Pinebrooke Community Church
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sermons

 

Sunday Service Messages  

 

Pinebrooke Community Church                                                                                   25 February 2024 Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who hunger…”                                                            Matthew 5:6

         

     What are you hungry for?  What are you thirsty for?  What are you desperate for?  Yesterday was Norma’s birthday so we took the train from Westminster to Union Station for one of our favorite restaurants in Denver, Stoic and Genuine.  It is always a treat, but it also always assuages any hunger or thirst that we may have had, but do we have hunger or thirst that goes beyond satisfying our pallets?  I don’t suppose we have ever been truly desperate when it comes to food or drink, yet Jesus places before us hunger and thirst.  He puts hunger and thirst before us in the realm of desperation.                                                              

          “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

          Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness in Jesus’ sermon are desperate.  What is more normal for us is the natural desire for wealth not poverty, honor not disrespect, long life not short.  Apart from conversion this is what we come into life hungering and thirsting for.  But conversion is meant to transform us from self-referenced living to Christ-referenced living.  We were converted so that we might hunger and thirst for righteousness, not wealth, honor, and long life.  It was not Christ’s desire to die on the cross just for the future, but for all of life.  One of the dimensions of our salvation was to change the arc of our lives.                             

     In the words of the wise source, J. C. Ryle, “Jesus means here those who desire above all things to be entirely conformed to the mind of God.  They long not so much as to be rich, or wealthy, or learned, as to be holy.”  Those are the ones to be blessed.  The description in the words of the psalmist,

     “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness,” is particularly insightful.   

     My desire for us all along over these past 32 years has been that when you see Him face to face, He won’t be a stranger to you, you will have come to know Him intimately and when you see Him face to face, you won’t be ashamed.  You will have learned to walk in the light as He is in the Light.                     

     What do I want to fill my life with?  What do you want to fill your life with?  Righteousness!?  I dare say most want to fill their lives with happiness, so we naturally pursue filling our own tanks so to speak to make ourselves happy.  However, happiness is not a destination but a result.  According to the Scriptures happiness is never something that should be sought directly; it is always something that results from seeking something else (p. 75).  Again, the wisdom of Brother Ryle, they alone are truly happy who are seeking to be righteous.                                            

     Growing up in the 50s my mother’s common terminology for righteousness was descent.  What was the descent thing to do?  Did you dress decently?  Did you act decently?  Righteousness was dumbed down to simply mean, so and so was a decent human being and that was surely enough.  Decency was the most you could ever hope for.  It was enough to keep society on an even keel and to keep people out of jail.  No one considered that Paul wasn’t a descent sort, yet he spent plenty of time in jail as did John the Baptist.  The problem with that is that decency was far less than we were designed for.  The “happiness” of that process left humankind in charge and always empty of any complete satisfaction.  That “happiness” kept life riding the waves with no rudder or direction.  But Jesus has offered so much more as He proclaimed from the mountainside.  Righteousness then is not societal decency.                                                                          “Righteousness means a desire to be free from sin, because sin separates us from God.”  (p.77).  “Righteousness is a desire to be right with God.”  We need to keep in mind that there are Two Standards in play every day of our lives.  Satan is alive and well and his strategy is to steal, kill, and destroy.  He will be destroyed one day, but not yet.                                                                                                 

     Sin, our sin, does the same thing because it came from him and is the national religion of hell.  It steals from us.  It takes real life away from us.  And it destroys our best self!  On the other hand, God’s strategy is to add abundance of beauty, goodness, and truth to our lives.  God’s way is addition, Satan’s way is subtraction.                                                                                                                 

     “Sin is something that pollutes the very essence of our being and of our nature.”  To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to turn and look for the solution for the deliverance from self for which we long.  Sin then is simply the self-referenced life over and over.  It is important to recognize what righteousness is not.  Again, it is not societal decency.  It is not the best that I can do or my best effort.  God is the One who defines the terms, and He defines righteousness in light of Himself.  Thus, the importance of our being conformed to the image of Christ.                                                                                    

     Within our conversion is the on-going pursuit of God Himself.  The deeper I know Him the more I will come to love Him and the more that I love Him the closer I will come to walk with Him.  As we walk with Him, we hunger and thirst for the relationship with Him.  The relationship with Him changes everything.  Blessedness or happiness is not the goal, it is not the pursuit of experience the experience of blessedness or happiness, but it is to daily enter into the righteous encounter with the Holy One.                                                                                

     To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to desire to be free from self in all its horrible manifestations, in all its forms (p. 79).”  “The one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness wants to be emancipated from self-concern in every shape and form.”  Our brother Willard in his treatment of the 23rd Psalm makes a similar point as he describes our true freedom coming only when we give up the dominance of self in our lives.  He describes it as the “death of self.”  When the psalmist says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” the only way we will come to fullness is when we give up the incessant wanting that the self demands.  The wanting of control, the wanting of riches, the wanting of honor, the wanting of power.  That is the nature of sin in ourselves.             

     “To hunger and thirst after righteousness is nothing but the longing to be positively holy.”  “The man who hungers and thirst after righteousness is the man who wants to exemplify the Beatitudes in his daily life.  He is a man who wants to show the fruit of the Spirit in his every action and in the whole of his life and activity. (p. 79).”                                                                                                                 

     I had lunch with a wise friend this week and as we talked about the dire conditions in our world, he told me of a conversation that he had with his daughter.  In their church they have turned their gymnasium into a nighttime shelter for some of the Venezuelan homeless.  Therefore, there have been several national media types that have heard about it and come to get a story.  His daughter was talking with a print media person and asked why she had come to cover what their church was doing.  The media person said the reason for printing their story was because they were being so kind to the people.  My friend commented, “see once again we are the keepers of the Fruit of the Spirit.”  Righteousness is our domain; we cannot expect it to be the domain of the world around us.  It is ours to sustain.                                                                                            

     As Jesus puts this before us today the one who longs for righteousness it means that the whole of our being and the whole of our lives are to be like that.  It means that one’s supreme desire in life is to know God and to be in fellowship with Him, to walk with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the light.                  What then is the test of my spiritual appetite?  Not only in this specific case but in all the Beatitudes the essence of the Beatitudes is the deliverance from self-centered living.  In this case the full-bore pursuit of righteousness is the positive energy that we need in order to strip out self-centered living.  The metaphor that helps me see this in real time is that of a submarine.  The way that submarines descend or ascend is in what they fill their ballast with, water or air.  When they fill the ballast with air they ascend.  When they fill the ballast with water they descend.  The more I fill the ballast of my life with the pursuit of righteousness the more my life ascends.          

     In Job’s story when he emptied his life of his faith of propriety and embraced God alone as his source, he ascended to a faith of sufficiency.  God and not health, wealth, and honor became his sufficiency.  God and God alone.                       

     We all have the choice as to what we will give our energy to.  We can give our energy for righteousness, or we can give our energy into making our own way which the Bible calls sin.  We get to choose; it is up to us!  I hope Psalm 17:15 would be our experience, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”  The pursuit of righteousness is not just a matter of justification, the fact that we have been saved because of the cross of Christ, but of sanctification, the transformation of our minds, our hearts, our souls.  Our transformation is a process meant to take all the days of our lives.  We need every day of our life on earth for the pursuit of righteousness.  Let me close with this.  The fruit of the pursuit of righteousness is an ever-developing being made in the image of God, not just in structure but in quality.  We cannot structure righteousness.  The righteous being or person produces beautiful, tasty fruit.  That is why righteousness isn’t just a position but a way of living.


Whether a visitor to this site or a member looking to catch up on a missed
worship service we invite you to listen to a recent sermon.


 
Message Speaker Date
Acts 2:1-13 Bob Johnson 29 September 2019
Acts 2:41-47 Bob Johnson 13 October 2019
Acts 3:11-26 Bob Johnson 27 October 2019
Acts 4:1-22 Bob Johnson 3 November 2019
Acts 4:23-31 Bob Johnson 10 November 2019
Acts 4:32-37 Bob Johnson 24 November 2019
Matthew 24:36-44 Bob Johnson 1 December 2019
Matthew 3:1-12 Bob Johnson 8 December 2019
Matthew 11:2-11 Bob Johnson 15 December 2019
Matthew 1:18-25 Bob Johnson 22 December 2019
A Case for Miracles Deb Mitchell 29 December 2019
     
     
     
James 5:1-6 Bob Johnson 18 August 2019
James 5:7-12 Bob Johnson 25 August 2019
James 5:13-20 Bob Johnson 1 September 2019
Acts 1:1-5 Bob Johnson 18 September 2019
Acts 1:12-28 Bob Johnson 22 September 2019