P/ 419-373-1913

Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness

"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4 Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.   8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.  10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.  12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:1-12

As we take another look at this great message from our dear Savior, we are reminded that this sermon was preached to His disciples.  So, this message is for Christians.  One who is not a Christian, cannot live this Sermon on the Mount.  It would be wrong to ask them to do so and equally wrong to assume they could.  Also, it is a message that presses us to face ourselves and our inward heart condition.  It is one thing to hear a message, but it is quite another to apply it to our lives.  You may have said at one time, as you listened to a sermon, "So and so needs to hear this!", when in reality, it is we who need to hear this.  Isn't that true?  Also, I can hear with my physical ears, or I can hear with my physical and spiritual ears.  It is one thing to listen to the Word and it is quite another to obey the Word.  It is one thing to know the Bible backwards and forwards (maybe you know people like that) but it is another thing to know the One who wrote the Bible.  A person can know the book, but it is vital that we get to know the Author of the book.  If you can get to know the Author of the book, He will help you get to know the book!  Amen.

"Lord, we pray today that you would come and help us to understand your Word.  Open our understanding to understand.  You did that for your disciples, and we are confident that You desire to do that for us, your servants, because our need is great, in Jesus name."
 
The Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, is a powerful, if not the most powerful message ever to come from the Savior.  The main emphasis in this sermon is get us to see that Christianity is not a series of do's and don'ts.  It is not a works salvation.  The Sermon on the Mount is not
"live like this and you will be a Christian."  No, but rather, "because you are a Christian you will live like this."  The general direction of this message is Christian Character.  What is a Christian?  The Lord is letting the disciples know that Christianity begins with who we are inwardly and then it will manifest itself outwardly.  There is a logical order and arrangement to this message.  Jesus begins with the Beatitudes.  The characteristics of a Christian are listed here in Matthew 5:3-10.
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit
  • Blessed are they that mourn
  • Blessed are the meek
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness
  • Blessed are the merciful
  • Blessed are the pure in heart
  • Blessed are the peacemakers
  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake
The Beatitude we are interested in today appears in verse six.

              "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6
This is the fourth beatitude.  The first three beatitudes mainly concern us.  We look at ourselves, examine ourselves, see our weakness and our sinfulness.  We face our selfishness and pride.  We then, mourn over it, abhor, or hate it and we come to see that without Jesus, we are nothing and we surrender to His Saviorhood and Lordship.  This, then, affects our relationships with others.
Here in the fourth beatitude, we see a shift.  Everything up to now has led to THIS.  This beatitude is more positive than the first three.   Up to now, we realize we are sinful people in need of a Savior and are nothing without Him (poor in spirit).  We mourn over what we have seen about ourselves and are comforted because of His saving grace.  This affects our dealings with those around us.  We are challenged by those around us who trample upon our new-found faith and the urge to defend ourselves can be great.  Yes, we are meek now; we do not react as we used to before we knew the Lord.  But our meekness needs to be augmented or increased.  We realize we are not as meek as we could be or should be.  As we see ourselves and our need, we now look to Jesus for help.  Lord, I need you!  So, right here is one of the greatest verses from the lips of Jesus.  This speaks volumes!  I do not need the latest techniques and modern approaches in solving my dilemma with self or with others.  I need HIM!  I need His righteousness more and more to be exhibited in me.  I already have His righteousness, yes, but the need and hunger for more compels me to pursue tenaciously like a thirsty man searching for water.  I am compelled to stop here and add this verse and side note for you because I sense right now that someone reading this needs it.

"As the deer panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God..."       Psalm 42:1

Why is the psalmist panting for the living God as a deer for the water?  Many times, a deer, or hart, will pant for the water brooks simply because it is thirsty.  But listen, at other times, the deer pants for the water brooks because it is seeking to escape the dogs that are chasing it.  Ah, yes, this is so even in our lives.  Are the dogs hot on your trail?  Have they picked up your scent?  The enemy of our soul seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our faith.  He wants to disrupt our righteousness and weaken our resolve to fight the good fight of faith.  It is here that we run to Jesus.  It is here that the deer, by instinct, runs to the water to put that river between him and the dogs.  What is our first instinct?  You and I need to put Jesus between us and our problem.  It is true, the water is refreshing, rejuvenating, and restoring, but it is also restraining.  It is much like the presence of God that came between the Israelites and the Egyptians who were pursuing them.  It guarded the children of God.  It protected them.  The enemy was still there, but paralyzed, immobile, and unable to do anything until the people of God were safe on the other side.  Hallelujah!  Put the Lord in between you and the problem.  Run to Him.  Lord, increase my desire to run to you instead of taking matters into my own hands.
Blessed are those who do hunger and thirst after righteousness.  It begins with "blessed" or "congratulated".  Blessedness is a condition of heart.  It is based upon the inward rather than the outward.  It goes beyond the world's idea of happiness.  Happiness is not attained by experiencing pleasant happenings.  This blessedness is something spiritual.  It is the result of something that has happened IN us so that regardless of what is "happening" around us, we are still rejoicing and remain unmoved.  How is that accomplished?  Why is that the case?  I take you back to the word BLESSED.  This is a word used in that day to describe the social position of the wealthy, who because of their wealth, were above the normal cares and worries of lesser people.  Do you see something?  YES!  Bringing this word into the realm of Christianity it opens up a whole new perspective.  Listen, my friend, you may not have this world"s wealth, yet you are rich in Jesus!  Listen to it:

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.    2 Corinthians 8:9

To God be the glory!  What does this mean?  As a born-again blood washed child of God, I am rich!  And because of that wealth, I am above the normal cares and worries and anxieties of those who do not know Christ as Savior and Lord.   I have a blessedness within me that lifts me up above the shadows and cares of this life.  I am alive in Christ!  These are the people who hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Dead people do not hunger!  Hunger and thirst after righteousness is a sign of life.  The first thing a baby does is cry for milk.  Spiritual hunger is as natural as breathing.  You know something has taken place in you when you desire more of God.  Are you hungry? 

Blessed ARE those who do hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Not after experiences.  Not after blessedness.  We are not to seek blessedness or happiness.  Blessedness is not only a condition of the heart, but it is the outcome of a search for something else.  It is the result of being poor in spirit, of mourning, etc. and in this verse, the result of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.  Make no mistake about it, the world and many in the church are seeking after the wrong thing.  When the world and even the church, have as their objective notoriety, acceptance, happiness, success, before righteousness it is absolutely certain they will never get it.  Do you want acceptance, success, or even blessedness before or instead of righteousness?  Then perhaps we are treating a symptom instead of a disease.  Maybe we are only concerned with getting rid of the pain we feel instead of what is causing the pain.  If a doctor only cares to get rid of your pain while taking no measures to get at the root of it, it is time to get a second opinion.  If a church is only concerned with making you feel better and does not deal with the sin that is causing your pain, then it is time to find another church.  Feel good church is nothing more than what one old preacher called, Hot Tub Religion.  It feels good and relaxes me.  Ever been in a hot tub?  They are fantastic!  However, if you stay in a hot tub too long your blood pressure can drop, and fainting has been known to happen.  Many churches are experiencing a drop in blood pressure (if you know what I mean).
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Blessedness is the result of seeking after righteousness not blessedness.   What is this righteousness I desire?

1. I desire a right standing with God.  It is Justification.

When I am saved, His righteousness is imputed to me which enables me to be justified.  Justification is the act of God whereby He, (as I place my faith and trust in Jesus and what He did for me at the cross) takes me out of the world and puts me into His kingdom and counts me as though I had never sinned.  In Jesus I am declared not guilty.  Not because of my righteousness.  NO.  I have none.  The Bible says:  there is none righteous, no, not one.  It also declares in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."   So, I have no righteousness.  It is HIS righteousness that I stand in.  Praise God!  Do you desire to have this righteousness?  Even as a Christian?  Paul the apostle did.  Listen to it:
             
              "...for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness...but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."        Philippians 3:8-9

Friend, if you do not know this right standing with God, today is the day to change that.  Surrender to Him through the precious blood of Jesus.  There is no other way.

2. I desire a continued righteousness.  It is Sanctification.

As I grow in grace, I experience His righteousness imparted to me and I am enabled to honor God in my life.  This is sanctification.  As justification is when the Lord takes me out of the world and puts me in His kingdom, sanctification is when the Lord begins to take the world out of me.   In other words, sanctification is something that happens when I am saved.  However, it does not stop there.  It continues to take place as I walk with Jesus on a daily basis.  So, sanctification is a once completed action, and an ongoing process.  Praise the Lord!  Do we as Christians hunger and thirst for this continued righteousness?  Not only to be saved from sin, but to be delivered from the power of sin, the pollution of sin, and one day, ultimately, to be set free from the presence of sin!  I want to be free from the desire to sin.  Do you?  Blessed are those who do hunger and thirst.  Do you see something?  It is a continuous action.  Those who hunger and still do!  Those who thirst and still do!  Is that you?  Then you shall be filled!

Christians are people who hunger after Him and His righteousness.  Matthew 6:33 says:  "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."  There is a connection with seeking God and seeking and desiring His righteousness!  It says: "I want Him!"  Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is a desire to be holy.  It is a desire to walk in fellowship with Christ.  A desire to be like Jesus.  To be an imitator of Him.  A man or woman who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness hates the very idea of sin.  They are at war with that thing that grieves the Holy Spirit, that causes distance and hinders their relationship with their heavenly Father.

Are you hungry and thirsty after this righteousness?  Hunger means that I am in need.  It brings a consciousness of my condition.  This hunger will not go away until is it is alleviated by food.  If I do not eat, it can get painful.  Do you know that feeling?  However, they say that if you let the hunger go unfed for too long, it will go away.  You will not feel it.  This is what is happening to many Christians.  Their hunger is there, but they ignore it and soon it subsides.

How do we know we are hungry after this righteousness?

1. When we are aware of our unrighteousness.  When I get hungry, I get a pain in my stomach.  Do you?  In fact, it can get so that I actually hear it!  I thank the Lord for the conviction of the Holy Spirit that causes me to sense my unrighteousness.  Maybe He is speaking to you about your unrighteousness.  That pain in your heart may be the Spirit of God.  Pay attention to that emptiness and experience the filling that only He can give

2. When we do not have to be persuaded to come to the table and eat.  A hunger to spend time with the Savior is a natural thing for a Christian.

3. When we eat only that which can satisfy the need.  A Christian does not eat just anything.  Goats eat anything.   Old neckties, shirts, and tin cans.  But sheep, no.  In other words, they avoid what is opposed to righteousness.  In the words of a preacher from the 1600's:  "If you don't eat you will eventually die.  But if you eat poison, you will die sooner."

4. When we take advantage of the opportunity to obtain this righteousness.  There was a man in the Bible who sat by the road and heard that Jesus was coming down that road.  He began to yell to Jesus to have mercy on him.  Christ's disciples tried to quiet him down.  He yelled all the more for Jesus to have mercy upon him. Jesus did.  He received what he hungered and thirsted for.  This man simply put himself in the way of getting what he needed.  He got in the way!  We must get in the way of receiving what it is we are thirsty for.  My little boy, four years old at the time, wanted me to give him a cookie.  I was on the phone in a serious conversation.  He kept begging me and I kept putting him off.  So, he decided to get in my way!  He came up to me, and sat on my foot, wrapped his arms around my leg and refused to let go.  I had to walk around with this kid on my foot or give him the cookie.  I gave him the cookie.  Though I cannot produce this righteousness myself; I cannot make myself holy, I CAN put myself in the way of receiving this righteousness.  Wherever this righteousness is being preached, go!  Whenever it is being proclaimed, put yourself there.  If there is a prayer meeting and you can be there, attend.  Mary sat at Jesus feet.  She knew where to go and to whom.  And Jesus said, "One thing is needful:  and Mary has chosen the good part, and it will not be taken away from her."   Martha was mastered by the many things, whereas Mary was mastered by the one thing.

5. When we constantly think about this righteousness.  We consider it; it is on our mind.
 Sometimes just thinking about food makes me hungry.  I did not say I thought about great amounts of food.  Just food.  Does that happen to you?  But, also, when I am hungry, I think about FOOD!    LOL.  Do you hunger for this freedom, this righteousness that is not only imputed to us but is also imparted to us?  Does the enemy whisper in your ear that you were never saved? Do you see so little evidence of sanctification that you wonder whether you were ever saved to begin with?  Take courage!  I ask you; have you had, or do you have the least little twinge of hunger and thirst in your heart to be more like Jesus?  I tell you, that little urge of desire is from the Lord, not your mother!  Cherish that urge.  Love that urge.  Hold on to that urge.  Feed that urge.  If the Lord gave it to you, then that is the sign that He is setting the wheels in motion to fulfill that desire.  So, praise Him.  Come on and praise Him!  Listen to it:  "Blessed are those who DO hunger and thirst after righteousness".  Did you see it?  It does not say "who are full..."  If you are conscious of your need then you are a candidate.  Come and hunger.  Come and thirst.  Bring that small, tiny, but real urge to the Lord.  Bring your lack of desire to Jesus and tell Him that you desire to have more desire.  Maybe you are not a Christian, but you are now aware of your sinful condition, your unrighteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working!  Come and confess your sin to Him and repent.  He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Listen, my friend, my fellow believer, the Lord is drawing you today like the lover in the Song of Solomon.

"...draw me, we will run after thee: the King hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee."                   
Song of Solomon 1:4
Listen to this:

              "For He satisfies the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."  Psalm 107:9

I love that!  He satisfies the LONGING soul.  Longing means to run up and down.  Did you see that? He satisfies the RUNNING soul!  Hallelujah!  One who runs means business!  He or she is serious! Our Father is looking for those who are serious about this righteousness.  He fills the hungry soul. The hungry soul and the longing soul are the same!  Hallelujah!  Am I getting excited?  Absolutely!  Why?  Because He satisfies the RUNNING soul.  The serious soul.  The hungry soul.  The one who runs after Him!

In the words of a song we sing in our church:

"Oh, draw me, Lord.
Oh, draw me Lord
Oh, draw me Lord
And I'll run after you."


Blessed are those which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Are you hungry and thirsty after this righteousness?
Then it may be time to put on your running shoes.  

Pastor Jerry

LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE!

A Testimony Shared by a Sister in Our Church

Hello, I pray that your heart is ready to receive from the Lord.  I pray for those who are experiencing incarceration to repent and ask the Lord into their hearts and lives.  You know, He loves you and died for you!I want to share with you for a moment.  My name is Jan and I worked at the Lima Correction Institute in Ohio for many years.  It was a good job and I met good people who had made bade choices in their lives.  Remember, for every choice you make, there is a consequence, be it good or bad.
As a Correction officer, and a Christian, I met with other officers every Friday morning before work for a time of Bible study and prayer.  We prayed for those incarcerated, those working and for the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone each day.  One week, the leader of our group was not going to be able to be there, so he asked me if I would lead it for that week.  Before the meeting, I was praying and asked the Lord to guide me, I found myself drawn to Matthew 13:31-32.
            "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field:  Which indeed is the least of all seeds:  but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."
            This scripture is called, "The Parable of the Mustard Seed."  I went to the store and bought some mustard seeds and put them into little baggies to share with everyone in our Bible study group.  We had a good Bible study together that day.  Everyone shared with the others a story of faith and how the Lord had worked in their life.
            As the day went on, I was in my dorm working, doing what needed to be done.  I went out into the hallway and while there, felt led by the Holy Spirit to call one of the people who was an inmate to me.  I told him that I had something to share with him.  Out of my pocket I pulled one of the little bags of mustard seeds.  I explained to him what it was.  The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds.  Sometimes, that is exactly how our faith is - it is so tiny, just barely there.  Yet, the Lord honors it and He is able to grow our faith in Him as we have a heart that hungers and thirsts after Him.  And from that faith, He is able to work and do great things for His honor and glory.  I told him that just as one of these tiny mustard seeds can grow into a big plant, so can our little seed of faith grow.  Not in our own strength but in the strength that the Lord Jesus Christ gives.  I told him that if he prays, asking the Lord to forgive him of his sins, admitting that Jesus Christ is Lord and surrendering his thoughts and actions - his life to Christ, then his little seed of faith will grow into a huge strong tree of faith!  The young man took the little baggie of seeds and walked away.
            It was not until two or three months had passed, that this same man came up to me and wanted to talk.  He told me that on the day that I shared the baggie of seeds with him, he was experiencing one of the most difficult, dark days of his time in that institution.  He told me that I would never understand what our discussion meant to him and how it full changed his life.  He wanted to thank me for taking the time and obeying the voice of the Lord to talk with him.  He then opened his Bible, that he was holding, directly to Matthew 13:31-32 and there, taped beside those verses was that little baggie with the mustard seed that I had shared with him.  I told him that Jesus would stick closer to him than a friend no matter where he went.
            I praise God for this moment and others like it!  I thank Jesus that He is faithful and true and that He can change a life if one just hungers and thirsts after Him.  God is so good.  Lean on Him and trust Him 100%.   He is faithful!


I HEARD THE VOICE OF JESUS SAY

Written by: Horatius Bonar

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, O weary one, lay down
Your head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The Living Water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that Life-Giving Stream'
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light;
Look unto me, your morn shall rise,
And all your days be bright."
I looked to Jesus and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I'll walk,
 'Til traveling days are done.


Related Posts

Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags