(Sermon by Andrew Allison)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5.6
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.1-12) is an invitation. It may not feel like an invitation but Jesus is inviting you to do life with Him. Jesus is asking, “Will you come with Me?”
It’s like art. A piece of art is an invitation by the artist to see the world differently – to see the way he/she sees it.
Jesus is asking, “Will you see the world the way I see it – the way it is – the way God knows it to be?”
Many cultures turn away from the meek and poor but Jesus elevates these people. He says, “Pay attention. This is the kind of life that is blessed. God is present with you when you are poor in spirit. Your life is flourishing when you take time to mourn. Beautiful is your life when you’re in the depth of the struggle.” Jesus is inviting you to find true beauty – not surface beauty. He tells you that you will find it with God in the darker, tougher stretches of your life.
So much of your life choices come out of hunger and thirst – longings and desires. For example, there’s a reason that you choose a particular house. Perhaps you want to be attached to a statement house that says, “I make enough money to live in this neighbourhood.” Perhaps you grew up in the house and you want to continue the family tradition. Perhaps the house has a historic meaning. Whatever the reason, you desire to stay in the house and because you need to pay for it, you get out of bed every morning to go to work to make money.
It’s all based on desire.
Why you do what you do has to do with meeting longings.
What are you hungry and thirsty for? What moves your life? What’s the driving desire of your life?
We all have desires. Some of these desires can get wrongly answered – some solutions will harm you. When you answer your desires with the wrong answer, there’s no rest for you. You can tell when you’re on the wrong track when the thing you so passionately pursue does not satisfy. But Jesus promises that when you’re hungry for the right stuff, you’ll be filled.
Jesus says that your life is beautiful when you hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The righteousness of God is the rightness of God – when the world is right – the way it was meant to be.
We all have a sense of right and wrong but we live in a culture where right and wrong are under attack. There are no agreed upon absolutes. To some people, the terms, “right” and “wrong” are offensive. This is one reason why people turn away from God – they don’t want accountability to anyone other then themselves. When you dismiss God, you no longer have any responsibility for categories of right and wrong. All you have is personal preference.
Jesus says there IS a right and wrong. A life is beautiful when it longs for the rightness of God. What would this world look like?
- It would include a right relationship with yourself. No despising yourself. Each of us would be OK the way God uniquely created us.
- It would include relationship repair. No war. No tribal battles. Hostility would end. Hockey would be fun again – just a game. Rush hour traffic would become gracious. Husbands would cherish their wives. Wives would speak glowingly about their husbands. Parents would stop trying to control their children. Children would honour their parents. Singles would feel wanted, not isolated. Apologies would be offered. Forgiveness would be given.
- It would include a right relationship with Jesus. The only hope humans have is Jesus. He’s the only One to make you right – in your head, in your heart, with others and before God.
Are you interested? Are you intrigued?
If I could, I would bring you all to Israel. I’d take you to Capernaum, where Peter lived. They’ve actually found Peter’s house. It was under sand for 1000 years. In 1940, archeologists started digging and found “a town under there.” They found Peter’s house. There are inscriptions all around. Those people called Jesus, “Christ”/”the Lord”/the Most High.” Initially, this building was Peter’s house and then it became a house church and eventually they decided to build a church. This building stood out from all the other buildings in the town. This building had eight sides.
The eight sides represented the eight statements of a beautiful life. These are the 8 “Blessed…” in the Sermon on the Mount. Before the cross became the iconic symbol of Christians, it was the octagon – eight sides of the life that God wants to invite us into – the eight things God wants to grow in us.
Do you want to be an octagon person?
Will you allow God to grow this in you?
Will you live into it?