Summary: Sermon on the Mount #3
As much as the thought of being "poor in spirit" is diametrically opposed to the conventional wisdom of today’s culture, so is the thought that happiness could, in any way, be connected with mourning. If there is one thing that the world tries to avoid it is mourning. Everything that the world has to offer is designed to promote "happiness." Yet the Lord said that true happiness can only come through mourning. What did He mean?
I. MOURNING EXPLAINED
People mourn in various ways. The Bible speaks of at least three types of mourning.
A. Sinful Mourning
1. As the term would suggest, sinful mourning is that which results from sin.
2. Genesis 4:13-14 - As the result of murdering his brother, Cain was banished from the garden. His mournful response was "My punishment is greater than I can bear."
3. 2 Samuel 13:2 - Amnon was so consumed by unfulfilled, incestuous lust towards his sister Tamar, that he mourned to the point of becoming sick.
4. 1 Kings 21:4 - Naboth had a vineyard that Ahab wanted. Naboth refused to give the vineyard to Ahab, therefore Ahab went home, laid down on his bed, turned his face to the wall, and refused to eat. Ahab’s mourning was the result of covetousness.
5. Matthew 27:3-5 - Judas’ mourning over his sin was so severe that it led to suicide.
B. Natural Mourning
1. Just as being "poor in spirit" has nothing to do with financial destitution or material poverty, mourning, as spoken of by the Lord in this sermon, has nothing to do with the sorrow or sadness that we experience naturally through the loss of a loved one or some other tragedy that may occur.
2. It is quite natural to mourn over events that bring us sorrow. And while the Lord’s comfort does extend to these situations (John 16:20-22; 1 Corinthians 1:3-4), there is a more specific application of this verse that needs to be made.
C. Scriptural Mourning
In our last lesson we discovered that the first step in being saved is acknowledging that we are totally poverty stricken spiritually, and that outside of Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, we have no hope of eternal life.
This second beatitude now turns our attention to the result of seeing our own insufficiency and sinfulness, which is a deep and profound mourning as our hearts are broken before God. This Scriptural mourning is that mourning that was expressed by Isaiah as He was exposed to the holiness and purity of God which lead him to cry out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5)
There are three aspects of Scriptural mourning as referred to by our Lord in this verse.
1. Initial Mourning
b. Initial mourning refers to that "godly sorrow" that always precedes genuine conversion.
c. This initial mourning is a "godly sorrow" over our rebellion against God and hostility towards His will. It stems from the realization that it was MY sin and YOUR sin which nailed Jesus to the cross.
d. It was "godly sorrow" for sin that led the publican to "smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). It was "godly sorrow" for sin that led the three thousand in Acts 2 to cry out to the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" after they heard the preaching of Peter (Acts 2:37).
2. Continual Mourning
a. Scriptural mourning is by no means confined to that initial experience that leads us to repent of our sins and be saved. The word "mourn" is in the present and continuous sense in the Greek. It is something that persists even after the initial salvation experience.
b. Just as we took our sin seriously before we were saved, by the same token we must also take our sin seriously after we are saved. Sin is grievous to God whether it be before or after salvation. It is sin that breaks our fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and causes God to withhold good things from us (Jeremiah 5:25).
c. The truth of the matter is, the closer we get to God, the more mournful we become over our sin, knowing that it dishonors Him. Consider Psalm 51:3-4.
e. Much of the problem in today’s society, particularly among those who profess to be followers of Christ, is the absence of seriousness when it comes to sin. But although we may not take sin seriously, God does! As a matter of fact, God takes sin so seriously that He sent His only begotten Son to die an agonizing death on Calvary to pay the price for it. When they drove the nails through the hands and feet of Jesus, it was no laughing matter with God. While the crowd that had gathered at the cross stood there mocking and ridiculing Jesus, God wasn’t laughing. As Jesus hung on the cross hour after hour, His life slowly ebbing away, His own Father had to turn His back upon Him as He took upon Himself the sin of the world. That’s how serious God takes sin!