There are three questions
people in the media keep asking: How do I look? How
am I doing? How important am I?
The evening news and talk
shows are filed with observations based on
appearance, achievement and acceptance.
More than ever I am
convinced the Word of God has the answer to the
basic needs of our personal lives. In the words of
Jesus we gain an understanding of the righteousness
of God, and practical principles for Christian
maturity. In the Beatitudes we learn how to enjoy
inner happiness. The Sermon on the Mount does not
present the way of salvation, but the way of
righteous living for those who are already in God's
The Beatitudes teach us
how to live the Christian life. Here we find the
attitudes of the believer. This how the believer is
to live the Christian life.
In fact, the Beatitudes
and the Sermon on the Mount applies only to
Christians. It relates to the Kingdom of God, not a
means of gaining entrance into the Kingdom. Jesus
did not give a code of conduct or a law to keep in
order to enter the Kingdom. The only means of
entering is by simple faith in Him and the atoning
sacrifice He made for the sinner on the cross. "But
as many as received Him, to them He gave the right
to become children of God, even to those who believe
in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the
will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of
God" (John 1:12-13).
The Beatitudes are where
we find the secret to power in living for Christ.
Act on these principles or beatitudes and you will
experience the promised blessings.
Jesus suggested that if
we are going to live the spiritually prosperous life
we will live above the chances, changes, and
circumstances in life. Jesus said, ". . . I came
that they might have life and might have it
abundantly" (John 10:10b).
Can you find a better way
to describe that life than in the words of the
apostle Paul? He says such a life is full of "the
fruit of the Spirit," and that kind of life "is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such
things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Spiritual prosperity is
an independent joy, a mind–set that takes us through
our pain, sorrow, loss, grief, tears and fears.
Jesus Christ satisfies
all of our need for security, significance and
sufficiency. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and
the live." As we make ourselves available to Him He
supplies our inner personal needs.
The Beatitudes teach us
to place our trust in Christ for our security and
significance. He loves us unconditionally. "We love
Him because He first loved us." Because of that
great act of love we matter. We are appreciated. We
are important. Ultimately the only thing that
matters is how we stand with Him. Our need for
sufficiency is found in the in dwelling of the Holy
Spirit. He sustains us and gives us the power to
live a life pleasing to Him.
I pray God will place in
every believer a hunger for an abundant, victorious
spiritually prosperous life under the control of His
Spirit. My God give us a thirst to abide in Christ.
THE CRAVING FOR
God has created us with
certain basic spiritual and personal needs that He
alone must satisfy if we are going to have a
spiritually prosperous life.
We have a need for
This is an awareness of
being unconditionally and totally loved without
needing to change in order to win love. It is a love
that is freely given and cannot be earned and cannot
be lost. A healthy person has an awareness of being
wanted and accepted, of being cared for and enjoyed.
It is the "we" feeling experienced when we sense we
are wanted or desired by someone person or group of
people. We watch for evidence that certain people
really want us. They must take the initiative to
make us feel accepted or we doubt if they really
wanted us. It rests on the voluntary attitude of
others accepting us just as we really are.
We have a need for
We have a need to be
involved in something that will still be worthwhile
a million years from now. We want to have a
significant impact on the lives of others. This is
the "I am good," or "I do count," or "I am right"
feeling. We sense worthiness when others show
positive attitudes toward us. When they criticize us
we lose it. It is related to doing right.
Self-control is important to our sense of
significance. It rests on the introspective attitude
We have a need for
This is that feeling of
competency, or adequacy, courage, of hopefulness and
strength to carry out the tasks of daily life
situations. It is the "I can do it" feeling of being
able to face life and cope with it. It takes into
consideration one’s weaknesses and strengths. It is
affected positively by our successes and negatively
by our failures. It is also affected directly by our
goal setting and our obtaining them. This sense of
sufficiency rests on our past accomplishments and
present sense of achievement.
The amazing thing is that
God in His grace meets all of these needs
personally. Our tendency is to look for the solution
to our basic personal needs in the wrong place and
in the wrong way. Satan has led us to believe we can
get them met by physical beauty, intelligence,
wealth, family heritage and position in life. Jesus
spoke to this issue in Luke 16:15 when He said, "You
are those who justify yourselves in the sight of
men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is
highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight
The tragedy is we carry
these false ideas of spiritual prosperity over into
the most vital areas of our personal lives. God’s
standard is faith, hope and love. There is a craving
for spiritual prosperity that cannot be satisfied in
the world’s philosophies. You will always feel empty
and void until you let Jesus Christ meet those
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF
Jesus Christ offers us
the solution to this craving for abundant spiritual
live. Jesus told His disciples, "Blessed are the
poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven." He used this word "blessed" nine times in
verses 3-11. I think He is trying to tell us
something if He repeats it that many times in so few
Jesus offers us the
What does the word
"blessed," mean? The word in the original is
makarios. It is essentially a state of mind and
is identified with pure character that is founded in
God’s righteousness. Sometimes you will see this
word variously translated "to be envied,"
"spiritually prosperous," "filled with life–joy," or
"satisfied." The spiritually prosperous person is
not bound by the chances in life. To be "blessed" is
to be conscious of perfect joy, perfect peace, and
perfect rest. It is the inner condition of being a
believer in Jesus Christ. It describes a person who
is in a right relationship with God.
Happiness is not a good
translation because its root is "chance." I am happy
if everything is going my way. It is purely a
subjective evaluation of current events, feelings
and emotions. Jesus is not teaching pop psychology
or how to feel good.
Jesus is describing the
inner state of a believer who is trusting in Him.
Here is a life–joy that is completely untouchable
and unassailable by the events in life. It is a word
that describes the spiritually prosperous person who
lives above the chances, changes and circumstances
in life. It describes a joy that is completely
independent of all life situations. There are no
chances in life if we trust our lives to Jesus
Christ. Life is not full of chances. It is moving
toward an eternal goal––the consummation of and the
unveiling of Jesus Christ as Lord and Master in our
lives. If we take Romans 8:26-30 at face value they
describe a life free from daily cares and worries
because God is in control of our lives. This is the
person whom Jesus describes as "blessed."
M. R. Vincent described
the word "blessed" as "a sense of God’s approval
founded in righteousness which rests ultimately on
the love of God." He added it is "the express symbol
of happiness identified with pure character."
This is the spiritually
prosperous person. He has an intimate, personal
right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He
enjoys the blessings of being in that relationship
with Him. He has been graced by the grace of God. He
is the recipient of God’s favor because of the right
prosperous person experiences a blessedness and
life–joy because God has been gracious to Him in
providing salvation. It has nothing to do with our
outward condition or status in life. Makarios
is the life-joy that is evident from God’s blessings
on a person’s life.
The only person who can
be described in such a way is the believer in a
right relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the
state or condition of the believer who has
experienced God’s saving grace. He is the recipient
of the new birth, salvation, and responding to the
sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in his life.
When we cooperate with Him He produces this kind of
live in us. He is enabled to minister these
blessings to the believer when he is yielded to the
Holy Spirit and cooperates with Him. This is the
state or condition of a man to whom Christ’s
righteousness is imputed by faith.
The "blessed" person or
spiritually prosperous is the state of a person to
whom Christ’s righteousness is imputed by faith.
Such a person is promised the kingdom of heaven,
comfort, mercy, shall inherit the earth, see God, is
called a son of God, etc. It is a blessing that
comes from God to those who trust in His Son for
salvation and life. When we believed on Jesus Christ
as our personal Savior we came to share in the very
life of God. He gave us eternal life. It is Christ
living His life in and through us by the presence of
the Holy Spirit. In Him we have everything we need
to life the spiritually prosperous life.
Here is a life–joy that
takes us through our pain, sorrow, loss, grief,
tears and fears. Change in fortune, collapse in
health, failure of our plans, disappointments of our
ambitions or dreams in life do not affect it.
The Beatitudes are not
wishful glimpses of some future eternal sunset. They
give us life and hope today. The spiritually blessed
person is secure in Christ, significant in God’s
Kingdom and sufficient in God’s provision. He is the
recipient of divine favor and blessing. He is
prosperous because of God’s saving and sustaining
grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:1; Colossians
This spiritual prosperity
comes through faith in Jesus Christ. The world does
not have anything to match this kind of life.
Humanism can’t touch it.
Who is a
spiritually prosperous person?
Jesus said such a person
is spiritually poor. He is one who mourns over his
poverty. He is Spirit–controlled. He hungers and
thirsts for a right relationship with God. He is
gentle, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker and is
persecuted because of His intimate relationship with
The Amplified Bible
reads: "Blessed—happy, to be envied, and spiritually
prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction
in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their
outward conditions . . ."
Jesus Christ is our best
example of the spiritually prosperous person. The
night of His crucifixion He spent the evening
comforting and preparing His disciples for His
death. When He needed encouragement He went to the
Mount of Olives to pray. In Gethsemane He took
Peter, James and John aside and "began to be grieved
and distressed" (Matthew 26:37). He said to them,
"My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death;
remain here and keep watch with Me.’ Then Jesus went
a little further and "fell on His face and prayed,
saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup
pass form Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’"
When He came back after a period of prayer He found
them sleeping. It must have added to His agony of
spirit as He fought the battle alone. "So, you men
could not keep watch with Me for one hour?" Then He
added, "Keep watching and praying, that you may not
enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but
the flesh is weak." Then Jesus returned to the place
where He was praying alone and prayed, "My Father,
if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will
be done" (v. 42). When Jesus returned to the three
He found their eyes heavy in sleep, so He returned
and third time and prayed. Moments later, "all the
disciples left Him and fled" as Jesus was led away
to the high priest for trial and crucifixion.
Jesus lived above the
chances, changes and circumstances of the hour. He
knew only one thing: "Not my will, Thy will be
done!" He drew His strength from the Father’s
presence. He could say with confidence and security,
"But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of
the prophets may be fulfilled" (v. 56). That is the
spiritually prosperous man.
You may be asking
yourself, yes, but how do I get it. How can I be
this kind a person?
THE CONDITIONS FOR
Two errors in
There are two errors in
our thinking about happiness. We often get into the
trap of thinking the solution to our personal
happiness depends on a change in our circumstances.
"Lord if you would only change _______. I'll be
happy." The other error is to think the solution
depends on a change in our feelings.
The mature believer
assumes his own responsibility for personal growth.
"I choose to" be all that God wants me to be in
Christ Jesus. "I choose to" live a spiritually
prosperous life. Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom
and His righteousness, and all these things will be
added to you" (Matthew 6:33). We must assume our
responsibility in living the Christian life. It is
not automatic. God will not pry a hole in your head
and fill it with knowledge of Him. He does not turn
us into robots. Jesus said, "If we love Him we will
obey Him" (John 14:15).
A critical decision
Have you made that all
important choice to accept Christ as your Lord and
Master? Yes, it begins with a personal relationship
with Him. Everything I have said is foolishness if
you have not turned your life over to Jesus Christ.
You cannot have the spiritually prosperous life
without being born again. Spiritual birth must take
place before you can grow in your knowledge and
faith in Christ. You cannot become like Him until He
has come into your life through the spiritual birth.
This spiritual life begins with the deep realization
of sin in your life and that Christ died on the
cross for your sins. If you have never done so, will
you pause and ask Jesus Christ to save you?
The focus of this message
has really been on the Christian’s attitude toward
God’s kind of life. Jesus used this word "blessed"
to express the happiness identified with pure
character. It is a sense of God's approval founded
on His righteousness. It describes a person who
enjoys God's favor and who is destined to enter His
eternal kingdom. He stands right in the sight of
God. It is the consciousness of perfect peace,
perfect joy and perfect rest. The emphasis of this
blessedness is on the grace of God. It is something
God does for man. It is His gift to people living in
absolute, abject spiritual poverty. It is for those
of us who consider ourselves the worst kind of
sinners, "the chiefs of sinners." Here is hope
to the one who will cry out, "O God, woe is me" and
"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from
the body of this death?"
Are you enjoying Kingdom
living now? Where is your spiritual poverty
today? Where is the spiritual need in your
life as a Christian? Where is the Holy Spirit
pointing His finger and saying here is the place
where we need to work? Are you bringing that need to
Christ? We can never grow as believers until
we recognize our need and ask God to supply it His
It may be that you have
never come to a place of realizing your spiritual
poverty. The "poor in spirit" have a humble opinion
of themselves. It is the opposite of arrogant pride
and selfishness. The "poor in sprit" realize they
are depraved sinners and have no righteous standing
on their own. They are willing to be saved only by
grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They
exchange their own self–righteousness for the
grace–righteousness of Christ.
God always gives His very
best to those who leave the choice with Him. That is
the supreme joy, peace and security of living the
exchanged life. He is our only source of security,
significance and sufficiency.