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Righteousness – The Fourth Step To Happiness

Matthew 5:6-5:6

Starving For Righteousness – The Fourth Step To Happiness

We have been making a journey through a section of the scripture known as the beatitudes. The beatitudes are found in Matthew chapter five. All of them begin with the word “blessed.” Another word for blessed is happy. So as we have been making our way down through the beatitudes – we are finding steps to happiness.

If you will recall we have already looked at the first three steps. Humility was the first step to happiness. Repentance was the second step. Teachability was the third step and today we are going to look at step four – starving for righteousness.

Today we are going to focus in on verse six. Follow along with me as I read:

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

Let me ask you, “What are you starving for? What are you hungry for? What is the deepest desire of your heart? What is it that you long for more than anything else?” That’s what Jesus it talking about when He says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

A young man came to Socrates and told him that he wanted knowledge. "Follow me" the philosopher told the young man and led him to the edge of the ocean and into the water, without warning Socrates grabbed the young man and plunged him beneath the water and held him there until the young man stopped struggling. Then Socrates pulled the young man out of the water – gasping for air. Socrates then dragged the boy to the shore, left him there on the sand and returned to the market place. When the young man recovered he sought out Socrates again and asked him why he tried to drown him. Socrates replied, "When you were under the water what did you want more then anything else?" The young man replied, “I wanted to breath. I needed air.” Socrates responded by saying, "When you crave knowledge like you craved air, then you may be able to find it."

What do you long for? Do you long for righteousness? Do you long for Godly things? Is righteousness the desire of your heart? The Bible says we need to have a starvation hunger – a starvation drive for righteousness.

Do you know what righteousness is? Righteousness is how God behaves. Righteousness is how God acts and reacts to everything He has created – because He is righteous.

Righteousness is becoming GODLY.

The Bible says God is righteous and true. We need to desire to be like Him. When something is wicked we need to call it wicked. When something is sinful we need to call it sinful. When something is pure and holy we need to hold on to it. We need to have a burning desire for it. We need to study it and live it. Our driving passion – our driving force – our driving hunger – needs to be on those things that are pleasing to God.

God wants us to have a desire so strong for Him that it is almost like starvation hunger. The desire for righteousness should drive our lives. Look at what David wrote in Psalm forty two verse one.

“As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God.” (GNB)

David had it right – he knew the only one who could provide satisfaction was God Himself.

But here is the problem. We try to find satisfaction in the wrong places. We try to find satisfaction in the wrong stuff. We try to satisfy our souls with things that have no eternal value. Let me give you six examples of things that will not satisfy.

1. PROSPERITY doesn’t give lasting satisfaction.

Someone told me a while back, “I don’t know if I could handle a winning a million dollars – but I sure would like to give it a try.”

Folks here is a fact:

Money doesn’t automatically bring HAPPINESS.

Folks you could have all the money that you could possibly ever want and that may not make you happy. Money can disappear in a moment. Look at what Proverbs chapter twenty seven says:

“Wealth is not forever. Nor does a crown last from one generation to the next.” Pro 27:24 (GW)

Margaret Henry told a story a little while back in one of our Bible studies here. She had been over to Help House – which you know is set up to help people who need food and clothing. Margaret said there was a lady inside who had a great spirit – she seemed full of joy and happiness. When the lady got ready to leave Margaret noticed that the lady was driving an old car with one of the windows broken out and tape or plastic over it. The lady didn’t have much money but she had a pleasant spirit. Her happiness didn’t seem to be based on the amount of money she had.

Folks look at what it says in Ecclesiastes chapter five and verse ten:

“The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 (HCSB)

Folks, John D. Rockefeller was asked back when he was the richest man in the America, “How much money is enough.” Do you know what his answer was? He said, “More than I have.”

Prosperity does not satisfy.

2. POSSESSIONS don’t give lasting satisfaction.

Today there are more products available than ever before. Many of them say, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. But are people happier now then they have ever been? We have twice as many products as we did ten years ago. Are people twice as happy?

A person told me, “Even when I get what I want – within a short time I quickly get tired of it.” Did any of you have a Commodore 64 computer? Do any of you even remember a Commodore 64? Boy, I tell you at the time it came out – we thought we were high speed – low drag. We thought we were upper class. We had the latest technology and we though we were walking on cloud nine. But you know what happened? Something better came along to replace it – and we were no longer satisfied with our Commodore 64. That’s what happens with possessions. They become obsolete. They become dated. They become old fashion.

Quite a few years ago I preached a sermon on “stuff” – people around here still talk about that sermon. Do you know what happens when you get “stuff”? You have to store it. You have to clean it. You have to move it. You have to protect it. You worry about it! The more "stuff" you have the more worries you have.

In many ways “stuff” traps you rather than sets you free. Stuff is just stuff. Stuff doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction. Look at what David wrote in Psalm thirty seven:

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4 (NKJV)

Only God can give us the desires of our heart – only God can satisfy us.

3. POWER doesn’t give lasting satisfaction.

Some people think that if they obtain the right position of power that they will be satisfied. But this may not be true.

Folks do you know what I find over and over in the Bible – no matter what position of power you may achieve – in the end, God will place us all equal ground. We will all be placed on the same playing field. He will put us on level ground – eye to eye – shoulder to shoulder. Romans chapter three verse twenty three is one of those verse that that makes us all equal: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (HCSB)

In Philippians chapter two verse ten it says:

“At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow — of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Philippians 2:10 (HCSB)

Folks all of us will stand before a judgment seat of Christ some day. It doesn’t matter what position of power you may have achieved in this world – we all will kneel before Christ. We all will be held accountable for our actions. You will not be given any preferred treatment because of the position power that you held it this world.

In fact – did you know that people who have been put in positions of power will be held to higher standards of judgment? Look with me at Luke chapter twelve verse forty eight:

“Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.” Luke 12:48 (HCSB)

Folks be very careful if you are trying to find satisfaction in obtaining power.

4. PERFORMANCE doesn’t give lasting satisfaction.

There is a myth that says, “Success produces satisfaction”. But this is just not true. Ecclesiastes chapter six says:

“All man’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.” Ecclesiastes 6:7 (HCSB)

Many workaholics are very unsatisfied on the inside. They may be successful on the outside but they are unsatisfied – so they work harder. It becomes a viscous cycle. After the thrill of winning they have to win some more – produce more – make more – work more. The cycle never ends – yet they are never satisfied.

5. PLEASURE doesn’t give lasting satisfaction.

If you just take a cruise. If you just retire in luxury. If you just travel the world – if you just have the right love affair – then you will be happy. This is another myth.

How many of you have made a late night kitchen raid? You’re hungry but you don’t know what your hungry for. So you try a little of this – or you try a little of that. But nothing seems to satisfy you. Many people are that way with life. They try a little of this – they try a little of that – they move from one thing to the next thing to the next thing – not quite satisfied with anything. Pleasure is temporary – it will only last a short time. Look at what the Message Bible says in Proverbs chapter twenty one:

“You’re addicted to thrills. What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.” Proverbs 21:17 (MSG)

Seeking pleasure never satisfies.

Some of you may be shocked with this next one.

6. Religious POMP doesn’t give lasting satisfaction.

Jesus put it this way:

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!” Matthew 6:5 (HCSB)

Doing religious stuff with the wrong motives will not satisfy – either. You can go to church. You can pray. You can give money for God’s cause – which are all good things – but if they are done with the wrong motives – they will not satisfy. God will not be pleased. You can even become a Biblical scholar – know the Bible backward and forward – yet still not be satisfied. Look at what Jesus said in John chapter five:

“You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 (HCSB)

Knowing the Bible does not bring satisfaction – but knowing the One whom the Bible points to DOES.

The answer to being satisfied is not found in prosperity, possessions, power, performance, pleasure or religious pomp. The answer to being satisfied – fully satisfied – is found in a PERSON and that person is Jesus Christ.

Stop eating spiritual junk food. Stop looking for things in life that don’t satisfy. In Isaiah chapter fifty five God gives this warning:

“Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest.” Isaiah 55:2 (MSG)

Only Jesus can truly satisfy your hunger. Only Jesus can truly quench your thirst. Here is what Jesus said in John chapter six.

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (NKJV)

Jesus is saying, “I’m IT. I’m the means to your satisfaction. What you really need in life is ME. You may have looked all over the place for satisfaction. You may have tried many different things – but only I can satisfy.”

Look at John chapter six and verse thirty five again with me. Let’s read it together:

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (NKJV)

Notice that there are two things in this verse which will cause you never to hunger and thirst again. Go ahead and circle the word “comes” and also circle the word “believes”. Do you see the condition for being satisfied? In order to be satisfied this verse says I must do two things. First of all I must “come” to Him and second I must “believe” in Him. Jesus is saying, “You’ve got to take action. You’ve got to do something. If you want to be filled – come to Me – believe in Me.”

Let me talk to you about coming and believing in Christ just for a minute. Folks the table is set. The banquet has been prepared. You have a reservation. There is a little card at a place setting that has your name on it. On the table is set the best china, the brightest silverware and there is sparkling crystal. The food that is served is enough to make your mouth water. It will satisfy your deepest needs – your deepest desires. You can smell the aromas and they are a delight to the senses. It is all there – FOR YOU! But you have a choice – will you – or won’t you? Will you eat at His table? Will you drink from His cup? Or will you keep looking for satisfaction some place else? Jesus said it this way:

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (NKJV)

Folks the choice is yours. Will you come? Will you believe? Enter the door - take your seat - eat at His table. The table is prepared for you - remember:

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

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