How to Be Happy


Uploaded by HarvestTV on 22.04.2010

Transcript:
Wanted to remind you of course that the brand new sticker is out for our upcoming crusade
and just to help you remember, I'm going to wear it. What do you think? It's crooked.
There we go. So you're just going to walk around, "Hey, how's it goin'? Oh this? Yeah,
it's the Harvest Crusade. You really should come." You know. Actually, I'll put it here.
Is that centered ok? No? It's kind of bugging you, isn't it? I'm going to leave it. Ok.
I'm not a "professional". I always have a hard time getting those crazy bubbles out,
you know? I keep going over the bubbles.
Alright, let's turn in our Bibles to Matthew chapter 5. And the title of my message is,
"How to Be Happy." A quick poll. How many of you are happy people today? Raise up your
hand. Ok. Good. You are definitely happier than the first service. That is probably because
you slept an hour more. How many of you are unhappy? Raise your hand up. It’s ok. A
couple people. Well let’s talk about happiness.
The problem with the very word happiness is what is it exactly. What does it mean to be
happy and having defined that how do we get it? There are a lot of definitions of happiness.
Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz had a pretty simple view of it when he said, “Happiness
is a warm puppy.” Not a warm cat. Note it is a warm puppy.
Albert Schweitzer said, quote, “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad
memory.” Ok.
Comedian George Burns said, “Happiness is having a large loving carrying close knit
family. In another city.”
Comedian Milton Berle said, “A man doesn’t know what true happiness is until he gets
married. Then it is too late.”
Oscar Wilde said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.”
Clever.
I think one of the best definitions of it came from theologian Jimmy Soul who said,
“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife.
From my personal point of view get an ugly girl to marry you.” Remember that song.
Doesn’t make any sense at all. But that was his particular philosophy.
So what is happiness exactly and where do you find it? First let me tell you where you
don’t find it. You won’t find it in this crazy culture we are living in today. To put
it biblically you will not find it in this world. Because the happiness of the world,
the happiness of our culture basically depends on good things happening. If things are going
reasonably well, well then I guess we are happy. If things are not going so well, well
we are no longer happy. It is hard to define if you look at it in that way.
Here is what you need to know. There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not
getting what you want and the other is getting it. Maybe you have thought, “If I were a
very wealthy person I know I would be happy.” I am not suggesting you can’t be a happy
wealthy person because you can be indeed. But sometimes the thing you wish for could
actually be more of a curse than a blessing.
Consider the story of Juan Rodriguez who won the lottery. He won $149 million dollars.
An article about him said that he won this lottery and so far it has only brought him
a whole lot of trouble. In fact relatives say the former parking lot attendant was a
happier man when he was bankrupt. Since winning the mega millions jackpot two days after filing
for bankruptcy Rodriguez, age 49, has lost his life and has been besieged by a swarm
of friends and relatives seeking handouts not to mention reporters seeking interviews.
Days before he won the lotto Rodriguez had reconciled with his wife of 17 years, Iris,
who had kicked him out of their house after yet another fight about money woes. The couple
was all smiles at a lottery press conference. But, the article continues, ten days after
he won the lottery his wife Iris filed for divorce demanding half of the jackpot freezing
all of the money. Now he sits, the article says, holed up in a hotel room hiding out.
Kind of a sad scenario there.
See there are some things money can buy. And there are other things it can’t buy. For
instance, money can buy you a bed but it can’t buy you a good night’s sleep. It can buy
you books but it can’t buy you brains. It can buy you a house. In fact a very nice house.
But it can’t buy you a home. It can buy you medicine but it cannot buy you health.
Money can buy you amusement but it cannot buy you happiness. And in the words of Saint
Paul, Saint John, and Saint George and Saint Ringo money can’t buy you love. Remember
that song.
So how can we truly be happy people? Well believe it or not there has been a lot of
research done on this subject. A lot of polls have been taken. And here is what they have
come up with. Surveys by Gallup and National Opinion Research Center, and the Pew Organization
conclude that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being very happy
than least religious committed people.
So the conclusion is religious/spiritual people tend to be happier people. But let’s take
that a step further godly people are happy people. According to the Bible if we seek
to know God and discover His plan for our life we as a result will find the happiness
that has eluded us for so long. Not from seeking it. But from seeking Him. And I am speaking
of the Lord of course. Because the Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”
You see God built us to turn to Him and find our fulfillment and our contentment and our
happiness if you will in this relationship with the Lord.
C. S. Lewis put it this way, and I quote, “God designed the human machine to run on
himself. He Himself is the fuel for our spirits that we are designed to burn or the food our
spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking
God to make us happy in our way without bothering about faith. God cannot give us a happiness
and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” End
quote.
So the idea is to seek God and happiness will come.
Henry Ward Beecher said, and I quote, “The strength and happiness of a man consists in
finding out the way in which God is going and going in that way too.”
So that is the great thing that we need to know. God wants us to be happy.
But here is the twist on it. God’s definition of happiness may be a little bit different
than ours. Yes He wants us to know this state of being. But at the same time He might look
at it a little differently than you do.
And He reveals His definition of happiness in the greatest sermon ever preached. The
Sermon on the Mount found here in Matthew 5 to 7. This is God incarnate, Jesus Christ,
giving us His worldview if you will. He shows us how we are to live in this crazy culture.
Jesus in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount tells us what happiness is and how to
find it.
This is a part of a series that we are doing that we are calling Worldview. How to think
and live biblically. And why are we doing this? Because we want to have the right worldview
in life.
And listen to this. Everybody has a worldview. Or the way that we view life in general. It
is formed by our culture, our upbringing, our education, the books that we read, the
media that we take in. So the question is not do you have a worldview. The question
is rather what kind of worldview do you have. It is an important question to answer because
our worldview is comprehensive. Meaning that it affects every area of our life from our
personal morality to the way that we look at money to our politics. You name it. Our
worldview will effect the way that we think and live.
And so when we say a Christian worldview and a biblical worldview what exactly are we saying.
I could talk about that for the rest of the message. Let me give you a real simple definition
of a Christian worldview. A Christian worldview is the belief that there is a God who is in
control of the universe who is all-knowing, all-loving, righteous, and good, who has a
plan for our lives. And He has revealed that plan to us in the pages of Scripture. A Christian
worldview accepts the teaching that the Bible is the sole truth and authority we build our
beliefs on. Other religious books, human philosophies do not even come close. The Bible is the bedrock
we build our faith on and thus our worldview on. That is why I have called this Worldview.
How to think and live biblically.
So having said that here we find a worldview laid out for us given to us by Jesus Himself.
If you want to know how Jesus thinks then study the Sermon on the Mount. Do you want
to know how His heart really beats? Then study this sermon. Do you want to know what He thinks
and feels about life? Then study this sermon. It is the official manifesto of the King of
Kings and the Lord of Lords. It will begin with the words, “Opening His mouth He taught
them.” This phrase opening His mouth is an expression in Greek that is used to describe
something that is solemn, grave, dignified, and weighty. That is not to suggest that other
things that Jesus taught were not equally as important. But it is to say that there
is weight given to these words that He lays out in the Sermon on the Mount. So we are
to pay careful attention to everything that is found here.
Another thing I would add is the Sermon on the Mount was not given to the multitudes.
And by that I mean it wasn’t given to the world at large. The Sermon on the Mount is
not a philosophy by which we govern society. Why? Because people don’t believe in God
for the most part and thus they would never live by the Sermon on the Mount. No. The Sermon
on the Mount is effectively for believers only. But even people who are nonbelievers
will admire its teachings.
Recently I interviewed Mosab Yousef you remember who was raised as a Muslim. And he was raised
in the teachings of Islam. But yet he was exposed to the teaching of the Jesus in the
Sermon on the Mount and he was impressed by that. And that is what he was looking for
in life. Not what he was finding in the Koran. And that opened his heart which ultimately
resulted in him committing his life to Jesus Christ. But the point was he was attracted
by these things that pulled him in. And they are wonderful teachings.
But only a follower of Jesus can live this stuff out. And even a follower of Jesus will
struggle with some of it at times. But this is God’s worldview.
And the beatitudes are the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. There are eight of them
in total. The first four deal with your relationship with God. The final four deal with your relationship
with people. Why do we call them the beatitudes? Well because these are attitudes that should
be. This is the way we ought to be living. You could even call them the be happy attitudes.
The word blessed will be used a lot that we will read in a moment. And that word blessed
is interchangeable with the word happy. Thus the message is called, “How to be Happy.”
And we could have just as easily called it how to be blessed.
So let’s read now the beatitudes. The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount from Jesus to His
disciples. Matthew 5. Verse 2. “Then He opened His mouth and taught them, (that would
be His disciples) saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they
shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you,
and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,
for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before
you.’”
The word blessed is introduced to us. That is a wonderful word. As Christians we use
the word blessed and blessing a lot. Most of the time we mean it. Sometimes we use it
as an expression to terminate a conversation that is going too long. You are talking with
someone. “Well that’s great. Wow. Hey man praise the Lord and God bless you.”
Which means please stop talking now. Or more can you go away. God bless you. Bye bye. You
know. But that is of course not the proper way to use it. It is a Christian word. It
is a spiritual word. It is a biblical word.
It has been hijacked by our culture. And you will hear people talk about blessings in their
lives. But the nonbeliever has no idea what a real blessing is because only the child
of God truly knows what it is to be blessed.
And it is worth noting that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry blessing
people. You remember those two discouraged disciples on the Emmaus Road and Jesus joined
them. And we read that He blessed them. When the little children came to Christ He took
them up into His arms and the Bible says He blessed them. And then when His ministry was
completed on the earth after His death and resurrection we read that as He was ascending
He blessed them. Jesus loved to bless people.
But what does it mean to be blessed? Well the word blessed that is used here is from
the Greek word makarios. It is a word that means to be happy or blissful. So we could
just as easily say blessed are the poor in spirit or happy are the meek or blissful are
those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Happy. Blessed. Blissful.
The Greeks called the island of cypress the happy isle. And they believed because of its
geographical location and perfect climate and fertile soil that anyone who lived on
the island of Cypress had it made in the shade. So they had this expression. Makarios. Self-contained
happiness. Everything you need to be happy is right here on this island.
So now we apply this to our life. What does it mean? Because we can’t all move to that
island can we? No. The idea is that our happiness is independent of our circumstances. It is
self-contained. Meaning that regardless of what is happening to you externally internally
you can be a truly happy person. You can be a genuinely blessed person.
Let me say this. If things are going well for you and the bills are paid and the health
is reasonably good and there are no conflicts at home. Things are going well with your career.
You might say well I am a blessed man. I am a blessed woman. Yes you are.
But let’s say things aren’t going that well. The health is not that good like this
man that just sneezed. God bless you. You came to be blessed. God bless you. Or there
are problems in other areas of your life. Listen. You are still blessed. Why? Because
of your relationship with God. The Apostle Paul said, “I have found in whatever state
I am in therein to be content.”
See here is the thing. The biblical definition of blessedness/happiness/blissfulness is different
than that of the culture. If we were to rewrite the beatitudes for the 21st century they would
be way different than what we just read. Modern beatitudes would sound something like this.
Blessed are the beautiful for they shall be admired. Blessed are the wealthy for they
have it all. Blessed are the popular for they shall be loved. Blessed are the famous for
they will be followed. Because they tweet about it all the time you know.
But no. Jesus starts the real beatitudes with a bombshell. “Blessed are the poor in spirit
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now let’s understand what this means and what
it doesn’t mean. Some have falsely interpreted this verse to say blessed are the poor. That
is not what Jesus said. That is not to say you can’t be poor and be blessed for you
can be. But that is not what He is saying here. In fact the Bible does not commend poverty.
Nor does it condemn wealth. It has nothing to do with your bank account. No. Blessed
are the poor in spirit. So what does it mean as you put it all together? The word poor
is from a verb meaning to shrink, cower, or cringe, as beggars often did in that day.
This is speaking of a person who is destitute and completely dependent upon others for help.
Not financially. But what this is saying is here is a man or a woman who esteem them as
they really are before God. They are lost. They are hopeless. They are helpless. Because
apart from Jesus Christ everyone is spiritually destitute or poor in spirit regardless of
their education, wealth, accomplishments, or even religious knowledge. To be poor in
spirit means to acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy. That you are in need of God.
But some people don’t like to do this. They like to think that hey you know I have a lot
to offer God. I bring a lot to the table. No you don’t. You bring nothing to the table.
You are depraved. You are a sinner. You are in need of a savior. It is His grace and His
mercy that is being offered to you. You have to see that. That is hard for some people
to accept.
Sometimes it is harder for men than women. Because men can be proud. Girls can be too
of course. But sometimes we are held back. Well wait a second. I have my intelligence
and I have my accomplishments and I have my whatever. No. You are poor in spirit.
A great example of this is the story of General Naaman. General Naaman a Syrian war hero.
Highly decorated. A leader among men. Powerful. Influential. Admired. Oh one other thing.
He was a leper. And when you were a leper back in those days that was a death sentence.
There was no course of treatment. There was no medication you could take. You were basically
going to die. And Naaman knew this about himself. I don’t know how many people realized the
great general was a leper. But he sure knew.
He heard there was a prophet in Israel that prayed for people to be healed named Elisha.
So General Naaman made the journey to visit the prophet. He probably had a really cool
chariot that was all camouflaged like a Hummer chariot you know. And he had his military
guys marching beside him. And he showed up with his unit and his entourage and I am sure
he wore gleaming armor and all of the decorations and things he had won on the fields of battle
and so forth. And there he was. General Naaman. At the door of Elisha. And you wonder what
kind of house Elisha lived in you know. I don’t think it was anything fancy. And so
he is there. And the dust is being kicked up by his beautiful stallions. And a knock
at the door. “General Naaman is here.” Elisha knew why he was there. Elisha didn’t
even answer the door himself. He sent his servant out. He opens up the door. “Oh Elisha
says go immerse yourself in the Jordan river seven times and you will be healed. Thanks.”
Shuts the door. Naaman is like, “What? What is this? Does he know who I am? This is outrageous.
That is offensive.” And so he says, “I am going home. We have better rivers back
in Syria. Why should I go immerse myself in the Jordan River of all places?”
As he was running back one of is friends said to him, “Well General you know you haven’t
got anything to lose. Why don’t you give it a go?” He didn’t want to give it a
go. You know why? He didn’t want to reveal his genuine state. Because beneath that gleaming
armor was his real condition. That of a leper.
But he decided to go ahead and try it. And he descended from his chariot. And he peeled
off that breastplate. And he took off that helmet and began to reveal to his men what
he knew about himself. I am a leper in need of help. It was probably a shock. And as he
immersed himself the first time and came up he was just wet. Second time the same thing.
Third. Fourth. Fifth. Sixth time. The same. Seventh time healed of leprosy.
The Bible says his skin was like that of a little baby. You ever look carefully at a
baby’s skin. I had my glasses on the other day and I was holding my granddaughter Lucy
and I was looking at her skin. I was amazed at how smooth it was. Then somehow I caught
my reflection in a mirror wearing those same glasses. I almost had a heart attack.
You see he saw himself as he really was. If you want to be a happy person you have to
see yourself for what you are. A sinner in need of a savior.
It was Spurgeon who said, “The way to rise in the kingdom is to sink in yourself.”
Again, to quote C. S. Lewis, “Whenever we find that our spiritual life is making us
feel that we are good above all better than someone else I think we may be sure that we
are being acted on not by God but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of
God is you either forget about yourself altogether or you see yourself as a small dirty object.”
What? We don’t hear that thundering from out pulpits today. We hear how we can all
be champions. We can all be successful. Don’t talk to me about being a small dirty object.
Don’t tell me that I am spiritually destitute. Don’t tell me that I am to be poor in spirit.
Well that is what God is saying. If you want to be happy you have to see yourself as you
are and you have to be sorry for it and you have to want change in your life.
A classic example of this is the story that Jesus told of the sinner and the publican
that went into the temple to pray. The Pharisee, the religious man actually prayed this to
God. “Father I thank you that I am not like other men.” And you know you are really
messed up when you pray something like that. What? I thank you I am not like other man.
And the sinner. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes up. He just beat on his chest and he
said, “God have mercy on me a sinner.” Or more literally. The sinner. God be merciful,
he said, to me the sinner. Apparently he did not think of himself as one sinner among many.
He acted as though he were the only one. He was so overwhelmed with the sense of his sin
and his moral bankruptcy and his spiritual destitution that as far as he was concerned
everyone else’s sin paled into significance by comparison.
Now we do the very opposite of that. We justify our sin because we can always find others
who are far worse rather than seeing how much better so many are doing than us. Jesus said,
“That man, not the Pharisee, but the sinner went away justified. Why? Because he saw himself
as he really was.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
When the Bible speaks of the kingdom of heaven it is not only speaking of our future destination
when we leave this world and go into God’s presence. It is also speaking of the present
experience of the believer who is living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. For the
Bible says, “The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy and the Holy Spirit.” Blessed
is the man or woman who sees himself as they really are. They will have heaven in the future
and the rule and reign of Christ in the present.
Bringing us to beatitude number 2. Happy people are unhappy people. Now you heard me right.
Happy people are unhappy people. Verse four. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall
be comforted.” Another way to translate this is, “Happy are the unhappy.”
Now by the way the word that is used here for mourn is the most severe of all nine Greek
words used for grief in Scripture. It is reserved for mourning the dead. And this verse certainly
applies in principle to all that mourn.
Are you mourning today? Well I am. I have been mourning a long time. When you lose someone
that is close to you you mourn. You don’t get over it like people like want you to.
Especially if it was a loved one. Especially I might add if it was a child. You never plan
for such a thing. So I mourn every single day. But yet I would also say that Jesus says,
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” There is a blessedness or
happiness in mourning.
You say, “How so?” Well some good things come. One of them is you gain a new perspective.
You see things differently. Some of the things that were important to you before are not
nearly as important to you now. And some of the things that were not as important to you
before become very important to you now. For starters you start. Ok. Someone over there
really liked that. And the rest of you are like well I like that. I am good too. I kind
of analyzed your applause there for a moment. For starters you get a different view of life
and you find yourself longing for heaven more. You see before my son went to be with the
Lord I thought about heaven. But to me it was a lot more intangible than it is today.
I think more specifically about heaven now because someone so close to me is there. So
you think more about heaven. You long more for heaven. You begin to understand what really
matters in life and what doesn’t. You also begin to see this world for what it is and
what it isn’t. And you recognize that this world is not the end all but something that
you will leave. Perhaps sooner than you think. And you find yourself drawing close to God
because, quite frankly, there is nowhere else to go. No person has the answers you are looking
for. No thing brings the charge that you are looking for. There is nothing or no one that
can help you. But the Lord is there. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
So you see there is something that we could call good grief. You know how Charlie Brown
always said good grief. There is good grief. Or good mourning. Mourning. Blessed are they
that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
You know what? Crying can be good and it has its place. It doesn’t have to be suppressed.
We all have things that we cry about. Even if only in private. I think that girls are
more prone to express their emotion. I don’t know that girls cry more. I think maybe girls
are just more willing to express their emotion as it is where men will suppress it. A lot
of times women may think that men don’t have emotion. But we are holding it in you
see. Because in our minds we sometimes think it is not manly to cry. We fight it. No. Don’t.
While the girl is. And you have to know girls. I shouldn’t tell you this. I shouldn’t
tell you this but your secret weapon is crying. I mean you want to just stop a guy in his
tracks just start crying. You know we will say, “I say no.” And if you come back,
“Well I say.” If you no (cry). Never mind. No guy likes to make a girl cry.
But you might be in a movie and a scene comes on screen and it is sad and a girl may just
cry a little. A guy holds it in. Man my allergies are really kicking up right now.
Let me say this to you guys. If you feel it is not manly to pray I have a two word response
to you. Jesus wept. He was a man. Jesus was the man’s man. And He wept. He wept at the
tomb of Lazarus sharing the sorrow of those that had lost a loved one. Because death was
never supposed to be. He wept over Jerusalem knowing what her future would be and it was
not pretty. Oh yes. Jesus wept.
And you may be weeping and crying over something right now. Maybe you weep over your loneliness.
Or you weep and cry over being discouraged. Or you feel rejected. I would just ay go ahead
and cry. And know this. God cares. If it concerns you it concerns Him. And you know what. He
keeps track of all of those tears. The Bible tells us in Psalm 56:8, “He keeps track
of all of your sorrows. He collects all of your tears in a His bottle. Each one is recorded
in His book.” Yes blessed are they that mourn. But they will be comforted.
Now the question arises can you find comfort in mourning. Yes you can. Jesus will be there
to bring His supernatural comfort to you in your lowest times. Blessed are they that mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
So what are we mourning over? Looking at this contextually we are mourning over our state
spiritually. See the problem is there are people today that are laughing that ought
to be crying. The Bible says, “Let your laughter be turned to sorrow.” And the problem
is they are laughing when they should be saying, “Oh I can’t believe the state I am in.”
You know it is interesting Solomon who went on a binge of sin and experimented with pretty
much everything this world has to offer on an epic scale came to this conclusion in Ecclesiastes
2:1, “I said to myself, ‘Let’s give pleasure a try. Let’s look for all the good
things in life.’ But I found this too was meaningless.” Solomon said, “You know
it is silly to be laughing all the time. I said, ‘What good does it do to seek only
pleasure.’”
You ever watch a bunch of people drinking. You know maybe you are in a restaurant and
the table next to you they order drinks. And they have the first drink. At first they are
not even talking that much. And they have their first drink. And a little laughter.
And the second drink. A little more laughter. The third drink they are laughing like a bunch
of hyenas. And they don’t even know what they are laughing at. You know you wake them
up the next morning. “What were you laughing about last night?” “I don’t know but
my head sure hurts.” You see they laugh. That is what people want to do. Let’s go
have some laughs. Laugh it off. Come on. Let’s just laugh about it.
There is a place for laughter. And there is a place for sorrow. Blessed are they that
mourn. Happy are the sad. Who see themselves as they are and then they take action. You
see your true sorrow will lead to joy. But without that sorrow there will be no joy.
Because you see your state and you decide to do something about it and you repent. The
Bible says, “Godly sorrow produces repentance.
Sometimes we are sorry for the repercussions of what we have done. You know you are out
driving and you break the speed limit and the CHP comes up behind you with lights flashing.
You are sorry. Why are you sorry? Because you broke the speed limit? No. Because you
didn’t check more carefully for the CHP. And you are sorry because your insurance rates
are going up. And this is another point. And you don’t want to go to traffic school.
And all the rest of it. Now here is the question. Next time are you going to slow down or are
you going to do still do what you were doing? And so sometimes we are sorry for the repercussions.
We are not sorry for the act. We are not sorry enough to stop doing it. The Bible says, “Godly
sorrow will produce repentance.” Meaning you are sorry enough to stop.
Blessed are the unhappy for they shall be happy. Not the stupid happiness of happenings.
But the joy that comes from Jesus. Because Romans 4:7 says, “Happy are they whose sins
are forgiven.” Thus our sorrow leads to joy. And without that sorrow there is no joy.
Happy are the poor in spirit. The person that sees themselves as they really are. Happy
are they that mourn. They want to do something about that condition. They sorrow over it.
They repent of it.
Leading us to beatitude number three. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Verse five. See now that I have seen myself for who I really am and I realize I am not
all that but I am actually spiritually bankrupt. Destitute. Repentant. Calling on God. And
Forgiven. I am not proud about that. Because I have seen myself as I am. Thus I am meek.
What is meekness? Well it is not weakness. Sometimes we think well that person is so
meek which means they are weak. No. The difference between a meek person and weak person is this.
A weak person can’t do anything. A meek person can but chooses not to. You know the
weak guy is on the beach and some bully comes up and kicks sand in his face and he doesn’t
fight back. It is not because he is meek. It is because he is weak and he doesn’t
want to be pulverized. But a meek person is a guy who is trained in mixed martial arts.
Someone kicks sand in his face and he chooses to not beat the guy to a pulp for doing that.
I am going to restrain myself. I am going to control myself.
The word meek was used to describe reining a stallion in. So you have got the bit in
the mouth and you are holding on to the reins. You are controlling that power and the horse
chooses to submit to your authority. That is meekness. It is power under constraint.
Jesus says, “Happy are the meek.” But we don’t celebrate meekness in our culture.
We celebrate asserting yourself. We celebrate getting things from other people. Sometimes
even taking advantage of other people. How different this is from what the Bible teaches.
The biblical worldview says last first. Giving is receiving. Dying is living. Losing is finding.
Least is greatest. Weakness excuse meekness is strength. And so the idea is that we are
living by God’s truth not by what this world says should make us happy.
A great illustration of meekness power under constraint is Joseph. He had the ability to
kill all of his brothers for what they had done to him. Selling him into slavery. But
he forgave them. That was meekness. Power under constraint.
When is the last time you saw a movie that celebrated the virtue of meekness. You know
where the big buildup for the movie was even though the good guy was wronged he meekly
restrained himself. No. I don’t want to go to a movie like that. I want to go see
a payback movie. I want to see a movie for the first half of it we see the bad things
that come to the hero and the last part of it the bad things that come to the people
that did these things to the hero. That is what entertains me. That is what culture celebrates.
But the Bible celebrates meekness.
And the greatest example of meekness of all time is Jesus Himself. Here was God in flesh
walking among us. And yet look at the abuse He took. They hit Him in the face.
Have you ever been hit in the face? I mean really hit with a fist in the face? It is
not like it is in the movies you know. Like in the Westerns and a brawl breaks out in
the bar. Right. And the first blow. Boom. And the camera goes really close up. And the
guy kind of smiles and a couple of teeth get spit out like oh having fun now. It is no
fun to be hit in the face. It hurts. It is traumatizing. It is shocking.
Imagine your beard being ripped from your face. And then being spit on. You know sometimes
being spit on is more offensive than being hit. Because it is so offensive. And this
is what they did to Jesus. They hit Him. Multiple times. In the face. Ripped His beard out.
Spit in His face. And then of course scourged Him 39 times. It is amazing He survived the
whipping. Then to carry the 400 pound cross through the streets of Jerusalem. Like I said
He was a man’s man.
But it was meekness. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. God is going
to give these things to the man or the woman who is meek and walking before Him as they
ought to.
Which brings us to our final beatitude we will look at this time. A happy person passionately
desires a righteous life. Again. A happy person passionately desires a righteous life. Verse
6. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
You see I have seen myself as I really am. I have mourned over my condition. I have repented
it. The result is now I walk in meekness before God. And guess what? Now I have a new hunger.
Now I have a new thirst. And it is a thirst for God Himself.
Have you ever really been hungry? I probably overly dramatize my hunger. Because my stomach
is like a clock. I mean it just really honestly around 10:00 I am hungry for lunch. And I
am just waiting. 10:05. 10:10. 10:20. 10:30. Now it is 11:00. Ok we are closing in now.
11:20. We could be eating any time now. 11:30. Definitely eating. 11:45. Hopefully eating.
12:00. Definitely. 12:01. “I am starving to death” I will say to my wife. She will
say, “Greg you are not starving to death.” “I am.” She will say, “You have plenty
of reserve there now don’t.” Well I am not starving to death at all. But I am hungry.
A good example of this is Thanksgiving Day. I love the Thanksgiving meal. Don’t you?
So good. All that stuff. I love all of the trimmings. I love the turkey of course. The
gravy. Lots of gravy. Mashed potatoes. I am getting hungry thinking about it. Sweet potatoes
with melted marshmallows. That is what we do. Maybe biscuits or some kind of fresh bread.
And then maybe some string beans. And you have to have great stuffing. I like cornbread
stuffing. And then for dessert it is a law. You have pumpkin pie. Don’t be bringing
something else. It is pumpkin pie. I say we make this a law now.
And it seems when you have the Thanksgiving meal you know you are waiting for ever. Because
you know usually my wife will start preparing it sometimes even the night before. Chopping
things up. Getting things ready. And I love to go in and steal little bits of it. There
is something about stolen food that is very gratifying. Don’t eat that. I will wait
until she looks away. You know they have the appetizers out. Greg don’t eat it. It is
for the guests. She turns away and I am eating the seven layer dip. And then I will take
another chip and sort of clean up my spot so you won’t know I was there. I use a clean
chip. Don’t be alarmed.
But finally the great moment comes. The guests are there. Why is it people are always late
for Thanksgiving? Don’t be late for Thanksgiving. Show up on time. Two things you will take
away. We need to make pumpkin pie a lot and don’t be late for Thanksgiving. Yeah. You
know what? You are invited to eat with someone. Don’t be late. Because we are waiting. And
we are all there. And it is on the table. And the time has come. So we ask Uncle Harry
to pray and he has to do that hour long prayer you know. He is praying so long that the gravy
is filming over. No. Let’s just eat. We will pray after. Ok. You are hungry.
Are you hungry for God? Are you thirsty for spiritual things? We sang that song a little
bit earlier. This is the air I breathe. Your holy presence living in me. Lord I am desperate
for You. Lord I am lost without You. That is what is being described here. A man or
a woman that is hungry and thirsty for God. That is what the psalmist was describing when
he said in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer thirsts for the water brook so thirst my soul for
Thee O God. The living God.”
Are you hungry for God? I guess this could be determined by the way you see spiritual
things. You know we all have our Bibles with us here. You have your Bible? Could I see
your Bible for a second? Everyone has a Bible. Very good. You don’t have a Bible? Where
is your Bible? Oh you are using His Bible. Ok. Good. Then hold up his Bible. He won’t
give it to you. See he loves his Bible. See this is the example of what to do and what
not to do. Ok. Ushers take this man out of here now. This is the danger of sitting in
the front row.
But here is the thing. You know we have our Bibles here. But then let’s talk about tomorrow
morning. And when you are getting ready for work or school or whatever it is you are going
to do in the day. Are you going to make time for the Word of God? And if you do are you
going to be kind of oh uh. Or are you going to hunger for what God has to say to you to
start that day.
How about a prayer? Is that something you are going to do? Oh do we have to? No. Come
on now. Wait a second. A happy person is one that hungers and thirsts for righteousness.
They want to be right with God. They want to walk with God. They long for these things.
That is where happiness is going to come from. Not from the things of this world.
You know when the prodigal son was hungry he went to feed upon the food that the pigs
ate. But when he was starving he turned to his father. Do you starve for a holy life?
Do you hunger for God’s best for you? If you do you will be taking practical steps
to get it.
So let’s put this all together and close. You want to be a happy person. Right. Well
number one. You need to be poor in spirit. Which means you need to see yourself as you
really are. See this world for what it really is. It will never satisfy you. The answer
is not within as some would suggest. No. The problem is within. And the problem is you
and me. We are sinners in need of a Savior causing us to mourn for our sin. We are sorry
for our condition. Sorry enough to stop and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and relief.
And as you believe in Jesus it changes you. It changes your outlook and your attitude
toward life. And you become a person of meekness. Not an arrogant person. But one that realizes
that you are a forgiven person. You are not better than others. Better off yes. But not
better. And finally you have a new hunger and thirst for that which will satisfy you
in life. You now hunger for God. And you know what? If that is the way you live you are
going to be happy. Again happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Are you a happy person
in the biblical definition of that word?
If not, you can be. But first there must be the forgiveness of your sin. Again the Bible
says, “Happy is the man whose sin is forgiven.” Blessed is the man whose sin is forgiven.
Blissful is the woman whose sins are forgiven. This comes from the removal of our sin and
us getting right with God.
Yes Jesus went to that cross 2000 years ago. He suffered and died for each one of us and
took upon Himself every sin we have ever committed and paid the price for them. And then rose
again from the dead three days later. And Jesus Christ who delivered the Sermon on the
Mount, the greatest sermon ever given, now is alive with us in this room standing at
the door of our life and knocking. And He is saying if we will hear His voice and open
the door He will come in.
Maybe you have joined us here today and you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into
your life. You don’t know with absolute certainty that your sin is forgiven. We talked
about hose the Scripture says that ours is the kingdom of heaven. You don’t have this
hope of this kingdom of heaven in the future. You don’t have the assurance that you will
go to heaven when you die. But you can have it. If you put your faith in Jesus and turn
from your sin.
In a moment we are going to pray and I am going to give you an opportunity to get right
with God. And if you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life I really think
you should do it now. So respond to this invitation as we close now in prayer. Father thank You
for Your Word to us. Thank You for Your promise of genuine happiness. Not the fleeting emotion
of happiness this world offers. Thank You Lord it is in a relationship with You. And
I pray for any that have joined us here that do not yet know You. Help them to see their
need for You and help them to come to You now we pray.