Temple Baptist Church - 9-4-2016
A. In our fourth Beatitude, we find a blessing for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (holiness).
1. This is not a reference to the imputed righteousness that brings salvation though it must be desired above all else. We do live in a time when few are interested in Biblical salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone. Men would much rather earn their salvation that receive the free gift offered by God.
2. The only thing that makes any sense at all is that men think more highly of themselves than they ought! Sinners cannot save themselves and yet these believe that God will accept the based upon their personal merit! He will not!!!
3. The righteous spoken of in this Beatitude is that of godliness and purity. Even within the churches, there are fewer and fewer who have such desire.
B. First of all, I want to put this verse in a right historical context.
1. The disciples of our Lord had given up what little that they had to follow Christ. The Jewish people of that day were basically poor and had little. They also had little hope of ever having anything. This verse came easier to them and yet most never had a hunger and thirst for God, therefore, this Beatitude.
2. Our day is so different and is rapidly becoming much worse as we live in the Laodicean Church Age of having need of nothing. When I was a boy, we had enough but did not have what the rich kids had. Eating out for us was “once in a blue moon” and normally was a Chrystal Burger or an ice cream cone at the Shady Nook. No Walmart, no online shopping, no gas to go anywhere, eating out of the garden along with what meat we hunted to put on the table, hand-me-down clothes, a Santa Clause who was CEO of Fruit of the Loom, and walked to school (25 miles in 3 feet of snow at -30 degrees J ). Barbara and I did not own a car until we were married, lived on $73.00 a week, and thought a picnic lunch at the lake was a good day (and it was).
3. Today, the things that once belonged to the rich have become a way of life for even the poor. It has changed our spiritual perspective! We try to live a moral life because we have been taught from the Bible to do so but we do not “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”
C. The world will leave you empty, especially the child of God.
1. Things do not satisfy for long and more is required. More does not satisfy for long and more becomes the desire of the natural man.
2. This does not mean that you cannot be filled with good days, happy days, successful days, and the such. Life in itself is good and the Lord wants each of us to have a measure of happiness in this life but the joys of the world are not always lasting and can leave one empty.
3. The joys of this life are temporal at best and have neither spiritual nor lasting eternal value. We sing “Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me,” but it is for the temporal things and not because of a filling of the blessings of God for hungering and thirsting after righteousness!
D. Have you ever gotten hungry for something or had a taste for something?
1. You can eat everything in the house but nothing else satisfies. When on a diet, you have a taste for what is a “no-no” and you nibble instead of just satisfying that desire and then going back on the diet. What happens is that you eat all of those calories and then still end up eating the “no-no.” It is better to just eat what your body is telling you that it needs.
2. When someone is sick or dying, one of the first things that happens is a lack of appetite. You try to reason with them, “You have to eat! Without fuel in the tank of the car, the car will not run.” As a general rule, hunger and thirst are signs of physical health. Spiritual hunger and thirst are signs of spiritual health.
3. Physically, the appetite must be trained. When we were young, we did not get a lot of junk food. It was beans, taters, cornbread, veggies out of the garden, etc. but, in this day, it is junk food with little of the above mentioned. Kids today do not like to sit down to an old-fashioned meal.
4. Spiritually, the appetite also must be trained. We cannot feed from the junk of the world and desire the things of God. The Spirit of God creates a hungering and thirsting in the child of God so that He may fill it.
E. Hungering and Thirsting is:
1. A Hungering and Thirsting for Personal Communion with the Lord. Psalms 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (2) My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Psalms 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (We live in a spiritual “drought” in the Bible Belt! “Where no water is.”)
2. A Hungering and Thirsting for God’s Word. Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
3. A Hungering and Thirsting for God’s House. Psalms 84:1-2 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! (2) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Psalms 27:4-6 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. (5) For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. (6) And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
4. A Hungering and Thirsting for Holiness of Life. Psalms 19:12-14 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 26:1-2 Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. (2) Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
5. A Hungering and Thirsting for the Souls of Men. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (20) For ye are our glory and joy.
Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
6. Hungering and Thirsting for Heaven. Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.