(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)




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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Surrender your “rights” to God.

When you have no “rights” there’s no reason to get upset with anything. Romans 12:1 

  1. 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 

  1. 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!

(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)



We all face trials and troubles often.  It is what Cole Porter called “Stormy Weather” in a song that he wrote.  

There were a couple of times when the disciples faced storms on the Sea of Galilee.  

As we look at this story about literal storm, we also learn lessons about the figurative storms that cause trials and troubles in our lives.  Let’s see what lessons we can learn this morning about stormy weather. 


Vs. 23 – Think of the boat as our lives.

Although God is present everywhere, there is a special sense in which God is present in our lives.  When He indwells us, He has taken up special residence inside of us. John 14:16-17 

God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of the Christian.

He is there to guide us, protect us, keep us, teach us, and comfort us.

And God has promised the Christian that this presence is unending! Hebrews 13:5-6 

You have heard people say, and might have said yourself, “I wouldn’t want to face this problem without the Lord!”

How true!  If God is willing to take up residence in our lives through his Holy Spirit it would be dumb not to avail ourselves of His presence. 

When you trust Christ as your payment for sins, you are what the Bible calls, born again, by the Spirit of God.  And God the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life. Romans 8:9    

If you have truly trusted Christ as your Savior, you have God’s presence in your life no matter what the storm may be.  Make sure that you have Christ in the boat that is your life!    


Vs. 23 – The Lord Jesus entered the boat.  The disciples followed Him into the boat. It was the Lord Jesus who decided where they were going. Luke 8:22 

The disciples ended up in a storm on the Sea of Galilee because they were following Jesus in obedience.

Of course, being obedient to God as a Christian and following Jesus’ leadership in our lives is the right thing to do. Luke 9:23-24 

Following Jesus after trusting Him for forgiveness does not mean that it will be an easy life.  In fact, we will have storms. 2 Timothy 3:12, James 1:2-4 

The storms that Jesus leads through will make us strong and mature.  And I’d rather follow Jesus in the middle of a storm than to not follow Jesus.  Being in the center of the Lord’s will is always the safest place to be. 

But you’ll also face storms if you’re not obedient to God. 

Would you rather face storms being in the center of God’s will, or out of God’s will? Which makes the most sense?   


Vs. 24 – I don’t have to tell you how dangerous storms can be.  Just consider last year’s tsunami and hurricanes Ivan and Rita.

This storm was a very violent storm, and even seasoned fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James, and John were having trouble with it. 

The storms of life which we face are also dangerous.

Sometimes we will be in physical danger because of persecution, accidents or illness.

Other times we are in emotional danger with our “storms” threatening to overwhelm us with fear and/or depression.

Other times we are in Spiritual danger, with Satan’s attacks challenging us to give up or to sin. 

And this verse alludes to another danger.  We might be concerned because in the midst of the storm God appears to be asleep.  He does not seem to be responding to our problems during the storm.  He seems to be silent. 

Our Lord Jesus was able to sleep because He had a human body that got tired.  He was also able to sleep because, being sinless, He had a clean conscience.  He was also able to sleep, because He quietly allowed Himself to rest in the hands of His loving Heavenly Father.

If you are doing what is right before the Lord, confessing your sins as a Christian, and striving to live for Him, don’t panic when God appears to be asleep. He’ll show Himself to be very much alive at just the right time. 


Vs. 25 – When storms come we tend to fear. And sometimes when storms come we will go into a panic.  The situation seems to be absolutely hopeless! 

Humans tend to be fearful.  If we didn’t tend to be fearful, God would not have put so many verses in the Bible telling us not to be afraid. I’ll just give you two samples, but there are many more “do not fear” verses in the Bible. Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 41:10 

We tend to fear and worry about what might happen but hasn’t happened.

We tend to fear and worry about the future.

We tend to fear and worry about the opinions of others.

We tend to fear and worry about our children, our parents, our spouses. 

Then comes the times our problems are so real to us that they tend to overwhelm us.  We hit the panic mode. 

Yes, many fears are justified.  But there is a proper way to handle fear.

These seasoned fishermen were literally in over their heads and they knew it, coming to Jesus in panic. 


Vs. 25 – The disciples awoke the Lord Jesus.

Their anxious prayer was an indication that they had come to the end of themselves, and that they had at least a little faith that Jesus could help. 

I personally think that they waited too long to ask Jesus for help.  The moment things got a little stormy, I think they should have come to Him. 

We are like that.  If things seem to be just a little stormy or troublesome, we’ll just worry over it and try to solve it ourselves, instead of bringing it to God right away.

But when problems get full blown, we come in a panic with a little, but not much faith that God can help. Philippians 4:6, James 1:5-8 

Vs. 26 – Note that Jesus did not rebuke the disciples for waking Him up.  Like I said, I feel that He would have welcomed being woken up sooner.    

Notice our Lord’s calm rebuke in the midst of the storm.

He was not in a panic. He’s totally under control.  He can even take the time to rebuke the disciples before He did anything.  He is master of the situation. 

Let’s remember when we give our stormy problems to God He is not in a panic.  He can solve the problem leisurely if He chooses to.  There is no reason to get in a dither or bent out of shape. 


Vs. 26 – Jesus said the word and there was perfect calm. It was like there had been no storm. There was no rocking of the waves that normally follow a storm. There was perfect peace. 

When Jesus speaks the Word there is perfect peace.

Sometimes the problem totally disappears, but more often than not the place where the greatest miracle has occurred is inside of us. 

We are at peace.

God has calmed the ragging in our souls. 

Vs. 27 – The disciples were absolutely amazed!  The Lord Jesus had done what they had never seen before.  A human being told the storm to cease and it did.  The winds obeyed Him! The waves obey Him. 

They had a new appreciation for the power of Jesus!

They had a new appreciation for the glory of Jesus!

And when Jesus calms our storms, we too, should have a new appreciation for the power and glory of the Lord Jesus.

We should be amazed!

We should be filled with praise and worship.

We should be ready to trust Him when an even bigger storm comes.