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Summary: As Christians, we should grieve those things in our lives that fall outside the will of God.

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Living the Blessed Life: Mourner’s Bench

-By Reverend A. LaMar Torrence

Text: Matthew 5:4

I. Introduction

A. Review: The kingdom of heaven is within us; we have the potential to experience the promises of heaven in our daily lives. Luke 17:20-21

B. Being blessed is not exclusive to having good fortune.

C. God is more concern with our character than he is with our temporary conditions. Our character is being prepared for eternity.

1. The kingdom requires impoverished spirits.

a) Exclusive of pride

b) Absolute dependency upon God

II. Becoming mourners…“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” –Matthew 5:4

A. This is literally translated, as “Happy are the unhappy”. As Christians we are living a daily paradox. We have joy; yet, we are supposed to be displeased.

1. What makes us unhappy?

a. We are to be mournful or unhappy with our personal sinful lives.

a. We tend to mourn our physical surroundings. We cry about what we do not have, things we cannot do; places we cannot go. We cry about the wrong things.

b. We should have a heart of repentance over our spiritual state. Over the fact we are ‘poor in spirit.”

Ø Psalm 51:1-7 David expresses a state of mournfulness over his life when he states… Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desires truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Ø Martin Luther was mournful over his human condition.

Ø Historically some churches were extremely concerned that when people came forth to give their lives to Christ. They wanted to see an act of public repentance-public confession. This is where we get the term the “mourner’s bench”. Some churches used to have what they called a "mourners’ bench," but it wasn’t the pew reserved for the family at the funeral. It was the part of the church set aside for those in the congregation who were in the process of waking up spiritually, as it were, and realizing, perhaps for the first time, how small and weak and fallible and stubborn and angry and frightened they were, how ungodlike, how mortal, how infinitely capable of wasting time and kidding themselves and others. In other words, those who might be most open to a change of heart and a new direction in their lives.

a. Be mournful over the inconsistencies in our lives. Be uncomfortable because you are not all that you should be. Your addictions; your hang-ups; your attitudes; your anger should all cause you grief

b. We not only are mournful of our personal state but the world. We should have weeping hearts for those who do not know Christ.

a. Isaiah 53:1 tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows. His spirit was torn and unsettled with the unruly behavior of people. And he wept for those around him. When he arrived at Jerusalem and the disciples were telling him-Rabbi, see how beautiful the city is- Jesus wept for he saw the sins of the people.

b. If you begin to mourn, you become more likely to reach out instead of building walls around yourself, you become more receptive to seeing things with new eyes. This is a good thing. Not safe, but good.

c. Ezekial 9:4 –Ezekiel is told to mark those who see the abominations from those who are blind to them. Many of us have become blind to the darkness in our lives. We have become comfortable with things and people not changing.

d. It should grieve us and, disturb us that things are not the way they should be. We should be grieved that we have family members not saved or active in God’s church. It should grieve us that as wives or husbands we come to church without our spouse-even if your spouse is worshipping at another church. We should be grieved that our community-the houses and homes around our church-do not attend this local church. We should be grieve that our Sunday attendance is below standard. We should be grieved that we have to literally beg for finances. We should be grieved that as a church with 60%-70% of its membership below that age of 18- we do not have a youth programs and ministries in place.

e. Real mourners are not just those who weep about the sins of the world but they express a deep concern to the point of action. It’s not enough to whine about the conditions of the community and world we must be moved to the point of action. When we are mournful we will not be comfortable or comforted until things are the way they should be.

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