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Happiness: What it Is & How to Have it | The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2022 3:00 am

Happiness: What it Is & How to Have it | The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 11, 2022 3:00 am

A GPS device needs to first know where you are before it can tell you how to get where you’re going. On a spiritual level, the Bible helps us understand where we are so we can find our way along the straight and narrow path of righteousness. It helps us see our need, then it helps us meet our need. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us examine some of the most foundational passages in helping us gain our bearings. Glad you’re along for the start of a brand new series we think you’ll really enjoy.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at Again, it's

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to The Bible gives us help in finding happiness. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie leads us in a practical look at the Lord's Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Now what does that mean?

This is not about your bank account. It's to see your spiritual poverty. To recognize the simple fact that apart from the Lord, you're lost, you're helpless, and you're hopeless.

Apart from Christ, everyone is spiritually destitute. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins.

A GPS device needs to first know where you are before it can tell you how to get where you're going. On a spiritual level, the Bible helps us understand where we are so we can find our way along the straight and narrow path of righteousness. It helps us see our need, then it helps us meet our need. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us examine some of the most foundational passages in helping us gain our bearings. Glad you're along for the start of a brand new series we think you'll really enjoy. Well let's turn in our Bibles to Matthew chapter 5. We're going to do a series in the Sermon on the Mount.

And I'm calling this series Salt and Light. And we're all called to be salt and light and our culture. But the title of the message is Happiness, What It Is and How to Have It. Matthew chapter 5. Why don't we start with prayer. Father we ask you to bless now as we open your word. Speak to our hearts and help us to understand how it is you want us to live.

How we can find the happiness that often eludes us. How we can be people walking in the center of your will. So we commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. I saw a documentary the other day on the life of Elvis Presley.

Thank you very much. And Elvis was an amazing person. He was raised in abject poverty. He loved to sing in the church. He loved to sing gospel music. He had an incredible voice. And of course he became globally famous and had what many people dream of. But you know he once said that his life to him was miserable. And he said I feel that I am sick and tired of my life.

I need a long rest. And then he ended up dying of a prescription drug overdose. And in this documentary that his widow was a part of she said that she thinks Elvis actually committed suicide. Ok that's Elvis. That's a long time ago.

But just then fast forward now into the 60s. Rock icons Janis Joplin, Jim Morris, and Jimi Hendrix all died of drug overdoses at the age of 27. Fast forward to present day Michael Jackson, Prince, and many others join the list. Tom Petty who ironically was one of the narrators in the documentary film about Elvis died not long after because of a prescription drug overdose. And Tom Petty as it turns out was a heroin addict in the 90s. I am just thinking all these people.

They have it all. And yet they turn to drugs and some of them end their lives intentionally. And it just goes on and on. And when are people going to learn that the answers are not in those things. But look. This desire for happiness it is deeply within us. We are hard wired to be happy.

So here is the question. Where do we find this happiness? Well let me first say well you don't find it. You won't find it in this world because a lot of it is based on well how things are going. If things are going reasonably well well we are happy. If things are not going so well well then we are unhappy.

Someone put it this way. There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want and the other is getting it. See if you don't get it you will say well if I just had this then I would be happy. But when you get everything. When you have all of your dreams fulfilled.

When you reach all those goals and maybe even surpass them and you find out how empty it is then you realize it is not in these things at all. A Justin Bieber posted this on Instagram and I quote. Hey world. That glamorous lifestyle you see portrayed by famous people on Instagram. Don't be fooled thinking their life is better than yours.

I can promise you it is not. End quote. And I would argue in many cases those people that you may follow on social media. Those people you admire or look up to may have a far more miserable life than you have. So we know where not to find happiness. Well maybe money will give happiness.

No actually it won't. Money can buy some things but not the most important things. Money can buy you a bed but it can't buy you a good night's sleep. Money can buy you books but not brains. It can buy you a house but not a home. It can buy you medicine but not health. It can buy you amusement but not happiness. So how do you find happiness? Well studies have been done on this subject. And one study done by Gallup found that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being very happy than the least spiritually committed people. So we are on to something now. Spiritually minded people are happier than those that are not spiritually minded.

And I will take that a step further. Godly people will be the happiest people. So the more godly we become the more we chase after the Lord we will find the happiness that has eluded us for so long. Not from chasing after it but from following after Him because the Bible says happy are the people whose God is 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.

We're designed to burn the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about faith.

Lewis concludes God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself because it is not there. There is no such thing. End quote. So there it is. It is in God.

And here is something you need to know. God wants you to be happy. God wants you to be happy. Is that good news?

It is. Now you might say well Greg you are wrong. God doesn't want you to be happy.

No way. Actually He does. And I can make a biblical case for it.

And here it is. I know He wants us to be happy because He tells us that in Scripture. He tells us over and over again that this happiness is something that He wants us to experience in a relationship with us.

Why? Because the word blessed is another word for happy. They are interchangeable words. So when we use the word blessed as we will use in a moment in the Beatitudes you can just take that word out and put in the word happy. So really the theme of the Beatitudes which is the point of entry into the Sermon on the Mount is happiness.

How you can be happy if you will do these things. In the opening chapter of Genesis we read these words. Genesis 1.27. God created man in His own image.

In the image of God He created them. And then it says, and the Lord blessed them. Bless them. There is that word blessing. Blessedness or true happiness is something God wants all of us to have. So I think it's good news to know that God wants me to be happy. So inspiring and eye opening. I look forward to listening daily.

You are a bright spot in what has become a very dark world. Thank you. If you have a story to share why not call us and let us know. Here's the number. 1-866-871-1144.

866-871-1144. Well we're digging into the subject of happiness today as Pastor Greg launches a study series in the Sermon on the Mount. Let's continue. You're going to find a biblical world view obviously by studying Scripture. But really by zeroing in on the Sermon on the Mount. Who gave the Sermon on the Mount? If you have a red letter Bible all your pages are red right now aren't they?

You're in red letter country. Now all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. You know sometimes people say I just go with the red letters. Well I go with the whole Bible.

Thank you. Because it's all inspired by God. But someone had the bright idea of taking the words of Jesus and putting them in red. So we're in the red letters here as Jesus is really giving to us His world view if you will. Do you want to know how Jesus thinks? Study the Sermon on the Mount.

Do you want to know how his heart beats? Study the Sermon. Do you want to know what he feels about living and about life in general? Again study the Sermon. This sermon. The Sermon on the Mount is his official manifesto. The manifesto of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It begins with the words in Matthew 5 2.

He opened his mouth. That's a very interesting phrase. It's a phrase that is used to describe some solemn grave or weighty statement.

And I want you to notice something. These words are delivered not to the multitudes but to his disciples. Sometimes people think that Jesus preached his sermon to the multitudes. The Bible doesn't say that. As the multitudes gathered he called his disciples to him and to them he said. And then we will read the words that he said.

Why do I say that? Because these words of Christ cannot be lived out by nonbelievers. Sometimes people will say I just live by the Sermon on the Mount.

No you don't. No one can live by the Sermon on the Mount without the help of God. These words are for believers only. They are not just mere principles to employ.

These are for godly people. And it starts with what we call the Beatitudes. Another person described them as the beautiful attitudes. Or attitudes that should be. By the way the first four Beatitudes deal with our relationship with God.

The second four deal with our relationships with people. And the word blessed is used. Again remember the words blessed and happy are interchangeable. So if you want to be happy in the best sense of that word you must be and do the following. Let's read Matthew 5 starting in verse 2. Then he opened his mouth and taught them who his disciples saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth blessed are they who hunger and thirst after 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 that were before you so blessed are these people now how different the beatitudes are from modern culture if the beatitudes are rewritten for culture today they would go along these lines blessed are the beautiful for they shall be admired blessed are the wealthy for they will have it all blessed are the popular for they will be loved blessed are the famous for they will be followed but that's not what Jesus says he starts with a bombshell blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven let me say it another way happy are the poor in spirit now what does that mean there's a lot of misunderstanding about this he did not say blessed are the poor he said blessed are the poor in spirit there is no blessedness in being rich or poor in and of itself the Bible does not commend poverty nor does it condemn wealth the Bible says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil listen I've met wealthy people who are happy I've met poor people who are miserable I've met poor people who are happy and wealthy people who are miserable this is not about your bank account this is about your spiritual state before God it says poor in spirit so if you want to be a happy person if you want to receive God's blessing you must first be poor in spirit now what does that mean actually the word poor comes from a verb meaning to shrink cower or cringe to shrink cower or cringe this is what beggars often did in this day listen to be poor in spirit is to recognize one's spiritual poverty apart from God it's to see your spiritual poverty to recognize the simple fact that apart from the Lord you're lost you're helpless and you're hopeless apart from Christ everyone is spiritually destitute regardless of their education wealth accomplishments or even religious knowledge to be poor in spirit means you admit that you're spiritually bankrupt some people have a hard time admitting this you know they think they're all that in a bag of chips right they have a hard time admitting they're a sinner because they're so accomplished or they're so talented or they're so attractive or they're so wealthy or whatever it is they are it reminds me of the general Neiman remember him and he was a powerful leader in Syria but he had a problem underneath that gleaming armor that he strutted around in Neiman was a leopard and he had found no cure it was an incurable disease someone told him there was a prophet in Israel named Elijah who prayed for people and miracles happen they said why don't you go visit Elijah so Neiman did so he showed up at Elijah's house probably the big entourage came in you know there he is this beautiful armor isn't gorgeous horses this chariot and and he was probably thinking the problem would come out and bow before him and give him a meal and Elijah doesn't even answer the door he just sends us serving says go tell him to immerse himself on the Jordan River seven times so here's Neiman and his chariot and door opens I'll watch this guy named Gehizah he's like hey how's it going I'm speaking for Elijah here go immerse yourself from the Jordan River seven times you'll be healed thank you god bless door shuts Neiman's like what seeing who I am I'm Neiman I'm powerful I'm awesome I'm amazing and he's going on home back to Syria because we have better rivers back there why should I go in there muddy river when we were in Jerusalem recently we had the privilege of being flown around in a helicopter and boy you really see how small Israel is when you see it in the air and as we're flying over the Jordan River I just said to my wife it really is muddy isn't it it's just sort of a muddy river it's not a beautiful river at all and and that's what Neiman saw and he thought I don't want to go on that dirty old river then one of his friends said well what have you got to lose I mean you've come all this way why don't you try it can't do that you know why Neiman did not want to go on the Jordan River because he had to peel off his armor and reveal his condition but he decided to do it so he took off his helmet he took off his breastplate and some of his soldiers are probably a little horrified to see the disfigurement of leprosy on his face on his body it would sort of eat away at your flesh it was horrible and as he took off all of his armor and walked down into the river he had to humble himself he didn't want to do that but he immersed himself one time nothing happened two times same thing three four five six times he's still covered in leprosy he goes down seven times the last time seven he comes up his flesh is like that of a baby have you ever looked at the skin of a baby if you're wearing glasses you look at a baby's skin you can look at that skin it's flawless then you look in a magnifying mirror at your skin and you almost have a heart attack right the skin of a baby it's so beautiful now he had the skin of a baby again I mean he was like restored but what did he have to do he had to take off all of his armor and we have armor that we hide behind as well and we don't want to admit our need for God but he took his armor off so here's what the Bible is saying you want to be happy admit that you're a sinner you want to be happy admit your true spiritual state C. H. Spurgeon the great preacher said quote the way to rise in the kingdom is to sink in your selves again the way to rise in the kingdom is sink in yourselves that is the opposite of culture culture says assert yourself demand your rights you deserve it God says see yourself as you really are and admit your weakness and that is the beginning of true happiness blessed are the poor in spirit blessed is the person that sees himself as they really are for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Pastor Greg Laurie is presenting the foundational message in his new series based on the Sermon on the Mount a series called Salt and Light well Pastor Greg we're so excited that your new film an evangelistic documentary is about to come out Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon yeah now in your book on Johnny Cash you write the story of Johnny Cash is a roadmap for every conflicted soul for whom redemption too often seems a destination far off the beaten path right there are a lot of conflicted souls who would find great hope in Johnny's story wouldn't they absolutely you know Johnny Cash was an American original he was authentic he was real he was touchable let me contrast Johnny Cash with Elvis Presley there was a movie it came out recently about Elvis and showed the rise and fall of Elvis who tragically died in the his 40s him and Johnny had similar careers they started out around the same time they were both recorded originally by Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee they both had huge careers Elvis became the king of rock and roll Johnny effectively became the king of country music they both dabbled in drugs they both had struggles with amphetamines initially to keep them going on the road but of course Elvis's struggles ended up taking his life at an early age Johnny continued with the struggles but ultimately in the end returned to the Lord and so we've made a brand new documentary film called Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon it's been produced and directed by the Irwin brothers who are best known for their films Woodlawn I can only imagine I still believe and the soon to be released Jesus revolution that's gonna happen next year we'll tell you more about that later but this brand new documentary film Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon is done with the support of the Johnny Cash estate you'll hear interviews with Johnny's sister Joanne cash Yates as well as his son John Carter cash and country superstars that admired him like Tim McGraw Cheryl Crow Winona Judd and many others so this is a powerful film it's kind of a behind-the-scenes look at the struggles of this man who really when it was all said and done was a man of God you see the Christians thought he was too secular and the secular people thought he was too Christian Johnny often straddled two worlds and had these struggles but in the end he turned to the Lord he never denied his faith and he grew very strong in his faith especially toward the end of his life and also did some of the best recordings of his career toward the end of his life so this is all shown in this brand new film Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon and it's coming to a theater near you it's going to be what is called a fathom event fathom is an organization that will purchase theaters on select nights where you can go and see special films that's how you're going to be able to see Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon so Dave tell them how they can get ticket sure and we should say time is of the essence here tickets are going fast so make arrangements at our website right away harvest org we're making tickets available to our harvest partners and other friends who recognize the effectiveness of harvest ministries in reaching out with a gospel and they want to help with a generous donation it's a fathom event and the dates are coming up soon you'll find the dates at harvest org or call us at 1-800-821-3300 again that's 1-800-821-3300 and you can reach us anytime 24 7 I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world listen to this we even have harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the Word of God so join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at harvest org well we're just getting started in our study of the Beatitudes next time pastor Greg brings us more insight on what it means to be blessed or happy join us here on a new beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie the preceding podcast was made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God learn how to become a harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest org
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-19 04:39:24 / 2022-11-19 04:48:24 / 9

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