Matthew 5:3-5 The Ethics of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 5:3-5 The Ethics of the Kingdom of Heaven

Are you a poor, mourning, meek person? Jesus begins this sermon by telling the crowd something they rarely heard from anybody. “Blessed…” Crowds that followed Jesus were not always part of the elite city crowd. People at that time were not really happy, nor did they feel blessed. In this context, Jesus gives them 8 characteristics of “happy people.” It answers the questions of their life.

v. 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

What does this mean and not mean?

1. It is not meant as poor (poverty). There is no virtue in poverty.

2. It is not meant to be spiritually poor. Everyone without Christ is spiritually poor. David said, “This poor man called and the Lord heard him.” Psalm 34:6; Prov. 16:9 “Better to be lowly in spirit & among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.”; Isaiah 66:2b-“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit.”

v. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (meaning grieving)

How can mourning be a blessing and what are blessed people mourning for?

At its root, mourning is really self-concern. It really becomes about me and my situation. In the ethical kingdom of Jesus, mourning takes on a different dimension-a longing to see things restored. Jesus wept over Jerusalem-Matt. 23:37 O Jerusalem, …how I have longed to gather your children together.” We should weep over the lostness of man. BUT we will be comforted in that we also were once like the blind man on the wall. Eph. 2:1 “You were dead…you used to live…we were by nature objects of wrath (verse 4) But because of His great love for us, made us alive…”

v. 5 Meek (gentle) “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” (humble)

This is not the natural response of man. It takes a supernatural work of God in us. A truly meek persons sees all things in relation to God-Titus 3:2. In the natural system of the earth, things survive devouring something else. The ecosystem then works well. But in the kingdom of heaven, it is a complete opposite. It is the meek that inherit the earth.

Jesus says, “You know the rules of the Gentiles lord it over them… Not so with you.”

The greatness in the kingdom of God is not measured by having authority over others, rather by service to others. Did the great people of the Bible always reflect this? No. Moses was called the meekest man in all the world but, at times, he lost it-Numbers 12:3. David was said to have a heart after God but, at times, his heart was not.


1. The kingdom of heaven teaches us about a different view of life than our culture offers.

2. The kingdom of heaven teaches us the true blessings of life require adopting new ways of living.

3. The kingdom of heaven teaches us that we cannot make this change without the help of God.

Ethically in God’s kingdom

Þ Am I truly poor in spirit? Do I continue to come to God knowing that without Him, I am poor of spirit.

Þ Do I truly mourn as Jesus did for lost people? God help us to grieve for souls.

Þ Do I truly practice a gentle trusting attitude knowing that God will give His inheritance to His

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