THE DOCTRINES OF JESUS CHRIST
THE MARKS OF A GENUINE CHRISTIAN (CONT.)
Mat 5:4 BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN: FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED
WE USUALLY ASSOCIATE mourning with the loss of a loved one. When we lose a loved one, it is a natural process to mourn for that loss. It is like a tangible part of our life has been stripped from us. There is a deep grieving in our souls, the depth of which no human comforter can know.
There is another kind of mourning that our God would have us to know.
Those who are Poor in Spirit will understand his or her own moral failure, when compared in the Light of the Holy God, and will be grieved over that moral failure, his spiritual bankruptcy before the Lord.
He will be grieved over the state of the church when it moves away from the initial Purpose of God through compromise with the world.
He will be grieved over the moral failure of humanity in the world. Instead of being quick to condemn and find fault with his brothers and sisters in Christ, he will be grieved over the moral failure of his brothers and sisters in Christ, because he has seen his own lack clearly in the reflection of the Holiness of the Almighty God. It is only the one who has truly realized how much he is in need of the Lord's Involvement in all aspects of his life that will mourn before God concerning the spiritual state of the Body of Christ.
Several passages in the Bible touch on this type of mourning that a genuine Christian will experience. Ezra mourned because of the transgression of his people. His mourning was so great that it drove him to fast on behalf of his people.
Ezr 10:5 Then arose Ezra,
and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they
should do according to this word. And they swore.
6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
Here we see that the Word of God says that Ezra mourned "because of the transgression of them that had been carried away". Israel had been carried away into captivity by a foreign nation because of their sin before God. Ezra did not walk in self righteous indignation toward those sinful Israelites. He didn't say "Well, I knew that sooner or later it would catch up to them." He didn't shout "I knew they weren't really children of God!"
Ezra mourned because of their captivity.
Christians on a daily basis fall into sin and are taken captive by Satan's crafty devices (2Ti 2:26 ). When this happens, many Christians today do not mourn over this situation…they merely point their fingers and say "Aha! It serves them right!" The Genuine Christian will be grieved that their brother or sister has fallen, and will try all they can do to see them restored.
2Ti 2:24 And the servant
of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
The truth of the matter is this: the state of the church in America is NOT good. The bride of Christ has left her first love and has fallen in many ways into spiritual adultery. There are many self-appointed watchmen that point their fingers and call the church in America names and point out all it's wrongs, while accusing and condemning it's obvious sin. They should rather have mourned her state. They should rather have interceded and fasted on her behalf.
We need to call sin what it is, and we need to proclaim the Standard of Holiness that is required of the Bride of Christ. We cannot compromise the Word of God. But we should mourn her soiled state instead of condemning her and forsaking her in her time of need. Christians are being taken captive by the god of this world, and we should not tolerate that. If we are not spiritual enough to restore our brothers and sisters in a spirit of meekness (Gal 6:1), we should at least be driven by a deep sense of mourning to fast and pray on their behalf. The way of the world and the god it serves is to point fingers, to accuse, and to condemn. The Way of Christ is to restore.
2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
It's not only "them" that need to turn from their wicked ways, oh "righteous man or woman of God"! If you are pointing your fingers and accusing and condemning others for their spiritual lack, THAT is wickedness and needs to be repented of as well. You ought rather to mourn over their captivity, as well as your own. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul addressed the need of the church to be mourning over a particular situation that was taking place in the Body of Christ in Corinth:
1Co 5:1 It is reported
commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not
so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
While they were whispering to one another over the juicy bit of gossip that this scandal in the church had generated, their attitude should have been one of mourning for a couple of reasons.
First, the Name of God was being blasphemed because of this sin. The unbelievers that learned about this sinful relationship would have occasion to say, "If that's what Christianity is about, I don't want any part of it!" Paul said not even the Gentiles or the unbelievers would do such a thing.
There were some in the church who were "puffed up", or who were caught up in the grip of pride as they compared themselves and their spiritual growth to this one. "Well, at least I am not like old Joe there. I haven't even thought of such a thing as he has done." Paul said that they should have been mourning over the situation.
The sin issue in any believer's life is not a light thing that it should be laughed at, or minimalized or encouraged. Every Born Again believer is a Temple of the Living God (1 Cor 3:16). It is a serious thing to defile the Temple of God. If we love God, we will mourn if His Temple is defiled, and we will want to see His Temple restored.
Neh 1:3 And they said
unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province
are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken
down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven
Many Christians are in great affliction and reproach because of their sin against God. In the lives of each of these individuals, the temple of the Lord has been defiled. Should we point our fingers and condemn? That's not God's Way. See what Nehemiah's reaction was. Remember that he fasted, mourned and prayed before the God of Heaven on behalf of His people:
Neh 1:5 And said, I beseech
thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant
and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
Regardless of our current state of captivity to sin, we are God's servants, and His people, whom He has redeemed by His great Power and His strong Hand. Notice that Nehemiah did not say "they have sinned against you"; he got personal and included his own failures before the Holy and Pure God. He said "We have sinned against you" (Vs 7). Nehemiah was a good illustration of what a person who is "poor in spirit" would be like.
Jeremiah was burdened greatly by the false prophets that flourished in Israel, and mourned that the people of Israel were led into error because of their false teachings. He said his heart was broken, and that he shook because of the fact that the land was full of adulterers, and the Lord's Judgment upon the land was imminent (Jer. 23:9-40).
Joel spoke of the Day of the Lord which was to come, and told the people to turn to the Lord with all their heart and with fasting, weeping and mourning over their sin. He said it may be that the Lord will repent of His Anger (Joel 2:11-14). The people were called to a solemn assembly, of repentance, and the priests and the ministers of the Lord were called upon to weep and to intercede on behalf of the people, begging Him for His Mercy (Vss 15-17).
Our mourning is not only to be for the failure of the Church and our own wickedness…it should also be for the Lord, because we have forsaken Him, the Fountain of Living Waters. In Zechariah 7:3-5, the Lord asks, "In the seventy years that you were in captivity and fasted and mourned, did you fast and mourn to me?" The inference was that the people were fasting and mourning in repentance before the Lord for their own desires, like "Woe is me, because I was bad, this wickedness is being visited upon me! Lord, have mercy on me and forgive me for my sin."
But it appears that they did not pray a prayer like this: "Lord, I have sinned against You, and I have forsaken You. My punishment is Just, because You are Righteous. But I have sinned against You even though You have been so Good to me." The people should have mourned that they had done wrong to the God Who had only intended good for them.
Zec 7:4 Then came the
word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,
5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
They did not consider the possibility that they had insulted the Lord through their disobedience. When we sin against God, we don't think of it as insulting Him. But we can insult the Almighty God:
Heb 10:28 He that despised
Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
The phrase "hath done despite" actually means "insulted". The genuine Christian will be grieved over the fact that he or she has insulted the God who has given them so abundantly of His Mercy. They will mourn over the lack of compassion they have had toward their brothers and sisters.
Zec 7:8 And the word of
the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,
9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:
14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
Jam 4:8 Draw nigh to God,
and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your
hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
As you examine yourself in the light of this study of the Doctrine of Jesus, do you see that you have not mourned for the state of the church or the state of your own wicked heart, and the ways you have insulted your Redeemer and Your Lord? You might throw up your hands and say "Well, I am not making the grade, that's for sure. And even as I read this, I don't find myself being grieved over my wretched state. What am I to do? "
Jam 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Understand the depths of the spiritual poverty that you actually are in, and once you do that, you will be blessed. You won't be able to look at others in the light of your self righteous opinions of yourself. Then you will mourn for your brothers, and your sisters and yourself. Don't fall in the trap of pointing your fingers at your brothers and sisters, and laughing at or ridiculing or condemning them for their sin. Seek ways to see them restored. Mourn for them. Pray for them. Love covers a multitude of sin.
Jesus said "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." The word translated as "comforted" is also translated in several places as "beseech" "besought." (Matt 8:31, 34, 14:36, 18:29, Mk 5:10,12, etc.)
As we mourn for the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and for our own sins, as well as the state the world is in, we will be comforted as we begin to see the lives of those we have interceded for being transformed.
As we mourn for our sins and the sins of others, we will become more compassionate, and people will recognize that genuine compassion that shines through us, and they will be drawn to that compassion that they see in us.
We will see how others "beseech" us to pray for them, to minister to them, to counsel them. We will see lives being restored, and wounded hearts being healed, because we have the compassion to minister to those who need somebody to care. And as we are used of God, we will be comforted, because the Lord is permitting us to be used for His Glory to work a change in some people's lives. What a comfort that is to any thirsty soul! There is no higher honor than to be used by the True and Living God.
Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou
call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I
am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of
the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
BLESSED ARE THE MEEK
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