Summary: Beatitudes 2-4
The Bible proclaims a value system that is contrary to that of the world. John Stott the late Pastor and commentator titled his book on the Sermon on the Mount “Christian Counter Culture.” It is an apt title. This is most evident in the introduction of the sermon called the Beatitudes. These are general guidelines that will be worked out further in the rest of the sermon.
These beatitudes are about far more than mere surface happiness. Blessedness has to do with our relationship with the Lord. We are blessed when God is pleased with us and grants us His favor.
These beatitudes are all related. They build on each other. The first four beatitudes show us how a person comes to the Lord. The last five beatitudes show us how that belief impacts the way we live. So, these are not isolated blessings. They are a package deal.
We have already looked at the first beatitude
3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
We learned that this is not about our financial status. It is about recognizing our spiritual state. The person who is blessed is the one who recognizes that they are spiritually lost. We might paraphrase and say, “Blessed are those who have come to recognize that they are a mess and need the Lord for these are the people who will experience the Kingdom of God.”
This morning we will build on this understanding of what is required to come to God. In order to understand the individual beatitudes you need to see the big picture.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
This beatitude which focuses on mourning has been a great comfort to many people in their time of loss. And certainly there is merit to that sense of being blessed in our time of loss.
In the book of Ecclesiastes we read these words,
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time. (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4)
Solomon observes that funerals are better places to spend our time than parties because at a funeral you face life squarely and address ultimate issues. This is a good thing.
It is also true that God is our comfort in the time of mourning. He draws us close in these times. However, this is not what Jesus is referring to here.
The mourning that is talked about her can also be called repentance. It builds on the first beatitude. We recognize that we are a mess and caught in sin and we so we mourn with the desire to be set free from our sinful addiction.
When we see our sinful state we mourn over the sin we commit. We hate what we do. We are like Paul who said “the good I want to do, I don’t do; the evil I don’t want to do, that is what I do. O wretched man that I am”. (Romans 7)
The person who is going to receive God’s blessing is the one who is truly sorry for their sin. It is a sorrow that desperately wants to change. It’s the difference between the person who says, “I’m sorry” and the person who works hard to make sure the offense never happens again. It would be the difference between the child who breaks your window and apologizes and the one who apologizes, takes the old window out, gets it replaced, puts it back in and then washes ALL your windows! That is repentance. That is the kind of mourning God honors.
We also mourn over our sinful nature. We mourn that our hearts are bent toward sin and rebellion. Even when we don’t act on it we sometimes have desires that we know are wicked and sinful. We reach a point when we hate what we see inside of us. We hate the fact that even our best acts are tainted with sinful motives (we want to be seen, we want to earn favor, we want to fulfill a requirement or expectation.) We almost never do things in order to honor the Lord.
We also mourn at the sin around us destroying people and the world in which we live. We see what is going on in the world and we mourn and pray over what we see. We see the horror of