Sermon On The Mount
“Blessed Are Those Who Mourn”
Have you noticed how our culture embraces entertainment and the pursuit of pleasure at any and all costs? Most of life today is spent avoiding sorrow and pain. Even when we get bad news, some people will say something funny to lighten the mood.
The mantra of our day is “Blessed are those who laugh their way through life.” Most people will do almost anything to stifle sadness or to stop a tear from falling.
But Solomon concluded,
“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” (Proverbs 14:13 NIV)
There’s a poem that speaks volumes to this reality.
“I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chatted all the way
But left me none the wiser for all she had to say
I walked a mile with Sorrow and not a word said she
But oh, the things I learned when sorrow walked with me.”
Jesus said it this way,
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV)
This statement is rather paradoxical when you think about it. Jesus is saying,
“Happy are those who are unhappy,” or
“There’s gladness in sadness.”
John Stott said,
“It is one thing to be spiritually poor and acknowledge it; it is another to grieve and mourn over it. Confession is one thing, contrition (or repentance) is another.”
As mush as the thought of being poor in spirit is diametrically opposed to the wisdom of our day, so is the thought that happiness could be connected to mourning. And that’s because the world tries to avoid mourning.
Everything the world offers is designed to promote happiness, yet, the Lord says blessed, that is, those who are privileged recipients of God’s divine favor, are those who mourn.
Now, of the different words translated “to mourn,” Jesus uses the strongest one. It means to grieve or wail. It’s a deep sorrow that causes the soul to ache and the heart to break.
There are many ways that such grief grips our souls.
1. Mourning the Losses
All of us have experienced the pain of loss.
• As we get older we experience the loss of our health and we worry about the future,
• We’ve experienced the loss of a relationship, like a divorce, and it’s eating our hearts out, or
• We’ve lost a loved one and we cried ourselves to sleep.
King David experienced such sorrow
“I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.” (Psalm 6:6 NLT)
Please know that such mourning is okay even Jesus cried. It says He wept at Lazarus’s tomb. Maybe you didn’t know but God cares so much for your sorrow that He collects your tears, Psalm 56:8.
Jesus cares for you and will comfort you in your time of mourning and grief. The reason is because He understands and knows what you’re going through. The writer of Hebrews tells us that He sympathizes with us because He went through the same things, Hebrews 4:15.
Further, the prophet Isaiah says that He was like us in that He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, Isaiah 53: 3-4.
So Jesus knows, cares and will comfort us in our time of mourning.
2. Mourning Our Sinfulness
The Apostle Paul knew such grief over his sinful condition.
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24 NLT)
Over 250 years ago, David Brainerd, a missionary to the American Indians wrote,
“In my morning devotions my soul was exceedingly melted, and I bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness.”
In the Apostle James’ letter he said,
“Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.” (James 4:9 NLT)
In Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, the youngest son felt sorrow over his failures and sin and where it had gotten him in life, and it says that he came to himself, that is, he repented and returned to his father, not as his son, but as a servant, showing true sorrow.
And so we need to mourn, mourn over our sinful condition and move to make it right with God our Father.
3. Mourning the Condition of Others
Not only are we to mourn our own losses and sinful condition, but we also need to mourn the state of humanity and our world, not to mention the state that the church is in. the Apostle Paul demonstrated this for us in what he said to the elders of Ephesus.
“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31 NKJV)
John Knox constantly carried the burden of the lost of Scotland. Night after night he prayed. When his wife pleaded with him to get some sleep, he said, “How can I sleep when my land is not saved.” And he prayed, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die.”
When two Salvation Army officers felt helpless in that nothing was working to reach and save the poor, William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, gave them this advice, “Try tears.” When they did a mini revival broke out.
It’s time we wake up and try tears and weep over the condition of this world, and when we do, we’ll be the privileged recipients of God’s divine favor, that is, we’ll be blessed.
What I’ve found interesting is that the Bible never tries to explain suffering, only that it’s a part of living life in the sin-filled world. But what it does teach us is how to handle suffering.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
He begins by saying that we will experience suffering as a part of life, but then he comforts us saying that in Him we can have peace because He overcame this present world, and the curse of sin and death that comes with it.
Jesus says that mourning and grief are the realities of life, but also there’s a blessing that is attached to them, and that is His comfort.
How Can We Experience His Comfort?
1. Realize God’s With Us
Seven times the Bible says that God will never leave or forsake us. That’s one for every day of the week. But when we’re hurting we tend to forget this thinking God is distant from our suffering, therefore He doesn’t care. But God cares and is there.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT)
And so in our pain there are three things we need to remember
A. God’s Aware
God is aware of exactly what we’re going through. Job who was well acquainted with suffering and grief said,
“You keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet.” (Job 13:27 NIV)
God is watching over us. Nothing escapes His eye. Every tear we shed, and every hair on our head He’s bottled and numbered. God knows what you’re going through.
B. God Cares
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7 NIV)
We have a heavenly Father who cares. Our pain matters to God and so we can talk with Him about out hurts and sorrows.
C. God Helps
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)
God offers us His help because He is aware and cares about our hurts and sorrows.
The Old English word for “comfort” means “with strength.” When we mourn, God wants to strengthen us. God gives us the strength to face these times of grieving and mourning.
While some grow in their sufferings, the unfortunate reality is that there are many who get stuck in it. This is where the next aspect of how we experience God’s comfort
2. Release the Hurt
We need to let the hurt go, but for most of us that’s a lot easier said than done. How can we release the hurt? It’s by focusing on what’s left instead of what’s lost. Isaiah said,
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.” (Isaiah 43:18 NKJV)
God says it’s okay to let go of your past. And that’s because He’s with us, and the only way the past can hurt us is if we let it.
There are several things we can do with our past
A. Repress It
We can push the hurt down and swallow it, but we do so at the sake of our health.
B. Rehearse It
This is when we go over time and again, where it begins to consume our thoughts. But the Lord says to take all our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5.
C. Resent It
When someone hurts us we fantasize on how we can hurt them back. But we mustn’t, because resentment only hurts us, not the person we’re resenting. Resentment eats us alive.
D. Release It
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 NIV)
Give it to God and leave it with Him, He’s a whole lot better at handling the wrongs than we are. What we also must remember is that Jesus died for those who hurt us and did wrong by us as well as for us, so we must trust God in these matters.
One last thought, our healing will never come at the expense of someone else’s pain.
And the final way we receive God’s comfort is…
3. Rely on God’s Resources
It’s amazing at what people do to get a little comfort from the stress and hurts of life. They take pills, get drunk, try affairs, escape into entertainment and various forms of recreation.
But the Apostle Paul says,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 NKJV)
God is the God of all comfort and comforts us in various ways
A. God’s Word
“Your Word has been my comfort.” (Psalm 119:52 LB)
There’s a whole lot of hurt that comes with life, and to receive Gods’ comfort during these times we need to daily be in God’s word, the Bible, to receive it.
B. God’s People
We need each other. We’re not made to go it alone. That’s why God gives to us our church family. After telling us that God is the God of all comfort and wants to comfort us, the Apostle Paul goes on to say,
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)
God comforts us and brings us through our hurts so we can so the same for others.
C. The Holy Spirit
God comforts us through the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. When Jesus was about ready to depart He said He would send another comforter like Himself.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7 NKJV)
Knowing this brings a lot of comfort and joy. Phillips in His translation of Romans 15:13 said,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy … that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your life and outlook may be radiant with hope.”
That’s what we need, a radiant hope in a world that makes life seem hopeless, and this is what the Holy Spirit provides.
As believers in Jesus Christ we no longer have to grieve and sorrow as those who have no hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, and that we can be like Abraham who beyond all hope in hope believe, Romans 4:18.
And so Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV)