Attitude Adjustment #2 - The Weeper

Bible Book: Matthew  5 : 4
Subject: Beatitudes; Joy; Gladness; Forgiveness
Series: Attitude Adjustment - The Beatitudes
Introduction

We continue our look at the Beatitudes by looking at Matthew 5:4. If you can and if you will, please stand to honor the reading of God's Word.

The Beatitudes are the attitudes that should be in every Christian's life. By way of reminder, note that last week we look at Matthew 5:1-3. Jesus opens the Sermon on the Mount with 8 Beatitudes. These statements were meant for the disciples of Jesus not for the world at large. So, you can be sure they are meant for you, if indeed you are a Christian. Jesus stated first that we must admit our poverty of spirit in order to have a heavenly joy in our lives. We are bankrupt in our flesh. Only when God fills our spirit with His Spirit do we have the wherewithal to live for Him and to know His joy!

Now we come to Beatitude number 2. Jesus states, "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted." In order to understand this verse, we must consider three features from this text.

I. The Clarification of Mourning

The New Testament is written in the Greek language. The Greek language of Jesus' day was unique in the way the vocabulary was used. The Greeks used several different words to express something that might be expressed by a single English word. For example, we use the word "love" to speak of many forms of affection. The Greeks used several different words. The word "phileo" was used to speak of friendly love. The word "eros" was used to speak of erotic or physical love. The word "agape" was used to speak of God's love. So, when Jesus spoke during His Sermon on the Mount, he could have used a number of different words for mourning. There were nine different words that could have been used - each one meaning something slightly different in regard to sorrow or mourning. What word did He use?

Jesus used a word for mourning that expressed the most intense sorrow possible. The word He used is often used in the New Testament to express sorrow over a loved one who has died. It is a word speaking of deep and profound sadness.

Note something important at this point. Jesus has stated what seems to be a total contradiction. He said, "Happy or those who are intensely sad..." Wow! Does that make sense to you? How can you get gladness out of sadness? Do these two emotions not rest at opposite poles? But, in fact, that is what Jesus said. There is no other way to view it. He said it and it is up to us to discover the meaning behind. Fortunately, that is not difficult. Always remember when trying to discover what the Scripture means that you must compare scripture to scripture and that is what we will do. Thus, we now come to second consideration in this message.

II. The Cause of Mourning

The great question we must answer is, what causes the mourning that Jesus spoke of during this sermon? Many things can cause a person to weep and mourn - some of them are good and some of them are not so good. Look at 2 Corinthians 7:8-10,

"For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." NKJV

Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life; however, worldly sorrow leads to death. What does that mean? Worldly sorrow is based on reasons that are not in God’s will and are not in the best interest of everyone involved. For example, a prisoner may be terribly sad that he has been convicted of a crime, but that does not mean he has repented and changed his ways. He may weep and wail, but the cause of his sorrow may be that he is simple sad because he got caught. As soon as he is released from prison, he is likely to do the same thing he did that got him incarcerated the first time. Just look at how many prisoners are released and then go right back to prison again for a similar crime. Those in law enforcement know that recidivism is a major problem with criminals. Why? It is an issue because the sorrow a convicted criminal may feel does not translate into a change in his or her life.

When Jesus speaks of mourning, He is not speaking of someone who is engaged in a pity party. When a person realizes that he has offended God and turns around in true repentance to seek forgiveness and strength, and is determined with God’s help not to make the same mistake or commit the same sin again, he is blessed – he is on the road to the joy and gladness that Jesus spoke of in the second beatitude.

So, what kind of sorrow is Jesus speaking of in the Sermon on the Mount? I want you to note with me two types of "mourning" that are godly and lead to happiness.

A. Sorrow for the Awfulness of my own Sins

Look we me at James 4:8-10, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." NKJV

The Word of God calls on us to see our sins and to have them cleansed. How can we do that? DRAW NEAR TO GOD! Dear friends, that is exactly what the first Beatitude called on us to do. When we get close to God, we will see our sins for what they really are. You can't see yourself the way God sees you. Most of us have had the following experience. We are driving along in our automobile and have no reason to think that the windshield is dirty. Then, we turn our car toward the sun and the light comes through the windshield revealing so much crud that we can hardly see through it. Has that ever happened to you? Sure it has! That is the way it is with the human soul. You go along in life thinking everything is just fine. Then, the light of God's glory invades your soul and you see all the dirty stuff you have been doing, thinking and saying. When that happens you can do one of two things. You can close your eyes to the truth, or you can weep and mourn over your condition.

When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up in all his glory, he exclaimed, "Woe is me!" He saw his sin.

When Peter was confronted with the presence of the risen Lord he cried out, "Do not come near me Lord for I am a sinful man."

When David saw his sin with Bathsheba in the light of God's glory, he cried out saying, "Against you and you only Lord have I sinned."

There used to be a time in church history when the churches had something called a "mourner's bench." It was a place for people to fall down and cry out to God. You don't see that anymore in the churches. Sin has lost the sense of dirtiness that was once attributed to it. I believe this is true because we are not near the Lord. When we are near holiness we will sense uncleanness. We are so proud of ourselves. We now can be called the church of the unshed tears. Members include Mr. Dry Eye, Mrs. No Tears and their child named Apathy.

The reason we are not weeping is because we are not open to the glory of God's presence. The nearer we come to Him, the more we will see our need of cleansing. And, remember, these words of Jesus were spoken to disciples not to the world!

Listen again to David as recorded in Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart - These, O God, You will not despise." NKJV

If I could use one word to describe the deepest meaning of the word "mourn" it would be the word "broken." When we reach the point to rid ourselves of pride, arrogance and haughtiness, God will reveal Himself to us in power and joy.

It is not only the awfulness of our own sin that brings mourning and brokenness; it is something else as well.

B. The Awareness of the sins of Others

Look with me at 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, "For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced." NKJV

Paul is pointing out how he expects to mourn upon his next arrival at the Church in Corinth. Why? He will mourn because of the sins that they are committing. And, look at those sins. They are mostly emotional in nature. Of course, such sins bleed over into gossip, criticism, backbiting, etc. When we see the church of our Lord involved in hateful attitudes, criticisms of one another, divisions, jealousies, selfish attitudes and the like, it should break our hearts. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He saw that they were not open to His presence and to the truth. He knew the judgment that was coming on them because of their indifference. Is it possible that we are just like that today? We fail to see our sins because of our pride and the judgment ahead of us breaks God’s heart.

When the Lord saw His own people, those of His own nation, rejecting Him and rejecting God, it broke His heart. How long has it been since sin in our lives or sin in the lives of others, especially among Christians, has broken your heart? Well, that will not happen until we are filled with His Spirit and His glory. Only then can we see things the way He sees them. That will break our hearts!

But let me hasten to the last consideration in our text.

III. The Comfort in Mourning

Remember that the word "Blessed" means happiness. We are promised that mourning properly will bring happiness. But, how? Jesus explained it clearly. He said that we would be "comforted." The Greek word for "comfort" is the word "parakaleo." That word means, "to come alongside or to call alongside." When we confess our sins and admit our need, the Lord will come to us and speak to us and bring us untold and immeasurable comfort, gladness and peace.

Some years ago I had a revival in a church I was pastoring and the evangelist was Walt Satterfield, who is now with the Lord. We prayed and planned, and Walt came and preached with power. It was a glorious revival. Many people were saved and a number of others joined our church. It was a hallelujah time for us. One of my deacons was married to a woman who was very carnal. She often refused to attend church with him and never really came on Sunday evenings or Wednesday nights. He even thought about resigning because he felt he was doing something wrong since he wife did not fully support his life and work for the Lord. Well, she came to that revival meeting. One night the Lord moved in incredible power among us. This deacon's wife came forward and stood that the front of the church with many others who had come. She had big tears pouring down her face. But, amazingly, she was laughing at the same time. She actually was giggling! She had a puffy, curly hair style and she shook so much that here hair wiggled all over her head. He was crying but she was delirious with joy. That is what we are talking about. That deacon's wife came near to God, He revealed her sin, she stepped out unashamed to admit her need and the "Comforter" came right up beside her and said, "Now, my child, have some of the Lord's joy." I can still see her in my memory giggling and crying and shaking that curly hair all over the place. Needless to say, she was active and happy for the Lord after that night.

I will never forget the day I finally and totally committed myself to serve the Lord. I was 23 years old and knew that I had been called to preach since I was a boy. I ran from Him for years, but finally on a Sunday night just outside Shelby, North Carolina in my little house on Highway 18, I drew near to God. Jayne and I both agreed to do whatever God was calling me to do. I went into the living room of that house, fell down in front of the sofa and prayed, "God I've been running for a long, long time, but I don't want to run from you anymore. I will do what you have asked me to do. Please accept me now Lord as your servant." At that moment an incredible sense of guilt and joy invaded my heart at the same time. I cried out, "Oh God, why would you use someone like me? Oh Lord, why would you use someone that has been so sinful and selfish?" But, at the same time I was laughing and felt so warm and glad in my heart. That went on with Jayne by my side on our knees or up walking around in praise and tears for three hours.

When we are ready to draw close to the Lord, He will draw close to us. He will reveal our need and then He will fill that need with His own presence, power and joy!

Conclusion

The devil can make you laugh and the devil can make your cry - but only God can do both at the same time!!! That is what Jesus was talking about. Yes, God comforts those who are sick. God comforts those who are sad for many different reasons. But this passage is about opening yourself up honestly before God so He can fill you with power, comfort and heavenly happiness. How long has it been since you were really broken because of your own failures, sins, apathy and indifference? For that matter, how long has it been since you were filled with the overwhelming joy of the Lord?

If you are you ready for that all that God has for you, draw near to Him, and you can be assured He will draw much more near to you!