Summary: First sermon in "The Blessing Paradox" series, Preached June 30, 2013 at Resurrection Bible Church
I often hear from people "I just want to be happy" or "whatever makes you happy!" Yet, we should look at what people are looking to make themselves happy. Some folks find happiness in material things--stuff. If I can just by that new car, that new house, a state-of-the art computer, the best clothing and so on.
Some folks are looking for happiness in another person. If only I could just find that perfect man, the young girl says; if only I could find that special woman, the young man says; if only my spouse would be the man or woman that they really should be then life would be complete.
Some people are looking for happiness in their jobs. The jump from job to job, city to city or state to state looking for the perfect job with the only constant in their life is that change itself.
Some folks are looking for happiness in money. If I could make more money, I could have the nicer car, the perfect home, move to the perfect place, attract the perfect spouse, and my job would be happy, happy, happy.
However, each one of the above are huge fake outs. If you seek happiness in stuff, you will never ever get the best of all things. If you seek to fulfill your life in a person thinking that all will be perfect, you are sadly mistaken; relationships, even the best ones, have their ups and downs, their good times and bad. If you think you will ever find the perfect job, you lose sight of the fact that you will be dealing with imperfect people and they will at times spoil your day. Lastly, money isn't the answer because the more you have the more you want.
However, the real answer--taught by Jesus Himself in part of the greatest sermon of all time--is looked on by most unsaved as the downright craziest of all notions at casual reading: You will be happy if you are poor, if you weep, if you are a 98 pound weakling, if you give mercy , if you butt in and help make peace between two people, if you are beaten up or killed for what you believe. Why, that is ludicrous! That is stupid! That is messed up! However, we will learn this week that the above scripture is not what it seems.--JH
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:1-2
Before You Can Be A Happy Man...
Jesus was known for His compassion. While many of the religions of the world are waiting for their "god figure" to lower the boom on them for even the smallest infraction, Jesus sought out the lost. It did not matter if they were rich or poor, famous or insignificant by the terms of society, handsome or homely, healthy or sick, small or great. What did matter, and Jesus points this out, is how a person must come to Him in faith.
Jesus saw these multitudes set before Him (all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them [Matt 4:24b, NKJV]) and was filled with compassion for them. It was not just the healings of a physical nature, Jesus wanted to show them just what it was that they needed. A final solution, a permanent fix, an end-all-be-all path to ultimate happiness, contentment and comfort.
Jesus went up the mountain (actually a "mount" or a hill), and the crowd around Him followed. Then, in the manner of the Jewish rabbi of that day, He sat and began to teach. Sitting and teaching was considered formal teaching not just an informal opinion as one would receive while walking or standing. It would be like being seated as the chairman of the board of a corporation in a sense. In short, Jesus taught with authority, not quoting any great, well known Pharisee or Saducee.
The first paradoxical teaching is "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.". How can one be blessed and be poor? It's important to note that we must look especially upon the Greek terms in the Beatitudes, especially in the first eight, the "blessed are" passages. The term blessed means "happy, fortunate, blissful" but carries a deeper meaning. John MacArthur, expounding upon this word in its context in the Beatitudes states : "Because blessedness is fundamentally an element of the character of God, when men partake of His nature through Jesus Christ they partake of His blessedness. So it becomes clear at the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus is speaking of a reality that is only for believers. Others can see the kingdom standards and get a glimpse of kingdom blessings, but only those who belong to the kingdom have the promise of personally receiving and experiencing the blessings. To be blessed is not a superficial feeling of well-being based on circumstance, but a deep supernatural experience of contentedness based on the fact that one's life is right with God. Blessedness is based on objective reality, realized in the miracle of transformation to a new and divine nature." Right from the start, we must understand that REAL blessing--happiness, fortunality and blissfulness--are only found in being right with Jesus.