We continue our series, God's Remedy for Mankind's Malady. It is our belief that God has provided since the "beginning" a remedy for mankind's natural processes - those processes that are without order, values, moral and ethical behavior. We have unpacked the ideas of God "laying down the law" through the Ten Commandments to ancient Israel, and their relevancy to our present day life. We can certainly see there is a common theme among modern evangelicals that is strangely similar to that of our present day secular culture. A similarity that says, "those laws are phobic, rigid, racist, and culturally irrelevant." So… we walked through the realities of a world where there is no faith or belief in a sovereign Divine power or Monotheistic Creator - a world without lawful moral or ethical boundaries or any consequences for lying, stealing, murdering, and complete sexual impropriety and the de-genderization of a society. Oh wait... that's our world. The world where you do you - and I do me. We learned that a godless world becomes a corrupt world - a corrupt world becomes a lawless world - a lawless world becomes a chaotic world - a chaotic world becomes a frightened world - a frightened world collapses in on itself. I GUESS THE LAW THAT GOD LAID DOWN IS MAYBE NOT SO OBSOLETE AFTER ALL - MAYBE INCOMPLETE?
We believe that Christ Jesus as He said, did not come to abolish the Torah law of Moses, but He is indeed not only the fulfillment of the Law of God, but also the completion of the law - what the Bible calls the author and finisher of faith. The Ten Commandments - 613 laws all fulfilled and completed one sentence - “I give you and new commandment, that you love one another.” To put a practical application to that command Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
People who can do that seem rare and exceptional, so we asked what kind of people are capable of such focus and depth of love?
Jesus answered that question for us in Matthew 5:3-12, when He opened his mouth and taught them saying, “Blessed are…”
Which leads us to where we begin today - verse 4 chapter 5 of Matthew from the Sermon on the Mount (The Beatitudes).
The Second Beatitude
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
I think we all can agree that mourning is not a welcome or desired emotion to the proud and fragile human nature. It grand scheme of mortality it represents the sadness and sorrow of finality, grieving the end, or loss of someone or something valued, loved or at the very least respected. Very often from that sorrow and sadness our human instincts are to pull back or close off from loving and being loved. It is human nature to seek the environment and existence of positivity, pleasure, or the climate of approval and acceptance and that which we have defined for ourselves as happiness.
However, as we said earlier, at the time Jesus taught His Beatitude sermon, the message and meaning were an anomaly to the unrepentant, and even more astounding, unfamiliar, and hopeful for those who were just seeking a better way to live and love.
Again, there is the paradox;
If "blessed" why do they "mourn"?
If "mourning" how can they be called "blessed"?
Only the follower of Christ who has experienced the grace, mercy, and limitless love from a sovereign God can understand this paradox. No one from the temple had ever taught or spoken blessings over the poor in spirit, or those who mourned - not since Isaiah the great prophet.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The more we consider and the more we disect/exegete our text to our present day context, the more we are convinced the same is true of His Beatitude message today.
"Nobody’s preaching or teaching like this in our world today.”
"Blessed [happy] are they that mourn is an expression that contradicts the logic of those who do not possess a strong biblical worldview. Common thought has always connected a person’s happiness to the prosperity of one’s temporal success, fame, and financial wealth or living the dream or good life.
We have gotten it all wrong.
Christ says that happy/blessed are those who are poor in spirit and those who mourn.
No one wanting to grow a church, build a ministry, create a brand, attract followers, teaches or preaches like that.
It should be obvious that Jesus was not including every definition and use of the word mourning. His context and definition is not what anyone wants to hear. Let’s take a look for ourselves.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
The mourning for which Christ promises comfort has to be correctly connected to that which is spiritual. The mourning that is blessed is the result of a realization of God’s distinct ways for loving and living and the goodness that exposes the depravity of our human nature (without God) and the spiritual damage we cause with our ungodly and self-feeding, self-pleasing behavior.
Here it is.
The mourning for which Christ promises comfort is a sorrowing over our sins with a godly sorrow.
What does that mean?
The eight Beatitudes are arranged in four pairs and a plus one - so, nine. [more on that later]
We started with verse 3, defining “the poor in spirit” in the context of Jesus teaching as those who have been awakened to a sense or the reality of their own humanity apart from God - limited, destructive, meaningless, consuming, and empty.
So the transition from “poor in spirit” to”mourning” is an easy pairing to follow. So the first pair of the beatitudes is in verses 3, and 4 - the poor in spirit and those who mourn.
Defining “Mourning” in the Context of Jesus Teaching
The mourning of verse 4 is not the same as bereavement, affliction, or loss. It is mourning for sin - you morning yours, and me morning mine.
Like we said, nobody teaches or preaches like that anymore.
It is mourning over the felt weight and reality of our true spiritual state of being, and over the sinful behavior and wrong thinking that has all but destroyed our way of living and damaged our spiritual lives and the lives of those we love.
Mourning over the very morality in which we have boasted and custom fit for ourselves, the arrogant self-righteousness in which we have trusted; mourning for rebellion against God, and defiant hostility to His will; and such mourning always goes side by side with a healthy consciousness of our poverty of spirit.
An excellent illustration and contrast for this is found in Luke 18:9-14 and Psalms 40:12-17. In this illustration there is a vivid contrast to challenge our view. First, we are shown a self-righteous Pharisee looking up toward God and saying, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men are, fraudulent, conman, adulterers, or even like our corrupted politicians. I show up to church for an hour a week, I give tithing, donate food and clothing when mine get old or I no longer like.” This may all have been true as he looked at it, yet this man went down to his house as a condemned man. Why? His fine garments were rags (pride), his white robes were filthy (arrogance), though he knew it not (ignorance).
Then we are shown the politician, standing afar off, who, in the language of the Psalmist, was so troubled by his iniquities that he was not able to look up (Psalm 40:12). “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.” In a moment of clarity and honesty, he became conscious of the overwhelming amount of corruption within, so he cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
Psalm 40:17, “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!”
That man went down to his house justified and forgiven, because he was poor in spirit and mourned (conscious and honest regret -godly sorrow, genuinely sorry) over his sin.
Here, then, are the first birthmarks of the children of God. He who has never come to be poor in spirit and has never known what it is to really mourn for sin, though he belong to a church or be an office-bearer in it, has neither seen nor entered the Kingdom of God. How thankful the Christian reader ought to be that the great God condescends to dwell in the humble and contrite heart! This is the wonderful promise made by God even in the Old Testament (by Him in whose sight the heavens are not clean, who cannot find in any temple that man has ever built for Him, however magnificent, a proper dwelling place—see Isa. 57:15 and 66:2)!
“Blessed are they that mourn." Though the primary reference is to that initial mourning commonly called conviction of sin, it is by no means to be limited to that. Mourning is ever a characteristic of the normal Christian state. There is much that the believer has to mourn over. The plague of his own heart makes him cry, "O wretched man that I am" (Romans 7:24). The unbelief that "doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1) and sins that we commit, which are more in number than the hairs of our head, are a continual grief to us. The barrenness and unprofitable-ness of our lives make us sigh and cry. Our propensity to wander from Christ, our lack of communion with Him, and the shallowness of our love for Him cause us to hang our harps upon the willows. But there are many other causes for mourning that assail Christian hearts: on every hand hypocritical religion that has a form of godliness while denying the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5); the awful dishonor done to the truth of God by the false doctrines taught in countless pulpits; the divisions among the Lord’s people; and strife between brethren. The combination of these provides occasion for continual sorrow of heart. The awful wickedness in the world, the despising of Christ, and untold human sufferings make us groan within ourselves. The closer the Christian lives to God, the more he will mourn over all that dishonors Him. This is the common experience of God’s true people (Ps. 119:53; Jer. 13:17; 14:17; Ezek. 9:4).
They shall be comforted…
By these words Christ refers primarily to the removal of the guilt that burdens the conscience. This is accomplished by the Spirit’s application of the Gospel of God’s grace to one whom He has convicted of his dire need of a Savior. The result is a sense of free and full forgiveness through the merits of the atoning blood of Christ. This Divine comfort is "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7), filling the heart of the one who is now assured that he is "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). God wounds before healing, and abases before He exalts. First there is a revelation of His justice and holiness, then the making known of His mercy and grace.
“The words "they shall be comforted" also receive a constant fulfillment in the experience of the Christian. Though the mourner processes through his excuses and failures, confessing them to God, yet he is comforted by the assurance that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses him from all sin (1 John 1:7). Though he groans over the dishonor done to God on every side, yet is he comforted by the knowledge that the day is rapidly approaching when Satan shall be cast into hell forever and when the saints shall reign with the Lord Jesus in "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). Though the chastening hand of the Lord is often laid upon him and though "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous" (Hebrews 12:11), nevertheless, he is consoled by the realization that this is all working out for him "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Like the Apostle Paul, the believer who is in communion with his Lord can say, "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing" (2 Corinthians 6:10). He may often be called upon to drink of the bitter waters of Marah, but God has planted nearby a tree to sweeten them. Yes, mourning Christians are comforted even now by the Divine Comforter: by the ministrations of His servants, by encouraging words from fellow Christians, and (when these are not to hand) by the precious promises of the Word being brought home in power by the Spirit to their hearts out of the storehouse of their memories.
“They shall be comforted." The best wine is reserved for the last. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). During the long night of His absence, believers have been called to fellowship with Him who was the Man of Sorrows. But it is written, "If... we suffer with Him.., we [shall] be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17). What comfort and joy will be ours when shall dawn the morning without clouds! Then "sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10). Then shall be fulfilled the words of the great heavenly voice in Revelation 21:3, 4: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
[Reference and Resource]: The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 by Thomas Watson; The Beatitudes by Arthur W. Pink; Reading The Sermon on the Mount by John Stott; An Exegetical Study of the Sermon on the Mount by Abernathy, David, Tehan, Thomas; Lexham Theological Word Study by Magnum, Douglass, Brown; Word Studies in the New Testament by Vincent, Marvin R.
We are a Bible teaching Christian church in Peoria, AZ. We love God and teach His Truth. We invite you, your family and friends to join us on the faith journey, growing closer to one another, the Christian community of believers at Reunion, and most importantly with God. Read more about the timeless Truth we build our lives and faith in Christ on HERE.
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