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Beautiful Choices // Sermon 1

The Beattitudes

Matthew 5:1-12 NIV

"Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them."

The Beatitudes

He said:

“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 children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


- Most have heard of the Beatitudes of Jesus.
- Beatitudes comes from the Latin word meaning “blessing.”
- There are 8 blessings Jesus talks about in His Sermon on the Mount.
- To understand these blessings, it’s important to know a few things upfront:

- The Beatitudes are not telling you how to be a Christian. They tell you what a true Christian looks like.
- The Beatitudes do more than describe the blessed life. They give us a road map, a guide to pursuing a blessed life.
- If we look at the Beatitudes as a list of things we have to do in order for God to accept us, then we are in danger of trying to earn our salvation. We understand that the Bible teaches us it is by grace we are saved, not by our words.
- The Beatitudes contrasts Kingdom values – what is eternal – with worldly values – what is temporary. They are not superficial acts we accomplish on a good day, but heart changes and a way of life.
- The good news is this, the Beatitudes are not distributed at random. It’s not I have a poor spirit and this one a meek spirit, and that person over there has a hungry heart. Nor are they multiple choices and we pick and choose.
- These are values that describe Christ-followers as they grow. We become poor in spirit and we mourn and we become meek and hungry for God and merciful and pure in heart and peacemakers as we pursue God and become closer to Him.
- These values become our core as we die to ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

Poor in Spirit

1. Verse 3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

- If I were to ask you today, what does it mean to be poor in spirit, what would you say?
- It simply means you recognize your poverty before God. You realize that you haven’t lived up to God’s desire for your life and you honestly admit in yourself you aren’t capable of getting there.
- And we really need to understand this, to be poor in spirit is the first mark of a person who walks with God.
- This thing of poor in spirit so goes against our modern culture. We are told so often how wonderful we are, everybody is good and nobody fails, everyone gets a trophy, no one loses, and all of us are God’s children and we just need to come together, hold hands and sing, “We are the World” while holding our smartphones in the air followed by a big campfire singing, “Kumbaya.”
- Seriously, that’s how many see themselves and others. And this is the very reason why we see far too few genuine conversions – life-changing experiences with God. Because if we see no real need for God, we do not pursue God nor His work in our lives.
- Unless and until we realize that we are lost and need a Savior, we will continue in our own self-serving ways.

Church, in love and grace, I remind us today that the Bible says:

- Isaiah 53:6 says: “All of us, like sheep, have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”
- Paul said in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
- And in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of your sin is death – (Separation from God – spiritual death) – but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- Isaiah said it this way in Isaiah 59:1-2: “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor His ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.”
- In Mark 7, we read a fascinating story: Syro-Phoenician woman Sounds harsh  unlike Jesus – out of character

“Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.”

- That’s tough for a desperate woman just wanting help for her sick daughter.
- But note her heart:

- No arrogance
- No, “I’m entitled”
- Rather, she accepted her status. She was mature in her response. And she was amazing in her faith.
- Yes, Lord. “Of course, Master. You are right. The children of God first – but even a dog eats the crumbs that fall.”

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. 

Oh, I don’t doubt for a moment that all of us are capable of some good. 

Intermittently we can make good choices and good decisions, but that doesn’t change the heart and the sin and rebellion that we each carry. 

Only when we recognize our need of the Savior…only when we realize God is holy and I am not…only when I come to terms with I can’t be satisfied and fulfilled in this life without Jesus the Lord…only then and then only can I have a relationship with God that isn’t from the head only, but also from the heart.

- Old John Newton nailed it after living a sinful life that led him to be involved in the horrible practice of slave trade in the late 1740’s to early 50s. But then, his heart was convicted and God had his attention.
- Newton penned those words of the Church’s Anthem:

- “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Twas blind but now I see.”

- With all of our efforts to succeed, to make a name for ourselves, to feel good about ourselves, to build self-worth and value and esteem; I’m telling you today it does not truly come until you realize that you are a sinner, an enemy of God, and you need Jesus to make it all alright.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”

2. This poor in spirit value continues after our relationship with Jesus begins. We must always be aware of our need for God.

A. Jesus said in John 15:5, “Without me you can do nothing.”

B. The Wise Man wrote in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding…”

Here is good news, you don’t have to travel through life alone. You don’t have to live by trial and error. When we simply acknowledge God and trust His heart for us with all our heart, He takes the lead and we just follow.


I’m doing the 5x5x5 Reading Plan.

  • On the very first day I started reading, I found a verse for 2017 to direct my journey.
  • John the Baptist, Mark 1:1-6

"The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

- Vss 7-8 (MSG):

"As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

No matter who we are, if we are the Pope, the Archbishop, the Greeter, the Usher, the Elder, the Singer, the Musician, the teacher, the giver, the pastor, the parking team – we must never lose sight that we are merely the stagehands and Jesus is the star.

It’s when we get that mixed up in church that we cease to be the church. 

And it’s when we mess it up in life – “our marriage is about me, work is about me, the world is about me;” when that happens we push out Jesus. 

Because He’s the Star and no one is worthy to share the stage with Him.

So, how is the Holy Spirit dealing with you today?

Do you need Jesus in your heart?

Worship Set

Open Up Our Eyes 

- Mack Brock, Chris Brown, Stuart Garrard, London Gatch, and Wade Joye

Verse 1

Greater is the One who's in us
Greater is the One who calls our name
He will never fail
Stronger is the One within us
Stronger is the One who fights for us
He will never fail
You will never fail

Chorus 1

For Your love endures forever
Oh Your love endures forever
Open up our eyes surround us with Your light
Your love endures forever

Verse 2

Mighty is the One who's for us
Mighty is the One who's strong to save
He will make a way You will make a way

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Our God is fighting for us always
Our God is fighting for us all
Our God is fighting for us always
We are not alone we are not alone (yeah)

Nothing but the Blood with Jesus' Blood 

- Robert Lowry Arranged by David Shipps and David Wise

Verse 1

What can wash away my sin
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again
Nothing but the blood of jesus

Chorus 1

O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Verse 2

This is all my hope and peace
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
This is all my righteousness
Nothing bt the blood of Jesus

Chorus 4

O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Misc 1

Jesus' blood never fails me
Jesus' blood, Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood never fails me
Jesus' blood, Jesus' blood
(repeat all 2x)


Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood never fails


Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood

Death Was Arrested

-  Adam Kersh, Brandon Coker, Heath Balltzglier, and Paul Taylor

Verse 1

Alone in my sorrow and dead in my sin
Lost without hope with no place to begin
Your love made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began

Verse 2

Ash was redeemed only beauty remains
My orphan heart was given a name
My mourning grew quiet my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began

Chorus 1

Oh Your grace so free washes over me
You have made me new now life begins with You

Verse 3

Released from my chains I'm a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore
He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend
Oh When death was arrested and my life began

Chorus 2

Oh Your grace so free washes over me
You have made me new now life begins with You
It's Your endless love pouring down on us
You have made us new now life begins with You
Oh yes it does

Verse 4

Our Savior displayed on a criminal's cross
Darkness rejoiced as though Heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That's when death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Oh we're free free forever we're free
Come join the song of all the redeemed
Yes we're free free forever amen
When death was arrested and my life began

Misc 2 (Ending)

When death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began