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'Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness'

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2017-09-05 (화) 09:14 조회 : 88
Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_on_September_3,__2017.docx (20.1K), Down : 0, 2017-09-11 20:02:46
설교일 : 2017.09.03.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Matthew 5:6

September 3, 2017

 

‘Blessings to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’

Matthew 5:6

 

Rev. Jang’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

Today’s message is the fourth one of the Beatitudes, and it is about those who are ‘hungry’ and ‘thirsty’.

 

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

 

Let us first do some research on the original words of ‘hungry’ and ‘thirsty’. ‘Hungry’ in Greek is ‘peinon-tes’, and this is not the usual hunger, but an extreme hunger that will lead to death, and this word was used in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

 

Luke 15:16-17  “He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!’”

 

So, ‘peinon-tes’ means ‘starving to death’.

 

And ‘thirsty’ in Greek is ‘dipson-tes’and this also is not the usual thirst, but an extreme thirst for those looking for an oasis in the desert. This word was used when the Israelites reached the water at Marah.

 

Exodus 15:22  Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.

 

After escaping from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites entered the desert and traveled for three days without water, and they were ‘dipson-tes’, really thirsty.

 

Now we know that those who ‘hunger’ and ‘thirst’ for righteousness in today’s passage are extremely serious about righteousness.

 

When examined carefully, we find that the fourth message is given differently from the previous three messages; the first is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’, the second is ‘Blessed are those who mourn’, and the third is ‘Blessed are the meek’. After these three message, we expect the next message to be ‘Blessed are those who are righteous’, but in reality the message is ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’.

 

What is the reason for this change of pattern for this fourth blessing? The reason is that quite simply there is no one who is righteous, as was written in the Bible. We may think someone is righteous, but that is only according to the standard of this world.

 

Romans 3:10  As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

 

 

2.

Therefore, we know that in today’s passage Lord Jesus did not mean the righteousness of this world when He was talking about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. The Greek word that He used for ‘righteousness’ is ‘dikaiosine’ meaning divine holiness or divine righteousness. ‘Dikaiosine’ was derived from the Hebrew word ‘jetek’ which means testifying or showing righteousness. The righteousness of God requires two things; one is the Word of God for the covenant relationship, and the other is the practicing and demonstrating of the Word of God in their lives.

 

Apostle John saw this clearly and defined for us.

 

John 1:14  The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Seeing that Lord Jesus was emphasizing ‘the righteousness of God’, we realize that we could be ‘hungry and thirsty for some other righteousness than the righteousness of God’.

 

‘Some other righteousness’ was His severe warning toward the Jews who thought they were righteous based on their Mosaic Law. They were hungry and thirsty for the Law which they believed had the ultimate value, so while strictly observing and protecting the Law, they didn’t see God beyond the Law.

 

The Mosaic Law was given as a reminder of the covenant with God and for an intimate relationship with Him, but as the time went by, the Law took the place of ‘divine righteousness’ and became ‘the other righteousness’.

 

Just as the Mosaic Law became the other righteousness for the Jews at that time, we may be hungry and thirsty for some other things in our lives.

 

St. Augustine was the most influential theologian in the history of Christianity after Apostle Paul, and in his book ‘Confessions’ he reflected upon his life before meeting Jesus when he was hungry and thirsty for worldly pleasures. His famous conclusion was; “Humans were created for God by God, therefore our hearts will have no peace until the day when we find the eternal rest in God.” In other words, we can never be fulfilled with worldly things.

 

We are constantly hungry and thirsty for things to fill our empty hearts like St. Augustine did in his ‘Confessions’, and we fully agree to what Lord Jesus said in today’s passage.

 

 

3.

Then, what are those things that prevent us from seeking the righteousness of God? Apostle Paul gave us a definite answer.

 

Romans 10:2-3  “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

 

This is a very serious accusation against those who are zealous for God, questioning them if they are trying to establish ‘their own righteousness’.

 

Apostle Paul confessed that he used to believe he was zealous for God. But after the Holy Spirit came upon him on his way to Damascus, he realized that he had been submissive to his own righteousness.

 

One of the most respected pastors in Korea is the late Rev. Han-Heum Ock of the Loving Church. A few years ago I visited the retreat center of the Loving Church where he was buried. Just before he passed away, in June 2008 he wrote a letter to his successor, Rev. Jung-Hyun Oh, and somehow the letter became known to public and made quite a stir. When I read it, I felt the letter was addressed to all the pastors. I will share some part of the letter.

 

“Recently I had a heart-breaking experience. I don’t usually go into the website that is critical of the churches in Korea, but at the urging of someone I know, I went into the Internet website and I was shocked at the harsh and negative comments about our Loving Church and about Rev. Oh, and even about myself. There were only a few comments defending Rev. Oh.

 

“I feel really bad about being unable to defend you, as it seems to me that you have made some rash remarks not realizing the impact of those negative words aimed at those at the bottom of society. To dispel this distrust toward you, I would like to come and reconfirm your sincerity and true identity by personally asking you a few questions.”

 

This letter touched my heart and made me to reflect upon my ministry, as it seemed to me that the Lord was talking to me about ‘my sincerity and my true identity’.

 

One’s own righteousness is a smart tool used by Satan most often against pastors, church leaders and Christians in general to topple the Christianity. Those who have been zealous for God are misled to be submissive to their own righteousness, which will lead them to alienation, misunderstanding, hatred, competition and unforgiving of others, and eventually to be separated from the Lord. 

 

Countless pastors and leaders in the church are not engaged in the good fight for their faith, but for their own righteousness. They think they are fighting for the church, but in reality many of them are fighting for their own egos. After being immersed in their own righteousness, they wouldn’t be influenced by any hymns, prayers and even the Word of God.

 

Only the wisest among us will recognize the danger of being hungry and thirsty for our own righteousness, and will give it up completely for the righteousness of God.

 

 

4.

Sadly, there are not many who recognize their own righteousness in their lives. Instead, most of us are busily engaged in the ‘condemnation of others’, after believing in our own righteousness.

 

‘Our own righteousness’ motivates us to look for victims to criticize. Soon, we do not like people and the feeling becomes mutual. Subsequently, we cannot find any peace or joy in our hearts.

 

This ‘condemnation’ is very similar to the ‘judging others’ that Lord Jesus talked about later on.

 

Matthew 7:2-3  “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

 

I want to share one episode of Tagore of India, the winner of Nobel Prize in literature who called Korea ‘the light of the East’. One day his old servant did not show up for work without any notice. Consequently, he was much inconvenienced by this disruption in his daily routine and quite upset all day long. He was barely controlling his anger when this old servant came to work in late afternoon. Without saying any word, the servant went to get a broom and began to sweep the yard. Tagore exploded in anger and took the broom from him and threw it away, and shouted, “Stop working right now! Is this a place you come only when you feel like it? You are such a lazy bum that you will be a servant all your life. You are not qualified to work here. You are fired as of today!”

 

The old servant didn’t say anything, but slowly began to sweep the yard again. Tagore became more upset and screamed at him in a loud voice, “Didn’t you hear me? Are you disregarding my instructions? I must be a fool to have hired an old man like you. Get out of my house, before you are dragged out from here!” Then, the old man managed to speak while his hand on the broom was trembling, “Master, please forgive me for once. Have I ever missed work before? It is all my fault that I didn’t notify you earlier and came to work just now. But, last night my daughter passed away.” Now he began to cry violently with tears flowing down. Watching the skinny old servant cry, Tagore felt like he had been beaten with a heavy stick.

 

Tagore never forgot this incident throughout his life. He realized at that time that if anyone judged and condemned others without finding out any details, he could be extremely narrow-minded, arrogant and cruel, just like he was. From then on, whenever he heard anything negative about someone, he reminded himself, “I suppose it could have happened to anyone”, so that he wouldn’t condemn anyone without facts.

 

“I suppose it could have happened to anyone”; this should be the Alpha and Omega of pastor’s ministry. But in reality it is very hard for us not to judge, as we are so full of our own righteousness. Personally, because of my physical pain, I have become the one who is poor in spirit, who mourns, and who is meek, and consequently my own righteousness has been restrained. I want to share this proverb with you; “Never criticize someone until you walk a mile in his shoes.”

 

My beloved congregation, we are all hungry and thirsty for success in this world, believing our own righteousness. So, we are quick to judge others. Our Lord is telling us to change our priority; Seek the righteousness of God first, then you will be blessed.

 

So, Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The Greek word for ‘filled’ is ‘kortazo’ meaning ‘filled full and overflowing’ and ‘plenty and no shortage’. This word was used in the miracle of ‘5 loaves and 2 fish’.

 

Matthew 14:20  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

 

And at another time, it was used by David in Psalms.

 

Psalms 23:1  “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

 

My beloved congregation, are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Now, let us confess this; “Lord, from now on, I will hunger and thirst for your righteousness. But you know about my natural tendency to seek ‘my own righteousness’, so please help me choose ‘the righteousness of the Lord’ over my own, every moment of my life. Please help me choose the things that please you!”

 

Matthew 6:33  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all the things will be given to you as well.”

 

Now, I invite all of you to the Communion table.

 

Our closing hymn will be; “Like the woman at the well, I was seeking”

 

 

[이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2017-09-11 19:59:21 읽는말씀(English&Korean)에서 이동 됨] [이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2017-09-11 20:01:40 읽는말씀(English&Korean)에서 이동 됨] [이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2017-09-11 20:05:46 읽는말씀(English&Korean)에서 이동 됨]

   

총 게시물 417건, 최근 0 건
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 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : 'Only for the Lord'
설교일 : 2017.11.05.
본문말씀 : Romans 14:6-9
설교자 : Rev. Lee

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