The Beatitudes - Eight Keys to Joy and Peace, Pt. 2

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12, Jeremiah 15:16
Date: 10/26/2019 
Everyone wants happiness. How do we find true, lasting happiness? Part 2 of 3

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Doug Batchelor : Your life depends on your hunger. Hunger is a good thing. But oftentimes we are hungering for things that give us some temporary satisfaction, but it doesn't last because we're not dealing with the deeper issue.

We're going through a series, if you are here for the first time, just to give you some background, we're talking about the Beatitudes that you find there in the Sermon on the Mount, and it's in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5, the first 12 verses. And right now we're in part two in that series on the Beatitudes talking about "Eight Keys to Joy and to Peace."

You know, they say in flying, in aviation, your attitude determines your altitude. Have you heard that expression before? And what that means is the attitude of the plane, the plane is fixed, the attitude of the plane going through the air, if it's attitude is like that, it hits the earth and goes down. If its attitude is like this, it goes up. If its attitude is like that, it's going to turn. And so, the attitude determines altitude, and they say that's true of you, depending on what your attitude is in life.

But I'd like to say your Beatitudes determine your altitude. The Bible Beatitudes, that word there means blessing, but it really is a beatitude, because it's dealing with the inner life. All of the Beatitudes are dealing with the inner life. Now, we did an introduction and we covered about three of them last, I'd like to review that quickly. It doesn't take long.

If you turn to your Bibles to Matthew chapter 5 and we'll start with verse 3. Jesus is speaking to a multitude of disciples, He's up on a hillside, He sits when He teaches, and He opens His mouth, and He says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Doesn't say someday it will be, but He said now, it is, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And the poor in spirit are those who recognize their spiritual poverty. Then He says, "Blessed are those who mourn," when they realize that they're poor, and wretched, and sinful, and our struggles, they mourn for that, He promises they will be comforted.

This also is those who maybe mourning a personal loss. The Bible tells us that when Martha and Mary came to Jesus after the death of Lazarus, He saw everybody weeping and He wept with them, but then He comforted them with a resurrection. They were comforted. And then He says, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth," talking about humility, which is the opposite attitude of the devil who is proud and selfish. The meek after we realize our poverty of spirit, and we realize how weak we are, we mourn those things. That will develop within you an attitude of meekness.

Have you heard of someone who's been through a humiliating experience? They're more likely to behave meekly than those who are proud and arrogant. Now, that brings us to our subject for today. Are you hungry, anyone hungry? I just ate a little breakfast this morning, hoping that it would help me be more into the message. A few grapes and nuts, because I'm going to talk about hunger. We may get on to some other Beatitudes, but Jesus said, "Blessed," happy, "Are those who hunger." That sounds like another paradox right there. You think it would be happy are those who are filled, but He said no, you're blessed if you are hungry. Are you hungry for what? If you're hungering and thirsting for righteousness, those are the ones who will be filled.

This is one of the most important Beatitudes, and you see a change is taking place. First it's talking about, you know, your poverty of spirit and your morning and humility, and now it's saying you're not going to just look at the problem anymore, now you're going to hunger after the answer. I don't want to always be mourning that I am poor of spirit, at some point I want righteousness. Righteousness is a definition of Christ. So when you say you're hungering and thirsting after righteousness, that means you are hungering and thirsting to be like Jesus, to have His attitudes.

In fact, as you go through the Beatitudes, they're all talking about being Christlike. He became poor that we might be rich. So, as you go through them one by one, and we'll do this before we're done, I'll show you that really the essence, the quintessence of all the Beatitudes is to be like Christ.

Now, how do you get that righteousness? You hunger for it. You know, hunger is a desire we all have. It's part of life and it's something that is ongoing. The hunger and thirst for righteousness are also something that it's an ongoing hunger, and there's an ongoing filling that happens when you have that ongoing hunger for righteousness. You know, I'm sorry. I'm sorry in a sense that there's probably very few of you here that have really been hungry, and I'm not sorry that I want you to suffer, I'm sorry that you won't ever know what I'm preaching about today. Because unless you've gone days without eating, and you've had to, you know, be satisfied with things like the grass, and weeds, and just handfuls of this and that, your stomach hurt so much, you tighten your belt, hoping it'll take away the pain. Not too many of us pray that prayer, "Lord, give me this day my daily bread," and you really are praying there'll be bread for one more day.

So, when I talk about hunger, people in the Bible, they knew what hunger was. There were famines where they wouldn't eat. And Jesus said I want you to hunger. I want you to crave. I want you to yearn. People are driven by hunger. You know, my appetite, and I'm not a starving person, but just my regular, everyday appetite like you have dictates my schedule. How many of you build your day around your hunger? I admit it. I plan on eating something in the morning, I plan on eating lunch. A matter of fact, we often have our staff meeting, and I meet with the different pastors, it's kind of nice now, we're meeting the new Amazing Facts offices, and they know that Doug is going to start squirming in his chair if we've been going an hour and a half and it's getting around lunchtime. I say, "This meeting has to be over." "But we got this important item to talk about." I say, "It doesn't matter, I've got something more important. I have an appointment with my stomach." You know what I mean? At some point you say, "I've got priorities here, I'm hungry." And the hungrier you get, the less important everything else seems. Isn't that right? Blessed are you when you hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Now, how do you know if you're hungry for God? What are the signs? Are you seeking after the things of God and righteousness? Do you have a yearning in your heart and a desire for his holiness? If you see in yourself something that is wrong, are you satisfied with that, or are you disgusted because you are hungering for righteousness? Do you long for His word? Do you have an appetite for the bread of life? The Bible tells us that this would be a sign of a good hunger. Job chapter 23 verse 12, "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Where did he put it as a priority? He said more. Jeremiah 15:16, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart."

Do you hunger for the Word of God? First Chronicles 22, what are you seeking? Are you seeking God? "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God," is what David said to Solomon. Seek after God. Seek after righteousness. Jeremiah 29:13, "And you will seek for Me, and you'll find Me when you seek for Me with all of your heart." Alright, so much about that. I could do a whole message on hungering and thirsting, but I got a couple more Beatitudes.

Next one, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Now, remember that the Beatitudes are going in sequence, you can't mix them up. There's an order, there's a progression, they are steps. It's an advance that's happening here. What you see is the first step in entering the kingdom is being poor in spirit, recognizing your spiritual poverty. Then you mourn over that spiritual poverty. The third one is you then meekly submit to the Word of God. The fourth one is you will hunger for righteousness that you don't possess, which will produce in you, when you have that righteousness, an attitude of mercy towards others. When I say, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness," I did it myself, and you probably did it with me, I automatically thought about my hunger, and my thirst, and my righteousness. But you know, really, hunger and thirst for righteousness, you need to care about other people's righteousness.

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Doug: How many of you remember that big parable of the great judgment day? Matthew 25 where Jesus said it will be a day when God separates the sheep from the goats, and he says to the sheep, "Well done, blessed are you my servants. Enter into the joy of the Lord, good and faithful. I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty, you gave me drink. I was naked, you gave me clothes. I was alone, and you visited me. I was sick or in prison, and you came to me. I was a stranger, you took me in." I doubled up, there's six of them. And they'll say, "Lord, when did we see you in any of those conditions? We don't remember that occasion." He said, "In as much as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me."

Now, that to me is a really powerful proverb, because you realize Jesus does not say to the righteous you kept the Sabbath, and you didn't lie, and you didn't covet, and you didn't steal, you didn't commit adultery, into the kingdom you go. He doesn't judge them based on sins of commission, He judges them based on sins of omission. He says to the goats, "Depart from Me, ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, you didn't give me drink. I was naked, a stranger, alone in prison, you didn't help me." And they say, "Lord, we would never neglect you." He said, "In as much as you didn't do it to the least of these, you neglected me."

So wow, let's say you did not have mercy on anybody. You are surrounded in the world by needs, people are suffering, don't you have mercy on them? The good Samaritan had mercy on a total stranger, and he stopped, he wrapped up his wounds, he poured in the oil and the wine, he put him on his animal, he said, "You ride, I'll walk." He takes him to the inn and he says, "I'll take care of you for a while, but I've got to go, so I'm going to give money to the innkeeper, and he can take care of you." Wow, that's going the second mile for an enemy. That's what it means. "Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy."

Do you care, are you touched, do you just have pity, or do you have pity that acts? I mean, you know, I've often seen people suffering, and you go, "Tisk, tisk, tisk, tisk," and you say a little prayer for them, and you go on your way. And that's pretty cheap, everyone does that. Biblical mercy is proactive. It does something for those that are in need. Jesus says those will be blessed. You know, there is a blessing in ministering to the needs of others. Doesn't Jesus say it is more what? "It is more blessed to give than receive." You're blessed when you give. And so, He's calling us to have that kind of mercy.

Now, when it says have mercy, we are showing mercy on others because we've received mercy from God, is that right? We receive such abundant mercy. That takes us to the parable in Matthew 18 where there's this man, he squandered the king's substance, he's 10,000 talents in debt, the king said, "You know the law. That's a terrible waste. You stole all my money, you've wasted all my money, you're going to jail, I'm selling your family, I'm selling your goods," and the servant falls down and says, "Master, have mercy on me, have pity." And he cries, and he sobs, and he sees the family crying, and the king is moved with compassion. Now, if I had a servant like that, I'd say you get what you deserve, 10,000 talents, you realize how much that is? That's the entire budget for Palestine for a whole year. That was a fantastic amount of money. It's like our national debt today, trillions of dollars. And the king said alright, I forgive you.

You know what that means? The king says I'll pay. I'm going to suffer the loss. Now, if I was that man, and I'm going around, and I'm carrying a burden, "Oh, man, I owe 10,000 talents to the king," I'd be thinking about it every day. I couldn't enjoy anything if I had that kind of debt on my shoulders, could you? Ten-thousand talents, I don't like owing the credit card company one month. Ten-thousand talents, the king says, "Forgiven, I'm going to strike it from the record." He goes and he finds a fellow servant that owes him a paltry, measly some, takes him by the throat, puts him in prison to be tortured for $42, or whatever it was, it was nothing. And when the king heard about it, he said, "You wicked servant. I forgave you that massive debt because you asked me. Couldn't you have had compassion on your fellow servant as I had pity on you?" So when the Bible says, "Blessed are the merciful," it's not just saying that we care about the suffering of others, it means we're willing to forgive others.

What's the one statement Jesus makes His commentary on the Lord's Prayer? "If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." There are some people who do not like to pray the Lord's Prayer because they know that part that says forgive us as we forgive others. That depends on if you're in Luke or if you're in Matthew, trespasses or debts, but it's the same principle. And some say, "I don't want God to forgive me the way I forgive others," because we have a hard time forgiving others. "Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy."

You know, at the end of Matthew 18, He said that wicked servant who would not forgive, now don't forget this. God is not saying tell you what, you forgive everybody, and I'll have mercy on you. He says I have mercy on you first, but then you must share it, or you don't get to keep it. God takes the initiative first. He shows us mercy in the gospel. God is the one who initiates the gospel. He first forgives and then He says now after I've forgiven you so much, it's supposed to transform your heart, so you then are willing to forgive others. And if you don't, he said to that wicked servant, delivered him to the tormentors until he should pay everything that was owed. And Jesus said, "So my heavenly Father shall do to each of you if you from your heart does not forgive every man his brother their trespasses."

Wow, in other words, forgiveness from God is a free gift, but there are criteria. To keep it, you need to share it. You don't get to keep the gospel if you don't share the gospel. It's all about sharing. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering." It's basically summarizing Beatitudes here. "Bearing with one another, forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so also you must do." It's not optional. You say, "Oh, Lord, I can't. You don't know what they said about me, or what they did to me, or how they're treating me and talking to others about me. How can I forgive them? Not until they repent."

You've got to forgive them for your own sake, because unforgiveness is a poison that will corrode its container. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, it's like an acid that eats out the container you put it in. And so, even for your own benefit, it doesn't mean that you can change them, and they may not forgive you. You don't have control over that, but you can choose and say, "Lord, I'm going to choose, by your power, to let it go." And you may think about it, but then you say, "Lord, I forgive them, and take that away from my mind," and he will. Jesus said, "All men will know you are My disciples," by what? Love for one another.

The world has yet to see what the modern church looks like when we really love and forgive each other. I've always said I would really have no problem being a pastor if it wasn't for people. Finally for today, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Now, you know all through the Beatitudes, Jesus is reminding us and He's reminding those who are listening that He's interested on the inside. He said if you're going to clean a cup, clean the inside of the cup first. He wants us to be pure in our hearts.

The Bible tells us without holiness, nobody will see God. The whole gospel is designed to forgive us. There is a righteousness that Christ offers to us. We hunger and thirst for righteousness, He gives us that righteousness first as a gift through his sacrifice. It comes immediately by faith. You receive the righteousness of God that you hunger for immediately. You can be satisfied by trusting in His promise, that's called imputed righteousness. Then as you follow on to know the Lord, then He gives you an imparted sanctification righteousness, and that's when you've got this purity of heart, and you are filled because you've been changed on the inside.

Now, did you get what I said? It's really important. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." You can be filled through justification, immediately, like the thief on the cross. Is that right? But you don't stop there. The Beatitudes go on. You're longing now for purity on the inside. It's not just that you're being covered, but you ought to be transformed. You want a purity of what? The heart, and you know in the Bible wants his heart. I want a purity in my mind. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." And we want to have new thinking, and God gives us purity of heart. Psalm 15 verse 2, "Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who might dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart."

God wants us to be honest in our hearts. He wants us to be pure in our hearts. He doesn't want, you know, covetousness, the last of the Ten Commandments. It's really a heart problem. It's something going on in the heart. John 1:47, Jesus saw Nathaniel coming towards him, and he said, "Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no deceit. Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." He said here's an honest Israelite. An Israelite, he was pure in heart. First Timothy verse 5, Paul says, "Keep thy self pure." Enoch walked with God for 300 years, he was seeking purity of heart. Hebrews 12 verse 4, "Follow peace with all men and holiness," now catch this, "Without which no one will see the Lord."

Zacchaeus climbed a tree, why? Because he was short. He was short and he climbed a tree so he could see God. Zacchaeus wanted to see God. You know what the word Zacchaeus means? Pure, the pure will see God. Did he see Jesus? He hungered for that view and he got it. First Peter 2:1, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you might grow thereby." So, how do we grow in this purity? How do we grow in this holiness? It's through the Word of God. First John 3:3, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." What level of purity are we talking about? A Christian is like Christ. God is calling upon us to be Christlike.

The purpose of the gospel is to restore in us the image of God. I know that seems--it's interesting, there's two different extremes. One person, you say God is going to give you a gift of righteousness, all you do is ask for it. Believe and he will forgive all the sins of your past. You know what they say? That's too easy. That doesn't make sense. And then you tell those people, well, don't worry, then he wants you to be sanctified and you will be like Christ. They say that's too hard. So, there's some people, no matter how you put it to them they say it's too easy, it's too hard. It is easy to come to Christ by faith. Well, I guess for some people it's not, but it's a simple thing to receive that righteousness, to receive that purity. He gives you a new heart and then you long for it to be your character.

Now, you may--it's like Paul says there in Romans, "Oh, wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?" You know, we see the sinfulness in ourselves, and we hunger for righteousness, we hunger for purity, we hunger for the characteristics of Christ, then he promises in "Romans, I thank God that I no longer have to walk after the flesh, but I can walk after the Spirit." We can be Spirit-filled. So, what's the promise? "Blessed are the pure in heart," for what? "They will see God." Did anybody get to see God? Genesis 32:30, "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for he said, 'I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.'" He had what they call a Christophany. He saw Jesus prior to His incarnation.

Deuteronomy 5:4, "The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire." God told the whole nation. Deuteronomy 34:10, "But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." Judges 6 verse 22, "Now Gideon perceived it was an angel of the Lord, So Gideon said, 'Alas, O Lord God, for I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.'" This was again Christ. "The Lord said, Peace be to you. Do not fear, you will not die.'" They were so afraid if they saw God face to face, they'd die.

Now, the whole problem with sin in Genesis, man ran from God. He was separated from God because of sin. We've been separated, our sins have separated us, but through the sacrifice of Jesus and the washing of the blood, we can be restored to the presence of God.

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