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How to Be Happy | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2024 3:00 am

How to Be Happy | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 25, 2024 3:00 am

Some people look for happiness in relationships, money, or shopping. Where do you look? Hint: If it's not to God, that's the wrong place! Pastor Greg Laurie reminds us that true happiness can only be found in a relationship with our Creator.

Notes:

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because it's not there." —C. S. Lewis

Happiness comes from who you know, not what you have.

"...Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord" —Psalm 144:15

The Christian faith is a happy faith. 

God wants you to be happy, contrary to popular belief. 

Angels brought good news that brings joy (Luke 2:10).

God Himself is happy.

Christians will still face tragedy.

God's definition of happiness is different than ours.

Biblical world-view: The Bible should change the way you see things.

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1). Jesus gave it to His disciples, not the multitudes; only Christians can live by this sermon. 

First 4 beatitudes deal with our relationship with God, the other 4 deal with our relationships with others. 

Blessed = happy.

Read Matthew 5:2–9.

Point #1: God wants you to be blessed and happy.

Point #2: Happy people are humble people.

Point #3: Happy people are "unhappy people."

Point #4: A happy person will be a meek person.

Point #5: A happy person passionately desires a righteous life.

The only way to be a happy person is to know God. Not by chasing happiness, but by knowing God.

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Good morning everybody. Let's pray together. Father, great is your faithfulness to each and every one of us.

We look back on our lives and we can see how consistently and how faithfully you have worked in our lives. Now we pray that you will speak to us as we open your Word. And Lord, we pray for our nation right now, which is in such need of a spiritual awakening. And as we enter into an election season, Lord, we're praying that we'll do what we need to do as citizens and do our part to register and vote, but also to remember to pray, to pray that your will will be done. The Bible tells us that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice, that you would place, we're praying, godly people in places of influence and that we would turn toward you instead of turning away from you. So we commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

All right, you can all be seated. Well, we're starting a brand new series today on the Sermon on the Mount. And we were trying to think of some clever thing to call it, and we decided to just call it the Sermon on the Mount.

Because everyone knows that, of course, and this is maybe the greatest sermon ever preached by Jesus himself. And we're gonna look at that in a few moments. But a couple of announcements I wanted to make. We are in an election season. The election is in November.

And the primary is just three weeks away. And so we wanna help you get involved in the process. Now, we gave you one of these flyers when you came in. Did you all get one of these?

Yes, not if you got one. Yes, okay, good. Okay, there's QR codes on it. You all know what a QR code is now, right? Okay, so you scan that with your phone, and it will take you to a voter guide. We don't tell you who to vote for, but we wanna educate you on where candidates stand on issues that are important to us as Christians. And so scan this QR code, and you can find out what the various candidates' positions are.

And I like what we say in this little handout. It says, as Christians, it's our duty to be the salt and light in the world, actively spreading the gospel, and praying fervently for a spiritual revival within the United States of America. It's also essential that we exercise our right to vote, supporting candidates who will uphold the values we find in scripture. There's no perfect candidate, okay? So this is very important. No perfect candidate. Sometimes we're just finding the one that is as close to the biblical worldview as possible. But I do believe, and I say this with as much emphasis as I can, that it is our responsibility to vote as Christians.

Very important. So do your duty as an American citizen and as a follower of Jesus Christ, and inform yourself on issues, and we will help you to register as well. You can come to our Connect table at all campuses, okay? So that's announcement number one. So way back when I became a Christian in 1970, I drew a little cartoon booklet called Living Water.

I was 17 years old. This is where my ministry effectively started. As you know, we have an animation of it now that we have posted on our social media platforms, as well as our new app, Harvest Plus. How many of you have downloaded the Harvest Plus app?

Okay, well, the rest of you, you gotta do it. This is an amazing app. It's sort of like our version of Netflix. Very easy to navigate. It has all of our material, all of our films, all of our messages, our daily devotions.

You can download it for your phone, for your tablet, and also for your television set. So we've re-envisioned the Living Water track. People have said, are you ever gonna publish it again?

And we thought, well, let's do it a little differently. So we have a re-envisioning now of the Living Water track, and it's a comic book that looks like this, a full comic book. And it follows the same trajectory of the Ben Born Again cartoon that you can watch. And it's fun, and it has the gospel in it, complete with a prayer that people can pray to accept Christ. So it is out right now, brand new, hot off the presses.

The ink is still wet, not really, but you can get it on all campuses over at our bookstore here at Harvest Riverside, Harvest Orange County, and you guys over in the island of Maui, you can go to harvest.org and order one, and we'll try to get some over to you as well. All right, let's grab our Bibles and turn to Matthew chapter 5. Matthew chapter 5, and the title of my message is How to Be Happy. When you get down to it, pretty much everyone deep down inside wants to be happy.

It's even in our Declaration of Independence where we speak of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So here's the question, are we happy? According to a recent study, Americans are less happy than they were 30 years ago. Well, maybe we should start by trying to define happiness. What exactly is happiness?

Over the years, many have opined on the topic. Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, summed it up this way. Happiness is a warm puppy.

Okay, that's one definition. Albert Schweitzer said happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. George Burns, comedian, said, quote, happiness is having a large, loving, caring family in another city. Oscar Wilde said, quote, some cause happiness wherever they go. Others cause happiness whenever they go. Dave Chappelle, the comedian, said the higher up I go for some reason, the less happy I am. You've heard of Shakira. She's experienced global success and fame of happiness.

She said, quote, it's reserved for a very select number of people, and I can't say I'm part of that club at the moment, end quote. So what is happiness exactly? Why can't Shakira find happiness?

Why does Dave Chappelle say the higher up he goes, the less happy he is? Well, let's start by saying where you won't find happiness. You will not find happiness by pursuing it in and of itself. You won't find happiness in any object. You won't find happiness in anything this world or this culture has to offer. It's been said, quote, there are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it. You know, you've heard the expression careful what you wish for.

They have all of their dreams realized, and they have all the things that this world promises will bring happiness, and they find that is not the case. Money can buy you some things, but it cannot buy you the most important things. Money can buy you a bed, but it cannot buy you a good night's sleep. Money can buy you books, but it can't buy you brains. It can buy you a house, but it can't buy you a home. Money can buy medicine, but not health. Money can buy amusement, but it can't buy happiness.

C.S. Lewis summed it up this way, and I quote, God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel for our spirits that they were designed to burn or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.

There is no other way. This is why, says Lewis, it's just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about faith. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself because it's not there. There is no such thing, end quote, and that's so true. One of the foremost experts on happiness made this candid admission, and I quote, I don't have a religious or a spiritual bone in my body, yet I have to acknowledge that studies reveal that people with faith in God are the happiest, end quote.

So it really comes down to this. Happiness does not come from what you have. It comes from who you know, and the Bible emphatically says happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Why is the Christian faith a happy faith? The Christian faith is a happy faith because it's a hopeful faith, because we have hope in this life, and we have hope in a better life to come.

And here's something that might surprise some people. God wants you to be happy. I don't think that's the view many people have of God. They think that he is just the ultimate party crasher. He's out to rain in your parade. He's out to make your life miserable.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The fact is God wants you to be happy. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they brought good news of great happiness.

And know this. God himself is happy. Jesus said, I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. Yeah, we don't think of Jesus as happy. We think, well, he was the suffering servant, and he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, which, of course, is true.

But having said that, that doesn't mean that's the way he always was. When he bore the cross, headed to Calvary, certainly he was a man of sorrows. When he saw Jerusalem reject him, yes, he wept. So there were those moments of sorrow.

But generally, by and large, how do we sum this up? Jesus was a happy guy. I think he would have a smile on his face.

Why else would children be drawn to him? Paul writes about the glorious good news given to him by the blessed God. Or another way to translate that would be the good news from the happy God.

I like that. Happy God. Now, when I say that God wants you to be happy, that doesn't mean that you walk around with a phony smile permanently plastered on your face. So like when you're going to the dentist to get a root canal. You're smiling.

You're waiting in line at the DMV for the third hour. You're smiling. Wherever you go, you're smiling.

You're going to look mentally ill, not happy. As a Christian, we will have times of sorrow. The Bible even says there's a time to laugh and there's a time to cry. As Christians, we will still face tragedy. But what the Bible is saying, overall, you can have happiness.

But we have to come to this. God's definition is probably different than our definition of happiness. And it's laid out before us here in the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. This is effectively the worldview of Jesus Christ. And it's important to know that everybody has a worldview. The question is, do you have a biblical worldview?

What does that mean? That means as I become familiar with the Bible, as I read the Bible, as I memorize the Bible, as I internalize the truths of Scripture, my thinking begins to change. And I start thinking biblically. And I see things through a biblical lens. Hence, I have a biblical worldview. So if you want to know what the worldview of Jesus is, read the Sermon on the Mount.

We cover so many topics in it. Jesus talks about what happiness is. Jesus talks about the purpose of marriage. Jesus talks about prayer. Jesus talks about worry. Jesus talks about what foundation your life is built on and so much more. You want to know what Jesus thinks, read this sermon. And by the way, you can read the entire Sermon on the Mount in one sitting. You want to know how his heart really beats, study this sermon.

You want to know how he feels about living and life in general, read this sermon. By the way, the Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message that Jesus ever gave. It's also one of the most beautiful and best known portions of Scripture. There's a lot of phrases that have entered our vernacular that are popular in culture today that all come from the Sermon on the Mount like, turn the other cheek, that's from the Sermon, go the extra mile, that's also from the Sermon on the Mount, the golden rule, all from this sermon. By the way, this is not what the people were expecting. Maybe it's not even what they were wanting to hear from Jesus on this particular day, but it's exactly what they needed.

It begins with Matthew 5 verse 1 when it says, Seeing the multitudes, he went up to a mountain, and when he seated his disciples, he opened his mouth and taught them saying. So back in this culture, when the rabbi would speak, he would sit and the people would stand. So I think we should observe this tradition. Why do I have to stand here for 45 minutes? You stand and I'm gonna sit. What do you say? Okay, well we don't have to do it.

Someone might like it. But normally the rabbi would sit down, and it's interesting because this phrase, he opened his mouth as a colloquialism in Greek, used to describe someone delivering a message that was solemn, dignified, and weighty. I want you to also notice that Jesus did not give this to the multitudes. I think the traditional view of the Sermon on the Mount is the crowds gathered, and he addressed them with these words. But that's not what the Bible says, is it?

It says that the multitudes were gathered, but he gathered his disciples around him and taught them saying. I bring this up because only the Christian can live by the Sermon on the Mount, and even that is very challenging. When someone says, I live by the Sermon on the Mount, my question is, have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount? I'll be honest with you, there are some hard things in this sermon.

These are not easy things to do. So you might say the Sermon on the Mount is for believers only. Only the child of God can live out these truths. Now, the Sermon on the Mount begins with what we often call the Beatitudes. They've been described as the beautiful attitudes, or attitudes that should be. Another way you could sum them up is the be happy attitudes. Now, the first four Beatitudes deal with our relationship with God. The second four deal with our relationships with others.

We're going to focus on the first four in this message. I want you to remember that the word blessed, each Beatitude, begins with the word blessed. The word blessed is interchangeable with the word happy. Basically, Jesus is saying, if you want to be happy, be these things and do these things.

Let's read them together. I'm going to read Matthew chapter five, verse two, down to verse nine. Then he opened his mouth and taught them, that would be the 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 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 the sons of God. There are the first Beatitudes. It's interesting that the word blessing is used again and again. People use these words, even people who are not believers. They'll talk about blessings. Well, only the believer can genuinely experience blessing. I think sometimes we use the word bless to get rid of someone.

Someone's talking too long. We say, great seeing you. God bless you. It says, go away now, right?

Here's point number one. God wants you to be blessed and happy. God wants you to be blessed and happy. Jesus both began and concluded his earthly ministry blessing people. When he met those two downhearted disciples on the Emmaus road after he was crucified, we read that he blessed them. When children came to him, he took them into his arms and he blessed them. After his resurrection, we read that he lifted his hands and he blessed them. God wants to bless you.

We see this from Genesis to Revelation. There was a blessing that the priests were to pronounce over the people of Israel. They would say, the Lord bless you. The Lord keep you and make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. God wants to bless you.

Let me take it a step further. God loves to bless you. Sometimes we think God is stingy. He's holding back his blessings. Do you know a stingy person?

No, you can't have that. Do you know a generous person? Yes, you can have that and even more, God is generous, not stingy.

He loves to bless. It's like me giving something to my grandchildren. I don't do that because I have to.

I do that because I want to, right? I feel it is the responsibility of the grandparent to bless the grandchildren or another word we could use is spoil them, right? It's not my job to parent them.

I've already done that. That's the job of the parents to parent. The job of the grandparent is to be grand, right? And to enjoy them and indulge them. Not in a bad way, but maybe a little bad. I don't know. Maybe give them too much sugar or whatever it is.

But this is the idea. God loves to bless us. I love how Jesus says, fear not little flock. It is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. It's his pleasure. God wants to bless you. God loves to bless you.

But how different. His definition of happiness is from our culture. If we were to rewrite the Beatitudes for the modern culture, it might sound something like this. Blessed are the beautiful, for they shall be admired. Blessed are the wealthy, for they shall be envied. Blessed are the popular, for they shall be loved. Blessed are the famous, for they shall be followed. But that's not what Jesus said.

He drops his bombshell. And I think people misunderstand the first Beatitude. And because it's the linchpin of all the others, it's really important for us to understand what this means. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Bringing me to point number two. Happy people are humble people. Happy people are humble people. Now, this has been wrongly understood to be saying, blessed are the poor. This is not what Jesus said. 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. It does say the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. People sometimes say, the Bible says money is the root of all evil.

I don't know what Bible you're reading, but my Bible doesn't say that. My Bible says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, which while some have coveted after they've erred from the faith. Money's neutral. Money can be good. Money can help. Money can do things for the kingdom of God. Money can be problematic. It can even be evil. It can destroy a person's life.

It all depends on your attitude toward it. What Jesus says is, blessed are the poor in spirit. What does this mean? Blessed is the man. Blessed is the woman.

Happy is the person who sees themself as they really are. Lost, hopeless, and destitute, and desperately in need of God. That's what it means to be poor in spirit. You have to see yourself for who you are. You have to see yourself as a sinner who really needs a savior.

This is hard for some people to call themselves what they are, to see themself as they are. This is counter to culture today where told things like, you're more than enough. Self love is the greatest love. You're a winner at our games for our children. We don't keep score because everyone's a winner. Everyone is not a winner. There are losers in life. We're not all that and a bag of chips as some think. Self love is not the greatest love. You are not more than enough. You need help.

You're a sinner as I am, as we all are. General Naaman is the perfect example of this. No, General Naaman from Syria was a leper and he had a maid who was a Jewish woman that worked for him and she told him about a wonder working prophet in Israel that could pray for him. So he went to Israel to meet this prophet Elisha and he pulled up at the home of Elisha, probably in a beautiful chariot surrounded by bodyguards covered in gleaming armor.

He was quite a spectacle. General Naaman and he demanded to see Elisha. Elisha doesn't even answer the door. He sends his servant out, a guy named Gehazi. Hey, how's it going, Naaman?

The prophet says, go immerse yourself in the Jordan River seven times and you'll be healed. Nice to see you, bye. Boom, shuts the door.

And it's like, wait, hello? Do you know who I am? I'm not gonna go to the Jordan River. That's a dirty river. We have better rivers back in Syria. I'll just go home. One of his associates said, hey, you know, it's worth a try.

I mean, you've got nothing to lose. Well, General Naaman didn't want to immerse himself in any river because that meant he had to take his armor off and reveal his true condition. I don't think most of his soldiers knew he was a leper. Leprosy was a horrible disfiguring disease.

So as he took off his helmet, maybe for the first time, for many of them to see, and took off his breastplate, they could see the disfiguring effects of leprosy. He had to humble himself and go down into that dirty little Jordan River and he immersed himself the first time. Came up, still a leper. Immerse himself again, still a leper. Three, four, five, six times, still a leper.

He goes down the seventh time, comes up completely healed of his leprosy. The Bible says the skin was like that of a little baby. Have you ever looked at a baby's skin?

So amazing, so perfect. Have you ever looked at your skin? Through a magnifying mirror?

It's horrifying, horrifying. You know, I'll shave and I'll think I did a good job. Then I'll look in the magnifying mirror.

I miss spots. That's such an old man thing. But then you see all the flaws and the blemishes and the effects of age, et cetera.

But you see, he had to humble himself and peel off his armor and admit his real condition. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those that see themselves as they really are. Oh, we can spend a life chasing after happiness and never finding it. We say, I need to find myself.

I'm leaving this marriage. I'm not happy anymore. I need to find myself.

Oh, shut up. You wanna find yourself? Jesus says lose yourself. Deny yourself.

The Bible is counter to all the things the culture tells us. Jesus says humble yourself, lose yourself, and you'll find yourself. The Bible tells us humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he'll exalt you in due time.

If you wanna find true happiness, you must be poor in spirit, see yourself as you really are. Classic example of a guy who is poor in spirit is a man who went into the temple to pray. Jesus told this story.

Two men went in the temple to pray. One was a sinner. One was a Pharisee. Actually, the sinner was a publican.

Not a Republican, a publican. And that man, he was a tax collector. So they were not looked upon favorably at that time.

They're not looked on favorably in this time. But they both went to pray, a sinner and a Pharisee who was of the highest order of religious accomplishment. And so the Pharisee starts his prayer like this.

God, I thank you that I'm not like other people. Man, you know your prayers are messed up when you say something like that. And then he takes it a step further.

Especially not like this dude over here. And then Jesus said, and the sinner wouldn't even lift his eyes up. He just peed his chest and said, God be merciful to me, a sinner. And then he even said, actually in the original language, it would be God be merciful to me, the sinner. He said, man, I'm the worst of the lot. God be merciful.

That's all he said. Jesus said, who do you think went down justified? It wasn't that Pharisee.

It was the men who saw his real condition. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Beatitude number two, point number three. Happy people are, I'll put in quotes, unhappy people. Happy people are unhappy people. Point number one, happy people are humble people. Number two, happy people are unhappy people. Verse four, blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. You could also translate this, happy are the unhappy. What?

That doesn't make any sense to us. So to be happy, I need to be sad, yes. In this way, you have to see yourself as you really are.

I'm a sinner who needs a savior and I'm sorry for what I've done and I wanna change so I mourn over my condition. Listen, better to mourn now and laugh later than to laugh now and mourn later. Some people, all they wanna do is laugh. All they wanna do is get drunk and party and laugh and laugh and laugh. They don't even know what they're laughing at.

Everything's funny to a drunk. But really, what is that all about? Solomon went on a sin binge, basically trying everything the world has to offer and he said in Ecclesiastes 2, when I said, come on, let's give pleasure a try. Let's look for the good things in life. But I found it was meaningless. Solomon says, it's silly to be laughing all the time.

What good does it do to only seek pleasure? You know, some people, they suppress tears. They should be crying and instead, they're laughing. Before he died of AIDS, Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, recorded a song called Party and in the song, he sings, quote, we were up all night singing and giving a chase. The next morning, everybody was hungover and then in the refrain, he repeatedly implores his party mates to come back and play, end quote.

But see, here's the problem. There comes a time when the party's over. All the laughing is behind you and it really has led to nothing. It's better to be sad over your condition because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 7, 10, the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow but worldly sorrow which lacks repentance results in spiritual death.

In other words, hey, I'm sorry and I'm sorry enough to stop. See, the problem is we will minimize sin. We'll say things like, well, God loves me and accepts me as I am. Hey, man, don't judge my journey.

Well, God does love you and he does accept you as you are but he wants to change you and he wants you to repent of your sin and he wants you to come into a right relationship with him. When the prodigal son was away from his father, he was sad. When he returned to his father in repentance, he was glad.

That brings us to point number four. A happy person will be a meek person. A happy person will be a meek person. Blessed are the meek. Now, meekness is not celebrated in our culture maybe because we don't understand what it is. For starters, meekness is not weakness.

The best definition of meekness is power under constraint. It's interesting because it describes the breaking of a powerful stallion. So when you climb on a beautiful horse, how many of you love to ride horses? We have a few equestrians out there. I prefer horsepower. I like a throttle and I decide when it starts and when it stops. Because I was on a horse once, I wouldn't stop.

And that's kind of a scary process. Like, where's the emergency brake on this animal, right? So the idea is that you're breaking the horse, as they say.

The horse is submitting its will. It's not that it's lost its will. It's not that it's not stronger than you. But it has surrendered its will to the rider. So when the Bible talks of weakness, it doesn't mean I'm meekness. It doesn't mean I'm weak.

It means I know who's in charge. And I've surrendered my will over to his. But in our culture, we celebrate revenge. You know, there are these films out with Liam Neeson called Taken, right? Taken, there's three Taken films. What if they came out with a fourth film in the Taken series?

But it was different. Taken, churning over a new leaf. And in the film, Liam Neeson picks up the phone and he says, I have a particular set of skills. Skills that make me a nightmare for a person like you. I will pursue you. I will find you. And I will forgive you.

Who would watch that? That sounds good. I will forgive you and give you a quick hug. Wait. No, you kill them. But before you kill them, you beat them mercilessly. And that's the movie I wanna see.

And slow-mo, preferably. But this is what the Bible is saying. It's forgiving. One of the best examples of meekness and forgiveness in the Bible is the story of Joseph, sold by his brothers into slavery, ultimately exalted to a powerful position where he could have had them all summarily executed but instead he forgives them. That is what meekness is. But the ultimate example of meekness is Jesus himself. He laid down everything for us and willingly went to the cross and died in our place. And the only autobiographical statement ever Jesus gave, he said in Matthew 11, 29, I am meek and lowly in heart. Does that mean Jesus was weak?

Of course not. He was the strongest man who ever lived. With just a word, he could destroy his enemies. When they arrested him in the Garden of Gethsemane, he said, who are you looking for? They said, Jesus of Nazareth. He said, I am. And the Bible says they all fell backwards.

It's like dominoes, I am. Those are the words of God from Mount Sinai to Moses. I am that I am. Jesus could have said, I am. And you were by the end. The end.

Do that in slow motion. But he did not act in that way. He laid his life down for us. So let's sort of summarize all of this. How different the Bible is than popular culture. How different the definition of happiness is in scripture than the culture's definition. The Bible says last is first, giving is receiving, dying is living, losing is finding, least is greatest, weakness is strength. Number four, a happy person passionately desires a righteous life.

Excuse me, that's number five. A happy person passionately desires a righteous life. Verse six, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Now this is talking about a spiritual hunger.

So let's put it all together. First I see myself as I really am, poor in spirit, spiritually destitute. A sinner in need of a savior. I'm sorry for my condition. I mourn over my condition. I repent over my condition. And then a true meekness enters into my life.

A humility as I've seen myself as I really am because I've seen God for who he is. And now I have a new hunger and thirst for righteousness. You know there's nothing like a good meal when you're really hungry. I'm not a good hungry person, are you? I become hangry. Do you know what hangry is? It just, I get irritable. My wife can tell. So let's throw a sandwich at me.

It's just like, I'm just sort of uptight. You just need to eat something, right? And so when you go out to eat with someone and everyone orders their food and there's always one person that puts in the complex order, right?

All the substitutes and changes. And so everybody's food comes except that person's food. And because we're polite, we wait.

And sometimes wait. And wait, now I'm getting hangry. I'm hungry. I'm salivating. My food's in front of me.

I'm like a dog with food in the dish. It's time to eat the food. But we're waiting for you with your special order, right? But finally your order comes and we pray.

Hopefully we'll remember to do that. And then we all dig in and enjoy that meal. We should be hungry for God. Hungry for righteousness. Hungry for the word of God.

Hungry to hear what the Bible has to say. Are you hungry and thirsty for righteousness? When you go to see a doctor, one of the first things he will ask you is, how's your appetite? Because your appetite is an indication of your overall health. When you're hungry, that's a good sign. When you have no hunger, that's not a good sign, right? Same could be said spiritually. How's your appetite? Are you hungry for the things of God? Let me put it another way. Do you look forward to going to church or is it something you do out of mere duty?

How about this? Do you take time for, look forward to opening the word of God each and every day? See, blessed, happy is the person who's hungry and thirsty for righteousness. In Psalm 42, the psalmist says, is it dear thirst for the water brook? So pence my soul for you, O God, my soul thirst for the living God.

It comes down to this. As a Christian, there's always more to know. There's always more to learn.

Always more to discover. In Philippians 1-9, this I pray that your love may abound still more and more. Listen, you're never done as a Christian. No matter how much you love, you can love more. No matter how much you pray, you can pray more.

No matter how much you obey, you can obey more. Blessed are those who are continually hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they shall be filled. So I don't know about you, but I think every Christian should look at themself and say, I'm not content with where I'm at spiritually. There's more to change in my life. I need to become more like Jesus. I remember when I was a brand new believer, I would talk with Pastor Chuck Smith, who was quite a bit older than I was, and I asked him, Chuck, how long have you been a Christian?

And I don't remember what he said. It might have been something like 50 years. 50 years? You're like what, like an apostle or something? Do you walk on water now?

50 years? And yeah, there is maturity that comes with time, but I've been a Christian now longer than 50 years. And I say, yeah, I've learned some things. I've grown, I've changed.

Oh my, I have so far to go. And some of you are saying, yeah, you do great. Well, it's true, I do. And you do too. We all do.

And I think when we don't think that, something's wrong. Paul says, it's not that I've already attained, but I press on. I press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. This is the apostle Paul. This is a man who prayed for someone to be raised from the dead. This is a man who prayed for people to be healed. This is a man who literally went to heaven and returned to earth.

This is a man who wrote epistles or letters that we call the Bible today. And this man said, I have so far to go. I'm not there yet. And the moment you cross your, fold your arms, everyone's got their arms folded, not me. And you say, I pretty much know this, I've heard this.

You're not in a good state. When the Bible says we should become like a child, it doesn't mean that we should be childish, it means we should be childlike. And it means we should always be growing, always learning. And sometimes it's relearning things that we forgot. And it's a constant life of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

And God promises if we do this, we will be filled. You know, there are things that spoil our appetite. It's really hard for me when it's dinnertime. I eat very early, by the way. I eat at five o'clock.

Is that not early? Some of you are just waking up at five o'clock, I don't know. And I am hungry at three o'clock. I am hungry for dinner at three o'clock. I'm counting the time off. It's almost time to eat. I can hardly wait.

I look forward to it, right? So this is something that some people eat earlier than others, but then you're tempted to eat something to hold you over. And the something you eat to hold you over spoils your appetite. You know, dinner's at five, but then there's Taco Bell. And dare I go in and order a Burrito Supreme?

Oh, maybe I'll get a taco and just to hold me. And then you have no appetite. Or even worse, you eat junk food. You eat something that is actually not good for you.

That too spoils your appetite. That can happen spiritually. There are things that we can do.

There are places that we can go. There are people that we can hang around with that actually dull us spiritually. There are certain relationships that when you're around these people it makes you want to do less, not more, spiritually. And then there are others who inspire you. Not because they condemn you or criticize you or say, why aren't you more like me?

But by their sheer example and their godliness you say, I want to be more like that. They actually stimulate your hunger for Jesus. Have you ever noticed when you go out for a meal maybe after church, let's get something to eat. And maybe you're dieting, so everyone orders burgers and fries, you say, I'll just drink water. I brought a little rice cake with me as well. Here it is, a little rice cake. Okay, then they get their food and they're eating and you look at those glistening fries and you say, can I trade you this rice cake for a fry? You don't have to trade me, just have a fry. Thank you, you take the fry. Greatest fry you've ever eaten. Why is stolen food always better? You know what I mean by stolen food? You really shouldn't eat it. My wife when she's preparing a meal cuts everything up into little portions. Here's the carrots, here's the onions, and then when she's not looking I take these. Don't take that, now I take it even more. I don't know why. I don't know why.

There's something exciting, I got it and she didn't see it. I'm eating the forbidden carrot right now. Right, so, but there's something about somebody else's food that's so enjoyable and the same is true, when we're walking with God and experiencing this, others should see us and say, I want that. I want their relationship with God.

In effect, I want to be like them. You're such a great follower of the Lord. So stay away from relationships that would dull your spiritual appetite. Pursue relationships that will stimulate your spiritual appetite.

This is what the Bible tells us to do. And so do you have this attitude in your life right now? Are you a happy person? The only way you can be a happy person is to be a person who knows God.

Not by chasing after happiness, but by knowing God. Coming back to that prodigal son. When he was hungry, he fed on the husks. But when he was starving, he turned to his father. You can turn to your father and he will forgive you.

Let's summarize and close. You must be poor in spirit. Number one, see yourself as you really are. You must mourn for your sin. Number three, you must have a change in attitude and have a hunger and thirst for God who will satisfy you. Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. It's hard to be happy when your conscience is wracked with guilt.

Because the Bible also says happy is the person whose sin is forgiven. When your sin is forgiven, it changes everything. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now who is wracked with guilt because of something you've said, something you've done. You're saying, how do I get rid of this guilt?

Well, get to the source of it. What is the source of your guilt? The source of your guilt is sin. So if your sin is forgiven, your guilt is removed. Guilt has its place. I know sometimes people say guilt is bad. Well, guilt can be bad if it's the wrong kind of guilt, but guilt can also be an indication that your conscience is working. And you say, I shouldn't have done that.

I shouldn't have said that. And I have guilt. But when your sin is forgiven, now the guilt will be removed. And the way that can happen is when you just come to God and take step one on the beatitudes. Blessed is the poor in spirit. Lord, I see myself as I am. Forgive me of all of my sin.

Do you need to do that? As we close today, I want to extend an invitation for anyone here who has never asked Jesus Christ to come into their life. You can experience a real and lasting happiness. Coming back to what Chappelle said, the higher up I go, the less happy I am.

Does that describe you? There's certain things you thought, if I had this thing, if I had this experience, if this happened to me, I know I would be happy. If I reach this goal, if I reach this position, if I get this many followers on my social media, if X, Y, or Z happen, I'll be happy and all those things happen for you and you're not happy and you're wondering why.

The reason is is you can't find it by chasing it. It comes from a relationship with God. Again, happy is the person whose sin is forgiven. Jesus, again the meekest man who ever lived, laid his life down for us at the cross and died for our sins so we could be forgiven and come into a relationship with him. He rose again from the dead three days later and now he stands at the door of our lives and he knocks and says if we'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. Jesus can come into your life right now and forgive you of your sin. If you need him to do that, I'm gonna give you an opportunity to pray and ask Christ into your life.

And also, I mentioned the prodigal, that boy that ran away from home, if you're a prodigal son, a prodigal daughter, you've been running away from what you know is true and right, if you need to come back to the Lord, I'll give you an opportunity to do that as well. Let's all pray. Now Father, I pray for everyone here, everyone watching, listening, wherever they are, if they don't know you yet, let this be the moment they believe.

Let this be the moment that their sin is forgiven. Help them to come to you now, we pray. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, maybe there's somebody here that would say I'm not a happy person, I'm a pretty sad person, I'm a miserable person, I need my sin forgiven, I'm tired of this guilt, I'm tired of this emptiness, I'm ready to say yes to Jesus Christ, pray for me now. If you want Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die, if you're ready to say yes to Jesus wherever you are, I want you to lift your hand up and I'm gonna pray for you. Raise your hand up wherever you're sitting and I'll pray for you, God bless you.

Lift your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you. Anybody else, raise your hand up, I'll pray for you today. You can ask Christ to come into your life. God bless you. Maybe there's somebody here that would say I admit it, I'm a prodigal son.

I'm a prodigal daughter. I've wandered away from the Lord and I want to return to him again, pray for me. If you need to come back to the Lord again, if you need to make a recommitment of Christ, raise your hand and let me pray for you wherever you are, God bless you.

God bless you, God bless you. Now I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. I know you that are watching on a screen or you're watching Harvest at Home, wherever you are, you can pray this prayer as well. Pray this prayer after me. You could even pray it out loud. Just pray these words, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin. I'm sorry for my sin. I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my savior and my Lord, as my God and as my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. God bless each one of you that prayed that prayer. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to Harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to Harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 04:21:52 / 2024-02-25 04:42:07 / 20

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