Summary: To hunger and thirst for true righteousness.
Series: The Sermon on the Mount
Title: To Truly Hunger and Thirst
Text: Matthew 5:6
Welcome back to our series in the Sermon on the Mount. Let us begin this morning with the reading of our text and with prayer.
READ: Matthew 5:6
Last week, we began our message by discussing the value of “CONTEXT”.
If you remember, I made the point that context is the key to proper interpretation.
And within the Beatitudes there is a context which needs to be understood.
It would be easy to see the individual beatitudes as “Stand-Alone” statements.
In fact, that is the way most people view them.
They quote the Beatitudes individually to suit a particular occurrence.
But the reality is that they are not intended to stand alone.
Each one builds on the other to create a picture of the “BLESSED MAN”.
Illustration: “Dr. White and the Blessed Man” A few years ago, Dr. James White was in a debate on the subject of salvation with a Roman Catholic. In the lesson, Dr. White quoted Romans 4:8...
Romans 4:8 “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
A discussion ensued on the question, “Who is the blessed man?”
Who is the blessed man? - Well obviously in Paul’s view it is the man to whom the Lord will not count his sin.
But I want you to consider something.
When we ask the question, “Who is the blessed man?” we can also turn to the beatitudes.
You see, the beatitudes is NOT talking about many different types of people...
Its not that there will be SOME who are poor in spirit, and SOME who mourn, and SOME who are meek...
But the beatitudes have in view a BLESSED MAN who will encompass all of these attributes!
CONSIDER THE PROGRESSION:
The Poor in Spirit: This is the person who has recognized his spiritual destitution before God.
He recognizes his own spiritual poverty.
He believes the Word which tells him all his righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
This, in turn, leads to Mourning: A person who is then broken over his sin.
Only when a person realizes their spiritual destitution will they then see the real plight of their own condition.
And only then will they cry out in desperation.
This desperation then leads to Meekness: A true humility before God.
As we noted last week, the meek knows that he can do nothing under his own strength.
And this begins with salvation.
Salvation is not something we do for ourselves, or even that we aid God in accomplishing.
Salvation is 100% of God, and none of us.
And it takes a real meekness, a real humility, to recognize that.
So, as we have noted, there is a progression here...
There is not one “poor in spirit” man, and another “mourning” man, and yet another “meek” man.
No! There is only one man - the BLESSED MAN.
The man Paul says God will not count his sins against.
The man Jesus says is poor, mourning, and meek.
QUESTION: What then is the natural outgrowth of that spiritual humility?
ANSWER: A hunger and a thirst for righteousness.
This is where the fourth beatitude comes in.
A person has recognized their spiritual poverty, they have mourned their sin, and they are laid bare before God...
Now they HUNGER!
Now they THIRST!
For something which formerly they were absolutely devoid of: RIGHTEOUSNESS!
This morning I want to examine three things from this beatitude:
The Significance of Hunger and Thirst
The Type of Righteousness in View
The Meaning of Satisfied
The Significance of Hunger and Thirst
This is the first time in the beatitudes that Jesus has used two phrases to describe the character of the blessed.
So far, He has described them as “poor”, “mourning”, and “meek”
But these were all in their own individual beatitudes.
Here, in this one, He describes the person as BOTH hungering and thirsting.
So, what is the significance?
Jesus is here painting a picture which He wants to ensure his audience will understand.
Hunger and thirst are similar, but certainly they are different.
A person can live many days, even weeks, without food.
He may be hungry, and even famished, but he can live a while before succumbing to starvation.
But hydration is necessary, and dehydration can happen very quickly.
Within hours, in the right conditions, dehydration can set in.
And a person will not survive but a few days if he is without water to hydrate his body.
Jesus is using the realities of these two conditions, DEHYDRATION and STARVATION to picture the condition of the blessed man.
NOTE: Most of us would have trouble relating to this.
Illustration: “$.99 Cheeseburger” In our nation, we rarely see the type of hunger which Jesus is here describing.