Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

poorDate written: November 13th, 2004

SUBJECT: Attitudes

TITLE: Beatitudes—Poor In Spirit

PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will look at the beatitude, poor in spirit. We will note what it means to be poor in spirit. We will note what their relationship is to the kingdom of heaven. We will note some practical lessons for being poor in spirit.

OBJECTIVE: Each should be able to state what it means to be poor in spirit and how that relates to being in the kingdom of heaven.

AIM: To help all have a better grasp in the study of the beatitudes.


1. Read: Matthew 5:3-10

2. About the Text:

1) This passage begins the famous Sermon on the Mount.

2) This sermon speaks concerning the character of those who will be in the kingdom of God.

3) All who would be citizens of God’s kingdom should understand this sermon.

3. The Beatitudes

1) We are going to focus upon the first part of the sermon, the Beatitudes.

2) Each beatitude has a particular form. There is in each one…

a. A declaration of blessing.

b. A description of attitude.

c. A disposition of blessing.

3) Each beatitude begins with the declaration of blessing.

a. The word for “blessing” in Greek is MARKARIOS.

b. The word contains idea of joy, prosperity, and contentment.

c. 1 Cor.7:40 “But she is happier if she so abide….”

4) There is then the description of the attitude.

a. Here is why these are called the “beatitudes.”

b. We are attitudes that describe who we are to be.

5) Then there is the disposition of blessing.

a. This is the actual blessing itself and the reason for the happiness.

b. This is also what we can expect will result from having the attitude described.

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.


I.   What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

1. The meaning of the word “poor.”

1) Someone who is a beggar, a poor man.

2) Someone who is destitute of riches.

3) Someone who is helpless, powerless, to improve his situation on his own.

2. Applying the definition of “poor” to being “poor in spirit,” we find.

1) One who is a beggar in relationship to his spirit.

2) One who is destitute of riches in relationship to his spirit.

3) One who is helpless, powerless, to improve his spiritual situation on his own.

3. In thinking about the meaning of this attitude I’m reminded of several passages.

1) Luke 18:9-14 contrast the man who is not poor in spirit vs. the one who is.

2) 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 tells us about who has been called and for what reason.

3) Matthew 20:29-34 tells us about two blind men powerless to help their own situation.

4) Paul sums up the state of the poor in spirit in Romans 7:24. “Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?”

II.  What is the relationship of the poor in spirit with the kingdom of heaven?

1. Regarding the kingdom of heaven:

1) Matthew’s gospel sets forth Jesus as King and Jesus’ disciples as His kingdom.

2) Jesus preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

3) Matthew 5, 6, 7 are the characteristics of those who will inhabit the kingdom.

4) The kingdom is Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18, 19).

2. Regarding the relationship of the poor in spirit to the kingdom:

1) “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – possession.

2) “The kingdom of heaven is of them” – composition.

3) So what is that relationship?

a. It is a relationship of inclusion.

b. It is a relationship of belonging.

c. It is a relationship of being.

3. In thinking about this relationship, I’m reminded of these passages.

1) John 13:4-17 – The leader of those in the kingdom is poor in spirit.

2) Matthew 18:1-6 – one cannot be in the kingdom without being poor in spirit.

3) Mark 10:13-16 – the character of those in the kingdom is poor in spirit.

4) Matthew 19:23-30 – the dedication of those in the kingdom is poor in spirit.

III. What are some practical lessons for being poor in spirit?

1. Recognize our complete dependence upon God’s mercy. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:3-5).

2. We must consider everything loss in comparison to Christ. “Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil.3:8-11).

3. We must lose self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25).

4. Consider others before self. “make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” (Phil.2:2-4).

5. By submitting ourselves one to another: “Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).


1. Have you made yourself poor in spirit?

1) The poor in spirit are blessed.

2) The poor in spirit compose the kingdom of heaven.

3) Are you looking for that kingdom?

2. Invitation

1) If you are a Christian in the kingdom, know that Jesus desires of you this attitude.

2) If you are not a Christian you can become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom today.