Summary: It’s one thing to be spiritually poor and acknowledge it; it’s another to grieve and mourn over it.
On a visit overseas, a wealthy man was fascinated with a powerful microscope that allowed him to study the petals of a flower. He was amazed at their beauty and detail, so he decided to purchase a microscope and take it home. He enjoyed using it until one day he examined some food he was planning to eat. Much to his dismay, he discovered tiny living creatures crawling in his food. Since he was fond of this particular food, he wondered what to do. He concluded there was only one option – he had to destroy the microscope so he wouldn’t see the tiny creatures again. You might say, "How foolish!" But people do the same thing with God’s Word. The Bible exposes their true nature so they try to destroy or ignore it.
Last Sunday night we began a study in Mt. 5 on the beatitudes – the attitude we are to be. Jesus offers (8) attitudes we’re to have as citizens of His kingdom. Tonight we look at Matt. 5:4. READ
We started examining how to be a better Christian by looking at the condition of our lives – we are poor in spirit, spiritually destitute beggars. As we continue, we need to take the next logical step – mourning. It’s one thing to be spiritually poor and acknowledge it; it’s another to grieve and mourn over it.
You see, there is a great need in the church today to cry instead of laugh. I say this because spiritual poverty should lead to godly sorrow. Unfortunately we live in a world that’s constantly trying to convince us to shun mourning. The world’s says, “Forget your troubles, turn your back on them, do everything you can not to face them. Pain is bad; happy is good. Things are bad enough as they are without you going to look for trouble – so don’t worry, be happy.”
The problem is that unless we grieve and mourn our sin and the sin of others, we’ll miss God and sin will gain a greater foothold on our lives.
Before we go any further, I want to remind you that Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the attitudes they are to possess as kingdom citizens. If our attitude determines our altitude then our attitude also determines our disposition and determination. All of the beatitudes refer to a spiritual condition, and the beatitude of mourning shows the necessity of us coming face to face with our sin.
We said last week that blessed is an inward contentedness unaffected by surrounding conditions where we’ll be approved by God and receive the applause of heaven. In particular, for those who mourn over their sinful condition and of the sinfulness of others, God promises to comfort them through forgiveness and His Spirit. Do you mourn over being poor in spirit? If you are truly poor in spirit you will mourn as you realize your own sins and the sins of others.
There are words in the N.T. for sorrow which reflect the commonness of mourning in a man’s life. In other words, grief is woven into the fabric of the human condition. Yet of the (9) words used, Jesus uses the strongest word in this text.
The word for mourn that Jesus used here represents the deepest, most heart-felt grief a man can experience. The word carries the idea of deep inner agony, expressed by outward weeping. It’s a word used for mourning for the dead and lamenting a loved one. You know how you feel when you lose a close loved-one to death. That is the feeling Jesus is talking about.
Jesus is telling His followers that we must mourn over the sinful human condition as we would for a death of a loved one. And when we do mourn over our sin and the sins of humanity, we will find comfort through His forgiveness. That’s a promise from God.
James 4: 8-10 – “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
This verse is a slap in the face to those who believe in prosperity gospel. God says true faith isn’t found in prosperity but in humility & brokenness. David expressed this in Ps. 51. “Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.3 For [b]I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You [c]are justified [d]when You speak And [e]blameless when You judge.”