I have already note the first two sessions in Part 1, so here is a summary of Jerry’s messages on Saturday night and Sunday Morning…
Hunger and Thirst speak of the craving or the passionate desire to have something, and here it is a craving after righteousness. Now, righteousness is used in two ways…
- Imputed Righteousness – this is the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to believers. It is the righteousness that is from God (Rom. 10:1-4) that is imputed to us, not the attempt of righteousness that comes through the Law. This righteousness is imputed or credited to us based on the work of the Cross because God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Therefore, our sins are forgiven because His death and perfect obedience are imputed to us. It is also important to note that the word Justification encompasses all of this. It is “just as if we had never sinned” as well as “just as if we had always obeyed.”
- Righteousness that is obedience – just as Romans 6:15-18 teaches us, it is through out obedience that we are producing righteousness. This is the pursuit of obedience that comes because we are righteous.
Therefore, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” is referring to the latter, the obedience that we are to pursue because of our righteousness. When we are hungering and thirsting for obedience we are earnestly desiring and with a sincere effort pursuing righteousness. We will not achieve it, but we want to pursue it.
But spiritual pride creeps in and doesn’t see the need for change. So, what creates this intense desire? It is the Gospel. Since we are already right with God (i.e. justified or declared righteous) we pursue obedience as an outflow of our spiritual standing. We want to be obedient because of the beauty of the fact that we are declared righteous. This is a Gospel Driven Sanctification. It is the Gospel that motivates.
6. Pure In Heart
The word heart refers to the inner person. It is a word that is synonymous with soul, spirit, inner man and mind. The expression “poor in spirit” is referencing the same arena, the arena of the heart. To be pure means to be free from anything else and is why we use it to describe clean clothes, pure gold and pure grain. All of these things have been cleansed and purified from pollutants.
To be pure in heart then is an attitude that is pursuing the removal of all sinful desires. It is a pursuit, not a final place. As James 4:8 tells us, “purify your hearts, you double minded” we recognize that we need to be single minded. We need to be focusing our efforts on the removal of sin in our lives. Our sin has been paid for, but the lasting effects of sin remains and Christ is calling us to pursue a cleansed heart.
Many Christians have a divided heart and are not bothered. Here are some verses that speak to that issue: Matthew 6:24, 33; Psalm 86:11; 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:1-2.
Now none of us will have a completely pure heart, but we want to pursue that. So, how does this help us develop “Humility in Action”? We must be God focused, not self focused. In other words are to be concerned with God’s will, God’s agenda and God’s glory above all. This all comes as a result of gratitude because of the Gospel.
On a final note it is important to note that we cannot do these things without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. We are all utterly dependent on Him. We must try harder in dependence on the Holy Spirit. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
Is this the Kind of peacemaking that we see on an international or national scale? No!
How can we be peacemakers? Well, in order to answer that question we must determine the cause of a lack of peace and that is found in James 3:13-4:1 where we are told that the cause is our own flesh, our own sinful nature. In Galatians 5:19-21 the Apostle Paul lists for us both flagrant sins and tolerated sins. When we look at that list with integrity we realize that we have met the enemy and it is us. Contrast that list with the fruit of the Spirit and it is interesting how similar the lists are in that they show what needs to be put off and then put on as Colossians 3 teaches. We should seek to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit with the Spirits help.
This is what is called “The Principle of Dependent Responsibility” – cultivate fruit plus depend on the Holy Spirit. Memorize key Scriptures, Pray to make peace in your life… For example:
- Romans 12:18 – So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men
- 1 Peter 3:8 – “Let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly…”
- Hebrews 12:4 – “Pursue peace with all men…”
WE need to take the Bible seriously!!! It means absorbing hurtful words and actions against us. It means taking the initiative to be a peace maker.
8. Persecuted (Reviled)
Persecution is commonplace, but here in the comfort of the United States we identify more with being reviled. This could come to us when we are passed over for a job because of a Biblical stand we are taking, whereas persecution speaks more to a physical activity.
Reviling is a form of ridicule. It is what professors are doing to Christian students in High School and College. But, if you enjoy the favor of God, you will likely be reviled.
Now, it is worth noting that being reviled or ridiculed because of “unchristian behavior” is not what is being talked about here. It should only come because we are living our lives faithfully before God and our fellow man.
As a true encouragement, Jesus reminds us that we who experience these things can rejoice because we stand in a long line of faithful prophets who also endured both persecution and reviling for the cause of Christ.
So, as Peacemakers “Humility in Action” means the seeking out of people who have wronged us. It takes humility to take the initiative and to pursue peace. As ones being persecuted or reviles our “Humility in Action” is spelled out by how we graciously absorb the ridicule and that we don’t take it personally. We know who is really being persecuted. It is Christ through us.
Friends, this was a great weekend of ministry from a man greatly used by God. It was a privilege to sit at his feet and be strengthened, convicted, challenged and fed.
On another note, we partnered with Wellspring Church, a Sovereign Grace Church here in San Leandro. They were an extreme blessing to us. We enjoyed the fellowship and the joy of coming together for the sake of the Gospel was an excellent example of what unites us. Thank you Wellspring for you partnership, your support, and your friendship.