– One of the repeatable elements from our FUGE experience each night was our church group devotional time. The segment was an opportunity to debrief the day’s faith experiences with application personally and as a church group. If you’ve been with me in these sort of debrief experiences you know my discussion template is “High/Low & God-Sightings”. The aim of discussing highs and lows is to hear feedback on what is going well, and what is not; as well as to discern the perspective of the person. What someone celebrates or complains about reveals an aspect of their heart. So, the High/Low sharing helps us to get to know each other. And lastly, our sharing of God-Sightings instructs and inspires our faith.
– Interestingly, most of our discussion about High/Low revolved around food.
o Admittedly, the cafeteria style, youth camp feeding mass crowds was not always the most tastiest. There was room for improvement on a few issues.
o Yet, there was always food to eat.
o As Americans, when we unintentionally miss a meal or food quality is below our accustomed taste, then we immediately react negatively.
o Hunger and thirst impact our entire being.
Today’s message will explore our hunger pains and pursuits. Jesus’ teaching on a fourth beatitude gives us insight into what it means to be one of His followers and a citizen in God’s kingdom.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Blessed is from God.
– Defined by the intersect of God’s glory and our good, in contrast to the worlds view of #blessed that prioritizes self over Scripture. God’s commands truly are for our good but we doubt and disobey because we lack an eternal kingdom perspective.
Physical hunger and thirst can teach us about spiritual appetite.
– Hunger and thirst are a necessity to physical and spiritual survival.
o Nicaragua: SPBC feeding containers 272K… literally is feeding the hungry and fending off starvation.
- Life-changing having crowds of children surround you begging for food or water…
o SBC CP $: Goes toward fighting hunger and clean water around the world.
– Hunger and thirst do not have to be taught… think of an infant, child, or teenager who are voracious eaters consuming almost everything in sight. In fact, adults have to tell a child eater to slow and stop, teaching them how to eat healthily.
– While hunger and thirst are normative, we still must exercise discernment for what we eat and drink. Unhealthy eating and drinking will lead to poor health effects.
– Healthy eating by itself, or in combination with other positive actions, is not a guarantee of long life.
– A deficient or depleted appetite is a sign of something being wrong or having a sickness.
– Eating and drinking can also be used as a means to comfort, to cover feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, shame, guilt, etc. The classic example is opening the pantry or fridge door and staring inside to either eat something you don’t really want, or to not eat anything at all.
– Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is essential to the Christian life. God requires perfect righteousness (Matthew 5:48), and we cannot approach God without holiness (Hebrews 12:14).
– Matthew 5:6 “hunger and thirst” are Present Active Participles, showing continuous action.
– The great longing of a Christian is to hunger and thirst for God.
o Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
o Psalm 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
o Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
o Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
o Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
o John 6:27, 35 “Do not labor for food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you… Jesus is the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
è So, what’s your appetite for God? God offers the fullness of Himself through Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and His very words. Yet, we often settle for bites rather than abundance. We were made to feast on the delights and joys of God.
“If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” – John Piper, A Hunger For God
è Scripture reading… memorization is a reflection of appetite for God.
è Beatitudes are not about human grit but divine grace. People who follow Jesus are hungering and thirsting for righteousness not because we already have it, but because we need it – we need everyday grace. Therefore, hungry and thirsty for righteousness describes the continuous feeling and fight for the person of faith. A person who is full of self-satisfied, self-confident and complacent in hungering or thirsting for Christ is one who is spiritually unhealthy.
Righteousness is relevant to the present and the future.
Righteousness is a very theological word, and more often used in church. Most of the world does not care about righteousness. So, why should you value and try to help have a view toward righteousness?
Proverbs 12:28 “In the path of the righteous is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”
1) Righteousness is about enjoying life on earth. Again, understanding God’s design is to bless and satan’s desire is to burden (John 10:10), helps us to view our life properly. If we fail to see this life principle we miss everything, but believing this truth will radically transform the way we live. Jesus promises those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be satisfied. [χορτάζω = filled, gorge (abundance of food), feed or fatten.] The satisfaction and fulfillment comes from living and doing what is right, even more of knowing Christ (Php 3:7-10).
à Ask a friend (Who? Look around the room!) to hold you accountable for righteousness, as defined by God and the gospel. In other words, knowing you can never be perfect and you are forgiven of sin, pursue right living and the Spirit-filled life (Galatians 5:16-24). Friends can determine our future (Prov 13:20).
2) Righteousness is about entrance into eternal life in heaven. Yet, to understand what it means to be righteous, one must consider both identity (being) and actions (doing).
Actions/Doing: Most of us admit actions of unrighteousness.
– Psalm 51:3 “For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”
Identity/Being: Our greater issue is admitting that not just our actions but our entire being is guilty. We have a low estimation of how God’s judgments probe the depths of our heart and mind.
– Psalm 51:6, 10 “God delights in truth in the inward being… [so] create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
God makes us righteous through imputation. Apart from Jesus Christ, our human righteousness is but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If we have any hope of acceptance from God and entrance into heaven, then we need a substitute righteousness imputed to us. 2Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
C. H. Spurgeon: “If heaven were by merit, it would never be heaven to me, for if I were in it I should say, “I am sure I am here by mistake; I am sure this is not my place; I have no claim to it.” But if it be of grace and not of works, then we may walk into heaven with boldness.” (Sermons, 6.354.)
à For heaven’s sake, are you trusting in righteousness apart from Jesus Christ?
Righteousness replaces unrighteousness.
This principle may sound simplistic or redundant. However, my point is that as Christ followers who desire to avoid sin, can only do so by replacing those desires with the disciplines of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
Illus: This week I took down a shelf from a wall. The screws left holes in the drywall. The only way to cover those holes and imperfections was to fill the gap with drywall mud, that sometimes require disciplines of sanding and multiple patch coats, and then coats of paint.
We cannot have a deep satisfaction with God and life until we have a deep dissatisfaction with sin and the status-quo.
à In order to hunger and thirst for righteousness and God, to what will you say “no” (mortification) and “yes” (vivification)?
Prophet Jeremiah cries out from the Lord, “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer 2: 13)
Many of you are like the people of Jeremiah’s day. Your soul is hungry and your heart is thirsty drinking from spoiled water sources. You feel an insatiable longing for something. You are restless. Almost everywhere you turn, the grass is greener than where you stand. And the great tragedy for some of you is that even though this is the Spirit of God beckoning you to himself, you turn away again and again to temporary, backfiring pleasures of…
– Fanciful pleasures from movies and website clicks.
– Exciting entertainment of stadiums, fields, courts for athletic sporting events
– Stimulants such as alcohol, boats, beach vacations, cars, electronics, gambling,
– Idols of the heart.
Jesus invites you to a satisfying feast unlike any other (Rev 19:9).
v Pray for an appetite for the things of God.
v Right living for earth with accountable friendship (church).
v Right living for eternity by trusting in Jesus.
v Righteousness requires a “yes” to some priorities and a “no to others.