"THE WAY TO HAPPINESS"
I. THE UNIVERSAL DESIRE FOR HAPPINESS.
A. A reminder that the word blessed literally means happy, or Oh how happy. As in Psalm 1
"Blessed is the man." Many times the same Hebrew word eh sher is translated happy in the Old Testament, such as in Psalm 144:15
"Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." The Hebrew word bless is baruch which is praise or bless. baruch ha shem
1. Happiness is something that everyone is pursuing.
2. Our Bill of Rights were established to grant everyone the right for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
3. In our world today we see the mad pursuit of happiness.
4. Happiness seems to be so elusive. It is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
a. The other day as I was driving on the freeway I saw a beautiful rainbow and it seemed that the end of the rainbow was at South Coast Plaza.
b. I thought to myself, how appropriate.
B. I see here a very fundamental error.
1. The whole problem lies in the pursuit of happiness.
a. Why do we call it the pursuit of happiness?
b. Because mankind always seems to be pursuing it, not ever finding it.
2. Jesus did not say, Blessed is the man that pursues happiness.
3. The fundamental error is that happiness is never found by direct pursuit.
4. Happiness is found in righteousness. It is the by-product of righteousness.
C. Think of how wonderful it would be if everyone in the world hungered and thirsted after righteousness, instead of happiness.
1. What a happy world this would be.
2. There would be no more killings.
3. No more crime.
a. We could abolish our police departments.
b. There would be no need for our judicial system.
3. No more broken homes.
4. What a happy world this would be.
II. THE LOGICAL ORDER IN THE SEQUENCE OF THE BEATITUDES.
A. I see myself in the light of God's righteousness and realize how hopelessly and horribly sinful I am.
B. I mourn over my sinful state. I grieve over how I have grieved the heart of God.
C. I deplore my sinful state. Like Job once I saw himself in the light of God's holiness declared,
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.
1. We see our problems are with self, self interest, self concern, self seeking. This is what leads to all of the striving and miseries.
2. This is the primary cause for all of the unhappiness in the world.
D. When this happens it leads us to hunger and thirst for the divine ideal, to live righteously and be right with God.
III. WHAT IS MEANT BY RIGHTEOUSNESS?
A. We are not to hunger and thirst for happiness, yet that is what the world and much of the church are doing today.
1. This is what is behind the pleasure mania in the world today. What a classic example this past week-end in what they call Super bowl mania. Think of how many Atlanta fans who were so happy at the end of the Falcons first possession when they scored the first field goal. All acting like a bunch of birds. But within minutes were so sad and by the end of the game, totally dejected.
2. Look at the rioting that took place in Denver by those who thought they had found happiness. The maddened frenzy thinking their time had arrived.
3. All those elated fans had to go back to the reality of life routine of the daily grind on Monday morning and many feeling miserable because of their hangovers.
4. In the church there are those who are seeking happiness through experiences, and they travel from one meeting to another seeking for some special experience that will bring them happiness. They hear that the Spirit is moving here, or there, and they seek to find out where the glory is coming out. They feel if they can only be touched by the Spirit they will be happy.
5. True happiness is found in righteousness.
6. If I were a doctor and as a patient you came to me complaining of severe headaches and feelings of constant pressure in your head. You feel like your eyes are being pushed out of their sockets and your vision is becoming blurred. If I would give you pain killers and sought to fit you with glasses, I would be a quack. I would order an M.R.I. to seek to discover what is creating this pain and pressure.
7. The unhappiness in the world is a symptom. People are seeking to alleviate the symptom in various experiences that offers them temporary relief. They feel good while their condition worsens.
8. Man has a deep need for true happiness, and the world is offering cures for the symptoms but they are not getting to the actual cause of the real problem. And in treating the symptoms they are actually destroying the patient. The ultimate result is not happiness but more misery.
B. Righteousness is justification but more. I feel that it is also sanctification.
1. The desire is not just for the forgiveness of sin, but to be free from sin.
2. I desire to have full and unhampered fellowship with God. I know that sin separates me from God, and apart from God there is emptiness.
3. I hunger and thirst to be right with God.
4. I see the filth of the world around me, and like Lot, my righteous soul is vexed by what I see and hear in this world.
5. I long for purity.
6. I thirst for a world where God rules in righteousness.
7. As I hold these beautiful little babies before the Lord to dedicate their lives to His purposes, my heart goes out to them when I think of all of the filthy influences they will be bombarded with even before they get to school, because the T.V. has become the major babysitter in most homes. Even in the cartoons they will see horrible violence, and overtones of sexual seduction.
C. The person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness wants to be free from the very desire for sin.
1. One of the great problems is that though I hate the consequences of sin, yet there is often a desire for sin.
2. Jesus said, that men would not come to the light because they loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
3. Sin has a great attraction.
4. Sin makes all kinds of promises of happiness.
a. Look at Satan in the garden, the things that he was promising to Eve. "It will make you as gods."
b. Look at the pain, misery, suffering, and devastation that has resulted from their sin.
c. Satan makes you all kinds of offers of happiness, but the final consequence is bitterness.
d. Like the little book that John took out of the angel's hand in Rev 10:10
in his mouth it was sweet as honey, but as soon as he had eaten it, it was bitter in his belly.
D. The man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness wants to be like Jesus.
1. Follow in His steps.
2. Live a life of holiness and purity.
3. He wants to live in fellowship with the Father even as Jesus did, to be able to say, "I do always those things that please the Father."
IV. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS.
A. Hunger and thirst are two of our basic body drives. They are exceeded only by our air drive.
1. It is very rare for a person to be truly hungry today.
2. If you have every attempted to go on a fast for a few days you realize how strong the hunger drive can get.
3. All of us are more familiar with the thirst drive, and have probably experienced it more often than the hunger drive.
4. For my body to survive, I must have water and food. God has designed these drives so that my life might be sustained. If we did not have these drives we could forget to eat, or drink and would die of malnutrition or dehydration.
B. So David wrote, "As the deer panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after Thee O God. My soul panteth for the living God."
1. This spiritual hunger and thirst is designed by God to sustain our spiritual life.
2. The tragedy is that so many are trying to satisfy that drive with things that can never satisfy.
3. I can remember when I was a kid and trying to satisfy my thirst by drinking a coke. While it was going down, it seemed to satisfy, but in a moment, I was thirstier that ever.
4. So with the substitutes that the world has to offer today. For the moment, they may bring satisfaction, but the end result is a greater thirst than ever.
V. THE PROMISE, "THEY SHALL BE FILLED."
A. Filled with what? Righteousness.
1. You cannot fill yourself.
2. This was the problem with the Pharisee's, they were trying to be righteous in their own power by doing the right works.
3. Jesus spoke of the Pharisee who sought to approach God clothed in his own righteousness.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
4. He evidently did not give heed to the words if Isaiah. But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
B. Paul was trying by the law to be righteous. He declared, "Concerning the righteousness which is by the law, I was blameless." But those things that were gain to me I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ."
1. In Romans he recognized that his finest efforts came short, of God's righteous standards, and he cried out, "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?"
2. He then answers his own question, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
3. That is the gospel, He has done for me, what I could not possibly do with all of my best efforts. He has made me righteous. He gives me the power of His Spirit to make me righteous.
4. The result? "Oh how happy." deliver me from this body of death."
5. He answered his own question.