The Upside Down Life #7 – Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst

Hungry for What? or Who?

by Gene Heacock

I. INTRO

  • 4th Beatitude tied to the first 3
  • Being hungry is a blessing — a time released promise.
  •  It’s about Who not a What — righteousness is a Person not a product.
  •  Double Blessing — When God gives a man a drink He gives him a double thirst

A.W. Tozer:  There is nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with a love for Christ so deeply that ones whole being goes out in painful adoration that disturbs and disconnects while it purges and satisfies the deep inner heart.

I am encouraged by your willingness to hear my saying to you Jesus’ words that can be heavy.  You are receiving them and I am encouraged…

Rototiller  Illustration:  Have you rototilled this year? I see most of you know about material rototilling.  Jesus does spiritual rototilling.

The Sermon on the Mount is about truth — Honest with yourself, Law, Gospel, Grace; Jesus Himself is the center of the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5-7).

Falleness: deep appetites within us that roar to be satisfied. Anger, revenge, lying, unhealthy sexuality, and our falleness as men and women…

The Fall Genesis 2 and 3 and the curse…

  • Women: desire for your husband literally consume or common language eat devour side note 9 out of 10 who struggle with food issues are women.  Women struggle in relationships with security and loneliness and the fear of being abandoned
  • Men: The need to conquer and build and labor. Men want to build something that lasts, to accomplish – and often struggle with futility, and misuse of power.  Side-note: 9 out of 10 issues in sexual abuse are caused by men struggling with power and controlling themselves and sexuality can become a conquest not a relationship

Jesus says to women: there is a new King who will never break the relationship and will not abandon you.

Jesus says to men there is a new Kingdom where your investment will last and your efforts will not be forgotten or lost in futility.

Jesus is the Master Teacher, Who teaches new truth based on a known truth.

Hunger and thirst in Jesus’ world has a common cultural meaning in His time — like the 2/3’s world picture we see today…

Hear Max Lucado, from When God Whispers Your Name, on being homesick…

We are not happy here because we are not at home here. We are not happy here because we are not supposed to be happy here. We are “like foreigners and strangers in this world” (1Peter 2:11).  Take a fish and place him on the beach. Watch his gills gasp and scales dry. Is he happy? NO! How do you make him happy? Do you cover him with a mountain of cash? Do you get him a beach chair and sunglasses? Do you bring him a Playfish magazine and martini? Do you wardrobe him in double breasted fins and people skinned shoes?  Of course not. Then how do you make him happy? You put him back in his element. You put him back in the water. He will never be happy on the beach simply because he was not made for the beach. You will never be completely happy on Earth simply because you were not made for earth. Oh, you will have moments of joy. You will catch glimpses of light. You will know moments or even days of peace. But they simply do not compare with the happiness that lies ahead.

II. BODY

How does one get hungry?

See the first three beatitudes: poor, mourn, and meek.  The 4th one is a consuming desire for Christ — and is a good sign that God is cooking something up for you!

When does this blessedness begin? AWARENESS.  You are aware of something more because God is at work in you hunger pangs for heaven.

  • How badly do you want more than you presently have?
  • How badly do you want more than you can produce?
  • How badly do you want more righteousness?

MORE GRACE as an experiential reality??  YOU ARE BLESSED!  Already your desire to please Him pleases Him.  Your desire for more of Him please Him.

  • The best recipe for a great meal is extreme hunger
  • The best aphrodisiac is a motivated lover
  • The best preparation for a deep passionate encounter with Christ is hunger and thirsting for more righteousness.

Sermon of the Mount is about POSTURE, PURGING, AND POURING.

Humility opens the door to Holiness and Happiness

Quote Wesley on Holiness and Happiness:

  • Holiness not as achieving sinless perfection but as having one’s heart fully fixed on God, setting aside all other affections — “perfect love.” (Plain Account of Christian Perfection)
  • He is therefore happy in God, yea, always happy, as having in him ‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life’, and ‘overflowing his soul with peace and joy.” (From a Wesley tract, “God is the joy of [the Methodist’s] heart”)

How hungry are you? How frustrated are you with your own attempts?

How bad do you want more? Another drink of grace?

Illustration: Wisdom Story Greek teachers — When you want wisdom like air you will find it.  How hungry are you?

Language of the text visceral (or, instinctual)

  • Psalm 34: Taste and see…
  • Is 55:1-3 Why buy what does not satisfy?
  • Song of Songs 5:1 Eat oh lovers…

Jesus welcomes you to the banquet of grace in Gospels

How do you get hungry? 3 ways…

  1. Trying to inherit the world on your own — having what you thought you wanted and finding it empty.
  2. Trying to be righteous on your own — be a good Christian to quote the American theologian, Dr Phil, “How’s that working for ya?”
  3. Living as you want when you want ON DEMAND TV STYLE not restricted by boundaries if it feels good do it, power, revenge, deep forces, appetites…

If you think being a Christina is hard try sinning for a while.  If you go against the grain of the universe you are going to get splinters!

Chronology Being a good Christian- I am poor at that

  • Living as you want – mourn over what I have done
  • Inheriting the Earth on your own-got to be a better way – meek

THE GREATEST DISCOVERY IN THE TEXT IS THAT IT IS ABOUT A WHO (JESUS) –NOT A WHAT.

Jesus is this righteousness.  There is not a “Grace Department” in heaven or a “Righteousness Department” — it is all about Jesus.  He superimposes Himself in the sermon.

  •  verse 5: 11 ME
  •  verse 5: 17 I several times
  • verse  6 :33 His righteousness. The person and the work of Christ.

Words of the Hymn of Bernard of Clairvaux:

 Jesus the Very Thought of Thee…

Celestial Sweetness unalloyed,
Who eat Thee hunger still;
Who drink of Thee still feel a void
Which only Thou canst fill.

O most sweet Jesus, hear the sighs
Which unto Thee we send;
To Thee our inmost spirit cries;
To Thee our prayers ascend.

III. CONCLUSION

Taking It Home To SBF:

  1. Personally read Tozer again…
  2. Are you hungry? Are you aware you are blessed?
  3. Are you open to being filled with more?

On November 23, 1654 Blaise Pascal had a dramatic encounter with God. He wrote of his experience, and sewed it into the liner of his coat. It wasn’t until after his death that people learned of this and realized everywhere he went Pascal carried this experience with him. This encounter has become known as “Pascal’s Night of Fire.”

Here is “The Memorial”:

The year of grace 1654…
From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.

Fire

‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Thy God shall be my God.’
The world forgotten, and everything except God.
He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
Greatness of the human soul.
‘O righteous Father, the world had not known thee, but I have known thee.’
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
‘My God wilt thou forsake me?’
Let me not be cut off from him for ever!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I have cut myself off from him, shunned him, denied him, crucified him.
Let me never be cut off from him!
He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Sweet and total renunciation.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and my director.
Everlasting joy in return for one day’s effort on earth.
I will not forget thy word. Amen.

FUTURE CORPORATELY: Discover your great Evangelical tradition of deeper encounters list names…

D.L. Moody’s Experience:

“One day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for 14 years. I can only say that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.”[1]

Moody was sure that if God did not lift His hand, he would die.

Have you had one?  More love, more power?

CORPORATELY: Become a Church that honors the written word and the Living word.


[1] William R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody,(Albany, Ore.: Book for the Ages, Ages Software, 1997), 127.

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