Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Well everybody, I invite you to take your Bibles to Matthew chapter five, going to be looking at Matthew chapter five, verse six this morning as we continue this series.
, on the sermon on the Mount, the upside down life. And here’s what we read as we read these verses together. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain side and when he sat down, his disciples came to him and 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. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. Let’s pray, Lord, we gathered today in this beautiful sunny Sunday morning, Lord, we’ve already been reminded as we ride over to this place, nice or at our homes this morning watching online and that, um, this is the day the Lord has made your Mark.
Susan knew every morning. Your faithfulness is great. We see it revealed even in beauty around us. Lord as we look to you now, as we seek to, um, interact with scripture, we pray that we would be taught. Um, God, I love this passage. It’s ministered to my own soul. I pray that that would be true of all of us that are listening this morning in Jesus name.
Amen. Marin and I recently were away for our anniversary. We were, uh, out of state downstate, uh, down South. And while we were there one day I wore my, my Jersey, which has on it, a logo for the Philadelphia Eagles, uh, like the Jersey and I was walking around town and I found out I had a lot of friends there that I didn’t know I had as friends.
And I remember I was getting off a bus. We had taken a shuttle and I was getting off the bus.
there was a guy getting on. He, so my Jersey immediately connects with me. Uh, I was walking, we were sitting at a table. There were a couple of girls that were crossing the street, and one of them happened to glance back. They saw me. And they broke out into, uh, the Eagles fight song, fly Eagles, fly.
It was so much fun. Um, and there were like five or six people. And I didn’t wear my shirt in order to find my friends. The first time, the second time I actually wore it, just like, like a badge I would wear around town, seeing who my people were that were there and the logo, uh, enabled me to have a connection that identified me to my new friends in that part of the country.
My question this morning is what is the logo of the members of Jesus’ kingdom. Now in a broad sense, all of these beatitudes would be that logo. These are the things that Jesus says are the qualities that. Mark and identify those that are a part of his kingdom, but this particular beatitude blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
I think more than any other identifies us as individuals that are a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Monica, just to review, when we’re talking about the sermon on the Mount, we’re talking about this passage, which has been identified throughout church history as the most, uh, clear presentation of what Jesus’ kingdom is all about.
It has taken the title actually was a Gustin in the fourth century. That first called it the sermon on the Mount and most speakers. Now, most of the logins throughout history often refer to it as just the sermon, uh, in the earliest days, following the new Testament. Somewhere between 60 and 90 a D there was a thing called the that came out and the deadlock K act actually is a, uh, uh, it, the subtitle of it is, is the teaching dedicate means, uh, of the 12, the teaching of the 12 apostles.
And basically it was taking the, the, it was the training manual for the early church outside of the scriptures. At that point, a lot of the scriptures actually, hadn’t been all put together. So they took what they had learned and they put these principles. And interestingly, the statement that is made. In the beginning of the did our case says this, there are two ways, one of life and one of death.
And there is a big difference between the two. That’s almost a direct statement from Matthew seven, where it talks about there are two trees, um, one bringing forth fruit unto eternal life. Uh, there is, it talks about two Gates. It talks about two ways or paths. And the dinner actually was a commentary on the sermon on the Mount.
This was the teaching, uh, focus of the early church, understanding what Jesus said in the sermon here in Matthew, chapter five through seven. We’ve been looking at the first few verses of Matthew five through seven, the upside down life, life. That sorta turns, uh, our understanding of life on its head. And the be attitudes are the values of that kingdom.
The values of the citizens of the kingdom. They are individuals who are poor in spirit. They have learned their own deficiency. Uh, they are well, those who mourn, they have experienced loss and suffering. Ben talked about that, that this is, this is not just mourning over death of an individual, though. It certainly can involve that it’s any dream.
It’s, it’s any hope. It’s a sense of loss since, and God uses that sense of loss so much in our own spiritual journeys, they let go of their aggression and anger. We talked about that last time, uh, they’re individuals that are meek and today. They long for righteousness above everything else, be attitude for what they long for, I think is the identifying Mark.
It’s the logo of, of members of Jesus’ kingdom. Um, and the first thing we find is we look at this passage is that they long, for one thing, this longing actually defines their lives. He says they hunger and thirst for righteousness. It’s an interesting turn of phrase because the two qualities in our lives, the two need in our lives, the two deficiency in our lives, without which we cannot survive is thirst and hunger.
From the beginning of our life, to the end of our life, we cannot live without water and we cannot live without food. And Jesus says. You can’t live without this. If you are truly a member of my kingdom, this is the consuming driving passion. This is the essential reality of the life of those that are members of my kingdom.
And there is one thing identified here. He doesn’t say the hunger and thirst for this and this and this and this. He says, there’s one thing they hunger for. There is one essential thing. There’s a book that I’ve read that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s called essentialism by Mark McKinnon. And the book is, uh, a focus on.
Leadership and principles. And, but he makes this statement in it. The word priority came into the English language. In the 14 hundreds, it was singular. It meant the very first or priority thing or prior thing, it stayed singular for the next 500 years. Only in the 19 hundreds, did we pluralize determined, start talking about priorities.
Somehow we would now be able to have multiple first things. Greg McKeon argues, there needs to be one priority, one driving passion, one, longing above everything else. Now this is vitally important because we are faced with a multitude of choices every day, right? There are constant choices and these choices.
Are probably more prominent to us in our era of history than anyone else has ever faced. Peter Drucker, who was actually the father of the, the modern, uh, management leadership development program. He actually was the first chair of the first program at a university in America. That was actually training people in principles of management.
I was a new enterprise in, in, in, in training people and education. And as he was talking about this, this sense of choices that people have, here’s what he said. He said in a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it’s likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce.
It is an unprecedented change in the human condition for the first time, literally substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people. Have choices for the first time they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it. Now talk to any life coach, and they will tell you the Greg McCann and Peter Drucker are really onto something.
You have a multitude of choices, and some of those choices have come just by living in the era. When we live of an, of an industrialized age, in a time of a fluence and a time of, of unprecedented health. But there are so many choices that it’s hard to manage your life, but what they are both emphasizing.
And certainly this is the thrust of McCain’s book essentialism, is that in order to really manage your life. You must have one overarching passion. There is something that directs your life. And so the question is, what is your passion? What is your objective in life? Jesus speaks to that objective here in be attitude for, as he talks about the one ultimate reality, one of the ultimate priority.
Now I want to play this out for, I I’d say, well, I maybe, maybe it’s somebody pretend you are with a life coach or a pastor or, or a, um, a therapist or someone is coming along and they ask you the question. What is it that drives you, that centers you, that causes you to wake up with a sense of excitement and expectation?
What are you hungry for thirsting for craving in your life? Ultimately. And you might respond well, I, I need some more specificity. I mean, what area of my life? I mean, I mean, I’ve, I’ve got things I could answer for my career of there. Things I could answer for my marriage. I’ve got things I could answer for my, for my family.
I’ve got things I could answer, even for my own lifestyle, that, that I’ve got certain priorities and concerns and, and objectives and goals that I want to be warm winter. It may be getting more specific than just saying what’s my, what’s my passion, but your ultimate longing needs to be big enough for all of those areas or you might respond well.
Uh, but, but I need some more specifics in terms of what stage of life, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m a middle schooler. So when you ask what’s my passion while, you know yeah. I think my passion is going to probably different as a middle schooler than when I’m older, man, it seems like that’s going to happen anyway.
Or maybe I’m a college student and you know, I’ve got certain, certain, this is where I’m headed or, or I’m just, I just got married and we’re just starting our family or, or my kids or, or older. Now we’re looking to launch them or now I’m even starting to think towards retirement. And you know, in this stage of life, you know, I’ve got different objectives and, or I’m in retirement and I’m asking the question, what’s next?
I mean can on you. And he asked me what my passion and what’s driving me. Is it, isn’t it dependent on the stage of life? No, no. It’s not to be a follower of Jesus says that there is a passion that goes through all the stages of our life that goes through all the, the areas of our, of our life. All those areas.
We might have individual objectives for fall under this overriding. And what is this overriding thing? Well, Jesus says it this way. My people hunger and thirst for righteousness. Now, if you’re honest, probably like most of the people watching online and most of the people in this room, you asked this, you’re, you’re having this reaction, hunger and thirst for righteousness.
What the heck does that mean? Well, that’s what I want to talk about, because this is really important because this is what he says. We hunger for. We are, are parched for. That this is what is the foundation of our lives. If we are members of Jesus’ question, and if we don’t get this question answered, right?
All your goals, objectives, action plans is going to be skewered as a person who wants to live as a follower of Jesus. So I want to tell you what it means in a few, in, in the next few moments, but first I want to mention one other thing about this longing, this longing results in pursuing it, not a passive longing.
It’s a longing that manifest itself in pursuit. You’ll notice here in this same passage of the sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter six 30 to three 33, Jesus says this, but seek first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And all these other things will be added to you as well to seek means to pursue.
And the pursuit follows the longing that the assumption is that those who long for it, hunger and thirst for it are also actively engaged. So let’s see what this one thing we are to desire. And the one thing that they are long for too, we are too long for his righteousness now quickly. There are three primary, uh, perspectives unrighteousness because all of the, that could be used too, because all of them are used in the new Testament.
The first of those is what is known as imputed righteousness. This is one option of what this is referring to when it says we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we hung for hunger, for the righteousness of Christ that has been offered to us simply what that means. I’ve talked about this many times, the imputed righteousness of Christ means that we who don’t have our own inherent righteousness.
We are unrighteous. We, we are not accepted on the basis of our role behavior and, and getting it right. Jesus did it for us. Jesus not only died the death. We should have died and taking the penalty for our sin. Jesus lived the life that we should have lived. And so our guilt, our unrighteousness is laid on Christ imputed to him.
If you will. And his righteous standing is acceptance with God. The father is laid on us. It’s an unbelievably grace filled transaction and imputed righteousness is that I stand accepted in Jesus, in the righteousness that he lived all. That’s true, but I don’t think that’s what being talked about here.
Matthew chapter six, as a matter of fact, the whole gospel of Matthew talks about righteousness a lot. That is not the righteousness that he’s focusing on. There’s a second form of righteousness. That’s used the new Testament that could be used here. And that is the one that is called societal righteousness, that there is a long for others to be treated fairly and justly to be looking out for others, not overlooking the poor, the disenfranchised, the forgotten that’s a possible rendering here, but that does not seem to be even in the sermon on the Mount, the primary focus of this term righteousness, the primary focus is this thing that we would call personal practical righteousness.
Certainly option two includes that, but personal righteousness is identified as the thing that we S we hunger and thirst for as members of Jesus’ kingdom. If we are to free followers of Christ, which is what our goal is. We who are called into his kingdom are then to model our lives and to reflect his priorities.
We would have the same craving that Jesus had. We would have the same thirsting that Jesus had. So what did Jesus say? He craved? What did he hunger for? Well, he tells us in John chapter four in verse 34, this statement is made my food. Jesus said is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work to hunger and thirst for righteousness doing what’s right, is basically to want the, all of God to be accomplished in my life, to accomplish his calling for my life.
We want to glorify God. We want to please God, we want our whole lives to be spent doing the will of gods. Everything else falls under that overriding one single priority of life. It rules your job. It rules your family. It rules your marriage. It rules your retirement. It rules your schools. It rules your major in college.
It tells you it directs you who to marry, who to date, where they work, where you live. It is the hunger to live righteously and involves a couple of things. First of all, and involves externally living in Matthew chapter six, the very next chapter here is still part of the sermon. Jesus says this beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.
There’s a practice of righteousness. We live righteously. We, we externally do that and there it’s talking particularly about caring of other people. But he says, this practice of righteousness is one in which we show kindness and generosity and care for others is a beautiful example of this in, in Matthew chapter one, with Joseph who the betroth husband of Mary.
And it says in that passage, that, and, and Joseph has just found out that Mary’s pregnant, they’re betrothed to be married, which meant they are in a state of, of legal commitment to each other. It was way more than engagement. It was binding unless one of them proved during these months before they came together, physically that they had been unfaithful to the other.
And Mary had just apparently proven to be so because she’s pregnant and Joseph is now left with this, this heartbreaking scenario where the woman, he loves. Has now proven herself faults. The angel has not come to him at this point and told him don’t sweat it. You know, you can take her. This is what the Holy spirit all see knows this, his wife is pregnant.
She’s just told him. And here’s what he responds in Matthew chapter one verse 19, and her husband, Joseph being a righteous man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. The first thing we find in him is that he is acting as a righteous man, but in his righteousness, he also shows mercy.
He will. He had every right. Actually it would have been totally just for him to put Mary aside and to then clear his own name. People. Aren’t going to know why they’ve divorced people. Aren’t gonna know a separate, well, it was the former divorce. Aren’t going to know what’s going on. But Joseph says, I’m going to do this as quietly, as, as carefully as I can.
For the sake of Mary, I was in a conversation with someone recently and they made a statement that I’ve thought about a lot and I really embrace it. And he said, I believe it is Christian for anyone power to always seek, to show mercy, to go beyond justice. But when you can not to deny justice, but to go beyond justice, to, to act mercifully when you have power, whether that is a parent, whether that is a pastor, whether that is a civil leader, whether that is anyone and administrator at work, a boss that we are always called in our team to not just act just, but also to extend, seek to show mercy as well.
Joseph did that. It was the kind of righteousness he showed. It was a justice that also included mercy. In this case toward his be throne spouse. It’s an external expression, but it is also something internally driven. Matthew chapter five, just a few verses later in chapter 20, it says this about righteousness for, I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now, what does he mean by this? Because these guys were their righteousness, their external righteousness was, was astonishing. They fasted two days a week. They, they never missed a church service. They were always there. They, they quoted the Bible all the time. They knew lots of scripture. I mean, they had all come in and are you supposed to out zeal?
These guys? Well, Jesus tells us what he meant in Matthew chapter 23, where he says to the Pharisees. So you’re, you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you’re full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, woe to you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, he deals on the heart level and he says, righteousness is peeling back the onion skin, and S and, and con realizing that we grow in righteousness as God keeps taking us deeper and deeper peeling back more.
There’s so much of our lives. When we first know Jesus. Where we are, are devoutly. Following Christ in our hearts are truly desirous of living for the Lord. But we look back now years. In some cases, some of us decades from when we first came to Christ, we realized, we realized how much of, of our lives were still controlled by, by selfish ambition.
Sometimes even in the Christian world, uh, th that, that there was, there was more on onion. Layers is still more today that we are growing internally aware that we are continually seeing that’s where the value of seeing things in our lives that, that are making us become focused on internal righteousness.
That’s the value of suffering, uh, failures of even rejection by others. It helps us evaluate our hearts and go deeper, have more of the onion skin peeled back that this idea of loving righteousness is loving. The internal that we’re being changed from the inside out and growing in righteousness is having your inner person changed from pride to humility, from sufficiency to dependence and from serving you to serving others.
but there’s an incredible beauty in this passage.
the beauty is this Jesus doesn’t say blessed are those who do righteousness. As I said, he says, blessed are those who hunger and thirst who long. For righteousness, who long to live to the glory of God, who long to please the Lord, he says, it’s your hearts trajectory that I look for? It’s not you getting it, right?
It’s not you crossing the T’s and dotting the ice. It’s not you being able to look back and say, Oh, I followed unswervingly man. If you’ve walked with Jesus for years, you look back and you say, I can’t believe how much self-centeredness still rule my life still does today. I can’t believe how many things I thought I was doing, uh, with right motivation.
And there was so much of me involved in them. And Jesus says to you, Hey, I’m not asking you to do it. All right. I’m not asking you to, to be this guy, this woman of perfect righteousness. I’m just saying, have your heart trajectory going my way, have your passion say, Lord, I want you, every follower of Jesus looks back with regrets and sorrows, every single one, but Jesus is not asking or expecting that you would always do.
Righteously is simply asking that trajectory of your life be toward pleasing him. That ties in then to the third thing, the blessing of this longing, they will be satisfied. The word here, uh, some versions translated, filled. It’s actually, if you look at all the uses in the new Testament, which I had a chance to do every use in the new Testament is talking about food, uh, filling you.
It is food satisfying you that you have, you have, you you’ve been, uh, cared for you’re you’re filled you’re you’re you’re not still dealing with the hunger pains. That is a satisfying spirit. What is it that satisfies us? Well, what satisfies us is righteousness. He says those that long for it will be satisfied with it.
Well, what does this mean? Well, I’d suggest it this way. Psalm 46, Psalm 40 verse eight. Sorry. David says this. I delight to do your Willow God. He says, I find pleasure in this there’s satisfaction and joy in me in doing righteously. Jesus is saying this too. If your heart trajectory is say, Lord, I want the ruling passion of my life over my job, over my marriage, over my family, over my career, over, over, over every part, over my lifestyle over it,
Jesus is saying, then you will experience the satisfaction of that righteousness doesn’t mean you’ll always live righteously. You’ll have lots of twists and turns doesn’t mean you’ll always eat. The healthy food of righteousness has me. Plenty of junk food. You’ll lead along the way. Choices you’ll make cravings.
You’ll seek that should have been met and in following Christ and you turned to other things, but he says, if the trajectory of your life is towards me, if you’re allowing me to be Lord of your life, you will taste the satisfaction, the joy of living righteously. He gives the opposite of this in Isaiah were those that choose not to live righteously.
He describes what these terms, Isaiah 57, but the wicked are like the tossing sea for it cannot be quiet and it’s waters toss up mire and dirt. There’s no peace says my God for the wicked
I was in a conversation with a woman in her early thirties, a while back. And she’s someone I’ve known for a number of years and she has not embraced Christ. And we were having an interesting conversation and, and she was asking me, you know, at my, basically when I was her age, um, did you struggle with fears and struggle?
And I said, I did more than I think I realized or embrace or took ownership of. And, uh, And she knew I was a pastor. We were talking about that. And she said, do you have regrets? I said, I do. I said, I think my perspective of God at times was far more about people getting it right. And measuring up and pushing people.
I don’t think I did. Uh, often I did not appropriately present the beauty and the grace and the consuming love of God the way I wish I, the way I know him now, she asked me this question. She said, well then how can you be confident that Christianity is true? If you still had fears and struggles and now have regrets,
this is all I knew to say to her. I said, okay. I do think I misrepresented in pieces. The character of God, the beauty of God’s love and grace in my own striving to get things right. Even as a pastor and as a person. But I said, it’s that very reality that though I misrepresentative representative though.
I misunderstood him in my own ways. He still wants me now. And I said,
well, I want Christianity. And why I believe in Christianity is because I believe in Christ
and I want to do life with Jesus because I like who I am with him. And I don’t like who I am without him. It isn’t because I got it right or wrong. That I love him. It’s because even in the face of failures and misses and, and mistakes and blind spots and, and thinking I was his mom South piece in all of these ways, thinking I had it all right, he still wants me.
He’s the safest person in my life. This is what I was taught is the safest person. I know. I never worry that he’s going to all of a sudden change his mind on me. I don’t ever worry that he’s going to prove untrustworthy or get frustrated with me. I believe in Christianity because I believe in Christ.
Here’s what I think this beatitude reminds us. Let me say it this way. I want to speak to three groups and this I’m going to close with the first group of people I want to talk to is some of you are here and you need to hear this beatitude as a challenge. Maybe to change the trajectory of your life toward this priority and say, well, yeah, you know, business is business and, and I’m ruled this way here.
And church, life is church. Now that’s now there’s one priority. There’s one overarching longing. That has to be the umbrella over the doesn’t mean you’re going to get it all right. But it does mean that trajectory of your whole life needs to be going towards righteousness and pleasing and glorifying and enjoying God.
Maybe there’s a challenge in that for you, for others, perhaps this P attitude is for you an invitation to embrace the one that says, yeah, you, you, you enter my King and Viacom porn spirit. You see it’s for broken people who are sinners. Who are broken in life and feel the need of someone beyond their, themselves to mercy, then to forgive them, to love them.
And you see it, you’re not going to mess you up. You’re you’re impoverished. Just see there this morning and maybe losses of life are the very things God is using to help you see that you don’t have it in yourself. You need someone more. That’s exactly whose Jesus’ kingdom is for. Maybe there’s an invitation here to embrace Jesus as yours,
but the other group of people is her. I want to just focus on for a moment and maybe you need to hear this be attitude as an encouragement. Maybe you live for a long life. Maybe you’re later in life or midlife perhaps, and you look back and there’s regrets and there’s misses and there’s failures and there’s blind spots.
Jesus, it says only ever asked for one thing of your life. And that is the trajectory of your life being towards him.
It was never about you getting it right. It was about you wanting him. And if you look back in your life and say, Lord, I just see so many misses. I see so many ways I would have wished this, any SIS taught her son. I didn’t ask you to be mined. So you got it. All right. I asked you to make me what’s your life trajectory is towards, and you need to find the beauty of this promise that he is saying, you are blessed.
He blesses you. He says, don’t make the same misses. You don’t have to now, you know, but embrace the fact that what I’ve asked for is those whose hearts are inclined towards me. There are many, many people in the Christian Church that are older, that are absolutely tormented with their failures. You’ve got them, we’ve all got them, but you can embrace the beauty of if your heart trajectory is ultimately been.
Lord, I, I do want
I don’t know how much he wants you. And that he is still saying to you, it’s grace, you got in it’s grace, you stayed in it’s grace. I delight in you as a member of my kingdom, wherever you are in those lists. Seeing this as an invitation, as a challenge, as an encouragement, this beatitude is about a righteous God offering to do life with unrighteous people who simply say, Lord, I want you to be central.
And first in my life, I want to know you more. You are, you are the safest person I’ve ever known because just like Paul said, in Romans eight, I’m learning more and more. You are for me. And you who spared, not your own son, how you not with him also freely, give us all things. Lord, we look to you today. I’m asking you to take this simple study and apply it to people’s hearts for some, to be a challenge and motivation for some, to be an invitation that by your grace, they might walk through and want to know this, this Jesus so different who’s for us and who beckons us to embrace his grace and Lord.
For those that need encouragement today, I pray you would encourage them with the beauty of this beatitude and this blessing in Jesus name. Amen. Now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord . . .