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Sun, Oct 13, 2019

Blessed are Those who Mourn

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Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those Who Mourn
WCC 10-13-19

Introduction

Carlie is six and a half years old. She has just moved in with her foster family. She calls them her “for now” parents. Carlie is in foster care because her mom is an opioid addict. Carlie’s foster dad is blue, her foster mom is grey, and Carlie is green because they’re Sesame’s Street puppets.

Sesame Street says they have always sought to reflect our world and give kids puppet characters they can relate to and because it’s so common to have parents with opioid addictions, Sesame Street has created a puppet to help kids cope. Now, I have no grief with Carlie on Sesame Street—but I am grieved over a society that has so many kids with addicted parents, that Sesame Street feels the need to add this character their cast.

The state of our society was recently addressed by Attorney General William Barr at Notre Dame. Last Friday, Attorney General Barr gave a speech at their law school about how the secular mass media and popular culture are eliminating traditional moral values. In his speech, Attorney General Barr said: “Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic. ” He tied this trend in our society to our inability to morally correct our behavior. He said: “In the past, when society is threatened by moral chaos, the overall social cost of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path it is on…But today in the face of all the increasing pathologies, instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have cast the state in a role as the alleviator of bad consequences. We call on the state to mitigate the social costs of personal conduct and irresponsibility. So, the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility but abortion. The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.” (And he went on)

We are no longer living in a society that can look at our own sin and make godly adjustments. By Attorney General Barr’s own measurements…society is taking us to new levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, angry and alienated young males, and senseless violence. But rather than repenting of the things that are creating these problems, our society runs from one thing to the next in a blind attempt to ease its pain. It is putting its trust in people who do not know what they are talking about as they swear by elixirs that do not work and it hopes that something in this world will give it the peace and happiness their souls crave.

Our society is addicted to happiness and laughter and pleasure. We even put it in in our Declaration of Independence: That all men are created with the right to pursue happiness. It may be a right, but we’ve made it our goal; and we’ll pursue anything at any cost if it promises to feed our addiction to happiness.

Here’s a few things that I see our society pursues in their quest for happiness…

The most common pursuit is media and entertainment. We look to entertainment to divert our attention from reality. And we’ll give hours of our lives to something that literally has no value.

Another pursuit of happiness is in success and accomplishment. We’re told that once we accomplish something really great, then we’ll finally be happy. Often, people find—too late in life—that they have been climbing the proverbial ladder of success, but it’s been leaning against the wrong wall.

Another pursuit of happiness is in adventure: Climb this mountain, ski these double-blacks, or if you’re really good, ski past the warning sing, or if you’re really, really good­… ski where there are no signs!

Another happiness scheme is in relationships: people say, “Just have great relationships and you’ll be happy!” The plot of most kids’ shows is: “Joey finds a friend”.

Another pursuit of happiness is in intellect: people pursue knowledge to be happy.

These pursuits I’ve just listed are all benign and they could be fine if they’re done in the right way for the right reasons, but our society is also pursuing darker ways to get happiness…

For instance, there is an entire movement of false spirituality. I was caught up in this…and was thankfully saved out of it. People look to things like meditation or forms of Buddhism to guide them. Even Carlie on Sesame Street is teaching kids breathing techniques… which is really just introductory steps to eastern meditation.

When these pursuits don’t provide the happiness they promise, many people manufacture happiness with drugs. There’s a whole fad of people celebrating legalized pot and claiming how it helps. No one is talking about how people are so aching in their soul and so unable to find happiness in anything else that they are chemically forcing their bodies to feel “something” as long as it’s not the ache they have in their soul. At the end of the day it’s just one more fad that will ruin people’s lives and not give them the true happiness they hunger for.

And eventually, people will chase from one fad to the next and find that each one only gives temporary, fleeting happiness. And when they drain every pursuit of every drop of happiness it can provide and find that none of it lasts, they’ll descend into despair and give themselves over to apathy, cynicism, and indifference.

King Solomon almost suffered this fate in the book of Ecclesiastes. He tried to find happiness and meaning in every way of the world and found they all are meaningless and he finally concluded that the only thing that actually matters is to fear God and obey Him.

But what do we do when we have lost the ability to fear God? What do we do when we no longer care about obeying Him? That’s a problem that our society is facing this very minute. That’s the heart of today’s sermon as we move on to the Second Beatitude that Jesus gave in His Sermon on the Mount. The Second Beatitude is in Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Last week, we began our study of the “Beatitudes”. We explained that the beatitudes are Christ’s promises of blessings upon His faithful citizens. They are impossible for a person outside of Christ’s kingdom and yet they should be common for those within it.

The beatitudes describe the path of walking with Jesus. They are Christ’s call for us to be poor in spirit, and those who mourn, and those who purse righteousness, and pure in heart, and peacemakers, and to stand strong in the face of persecution. So, these beatitudes are the essence of true Christianity. They are true kingdom living. This path is not easy or natural or popular…but it is the path that Jesus calls us to so that we will walk with Him as His kingdom citizens. And because this path describes where Jesus is, if we want to walk with Jesus—this is the path we must walk.

So, last week we discussed the first Beatitude which says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This beatitude is how we gain entrance into Christ’s kingdom. We recognize that we are “poor in spirit” and that we are impoverished in anything that could earn a right to be with God in heaven. That all of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags and that God would be completely righteous and just if He were to cast us from His kingdom because of our sin. And yet, we trust in Jesus’ promise to not cast out anyone who comes to Him with spiritual poverty. So, if we come to Christ acknowledging our spiritual poverty, and if we call upon Him to be our Lord and Savior, He will answer that prayer and bring us into His kingdom. And we’ll have a new life as His citizens.

That leads to the next beatitude in verse 4 where Jesus says: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Today we’re going to talk about what it means to mourn, who is who mourns, how we’re supposed to mourn, and finally, how to receive God’s comfort. Let’s start with the term “Mourn” That’s our first point:

Point #1 What Does It to Mean “Mourn”?

Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean…we don’t want to guess, or speculate, or import our modern vocabulary into this passage.

So, for starters, “mourning” is not anxiety or worry or stress or depression or despair. Jesus is not saying: “Blessed are those who worry” or “Blessed are those who are weighed down with the world’s anxieties.”
He’s saying, “Blessed are those who mourn.”

The word for “mourning” in verse 4 is the Greek word “penthos” and it’s the word used to describe “mourning” that absorbs our complete and total focus. “Penthos” was the word for utter grief. “Grief” comes from “loss” and a person who is “mourning” has lost something or someone. The greater the value they place on that which is lost the deeper their “mourning” will be. And that’s the word that Jesus uses here in verse 4. This is not a momentary or shallow grief. It’s not being “bummed out” Jesus is talking about a grief that takes over the entire person in an abiding anguish of soul.

Now, when we tie this word to biblical use…The “mourning” that Jesus is talking about relates to mourning over sin. It’s the same word was that Paul used in 2nd Corinthians 12:21 to speak of his mourning over the Corinthian’s sin. In 2nd Corinthians 12:21 Paul says: "I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced. " And so, people who are walking with Christ mourn over sin.

This is especially true in the Old Testament. In the Greek version of the Old Testament this word “penthos” was often used in prophesies to warn people about God’s judgment on their sin. For instance, Micah saw the judgment of God and said in Micah 1:8, "Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches." Isaiah 3:26 prophesies a day when “mourning” will be commonplace. Isaiah 3:26 says, "And her gates will lament and mourn." Perhaps most importantly, this word “penthos” was used in Jeremiah 6:26 saying, "O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son…" This word “mourning” was used in passages where God commands His people to recognize His standards and cherish His holiness and weep over their sin with complete grief and repentance. If these people heard these warnings and turned from their sin and mourned rightly, they would be spared from God’s judgment. But if they did not, they would receive the full judgment of the Lord.

This Old Testament background is critical to understanding what Jesus means by the word “mourn” in Matthew 5:4. To mourn means to recognize that we are out of fellowship with God and we so cherish that fellowship with God that we grieve its loss and we repent so that we can return to the path of walking with Him. So, going back to Matthew 5:4… let’s look at Who it is who’s supposed to mourn?

Point #2 Who is to Mourn?

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn.” That doesn’t sound like a blessing at all! Who wants to be sad? And yet Jesus’ point is that “mourning” is a characteristic of His kingdom people. The whole phrase “those who mourn” is actually one Greek participle. A Greek participle is a verbal noun that typically focuses on the person doing the action and not just the action itself… and because a participle usually focuses on the person, it often highlights their character. So, in Matthew 5:4, this is the kind of person who mourns! And the “blessing” is not for the “mourning” itself, but for being the kind of person who has a heart that is so sensitive to sin that they mourn over it.

In Jeremiah 6, it was the holy ones of God who mourned. They were the ones who listened to the prophets and hungered for spiritual purity and repented of their sin. The rest of the world didn’t care. Listen to some other verses from Jeremiah where the people didn’t mourn their sin: In Jeremiah 8:6 the Lord says, “I have listened and heard, they have spoken what is not right; no man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his course, Like a horse charging into the battle.” Jeremiah 17:23 says, “They did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.” And in Jeremiah 18:12 these people said: “We are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

So, the vast majority of people who heard Jeremiah’s warnings didn’t care. They were too loaded up with their own goals and their own concerns and they weren’t grieved by their lack of fellowship with a holy God. They would rather have their sin than have God…so they weren’t willing to consider any change or any repentance. They rushed headlong down their own paths—not seeking to walk with the Lord and therefore they fell into the pits of His judgment. All they cared about was their own lives, their own agenda, and their own glory; and their hearts were so hardened they could not recognize that they had fallen into a briar patch and the pain they were suffering was the result of God’s judgment. Which sounds like Attorney General Barr’s message last week…we can no longer recognize God’s judgment in our lives, and so we cannot correct our behavior.

And yet, the person who mourns their sin is spiritually alert to look around and say, “Doesn’t anyone else see this?” They are not self-medicating their lives with entertainment and busyness (or something else) to keep them from recognizing what is going on around them. They are spiritually alert to see their situation for what it is. They have their eyes wide open to the suffering and sorrow of this world and it causes their heart to break. They see their own sin before God and that causes their heart to break too!. And they feel a righteous grief for the state of things going on around them and in them. So, those who walk with Christ will mourn their sin. When we walk with Christ, and engage in the work He is doing in this world, and look at this world from His perspective, and see how the world chases after all kinds of things that not only rebel against Jesus but dishonor Him, and we see all the hurt this rebellion causes the people themselves…we’ll mourn.

This ties back into this scene of the Sermon on the Mount.

In Matthew 5, Jesus is on a hill speaking to thousands of people who are looking for a king. Last week we explained that Matthew’s Gospel is driving us towards the conclusion that Jesus was (and is) the prophesied Messiah King. And these people were looking for a king to deliver them. And so, they’re sitting on this hill in Galilee, which was northern Israel. The Gentile capital was down the coast. Samaria was further south. To the north is the Roman Empire. They were an occupied territory and everywhere they looked there was stuff that Herod had built. All of this was a reminder that God’s people were overrun by unbelieving Gentiles. And their condition was the consequence of their ancestors not heeding God’s warnings.

And so, these people were longing for a king they’re looking around and saying, “When will God give us a king again? Another David? Another Josiah or Hezekiah? Someone who can restore us back to God! It’s been nearly 600 years since we’ve had a King, it’s been 400 years since we’ve had a prophet; won’t God ever forgive us? “

And Jesus stands before them as their King, and Prophet and Savior and He promises them that those who are mourning will be comforted because they have the promise of verse 3 that “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom they have been waiting for, and the kingdom they are longing for, will be theirs and they will be comforted.

Now, you might be wondering how this relates to today? If we have the same heart, then we have the same promise. If we’re looking for God’s kingdom rule, and if we’re looking to walk by His commands, and if we’re looking to be saved from our sin Jesus stands before us and opens wide His kingdom to us and invites us into fellowship with Him. And so, if we are grieved by the sin around us and if we are grieved by the sin within us there is comfort in the Lord. Let’s to go our third point which is…

Point #3 How to Mourn?

As we look at these promises what we see here is that God’s blessings are for those who mourn, but specifically, these promises are for those who mourn the way He’s telling us to mourn. The fact is, there are people whose lives are filled with anxiety and pain, not because they are mourning, but because they refuse to mourn according to God’s terms and therefore, they don’t receive His comforting blessings.

Let’s go back to the meaning of the Greek word “penthos.” Remember, “penthos” is the kind of grief that captures our heart and focus. So, when a person mourns, they are giving a full acknowledgment of the situation. It’s not “Blessed are those who feel a twinge of guilt” it is “blessed are those who mourn.” Blessed are those who recognize the severity of the situation and the severity of what they have done and the severity of the judgment that they face before a righteous and holy God.

And so, there’s a way to mourn that’s godly and a way to mourn that’s ungodly. Godly mourning recognizes God’s righteous judgment. We’re not bitter at it. We recognize that it is just. So often, God’s judgment is reflected by allowing people’s sins to rule. Ungodly mourning sees these sins and blames God for not doing something. Godly mourning sees these sins and grieves their presence and recognizes this is what happens when we turn from God. And so, godly mourning seeks to turn back to Him. Ungodly morning is filled with despair. Ungodly mourning does not want to see God glorified in the situation; they just want things better for themselves.

You might say, “Well how do I do this? How do I come to this point of being so troubled by my own sin that I mourn at this depth?” It requires thought. It requires prayer. It requires quietness. And it requires deliberately looking at your own life and comparing to the holiness of God.

When we truly understand the standard that Jesus is calling us to, we’ll see just how counter-cultural this is.

The world wants us to accept the validity of every emotion except guilt. When you go to a person who is in the world and you say, “I’m so heavy-hearted right now.” If they ask, “Why?” and if you say, “I’m so discouraged by my sin. And I’m so discouraged by the sin of this world…Everywhere I look, people are chasing after the futile things, wasting their lives on things that don’t matter. They’re rebelling against God and it’s killing me!” You know what they’re going to say? “Dude, you need to get some help.”

The world wants to be blind to the reality of our situation. This is the kind of grief our world hates. There’s an entire industry that constantly tells people: “Don’t feel guilt!” “Don’t feel pain!” Our world hates any kind of pain that pounds against the soul of a person. If a movie brings us to tears, we say it’s “heartwarming”. If a speech moves us to stand and applaud, we say it’s “powerful”. But if guilt causes us deep anguish of soul, they say it’s bad and something we should avoid at all costs.

That’s because our world has lost its ability to recognize good grief from bad grief. So much of the pain and anxiety in our world stems from the fact that people are not in fellowship with God; and the pain they’re feeling is God’s warning siren telling them to turn around and go back to Him. Grief and mourning and pain are like those guys on the airport runway with the flashlights directing planes to the terminals. Mourning is supposed to direct us back to Christ so that we can repent and become more like Him and experience His comfort and peace.

Now, the world hates “mourning” because so often their guilt comes from Satan and not the Holy Spirit. It’s often said that Satan condemns the Holy Spirit convicts. The purpose of this “mourning” is not to condemn us, but to convict us and convince us to turn back to God.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit convicts us of behavior that is keeping us from fellowship with Him and He wants us to stop filling our life with things He’s not part of.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit withholds joy from us because we’re filling our mind with all kinds of thoughts that are not submitted to Him; and that loss of joy is supposed to jolt us into examining what we’re allowing into our minds and bring every thought into submission to Christ.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit allows our heart to be filled with anxieties to show us we’re focusing on the things of this world, not the things above.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit allows our heart to be filled with fear because we’ve got some belief, or some opinion, that doesn’t line up with His word.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit allows despair into our hearts because we were hoping in the wrong things.

The Holy Spirit is not going to compete with other idols, especially those that are in direct disobedience to the Lord. Isaiah says there no peace for the wicked, and there will be no peace in a heart filled with Pride, Greed, Envy, Bitterness, Racism, Judgmentalism, Rebellion, Division, Deceit, Hypocrisy and countless other things that do not conform to holiness. And so, often, the pain in our heart is pointing directly to a need to examine ourselves and make corrections.

But a lot of times, well-intentioned friends will try to persuade us why we shouldn’t be mourning. They’ll tell us we’re not that bad. Things are not our fault. That other people are to blame. And they think they’re helping but they not realizing that our “mourning” is exactly what we should be feeling in that moment because that path of “mourning” is going to take us to the Lord’s place of peace and comfort and hope!

You might be grieving something right now. And you might be miserable; but that may not be bad. It might be the exact thing you’re supposed to feel, and God is going to use that emotion to lead you to Him and His transforming grace where He will guide you to walk with Him down paths of righteousness. And so, godly “mourning” from the Holy Spirit puts us on the path of repentance so that we would find comfort in the Lord.

This is a point we can’t overlook: Comfort is the way we’ll will be blessed. It’s not the “mourning” that is the blessing, it’s not that we’re supposed to be glad that we’re sad. The purpose of the “mourning” is to bring us to the place of divine comfort. Righteous morning brings us to the comfort only God can (and will) provide. That’s why we need to be careful about “fake mourning”.

“Fake Mourning” is when we have a counterfeit sorrow that is not rooted in God’s holiness or the tragedy of sin against Him. Fake mourning is usually rooted in self-pity, and self-righteousness and self-seeking. The difference between “repentance” and “remorse” is that “remorse” just feels bad, “repentance” actually changes.

Remorse is often just fake mourning; and you know that it’s “fake mourning” when it can be erased by things of this world. Fake mourning and fake healing were common in the Old Testament and it was one of the things that greatly incurred God’s wrath. He is not looking for superficial confession nor superficial healing. He even condemns the leaders in Jeremiah 8:11 saying, “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, and they did not know how to blush; Therefore, they shall fall among those who fall; At the time of their punishment they shall be brought down,” Says the LORD. "”. God is not looking for a superficial confession… He is looking for godly mourning.

He’s also not looking for empty despair. Remember: The Holy Spirit convicts us over our sins, Satan condemns us. The Holy Spirit shows us our sin so that we’ll come to Him for cleansing and forgiveness. Satan condemns us for our sins so that we’ll run from God and remain covered in our stench. So, this goal here is not condemnation, nor is it futile despair, it’s to bring us to the cross.

On the flip side of things, this mourning is not presumptuous either. Someone might think that there is too much focus on sin because all of our sin has been done away with at the cross. That’s certainly true—but we need to be careful that we don’t stray into the sin of presumption. Presumption says, “Since my sin is forgiven, my sin doesn’t matter!” That’s not the message of the Bible. 1st John 1:9 says that “If we confess our sins, He is righteous and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And so, if you have come to God and called upon Him to be your Savior, then God has forgiven your sin and He has made you spotless and pure in Christ. But God’s forgiveness never gives us permission to be callous towards sin and indifferent towards holiness and presume upon God’s grace. The call on our lives is now that we are kingdom citizens, we are to live like it.

Likewise, this mourning is present tense and ongoing. We’ll regularly see the ways we are not living as Kingdom Citizens, and we’ll be grieved, and come to the Lord and seek His transforming grace and in this we will be comforted.

So, to mourn is to grieve over sin, it’s the characteristic of all of Christ’s people and it’s rooted in a love of God and His glory and our desire to be in fellowship with Him. And when we come to Christ mourning our sin, we will receive His pure comfort that our soul craves.

Let’s take a few more minutes to talk about what this comfort looks like. Going on to point #4…

Point #4 How Are we Comforted?

Going back to Matthew 5:4, those who mourn are promised “comfort”. Jesus is so serious about this promise to this kind of mourner He places the word “they” in an emphatic position. Those who mourn this godly mourning “they” are the ones who will be comforted.

Likewise, the verb “comfort” is in the passive form, they don’t comfort themselves, they don’t find ways to fill their minds with diversions so that they can engage in self-comfort it says that this comfort is something the receive. We can’t make it and we can’t find it in something in this world it needs to come from the Lord.

Now, what form does this comfort take? All too often people are so frantic to not have any “Mourning” that they will take any kind of comfort they will stop their pain. And yet, here we have the promise from our Lord and King that godly mourning that finds its termination point in Him and we will receive His comfort. So, the key element of this comfort comes from God Himself.

In John 14:16, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…” So, God’s personal presence in our life gives us strength and comfort.

Another aspect of this comfort is through the forgiveness we have in Christ. There can be no comfort without a restored relationship to the comforter. Verse 4 cannot be true of a person unless verse 3 is true of them as well. That’s why the Gospel is central to our comfort. Our sin has created a separation between us and God and that separation needs to be resolved by the cross of Christ. On the cross, our sin was transferred to Jesus and when we call upon Him in faith, His righteousness is transferred to us. And when our sin is gone and when we are made righteous in Christ, we are able to maintain pure and holy fellowship with a pure and holy God. And so, there is tremendous comfort in having our sin forgiven. Psalm 32:1–2 says, "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!" Our forgiveness is a key element of this comfort.

Third, there is also comfort from God’s Word. God’s Word is often the tool He uses to strengthen and comfort us. Psalm 119:49–50 says, "Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me." There have been so many times in my own life where I’ve gone to God’s Word and I’ll see His truth and the Holy Spirit will knit it to my soul and I’ll be strengthened in the Lord. This is a principle that countless millions of people have found to be true.

Fourth, there is the comfort of God’s People. Much of God’s grace and comfort comes from being in connected fellowship with His people. In 1 Thessalonians 4:18, the Lord calls us to encourage one another saying, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” And so, we’re to take the Word of God and comfort other people with it. Philemon 7 says, “For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” So, the comfort of the Lord comes from the King Himself, forgiving us Himself, applying the kingdom documents to our life, and we abide in fellowship with His kingdom citizens.

But notice where this “comfort” doesn’t come from…It doesn’t come from the pursuits of happiness in this world. It doesn’t come from ignoring the problem. And it also doesn’t come from learning the answer to the question “why?” Often, our pain is cloaked in divine mystery. We don’t know why that event happened. We don’t know why our health took that turn. We don’t know why we are the way we are. And the comfort that Jesus gives isn’t in an answer it’s in Himself. As we walk with Him down the path of these beatitudes, we find that Jesus to be powerful and mighty. He is good and wise. He could prevent or change that situation. And yet (maybe) He hasn’t. We may not ever know the reason “why” behind the event—at least we won’t know in this life—but we do know the “Who” behind it… and the since the Lord is powerful and good and wise, whatever He allows is for the best. And we trust Him. And we wait for the kingdom day when we are with Him in glory to find out the answers to these questions.

Conclusion

So, we live in a world that has to have Sesame Street puppets portraying kids whose parents are addicted to drugs. We live in world that is no longer capable of mourning over sin or repenting or correcting its own behavior; and we’re seeing the judgment of God on display all around us. And yet, if the Holy Spirit has given us ears to hear, and eyes to see we are blessed that we can mourn.

When you mourn: Take your sin to the cross. Know that it was dealt with 2,000 years ago. Seek His grace to change and let Him strengthen you to live out who you are in Christ. That’s is where you will find His comfort.

And if you don’t have any mourning over sin… that’s something you should take very seriously. Maybe you are not born-again, because the Bible is clear that when God’s people are truly born-again, His Law will be written on their hearts, and that means they’re going to grieve when they transgress it. Or maybe you’ve become calloused in your heart and you need to weep before the Lord because His judgment may be coming down on you…

And so, to be a “mourner”—in the sense of verse 4—we need to focus on God. Godly mourning over sin and our situation doesn’t come from focusing on ourselves­—it comes from focusing on God. “Mourning over sin” should be a regular part of our life in Christ. But God’s comfort should also be a regular part of our life in Christ. The goal isn’t that we be some medieval mystic who hates ourselves, it’s that we know God and see our sin and hate it and repent of it so that we might find God’s grace and peace and presence as we walk with Him. The more we see His kingdom promises in Scripture, and the more we believe them, and the more we cherish them, the more we will look around us and long for the day when Christ fully establishes His kingdom. But until that day comes, we mourn.

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