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Upside Down

These Forty Days  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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You know this past week I was reading an article and it tackled the age old question of what does it look like to live a happy life?
Basically if I want to be happy what do I need to do?
And they looked at different cultures and people and they came up with all these different awnsers to this age old question
Some people said I am happy when I am with my family
Others noticed they were happy when things were going well at work
Some said they were happy when life seemed really busy
Others said they were happy when nothing is happening in life and they can just enjoy the moment
Some said I am happy when others aprove of me
and still others said their pets made them happy.
But you know we are people that want to be happy right?
I mean if we went around the room each of you would say “yeah I want to be happy”
And so really the question comes up of what does true happiness look like?
And really today we are looking at a famous passage in the Bible that talks about happiness and its found in Matthew 5:1-12
And whats really interesting though is this passage kind of flips our own ideas of happiness on its head, because surprisingly none of the things I mentioned made the list.
Instead we see these ideas that really seem odd at first glance, and so we are going to be unpacking this area and will be starting in Matthew 5:1-4 and it says this:
Matthew 5:1–4 NIV
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
So there is a crowd following Jesus and he climbs a mountain side and sits down and begins to teach his disciples and the crowd that has gathered around Him
And we see Jesus start with this word “Blessed” and Blessed is a really big church word right.
I mean you don’t go to the grocery store and say look at these blessed donuts… They are so wholly…
But something really interesting is the “Blessed” in the greek is actually translated as happy or fortunate.
In fact its almost a deeper level then that where it is a state of happiness or Joy that we have in life.
Where things can go wrong, we can face challenges, but this happiness or fullness is still going to be there.
And Jesus is talking to this crowd which at the time was oppressed by the Romans and faced a ton of issues
And you can picture them just in need of some hope and Jesus tells them these words that we read in verse 3:
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
kind of a weird thing to tell people right?
You want to know how to be happy or full or blessed, you need to have a poor spirit.
But really Jesus is trying to communicate to these people that one of the first steps to being blessed is realizing that spiritually we are poor.
We are missing something,
And Jesus is telling them this because at this time there were religious leaders who thought they had it all together and Jesus is implying that whether you were low in society or high in society every person is missing something
because sin has entered the world which has left a gap in our lives between our relationship with God and now we are spiritually poor.
And Jesus is saying the first step of finding fufillment is recognizing the state of our impoverished lives.
We are missing something.
Its kind of like I have had this guitar for probably a year.
And it would be like if I said to you did you know I am a guitar player
And you go no way! Thats awesome! why have you never played it before,
And I say “well I don’t actually know how to play”
You would probably say Pastor your missing something really important here…
But you know so often we live our lives and we can live good lives or decent lives, but so often we do not realize there is a huge emptiness present when we do not realize our need for Jesus.
And this is why the next thing Jesus says is Blessed are those who mourn,
Because to recognize something is missing isn’t enough, but we need to mourn that right?
I mean think about it you just told me I am not a guitar player, if I just look at you and say so what?
I will probably change and learn how to play the guitar right?
Why? because it would mean I don’t care.
But if you came up to me and told me this and I just started balling and ugly crying.
I would probably go and do somthing about it right?
And really these first two Jesus is telling us that the people who recognize that spiritually they are poor and they mourn that fact.
It bothers them, these are the people who are blessed, because they are going to be searching for God
I mean you cannot fix a problem unless you see the issue right?
We need to be people who recognize apart from the grace of God, we are sinners
And I love the next couple verses because verses 5 and 6 say this:
Matthew 5:5–6 NIV
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
You know that word for meekness is a lot of time interchanged with humbleness, but really how Jesus uses it here is that to be meek, is to be someone who is completely willing to submit to God’s calling in our lives.
They do not say no I don’t need him, but they say you know there is a problem here and I want it fixed.
It would be like if you had a pipe burst and flood your house and you were told you really need to replace the drywall and flooring, because it will get moldy and you will have a lot of issues
But heres the issue, because you say no I don’t, it looks fine to me!
But you know we need to be people that know there is moldiness in our lives and say God I want that area of my life completely replaced.
Really we need to be able to say God, will you take my sinful heart and replace it with something new help me submit to you God
And its amazing the natural progression because the next part is blessed are those who hunger, because they will be filled.
You know when you come to God showing Him your moldy heart, He is not just going to say that is to bad...
But His grace fix it.
In fact I love the greek word for “filled” at the end of verse 6 because the root of that word is literally translated as “grass” or “hay”
And this seems a little weird but its almost like a word picture where animal that eats grass and theres a lot of Grass in the world isn’t there?
I mean it is endless and what a lot of scholars believe Jesus is saying here is that the Grace we receive when we are hungry for God, never runs out.
God will fill us.
Well look at this next section and I am just going to read the entire second half of this because really the first section has to do with us coming to Christ and growing closer to Him, (they are all inward actions for the most part), but then this second half (are outward actions) that have to do with how that is lived out.
and so look at verses 7-12 because it says this:
Matthew 5:7–12 NIV
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You know, you will notice that once you accept God we are actually called to be like a mirror where we reflect God, and you will notice a lot of these qualities are doing that.
Because it starts with blessed are the merciful,
You know we serve a God who has been merciful in our lives right?
He has filled us when we are hungry and has given us Grace and Mercy, and because of that we want to be people who give grace to every person around us.
We are called to reflect His mercy.
and look at verse 8 because it moved on to blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
And this is one that is not completely outward, but it effects a lot of how we live.
Because another way to phrase it are blessed are the people who’s hearts are fully devoted to God and have no room for sin,
because when our hearts are clean, our vision is clear
Let me say that again “when our hearts are clean our vision is clear”
Because sin impacts the way we see the world.
Its like this pair of goggles for a game that the parm family left at our house during the super bowl party.
You put on these goggles and they make everything upside appear down and you have to complete challenges and its hard because everything is distorted.
But really when our lives are living with sin and our heart is unclean it impacts our vision, it impacts how we see the world we live in.
You know I am sure none of you have never had this issue, but if there is someone you just butt heads with,
When we have these goggles on its easy to view them as the enemy.
But when you see them how God has intended us to you se them as someone created in the image of God,
If you are a person who considers yourself a Christian we do not want to look at the world through these goggles, but we want to see them how Jesus sees them.
And I love it because next Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers
And this one actually makes sense right? Because we like peace.
But this is actually a lot more difficult then what we make it out as, because peace requires reconciliation with those around us
Meaning we need to be people who are ready to say I was wrong and I am sorry
And I we are going to finish on this last one, because it says blessed are the persecuted because of rightousness, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You know last week we talked about how we live a in a world very different then our own.
and because of that like we mentioned today we live in a world where a lot of times we have the goggles on and our views get distorted, but this makes it so you can live a life for God, but others view it as a problem.
Because some might say the thing you should place above everything else is this”
Its the country you live in
It’s a false god
Its an orginazation
But Christianity says no it is God.
It is Jesus
And we do not see this a ton in America, but in instances where this happens, it reminds us that this home is not our own.
And so let me wrap up with this because I know this was a lot today.
But can I just ask you do you consider yourself blessed? What would it look like to try and get rid of all these distractions and truly be blessed in the way God desires us to be.
Because I believe that Jesus preached this for a reason, because He realized we can chase all sorts of things and try and find happiness, but it wont be enough, however God offers us somthing that is enough
And it is to be in a relationship with Him.
And this morning we are reminded that we want to take off the goggles that so often mislead us and find our true hope in Jesus.
Will you pray with me?
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