Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Sermon on the Mount

What Has Christ Cost You?

The Big Question

It’s a personal question, but it’s one that must be asked: What has it cost you to follow Jesus?

This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching Luke 6.12-26. There Jesus considers those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and rejected as ‘blessed.’ They are to be happy. He even commands them to rejoice!

Why would that be blessed? Doesn’t all of human history testify to our striving as a race to get away from poverty, hunger, weeping, and rejection? Why should these people be happy?

Jesus answers: Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Their future reward is greater in eternity which will never end. They will be comforted, they will laugh, they will be accepted. You see, it’s not the mere notion of poverty that Jesus prizes, but rather the reason for the poverty:

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!

These people are not blessed because they have nothing; they’re blessed because following Jesus has cost them everything. See the difference? They valued Jesus so much and this world so little that they gave up this world and its passing comforts for the next world and its unfading riches.
Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Poverty of Spirit

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

With these words our Lord’s ministry began in earnest. The long-awaited promised one brings the fulfilment of all that was foreshadowed in the Law and the Prophets in his person and his kingdom, and these are those to whom his kingdom belongs: those who are poor in spirit.

In the plainest sense poverty of spirit is simply the heart of contrition and repentance that God has always required from his people (a few examples). God has always declared that he would dwell with the humble and cast out the presumptuous and haughty, those who think that they have no need of God: Christ did not even come for those who don’t need a physician.

So first and foremost, to have any part in the kingdom (saving reign) of God (in Christ) we must recognize that he is holy, and that we are sinners without a plea before him. We deserve nothing from him, plain and simple, but come to him fully knowing that it would be good and right of him to damn me to hell. He would be just and good and righteous and glorified to send me to the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, to the Gehenna of fire, where the worm is never satisfied.

But this is nothing new, of course. If you’re a Christian, you’ve already been here and known this to be true in your own heart. So why doesn’t it last? How could it be that having come through the front door of utter humility and contrition we now think it appropriate to dwell in the room of luxurious pride and haughtiness of thought? What would possibly cause a Christian to ever think of himself as better than anyone else?

It seems that the nature of the gospel which Christ brings is such that pride in a Christian should be an impossibility. It begins with humility, continues in self-sacrificing love, and concludes with eternal praise–it is never about self; not for a moment.

Over the next couple of posts I hope to put forward a few thoughts about poverty of spirit: Why Christians lose it and how to further affect it.

© 2022 Julian Freeman

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑