6th August 2023

Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted

Passage: Matthew 5:1-12
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

On the screen behind me, we'll put up Isaiah 2 and verse 12. In Isaiah 2 verse 12 it says, For the Lord of hosts has a day, a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low. So all that's lifted up will be brought low. There is a day when God is going to bring a reckoning to the world and that is always at the back of our minds. When you read the scriptures thoroughly, you find you can't dodge the fact that our whole history is heading toward a moment of accountability before its creator. And so the whole gospel message with its recounting of how Jesus came into the world and his saying things like, I haven't come to judge the world but to save it, is against the backdrop that there is a day that we all need saving from, the day of accountability of our sins. We corporately, the human race that fell, and we personally, the individuals who lived out the fall with sinful actions. And given that fact, the scriptures make a lot of sense and the gospel message of the importance of Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection following, as Gavin brought to our attention in the announcements, is the most important thing that we should be aware of, the most important historical fact, is how God created us good and we fell. And Christ came and he suffered our fall and took our sins and he has effected our salvation. And given that information, the pride of humanity to want to vaunt on all that it can do and to want to excuse the atrocities and to glaze over the ugliness of our sins is not really a very sensible thought at all.

And one day the Lord has a day against all that is proud and lofty and against all that's lifted up and that day humanity shall be brought low. And the recognition of that, the realisation of how true it is in our personal lives, brings about a sorrow and a mourning. That is the mourning being spoke about, M-O-U-R-N-I-N-G, the sorrow that's being spoken about in the setting of the second beatitude. Now we are looking at the beatitudes now. Last week we were on the first one and now we're on number two. And I was explaining last time, I've always had a difficulty with these set of statements Jesus made as he sat on the mount and began to sermonise. And I've never really understood the sense of them or felt the impact, the weight, the severity of what he was saying. It sounded like a lot of flowery things. I mean I have to confess that going along to religious services sometimes can be a lot of flowery things and a lot of platitudes, platitudes or whatever that word is when you say nice things, you know. And the Sermon on the Mount begins with the word blessed. Blessed be this and blessed be that. And as a young person I don't know that I really cottoned on to what this word blessed really means.

Now last week we got into that and the actual origin of our English word comes from the Celtic language background where the word blood is a word for blood and it is a word blood that eventually becomes blessed. Now why would blessedness have to do with blood? I was explaining last week how the sufficiency of blood is what your body needs. And when some doctor's operation allows for you to have a full flood of blood coming through so that you can do all things physically speaking that's a very blessed experience. I'm speaking from experience now. And spiritually because the words that Jesus used often are metaphoric and often he's trying to capture a deeper thought as in most of his parables he's trying to talk about the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. He's trying to talk about spiritual principles. And this is also in that word blessed because the blessedness is not just happiness. I know some modern translations trying to get across a more recent translation. They say happy are those.

And I've got this picture of happiness of people dancing around and that's not what the word blessed means. It's far deeper and richer in its meaning than just being happy for happiness is an outward thing that you feel for a moment but blessedness is a reality that comes to you from heaven and it is a sufficiency of God providing what is needed. And that's what these Beatitudes are talking about of God providing the thing that we most desperately need. And Jesus continues and in this one in the second of the blessednesses blessed are those who mourn. Look at it there in verse four. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. And the second reason why I used to always shy away from a recital of the Beatitudes, they seem to be very pious and flowery, was the idea that Jesus is in the business of helping anybody who's sad. Now I'll get Michelle to bring me up my phone that's right in front of you honey and I've got the wording of a song I'm going to read to you so I hope you don't press the wrong spot. I'm not a quick operator. Oh, you already have. Okay, you're locked out. What about me? Finding the spot again I had it open ready to do and I'll just say what I know from memory.

George Beverley Shea sings a song sometimes at the Graham Crusades when he was alive and it went like this. One sat alone beside the highway begging. His eyes were dim, the light he couldn't see. He clutched his rags and shivered in the darkness. Then Jesus came and bid his darkness flee. And it goes on for several more stanzas of different scenes where Christ did come to people in desperate scenarios and his very coming brought a miracle from his presence and they were healed or they were blessed or whatever. And they became blessed because Jesus came. And I want to tell you that the greatest blessing that there is in the whole of the world, the greatest blessing that the Bible, the Gospel speaks about is when Jesus comes. It is the person of Jesus. He's the one who said, I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but through me. The coming of Jesus solves everything. That is true. However, we should not let the facts that Jesus in his coming solves everything take away from our understanding what Jesus brings with him when he comes to a person. He's coming to a person who is outside of God's salvation, someone that doesn't know God, someone who is headed towards that moment when God has dealings with the pride of man, a person who's unsaved, which by the way is every one of us at our birth. You're not born saved. You're born lost. The reason why you're born lost is the humanity that you have that you're born is the one inherited from Adam.

The Book of Romans is very big on the fact that what we are in Adam is a lost condition and you'll never out of that lost condition do anything, find anything, work up anything that will save you. You remain lost. In fact, the things that you do in your lostness, the Bible calls them dead works. And one of the things you have to do to get saved is to come to Christ and to repent of your dead works. All that you did out of that Adamic nature, that spoiled nature, that foolish, ugly nature, as nice as you and I can have ourselves be personality-wise, as well as we may be helped by the traditions of a Christian nation, while they're still with us, the Christianity that is, while we may be people who have things that are good characteristics because this personhood that we have in humanity is made in the image of God and has lots of little touches that show the glory of how we reflect his image. Yet we're still fallen. And they're dead works.

And if you're still trying to somehow lift yourself up by what you can do with education or what you can do with a rising up of character training or expressing the good things that God has put in your personality because every one of us has all those touches of his creator hood that's in us, but they're not things that should make us high and mighty. They're not things that we should be proud of. And all of the achievements we have, which really come because of the gifts of God upon us in general and human nature, those are not the reason why we should be haughty and lifted up. That verse that I quoted to start off with, that there's a day that is coming when he's going to make low every high and lofty, mighty thing and thought of humanity. Now, in order for this humanity of us that's fallen to understand itself and to be able to come into the salvation that Jesus brought, we need to understand how lost we are. And there's never a person who really finds Christ and gets settled in it, but that they haven't gone deeper and deeper after coming to Jesus and learning more about the lost conditions from which they've come. There's never a person that goes on in sainthood, and you know the Bible calls us all saints who have come to Christ even though we're still sinners. We may be sinners, but he looks at us as saints once we've come to Jesus, not because of anything of the old nature.

It's because of the new nature that we are given in coming to Jesus, and the new nature is from Jesus. He is the new nature. And when he and his Holy Spirit is in us, he makes us beautiful, he makes us blessed. So Jesus coming surely is the most succinct way to describe what it is to become. But when Jesus comes, the tempter's power is broken. When Jesus comes, the tears are wiped away. He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory, for all is changed when Jesus comes to stay. But what my sermon is about this morning is that there is something that Jesus brings with him that's captured by these beatitudes that I'm trying now to edge in and explain. Blessed are those who mourn. What is the mourning? I don't think that Jesus is about the business of the way you get his attention is by being a sad sack. Jesus doesn't go around with tissues but the people who are sad only. I think he cares for us. In fact, the Bible teaches he stores up your tears in his bottle. That's a metaphor. He doesn't bother with the real bottle. I don't mean that. But he stores up your tears in his bottle and he cares for the things that might make you sad. So yes, Jesus does care for the sorrows that we have in a general sense. But it is not the general sense only that Jesus cares about. It is the deeper reality of what the whole salvation process the Bible tries to explain and build us up to understand, the whole of the old covenant, the law of Moses and the sacrificial system and the putting of the difficulty of the Ten Commandments on us which none of us ever really keep. We have attempts.

It's not wrong to attempt but we don't understand that the reason why God had the old covenant was precisely to produce the effect that it did for the Jewish people could see how they kept failing which is why the whole Old Testament was filled with a record of attempts of people to be good but not making it of the Jewish people once they had that old covenant of not keeping it and of there being the punishments of God and them being taken away into captivity or them having foreign nations trample them down or having diseases or pestilences. There are all sorts of things that happened because the old covenant had punishments attached to it and we the human race or we the Jews, whoever it was back then, we reap the results of not living according to the old covenant and the old covenant's purpose actually was in God's hands that we would have a picture made of how sinful we are and the mourning that verse 4, the second of these beatitudes is talking about is the mourning when you recognise how much you've sinned and you mourn and there is something about growth in Christian character even after you've come to Jesus and you've become one of his people, you've gained salvation and you know you're heading for heaven but yet you try to live for him and then you fail again.

How many of you, I know it's true of you because it's true of me, it's an eternal truth that it's very hard to be a Christian, a real one deep inside and we keep failing, we try hard. In fact, the harder you try with your own strength, the bigger is the flop and it's usually the case when you get someone talking who's become a Christian and you get them to recite the story since then it's been one of thinking they're going to do well but uh-oh, they got off the track. Boy, do I notice that? I used to when I was more of an itinerant and you go to a church and there are people that come to you after the message and it's a story of how they've really messed it up as a Christian. They're trying hard to not be too public about just how they really made a big flop. They think they're the only one. They come along to church and see all the other people singing and they hear the people looking, you know, giving good testimonies and they say, ooh, am I the only one here who's failed at being a Christian? Now if you're one of those people, this is to cheer you up, you're sitting amongst a lot of others too because we do not have all that it takes. We of ourselves to be very good Christians. The old man as Paul described in the book of Romans is haunting us. Who shall deliver me from this body of death, he cried.

In those middle chapters of the book of Romans, this body of death in the picture he's evoking is what they used to do to prisoners back then when they really didn't want them to live too long is they'd strip off their clothes and then they'd tie them back to back with a dead corpse and the dead corpse would have all sorts of worms and all sorts of rotten flesh that they're put back to back with and what happens to the rot of the flesh of the corpse as it eats its way into the back of the prisoner? Or what about the worms who smell fresh meal and dig their way through? No wonder the cry of such a prisoner is who shall deliver me from this body of death? That's the Christian experience when we who were lost have come to Christ and we think we're going to be a good Christian and we're yet to learn the lessons that God has deliverance not only from the penalty of sin which getting converted will get you forgiven but he has deliverance from the presence of sin it's what makes sanctification progress and it's done by the Holy Spirit and what this beatitude's about it says blessed are those who mourn and why do they mourn?

Because the first beatitude was blessed are the poor in spirit they're the ones who are sorrowing because God's old covenant requisites have gotten through to them as to how terrible has been their shot of being a Christian and they are poor in spirit they don't have much confidence anymore anybody here at that I won't ask you to put your hand up but anybody here who's at that spot there was a time when you had great confidence great confidence what you were going to do for Jesus well that first of the beatitudes is blessed are the poor in spirit it's not just that Jesus has given himself the job of just finding anybody a bit unhappy it is that there's a desperate scene some people find the happiness of life put them in like the man Barnabas sitting by the roadside he's blind, he's a beggar he gets all sorts of bad reactions from people who don't understand but then Jesus came.

And what Jesus came with was the fact that he was the answer of heaven to the fallenness of the human race that if we would have a moment of faith in him he would change our connections no longer committed to and belonging to and in debt to the old man to being converted to being connected to the new man that he's the new man his new manatee was tested and he was sinless his new manatee was made available for us which is why the bible says if any person be in Christ he is a new creation all things have passed away behold all things are become new and the newness of the life of Christ coming into you by the Holy Spirit who enters your person and sets up residence in the old testament system they had God tabernacling amongst them it says, he came and dwelt in the middle of the Israelites it was good for God to be amongst his people but it was also a picture of a deeper type of tabernacling that God the Father was planning and the bible tells us that not only did Jesus coming into the world come to die on the cross and those things but he came to tabernacle amongst the people and that tabernacling is a part of getting saved that when you come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins the forgiveness of being a sinner in Adam and the forgiveness of when you've proven it with your own personal sins when he comes to forgive you for that he by the Holy Spirit comes into your person to dwell inside you.

And that's the tabernacling that God was always planning on doing think of it the very fact that the God of eternity is coming to live in us personally when I get in front of a mirror I try hard not to do that too much these days but I want to tell you that I'm aware I'm looking at someone who has Jesus in him and whereas you might have a background of fearing some of the things you thought of yourself for your inadequacies when you begin to grow and learn that you've got Christ in you that's one of the most amazing concepts the book of Colossians is full of what it is to have Jesus living in you and when you find a tough situation what you've learned to do as you gradually become sanctified as you learn to say Lord I can't handle this but you can I'm going to trust you Lord and you step out and things that you thought you couldn't do suddenly there's a power there's something that comes and you find yourself able to do there's a secret to the Christian life the secret is a person it's Jesus and when he came to Bartimaeus it wasn't just that he's going to be healed of his eyesight blindness he was going to have a connection to Jesus forever and there is nothing more glorious than the realisation that you have him who's come into your life and whatever might have been the criticisms of you for your sins or criticisms of you for your ugliness or criticisms of you because you were odd.

I have never been a normal person I don't think very much but when I realised that Jesus lived in me it changed everything Blessed are those who mourn of their failures according to how the Bible's old covenant would tell you that you have Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted and the comfort is because you've found something far better you've found the success of a person indwelt by Jesus and he has a plan for you the Bible speaks about the fact that he's got a set of works for you to do that God prepared in eternity past and when you came to Christ those works start beginning to happen sometimes it's slow because you've got to learn to be a Christian you've got to learn to follow through the Beatitudes and learn to have a spirituality that's actually what this set of Beatitudes is about it's about progress in sanctification and it starts with number one last week's one it's in verse three.
Blessed are the poor in spirit the ones who really see the size of their problem of being a sinner of deepest direness though you might not have done a lot of bad things there's a little rebel in you that can come up every now and then there's a person who can do bad sins there's a person who sometimes says things you shouldn't have said and all those things they make you mourn but when you accept that they're right to be mourned for and you cry out to God for his help then Jesus comes and the comfort he brings is the power that he has to overcome the thing that you mourn about and the promise that he'll never leave you nor forsake you I will never leave you nor forsake you when you understand that you can read a lot of Christian biographies and grasp where the changing point was I've had one recently that I've been reading and this man who's a Methodist and the Methodist denomination has pretty high expectations of you getting over your sins and getting blessed to do far less of them even some people are meant to believe that they can become sinless in some ways it's one of those sinless perfection groups although mostly they modify it as to how they word it to leave a bit of room for the failures that they all personally are but the Methodist denomination John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley were the authors of it well this fellow was a missionary a Methodist missionary to India and he was a complete flop according to his own assessments and he had a mental breakdown a nervous breakdown of sorts.

Had to go back home to recover and had to come to the place of simply giving it all to Christ and he went back to India well I think he went back to India when he got over his nervous breakdown and while he was there trying to find out how to work it all out he came across the simple idea of leaving it all to Jesus and he's written lots of books and they're all about the fact that for something like 50 years he went around and never had any more problems and was a great success in all the things that he did because it didn't depend on him and he actually authored a little catch cry and the catch cry was about the fact that you transfer from trusting yourself to trusting Jesus and picking up on the Bible statements not I but Christ and the catch cry was one that sparked off was the centre of a whole movement in Christianity that's called Keswick and Keswick is just a teaching for Christians what to do about their sin and how to let Jesus be the one who empowers your Christian lives and he had a fantastic ministry for a whole lot of years and God still uses his books and I've got one well it's this secret blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted and it's when you mourn about what you cannot do from the old man's power that means Adam's heritage and you trust that which you're going to ask Jesus to do not I but Christ in the life that I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me that's what it is to be one who mourns and gets comforted I'm trying hard not to say anything against the fact that Jesus loves to help people who are sorrowful about anything he does do that but there's a lot deeper sense that we have to be mourning about than just some of the circumstances even the tragedies that we have to go through the thing that we have to mourn about is what we do when it's up to us what we do when our old man that we won't get rid of until we get to heaven can produce you never grow out of that of having the old man there but you can always learn to keep on trusting the new man who's come to stay let's have a word of prayer.

Heavenly father we thank you for the beatitudes this sufficiency that is provided by you to be blessed is provided with that which will make you have the sufficiency for the need and we thank you father for those who mourn that they haven't got it lord I pray for every person in this room who hasn't yet recognised that they don't have it you bring about the circumstances that they'll stare in the face that actual truth and even the ceremony that we had in just earlier in the lord's supper is about that the life that we can have is the life we find in Jesus, his life thank you for that metaphor he gave us of his flesh being meat indeed and his blood being blessing indeed thank you that he said that when he was still standing there so he didn't mean it literally but when we trust in Jesus when we really do it and we sorrow over our failures he has the promise blessed for those who mourn for they shall be comforted and we thank you in his name, amen.

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