Summary: An explanation of Matthew 5:6 how we can rightly hunger and thirst for righteousness instead of what we naturally hunger and thirst for.
Hungry and Thirsty For What?
Sunday October 23, 2016
Today we continue in the series the Upside Down Kingdom with a focus on The Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. As we begin I thought I would start with a short quiz to see how much you may remember of the beatitudes we have covered so far. So here are a series of short questions. Don’t shout out the answer yet. Just consider the options as I read them.
How many beatitudes are there?
There are 8 beatitudes!
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
1. for theirs is eternal life
2. for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
3. for they will be given riches
4. for they will be showered with money
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
1. for they have lost someone
2. for they will be comforted
3. for they will get better
4. for they will continue to mourn
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
1. for they will be given much
2. for they will be made bold
3. for they will be weak
4. for they will inherit the earth
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
And now the focus of today’s sermon.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
1. for they will be emptied
2. for they will be filled
3. for they will be right
4. for they will find it
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
As we continue I want to give credit to Pastor Timothy Smith and other pastors for the valuable contribution they made to the development of this sermon.
Now moving on, how many of you have heard the song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. For those of you who haven’t heard it before, the words are simple – I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction, ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
Whenever I hear that song I am reminded that the reason that song was a hit, was that the words expressed accurately the condition of our culture and it is still relevant for our society today. Satisfaction seems to be so elusive for so many of us.
I hear it said like this: "My life seems so empty." "I’ve got so much and yet something seems to be missing." "I’m bored with living." "Is this all there is?"
Mother Theresa once said, "People in India are physically hungry. People in America are spiritually hungry. That makes people in India better off, because American’s (and I would add Canadians too) don’t realize why they are starving."
And there continues to be this gnawing inside for contentment, for a filling that really satisfies. So many people, including many of those who claim to be Christians, still echo Mick Jagger’s words. "I can’t get no satisfaction."
Why? Well, God says the reason we suffer from dissatisfaction in life is because we are looking for it in all the wrong places, just like one of Hollywood’s many rich, famous, and beautiful people, who said, “I obtained everything I wanted: wealth, fame, accomplishment in my career. I had beautiful children, a lifestyle that seemed terrific, yet I was totally miserably unhappy. I found it frightening that one could acquire all these things and still be so miserable.”
This person got what she hungered and thirsted for but was not blessed or satisfied. We too are tempted just like everyone else to think that our happiness is found in the stuff of life.
And so in this fourth beatitude, Jesus continues the progression that will build a blessed life. These are not just individual pithy proverbs. These "Be- attitudes," come in sequence and provide the keys to genuine joy.
Once we have recognized our need, (poor in spirit) have acknowledged and turned from our sin (that is to mourn), and released our lives over to God’s control, (that is to be meek), we are then, and only then, ready to seek genuine and lasting satisfaction.
The first three beatitudes taught us our need for depending completely on God; that we had to empty ourselves. Then Jesus says, Now that you’re empty, here’s how the starving can be satisfied; here’s how to be filled. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled (or satisfied)." And so an understanding of what Jesus’ is saying here is essential.
To begin with we need to understand that Jesus was talking to people who understood what it meant to be hungry or thirsty. The word he uses for hunger means to ardently crave food. It’s the same with thirst. He uses a strong word to describe thirsting which means to painfully feel the need for water.