When Everything Else Fails, Jesus Satisifies
Matthew 5:6- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Our text comes from a saying by Jesus to His disciples. This particular saying is part of a most important teaching Jesus gave regarding the character of persons in the Kingdom of God. This teaching is known to most people as "The Beatitudes" or the "Sermon on the Mount." The significance of the Beatitudes is that it was a teaching for the benefit of Jesus' disciples, and is a foundation of high moral standards for those who are not disciples. In this teaching, one thing that distinguished a citizen/disciple of the Kingdom of God from others is that a disciple hungers and thirsts to be right with God. The result of their action in this regard, is that a disciple would experience renewed happiness and find emotional and spiritual satisfaction in their lives. [So] As Jesus encouraged His disciples to seek the blessings of God, you and I should also be encouraged and motivated to be righteous before God, that our lives can also be more enriched, happier and more satisfying.
However, when you look at yourself, and when you observe the saints around you, you may not discern or see evidence of the happiness, or the joy, or the contentment that you expect in your life, or from others who confess to be children of God. The same God who declared that, "the cows on a thousand hills are mine" and promises to "supply all you needs according to His riches in glory." This plight is not unique to us today. Jesus taught His disciples, who also showed an insufficiency of God's blessings and insufficient motivation to secure God's blessings. Until Jesus called his disciples, some of them lived a life of monotony and lack of fulfillment as they went about their daily routines. Others lived a life of emotional and spiritual emptiness that money and influence could not satisfy. The reality for us is that, we are not much different from the disciples in that we too need spiritual understanding and insight into our livesas well as having a sense of satisfaction as disciples of Christ. Consider this:
Are you satisfied with yourself?
Are you in a constant battle with yourself to suppress and overcome old habits that are bred by your old self with its ungodly desires? Do you constantly find yourself, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fulfill appetites that you once indulged in and enjoyed before you were saved, and you now know is in conflict with the will of God for you life? Do you find that each time you satisfy those old cravings and allow your habits to gain power over you, you end up feeling frustrated, disappointed and guilt-ridden? Yet you continue to say to yourself, and believe, that the next time, ”I’ll stop” or “after this last time, I’ll let it go” and you rarely do (illus.: junkie, alcoholic, gambler, lying, sex, etc.) [And so] You no longer experience the happiness that God has provided for you because, in your disappointment and guilt-riddenness, Satan comes along and tells you that you are a failure in the eyes of God. And many saints believe this lie. If so, as you go through your Christian experience you feel void of the presence of God. [Listen] If you are in this place of dissatisfaction with yourself, the good news for you is that when you have done all you can do to overcome your shortcomings and to reestablish your fellowship with God, and when you failed yourself, if you come to Jesus, He will deliver you, restore you, and satisfy that which you are unable to satisfy yourself.
Are you satisifed with your circumstances?
You may be experiencing very trying circumstances and find yourself seeking all the right answers in all the wrong places. [And] Because of your circumstances, you are hungering and thirsting for answers much like a mother whose child has been gunned down in the street for no apparent reason and her life becomes obsessed with knowing why. You may find yourself drawn to and influenced by ungodly people because you no longer believe the Church has answers that are relevant to your circumstance or that God is moving to slow. [And] After following the advice of such sinners and the ungodly, the result is that the circumstance is aggravated and gets worse (illus.: psychiatrist, psychologist, horoscopes, etc.).
If this is you, the good news for you is that you can bring your situation and circumstance to Jesus when you find no comfort in your trouble, and no consolation in your tribulation, because Jesus is there to see you through and when all else fails, He satisfies.
Are you satisfied with your personal relationships?
Is your relationship with your spouse, parents, children, friends, or acquaintances, still meaningful to you? Does your home life and church life continue to be important to you? Are you hungering and thirsting for the love, the understanding, and the communication, which close relationships are supposed to bring? Do you find your relationships void of intimacy and affection, and your soul cries out for relief.
If this is you, the good news for you is that when all your relationships have failed and you need a friend, Jesus is a friend that will satisfy your need for friendship and intimacy, and provide meaning to your life.
Are you satisfied with your relationship with God?
Are you dissatisfied with the sin that keeps you from a continuing intimate relationship with God? Have you stopped experiencing spiritual victories in your life and begun to experience an increase of defeats? Do you still have that inward burning to be in the presence of God as often as you can? [Or] Have you become discouraged and lost your zeal for fellowship with God and the saints? Have you become aloof (distant) from God and feel unworthy of communion with Him? [And] By acting on your own feelings, you continue in your own way while your soul remains hungering and thirsting- looking to “eat in green pastures” and “be led by the rivers of waters” so that your soul will be restored.
If this is you, the good news for you is that Jesus is there interceding with the father for you and me, to keep the way open for us to enjoy the presence of God. How can this be? Because when all else fails, Jesus satisfies.
Note the Text
Blessed are they, which do hunger, and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed- happy, content, fully satisfied, a prolonged state of happiness. Speaks of the joy of salvation.
Hunger and Thirst- to long for something, which is necessary for the sustenance of life; to desire earnestly and describes a longing or strong desire. To “hunger and thirst after” connotes two powerful motivating forces necessitating action by living things (illus.: wild creatures kill because they are hungry and their instinct is to survive. Also they will travel long instances to find prey and water because it is essential to their survival). In the scheme of the things, humans are no different because we to also kill and use all our knowledge to assure an abundance of food and water so that we will survive.
Jesus is saying that as we will be strongly motivated to survive in the natural, we have to be equally motivated in the spiritual by letting us know that as food and water is essential for the survival of the natural man, so righteousness is essential for the survival of the spirit man.
Righteousness- conforming to the claims of God on your life as His child. It is conforming to all God commands and requires (illus.: child in a family must conform to their parent's rule of order). What is our standard of righteousness? Christ is the standard of righteousness. Why? For all our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. It is only through Christ can we approach the righteousness of God because of the sacrifice on the cross of Jesus and His shed blood for the sins of the world that God will accept His righteousness as valid and He graciously credits/imputes Christ’s righteousness to us.
The text states that- happy is he or she that are strongly motivated to conform their life to what God has declared to be right with Him and he or she will be satisfied by Him.
What prevents us from being blessed and spiritually fulfilled? We find the answer when we look at the text in its antithetical (direct opposite) perspective.
Antithesis- unhappy are they that do hunger and thirst (whose desires are) after unrighteousness, for they shall remain empty and consequently dissatisfied. You are made unhappy and experience dissatisfaction in your life when you live in unrighteousness.
Unrighteousness- not conforming to the claims of God has on your life and not conforming to all God’s commands and requirements; doing that which is wrong. Missing the mark, which God calls sin.
When you hunger and thirst after unrighteousness, you are saying to God that you know what’s best for you. Human nature only seeks to satisfy itself and therefore is never satisfied because it can’t be satisfied without the Spirit of Christ (illus.- constant changing personal appearance; bigger cars; bigger homes; more money; big business spends billions of dollars just to create in you desires that only their product or service will meet). When a person gives in to their nature they are only asking to go on an endless quest that has no meaningful end. Because you hunger and thirst after the world, you hinder your blessings from God and are increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied with your life. [But] When you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, you seek to find what God has said and requires that will put you back in the blessing flow.
How is this satisfaction that Jesus provides made available to you?
A. 1 John 2:15-17- Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The love of the world will ultimately leave you with a feeling of dissatisfaction and unrest. There comes a time in your life when material affluence, popularity, or prestige no longer fills the deep longing that you experience in your spirit. The only answer is to seek to know God through Jesus Christ. You must understand that the motivational energy you use to hunger and thirst after unrighteousness and ungodliness must be re-channeled, with the help of the Holy Spirit toward righteousness, holiness and godliness.
B. The most important word in the text is one of the smallest, i.e., the word “do” which means to perform or execute. The satisfaction comes from the doing. The blessing (happiness) comes as the result of you being actively changing your life and lifestyle to conform to God’s righteousness (standard). As God has done His part, as Christ has done his part, so we must do our part. If we are looking for blessings from God we have to “do”. The Word says in order to be blessed, we must have a desire, and go after righteousness through Jesus Christ.
How does Jesus satisfy?
Jesus is the bread of life- “For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven and gives life unto the world…” Jesus said that, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger.”
In Christ there is sufficiency (He meets the need).
If you hunger after righteousness, here's what he will do for you:
1. If you are a baby, Jesus will give you the milk of the Word that will strengthen you that you will grow upright and strong;
2. If you are a meat-eater, Jesus will give you meat of the Word so that you may get what you need to live a long healthy life in Him;
3. If you are a vegetarian, Jesus will give you the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance that will add sweetness to your life;
If you thirst after righteousness, Jesus is the “water of life”. He told the woman at the well that He would give her living water and whosoever drinks would never thirst. His satisfaction would be so complete that the effect would be a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Preaching: Jesus satisfied God’s wrath and justice by His sacrifice on the cross.
After you have experienced what the world has to offer to satisfy you and you have looked to yourself for satisfaction and contentment in you life, and the world and you have failed, do what Jesus said:
1. Matt 6:25: …do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? vs. 31&33- “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? 33. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
2. Be motivated to live a righteous life.
3. Be motivated to be feed by the Word.
4. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with the water of life.
Jesus said,”…he that comes after me will never hunger; and that believes on me shall never thirst.”
Rev. 7:16,17- “They shall hunger and thirst no more…For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
And the Spirit and the bride say come. And let them that hear say, come. And let them that thirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water freely (Rev. 22:17).