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Summary: 4th sermon in an 8 part series on the Beatitudes. This series challenges us to "Shift" our thinking in what really brings true happiness. (*Refreshed in 8/08. PowerPoint and Video Clips available on request.)

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Shift Week 4

THE STARVING THAT SATISFIES

MATTHEW 5:6, John 6:35

INTRODUCTION: (:33 intro) {Play 45 seconds of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”}

Every time I hear that song by I think, “Wow, our music in the 60’s was so much deeper than the music today...” Okay, maybe not but I do believe that the reason that song was a hit was that the words expressed accurately the condition of our culture and is still relevant for our society today. Satisfaction seems to be so illusive for us. When I talk to people I hear it said in terms like: "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 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 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 the wrong places.

In this 4th beatitude, Jesus continues the progression that will build a happy heart. Remember, these are not just individual pithy proverbs. These "Be-happy attitudes," come in sequence and provide the keys to genuine joy. Once we have recognized our need, (poor in spirit) have repented of our sin, (mourn) and released our lives over to his control, (meek) we are then, and only then, ready to seek genuine and lasting satisfaction. The first three beatitudes taught us the need for depending completely on God, that we had to empty ourselves. Now, Jesus says, "Now that you’re empty, here’s the starving that satisfies; here’s how to be filled:" "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled or satisfied." Now, a correct and deep understanding of what Jesus’ is saying here is essential, so let’s dig in....

I. THE DEFINITION:

What exactly does Jesus mean when He says, "hunger and thirst?" You know, most American’s don’t know what it means to be really hungry. We think hunger is a "Big-Mac Attack," or thirsty is defined in what people will experience to do the “Dew.” But we don’t know what it means to be without food or drink for days on end, and to long for just the tiniest bit of nourishment. But that’s the kind of hunger & thirst that Jesus is referring to. The sentence structure here denotes an abnormal desire for food and drink. The words He uses are the strongest that can be employed to describe hunger and thirst. And you know what? When we are hungry and thirsty in the way Jesus describes, it changes our perspective.

One of the stories told about the sinking of the Titanic is about a wealthy woman who was about to get on a life boat and said, "Wait, I forgot something!" The mate told her she had 3 minutes. She ran back to her state room, past the money strewn about in the casino, past the antique glassware in the dining room, she reached over her diamonds and gold jewelry on her dresser and ran back to the life boat clutching four oranges that she had saved from lunch. That’s the kind of longing Jesus is talking about. The kind that changes our perspective and position. Our longing for righteousness is to be as a starving person desires food, and as someone perishing for drink. This is not a casual desire, or stomach "growlings" between meals, this hunger and thirst is the kind that comes from desperation.

And that "something" that we are to be desperate for, is righteousness. What exactly is Jesus talking about? What does he mean by “righteousness?” Well, the word Jesus uses here can have a couple of meanings, one I would think is a secondary definition and one a primary one but both have relevance.

The first definition for this word righteousness would mean right living or living rightly. In the Greek culture the word Jesus used here, described a man who constantly observed his duty to the gods and to men. It was a word of passion... passion to do the right thing no matter what. It describes someone who will take great risk, even do what some might think wrong or crazy in order to keep the wrong thing from happening.

{Video Clip: National Treasure - Start - Chp. 3 0:24:11 - End - Chp. 3 0:28:03 = 3:52}

Is stealing the right thing? No. But what if that was the only way, like in our clip, to keep something from being stolen by the wrong person for the wrong purpose? Is it stealing then or is it protecting? That’s the kind of passion Jesus is talking about here. In it’s simplest sense, righteousness is absolute obedience. We are to hunger and thirst for our lives to be in line with God’s design no matter what. James 4:17 tells us to know the right thing to do and not do it is just as wrong as doing the incorrect act. So, here righteousness means doing right living or doing the right thing.

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