Blessed Are Those Who Hunger & Thirst After Righteousness
· IN THE ANTARCTIC SUMMER OF 1908-9, SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON AND THREE COMPANIONS ATTEMPTED TO TRAVEL TO THE SOUTH POLE FROM THEIR WINTER QUARTERS. THEY SET OFF WITH FOUR PONIES TO HELP CARRY THE LOAD. WEEKS LATER, THEIR PONIES DEAD, RATIONS ALL BUT EXHAUSTED, THEY TURNED BACK TOWARD THEIR BASE, THEIR GOAL NOT ACCOMPLISHED. ALTOGETHER, THEY TREKKED 127 DAYS. ON THE RETURN JOURNEY, AS SHACKLETON RECORDS IN THE HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC, THE TIME WAS SPENT TALKING ABOUT FOOD -- ELABORATE FEASTS, GOURMET DELIGHTS, SUMPTUOUS MENUS. AS THEY STAGGERED ALONG, SUFFERING FROM DYSENTERY, NOT KNOWING WHETHER THEY WOULD SURVIVE, EVERY WAKING HOUR WAS OCCUPIED WITH THOUGHTS OF EATING.
· We can understand Shackleton’s obsession with food, which offers a glimpse of the passion Jesus was talking about when he said, “Blessed are those who hunger & thirst after righteousness…”
· Working down thru the Beautitides as we look at the different characteristics that make up having a Christian character.
· Having a hunger & thirst for righteousness is something that will be seen different ways in our lives
· Attitude determines our behavior & character determines conduct
· How we do or do not hunger & thirst for righteousness will be shown in how we live
I. HAVING A DESIRE FOR HOLINESS RATHER THAN HAPPINESS
A. Sometimes we get confused & think God’s primary goal for us is happiness
1. Have a concept of God that makes Him like Santa Claus or Easter Bunny
or a genie who gives us everything we want just to be happy
2. Bad Theology – He wants His People to be holy
B. To be sure – joy will come
1. Peter – “joy unspeakable & full of glory”
2. Theme of Philippians is joy
3. Beatitudes – Blessed – a joy that is a deep internal joy, not dependent
C. His purpose & desire is holiness – to be conformed into the image of Jesus
1. Ro 8:28-29: And will know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
2. When God calls you to himself, He’s working to develop the disposition of
Christ in your life
D. A hungering & thirsting after righteousness is shown in seeking the same thing – desiring the disposition of Christ formed in our lives
II. WILL BE SEEN IN OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN
(IL) Little Johnny’s father caught him in telling a lie. Dad said, “Don’t you know
the difference between right & wrong?” Johnny told him that he did. His
dad said, “But you always choose the wrong!” Johnny said, “I know, dad.
And here you thought it was all guesswork.”
A. Laugh about it
1. Consider the number of jokes we hear about things like drunkeness,
sexual immorality, etc
2. Johnny above – dad said it was wrong, Johnny said it was guesswork,
God says it’s sin
B. Play around with it
1. Sometimes we want to see how close we can get to the line without
(IL) Samson – an example of playing with fire & you’re going to get burned
a. Great physical strength – little spiritual or moral strength
1. Married a girl who wasn’t Jewish
2. Went in to a prostitute
3. Gave in to Delilah, telling her the source of his strength
b. Result of playing with sin was having his eyes gouged out &
becoming a slave, humiliation, loss of dignity & self respect, his
eyesight, and ultimately his death
c. Sad words of Scripture – Judges 16:20: “…but he did not know that
the Lord had left him.”
2. Playing with sin puts on a slippery slope that will have consequences
C. Despise it & avoid it all cost
1. Avoid it like the plague – don’t allow it near us
2. Know that it is an absolute killer
a. Don’t believe that? Ask Jesus, He became sin for us, & then He
III. HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL BE SEEN IN OUR
A. Hunger & thirst for righteousness will be evidenced as we live a life of
1. Effect all areas of our lives
B. Step further – if not careful we can allow our obedience to become a
Obedience is seeking God with your whole heart. Performance is having a quite time because you’ll feel guilty if you don’t.
Obedience is finding ways to let the Word of God dwell in you richly. Performance is quickly scanning a passage so you can check it off your Bible reading plan.
Obedience is inviting guests to your home for dinner. Performance is feeling anxiety about whether every detail of the meal will be perfect.
Obedience is following God’s prompting to start a small group. Performance is reluctance to let anyone else lead the group because they might not do it as well as you would.
Obedience is saying yes to whatever God asks of you. Performance is saying yes to whatever people ask of you.
Obedience is following the promptings of God’s Spirit. Performance is following a list of man-made requirements.
Obedience springs from fear of God. Performance springs from fear of failure.
C. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness can be seen in our obedience
IV. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HUNGER & THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS
FOR THEY WILL BE FILLED
(IL) Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists in years gone by, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great
countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four
hours of the day."
A. St. Augustine – Our hearts are restless until they find they rest in You,
B. True, permanent, fulfillment & satisfaction isn’t found things
1. Drugs, alcohol, sex, bigger houses, faster cars, more money in the
bank, or rank on the collar
C. It is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ
(IL) Woman at the well – John 4
Married 5 five times & now was living with a man
Jesus said he would give her living water that will become a spring within her
welling up to eternal life
That’s where permanent satisfaction and fulfillment comes from
A MAN NAMED BOB BECAME ENVIOUS OF HIS FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY HAD LARGER AND MORE LUXURIOUS HOMES THAN HE DID. SO HE LISTED HIS HOUSE WITH A REAL ESTATE FIRM, PLANNING TO SELL IT AND TO PURCHASE A MORE IMPRESSIVE HOME. SHORTLY AFTERWARD, AS HE WAS READING THE CLASSIFIED SECTION OF THE NEWSPAPER, HE SAW AN AD FOR A HOUSE THAT SEEMED JUST RIGHT. HE IMMEDIATELY CALLED THE REALTOR AND SAID, "A HOUSE DESCRIBED IN TODAY’S PAPER IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR. I WOULD LIKE TO GO THROUGH IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!" THE AGENT ASKED HIM SEVERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT IT AND THEN REPLIED, "BUT BOB, THAT’S YOUR HOUSE.”
· We don’t need to go looking for fulfillment, satisfaction, meaning & purpose in life.
· He’s here today to give it to you.
· His name is Jesus & He’s the one who said, “Blessed are those who hunger & thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”