Good morning, Broward Church, friends and family, we are so grateful to have you here with us today. We have another amazing service planned. You could have been anywhere, but you chose to be here with us this morning. For that, we’re grateful. So usually when we’re all together as a family, we’d be able to do things to say hi to our neighbors, to the side. So why don’t we go ahead and do that? In the chat, you may have noticed friends or family members come into the stream, but go going to say good morning to them, but I’ll get started.
I wanted to say good morning to Jason. Good morning to Vic. Good morning to Rose. Those are my roommates, my dear friends, and I love them. But maybe you’re someone who’s new, maybe someone that doesn’t know anybody that’s here. But go ahead and type first time in the chat and we would love to get you connected. We’ll send you a virtual contact card. And so my name is Josh and I’ve been a part of the Broward Church for about a year and some change.
And I’ve been super grateful to be a part of the Broward community group. Being a part of community groups has helped me feel closer and actually solidify that family feel as a church. So it’s become more than just being on a livestream. It’s become being around the people that I truly love and that they have love for me. And we would love to get you connected to one of those groups. So please, why don’t you go ahead and fill out one of those cards and go ahead and get connected with the church.
Can you believe that? It’s already November. We’re already in the Thanksgiving season. Some of us are planning where to go, what to cook, what to bring. And while we’re thinking about those things here at the Broward Church, we also want to keep those that are in need in mind. And so with that, we’re going to be hosting a food truck.
So you’ll be able to drop off food from Monday to Friday before 5:00 p.m. here at the building. Watching this food drive is actually a partnership with life net for families here in South Florida, and we love being able to help them out with the different things that they have going on. Please consider the ways that you can help out and participate. There’s going to be a list of items on the screen and directions for how you can drop those off. In addition to the opportunity that we have to serve life meant we also have an opportunity to partner with another organization called Hope Worldwide.
They’re also well known for the ways that they help those in need around the world, but we are able to partner with them weekly. Here’s a quick video to explain a little bit more about who they are. No one, no man, no woman, no child should have to live in a world of fear, insecurity and terror, hopelessness is said to be more destructive than any weapon on Earth.
Far too many of our fellow men are living in despair. This, my friend, should not be. You see, we know how to bring hope to every single person on Earth when you acknowledge each person’s inherent dignity, respect their humanity and bring kindness, you bring them hope. And we know that when people have hope, they have a future. And you bring hope into a community, it transforms, then it changes everything. To bring a person or a family or a whole region from a place of desperation to a place of hope, you have truly made a difference.
When you bring hope to somebody, you don’t just change their day. You have revolutionized their world and their world view. You restore faith in humanity and revive the belief that there are still good people in this world. We believe in a world where every single person has hope for the life and sees a brighter future. We are committed to fighting for everyone to have this hope in their life. Through compassion, excellence and integrity, we will restore hope worldwide.
Thank you to those that have been partnering with Hope Worldwide for a very long time and also thank you to those that have been partnering with us here in Broward. And so if you would like to continue to to give to hope worldwide or to give to the cause that we have here in Broward, you can find links to that below. You can visit our website and find a tab to give as well. And we just thank you for that. Sacrifice helps what we get to do here in Broward to move the gospel forward.
So thank you very much for giving us doing a lot of great things. All right. So we’re about to start our service. So if you weren’t with us last week, last week, we actually finished up a series we’re calling. He’s still got the whole world in his hands. And that was a tremendous series. Just go back and check that out if you have some time.
Blessed: A Study on the Beatitudes
But today, we’re going to be starting a new one called Blessed. It’s going to be focused on the Beatitudes, truly focusing on the attitudes that we need to have to glorify God. So I really want to encourage you lean in, focus on what Tony is sharing through the scriptures. We need this if we want to continue to move forward and glorify God with the rest of our lives. Hey, we’re about to begin. So go ahead and share on Facebook. Go ahead and share it on YouTube. But seriously, click the button.
You’re going to be able to share this and who knows who is able to reach. But we want to make sure that the world continues to spread.
So why don’t you, after hitting the share button, go ahead and stand up, get a good stretch, and we’re going to go ahead and start singing and.
Good morning, everybody, and welcome to week one of a brand new six week series on the Beatitudes. If you have a Bible with me, we’re going to go to Matthew Chapter five. We’re going to look at verses 3 to 12 today. You can go and just turn there. Fine. We’ll find ourselves there in a little bit.
But before we do that, I just wanted to also acknowledge that today is not just the beginning of a brand new series, but it’s also the first Sunday after the elections. And I know that there is an expectation for us to sort of speak into this or to say something about this kind of divisive and chaotic season that we are seeming like maybe we’re not even out of the woodwork yet with, because so many of us have experienced the fact that this season has been quite hard and in many ways, Satan has been victorious in dividing our country.
But but but what I see is that in the midst of all this division, there is actually an opportunity that God has left us with. There there’s an opportunity in the midst of the division, see whether you are excited about the outcome or you’re disappointed. These next few weeks, I believe, are critical. They’re critical to the state of our union. And I also believe they’re critical to the impact that our church can have with the community at large.
See, we have been given an opportunity. We have been given an opportunity to extend grace, Grace, to those who disagree with us, Grace to those who are on the opposite side of the political argument than us people of grace to those who who feel disenfranchised by whatever is going on in our world and our grace. Whoo hoo! To people who feel like I looked for something in politics that I could not find, we have an opportunity to show grace as the rest of the world sort of flaunts their political candidates victory, feeling like they won something and they did great or whatever that is.
We have an opportunity not to be those people, but instead to extend grace. We don’t also fan into flames the idea of distrust and disunity. That’s not who we are. As disciples, we have been given an opportunity to extend grace. We’ve also been given an opportunity for unity.
Unity means that we can be one. Unity means that we can be won, even though we aren’t fighting necessarily to be right on everything. Unity means we trust each other’s motives. Even if we disagree, we disagree maybe on who the other person voted for. But that’s OK, because we still are united. We can be unified even though fifty percent of our country, fifty percent of potentially our church disagree and and think differently about the political spectrum. We have an opportunity to show a unity that is needed in our country.
We can be an illustration of what God has intended for the church to be. As the world continues to be divisive, we in the church can be unified church. We can be people of compassion. There are 50 percent of the 50 percent of this country, 50 percent of this community, 50 percent of this county who disagree with you. Whatever your political persuasion is, they disagree with you. 50 percent of people, people look at you and go, or rather, there are people who don’t who don’t believe the same things necessarily you believe about different things of politics.
And again, you have an opportunity here to extend compassion instead of villainizing the opposite, instead of disparaging people on the opposite side or talking badly about people on the opposite side. This is an opportunity to extend compassion and ask the questions, hey, why did you think this other thing would make the country better? Help me understand it so that I can understand your viewpoint a little bit more. We have opportunities here as the rest of the country falls into continuous chaos.
We can be men and women of unity, men and women of compassion, men and women of grace.
We can be a model whether or not you’re overjoyed or disappointed. The fact is a lot of damage has been already done. And I believe God has prepared his people to step into this season and be the change that really everyone needs to be. That means that you may need to apologize. If you have taken this whole season, you got into some crazy height and you were really fired up and you said things on social media. Maybe you shouldn’t have said this is a great opportunity to apologize.
It’s a great opportunity to say sorry to the people who maybe you were a bad testimony to. Maybe this is an opportunity to seek some reconciliation with people who you badmouth or talk badly about. Again, we can be a model of what the rest of the world is to be. We can be a model of civility, a model of grace, of unity, of humility, a model of honoring the government that God established. We can be, as Jesus called us, to be a city on a hill, a light in the middle of the darkest oceans, a beacon of hope for the world.
And as the world sees kind of this discouraging system, this discouraging system of politics as they hear the hurtful rhetoric. As they as they sort of just feel kind of left aside, ostracized, if you would, we can show that there is a better way, that there is a better kingdom, that there is a better nation, that we can be the kingdom of God. So I encourage you to take heed of these things, because I believe, as I’ve been saying, there is an opportunity as 50 percent of the country is disappointed because their hopes was misplaced and 50 percent of the country is feeling like they want to rub salt in the wound.
We have a chance to come together alongside as the people of God and make a real impact. We can be God’s people. As a matter of fact, we must be God’s people. God can turn this division into an opportunity. So don’t squander it. Don’t squander it. Do whatever it is you need to do to build unity, to produce grace, to be a model of what God’s people ought to be.
And see, all of this stuff seems kind of unrelated to the Beatitudes. But in fact, we’re going to talk about over the next six weeks is exactly what we need to hear in this particular season, because what we’re going to be talking about are the attitudes of God’s people, the attitudes God’s people are to possess.
The that’s the calling card of the people who are citizens of the kingdom of God. And so I want to welcome you to our study of the Beatitudes. And I and I literally couldn’t be more excited about this study. And so we’re going to dive into one of the Beatitudes today, actually the very first one. Before we do that, I want to give you a little bit of an overview of what the Beatitudes are.
So what are the Beatitudes?
The Beatitudes are a series of teachings placed as kind of like a preamble to the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount, as you might know, is kind of like the retelling of God’s law, but with an emphasis on God’s heart. God’s law was first given in the Book of Exodus as Moses came down from the south, from Mount Sinai and hear God’s kind of goes, Jesus goes up on a mountainside and begins to teach the people the heart of God as it relates to the law of God.
He teaches this long sermon. It’s about three chapters long, Matthew. Chapter five, six and seven is where you can find it, and in it, God. Jesus gives the characteristics of what it really means to be a human, what it means to be a citizen of the kingdom, what it means to live in God’s kingdom. This sermon, this giving of the law of God’s heart, theologians believe, is actually less of a singular sermon and more of a kind of like the typical presentation that Jesus gave over the course of his entirety of the entirety of his ministry.
And he’s basically just teaching people what it means to be part of the kingdom. And honestly, we could spend months and months and months and months and months focusing on the entire Sermon on the Mount. As a matter of fact, in twenty thirteen, I believe here in the church, we did a whole series. The whole year was focused on the Sermon on the Mount. It was a long, long, long series. Marcus Overstreet & John Brush and I taught those fifty lessons literally over the course of a year.
But anyway, we’re not doing that. That’s going to take way too much time. But instead we’re just focusing in on these beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount. If the Sermon on the Mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom, then then the Beatitudes are kind of like the Bill of Rights. They prepare us for life in God’s kingdom. They set the boundaries of our hearts and they teach us the attitude God requires for us to be citizens in that kingdom.
So we’re going to do is we’re going to read it together, going to kind of talk a little bit of about an overview, just a little tiny bit about it. And then we’ll focus in on our first one. This is Matthew. Chapter five. Verse one says that when Jesus saw the crowd, he went up on the mountainside and sat down. So here we have the crowds and we have Jesus. His disciples came to him. So we have Jesus teaching the crowds and the disciples, his disciples came to him and he began to teach them.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart. For they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers. For they will be called sons or children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In each beatitude, the word blessed is used, the word blessed is the Greek word, my God, or something like that.
Let’s just let’s just say, Makarios, I don’t even want to say it, but something like that. And this word literally means happy. It means fortunate. It means blissful. The ancient poet Homer used it to describe a wealthy man who had not a care in the world because he had all he could possibly possess. He was blessed. Plato also use it to describe a man who was successful in all he did. The ancient Greeks used it to describe the state of the Greek gods.
The Greek gods were happy because they were unaffected by the world of man, unaffected by poverty, unaffected by disease, unaffected by weakness, unaffected by misfortune and affected by death itself.
And so Jesus, knowing that that’s the state of the people he’s talking to and they would have understood the common use of these words, he sort of speaks into it and he says, hey, the first promise of the kingdom of Heaven is happiness is being care free, is being almost other worldly.
We are to be blessed people, happy people, satisfied people, fulfilled people, people who live above the fray, unaffected by the world and the unaffected by its worries and the tortures of life. Makarios or however you say it is an inward sense of happiness, regardless of a situation, and Jesus being the perfect, amazing preacher that he is, begins the Sermon on the Mount by describing the state that all of us would love to be in. He begins the sermon by saying, you can be happy.
And what an attention giver that would have been, you can be blessed, joyful, carefree, free from life’s worries and its pains, unaffected, blissful, ravish, enchanted. If you have any other really good vocab words, you could drop them in the chat. Other great words that sort of speak to this. You could be happy. See, this certainly would have gotten the attention of the hearer’s both the disciples and the crowds, this belief I can be happy.
I can be happy, I can be carefree, and so they no doubt turn their ear to pay attention to what Jesus would have said. And let me just give you one more really interesting tidbit about this word. Blessed when you read the Old Testament, the very last phrase in the Old Testament is a curse. If you want to read that in Malichi Chapter five verse six, it’s a curse. But when Jesus ushers in the new covenant, the very first teaching he does is a blessing.
He has changed the curse into a blessing. You can be happy. So Jesus describes these eight characteristics of a happy life, these Life-Giving attitudes, and as we will see as we begin to unpack all of these things, the way of happiness, the way that the author of life determines that we are to be happy is totally and utterly contradictory to the way of the world. Christ depiction of what happiness is, is not what our world would think.
And in fact, I believe it’s much more beautiful and much more Life-Giving, even if on the surface it seems so contrary to the way in which we live.
So let’s jump in to the very first one. I don’t often give titles for my lesson, but but in week one of the Beatitude series, the series Blessed, I’m going to give you a title. And this is the title for the lesson you. This is it. How to be happy. If you know anybody that would like to be happy, you got to share this message. You know anybody who wants to learn to be happy. This is a great message to share them.
And hopefully this will get a lot of clicks on YouTube because who doesn’t want to be happy? How to be happy? Here’s our first beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Happy are the poor in spirit. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Have you ever seen Jerry Maguire? It’s it’s a great it’s one of the great love movies. It’s actually it pretends to be a movie about sports, but then it makes you it makes you think it’s a movie about sports.
And then all of a sudden you’re in a love movie and it’s a terrible, terrible deception. But but but I actually love this movie. Jerry Maguire in Jerry Maguire, there are about five or six like super, super famous lines. Probably the most famous line, though. It comes at the very end of the movie. This is the movie where they do the show me the money anyway. But at the end of it, the two main characters, like expressed their love for each other.
And Tom Cruise walks in and he says, you know, I love you and is talking to Renee Zellweger something that he walks in and he goes, I love you. I love you. And then he says, You complete me. You know, this phrase is very popular. “You complete me” and she says, shut up, “you had me at hello”. And then they hug and they and everybody’s happy. People are crying and it’s beautiful.
Anyway, if you’re if you’re watching this with somebody, maybe you can turn to them and just say, you complete me.
Hopefully you’re sitting next to a stranger and it’ll be really, really, really awkward. But this line, you complete me, you understand this.
We understand this connection between being complete and being happy. As a matter of fact, we understand that the happiness is most tangible in the moments when you find the thing that completes you.
You understand this feeling in the moments where you feel the void being fulfilled or when something penetrates the cavity of your heart in that moment, when you find what fills you, you feel the most joy.
When your broken heart is made whole or when that it just I do a lot of weddings and so I see people walking down the aisle, the beautiful bride walking down the aisle to the man and the man always turns over and he’s just weeping. You know, I was like, why are you crying? Because he’s so happy. Because something is being completed in his life. I’ve been to a bunch of these things and I can just see the face.
It’s just blissful. It’s almost like carefree. Nothing in the world matters. The stock market doesn’t matter. Know, the elections don’t matter. Nothing matters in that moment when you see the thing that completes you.
And it’s not just in marriage. It can be in all different capacities. It happens when you have a child, when you have a child. And for the first time you see that baby, all of a sudden it you’re in love and like, why am I in love with this little thing? This looks kind of like an alien. It’s going to make me stay up all night. Like, how is it I feel so much love? Or when you find a job, you know, you’ve been looking and looking, looking for a job and all of a sudden you got one and there’s a huge smile because you feel like you’re complete or let’s say you make up with a friend.
You’ve been on the rocks for a long time, and then all of a sudden you wake up and you spend that first time, you have that first hug, there’s this joy. You close a deal or you buy your first house. We know this feeling. It’s the feeling that you found.
What makes you whole you’ve been completed. We understand this, that that happiness comes when you fill a void. You fill the thing that you’ve been looking for for a long time. And similarly, it’s when you get a chance to to make what’s broken hull, now I’m going to relate this to Christianity because I’ve often heard people say this, that the Christianity r Christianity is for needy people. That that’s for needy people, have you ever heard this, maybe, maybe you’ve heard it a different way, maybe you’ve heard it like this, maybe you heard it like Christianity is a crutch.
You ever heard that people make this sort of a derogatory comment? It’s kind of like a criticism. But I also I often wonder why this is a criticism like why is this like no one who’s ever, like, seen a wedding on? You know what? That husband needs a crutch for his life, you know, like. No, no. What they found is something that again completes them. No one ever sees, like a pair of crutches because their leg is broken and go, wow, I wish.
Oh, what a terrible thing. Those crutches. No, they’re actually it’s actually normally a good thing.
And so here’s here’s kind of a question for you as we unpack this idea of being poor in spirit and what it all means, why does it become a bad thing when it’s Christianity?
And I think the answer is this, that if Christianity is a crutch, then it’s only good for cripples. If it’s something that’s complete you, then it’s only good for people who have a void, for people who are in need. And so even though we understand it intellectually, that happiness is a result of feeling is the result of something fulfilling, something that we thought we were missing.
People don’t like to see themselves as missing anything or as needing anything. But what’s so amazing is that without the needs and without the void, without the meatiness, without understanding that we are not complete.
Isn’t it true that happiness can’t come? And so we understand this practically, but we need to relate it spiritually, see, happiness comes to those who fill a deficit, which means that they, in fact have a deficit. And as we think about this and we begin to see the as we think about this, then we begin to see the issue with the world in general and the issue with kind of our sinful nature. Because the thought behind the criticism of Christianity is the confidence is our belief, our sinfulness, just confidence that we are not in need.
We don’t need anything to complete us, that we are, in fact, happy just being who we are, that everything we need is in ourselves, that that real happiness is found in self-reliance or real happiness is found in self fulfillment or self-confidence or self determination.
No little happiness is found when I have a better self esteem. Happiness is found in my life. When I get to develop myself and become a better self or empower myself, I grow and I change. And I earn. And I get. And I become. And I provide. And I pass. And I win. And I overcome. And these kind of become the typical markers of our sinful natures, understanding of what happiness actually is.
And here’s what here’s what’s happened is that Jesus in five words, in five words, he immediately sets out that our attention to self provides no happiness.
And in fact, what’s needed is a brand new standard of men and women that we, if we are to find happiness, will actually need to be poor. He basically tells us to replace self-reliance with childlike God reliance. Now you can begin to see what poor in spirit means, it means that you come to understand that you need something to fill you. You need something to complete you that you are, in fact, poor. Meaning that you need something, that you are empty. Poor in spirit is this idea not of financially being poor, but of being bankrupt spiritually.
Having a hole in your heart that nothing can fill. Poor in spirit, you can’t do it alone, you actually need a crutch because you are, in fact a cripple, that you are a vagabond looking for a home. That you are utterly worthless, you have nothing inside of you. And so you begin to replace kind of self-confidence with the submission to God’s power and self determination, with the submission to his sovereignty and self esteem, with God’s magnificent mercy and grace that you are unworthy to possess.
Jesus, in the very first remarks in this brand new kingdom of God says you can be happy if you recognize you are poor.
They want to be happy, recognize your poor, recognize your needy, and it’s a total contradiction to the cult that we live in of self, self is the religion that has dominated the world ever since Adam and Eve, ever since they fell in love with the image of their own independent potential. When they saw that reflection reflected back at them in the eyes of Satan, who himself said, You will not die. You can be like God. You can be greater, you can be grand, you are not poor, you don’t need God, you can be like him.
And here in the Beatitudes, Jesus just goes against directly against the religion of self gratification and self fulfillment. And he says, you know what you need, you need something to complete you. You need something to fill you, you want to you want to fulfill the sort of the disease of your own sadness, don’t focus any more on yourself, instead become poor to our dismay. Along comes Christ with a cure for our website, with not a cure for our own self-esteem issues.
But instead, he comes with a crutch for it and he goes, I will be what you really need. And this is an offense to our ego. It’s an offense to all the self-help books out there on the market. It’s a it’s an offense to the most postmodern theory of life. It’s an offense to this idea that you get you know, you’re awesome just the way you are. And it’s offense to all those things that that kind of those Instagram posts that say you are phenomenal and special and awesome and you just be the best you you could ever be.
And it’s an offense to all of those things. Jesus speaks into it and he goes helplessness. Helplessness is the root of happiness. Here’s a quick illustration in the story of Moses when God comes to him and you’re familiar with the story, but God comes to Moses when he’s calling him to lead the mission to save the people of Israel out of Egypt. And when Moses is brought, or rather when God brings Moses before him, he sees Moses says this term, he says, who am I?
You know, that I should deliver the people out of Pharaoh’s hands. Who am I? I am not eloquent in speech. This little story is found in Exodus Chapter three and four, and God gets angry at him.
Do you remember the story? God gets mad at him because he says, Who am I? You know that I can’t be this and who am I that I’m not like this? And here’s the funny thing. Why does God get mad at him? See, the reason God gets so angry at Moses is not because of his humble assessment of his own ability, but because of his lack of faith in God’s ability. So. So follow me on this.
God responds to Moses. And what does he say? Who made the mouth? Notice that he doesn’t say, stop putting yourself down, Moses, you actually could speak great, you know, you’re a great human being. You are complete. You’re eloquent in speech. Instead, the biblical solution is what we’re learning, the biblical solution. When a person is paralyzed by their own sense of guilt, of worthlessness or on and or uselessness is not to boost their self-esteem, not to say they’re awesome.
Instead, what does God do? God says, stop looking at yourself and look at me. This is a radical, radical, radical, upside down concept. I made the mouth, I will be with you, the biblical solution for happiness is not high self-esteem. It’s a reflection on God’s faithfulness. This is different, look at how God addresses the people of Israel. This is Isaiah, chapter 41, verse 13. I just love this line.
It says he’s trying to encourage them and this is how he encourages the people of Israel. Do not be afraid you worm. Isn’t that great? You worm Jacob little Israel does not do not fear for I myself will help you, declares the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel.
In other words, God’s way of freeing and mobilizing his people who see themselves as worms is not to then say You’re not a worm, you’re a beautiful butterfly. You know, you’re awesome. You know, you just need to go into your metamorphosis phase and then you’ll fly out so beautiful.
He says, no, no, no, no, no. He still calls them a worm and he says, I will help you. I will help you, I’m your redeemer, I will be with you, William Kari is a British missionary who was in the early eighteen hundreds and he’s an amazing man.
He translated the Bible. I mean, honestly, he’s a man worth honoring, but he translated the Bible into thirty five different languages. He did that without computers. You know, he did that like by working hard to, to translate it. Five of those languages he basically did by himself. He’s an amazing man. And when he died in 1834, a man again who should have been honored and esteemed in terms of the life that he lived.
Instead, when he died on his on his gravestone, he put a simple phrase, and this is what his gravestone said, William Kari born August 17th, 1761 June 9th. 1834 a wretched, poor and helpless, worm, on Thy kind arms I fall. A hero in Christianity, but he understood that before God, he was nothing. He was a poor, pitiful, helpless worm, a wretched, poor, helpless worm.
And in that he found God and in that he found happiness. By the way, he has a really cool saying, and this is totally unrelated to the sermon, but but I love this. This is one of my favorite. It says, expect great things from God, attempt great things for God. I love that again has nothing to do with the sermon. Helplessness is the root of happiness. And instead of curing our helplessness, this first beatitude teaches us that he makes it into a doorway to heaven.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. So if to be poor in spirit means to recognize your true condition before God, it means to recognize your spiritual bankruptcy.
But but it also the Bible teaches us that it’s a gateway to heaven. And for an illustration, I’d like for us to look at Matthew Chapter nine, if you have Bible, you could turn there with me. It’s just an illustration of this concept of being admitted into God’s kingdom, because you view yourself this way as opposed to viewing yourself like you have it all together in Matthew, chapter nine, verse 10, Jesus is just converted the apostle Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector.
And so he converts him. He calls them to follow him. And immediately this tax collector drops everything and follows Jesus. And so Jesus says, I’m going to have a party at your house, basically. And so Matthew invites everybody he knows. But because he’s a tax collector, he only knows sinners and tax collectors. Tax collectors were kind of like traitors of the day. They were I don’t even know how they were just really terrible people.
And so and so here here’s this party right in Matthew, chapter nine verse 10. It says, well, Jesus was having dinner in Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him. I love that the Bible separates tax collectors and sinners. So it’s like this is one level of terrible and another level of terrible. So many tax collectors and senators came and ate with him and his disciples. It says when the Pharisees saw this.
Now the Pharisees are people who thought they had it all together. They thought they were already complete. They would be the perfect illustration of self-reliance, the perfect illustration of rich in spirit, the perfect illustration of like self image, of of self esteem. They would have been the perfect illustration of that. But also, they were the people who wanted the kingdom the most.
They were the most zealous to enter the kingdom because they understood it all.
They understood all the books. They understood all the Old Testament. They understood what was coming. So here are these zealous people who have it all together. And then here are these other people who are totally impoverished, have nothing at all.
And so they asked the disciples, this is the Pharisees asking the disciples, why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
Good question. Jesus over hears it because he has supersonic, God ears on hearing this, Jesus said. It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. This is strange, Jesus at a party and he says this out loud. It’s not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick, and now you can imagine Matthew’s hearing this and he’s going, Wait, what? I invited you to my house and you call me sick.
But that’s not the response he gives at all. As a matter of fact, Matthew takes no offense to this comment. Do you know why he takes no offense to this comment? It’s because Matthew knew he was sick. He’s poor and broken, and no one has nothing to offer the king of glory, nothing to give as a gift to the God who is holy, nothing at all. He is destitute and he has broken. He takes no offense to the idea that he is sick.
He takes no offense to the idea that he is poor or that he is broken.
But do you notice that Jesus also gives kind of a backhanded judgment to the Pharisees? It is not the wealthy who need a doctor. He says, you think yourself as healthy, you think of yourself as complete, you think of yourself as fulfilled, and so you will not get the doctor. This is the idea, right, if you don’t learn to be in need, you will always be outside of where Jesus is. You will always be outside of the door, you will always be looking and going, why is Jesus hanging out with those people?
If you don’t begin to see yourself as in need of a doctor, you’ll never get a doctor. And you will die in your sin and you will die in your destituteness and you will die in your brokenness and you will always miss Jesus.
That’s the thought here. And you know what? Isn’t it true that as Matthew knows, that he was sick, that you know, that you’re sick, too, you know, that there’s something wrong with you, that you got some real issues? I don’t even know you necessarily. I’m talking to a camera, but you got some issues. You’re not even consistent with your own morality. You know, you don’t even keep the rules that you give to your son and to your daughter.
You tell them to do something and you do the exact opposite. You say to yourself, I’ll never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to do this again. And then you fall into those things again and again and again and again. You know, you’re sick. You know, you struggle with addiction, something you can’t seem to break out of. You have a lust for more. You get angry with your children. You can’t even control your rage.
Sometimes you do crazy things and you think crazy things. You talk bad about people. You are jealous. You’re a gossip.
There’s a whole sorts of issues with you. You don’t keep the standards you preach. I mean, you can’t. So here’s the deal.
If you can’t keep your own rules, how could you possibly believe that you have kept the Holy God’s rules?
Of course, you’ve broken God’s rules, of course you’ve broken his standards, you got real issues, you’re a sinner, you’re sick, your poor, you know that all those all that, you know that kind of all that good that you possess in your in the outward, you actually don’t always possess it in your heart. Then you fall short.
All I’m saying is that brothers and sisters, you know, you are poor and so am I, I need help. My story is complicated. I’m a mess. There are times I’m tempted to do all sorts of crazy things. I can be crazy proud sometimes. I’m tempted during this whole covid season to skip church. And I’m the preacher like. I got issues, too.
But see, the beauty of this passage is that Jesus is helping us to see that only men and women who are willing to look themselves in the mirror and go, you know what? I’m broken and I’m poor and I’m pitiful. Only those people, no one will ever find happiness and consequently will ever taste the kingdom of God. Until you know and believe that you are poor, you are in desperate need of a doctor, desperate need of a crutch, desperate need of something to complete you, you will always stand outside of where God is.
And all because you don’t want to be seen as helpless. If you want to be happy, like if you really want to be happy. Grab the crutch of Christ, I’m going make sure it’s called the crutch of Christ.
Grab the crutch. Be a broken beggar before the arms of an old guard, get destitute man, be a panhandler, taking whatever scraps are left on the table, be a person who says, look, I don’t deserve the glory of God. I just want to be the last person in his kingdom. I don’t I just want to be the I will I will be a street sweeper. I will be the garbage man in the glory of God. I’m not I don’t need kingdoms.
I just need I just want a little tiny place. I am nothing. So where do we go from here? You know, my prayer is that all of us in the broad church will find the secret of happiness, not in the pursuit of self-esteem, but in the power of poverty. Not in a pursuit of better self, but in the power of being destitute. And again, I’m not talking about the power of poverty like financial poverty. I’m certainly there’s a connection there.
But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a sense of powerlessness before God, a sense of bankruptcy before God, a sense of helplessness, a sense of moral decay, a sense of personal unworthiness, and that you will then allow that sense to draw you into his presence. And notice, I said, the sense of powerlessness and the sense of bankruptcy and the sense of uncleanliness. And the reason I’m saying that is because, objectively speaking, everybody is poor in spirit.
You could pretend to be a Pharisee outside, but in fact, you are poor. Everybody is poor in spirit. Everybody is bankrupt, but here’s the deal. Not everyone is blessed. Not everyone is blessed, not everyone finds happiness, but only the people who acknowledge, acknowledge that they are, in fact, poor in spirit. So instead of trying to hide your own deficits under a cloak of self-esteem or self-sufficiency, let’s be honest and break away from the idolatry of you.
And if you do that, you could be happy, you can be otherworldly, you can be carefree, you can be a man of peace or a woman of happiness, blissful exuberance. You can find joy if you choose to acknowledge our own poverty. Fear not you, worm. We should make that T-shirts. I’m a worm for I will be with you. I will help you. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God and let’s pray together or we love you God.
We thank you for all of us today who are disciples. We thank you that you have completed us, that we are complete. We are lacking nothing, God, Lord, that every once in a while, our hearts and minds begin to wander towards other things that we think will fulfill us. And every single time that temptation breeds just kind of a disaster in our own hearts. And then we’re drawn back to the thing that ultimately satisfies our most desperate desires.
God, you have filled us. We are poor, wretched, pitiful worms. And yet, God, before you, you offer us the Kingdom of Heaven or thank you God, for that offering. Thank you, Lord, for all that you’ve done for us.
God, I pray that we can have the example of Jesus who as in Philippians Chapter two, where it says that that he became nothing, taking on the nature of a human being, being made in the likeness of man and taking on the cross.
Lord, he became nothing. He became nothing. He became a pitiful, kind of meek man.
In order that you Lord would lift him up. I pray that we would have his same example, that we would not be want, that we would not be people who want to be born in cathedrals, but instead will be willing to be born in the bassinet in a in a farm. God that we won’t want to be people that are that are sort of lifted up to glory, but instead will be raised in humility. God, that will be people like Jesus who will be willing to sacrifice all things for the people we love.
God teach us to be poor in spirit, teach us, acknowledge that, and teach us to find happiness. Lord, there has never been a more joyous and happy person than Jesus Christ. And the reason was because he learned to be poor. Thank you for allowing us to see his poverty on the cross so we can have an illustration of what it means as we take communion, as we take the bread that represents his torn body and the blood that represents his blood that was spilled for us.
Let us remember and reflect on his joy. Lord, let us remember and reflect on his example set by his example. We can participate in his joy. We love you, Dad. I pray that our church is encouraged today. I pray that we are not swayed by the weird political mess. God, let us just find real peace and join you to Christ we pray. Amen.