Jesus Wants to Give Us Heavenly Happiness (Part 1)
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - February 20, 2013
*In John 10:10, Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." But how many people are really living the abundant life?
*Timothy Smith once said that most people are tied down by "when and then" thinking: "When I get a good job, then I'll be happy. When I find the right mate, then I'll be happy. When I have kids, then I'll be happy. When the kids leave home, then I'll be happy." That's "when and then" thinking. But Jesus Christ tells us that the exact opposite is true." (1)
*As Jesus opened His Sermon on the Mount, He tells us that true happiness doesn't come from what happens to us. True happiness comes from Heaven. Our joy is not based on external circumstances. It's based on an eternal relationship with the God of the universe.
*Jesus emphasized this heavenly happiness 9 times here in Matthew 5. The word He used in these verses is translated as "blessed," but the original word simply means "happy."
*Maybe the translators used "blessed" because there IS something different about the happiness we see here. William Barclay said that the original word describes: "That joy which is serene and untouchable. . . That joy which is completely independent of all the chances and changes of life." (2)
*Jesus tells us that we can have indestructible happiness from Heaven above. And He wants us to have it. In tonight's Scripture we find three proofs that the Lord wants us to have heavenly happiness.
1. First: Jesus gives us the Gospel.
*As Matthew 4:23 says, "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. . ."
 Jesus Christ preached the Gospel.
*He preached the good news: That God loves us in spite of our sins; that He loves us so much, He came to seek and save us; that He will forgive us and allow us to live forever as part of His Kingdom, IF we will trust in Him. Jesus Christ preached the Gospel that can change our lives forever!
*Norman Vincent Peale told the story of a young mother who had been unfaithful to her husband. She could not get rid of the guilt. She began to feel that everyone knew her terrible secret, and everyone would be better off without her.
*Without saying a word to anyone she packed a small suitcase and registered with a fake name in the town's tallest hotel. Her room was on the fifth floor. This woman felt unfit to be a member of the human race. She wrote a note to her husband and her children, telling them that she loved them, but that this was the better way.
*She opened the window, sat down on the sill, and let herself fall backward into the empty darkness. She fell 5 stories, waiting for the impact of the pavement. But instead, she smashed into the top of a parked convertible. She went through the canvas roof, into the back seat. She felt an agonizing pain in her back and legs. Then she fainted.
*The woman woke-up with a cast from the waist down. By the grace of God, there was a young man in the room when she woke up. He said, "I'm your doctor. How do you feel?"
*A new wave of despair washed over her, because she was still alive. She felt that she was such a miserable failure she couldn't even do away with herself. Even death wouldn't have her. Then the young mother felt hot tears sting her eyes and she cried out: "Oh, God, -- God, forgive me."
*The young doctor put his hand on her forehead and calmly said, "He will." Those two words were the beginning of the healing process in her heart. Her life was changed forever. God put her life back together, and filled her heart with joy that Jesus would take away her sins. (3)
*That's the power of the Gospel! -- Jesus preached it.
 Even more important, Jesus paid for it. Only His death on the cross could pay the price for our sins. And only the Risen Savior can offer eternal life to those who will receive Him as Lord.
*Jesus Christ wants to give us heavenly happiness! That's why He gave us the Gospel.
2. And that's why Jesus confirms His compassion.
*We see the Lord's compassion starting in Matthew 4:23.
23. Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
24. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
*Why did Jesus heal them? Was it just to prove who He was? Was it just to prove His power? -- The answer is no. Jesus also healed those people because of His great compassion for us.
*Just before the Lord fed the 5,000, Matthew 14:14 tells us that "when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick."
*Then in Matthew 20:30-34, Jesus was on the road from Jericho.
30. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!''
31. Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!''
32. So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?''
33. They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened.''
34. So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
*Jesus Christ confirmed His compassion for us over and over by healing the sick. Most of all, He confirmed His compassion by dying on the cross for us. But now Jesus is in Heaven. And though we have seen God heal in answer to prayer, it's not the same as seeing Jesus walk through the towns and villages healing people.
*Where are people going to see God's compassion today? They are going to have to see it in His Word. And they are going to have to see it in us.
*Most everybody has heard the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. It's the story of a kind Samaritan who stopped and helped a man on the road. The man had been robbed and beaten half to death. And the Good Samaritan stopped when no one else would.
*As Jesus said in Luke 10:33-34:
33. . . "A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34. and went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him."
*Do you remember the last thing the Lord said when He told that story? -- "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). Christians: One of the most important ways Jesus confirms His compassion today is through us.
*And it's not always easy to help other people. I like the story James Hewett told about two Cub Scouts, whose younger brother had fallen into the lake. Thank the Lord, he was okay.
*But his two older brothers rushed home to their mom with tears in their eyes. And one of them complained: "We tried to give him artificial respiration. But he keeps getting up and walking away!" (4)
*It's not always easy to help other people, but Jesus wants to confirm His compassion. And one of the most important ways He does that today is through people like us.
*Jesus Christ wants to give us heavenly happiness! That's why He confirms His compassion.
3. And that's why Jesus teaches us the truth.
*In Matthew 4:25-5:2, we see our Lord teaching:
25. And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
1. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
2. Then He opened His mouth and taught them. . .
*Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher of all time, infinitely better than all others. And the great news is that He wants to teach us too! The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is in the world today, trying to teach the things of God.
*C.S. Lewis told of a college student who wrote to him. This young man was an atheist. But he was very concerned, because he had made friends with some Christian students. They were enthusiastically witnessing to him about Jesus. And it had shaken the young man's thinking.
*He was going through some great struggles about Christianity. And he wanted to know: "What did Dr. Lewis think?"
*C.S. Lewis wrote back, "I think you are already in the meshes of the net. The Holy Spirit is after you. I doubt you will get away." (5)
*God is in the world today, seeking for us, and trying to teach us the truth about God. So in vs. 3-4, Jesus begins to teach us about heavenly happiness.
 In vs. 3, He teaches us the happiness of a humble heart. Here Jesus said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
*Jesus was not talking about financial poverty here. He was talking about someone who has realized that he has no righteousness on his own, and is happy, because he is fully trusting in the Lord.
*William Barclay put it this way: "Blessed is the man who has realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God. . . He will become completely attached to God, for he will know that God alone can bring him help, and hope, and strength. The man who is poor in spirit is the man who has realized that things mean nothing, and that God means everything." (6)
*Albert Barnes said: "To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by the rich grace and mercy of God . . ." (7)
*Timothy Smith said: "Please grasp this principle: you are nothing without God! Think about it. You cannot boast to God about your goodness. You don't impress the officials at NASA with a paper airplane. You don't boast to Picasso about your crayon sketches. You don't claim to be equal to Einstein because you can write H2O. And you can't impress God by your success." (1)
*"Blessed is the man who has realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God. . ." That young college student who was in the meshes of the Holy Spirit's net did get saved. His name was Sheldon Vanauken and here is part of what he wrote about that day:
*"I couldn't reject Christ. There was only one thing to do. I turned and flung myself over the gap toward Christ. On a morning with spring in the air, March 29th, I wrote in my notebook: 'I choose to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. -- In Christ, my Lord and my God. Christianity has the ring, the feel of unique truth, essential truth. By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless.
*I confess my doubts and ask my Lord Christ to enter my life. . . I do but say: "Be it unto me according to Thy will." I do not affirm that I am without doubt. I do but ask for help, having chosen, to overcome it. I do but say: "Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief."'" (8)
*That young man found the kind of happiness Jesus talked about in vs. 3, when He said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
 Jesus wants to give us the blessed life. So He teaches us the happiness of a humble heart. And He teaches us the happiness of a hurting heart.
*It sounds most contradictory, but that's what we see in vs. 4, where Jesus said: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The mourning we see here in vs. 4 is not a small thing. It's not losing your cell phone or having a fender bender.
*William Barclay tells us that the original word here "is the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language. It is the word which is used for mourning for the dead. . . It is the kind of sorrow that brings an ache to the heart, and tears that cannot be restrained."
*This grief may be the literal sorrow we feel over the loss of someone dear to us. But it can also be Christ-like sorrow over the suffering in this world. And it surely includes the sorrow we should feel for our own sin. Three different kinds of deep grief, but God is the God of all comfort for those who will trust in Jesus. (9)
*Roy Rogers was one of my TV heroes when I was a kid. Roy and his wife Dale went through this kind of grief. Listen to Dale's testimony: "When our young son, who was in the service in Germany died only a year after our Debbie was killed in a bus accident, people were skeptical about our faith. They were skeptical about the adequacy of God to meet real, deep human needs and crises that hurt in this life.
*Some of them wrote and asked, 'Now, what do you think about your God?' Well, the summation of my faith is the fact that I am not bitter toward God. But because He has allowed me to experience trouble, tragedy, and crises, He has made himself so close and near to me and so aware of His Presence. He has given me strength to come through these things and I am able to use them in a constructive manner. I know that God loves me and I know that I am His child."
*Dale wrote that testimony for an article titled "I know better than to be bitter toward God." (10)
*Jesus told His disciples: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." And Jesus wants to give us this blessed or happy life.
-So He teaches us about the happiness that can overflow from a humble heart.
-And even from a hurting heart.
*Jesus Christ wants to give us heavenly happiness.
-That's why He gives us the Gospel.
-Confirms His compassion.
-And teaches us the truth about the happy life.
*Let's talk to God about it right now, as we go to the Lord in prayer.
(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The Wealth of Poverty" by Timothy Smith - Matthew 5:1-3
(2) BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT) by William Barclay, Revised Edition (C) Copyright 1975 William Barclay - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - THE SUPREME BLESSEDNESS - Matthew 5:3)
(3) Adapted from "THIS INCREDIBLE CENTURY" 1980-90, pp. 228-229 - Contributed by Dr. John Bardsley - Found in Sermons.com sermon "Finding Glory" by King Duncan - Galatians 6:1-10
(4) James S. Hewett, "Illustrations Unlimited" - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988 - pp. 112-113 - Found in "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Compassion - Index: 3517-3519 - Date: 7/1996.338 - Title: "It's Hard to Help Some People"
(5) Found in "Don't Just Stand There, Pray Something" by Ron Dunn and "Praying for the Lost" by Lee Thomas
(6) BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT) by William Barclay, Revised Edition (C) Copyright 1975 William Barclay - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - THE SUPREME BLESSEDNESS - Matthew 5:3
(7) Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible" - Matthew 5:3
(8) Sheldon Vanauken online resources:
"Encounter With Light - an honest account of how a scholar met Christ" -www.surfoutsider.net/pdfs/encounter.pdf
"SHELDON VANAUKEN R.I.P." - By Jack Taylor - www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9702sb.asp
"C. S. Lewis, Apostle to the Skeptics" - Dr. Philip G. Ryken - Window on the World - Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia - November 22, 1998 - Copyright reserved - Internet access via www.tenth.org
(9) Adapted from BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT) by William Barclay, Revised Edition (C) Copyright 1975 William Barclay - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - THE SUPREME BLESSEDNESS - Matthew 5:4
(10) "I Know Better Than To Be Bitter Toward God," by Dale Evans Rogers - "ABUNDANT LIFE" - June 1970 - p. 20 - Source: Sermons.com email 09222002