HOW TO BE A HAPPY SINNER
This is a sermon for sinners. For sinners who want to be happy. When
Jesus started His sermon with the words: ''Blessed are the poor in spirit,''
I am sure that every Palestinian mouth present dropped wide open. He was
literally saying: ''Happy is the man who knows he is a spiritual failure.''
May it be quickly said that our Lord does not point out our sinfulness
because He delights in exposing shortcomings. He is not that kind of God
at all. Rather, He is the Great Physician who sadly diagnosed the sickness
of our soul and performed an operation that cost the life of His own Son to
provide the cure. You and I never experience the joy of spiritual health
until we face frankly our illness and submit to His cure.
There are many different kinds of sinners in this world. There are very
few happy ones. In this shocking one-line introduction to the greatest ser-
mon ever preached, Jesus is saying that a happy sinner is one who admits his
spiritual poverty and allows God His rightful position in life.
A happy sinner is one who admits his spiritual poverty.
Jesus said: ''Blessed, or happy, are the poor in spirit.'' Poor in spirit
means more than humble. Humiliated is the better term. The word translated
'',poor'' was, until Jesus used it in this sermon, a degrading word. It speaks
of the most abject poverty. It describes the cowering, cringing, crouching
form of a beggar. It pictures, not one who does not have much, but one who
has nothing at all.
When one who is ''poor in spirit'' comes to God, he admits he has nothing.
He approaches God, not as a proud man marching before the Judge, confident
he will be acquitted; rather, he comes with no defense whatever, a branded
sinner, admitting his great guilt and begging for mercy.
The first step toward the blessedness of God is to say: ''Lord, I need
your help. I am a poor, lowly sinner; I beg you to forgive me.''
The only people who cannot ...
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