Finding Real Happiness Matt. 5:6,7
August 3, 2014 Series: The Gospel of Matthew
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 5:6–5:7
Matt. 5:1-11 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Over the last 2 weeks, we began the study of the beatitudes.
If you missed either of those and are interested, I can provide you with the notes. The beatitudes comprise some of the most profound and important words ever uttered on this planet.
They are the manifesto of the King and they paint a picture of a kingdom which is polar opposite of what we see in our world now.
Happy are the spiritually bankrupt. The poor, the downtrodden, the have not's of this world. The one's who understand that their sin has left them bankrupt's spiritually. No hope of repayment. Just a cowering beggarly posture that pleads with the God they've offended, for mercy.
Happy are the sad. The ones who mourn over the offense of sin and rebellion against a good creator. The ones who understand the gravity and immenseness of their crimes.
Why, because of them is the Kingdom of God made up. These are the ones who will hear God say; "Comfort, comfort my people . . "
God doesn't save the proud. The arrogant. The self satisfied. The self righteous. They're doing just fine without Him, thank you very much. In fact He would just cramp their style.
5“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Many of us learned this as Blessed are the meek. The old king's english.
But now "meek" is out of style. We picture the guy on the back of the comic books who is all wimpy and the big handsome guys are kicking sand on his girlfriend. The 98 pound weakling who needs the Charles Atlas body building technique.
I'm dating myself. Look on the back of any 1960's comic books. That's what we think of when we hear meek. Casper Milquetoast. Barney Fife.
I need to work my way into the 1970's.
Meekness we associate with weekness. But Jesus said He was meek.
Every once in a while, meek tips tables over and drives the money changers out of the temple with a whip.
A very wise man has described meekness as "power under control". I tried to trace down where the quote originated and came up empty. Warren Wiersbe on the "Back to the Bible" program may get the credit in the 1980's.
The Bible gives us some examples of just such power under control. Gentleness. Meekness.
Mt. 26:51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53“Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54“How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”
Jesus is perfectly meek while a mob surrounds Him to arrest Him falsely. Peter's still playing by the old rules.
Jesus could have called 10,000 angels. One angel killed 185,000 men. That's power, and it's available, but Jesus is meek. Power Under Control
What is the symbol that you first think of when you read of Muslim atrocities. The sword. Power Out of Control. Satanic. Meekness will win this current war of brutality. Paul gives us an example of this also;
Acts 23:1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” 2The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 3Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” 4But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” 5And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.’”
Here, I believe Paul boils over, just for a moment, but anyone who has experienced that knows how hard it is to reign those emotions in. Look how quickly Paul reigns his passion in here. The sharp pain of a blow to the face. Anger! But Paul knows even though he felt the pain, the slap is at the Lord Jesus.
This is power under control. Ppn. 4:5, Paul says; Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Forbearance.
This is what the world under the authority to reign of Jesus, looks like.
This is what the church should look like. Gentleness. Meekness. it's one of the fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galations 5:23
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Why is it blessed to be meek? Answer; They will inherit the earth!
Really? Really. Well, how's that going to work? Because we turn on the TV and we see images of angry men dressed in black with black flags that have writing on them we don't understand.
Armies dressed in black with black masks covering their faces and machine guns.
We see christians being forced out of Syria and out of Iraq and out of the middle east. Being martyred, daily in those lands.
We see a man who says he is the Caliph and demanding caliphate. Convert to Islam or die. He says they will inherit the earth, and they'll do it in a blood bath. Brutality will inherit the earth. Men in black military array with swords will inherit the earth.
This is polar opposite of what Jesus said just a few hundred miles from where these images are coming from.
So, how's this going to work. Maybe Jesus made a mistake. Let's read it again. Blessed are the meek. They will inherit the earth.
What does that mean? Because it sure doesn't look like the meek are winning anywhere within a thousand miles in any direction from where these words were uttered.
Turn the other cheek. t. 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
How is this going to gain for us, the earth? It looks like meekness is losing badly. This is so counterintuitive.
Daniel saw this truth 2,500 years ago in a vision. Listen carefully and see if this doesn't sound like what could happen in this current world we live in months from now.
Daniel 7:23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. It has nothing to do with us. Everything to do with our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Then, 600 years later, John saw this vision;
Rev. 19:11And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
This is the story of the book. Paradise lost. Paradise re-gained, and given to the meek.
That's us! and we will reign with Him for a thousand years . . on this earth.
The Bible is specific. The promise wasn't for some fuzzy wuzzy pie in the sky. It says the meek will inherit the earth. That's exactly what it means. This earth. Christs! and Ours!
We spent many months last year studying future things. The book of Revelation.
One of the things we learned is how much this verse is going to come in sharper and sharper contrast in the future. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
I think as that kingdom gets closer and closer and as Satan's armies get more and more brutal, this verse will be filled with more and more beauty.
Revelation 6, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, we see this; 3When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
As Satan ravages the world, as one quarter of the worlds population perishes by brutality, this little verse will torment the tormentor.
He's going to wear out the saints. We'll be considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Satan will prevail, for a time. But this verse will remain true. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
I couldn't help but think of Martin Luther's rhyme; He saw this in the 1500's better than we see it, and we're knocking at the door of this happening.
Martin Luther wrote;
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
When we come charging out of heaven on white horses with the Lord Jesus Christ, to re-take this world, we're going to give Satan some "meek". Power under control, waiting for the day, when Jesus sets all of the wrong - to right.
There is a progression in these beatitudes.
Recognition that we are bankrupt and helpless spiritually. A realization that we have sinned against a good and benevolent God who loves us. God restores us to His kingdom. He gives us new life. He quickens us from the dead.
A mourning over our lost estate. Brokenheartedness over the seperation from God that sin has wrought. God comforts us.
Meekness and gentleness of spirit. Jesus is the King. We live to glorify Him. Every victory, every glory belongs to Him. We are meek. Gentle.
It's interesting to me that the god of the muslims seems helpless to defend himself from the dishonor of men. He has to have the muslims out wreaking havoc to gain honor for his name. Vengeance for their god. Holy war. Gihad for ullah.
By comparison, our God commands us to be meek. He doesn't need our help to win His battles. He says, vengeance is mine. I will repay! He wins every battle. He takes back this earth. He gives it to us as an inheritance. To God be the Glory!
What is our reaction to a God like that! 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
This image of hunger and thirst are found throughout the Bible. It translates easily to need. Human need. Spiritual need.
But fallen men do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. They hunger and thirst in their spirits. Our fallen spiritual condition is a great void. We hunger for satisfaction. For meaning. For spiritual fulness. For wellness and peace. But we go looking in all the wrong places to fill up the void.
Sex. Wealth. Power. Recognition.
Jer. 2:12 "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. 13"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.
There is a river of living water and we don't drink there. Instead we hew out a cistern in the rocks. A broken cistern. It has cracks at the bottom. We pour in some bad water that we got some place, and when we come back it's all seeped out. Nothing left but a muddy sediment.
How blessed. How machairos is the person whom God has removed the blinders, and he sees the real righteousness of God and he can't get enough of it.
Listen to Psalms 1: It is full of parallels.
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
Why is it that righteousness is the last place we look for happiness? Not talking about the world, I'm talking about christians. It's as if we think that happiness and righteousness are mutually exclusive.
I want us to do a spiritual inventory. Because if we believe that, then we have to admit we don't believe Jesus. He couldn't be more clear.
Happy are the ones who hunger and thirst to be like God. Godliness is directly linked to happiness, unless Jesus didn't know what He was talking about.
Apparently we don't believe this. It's rare to meet christians who are serious about sanctification. That's a 5 syllable word.
Follow me for a minute. We are body, soul, spirit. When it comes to eternal things, I could say, there's no hope for my body. It's decaying and well on it's way to death. In 38 years, I'll be 100. My body will get closer to death and decay every year until I expire.
My spirit on the other hand has been made alive together with Christ. I am quickened from the dead, in Christ.
That leaves my soul. What Paul calls the old man and the new man. And there is the possibility of progress for my soul. We call that sanctification.
1 Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
But that doesn't just happen by osmosis by divine miracle in your sleep. There is very real effort. Again, Paul says; 2 Cor. 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
What is that mirror where we gaze on His glory? Colossians 3:10
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
The word of God transforms us.
Where are the hungry christians though? Where are the christians who are starving for the Word of God because they want to be transformed by it's power.
Where are all the christians who are swooning with thirst, begging for the water of life?
You hear these stories of one of my heroes, David Platt, although 25 years younger than me, still my hero. He tells of meeting secretly in dangerous places on the other side of the earth with church leaders from all over the regions who beg him to keep teaching them the word of God. 13, 14, 15, 18 hours of teaching. They are starved for the righteousness that comes in the power of the word of God.
Some of our homes have a dozen Bibles on the shelves. 7 different translations. The dust piles up on them.
We wish we were happy. We haven't thought about this verse in years. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Is there any little spark at all for this? What's the blessing if we re-kindled this flame and carefully fanned it back to life. What's the promise?
They shall be satisfied. Satisfaction. Righteousness Realized! Hunger and thirst satisfied.
If you do a word study on the word the english tranlators used satisfied, you'd be rewarded. It means stuffed. Like at a Thanksgiving feast. After the 3rd helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. Stuffed.
God is waiting for us to show any signs of life. Maybe we're so emaciated from starvation that we can only stand a few ounces of "Ensure." I'm praying for the day when we're more like cowboys who have been pushing cows all day long and we come to the chuck wagon famished, knowing there's a big pile of steaks on the grill just waiting.
The deepest desire of every human being is to be happy. Our founders, the fathers of this nation set apart Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as the framework for the ideals of our constitution.
Now we have leaders who say we're too stupid to find those goals without their restraint. We need to be pointed to where the bigger minds than ours think happiness is at. We need to be saved from ourselves. Anything Jesus said about happiness is what the haters think.
What Jesus said is counterintuitive for sure. True happiness is found in; Spiritual bankruptcy instead of stardom. Humbleness instead of pride. Sadness over our brokeness instead of acceptance of the worst depravity. Mourning over sin instead of redefinition and glee over what used to be thought of as sin. Meekness instead of violence. Quietness instead of belligerence. Satisfaction in increasing righteousness instead of sex, drugs, power, intoxication, and a myriad of other dead end streets.
The world just looks at these things and shakes it's head. Polar opposite of where the fallen sinful natural man thinks to look in his pursuit of happiness.
Most of us, if we're honest, are somewhere in between. The world's draw is strong. So much to do, so many places to go and see. Most of it isn't sin, per se.
But our lives will be over in 5 minutes. We need to think counterintuitively. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Mt. 10:39
Jesus said; 29And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18
Take it from a horse trader. That's a good deal. Win win. Blessedness, both now, and forever. Satisfaction. Peace. Wellness. Deep happiness that cannot be shaken. Both in this life, no matter what the world throws at us, and in the life to come.
So, in the context of all we've said this morning, I charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels. . . .
More in The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2017The Authority and Commission of Jesus Mt. 28:16 - 20
March 19, 2017Jesus IS Alive! The Tomb is Empty Mt. 28: 1 - 15
March 12, 2017The Burial of Jesus Mt. 27:55 - 66 pt. 2