerned with spiritual realities in the beatitudes, not material possessions. So being “poor in spirit” means being “spiritually poor”. This thought becomes clearer by exchanging the word “humble” in place of the word “poor”. When we recognize our impoverished and utter spiritual bankruptcy before God, we are being humble in spirit. It’s the realization that we have absolutely nothing of worth to offer a holy, powerful God. When we admit that we are completely destitute spiritually, due to our sin, and are personally powerless to deliver ourselves, we position ourselves to receive “the kingdom of heaven”. God’s kingdom is not only eternity in heaven with God after death (Romans 6:23), but also the eternal quality of life with God before death (John 10:10).

The opposite of “poor (humble) in spirit” is a self-satisfied, proud heart. The results of pride may take on different forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. God cannot bless the one who thinks he/she doesn’t need Him. For “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

We can’t earn our way to God or heaven. No matter our position in life, when we acknowledge our spiritual poverty, we can come to God in faith to receive the salvation He freely offers. Often the richer we are in material possessions, or when we place more confidence in ourselves rather than in God, the poorer our hearts’ condition will be. God never forces Himself on anyone. But for the surrendered, humbled heart, He will not only save one from sin, but will also add abundant blessing to his/her life.

Do you see your own need for Christ? Do you recognize that you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness? By refusing to let pride─or anything else─stand in the way, you position yourself to turn to Christ in humility and faith.

Jesus: The Door, The Way and Truth

The more we study the names and titles of Jesus, the more we understand who He really is.

10 More Titles and Names of Jesus

The Door – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

 

The Way – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6

 

The Word – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

 

True Vine – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

 

Truth – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

Victorious One – “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and were able to attend a worship service. If not, my pastor, Cliff Purcell, gave a great message. If you are connected to Facebook, you may listen to him here: Easter Sunday.

What is Good Friday?

Why do Christians refer to Good Friday as “good”? After all, the Romans and Jewish authorities were anything but good to Jesus (see Matthew 26-27).

The results from Christ’s death, however, go far beyond “good”. There really are no words that ascribe the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice, or the depth of gratitude we should have for the eternal, abundant life He purchased for those of us who believe and place our faith in Him as Lord and Savior!

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18

Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday in a serious and reverent manner. This is a time of remembrance of Christ’s death, usually expressed through prayers of thanksgiving, solemn hymns, a message centered on Christ’s suffering, and observance of the Lord’s Supper.

The events of that day, Good Friday, should always be present in our hearts and minds. For Christ’s death on the cross—along with His bodily resurrection—is the foundation of our Christian faith. You may read more about Good Friday here, What is Good Friday/Holy Friday?

You can trust the One who laid down His life so we might live. Blessings!

What About Jesus?

“What about Jesus? ‘And you shall call his name Jesus,’ the angel told Joseph, ‘for he will save his people from their sins’ (Matt. 1:21). More than a great teacher, more than an enlightened man, more than a worker of miracles, more than a source of meaning in life, more than a self-help guru, more than a self-esteem builder, more than a political liberator, more than a caring friend, more than a transformer of cultures, more than a purpose for the purposeless, Jesus is the Savior of sinners.” –  Pastor Kevin DeYoung

10 More Names and Titles of Jesus

Prophet – “And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4

Redeemer – “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

Risen Lord – “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Rock – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

Sacrifice for Our Sins  “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Savior – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

Son of Man – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Son of the Most High – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32

Supreme Creator Over All – “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” 1 Corinthians 1:16-17

Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’” John 11:25

This may sound shocking to some, but Jesus is the only way to heaven. The Bible clearly teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. If you haven’t checked out what the Bible teaches about where we go after life here on earth, and how we can attain eternal life, then I encourage you to not put it off for later. A great starting place is to explore via questions. I like gotquestions.org. Type in a question, or topic, in the search field and you’ll find some concise and insightful biblical teaching. Here is one such post to explore: Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Wishing you a wonderful week!

10 More Names and Titles of Jesus

The gift of salvation through Jesus is free and indescribable. Take a few minutes to thank God for His amazing love. Together, let’s pray for others to know Jesus as Savior.

Follow-up from my last post, here are 10 more names and titles of Jesus from God’s Word.

Faithful and True“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” Revelation 19:11

Good Shepherd “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Great High Priest“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14

Head of the Church“And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.” Ephesians 1:22

Holy Servant “…and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30

I Am“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58

Immanuel “…She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Isaiah 7:14

Indescribable Gift“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15

Judge“…he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42

King of Kings“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

Most of us review the benefits of a potential job. Have you considered the many benefits of getting to know Jesus? . . . . Wishing you a great week!