Impact

The Beautiful Attitudes – Part I: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

How should we daily live in a world that seems to be teetering on the brink of destruction?

Understanding the Bible promises us that the fallen world we live in, where evil is called good and good is called evil (1), will never become better but become worse until it is renewed (1) – how then should we live?

To answer complex questions like this, we should always look to the one who came to Earth to show us the way – Jesus Christ!

Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NET)

What did Jesus say and do when He started His earthly ministry at the age of thirty-two? (1)

Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. And while he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight.” So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:21–23 NET)
After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1–2 NET)

Recall He started His approximately three-and-a-half-year-long Earthly ministry at a time when Rome ruled (1) with its brutality, hedonism, and worship of false gods. A time not unlike today… and our world will only worsen in the future.

But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. (2 Timothy 3:1–5 NET)
Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges and saying, “Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. (2 Peter 3:3–5 NET)

Jesus knew the ultimate fate of planet Earth.

But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. (2 Peter 3:7–13 NET)

In addition, He knew the very people He came to save would largely reject and crucify Him!

Then John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast. (Matthew 9:14–15 NET)
From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21 NET)
When they gathered together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they became greatly distressed. (Matthew 17:22–23 NET)
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve aside privately and said to them on the way, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the experts in the law. They will condemn him to death, and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged severely and crucified. Yet on the third day, he will be raised.” (Matthew 20:17–19 NET)

Furthermore, Jesus spent most of His time warning those of things to come.

From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17 NET)
“The law and the prophets were in force until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tiny stroke of a letter in the law to become void. (Luke 16:16–17 NET)
Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you—you and your children within your walls—and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” (Luke 19:41–44 NET)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Matthew 23:37–39 NET)

Nevertheless, He also taught us to have BEAUTIFUL ATTITUDES while we live in a world that daily afflicts and oppresses the righteous souls of those who love God with all their spiritual heart, soul, and body.

Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28–31 NET)
and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) —if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment, especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones, (2 Peter 2:7–10 NET)

Furthermore, when Jesus looked upon the crowds of people, He saw them as helpless sheep without a shepherd.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36–38 NET)

His spiritual heart, being full of grace, mercy, and compassion, moved Him to teach them the way unto the life of God.

As Jesus came ashore he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things. (Mark 6:34  NET)
The Lord is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. (Psalm 103:8 NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)

He is the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd (1) of us, His sheep!

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep... “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11;10:14–15 NET)
No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 NET)
Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20–21 NET)
Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away. (1 Peter 5:2–4 NET)

We, believers, are called to be salt with flavor (1) and light to our world that is set on a course of self-destruction.

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13–16 NET)
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5–6 NET)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14–15 NET)

Salt (1) means we are to preserve, season, and heal humanity.

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all transgressions. (Proverbs 10:12 NET)
Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NET)
he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:20 NET)

Light in that we are to show the way to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in can see the light. (Luke 8:16 NET)
to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:18 NET)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 NET)

We are to continue to do what Jesus did when He was on Earth!

As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near!’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7–8 NET)

With that contextual framing, we begin a series on one of the most famous sermons that Jesus preached in His earthly ministry. Specifically, the section of the Sermon on the Mount is commonly called the Beatitudes or, by my wordsmithing – Beautiful Attitudes!

Again, the purpose of the study is to answer the question – how now should we daily live in a world that seems to be teetering on the brink of destruction?

Let us begin the study:

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them by saying: (Matthew 5:1–2 NET)

Blessed are the poor in spirit for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to them (Matthew 5:3).

The Greek word for blessed used here means being fortunate, prosperous, or successful. That is, successful are those who realize they are poor in spirit! Why? Only those who realize their true, bankrupt, fallen spiritual nature will accept the free gift of Jesus as their Lord and Savior and thus become spiritually rich!

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 NET)
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. (John 14:1–3 NET)
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10 NET)
These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13–16 NET)

Jesus did not come to call those who think they are already perfect or righteous to repentance.

When Jesus heard this he said, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do.Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12–13 NET)
When Jesus heard this he said to them, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17 NET)
There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members. (Proverbs 6:16–19 NET)

Indeed, unless you know you have a problem, you will not seek a solution.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.” (John 9:39–41 NET)

Unfortunately, many highly successful people think they do not need saving and will be forever lost.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! (Matthew 19:23 NET)
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence. He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18–31 NET)
Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that. Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus who made his good confession before Pontius Pilate, to obey this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ —whose appearing the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will reveal at the right time. He alone possesses immortality and lives in unapproachable light, whom no human has ever seen or is able to see. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen. Command those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others. In this way they will save up a treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the future and so lay hold of what is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:6–19 NET)

That is, unless we become simple like a child in accepting the realization of our spiritual poverty, we will never be able to accept that we desperately need the only true Savior, Jesus Christ. 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, had him stand among them, and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:1–5 NET)
But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:16–17 NET)

Consequently, the first step in having a BEAUTIFUL ATTITUDE is realizing that all your attainment of material success in this world cannot change the spiritual poverty of a human spirit that is dead to God. Upon this realization, you can then turn to the one who became poor so that you might become spiritually rich!

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9 NET)
You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. (Philippians 2:5–7 NET)

Realize God the Father has given all things to His unique Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.

The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. (John 3:35 NET)

Furthermore, God the Father has given us the ability to become His children; when we become His children, we become joint heirs with Jesus.

But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. (John 1:12–13 NET)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15–17 NET)

That is, everything that the Father has is yours if you are His child!

And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NET)
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1 NET)

In summary, God the Father has shared with us His:

Possessions

I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. (2 Peter 1:3–4 NET)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15–17 NET)

Power and Authority in His Name (1)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NET)
Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18–20 NET)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NET)

Person

And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God. (Galatians 4:6,7 NET)
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:9–11 NET)

Now, that is something to have a BEAUTIFUL ATTITUDE about when the world around us seems to be falling apart! Again, you are no longer spiritually poor but rather infinitely spiritually rich if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior (1).

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!—and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. (Ephesians 2:4–10 NET)
The Beautiful Attitudes Series:


Shalom
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Peace

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)


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Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

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