Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
What should we hunger for? The Sermon from Feb. 23rd 2020
Good morning everyone
(Summarize the Sermon Series thus far)
Intro - “Being Blessed” means that God is working in your heart to bring you in to right standing with Him.
Part 1 “Poor in spirit” means that we have a correct understanding of ourselves when compared to Jesus
Part 2 “Mourning” - over events, over our own sin, and over the sin in the world
Part 3 “Being meek” means to be humble, have self control, and acknowledge that we are second and God is first
So today’s message (Part 4) will be from the fourth Beatitude, which we can find in
Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
So here we have the 4th Beatitude. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
With this one, a pattern starts to emerge.
We can see that Jesus isn’t simply laying down “Christian fortune cookies” of nice lessons.
He is building, piece by piece, the mentality, thinking, behavior, and lifestyle that earmarks a Christian.
That is to say, when someone becomes a Christian, these statements will be truths about them.
The pattern emerges, when we see that each Beatitude builds on to the next one.
When we are poor in spirit - and see our need for Jesus
We will mourn over sin
When we mourn over sin - and see the severity of it
We will be meek
When we are meek - and acknowledge that we are second and Jesus is first
We will hunger and thirst for righteousness
When we are meek, we will not only inherit the land----as in, thats our ending------
But in the meantime, before we reach that ending, we will hunger and thirst for righteousness.
You see, if we are meek - and acknowledge that we are second and Jesus is first- it will cause a powerful, almost insatiable hunger for righteousness to grow deep within our hearts.
When we are meek, and make a habit of self controlled humility and servanthood to God, we will quickly see that there is a lack of something in our life, and in the world. -------- righteousness
And we will be hungry for it
You see “being hungry” is a phrase that has a lot of weight behind it.
We us it when were describing that were literally, physically hungery.
My stomach is empty, I need a cheeseburger, I am hungry
Or----I havent eaten anything in days ---- I am hungry
We us it when we have a drive for something - a spiritual hunger
This kind of hunger is used to describe hard workers, students, and athletes
“They have a strong drive, theyre hard workers, they have desire, passion, heart, they really give 110% at what they do…….they are hungry.”
And understanding the physical hunger, or the lack of being satisfied-----can help us understand spiritual hunger too.
So theres a word, there Sarah likes to use to describe me, and Caleb, when we get to a certain point of being hungry. Im not sure if other families use it, but its for sure accurate.
“Hangry” ----- when we havent eaten in sometime, and we get angry. Irritable. Short tempered. We get hangry.
My personality takes on more of an edge, my thinking gets a little cloudy, things start to bother me more and more------
I get angry, because that hunger isnt being filled.
This unsatisfied or unfilled hunger can do far worse things to people too.
When we go without eating for an extended amount of time, it actually has a physiological response in our brains and our bodies.
Our muscles start to break down // our stomach shrinks
Even the synapses in our brains will start to fire differently, and it will literally change the way you think
You start to hallucinate and see and hear things that arent actually there.
Your body actually starts to pull nutrients from itself and “eats” itself
In short, being unsatisfied or unfilled in our physical hunger, is dangerous.
And if we go long enough without physical food, we will die.
So…..what do we do about that?
We seek to satisfy that hunger
And depending on how bad it has gotten, and how much self control we have-----we can satisfy it in healthy ways or in unhealthy ways.
We can fill our bodies with junk food and garbage
Or we can fill our bodies with stuff thats healthy and beneficial
Now this can be hard----especially if weve developed certain habits and a certain lifestyle--------and our normal, is us satisfying our hunger with things that are bad for us.
Being unsatisfied in our physical hunger, can lead us to be filled, or unfilled. Healthy or unhealthy.
You see, “Being hungry” is an involuntary act of the human body.
We dont need to try and be hungry----it just happens when that which can satisfy us-----isnt present
And the same can be said for being spiritually hungry.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 - “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Each and every human, that has ever lived, was built with a sense of spiritual hunger.
This is what that means when it says “He set eternity in our heart”
This is a part of us, a part of our heart, soul, thinking-----a part of who we are as a person------All of us have a deep and powerful spiritual hunger
We want to belong // We want to love
We want to be loved // We want to know that someone cares
We want to care for others
Some of us want to create works of art that move people’s emotions
Some of us want to ingest that art and enlighten our emotions with beauty
Some of us want to build and plan // Volunteer
Help // Serve // Teach //
Create // Support // Empower
All of us, have a profoundly deep and immovable hunger for SOMETHING beyond our physical bodies
To find out what is the purpose of our life ---- why do we exist
We all want to find something that can give us some sense of worth beyond our thoughts and actions ---- as in, is that all we are?
Beyond our jobs and relatinships
Outside of our behavior and choices
Our good choices or our bad choices?
Is that all that life is?
Paying bills, helping people, and then dying? ---really?
There is soooo much more for each and every one of us, that nothing in this world can satisfy.
CS Lewis said - ““If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
And that verse in Ecclesiastes, teaches us that God put that hunger there.
It was built into our very being------from the very beginning.
It wasnt an after thought
He designed each and every one of us, from the beginning, with a desire to know Him
With a drive, passion, and hunger for something beyond ourselves
He didnt just make a blank slate of a human and think to Himself :
“Well, I hope they somehow develop a desire to know me.”
This “eternity on our hearts” ---------- this spiritual hunger, was woven in to us for two specific reasons
One- to give us evidence that we arent the end result of a fish that learned how to walk. A heart level longing to want our life to have meaning, is evidence that we were made----made for something, and made for Someone.
Two- we were made with “eternity on our hearts” because God wants us to know Him, and to find the spiritual satisfaction that can be found nowhere apart from Him. ------ a healthy, life giving, fulfilling satisfaction
You see, just like our physical hunger can lead us to make bad choices which will result in being physically unhealthy
We can, and very often do ------ make bad choices to fulfill our spiritual hunger, which result in being spiritually unhealthy.
And these “unhealthy choices” that we make, to satisfy our spiritual hunger, become easier and easier to make, the longer weve gone without the true spiritual food and water that is a relationship with Jesus, based on what Scripture teaches.
And just like I get “hangry” when my physical hunger hasnt been filled, the same thing happens with our spiritual hunger.
We become irritable ----- we get angry
Short tempered // we think wrong things about God // about ourselves
We make bad choices // we turn to our favorite sin
We begin to act in ways that are wrong
We embrace thoughts or actions that are contrary to Scripture
The longer we go without the pure & healthy food and water, that is a relationship with Jesus Christ, based on what Scripture teaches----- the worse and worse these hunger pangs will grow:
And they will grow so bad, that depending on what habits and lifestyle weve created as our normal, we will turn to unhealthy choices, or healthy choices
We will turn to things that will leave us empty ------
Or we will admit our defeat and turn to Him
Because spiritual hunger is something that we were built with ------ we will always seek to fulfill it. Sometimes in healthy ways, and other times in unhealthy ways.
We can try and satisfy that spiritual hunger with sex or drugs, thinking that the pleasure it gives us can fulfill that hunger
Some people try and fill that hunger by hurting others, thinking that if they hold other people down, then they themselves will be lifted up
This has happened on a small scale, everytime a bully pushes a victim around
And it has happened on a large scale, every time a leader makes claims about someone’s race, gender, or ideology
We will always try fill that spiritual hunger inside of us----in as many ways as we can
Oppressing others // drugs // sex // Accomplishments // Awards // Hobbies // Activities and lifestyles
We find something that exists----that we like and enjoy and can identify with-----and dissolve our personality into it-------thinking that it can give meaning to our life. --- thinking that it can fill that spiritual hunger we all have
We see this with sports teams and the rabid like behavior of any who align with one vs the other
We see this with music, movies, and the arts ----- when someone’s entire personality becomes nothing but a cliche commercial for their favorite pop culture entity
We see this when someone can so easily be defined as who they are as a person, by the parts and areas of their culture and society that they have woven into themselves
This can also be seen in areas that aren’t inherently bad
When someone’s entire life becomes nothing more than an extension of their family
When someone uses their career to satisfy their spiritual hunger
When someones personal life goals or achievements are placed in the trophy case of their heart
Since we left the Garden, humans have always sought to satisfy that deep spiritual hunger that God built inside of us, with things that will leave us unhealthy and sick.
Jeremiah 2:12-13 - “My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
I want to tell you all this morning, and Im thinking that most you already know this, but every once in a while we all need a reminder;
That if we try and satisfy that hunger inside of us, with anything apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, based on what Scripture teaches, then we will be doing exactly what that verse in Jeremiah says: we will be drinking from “broken cisterns”
Everything that this world has to offer:
Every idea // Activity
Ideal // Job // Plan // Political party
Every family // every family member // every spouse, child, parent or sibling
Every piece of art // Every relationship
Every hobby // career // Every leisure activity
Every sexual encounter // Every substance
Every sphere of every culture
Every book // Every sport
Every song // Every thought
Every action or inaction // Every behavior or lifestyle
Everything in all of the universe-------if it is not a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, based on what Scripture teaches-------will leave us unfilled, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and unhealthy
We will drink from them, form our lives around them, infuse them into our thinking and behavior
And they will let us down
They will run dry, like a broken cistern, causing us to return to them again and again ---- and it will usher us to the very gates of hell itself.
So what can we do with all of this?
It seems like an unbeatable challenge, right?
I mean, everything in our society is trying to get us to fit in, to find some area, some THING, some part of this world------ and sew it into who we are as a person.
We end up thinking:
This can be my “thing-----
This will be my identity, my personality, my lifestyle-----
This area, this stuff, this aspect of this sphere ----- will be the source of food where I can go to satisfy my spiritual hunger
To find meaning----to find purpose----to find comfort, joy, help and acceptance----
And there are SO many options in this world where we can find a well to quench our spiritual thirst
And the enemy of our God, is going to take every opportunity he can---to present us with this spiritual junk food--------
Especially when our spiritual hunger has gone so long without being filled,
Because that is when he slithers into our thoughts and offers us poison disguised as delicacy.
That is why God tells us in:
Matthew 6:33 - “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”
It is only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, based on what Scripture teaches, that our life can have meaning. That our hunger can be satisfied. That we can be filled.
When the enemy offers us junk food and garbage, we turn to the Word of God
When he offers us that poison disguised as delicacy ----- we fall to our knees, pour our heart out to God, cry and pray and weep and be hungry for righteousness
Be hungry for what is right and moral and true
Be hungry for God to work in the lives of people who dont know Him
Be hungry for God to work in your life------tell Him “i have this passion, this drive, etc
Be hungry for the evils in this world to be made right
Be hungry for people to be forgiven
Pray for them
Be hungry for their salvation
Be hungry for the Holy Spirit to move in your family
To speak to the people you love who dont know Him
Be hungry for your town and for your Church
Be hungry for growth and change and renewal
Be hungry for what God is going to do in this world
Hunger and thirst for righteousness --- and you will be filled
You see, when Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” He was saying:
“I am going to work in the hearts and minds of those who hunger for righteousness. I am going to touch their hearts, direct their feelings, direct their thoughts, point them in a new direction, make them clean, make them new, show them my love, show them I care, show them they have worth, show them the emptiness of everything this world has to offer and the total fulfillment that can be had through a relationship with me--------and they will be filled.”
So what we do, is:
Be hungry for righteousness.
Just like when a woman with child has her heart so completely set on a specific food to satisfy her hunger, and nothing else will ever do-------- let the righteousness of God be the craving of your heart.
And every time anything else if offered up to you, to satisfy that hunger, reject it with disgust and revulsion
Let the first thought you have every morning, and the last thought you have as you close your eyes at night, be: “draw me closer to you God. Help me know you more” ----- frame your life around Him and knowing Him----and He will give you meaning
Read your Bible. Every day.
Study it // Wear it out // Highlight the parts that stick out to you
Pray that God will help you understand it better
This is where our hunger is filled.
This is the plate of food that God is the chef of, and it is where your relationship with Jesus Christ finds it fuel, finds it sustenance.
The words within these pages are the vitamins and nutrients that can nourish your soul, and satisfy your hunger
( → → Call up the Worship Team ← ← )
When you feel those “spiritual hunger pangs” -----------
When your heart starts to growl like an empty stomach-----------
When life gets hard, and that hunger begins to grow so bad, that the least healthy of things seems delicious-------------
Remember the words of our God in:
John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Reject the poisonous junk food of the enemy
Pray every day
Read your Bible every day
Hunger and thirst for righteousness and you will be filled
( → → Closing prayer ← ← )