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The kingdom manifesto. How am I supposed to live anyway?

The kingdom manifesto. How am I supposed to live anyway?

FEBRUARY 15, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / The kingdom manifesto. How am I supposed to live anyway?

Pete Alwinson:
The kingdom manifesto. How am I supposed to live anyway? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
If you’ve suffered too long, under a do more, try harder religion. Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Pete Alwinson to teach us this week. Pete is a former pastor, founder of and the author of Like Father Like Son.

Pete Alwinson:
Thank you Matthew. It’s so good to be with you all. My name’s Pete Alwinson, sitting in for Steve Brown this week, as we’re giving him a little bit of time to take a break and do some research and preparation on some other topics that he’s going to be teaching real soon. But it’s great to be with you. And, this week we’re taking a look in the Beatitudes. And you may remember that I said yesterday that the Beatitudes are really Jesus’ eight point introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. And that Matthew’s gospel is framed around five major sermons of Jesus. So, if you want to impress your friends, you just walk up to them and say, Hey, how did Matthew shape his gospel? And when they tell you, they don’t know, you can say, it’s shaped around and built around five major sermons. And the first one is the Sermon on the Mount. And the eight point introduction is the Beatitudes. And it’s just so powerful. So, we started out last time, looking at this idea of what Jesus said.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And I said yesterday, that what this does not teach is that people who were poor economically are blessed. That being poor is a blessed state or that poor people are more spiritual or more moral or acceptable to God than those who have more money than they have. Martin Lloyd-Jones put it this way.

Poverty does not guarantee spirituality.

And that’s a really good point. I mean, ask poor people, people who are poor, ask them if they feel blessed by struggling to pay the rent and buy food and provide for their family. They don’t feel blessed. They feel pain and frustration, and often helplessness and anger and a whole range of emotions. In addition, it’s important for us to understand Biblically that there are a ton of people who are poor and are really not superior to others morally or spiritually. I mean, many who hardly have any money are neglecting their kids and some steal and some do some pretty awful things. So do some rich people, but the Old Testament gives us some guidelines here. It says in Leviticus 19:15.

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

Now, you say, well, what about in Luke 6:20, where it says.

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke seems to be bringing up, Jesus’ same words without saying poor in spirit, but talking about being poor economically. Well, I know Luke 6:20 standing alone seems to be talking about our economics, but Luke 6:20 doesn’t stand alone. The principle we use is that Scripture interprets Scripture. The more explicit passages help us to define and interpret the less clear. And so, really poor in spirit is the point Jesus is getting at. Now, having said that I got to make the disclaimer. We are called to radical generosity in the gospel. No doubt about that. I love that. And, Paul, the apostle was focused on, giving to the poor, developing the poor, just as Jesus was. And so, as it says in Matthew 6:33.

Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

So, we need to take care of those who are poor. We need to have radical generosity. God’s owns all that we have. And those things are very, very important to deal with. But when we come to the idea of being poor in spirit, it’s important to understand that there’s another thing it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean being weak or lacking in courage or being more passive. It doesn’t mean that you’re more blessed by God if you’re shy and retiring or if you suppress your personality or if you can’t look someone in the eye, I mean, it doesn’t mean that if you’re an introvert, you’re more blessed by God. If that’s the case, I’m in trouble cause I’m an extravert. But in the New Testament, we really do see a full range of disciples temperamentally. We see the extreme extroverted Peter, and we see a way more, way more introverted Thomas, Simon the Zealot who used to ambush Romans. And then we see Matthew who used to ambush his fellow Jews by demanding taxes. Look, there’s a full range of men and women in the Bible, temperamentally, all types of people can be disciples of Jesus. So, to be poor in spirit does not teach on those things. Now, what Jesus is teaching is revolutionary. It’s radical. And I want you to note that this starting point in the kingdom manifesto is absolutely crucial. And as I unpack what it means to be poor in spirit a little bit, I want you to know that logically all of the beatitudes build on one another. And it’s important to understand this. So, the first point to be poor in spirit means that when you come to God, you have nothing to offer him that makes you acceptable in his sight. This is the absolutely logical starting point of following Jesus. Getting our sins forgiven. Justification by faith alone, means that we stand before God and we say, Lord, I’ve got nothing. I mean, I’ve tried to be good, but I can’t be good enough, long enough. And I just have nothing in my spirit, nothing that I’ve accumulated in my moral life, nothing that I’ve done, that I can bring to you, to get you to think well of me. And so, the Sermon on the Mount needs to be understood as not something we do to get into the kingdom. These beatitudes are not things that we do to climb, to get to God. To be poor in spirit, is a complete absence of pride of self-reliance, of my own good works. It’s the old hymn that you may be heard.

Nothing in my hand I bring. Only to the cross I cling.

To be poor in spirit is to be met by Jesus, like Paul was on the road to Damascus. I mean, I love what Jesus did there. He met, the apostle Paul who was Saul the great Jewish theologian and leader, and he stopped him dead in his tracks. He blinded him. He made it be pulled along by some other guy. And he said, Saul, you don’t have anything to offer me. Why are you persecuting me? And then in I Timothy, we see Paul’s statement, where he says,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who strengthened me because he considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was previously a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief,

catch this.

and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant with the faith and love, which are found in Christ Jesus.

And so, what Paul says in I Timothy chapter one, is it really, he had found that when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, that he had seen God in the flesh and he had nothing to offer. Jesus says that we are truly happy when we come to the end of ourselves. When we realize that we have nothing to offer God. Great people as God defines greatness are those who understand that they are poor in spirit and that they are only as good as God defines them. Benjamin Franklin, had a plan for attaining moral perfection. He was a deist and I really liked Benjamin Franklin. I like to read what he says, he was a wise man. but he had a plan. He had an 11 point plan for moral perfection and the last one was. Humility imitate Jesus and Socrates. And so, I think he was thinking, well, maybe one day I’ll be able to stand before God, if there is a God and say, you see, I was a humble man. Jesus says, nah. Now, you want to be really happy. You want to be really blessed. You want to have joy in life, like you’ve never had it before then stop looking inward because you don’t have what it takes. And this has been so helpful for me. It’s been a lifelong journey for sure. And every day at the beginning of the day, I start out trying to remember who I am and my daily appointment with God. I have to remember, I have to remember that I am his deeply beloved and redeemed son, not because of what I have done, but totally because of what Jesus has done.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I’m always trying to build my own kingdom, but Jesus says humble yourselves. Come to me with empty hands and you will find all you need in me. This brothers and sisters is grace. The poor in spirit is the entry point to understand the gospel of grace. And when you get to the end of the Beatitudes and we start looking at the rest of the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, you will see, like I have seen that what Jesus has to do is defend that he’s not a lawbreaker. Why? Because all of the Beatitudes are grace. All the Beatitudes are grace.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

That means that if you come to the end of yourself, you come to God and you just bow down and ask for his grace and mercy and acceptance in Christ. That’s what it’s all about. We’ll talk about it on the next edition of Key Life. You take it to heart.

Matthew Porter:
And that was our friend Pete Alwinson, taking us on a deep dive into the Beatitudes. We’ll continue from right here tomorrow. So, make sure you join us for that. Well, yesterday was Valentine’s day. And if that’s news to you, I hope you’re not in trouble. We certainly talk a lot about love and movies and songs and for as cheesy as some of those are, love really is the thing the world needs most, isn’t it? Shoot, it’s what we. Well, that idea is at the heart of Jared Wilson’s new book called Love Me Anyway: How God’s perfect Love Fills Our Deepest Longing. We spoke with Jared about that common experience on Steve Brown Etc and it ended up being a really fascinating conversation. In fact, we would love to send it to you on a CD for free. So, claim your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, just send it to

Key Life Network
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Just ask for the CD featuring Jared Wilson. Hey, by the way, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who simply pick up their phone and text Key Life to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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