Sunday, April 14, 2024

Worldview: Learning to Think and Live Biblically by Greg Laurie: Chapter 5-6

 Chapter 5: How to Be Happy 


Beatitudes: what our attitudes should be = The Be Happy Attitudes 

-you can’t buy happiness

-spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being very happy

-least religiously committed people have been found to be very unhappy

-Godly people are happy people

“Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15).

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself” (C.S Lewis)

-seek God and happiness will come


Sermon on the Mount

-Jesus reveals His definition of happiness in the greatest sermon ever preached

-This is Jesus, God in the flesh, giving us His worldview

-showing us how to survive and thrive in this upside down culture

-Jesus tells us what happiness is and how it can be found


Blessed = Happy

-this is the way we should be living

-blessed is interchangeable with happy

-Christians connect with being blessed or blessing others

-Nonbelievers have no idea what real blessings mean

-Jesus began and ended his ministry by blessing people

-He took the little ones into his arms and blessed them

-after his death and resurrection-He met his devastated and discouraged disciples

and blessed them

-when he ascended into the air, He sent down blessings to his his disciples

-Jesus loved to bless people. He still does

-the Greek term used is makarios which means happy or blissful

-Greeks called the island of Cyprus the “happy island”- its geographical location

had perfect climate, fertile soil, and perfect living conditions


Makarios portrayed a self-contained happiness. It is the idea of happiness that is independent of our circumstances. I means that regardless of what might be happening to you externally, you can be a truly happy person internally–A genuinely blessed person


Like Cyprus He is our island. “When you and I , as believers, speak of being happy, blissful, or blessed, we’re operating from a different definition than that of the culture in which we live.”


“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).


-there are 8 beatitudes

-1st four deal with your relationship with God

-final four deal with your relationship with people 


Beatitude 1: Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

-the word poor is from a verb meaning to shrink, cower, or cringe, as beggars often did in that day

-the Bible doesn’t anywhere commend poverty, but this beatitude has nothing to do with your bank account

-this beatitude is speaking of a person who is destitute and completely dependent on others for help, but not in financial terms

-this beatitude is speaking to people who see themselves as they really are before God

-people who are lost, hopeless, and helpless 

-without Christ and His provision of grace, everyone is spiritually destitute or poor in spirit regardless of education, wealth, accomplishments, or even religious knowledge 

-the poor in spirit means to acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy and your total need of God

-you don’t need to bring anything to the table because we are all depraved, we are sinners,

and we are in desperate need of a savior

-it is His grace and His mercy being offered to you

-if a person doesn’t ever see the need of Jesus, our Savior then they can never gain the

kingdom of heaven

-Old Testament Story of Naaman: highly decorated military officer, Syrian army general, he was powerful, influential, and admired, and he also was a leper

Naaman should have been ostracized and it was a death sentence as there was no medicine or treatment-it was a horrific disease

-no one but Naaman knew he has leprosy 

-Naaman hears about Elisha the prophet and goes to speak to him at Elisha’s home

-Elisha doesn’t come to the door but instead sends him a message “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy” (2 Kings 5:10).

-The servant closes the door as Haman in anger that Elisha wouldn’t come to the door to speak to him personally so stomped off

-Haman chose to swallow his pride and obey the Lord’s instructions

-He stripped to reveal to his men his leprosy

-Naamon then went and dunked himself 6 times

-then after the 7thm Naaman came out of the water fully healed from his leprosy


“If you want to be a happy person, then you have to see yourself for what and whom you truly are: a sinner in need of a Savior.” 


“The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether” (C. S. Lewis).


-Jesus tells us if we want to be truly happy we need to repent and reconcile with a God who loves us

-the Bible speaks of a kingdom of heaven that is a future destination God has praised us when we leave this world into His presence

-It is also speaking of the present as believers who are living under the rule and reign of Jesus


Beatitude 2: Those Who Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).


-practical meaning is that happy people are unhappy people or “Happy are the unhappy”

-Greek term used for mourn in this verse means “the most severe of all nine (Greek) words used for grief in Scripture and is reserved for mourning the dead.”

-death is a loss that stays with you as you can’t be your own comforter so God becomes your source of comfort so in the deep morning is the happy that God is here within your mourning sharing your space in every circumstance especially in mourning

-there is a blessedness, or happiness in mourning

-in mourning, you gain new perspectives on life 

-some of the things that seemed so important are now not that important and visa versa

-you find comfort if the person may have left their earthly body, but entered in the presence of Jesus

-Heaven becomes more tangible 

-Heaven now holds someone you love living and waiting for your arrival

-when you mourn you begin to understand what really matters in life and what doesn’t

-this world isn’t the end, but something you will leave behind


***You will find yourself drawing close to God because you really have no where else to go 


-there is good in grief or mourning

-weeping can be good and has its place and doesn’t have to be suppressed


Points for men:

-Men do have emotions, but that is not true, they just know how to hold back their emotions 

-Men grew up believing it was unmanly to cry

But that is of the world, so not scriptural

-Jesus wept right out in public 

-Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus 

-Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem as He approached it for the final time

-Jesus was the manliest man and he wept


If you have found yourself crying today in your loneliness, in your discouragement, or over the feeling of rejection; know this that those tears that fall don't go unseen. God keeps track of every one of them. The Bible tells us:


“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!” (Psalm 56:8).

“Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;  he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34: 12-18).

 “The Bible says that people who see their own spiritual poverty and take action to seek God and turn from their sins will be greatly comforted.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Self: Godly sorrow brings repentance which means you are sorry enough to stop, change your direction, and go in a different way. 

Others: mourning of the life separated from the life of God

***Without the mourning, there can be no lasting joy

Beatitude 3: The Meek

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5)


What is meekness? It does not mean weakness. It is about restraint. 


The Greek word for meek was used to describe the process of reining in a stallion. The stallion has to choose to submit to authority. That meekness; it is power under constraint. 


The Bible teaches:

-the last is first

-giving is receiving

-dying is living

-losing is finding

-least is greatest

-meekness is strength


***The overall message from the Beatitudes is the living by God’s truth, not by what the world says, will bring happiness and blessing into your days


Genesis:

Joseph was the illustration of meekness as he restrained his power under constraint 

-He was 2nd in command over all Egypt

-He has the opportunity to kill his brothers who had sold him into slavery 

-He instead chose to forgive them, met their needs, and took care of them

-He submitted to a God-given perspective 


“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20).


Jesus:

-the greatest example of meekness of all time was Jesus, himself

-Almighty God walking among us in the flesh and yet look at the abuse He took without hitting back

-He took being beaten, spit upon, 39 lashes of cat-o-nine-tails

-It is amazing He survived the whipping

-He carried that four hundred pound cross through the streets of Jerusalem

-He chose not to use his power, but humbled himself-epitome of meekness

“Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” (Matthew 26:53).


***He yielded to the abuse, to the cross, and to death in order to pay the price for our salvation. He restrained His unimaginable power for a better end. He had you and me in mind all along


Beatitude 4: Hungry for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).


What does it mean to hunger and thirst for God himself?

-Being desperate for God and lost without Him

-thirsty and hungry for spiritual things like righteousness 

-you want to be right with God and walk with God


“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. When can I go and stand before him?” (Psalm 42: 1-2).


-to progress in the Beatitudes: I have seen myself as I truly am, as God sees me, and I have mourned over my condition, and now I walk in meekness before God


-when the prodigal son found himself eating the slop with the pigs, he determined to return to his father as he was starving 

-in his starvation, he turned to his father

-the father did not reject him but rejoiced that the son that was lost has been found

-we should starve for a holy life

-hunger for God’s best for our lives

-then take practical steps to find that holy life and obtain it


***Being poor in spirit means you see yourself as you truly are and this world for what it truly is. It will never satisfy you


-now is the answer of being rich in spirit be within you because the problem is within you

-we are sinners in need of a Savior which causes us to mourn for our sin and sorry for our condition


***We are sinners in need of a Savior, which causes us to mourn for our sin and be sorry for our condition. We mourn so badly we stop what we are doing and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and relief


-as you believe and trust in Jesus, your life begins to change

-your outlook changes

-your attitude toward life changes

-you turn away from arrogance and become a meek person

-you become a person with your strengths and emotions under His control

-you realize that you are a forgiven person, not better than others, but better off than others, because of your relationship with the living God 

**you hunger for God, and you thirst to know Him better 

 

Chapter 6: The Pursuit of Happiness


“Americans, the importance of happiness is even embedded in our Declaration of Independence. The founding document states, among other things, that as Americans we are endowed with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”


Philosopher Eric Hoffer, “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

-meaning you don’t dedicate your life to the pursuit of happiness because if you do, it is almost certain that you will never find it


-happiness is when events in our lives do not go well and our happiness doesn’t evaporate when circumstances turns against us

-happiness in the Bible advocates does not come from what you have, it comes from whom you know. It comes from the Lord Himself


Review: 1st four beatitudes

-Jesus statements are about how we can be happy in this life

-we have such a beautiful description from our Creator and Lord Himself

-we find the keys to lasting happiness 

-there is a sequence of the beatitudes

-there is an order to them 

-each appearing in its appropriate place 


Look at the final four statements on the subject of being blessed:

Matthew 5: 7-10

-Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy

-Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God

-Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God

-Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven


Jesus shifts gears from what happy people are to what blessed, or happy, people do (the actions)

-the 1st four statements deal more with our relationship with God

-the last four statements deal with our relationship with others


“A Christian is something before he does anything; and we have to be Christian before we can act as a Christian.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Beatitude 5: A happy person will be a merciful person

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).


-Matthew 5:3-6, I see myself as I really am and I mourn over my needy spiritual condition

-we do not value mercy much in today's culture

-I seek to walk in meekness before the Lord

-my hunger and thirst for HIm grow more intensely by the day

-I deeply desire to live a righteous life

-I become a merciful person because I recognize how much mercy has been extended to me

What is mercy?

-not something we just feel

-it is something we do 

-the word mercy is translated “alms” or “aid to the needy”

-if you are merciful then you will help a person in need and rescue the person in misery

-Its not enough to simply say “I feel your pain”

-mercy is meeting the need, not just feeling it

-it is pity in action

-we see a problem and we are going to do something about it

-merciful people are not quick to condemn, criticize, or come down on others

-godly men and women seek to help struggling people

-forgiven people are forgiving people



Beatitude 6: A happy person will be a holy person

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).


How could we ever be pure in heart?

-you can, but as a human we can’t live up to that standard so we need Jesus

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).


Follow the sequence of the beatitudes:

-1st I come to the realization that my heart truly is deceptive and desperately wicked

-2nd I see my spiritual condition and see myself as I truly am

-3rd I mourn over the condition of my heart and life

-4th my prayer like the psalmist I seek to have a pure heart- Lord, give me a new heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).


In our culture:

-the heart is the center of emotion

-the mind is the center of intellect

-you can be one or the other 

-instead of working together they are in conflict 


Hebrews:

-in the culture, the heart referred to everything

-it was the very center of the personality, mind, and thoughts as well as the emotions

“As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).

-the heart is the center of who we are

-so, we should strive to be pure with all of our being


What does it mean to be pure?

-it doesn’t mean we are flawless 

-pure means we are “focused” or “single-minded”

Ex. on the Sermon on the Mount-Jesus says

-if our eye is “single” the our “whole” body shall be full of light”

-But if our eye is “evil” then an eye that sees with double vision our body will be “full of darkness”

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,  your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6: 22-23).

-to be single, or pure, means to have a single-minded devotion to Jesus 

-you don't need to have a divided heart

“Unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11).

-to be pure, means seeking a holy life because that is the secret to happiness

-don’t chase after happiness, chase after holiness

“Seek for happiness, and you will never find it, seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones).


Beatitude 7: A Happy Person Will Be a Peacemaker

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

-don’t we all want peace in the world?

-Christ really doesn’t advocate working for global peace

-Christains are for peace, but not for peace at any cost

-there will be times when we draw the line and stand for what is right even when the results of that stand aren’t peaceful

“We want peace” simply let Hitler have his way exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe

-There was a time where we said “this is wrong” and America entered into the war 


Matthew 5:9

-is not speaking of political peace between nations

-he was speaking of those who bring the gospel of peace to their world

-offering those to enter a relationship with the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10;15).

-we have realized our spiritual poverty

-we have sought and found the mercy of God

-now we hunger and thirst for Him as never before


Warnings

-Peacemakers are often troublemakers

-to be a true peacemaker you know that as long as people are at war with God

-as a peacemaker you may have to make people sad

-as a peacemaker you may have to confront them with the reality of their spiritual state before the Lord

-as a peacemaker, people may not like it because peacemaking is not passive

-peacemaking has to be proactive


Who was the greatest peacemaker? Jesus Himself who is the Prince of Peace

-how was He treated?

-they crucified Him

-peacemaking means you do not dodge occasional persecution

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).


Beatitude 8: Happy People will be Persecuted

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5: 10-12).


-this is not the most popular of beatitudes

-if you live a consistently a godly life, you will be persecuted

-it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when and how much?


We like to claim God’s promises:

-Bible’s promises for healing, help, provision, and protection

-harder to claim the Bible’s promise of persecution

“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).


Who likes to be persecuted?:

-who wants to feel the pressure, pain, and intimidation of a world system that is violently opposed to Jesus?


Jesus:

-He tells us to be happy when we are persecuted in His name

-notice He says that you are blessed twice 

-He is emphasizing a double sized blessing for those who are persecuted 


Why are we being persecuted?

-righteousness by it nature is confrontational

-you believing in and loving Jesus will upset some people

-you know and see people are bothered by the fact that you believe the Bible and call Jesus your Lord

Jesus told Nicodemus

“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).

-bottom line is that people do not want their sins exposed

-people do not want to admit they are sinners

-people do not want to be reminded that they will find themselves accountable someday to holy God

-you are a representative of Christ on earth, so just your presence reminds them 

-Do you see people treating you differently once they know you are a representative of God?

-you will face persecution at some point


Persecution perspective:

-scripture says that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution

-Jesus said that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake will be blessed

-Jesus didn’t say blessed are those persecuted for being self-righteous

-Jesus didn’t say blessed are those persecuted for being obnoxious, tactless, condescending, moronic, or idiotic

-you do not need to bring persecution on yourself for being rude or mean

-double blessing is promised when you endure heartache and hardship for humbly acknowledging your love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ


What does it mean to be persecuted?:

-the word “persecute” could be translated “to be chased” or “to be driven away” or “to be pursued”

-persecution can turn violent even in America people have been physically assaulted for their faith

-Islamic and communist nations harass, jail, discriminate against, and even kill (martyr) people for their faith

-at times it can be more subtle like loss of a job, friends, or you become the brunt of someone’s jokes


So what should you do if you are being persecuted?

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).

-it is a privilege to face persecution as a representative of Jesus Christ

-persecution can draw us closer to Jesus

-persecution pushes us further away from a world system that is hostile to Him, but guarantees a reward

-God allows persecution for His own special purposes 

Examples

-an unbelieving spouse hostile to faith mocks you or puts you down for believing in Jesus

-a coworker sharply questions your faith  daily

-teacher or professor tries to intimidate you or humiliate you for your faith in the Lord


Purpose:

-easy to pray to remove you from the situation or remove the person from your life then to persevere through it

-God may allow the harassment for a reason like help you become stronger spiritually

-it may help you to learn to lean even harder on Him for help and wisdom

We ask “why does God allow this?”

-to keep you on your toes spiritually

-to keep you digging into the Bible for answers

-encourage you to spend time on your knees

-to seek His help

-to seek His wisdom

-to seek His encouragement


Beneficial Results of Persecution for your Faith:

-First, we are reminded that we are children of God

“For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).

-Second, it causes me to cling more tightly to Jesus and be reminded that this world is not my home

-no one said that being a Christian was going to be easy

-our faith in Jesus Christ is worth living for and with dying for 

-God’s happiness will never be a shallow happiness

-God’s happiness will never get dinged up or faded by circumstances

***God’s happiness is the only one that lasts forever


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