There are things that must be done first before other things can be done. There are basics that must be done first before more elaborate things can be accomplished.


The best pianists had to first learn the notes and then the scales.

The fastest typist had to first learn the keyboard.

The very artistic skaters didn't start with fancy routines. She first had to learn how to skate.

There is an expression that goes "first things first".


We begin with the first verse of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus begins by putting "first things first".

He says in Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


This is the verse upon which the whole Sermon on the Mount builds. This is the first step to becoming a Christian. This is the first step in living the Christian Life.


In our text, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, Jesus is telling us that the secret to living righteously and to be being truly "happy is by being poor in spirit".


As you can well guess, being poor in spirit does not mean to be poor spirited. Jesus isn't encouraging a bad attitude.

And Jesus isn't talking about physical poverty.

Our spirit would be our attitude.


The word translated for poor here is the word used for someone who is so poor he has to beg. I have known poor people who didn't have much, but were able to survive. The person described here by Jesus is so poor that he has to continually ask for help.

D. A. Carson said 'Poverty of Spirit then, is the personal acknowledgement of spiritual bankruptcy.' D. A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1978) p. 16 quoted by R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount - The Message of the Kingdom (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2001) p. 19


You realize that you have no righteousness good enough for God. You realize that you do not have the resources to live righteously within yourself. Your only hope is to cry out to God for help. This, my friend, is true humility.


The spiritual beggar:

Knows that he is nothing

Knows that he has nothing

Knows that he has to ask God for everything


There are at least three areas that are affected by being poor in spirit.




Who did Jesus come to save?

He didn't come to save righteous people.

He came to save unrighteous people and to make them righteous. Luke 5:32

He came to save those who were lost in the degradation of sin. Luke 19:10


If Jesus came to save sinners, you must admit that you are a sinner to be saved.

If Jesus came to save the lost, you must admit that you are lost.


To truly be saved you must begin by admitting that you are a poor lost, sinner! You have to be poor in spirit realizing that you have no hope of forgiveness in yourself.


As a poor lost sinner, you turn to the Savior, the Lord Jesus, the perfect Son of God, who died for your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:21


You turn to the Savior and place your faith and trust in Him for eternal life. John 3:36


John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


Jesus told a story about two men in Luke 18:10-14, One showed his pride. The other showed his humility. The one who humbled himself before God was the one who was righteous.


It is the person who humbles himself towards God and turns to Christ by faith, poor in spirit, broken, knowing he deserves nothing, that is saved.





A Christian who is poor in spirit is submissive to God.

He realizes that he has done nothing to save himself.

He realizes that he can do nothing in his own power.

He realizes that apart from Christ he is nothing.

What causes us to fail to be submissive?

What causes us to not be poor in spirit?

It is our pride.


  It is our pride that makes us think that we are so important

that we worry about what others think of us.

  It is our pride that often causes our feelings to be hurt

because we think that we should have things our way.

  It is our pride that makes us worry about ourselves and our

own wellbeing. We look out for #1!

  It is our pride that causes us to make financial decisions that

make us feel good.

  It is our pride that causes us to play with "toys" and to

Entertain ourselves instead of pleasing God.

  It is our pride that causes us to be critical of others.

  It is our pride that makes us refuse to change what we know

that we should change.


How do we become "poor in Spirit"?


1.     Compare yourself to Jesus and nobody else.

When we compare ourselves favorably to others we usually end up feeling pretty good.

When we compare ourselves with the Lord Jesus we will come away humble.


James 4:10 - Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


2.     Surrender your "rights" to God.

When you have no "rights" there's no reason to get upset with anything. Romans 12:1


3.     Live to please God.

Warren Wiersbe - "The person who is poor in spirit is not disturbed by the attitudes or criticisms of others, because he lives to please God." Warren Wiersbe, Live Like a King (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1976), p. 37

Deuteronomy 10:20


4.     Look continually to God and not to yourself to fulfill every need. Be a humble beggar before God!

Realize that unless He provides it, your not getting it. Psalm 123:2, Matthew 7:7-8


Psalm 123:2 - Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.




The person who is truly poor in spirit is available to God, even though he realizes that he in himself is nothing.


John MacArthur mentioned some men who were greatly used of God, and yet were poor in spirit.


Consider the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 6:1-8


Listen to the words of the great King David. 2 Samuel 7:18


And remember what Peter said when Jesus gave him a miraculous catch of fish? Luke 5:8


Luke 5:10 - And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. John MacArthur, Kingdom Living Here and Now ( Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1980), p. 46-47


You know it's really easy to make excuses not to be used of God.

And most of the excuses we make can be traced back to our pride.

The great men of the Bible who were used by God were men who recognized their inability, but then allowed God to work through them.

Are you willing to do the same?


Are you ready to be used by God?

Put first things first and become poor in Spirit!