The Good Life – Session 1
September 9, 2020
HAPPY ARE THE BEGGARS
Being poor in spirit means you see and accept your spiritual bankruptcy so you can make room for Christ’s treasures.
Would you say most people you know are happy? Why or why not?
What are some ways people seek to achieve happiness?
We’re all hardwired to search for happiness, but at some point in our lives, we realize no matter how hard and how long we work, we’ll never achieve happiness. The kind of happiness we long for isn’t about perpetually good or good things consistently happening to us. The happiness we’re hardwired for can only be found in .
Over the next eight weeks, Pastor Derwin Gray is going to lead us through the Beatitudes and help us learn how to the good life.
Watch the session 1 video featuring Derwin Gray.
(Zoom break-out sessions)
Unpack the biblical text to discover what the Scripture says or means about a particular topic.
Have a volunteer read Matthew 5:3.
The world tells us we achieve happiness through what we have-that’s a nice house, perfect career, or stable relationships. Those all sound great, but Jesus says the path to the good life begins with having nothing.
How has this week’s teaching helped you better understand what it means to be poor in spirit?
Why is becoming poor in spirit unnatural for us?
When did you first realize your spiritual poverty? How did that realization help you see life differently?
In the language of the New Testament, the word translated “poor” was commonly used to describe beggars who depended on providers. In the Old Testament, the word implied hope in God alone. Jesus teaches us that the good life is only for beggars. In other words, the good life is only available to those who realize everything they need comes from God.
But if that’s all it takes to be happy, then why are so many of us unhappy? What keeps us from being happy? The answer is simple-pride.
Pride blinds us to our need for grace. Describe a time when your pride blinded you to God’s grace.
What are some ways God is extending His grace to you right now? How does reflecting upon that grace make you feel toward God?
If you’re like most Americans, you have some form of debt, which can be crippling. Can you imagine someone paying off your college, credit card, and home mortgage debt all at once? Imagine how happy you’d be. Our sin debt was deeper and more crippling than any material debt we could ever amass. Yet, God stepped into the middle of that debt, nailed it to a cross, and forgave it. Happy are those who let God pay off their sin-debt!
In the past, have you viewed Jesus as happy? What made Jesus happy?
How was Jesus able to find happiness even in a terrible and torturous situation?
No matter the situation, Jesus had transcendent happiness that gave Him confidence and purpose. His happiness rooted Him in something deeper, better, and more beautiful than His circumstances. Jesus’ circumstances weren’t the cause of His happiness, nor did they add to or subtract from it.
Jesus is the embodiment of the Beatitudes. He was humble and poor. His short time on earth had lasting endurance because He spent it pursuing God’s justice and righteousness. Jesus, the Prince of peace, brought the peace of God everywhere He went. The cross transformed enemies into friends, failures into successes, and cowards into conquering apostles.
True happiness comes from becoming more like Jesus. Jesus fully depended upon God. How can you depend more on God and less on yourself over the next week?
Only spiritual beggars who realize they’re completely dependent on God will inherit the kingdom Jesus spoke of. The only life worth having comes to us through the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. We unlock the good life when we discover that it can only be found by being in a right relationship with God.
Why should realizing what God has done for us lead us to be poor in spirit? How does realizing what God has done for us lead us to true happiness?
Think about someone you know who is seeking the good life in all the wrong places. Do you tend to view that person with compassion or judgment?
Why should we have mercy and sympathy for our friends who are searching for happiness in ways they can never hope to find it? How might you point them to Jesus-the path to life and the source of all true happiness?
Father God, life, liberty, and true happiness are only available in You. Would You help us come to you with humble and open arms. Allow us to receive Your life-changing grace. We’re delighted to be beggars in Your kingdom.
(return from the break-out rooms)
5:3. In any century, a poor person has little reason to be happy, based on outward circumstances. Jesus, however, clarified in the first words of his sermon that he was not speaking of physical poverty, but spiritual poverty- poor in spirit. The beginning of repentance is the recognition of one’s spiritual bankruptcy-one’s inability to become righteous on one’s own. The blessing or happiness that belongs to the poor in spirit is because such a person is, by his admission, already moving toward participating in God’s kingdom plan, acknowledging his need for a source of salvation outside himself. Old Testament uses of this concept would have been familiar to Jesus’ listeners and Matthew’s readers. (Familiar Scriptures would have included Pss. 40:17; 69:29-30,33-34; Isa. 57:15; 61:1; 66:2,5.)