The Gospel - Poor in Spirit
Text: Matthew 5:3 & Luke 6:20
Jesus spoke to the crowd
Who were they?
Some were ordinary people of the day
Some were people that “did not matter”
Some were poor or unemployed
Some were outcasts of society
Some were merchants, laborers, craftsman,
business owners and spiritual leaders
Most everyone deals with feelings of insecurity
at some time or another. We question our worth,
our significance. Especially as teens, we question
our value, and often feel like we don’t fit in.
Later in life we have scars from experiences and
hurts from poor choices, and the feelings of self-
doubt resurface. The older we get we may feel
like we have less value because we cannot do
the things we once did. Seniors may feel like
they are a burden to others, and that their life
has lost value.
What did Jesus say?
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 6:20 Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
What did it mean to be poor, or poor in spirit?
The Greek word in Matthew and Luke
for poor is “ptochos.”
It means destitute, poverty stricken,
bankrupt, without possessing anything.
Was Jesus teaching that there is some moral
superiority in poverty? Was Jesus teaching
that it is needful to acknowledge our spiritual
bankruptcy? I don’t think so. Let’s look at
other passages that speak of the “spirit”
within a person. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is
near to the brokenhearted and saves those
who are crushed in spirit. Proverbs 16:19
It is better to be humble in spirit with the
needy than to divide the spoils with the
proud. Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart
makes a cheerful face, but when the heart
is sad, the spirit is broken. Proverbs 17:22
A broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a person can
endure his sickness, but as for a broken
spirit, who can endure it? Jesus was
looking at the spirit within the crowds.
He saw their hurt, their powerlessness
What was Jesus saying to them?
Jesus was speaking to broken and
People who were crushed in spirit,
without societal value or standing.
He was expressing acceptance of them
and assuring them of a heavenly
This is good news! Regardless of how
others in this world value you, God says
“you are to die for.” While you draw
breath you are never beyond the reach
of God’s infinite grace.
What does this mean to us?
No matter if you may feel that you
are far from God…
No matter how much you have
screwed up in the past…
No matter how little value you place
on your own existence…
No matter how little the world may
These do not disqualify you from His
God is not looking for you to perform
better! He calls you blessed!
God is letting you know that He loves
you and wants to give you His life.
An infinite amount of money would make
Bill Gates or Warren Buffet look poor.
Poor as a measure of wealth must always
be made in comparison. But all that we
have, all that we gain, all that seems to
give us value; when compared to God’s
grace, it will all be “nothing.”
Paul says it this way in Phillipians 3:7-14
But whatever things were gain to me,
these things I have counted as loss
because of Christ. More than that, I
count all things to be loss in view of the
surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus
my Lord, for whom I have suffered the
loss of all things, and count them mere
rubbish, so that I may gain Christ, and
may be found in Him, not having a
righteousness of my own derived from
the Law, but that which is through faith
in Christ, the righteousness which comes
from God on the basis of faith, that I
may know Him and the power of His
resurrection and the fellowship of His
sufferings, being conformed to His death;
if somehow I may attain to the
resurrection from the dead. Not that I
have already grasped it all or have
already become perfect, but I press on
if I may also take hold of that for which
I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I do not regard
myself as having taken hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies
behind and reaching forward to what
lies ahead, I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.
Truth for Today
We serve an infinite God
who has infinite Grace
for an infinite number of
poor people with infinite needs.
(Blessed are you if you believe Him!)
This old hymn says it all…
Marvelous Grace –
Grace Greater than Our Sin
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord. Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Refrain: Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!
2 Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, Threaten the soul with infinite loss; Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.
3 Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?