Summary: Only those who mourn over their sinfulness are truly happy.
HAPPY ARE THOSE THAT ARE SAD!
Scripture reading: Matt. 4:23 - 5:16.
Text: Matt. 5:4.
I propose to:
I. Examine the setting of this verse: in a general way as part of the Sermon on the Mount, and more specifically as one of the Beatitudes.
II. Prove that this mourning is of a specific kind, i.e. "godly sorrow."
Then my two main points will be:
I. The true Christian is characterised by godly sorrow
II. True joy can only come as an accompaniment to godly sorrow.
1. Make a few remarks about the sermon generally.
a. The longest recorded continuous discourse of our Lord.
The greatest single sermon of all time.
b. Remember Who is speaking--the Lord of Glory, the King of kings; the Eternal Word of God, the only begotten of the Father, the one who spake like no other man ever spake. "Thou hast the words of eternal life."
c. This sermon emphasises the inwardness and spirituality of the law, which had degenerated into mere outward observances. "The law is spiritual" Rom. 7:14.
Hatred = murder
Lust = adultery
Sin is a state of heart before it is an action. You can sin without lifting a finger.
2. Make a few remarks about the Beatitudes to give the context.
a. They are CHARACTERISTICS of true Christians.
Poor in spirit; mourning; meekness (power under control); hunger after righteousness; merciful; purity of heart (intention--do all to the glory of God); peacemakers.
Every true Christian is characterised by these things. He does not exhibit ALL of these ALL of the time, but they are found in the summing up of his character.
Do we have these characteristics?
b. There are seven of them--the perfect number! (Persecution, the eighth, is a RESULT, not a characteristic.)
c. Again, emphasis is on their INWARD nature.
d. They are progressive. No time to develop this, but check it out at home.
Jesus did not put these things together haphazardly.
3. This teaching is totally revolutionary--totally opposite to the mentality of the generality of mankind.
Blessed are the poor, the mourners, the meek, the hungry. The world says "Blessed are the rich, the jolly, the self-confident, the self-assertive, the self-satisfied."
"Have a good self-image."
"Believe in yourself."
"Put yourself forward."
"Survival of the fittest."
The world admires and is envious of a self-made man.
Christ pronounces His blessing on the opposite attitude--recognition of our poverty, our lack of righteousness, our sinfulness before God, etc.
His blessings are for those who know themselves to be weak, helpless beggars; those who know themselves to be at the bottom of the pile.
This verse is not just revolutionary but a complete PARADOX.
"Blessed are they that mourn."
"Happy are they that are sad."
II. PROVE THAT THIS IS GODLY SORROW.
Everything I say from hereon depends on this.
1. Because of the immediate context--"Blessed are the poor in spirit."
Spiritual poverty, beggars in spirit.
(Do you resent being called a spiritual beggar?)
This is a WORK OF THE SPIRIT.
There is logical order (spiritual order) here.
Those who see their poverty of spirit necessarily mourn over it.
2. Because no other sorrow brings blessedness.
There are three types of sorrow:
(a) Natural sorrow--the death of a loved one or friend, partings, disappointments. This has the sting of death, no amelioration, no blessedness, no joy.
(b) Worldly sorrow; regret over some wrong action or choice, but not toward God--e.g. Esau or Judas. We sorrow over sin or wrong, but NOT because it is an offense to God. This kind of sorrow brings death.
(c) Godly sorrow--for sin because it has offended God and slighted His holiness. "Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice." Only God’s breakings bring rejoicing--no other.
Only Godly sorrow brings blessing, life, and, joy.
More proof could perhaps be deduced; this will do for us.
Now my two main points:
I. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN IS CHARACTERISED BY GODLY SORROW
Remember, all these beatitudes are characteristics of Christians.
Jesus has announced the Kingdom. He is now describing the subjects.
Look first of all at v.3 "poor in spirit."
No one is a Christian who is not poor in spirit.
You cannot get into the Kingdom except through absolute & abject poverty.
"Nothing in my hand I bring."
No righteousness, no merit, "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing."
If you are not poor in spirit you are not a Christian!
It is simply impossible.
You cannot drive from Scotland to Wales without going through England; so you cannot become a Christian without poverty of spirit.
"Woe is me, for I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips."
These two verses go together, one follows the other in spiritual sequence.
Now look at v4.
Blessed are they that mourn