You get hungry, you eat, you're satisfied.
Guess what happens? You get hungry, you eat, you're satisfied. Proof that you are alive is the fact that you are constantly hungering and thirsting and being quenched, only to be quenched again and to be satisfied again. David wrote it this way, my soul is consumed with longing after thine ordinances at all times. So the question that comes out of this beatitude to me is, what are you hungry for and how hungry are you? We have a natural inclination to think that living for ourselves is what will make us happy.
That's a lie. True joy is only found in a life of surrender to Jesus Christ. With that in mind, here's a question for you. How hungry are you for the things of God?
And how reliant are you on His Spirit to be able to accomplish what God wants from you? Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey continues his exposition of Jesus' sermon that we call the Beatitudes. This series is called Overcoming the Beatitudes, and Stephen's calling today's message, Happy Are the Helpless and Hungry.
Throughout this Sermon on the Mount, we call it, beginning in Matthew chapter 5, he will reverse the wisdom of the world. Those who come in last are first. Giving is really receiving. Dying is really living. Losing is finding. The least is actually the greatest. Weakness is strength.
Serving is actually ruling. Blessed are they. Happy are they, he says nine times in the beginning, the opening of this rather radical sermon.
The word blessed from the Greek word makaris can be translated truly, genuinely happy. And you remember he began with a shocking statement back in verse 3, happy are the beggars. Blessed are the poor in spirit, literally happy are those who recognize they are completely bankrupt in spirit.
Why? Because they are the ones who are admitted into the kingdom of heaven, the end of verse 3. The first part of verse 4, he goes on further sort of to turn over to the apple cart of conventional wisdom as he says, blessed are the brokenhearted, blessed are those who mourn.
Why? Because those who mourn their desperate condition, understanding they are indeed bankrupt, come to God with nothing in their hands and they find genuine comfort. Now the Lord will deliver another rather surprising step toward true happiness in verse 5 where he will say, blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
You've got to be kidding. The meek get buried in the earth. They don't inherit the earth. Doormats are to be stepped on. Matthew Henry, the Puritan pastor of the late 1600s wrote, modern audiences recoil at this. He writes, common sense dictates that people who are meek will suffer insult and abuse, enable even to find some small corner where they can draw their breath. We know by nature that we must hunt with the hounds because to be a sheep is to risk becoming someone else's dinner. Well put. Most modern dictionaries by the way will define the English word here meekness in ways like these, deficient in courage, one who lacks spirit and backbone my online dictionary that I googled into, defined it with words like docile, overly submissive, spiritless.
Spiritless, docile, submissive, a doormat. Like the kid you probably heard about, you know he got fed up with a bully, he took his lunch money, took it away from him every single day on the bus as he went to school and every day another dollar, five dollars a week. Then the boy saw an ad for karate lessons. Remember he got so excited till he found out they cost five dollars a week so he just went back to paying the bully, right?
Easier to just pay up. I love the courage of this kid. True story which I suppose means the other story wasn't true but this is I know true.
I read both of them. Here's another one. Here's a 15 year old kid, almost robbed in New York City the news report said. He was walking from the bus depot to his father's apartment in upper Manhattan when he realized he was flanked by two young thugs. They pulled a gun on him, demanded that he hand over his wallet and he said no. They threatened him. Listen, we've got a gun pointed at you, now give us your wallet. He said no, no way. They tackled him, went for his back pocket, he hung on, hollering, fighting back until some people came to help and the guys ran away. One of the rescuers said, they had a gun, why didn't you just give them your wallet?
He said no way, my learner's permit's in there. I'd rather die than not be able to drive. That's more like it. I like that spirit, you know, that guy's not meat. The meat don't inherit the earth, the meat get their lunch money taken away.
The meat get their wallet and they lose their learner's permit. You would expect the Lord to say, you want to be happy? You want to be on top of the world?
Well then, you need to know the powerful and be well connected and you will inherit the planet. But instead he says, happy are the helpless. Blessed are the meek. But meekness is weakness, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me try to explain it. The Greeks used this word translated meek prouse in a number of interesting ways which sheds quite a bit of light on what Christ has in mind. First, it was used to talk of a comforting fire in a fireplace. When controlled, the fire brought warmth and was comforting. Out of control, fire brings what? Destruction. The word was also used to refer to a gentle breeze.
Just the right amount of wind could move your boat down river, could cool down a hot afternoon, too much wind. We call it names like Hurricane Katrina, right? Brings death and destruction and loss. The word was also used in Christ's day for medicine. A patient struggling with a fever could be given medicine that was prouse.
That is, capable of relieving the burning fever so that the patient could sleep. Now what do all these have in common? They are all things that can be comforting and helpful if they are contained and experienced in the right amount, too much.
They become deadly. See, meekness is not weakness. The truth is the biblical ideal of meekness is power under control. Meekness is strength contained. Meekness is having the ability to strike back and resisting the urge.
See, that's real strength, isn't it? One author said it's not about me. It's not about being defiant about me. It's not about standing up for me. It's not about defending me. In fact, he went on to say meekness is being done with me.
Good way to remember it. It isn't weakness. It is the power of Christ cleansing the temple with a whip to defend the honor of his father. It is the silence of Christ before Pilate unwilling to defend himself.
What strength and power. Meekness then is dying as it were to me. This is replacing the spirit of me attitudes with the principle of be attitudes.
And by the way, would you notice the promise again? He says here the meek are going to what? They're going to inherit the earth. The word inherit, by the way, is a future tense verb. You are going to in the future rule the planet.
And that is consistent with everything else we learn in the word of God about the coming kingdom. But now think about the fact that you don't receive an inheritance until somebody dies, right? Well, in this case, it is we who die. We die to self. We die to our demands. We die to our rights. We die to our way and our will. And in dying to self, we find true happiness because as long as we are living for self, we will never, ever find happiness. As long as we are defiantly defending ourselves, we will never find happiness.
As long as we are standing for our rights, we will never find happiness. But when we are finished with ourselves, we are actually free to revel in the truth that one day we're going to fully share in the inheritance of the one who also was humble and meek. This is the promise of Paul to the Corinthians. So then he says, let no one boast in men. Don't boast in yourselves, for all things belong to you. Already, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come, all things belong to you and you belong to Christ. So happiness then can come, it can literally become your spirit when you have been stepped on and mistreated and abused and ignored.
How? By recognizing that one day, because of your relationship to this one who was meek, Jesus Christ, you will one day rule the earth. Imagine that, the slaves of Christ rule the earth one day.
Well, evidently, Paul thought it was a pretty exciting prospect as he delivers the truth in his epistles. So how do you know if you're dying to self? How do you know if you're developing meekness? And I thought about this.
How do you have a tangible way of identifying whether there's any progress, especially in something like this? So I've come up with a little meekness examination. Okay? Three questions. It's a pop quiz.
You'll live through it. Here's the first question. How do you respond when confronted with the truth? How do you respond when confronted with the truth? The word meek appears in James chapter 1 verse 21 which reads, receive with meekness the word. In other words, when confronted by the word of God, the response of the meek is not to defend themselves but submit themselves to the truth. There's humility in that, Lord, you've got me here. Here's the word and I will receive it humbly with meekness, not stand up for myself, not defy you, not claim, well, I'm not as bad as all that. No, simply admit it. When you're confronted with the truth, there is meekness, James 1.21.
Here's the second question. How do you respond when challenged about your faith, specifically with unbelievers? How do you respond to the job when there are those who challenge your faith? Listen to what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3.
The word appears there again. Be ready always to give any answer for the hope that is in you, yet do it with meekness, having a good conscience. For it is better to suffer for doing good if that should be God's will than for doing evil. So here again is that nuance of dying to self rather than defiantly standing up for self. And it appears as sort of this voluntary helplessness in the face of those who could grind you into the dirt.
Respond with meekness when challenged in particular about your faith. Get a load who wrote that, the apostle Peter. Out of control, sword swinging, ear chopping off Peter. Talk first, think last, Peter.
Emotions under control, what fun is that? Peter. Which would give us all hope. Not only in the principle of meekness but in the person who wrote the principle. Evidently Peter had grown in meekness over the years, which means we can too. How do you respond when confronted with the truth? How do you respond when challenged about your faith? Third, final question. How do you respond when another Christian falls into sin?
Does your phone bill go up? You lead in the pack outside the city gates to gather stones? You're writing out your notes for the speech of your life. Paul told us how to respond in Galatians 6, 1. The word appears there. Listen, if anyone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual, get a club and let them have it. Oh, I'm sorry.
That's the reverse version. You who are spiritual, there's the key, restore him in the spirit of what? Meekness. Power under control. Strength contained. Just the right dose of medicine. Warmth.
Perhaps you're thinking, well, I like to do better on the next pop quiz. How can I develop more meekness? Well, before you write down 10 ways to become more meek. Buy a coffee mug, I will be meek. You know, drink your coffee out of that. Just remember this.
Just one reminder. Meekness is a fruit of the spirit. It's translated gentleness. You don't drum up meekness. You have the spirit of God develop meekness over a lifetime like Peter, as you surrender to him.
Let's cover one more way to overcome the me additives. Look at verse six. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Now, the first question we have to answer answers. What does he mean by righteousness? Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Is this objective righteousness? Is this the righteousness of God imputed to your account by faith and Christ alone?
Is this what you received at conversion? Well, it can't be. We already have that righteousness. It is the gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3 21 and 22. We have already been declared righteous in that sense. Right with God. Is it some kind of social righteousness in the just treatment of the poor and oppressed?
Well, it could be. However, I think we're given a clue and that every one of the seven occurrences of righteousness in this sermon on the mount, every one of them refers to subjective righteousness, not objective, not social, but subjective. It doesn't have to do with being right with God as much as it has to do with living right for God.
That's the idea. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness has to do with passionately longing for a life that pleases God. And when God is pleased, you are pleased. Paul wrote, It is my ambition. He uses that word three times in the New Testament.
It is my high passion. It is my resolution to be pleasing to God. Second Corinthians five, verse nine. Your greatest happiness is God's happiness. Your greatest pleasure is in bringing God pleasure. What satisfies you most is satisfying God. You want to be truly happy? Well, both of these Beatitudes clearly tell us that the way to be happy is to live for somebody other than our ourselves, primarily living for God.
Right. And in so living, setting self aside, not pursuing the things of self, being done with me, passionately pursuing a life that pleases God. Guess what's discovered in that journey? True happiness. Jonathan Edwards talked about the longing that we ought to have for God and the happiness that comes.
He wrote, this man pastored in the mid 1700s. The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls will ever be satisfied. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives or children, or the company of earthly friends are but shadows. Enjoyment of God is the substance.
Family and friends are but scattered beams. God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.
Wow. The paradox of this Beatitude is that you are satisfied with that which then makes you hungry. Odd, isn't it? You're hungry for right living and satisfied in living in which which makes you hunger only the more. What does that sound like?
Sounds to me like Thanksgiving. You've been there. You you're you're you're satisfied. You can't eat another bite. You are satisfied beyond reasonable dimensions. A couple of hours later, what are you doing?
Making a sandwich. What does that prove? You're a glutton.
No, no, no. That's not what it proves. What that proves is you are alive. You're living. You get hungry. You eat, you're satisfied. Guess what happens? You get hungry. You eat, you're satisfied. Guess what happens?
Some of us quicker than others. You get hungry. You eat. Proof that you are alive is the fact that you are constantly hungering and and and thirsting and being filled and quenched only to be quenched again and to be satisfied again.
David wrote it this way. My soul is consumed with longing after thine ordinances at all times. So the question that comes out of this Beatitude to me is twofold. What are you hungry for and how hungry are you if you're really hungry? For right living for God, which pleases him, you'll find satisfaction and that will deepen your longing to live a life that satisfies him. And that will find satisfaction. One decision at a time, one step at a time.
The question is, how hungry are we? Aristotle wrote at the time and one of his young students came to him and said, Aristotle, master, you have wisdom that I so desire to have. How can I have it? Aristotle responded with, you really want it? The young man said, master, I do. Aristotle then said, follow me. He headed across the porch out of the building where they were standing, headed across the courtyard without even hesitating, walked directly into the pool of a fountain nearby, waist high water. The young man hesitated at the edge and then followed after him, sort of girding up his gown and about halfway in, Aristotle suddenly turned, grabbed the young man by the neck, nap at the neck and forced his head underwater. The young man, of course, was flailing away and kicking and trying to get his head above water and Aristotle just held it there until the last possible moment, pulled the young man up, dragged him over to the edge, sat him on the side and said, while the man sputtered away, catching his breath, young man, what was it that you wanted more than anything when I held you underwater? And the young man said, air, sir, air.
Aristotle said, if you long for wisdom like you longed for air, you will have it. See, I think the average Christian would say, yeah, I want to, I want to live for God. Doesn't everybody? Supposed to say that I'm in church.
I'm here, by the way. Do you really want it? How badly do you hunger to please God? See, a starving man doesn't want food and a new car. He just wants food. A thirsty man doesn't want water and a new pair of shoes.
He wants water. Nothing else matters. You don't have to add anything to the list to satisfy. Ask the average Christian, do you want to please God with like, oh, yeah, absolutely.
But I want this and this and this and this and this and this and that and that and that. I wonder why God never really seems to come through for me. The problem is we're not quite famished enough for holy living and our lack of hunger and thirst for righteousness becomes then our greatest obstacle to true happiness. And so praying a prayer like this is entirely legitimate. Lord, give me a longing to long for you.
Ever prayed that? Give me a thirst to thirst after you. Make me thirsty and hungry to please you.
We start at the fundamental issue of appetite. And to those happy ones God satisfies. Let me rewrite these two Beatitudes this way.
Blessed are those who refuse to stand up for their own rights, willingly helpless as they refuse to exercise their power, even when it means they get crushed in the stampede of life, happy in knowing that one day they will rule the world with Christ. Happy are those whose primary appetites in life are living for God's pleasure, assured that God will satisfy them and deepen their hunger to grow and be filled and grow yet more and be filled again over and over and over and over until perfected in holiness, ended with satisfaction in heaven forever. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart, the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. Stephen is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. The message you heard today is called Happy Are the Helpless and Hungry and it comes from Stephen's series called Overcoming the Me Attitudes. Please remember that title because Stephen has a book with the same name. That book is based on his teaching series and contains Stephen's teaching through this portion of the Sermon on the Mount.
You'll find information about Overcoming the Me Attitudes on our website, which is wisdomonline.org. Once you go there, navigate to the resource section and you'll find it. While you're at the website, be sure and look around. We have many resources available to you. All of them are designed to teach you God's Word and help you apply the truth to your life.
In addition, each message has a manuscript that you can read if you prefer. All of that content is available free online at wisdomonline.org. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons, we also have a magazine called Heart to Heart. Heart to Heart features articles written by Stephen where he explores various topics related to the Christian life. There's also a daily devotional guide.
These daily meditations are rich in biblical truth. We send Heart to Heart magazine as our gift to all of our wisdom partners. If you'd like to see it, we'd be happy to send you the next three issues. You can sign up for it on our website or you can call us today here in our office. If you ever need assistance or want to share a comment with us, you can write to us at info at wisdomonline.org. You can also call us each weekday at 866-48-bible. Stephen's daughter, Candice, and her team of volunteers are happy to assist you.
Michael, who lives in Rockingham, North Carolina, contacted us to share this comment. He said, I'm glad to know there are true men of God who teach the truth. I pray for your ministry daily. Well, Michael, and all of you who pray for us, that means so much to us. We gather regularly to pray for you as well. You can write to us at Wisdom for the Heart, PO Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627.
I'll give you that again in case you want to jot it down. It's Wisdom for the Hearts, PO Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. And finally, we have a form on our website that you can use to communicate with us.
Visit us online at wisdomonline.org, and there's a form there. Thanks for joining us today. Please join us next time for more wisdom for the heart. God bless. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 23:43:33 / 2023-09-13 23:52:56 / 9