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August 14, 2020 1:47 pm
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Audio on demand from Vision Christian Media.
Welcome to Turning Point Weekend Edition. Now we say that someone is blessed when their life is untouched by grief. But Jesus said, blessed are those who mourn today. Dr. David Jeremiah considers how God can turn suffering into satisfaction. Let's listen. As David Cheers. Happy. Other hurting.
We are studying together on these Weekend Edition broadcasts. Some material from the book of Matthew, Chapter five. Call the Beatitudes. And we have called the series How to Be Happy. According to Jesus, today we open our Bibles to the fifth chapter of Matthew and we discover how to be happy when we're hurting. It's next right here on the weekend edition of Turning Point.
Is surprising to me how in our culture and especially is this true, I think among those who are Christian people, we have tried to deny this truth of grief and pain. I even know some people who have developed a theology that excludes it, a theology that says that it has no place in the life of a person who lives by faith.
And yet I read the Bible and from cover to cover.
I find no attempt on the part of any of the biblical writers to ever ignore the presence of pain and sorrow and hurt. Abraham wept when Sarah died. Genesis, 23.
David mourned over the loss of his son Absalom. And I can hear his wail often when I think of this story. Oh, my son Absolom, my son, my son would God I had died instead of you. My son Absolom, my son, my son Jeremiah.
My namesake preached his message of judgment, but he didn't do it with hard, angry tones.
He wept as he preached, in fact, in the ninth chapter of Jeremiah's prophecy. He says all that my head were waters and my eyes, a fountain of tears that I might weep. Day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
In the New Testament, a father wept as he brought his demon possessed son to Jesus. And when he asked Jesus to heal his son, Jesus said all things are possible if you believe. And the Bible says that the man cried out with tears. I do believe helped out my unbelief and his son was healed. A woman came to Jesus and the scriptures say she washed Jesus feet with her tears and she dried them with her own hair. When Jesus stood at the grave of Lazarus, his friend, the shortest verse in the Bible records what he did. John eleven thirty five, says Jesus wept when Jesus saw the lostness of the people in the city of Jerusalem. The Bible says he wept because he loved the people so much. Hebrews tells us that when he anguished in the Garden of Assembly, it was with strong crying and tears.
Peter denied the Lord remember that. And when he realized what he had done. Matthew, 26, tells us he went out and he wept bitterly after the death of Jesus.
Those who had loved him and had walked with him, we are told they gathered together and they mourned and they wept.
Luke 16. Ten. Mary Magdalene stood outside of Jesus tomb not knowing about the resurrection yet. And the scripture says she wept tears of hurt and disappointment when Paul was preaching to the Ephesian elders in the Book of Acts.
We were told that night and day for a period of three years. He admonished them with tears. And when it was time for him to leave the official elders who had become so close to him. One of my most favorite stories in the New Testament in the 20th chapter of Acts. We were told that the Ephesian elders, when they knew that Paul wasn't going to come to see them anymore, they fell on his neck and they wept bitterly. When we survey the verses that are in the Bible, we discovered there are many kinds of tears. There are tears of devotion, like the tears that Mary shed when she washed the Lord's feet. There are tears of deep concern like Paul shared when he instructed the Ephesians. Peter's tears were tears of deep regret as he realized that he had failed the Lord. The Ephesian elders wept because one who had meant so much to them will no longer be with them. Jesus shed tears of anguish as he wrestled with the will of God in the garden. His were tears of great love and compassion as he stood before the tomb of Lazarus and as he realized that the people in Jerusalem, as he said, were like sheep without a shepherd. Then, of course, there are the tears of sorrow and loss that accompany death. Isn't it interesting that something that is so very clearly presented from cover to cover in the Bible, we have conveniently figured a way around so that we never, ever talk about it and we leave ourselves so unprepared for something that is a part of life as we know it, because all of us face it at some time or another.
The experience of grief. The Bible does not ask us to pretend that we do not hurt and we are not to pretend that sorrow and disaster are not real. But it does say to us that we sorrow not as others who have no hope, in fact. The Bible says that our tears are so special that the Psalmist in some fifty six eight said that he asked God to keep his tears in a bottle for him.
Did you ever read that verse?
I must confess to you that when I opened my Bible to the Beatitudes in the second Beatitude goes like this. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
It really strips my gears. This is a hard saying. How can sadness ever be equated with gladness? It sounds like a contradiction in terms. How is hurting and happiness to be viewed together? How in the world do tears relate to laughter? One author has called this beatitude the bliss of the brokenhearted. And I must say to you, men and women, of all the paradoxes in the Bible. This one is the most violent and the most difficult to comprehend. In fact, some Freudian psychologists have pointed to the Beatitudes as proof that Jesus was unbalanced. One of Freudian psychologists wrote in a speech prepared for the Society of Medicine in Britain. He said The spirit of self-sacrifice, which permeated Christianity and is so highly prized in the Christian religious life, is masochism. And he pointed to the Beatitudes as a supreme illustration. Well, I wasn't exactly sure what masochism was, so I looked it up in the dictionary. And this is what it says. Masochism is deriving pleasure out of being abused.
Is that what this Beatitude is? Is Jesus suggesting that there's some sick kind of pleasure we should receive from being sad for mourning from tears?
I don't think so. And I think if we're willing to, for a few moments, think deeply and honestly, we will begin to understand the power and the purpose of this great truth.
I have come to believe that these few statements, which Jesus uttered, are probably at the very core of life's most important truths.
So how to happiness and mourning go together? You won't find your answer by discounting the pain.
There are nine words in the great text for morning, and this is the strongest of the nine. This word is so intense, it is usually accompanied with weeping. It is most often associated with mourning for the dead. It is a sorrow which pierces the heart, a kind of sorrow which you can see in the faces of those who have it. And in the tears that come down their faces. This is not cheap sorrow or surface pain or having a bad day. So you want to sleep in.
This is hurt at the very core of life. This is morning sorrow.
So how do we resolve this paradox which says happy are those who mourn for they shall be comforted? I'd like to suggest to you for ways you can look at this and end at the way I believe it was ultimately and purposefully intended by our Lord.
First of all, I believe happiness is discovered when we sacrifice the present for the future. If you have your Bibles turned to Luke, Chapter six, Luke is the only other gospel writer who records the Beatitudes, as did Matthew. And he writes them just a little bit differently than Matthew did, and especially this one for in Luke, chapter six in verse 21, you will find Luke's account of this particular beatitude. This is how he says it. Blessed are you who weep now for you shall laugh. That's a little different in it. That's a little different than the way Matthew said it. It's like Luke was thinking that if a man accepts the crosses of his life now, he will ultimately be able to wear the crown. If a man chooses to live as if nothing matters beyond this world, then he gets only what this world has to offer.
But if he chooses to live for the world that is to come. He may meet all kinds of trouble and sorrow now. But he knows that there is a joy that awaits for him in the future. Blessed are those who weep now, for they shall laugh.
The Psalmist put it this way. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Do you remember the story of Lazarus in Diving's in the Gospels? The story that Jesus told. And the rich man cries out to Abraham in pain after his death. And Abraham said to him these words. He said, Son, remember thou in die lifetime receive us, thy good things and Lazarus, likewise evil things. But now he is comforted in your tormented. Blessed are they who more now for they shall laugh. That's exactly what was going on in that story.
We are always presented with two choices in life, are we not? We can take the easy road now and sacrifice the joy of the future, or we can sacrifice and discipline ourselves now and know the joy of the future. If we mourn now, we may laugh later.
Maybe this is a general truth that we all give lip service to and we agree with. This is a true statement. Most of the good things in life have been wrapped up in this central principle called postponed pleasure.
Well, that's one way you could look at the B attitude.
But let me suggest another happiness is discovered.
Secondly, when we sympathize with those around us who suffer, happiness belongs to those who sorrow for the sin and suffering of the world. Happiness belongs to the man who feels the sorrow of his fellow man. Our sorrow, you see, is a product of our love. And as our love grows, it draws into its circle. Those who need our love. The very fact that a person mourns is the testimony to the deep love in his life. You cannot mourn someone you do not love. The blessing of this beatitude is for those who, for Christ's sake, refuse to shield their hearts from the griefs and the pains of others who feel the whip that is laid on the shoulders of another man who might be sheltered but who choose to face the storm so they can help. It's like Moses who refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter so that he could share the lot of his oppressed people.
He was a mourner in that sense. It is in the very heart of the missionary motive to mourn is to sympathize. Happiness is discovered when we sympathize with those around us who suffer. The third one is a hard one. And yet it's a very important one. Happiness is discovered when we sorrow for our own sin.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed is the man who is moved to bitter sorrow at the realization of his own sin.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians in Second Corinthians, Chapter seven, Godly Sorrow Works Repentance to Salvation. And David in some 38 18 said, I will declare my iniquity. I will be sorry for my sin.
Joel says it this way. Turn even to me with all your heart, with weeping and with mourning. I ask myself why there is so little sorrow among God's people for sin. Do you know when we were first starting out in the church and some of you who have hair that's grayer than mine will remember this and some of the old time churches and I've seen pictures of it.
But in the early churches they used to have down at the front what they call the mourners bench. Do you remember that? And that was there specifically so that people could come in the service and sometimes after the service and they're there at that place called the mourners bench, they could weep for their sin.
You know what we do today?
We deflect it, we bury it. We try to replace it with activity. A few years ago, a secular psychologist by name, Karl Menninger, who doesn't really have our background in terms of the truth of the word of God, wrote a book called Whatever Happened to Sin. And the book was all about the terrible things that have happened in our culture, because man has refused to face the things that are wrong in his own life. What do we do? We have become a nation of victims. We blame everybody in the world for the problems that are ours. And I used to think how wonderful it would be if we'd stand to our feet once in a while. And in true honesty, seeing the old spiritual that goes like this, it's me. It's me. Oh, Lord. Standing in the need of prayer. It's not my brother. Not my sister. It's me. Oh, Lord, I love this one. Not the deacon nor the pastor. It's me, old Lord.
One of the interesting things about the Christian life is that the closer we get to the Lord, the more sensitive we become to the things in our life that are not the way they should be.
You show me a person who is arrogant about his walk with God, who wants to tell you how great things are with him and the Lord, who wants to stand up and tell you how close he is. You know, a person who gets close to the Lord is never gonna be like that. Because you see, the closer you get to the standard, the more you realize how far you fall short of that standard. Let me give you an illustration. If you read The Life of Paul, if you read the letters that he wrote, you will discover an amazing thing. Paul wrote a bunch of letters in the New Testament, 13 in all. And the first one he wrote was the Book of Galatians. When Paul sat down with pen in hand to write the book of Galatians, he began the book like this. Paul an apostle. Seven years later, he wrote the book of First Corinthians. And in the 15th chapter of First Corinthians, Paul wrote, I am the least of the apostles and not fit to be called an apostle.
Eight years later, he wrote the book of Ephesians. And in that book he wrote unto me, who am less than the least of the Saints is Grace given. Now, he hasn't even taken himself out of the apostolic category. He's gone down to the sainthood category and says he's the least of the Saints in the last book that Paul wrote before he died. First, Timothy. This is what he said. Christ came into the world to save centers of whom I am chief. His growth as a Christian took him from being an apostle to being the chief of centers. Now, that's sort of upside down theology, isn't it? How many of you would say my goal in life as a Christian is to move from my apostolic realm to be the chief percenters? Did Paul get worse as he got older? No, he got better. But as he got closer to the Lord and as he grew in his faith, he became more sensitive to the things that were really true about his life. And I think maybe if you put all of the Beatitudes together at the center of this truth is this blessed are they who are poor in spirit, who know they are bankrupt without the Lord.
Blessed are they who mourn, who mourn over their bankruptcy.
For they shall be comforted. Fourth, and this is probably where most of us put this.
Beatitude into our lives. Happiness is discovered. Fourthly, when we suffered the losses and cross' of life.
There is no doubt about the fact that sorrow has a value all of its own. In fact, something is missing in all of our lives until sorrow has been experienced. I was with a bunch of preachers recently and there's a young preacher that we all know who is very flamboyant and eloquent, but he has a little bit of a rough edge to him.
And one of my friends said, well, after he suffers a little bit, he'll be all right. It's true, isn't it? There's an old Arabian proverb that says all sunshine makes it desert.
Sorrow, you see, becomes the source often of the greatest discoveries in life. It isn't sorrow that a man discovers the meaning of friendship and the meaning of love. Can I get a witness? You know that, don't you? It is in sorrow that a man discovers whether his faith is superficial or solid. It is in sorrow that a man truly discovers his God. It is in sorrow that some of the most important lessons in life are learned. Robert Hamilton had this in mind when he penned these poetic lines. He said, I walked a mile with pleasure.
She chatted all the way, but left me none the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow and narrow words, said she. But all the things I learned from her when sorrow walked with me.
There is a sense in which sorrow has its own unique blessedness to give. And men and women. The saddest thing in all the world is not a soul that sorrows. The saddest thing in all the world is a heart so dull that it is incapable of feeling grief at all. A heart so selfish that nothing touches it. That does not have something to do with that heart's own ease. You see, to sorrow is to love.
Mourning is indeed the deeper side of loving. We mourn those we love. And somehow, in the midst of the mourning, the beauty of the love we have known becomes the light that walks into the darkness.
Let me ask you a question. How do you deal with your grief?
Some of you have had it very recently. Some of you have had it in the past. All of us face this challenge some time in our life. And how do we deal with it? Have you ever listened to the advice we give? I'm kind of embarrassed about this part of this message. Have you ever listened to what people say to those who are grieving? Let me give you a few of the things that I've heard. Probably some that I've said. We tell them to remember the happiness that they've had in the past. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Well, that's all right. We tell them to reflect upon the next world where life's injustices will be set straight. Try that on a little boy who's just lost his father.
We tell them to rest upon the sovereignty of God, that what has happened is God's will and must be accepted.
Sometimes we substitute fatalism for faith because many times life's disorders come from our own folly and sin, and they don't come from God at all.
If I have a health problem because some mysterious virus has got me, that's one thing. But if I have a health problem because I reject all of the truth that we know about how to have good health, then I can't say, well, it was God's will. Sometimes we say to these people, what? You just have to resign yourself to sorrow and suffering because it's the common lot of man. Therefore, it's got to be accepted. All of this has parts of truth in it, but sometimes I think we don't really get to the core of what the Bible wants us to know about grief. And I want to take these last few minutes to tell you some things that put what God says in juxtaposition to what the world says, kind of contrasting principles, if you might, how to deal with grief. And while you may not need it in your life, maybe God will use it to help someone else through you.
The first thing I want to say is this. When you face grief, don't repress your grief, express it. Remember, John, eleven thirty five. Jesus wept. We would do well to watch Jesus weep. And I only say that because I have heard it and you have to if you're a Christian and you face grief, you don't sorrow. And then they put a period there that is absolutely absurd when you become a Christian. You don't resign from humanity. You have the same hurts and pains and emotions that you had before, sanctified by the grace of God.
And the most beautiful thing in all the world is to see a loving Christian weep for those over whom they grieve.
Number two, don't replace your loss. Face your loss.
Our society's instruction to the grieving is like this. Get busy.
Move on. Don't hang around in any sad places.
But the pattern of the word of God is to hang out in sad places long enough so that you can allow the effect of the loss to settle into your soul. The world wants us to hurry up and get through the sad place. Even Christian counselors often give that kind of advice. But experience teaches us that there are no shortcuts to recovery from grief. One Christian counselor gives this advice to those who come to her with grief. She said, Of course, I tell them to feel their feelings. But then I also urge people to reduce radically the pace of their lives. I urge them to review their loss. Talk about it openly. Think about it thoroughly. Write about it reflectively. And pray about it regularly.
Don't replace your loss. Face your loss.
Thirdly, don't retreat from others, reach out to them once again when you face grief in your life so often friends will say, well, they just need to be alone. Give them some space.
They'll be all right later. Society's approach to grief is to grieve alone. God's approach to grief is exactly the opposite. It's to grieve in community. Those who were grieving for Jesus when they thought he had died and was not coming back to life were grieving together in a room when the resurrected Lord interrupted them. When Jesus went to the garden of Guest Cemetery, he personally asked for Peter, James and John to go with him so they could grieve with him. When Paul wrote to the Romans, he said, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep. Let me just stop for a moment and give a testimony to the wonderful joy of belonging to a Christian community like this that knows how to weep with those that weep. We see it many times during the year that the strength that people gain from grieving and community can only be known among God's people. The worst thing we can say to a person who walks through the valley of grief is stay away, retreat. Be alone.
God created the church for such a time as this grieved together. And the Bible says, blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they who mourn for their sin, because through the mourning, for their sin, they find forgiveness and then happiness is theirs.
Blessed are they who mourn for their losses because in the mourning for their losses, they are put in touch with the comforter. Listen to this. The word for comfort in this beatitude is the word para choline in the Greek language. It means para alongside Collado call to call alongside and para collabo is the word that is used in the New Testament for the Holy Spirit.
He is called the comforter, the one who comes alongside.
One of the things that people say to us when we go through grief is that we should depend on the calendar, that the calendar is in our favor.
Time heals all things. But listen to me. If you're a Christian, don't depend on the calendar, depend on the comforter. You can have all the time in the world if the Holy Spirit isn't working in your heart and you haven't dealt with grief, you've just buried it like toxic waste underneath the surface. It may seem to be gone, but it will come back to haunt you sometime in the future. So don't deal with your grief the way the world does with the calendar. Deal with it the way God says. Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted. And I want to say by the comforter, the Holy Spirit himself, and I love that word Paraka O is a word that's so motivated me. I wrote a whole book about it on encouragement because it's the word from which we get the word encouragement. Blessed are they who mourn for they should be encouraged. Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be made strong. Blessed are they who mourn for someone to whom God speaks will pour their courage into their life.
What an incredible truth.
We hope you enjoyed today's Turning Point. Weekend Edition with Dr. David Jeremiah. To hear this and other Turning Point programs or to give more information about this ministry, simply download the free Turning Point mobile app for your smart device or visit our website. David Jeremi dot org. Forward slash radio. That's David Jeremiah Dot R.G. Slash Radio. You can also view Turning Point television on free to air channels seven to Sunday mornings at eight and on ARCC TV Sundays at six thirty am and Friday afternoons at 1:00. We invite you to join us again next weekend as Dr David Jeremiah shares another powerful message from God's work here on Turning Point. Weekend Edition.
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