Stand Out: Be Happy
This is a season to STANDOUT and be want God wants us to be. We said last week that as true followers of Jesus Christ, well commit to STANDOUT by:
– Starting from where we are
– Speaking out
– Staying the full course
We continue with the series from Sermon on the Mount dubbed, STANDOUT.
Songs of Happiness
If you are happy and you know it clap your hands
Im happy today, so happy. In Jesus name Im happy .
These and more songs have been sung about Christian happiness and weve repeated them over the years. The question that begs our interrogation today is this, what really is Christian happiness? How can I be happy and really know this is the right kind of happiness? Why am I not happy as Im supposed to be?
Id like us to try and answer some of these questions today as we explore our theme STANDOUT and prayerfully most of us will leave this service filled with happiness and the joy of the Lord.
Briscoe said it well when it comes to standing out: A divine minority against a secular majority [Stuart Briscoe]
This is what it means to be a distinctive, dynamic, supernormal Christian in our modern day society, he adds. And I agree with him.
Wed like to address the first of several key values that will make us STAND OUT in this generation
Lets read the text..
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
As Jesus begins to teach his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, what was the very first word that he utters? It is the word blessed. And please take note that he says it 8 times in this portion of Scripture which means he wants to take note of it.
Brothers and sisters, I bring to you the 1st Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount and Ive entitled it ..
II TIME TO BE HAPPY..
The word blessed or Happy is a rather lovely word often used by us without our really understanding what it means.
In the Greek, it is MAKARIOS.
1. Typically, it was used to describe:
The wealthy, because they enjoyed a standard of living that appeared to put them out of reach of the cares of this life. (Money can buy happiness.)
The Greek gods because they had the power to gratify their every desire.
It described a state of contentment and delight that was reserved for a very privileged minority.
2. This world gives us the popular concept of happiness.
a. Blessed are the rich
b. Blessed are the famous
c. Blessed are the gifted
d. Blessed are the powerful
e. And the list continues
Happiness is a common desire. Yet, so few people seem to have it.
If happiness is linked with power, not every one can have it.
If happiness is linked with prosperitythen
If happiness is linked with popularitythen
MAKARIOS living is what Jesus has in mind for his people a life of blessedness. He therefore warns us to live in a state of contentment, a state of fulfilment. Indeed, we are called to live in a state of HAPPINESS and a state of JOY – MAKARIOS.
And yet, as a look at the believers today, I wonder whether were living in this state that the Lord desires for us.
Could it be that weve forgotten that Jesus came to usher in a state of unbelievable blessedness, makarios, in peoples lives.
HAPPINESS THE UNEXPECTED OFFER
Chuck Swindoll, in his book Simple Faith, made the following observation.
After noting that Jesus used nine, back-to-back announcements of blessing, he remarked,
Having endured a lifetime of verbal assaults by the scribes and Pharisees, the multitude on the mount must have thought they had died and gone to heaven.
For some reason, many people look at the Bible and all they can see is the negative. They emphasize the prohibitions, the curses, and the judgments and leave people with the impression that God has the disposition of a sadist. They seem to see God as the cosmic killjoy who spends His time trying to think up new ways to make people miserable and unhappy.
Jesus painted a different picture. He showed them a God who wanted them to be happy who wanted to fill their life with satisfaction, contentment, and delight.
G. Campbell Morgan wrote that blessed is a word “full of sunshine, thrilling with music, brimming over with just what man is seeking.”
I wonder how youd describe blessedness in your own terms or expectations!
The idea that God wants us happy should not surprise us.
There are some instances in the Bible that this word HAPPY OR BLESSED has been used and Id like to mention just a few of them:
The same word is used in 1 Tim. 1:11
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Im so glad I serve a happy God, a joyful God. Dont ever let someone criticize you for having fun at church. Its a wonderful life, a natural high, and you dont have to wake up tomorrow feeling guilty! MAKARIOS IS HERE TO STAY!
The same word is also in Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
It also has the meaning of congratulations!
So, are you poor in spirit? Congratulations! [etc.] Friends, our God is a happy God and hed like his children to be happy as well.
It would be strange if this blessed God did not want to produce blessed people.
A thoroughly happy God must want to make people happy.
Of course there are so many hindrances to us achieving this desired sate of blessedness. I can summarize them into ONLY TWO:
If we really want to STANDOUT as blessed or happy people, we must dispense with these 2 vices – selfishness and sinfulness
I truly believe that I will be right to suggest that the greatest and single most pursuit of every human being is to be happy. This does not know any race, gender or age. It is universal. It is no wonder Jesus dedicated a huge portion of his teaching to this aspect of life – happiness.
Are you happy? Too many people spend their lives thinking, “I could be happy if…” They are looking for happiness in the wrong places, associating it with the wrong things.
Most people think that happiness is to be found in things. Real happiness is not rooted in material things. It is actually rooted in knowing God and walking with him. That is MAKARIOS.
To make this point clear, in his sermon, Jesus clarified how comes true happiness is not centered on material things.
I have summarized his teaching about happiness into two great lessons for each of us who wants to be happy.
1. HAPPINESS IS A PRODUCT OF CHARACTER
Some of the phrases we looked at in vv 3-5 explain how comes happiness is a product of character.
Just listen to some of them
Blessed are the poor in spirit.. blessed are those who mournand the meek.
These three statements are a paradox to the modern mind.
Ati blessed are the poor in spirit Nonesense! The modern mind cannot take that.
At least not here in Kenya where everyone is pursuing one form of richness or the other. In fact, in some tribes, to be poor is like treated like youre living in sin! You considered an outcast if you choose to be poor, leave alone being poor in the spirit!
But the Scripture teaches that happiness does not come from centering ones life around oneself. No. Blessedness only comes to the poor in spirit.
Lets examine the character traits of happiness one by one as explained in this portion
A. HAPPINESS IS BEING REALISTIC – V3
Blessed are the poor in spirit
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? What kind of character is poor in spirit?
I do suggest that a person poor in spirit has reached a realistic state of heart in two areas: One is the spiritual inability and secondly spiritual inadequacy.
Such a person comes before God in humble adoration and says God, you are the great God, and I am only a piece of your creation. I have my own little world and it is crumbling down. Ive held onto certain things to define who I am but now I know youre the only one who can determine WHO I am.
I did my own thing and it is not satisfying.
I sought happiness everywhere people said it could be found, but I didnt find it.
I have reached the end of my rope.
And guess what? The Lord responds to such a person and says: Ill tell you what well do. Lets backtrack a little bit.
Outside of Christ, we are poverty-stricken in spirit, and unless and until this is rectified, we can never find fulfillment.
It is worth underscoring right here that those who are poor in the spirt are blessed because they are realistic about their spiritual inability and spiritual inadequacy.
Be Realistic about your spiritual inability
One of our main problems today is that we do not recognize our true spiritual condition. This state of affairs makes happiness an elusive pursuit. The truth is, human beings are spiritually poor. Period.
Thats why Jesus said in John 3:3
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”
This is our true spiritual condition. We CANNOT (unable) to see the kingdom of God unless Gods makes it possible for us.
In this regard, it is important to note that there are certain things that we cannot do by ourselves, like thee ability to enter the kingdom of God. Were completely incapable.
We therefore need to admit to ourselves that we cannot enter the Kingdom of God on our own. We need God. I need God.
Admission of weakness is one of the hardest things to do. But if we want Gods MAKARIOS, we have to admit our inability.
The realistic character is the one who says, I am poor in spirit. There so much I cannot do.
The Hymn writer puts it in a better way:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply come to thy cross I cling;
Naked come to thee for dress;
Helpless look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me Saviour, or I die.
Friends, this is the language of the poor in spirit. To such, and only such, the Kingdom of God is given.
Happiness is in Christ is totally opposed to what the world is selling out there. The world says, get up there; build yourself up there; be what youre going to be, and youll be happy. God says, Humble yourself . Admit what you are. Face the poverty of your own spiritual experience, then Ill pour in MAKARIOS.
Blessed are those who are realistic enough to admit their own spiritual inability.
Be Realistic about your spiritual inadequacy
To be poor in the spirit also means to be realistic about our spiritual inadequacy. Some Two Bible characters can illustrate this for us: Jacob & Isaiah. For each of them, God intended to give them MAKARIOS but he could not until each them reached a pint where they had to face up with their spiritual inadequacy their poverty in the spirit.
He fought with God all night until God had to dislocate his hip. He reached a point and said, Okay God, I quit. I cant win. I surrender. The Bible says, Then God blessed him there (Gen 32:29). MAKARIOS.
God was going to do fantastic things with Isaiah but something was on the way. He was so upset because the king had just died and all he could think about. Then God decided to show him a vision of himself high and exalted. The train of Gods robe filled the temple. When Isaiah saw the majestic heavenly temple and the throne, he said, Woe unto me!….. Im ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips ..my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty (Isa 6:5. In essence, God was saying to Isaiah, You are right. Woe is you. You dont have what it takes. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
MAKARIOS. And God blessed Isaiah there.
B. HAPPINESS IS BEING REPENTANT V4
The Bible not only says that blessed are the poor in spirit. It goes ahead to state that blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
When we are realistic about our spiritual inability and inadequacy, we begin to understand the need to repent. There is no happiness for the person who knows their spiritual poverty and does nothing about it.
The kind of mourning referred to here is not the same as mourning loss of a loved one. It is being sorrowful about our spiritual poverty. It means much more. Repentance comes deep in the soul when we realize all God has in mid for us and how little of it weve appropriated. It should break our hearts to realize that we have not achieved the fullness of what God intended for us. This kind of brokenness is what the Bible calls repentance.
There is no MAKARIOS for those who reject repentance. We must all come in brokenness and confession for us to experience the comfort and happiness promised in the Bible.
Some examples might help
David: In Psalm we meet a broken and a repentant David. When one is repentant, it invites Gods power to forgive and heal
Job had enough of everything. He didnt even know what to do with it. He wasnt happy until he reached Job 42:6
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
It took pretty long for Job to get to this point – 41 long chapters.
But when he got this point of repentance, God said, Great, Job has made it. He has reached his point of MAKARIOS. This is the point of brokenness and repentance.
There is no MAKARIOS for the unrealistic and for the unrepentant. Such people end up fighting losing battles.
Are you harboring unconfessed sin? Are you reluctant to let go this one habt?
Are you battered and imprisoned by some secret sin? Something you do or have done in secret? Please bring it to the foot of the cross today so that you experience your MAKARIOS today.
C. HAPPINESS IS BEING RESPONSIVE V5
Blessed are the meek is our 3rd Beatitude. It is been said that if youre going to be happy, you must go out into big, hard, materialistic world and give it all you have. The worlds idea of meekness is being a doormat, having spaghetti for a backbone.
Truth be said, meekness is not the same thing as weakness. To be meek is not to be weak. Instead, meekness is yielding to God.
The paradox here is that those who yield to God and abandon the need to play hard and materialistic, are the ones who will inherit the earth. What a contrast!
Meekness is essentially a true view of one self, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others.
So, happiness is a product of character. It emanates from the disposition of those who are realistic, repentant and responsive.
But there is something else about happiness
2. HAPPINESS IS THE PROMISE OF CHRIST
It is important to note how Jesus spoke about these blessings. He spoke with authority saying, Blessed are the poor in spiritblessed are those who mourn..blessed are the meek.
He did not say these are suggestions or anything that one consider just some of the times. NO.
Instead, he spoke with authority regarding each of the beatitudes. He meant what he said and said what he meant.
Friends, these beatitudes are Gods promises to us and we should therefore treat them as such.
Listen to them one more time
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus meant it then and he means it today. There is a heaven to be inherited. Heaven is real my friends. No one should cheat is that there is no heaven. The poor in spirit will be there.
Then he said, blessed are those who mourn for they will be comfort. Yes, there is comfort for those who are repentant about their sins. Comfort is on the way. It will not delay.
Blessed are the meet for they will inherit the earth. This too is a promise and lets just watch and see how God plans to unveil this promise to his people.
Let us look one final time at the word MAKARIOS. The makarios is all the riches of the kingdom imparted to poverty stricken people. It is all the strength the Comforter given broken people. It is nothing less than the Possession of all our possessions and the routing of all our enemies. All we have to do is come in yieldedness to God.
It is therefore our turn to ensure that we dont miss out on being poor in spirit or mourn for our sins or be meek. If we are poor in spirit and mourn and remain week, then well enjoy MAKARIOS.
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