John Hagee - Poverty that Makes Rich
Today we begin a series of sermons taken from the greatest sermon that was ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever walked the face of this earth, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The sermon on the mount represents the moral principles of the Kingdom of God. The sermon on the mount was not a call to sinners. It was a call to those who professed Christ. And Christ is saying, these are the attributes I want you to demonstrate to the world from now on. Matthew 5, 6 and 7 is the constitution and bylaws of the New Testament church. Why do we need this teaching in America? We need this teaching because something is seriously wrong in our nation when we are offended by everything but sin.
The eight beatitudes are arranged in four pairs. They are progressive in nature, meaning they are like a stairway to the stars. The first step is poverty that makes rich. Read with me Matthew 5:1 through 4. "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he had set down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted". This is step one. God is going to do a work in your heart and in your life, as you climb this stairway into the very presence of God.
Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for those who are in this audience that love your word. Thank you for those in America who are willing to obey your word: that righteousness may abound in this nation in our time of moral calamity. In Jesus' name, we pray. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Every word of the text in Matthew 5:1 demands an explanation to every Christian. There is, first, the words, "And seeing the multitudes". Jesus' audience was the audience of 12 disciples that were listening to him and thousands that had come to hear him. It was the message being presented to the messengers who would carry it to the world. That is still the prototype of the church. We have the good news. And it is our responsibility to carry it to the world: that the world may know Jesus. The text then states, "He went up into a mountain" to preach a sermon. It is the constitution and bylaws of the New Testament church. Jesus said, "If men will not praise me, the rocks will cry out and praise me".
The fact is, the drama of the Bible is projected over the mountains, in the scripture. At mount Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. At mount Zion, Jerusalem, the city of God, was created. At mount Calvary, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for your redemption, for your redemption and for your redemption. It was a battlefield fought for the souls of men. And Jesus Christ was victorious over death, hell and the grave. Then the text reads, "And then he sat down". He sat down, as a judge enters the room and sits down, the portrait of absolute authority. The court is in session.
Listen up. He sat down as the King of kings, because he is the kings. He is the Lord of lords, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. He is saying, these beatitudes are the things I want you to hear and to obey. The eight attitudes, the stairway to the stars, begins with one of the most powerful words in the Bible, "Blessed," "Blessed". The fact is it's God's passion. It's his desire to bless each and every one of you here and each and every one of you listening by television. He wants to bless you exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or imagine. That's God's word. That's not my word. Psalm 84 says, "The blessings of God is upon this house".
Have you asked for the blessings of God to be upon your house? God blessed Adam and Eve, and they became the general managers of the universe. God blessed Abraham as the founder of the nation of Israel. He said, "I will bless you, and I will make your name great," and "I will make of you a great nation". That nation is Israel. Today Israel is one of the most prosperous and powerful nations on the earth. God Almighty is looking from heaven right now to every person in this auditorium and to those who are watching television across America and around the world. I want to bless you. I want to bless you abundantly. I want to bless you so much: your neighbors can't stand it. I want to bless you in your health. I am the great physician. I want to bless you in your finances.
"For all the gold and the silver in the world are mine," saith the Lord. I want to bless you in your family relationships where you love one another as I have loved you. I want to bless you, your children and your children's children. I want to tell you something. Look at my children. God has blessed those children, because we have taught them how to receive the blessing of God. I want to bless you with peace that surpasses understanding. I want to bless with you joy that's unspeakable and full of glory. I want to give to you a hope that will guarantee success in your future. I want you to have victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. You are my child. Be blessed. Be abundantly blessed! Give the Lord praise in the house!
Hello, fathers. You are the high priest of your house. Ephesians 6:4 says, "You fathers, train your children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord". It's not the mother's role to train the children. It's the father's role to train the children. One of the great tragedies of America is the absentee father from the American home where children never knew their father. They never heard him pray. They never heard him establish the pattern of righteousness that brings true prosperity. The fact is that Jacob blessed his 12 sons with a priestly blessing. And every word he spoke over those boys controlled the future of Israel for almost a thousand years. Think about that kind of power.
Let's take the first step in the stairway, poverty that makes rich. Sounds strange, doesn't it? The Bible says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". What is "The poor in spirit"? It's the opposite of the defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God: that says like Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey him..."? And my friends, that's the attitude of many millions of Americans right now. Who is God, that we should recognize him, that we should honor him, that we would want his Ten Commandments in our schools: that we would honor him in our schools? Pharaoh found out who God was when the death angel swept through Egypt and killed the firstborn in every home when God sent the ten plagues that crushed the Egyptian economy forever.
Then he turned the river Nile into blood. There was blood in Pharaoh's bathtub, in his kitchen because it was everywhere. All water turned to blood. He drowned the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. The God of heaven is not a cosmic cop. He is Almighty God. He has all power. He is in control of what's going on. We just need to ask him. What is the perfect portrait of being humble in spirit? The perfect portrait of humility was demonstrated by Jesus Christ in John 13. The Bible says that Jesus rose from the supper table, laid aside his garments, and took a towel and wrapped it around himself. Then he kneeled and he poured water into a basin and began to wash the dirty-stinking feet of his disciples.
Why didn't one of the disciples wash the feet? They didn't wash the feet because Jesus was the only one spiritually strong enough to do that. They were spiritually too insipidly weak to do the humble thing. They were full of themselves. Their pompous ego was their master. They were concerned about sitting at the right hand of the master in the kingdom that was to come. They even had their mothers lobbying Jesus for them. Jesus looked at those mothers and said, "You don't know what you're asking. Everyone who follows me is going to get killed". Suddenly, they weren't quite so interested. This portrait screams the message of the 21st century in America. It says, crucify your pride. Crucify your vanity. Crucify your ego or you will never be a part of the Kingdom of God. All of your righteousness is as filthy rags.
Look at the text. It says the first step in the stairways to the stars is humility. "Humility," it's a word lost to this generation. Being gracious, being willing to be a servant. "Except you become as a little child, you will not enter the Kingdom of God". What is the reward for taking this first step? "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Say that with me. "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Listen. The kingdom of heaven is not yours when you die. The kingdom of heaven is yours right now. It's yours right now. When you practice the principles of righteousness, you have the supernatural power and authority of the Kingdom of God at your disposal to be victorious and prosper in every dimension of your life, right now. Honor the Lord with the firstfruits of all your endeavors and see your blessings return in abundance.
These beatitudes, this stairway to the stars, this eight steps of sequential supernatural logic, the first step is emptying of yourself with the following steps are a manifestation of its fullness. You cannot be filled until you are first emptied. You cannot be filled with new wine and be partially filled with old wine. The old wine has to be poured out to the last drop. You can't read the Bible with any success with a copy of playboy magazine on your desk. Mmm. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things shall be given unto you". There are always two sides to the gospel. There's first, the pulling down: and next, the rising up.
Remember the words of Simeon, the New Testament prophet who dedicated Jesus when he was brought to the temple by his mother, Mary. He lifted Jesus up and said, "This child is set for the fall and the rising again of many". "The fall and the rising again". The fall comes before the rising. Fact: the conviction of sin comes before conversion. The gospel of Jesus Christ condemns before it releases and exalts. God Almighty purges you before he promotes you. Jesus was crucified for our sins before the resurrection. Are you going through a great trial right now? Are you going through an unspeakable trial right now? Those of you watching the television, can you answer that question? Has your heart been broken? Have your dreams been crushed?
Listen to me. Hold on. You're the next in line for a glorious promotion that will bless you the rest of your life. You're getting ready to go from the pit to the palace. Listen. Being poor in spirit does not mean you suppress your personality and let people run over you. Write that down. This humble, yet aggressive behavior is seen multiple times in the Bible. There is Gideon, the situation that Israel has been in captivity from the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were vicious. Gideon is out behind the barn, harvesting his wheat. He's hiding, because if the Midianites see him, they'll steal the wheat and he'll starve. The angel of the Lord comes to this coward hiding behind the barn and says, "Hail Gideon, you mighty man of valor".
Get out from behind this barn and go do something! And Gideon and the angel have a discourse that lasts for about three chapters. But it ends up with Gideon becoming super aggressive. He organized an army that God reduced down to 300 to go into combat against an army of tens of thousands. They had a trumpet to blow and a pitcher. And with all of that racket, they charged, and the Midianites fought each other and destroyed each other. And they became the victors. God can use you if you're just willing to be used. The angel of the Lord comes to him and says, "Hail Gideon, you mighty man of valor". "Blessed are the poor in spirit," we find humility, yet we find divine confidence in Jesus Christ.
Listen to what Jesus Christ said, the Creator of heaven and earth who has all power, who could have crushed the earth with a simple statement. He looked toward the heavens and said, "I can do nothing of myself". Jesus said that. Look at his prayer life. He was God's son. He was God. He prayed for hours. You see his poverty of spirit and his total dependence on God the Father. The Son of God prayed for hours. Just how broken are you? And how humble are you before God? Are you willing to do the menial task in the Kingdom of God, what I call "The washing-of-the-feet project"?
Look at Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and do what he asks you to do. Ask God for great and mighty things. Ask him for miracles in your life. Ask him for miracles in your home, with your children, in your business. Now you're ready to take step two, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted". Say that with me. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted". This is the second step in the stairway to the stars. He's the God of all comfort. Have you ever heard the term "Good grief"? How many of you've ever heard that? How many of you've ever used that? It's a medical fact, grief is healthy.
One tear in the eye testifies about a spring in the soul. It may lie buried beneath emotional scars. It may lie buried beneath a bitter divorce, or the rejection from your parents, or child abuse from your father or mother, or a bitter memory that will not die. That one tear screams, "I'm alive! I'm emotionally alive"! Tears are a language God understands. "Blessed are they that mourn". Happy are those that can still weep like a child. For they are the only ones who are really alive. If you can't cry about your faults and failures, you're not spiritually well. God is not your butler. He's the master of your life.
When Matthew was nine years old, he called me into his bedroom at night. I knelt beside his bed. He was weeping. He said, "Dad, I said some things today that I know must have offended the Lord. Would you pray with me that God would forgive me"? I knelt beside his bed for prayer. I left his room, walked down the hall and said to the Lord, "Except you become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God". "Don't ever let my heart, my soul be affected by this dog-eat-dog world. Don't let me get jaded and cold and calloused and cynical. Don't let my heart get past the portal of tender feelings toward you or people who are suffering".
What about you? Paul tells us of people whose conscience is seared with a hot iron, 1 Timothy 4. They live in hypocrisy and it does not pain their hearts. Remember the story of father Damien. He went to be a missionary to the lepers in the island just off the island of Hawaii. For 13 years, he lived with those lepers in their Gethsemane. For 13 years, he was their teacher, their companion, their friend. At last, the dreaded disease laid hold of him. At first, he was not aware of it. But one morning, he happened to spill hot-boiling water on his foot and there was absolutely no pain. The loss of feeling informed him that the leprosy had consumed his body and he himself was slowly dying.
Listen to me. There is a far greater loss than that of physical sensitivity. It is the loss of your spiritual sensitivity toward God. When you can get to the place you can sin and your conscience no longer hurts you, you're dying. Your conscience is seared with a hot iron. You lie, but there's no pain of conscience. You used God's name in vain. There's no pain of conscience. Your world's attitude is "So what"? You commit adultery and there's no sorrow over the broken covenant with your husband or your wife. You steal from your employer. At first, your conscience is revolted but no more. You are addicted to pornography. You are a slave to the occult. You're a slave to drugs.
At first, the Holy Spirit convicted you, but the voice has been smothered by your carnal choices. Your conscience is dead. Your heart is as hard as a rock. "So what?" you say. You pass up your Bible and fall asleep in your chair without prayer time. You attend the house of God on Easter and Christmas, and you think you're doing God a favor. You are consumed with greed and mastered by materialism. "So what"? You say. So what? You're dying, mister. You're dying, lady, that's what. You're dying without the grace of God. You will never be a part of the Kingdom of God unless you repent. You're murdering your conscience with every disobedient act. Your soul is dying. Your conscience is screaming, "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it"!
Mourning is the evidence of forgiveness. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be forgiven. Say that with me. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be forgiven. "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Sin confessed is sin forgiven. God has forgiven you. In my life as a pastor, there are people who ask God for forgiveness and then refuse to believe that God could do it.
My dear friend, all that God wants you to do is say, "I'm sorry for my sin". And he has the angels of God to wash that off your record. It's buried instantly in the deepest sea, never to be remembered anymore. If God has forgotten it, you forget it! You forget it! Peter is at the fireplace of Pilate's judgment hall. He denied Jesus Christ three times. Think about it. He denied the Lord. The Bible says, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father and his angels in the Kingdom of God".
Peter's soul is literally hanging by a thread. The Bible says, "He went out and wept bitterly". He mourned. On the resurrection morning, what was the first thing Jesus said to his disciples? "Go tell Peter he's forgiven". He didn't say, "Go tell that loud mouth I'm going to give him a second chance". He said Peter is forgiven. Think about that. Mourning is natural. The Bible says about the different kinds of mourning, but mourning is a sign that healing is taking its place. Mourning is the road to repentance. Blessed are they that mourn, for they are on their way to repentance.
Romans 3:23: for we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Say that with me. "We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". God's grace is greater than all of your sin. That is just a verse that boggles my mind. God's grace is greater than all of your sins. I have heard every conceivable kind of confession, and that verse is the lifesaver of legions of people who believed that God could never forgive them. If you're in this audience and you're watching by television and you believe that God could never forgive you, that's the devil sitting on your shoulder, lying to you. God is anxious to forgive you. He is anxious to forgive you.