The salutation.

Grace and mercy and peace be to you all, not as the world gives, but only as Christ gives.  What a wonderful day to be alive. God has given us another day to love and to serve Him.  Soon we will be in His immediate presence enjoying time without end, adoring the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture.

Beloved, please take out your Bibles.  I am going to read Matthew 5:1-4.  Then I am going to read a brief section from Luke, his counterpart of our beatitude this afternoon.  Read.

Luke 6:20.  And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.  22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  23 “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.  24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.  25 “Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

Please join me in prayer to ask God’s blessing in His word. Pray. 

The Beatitude.

We are considering the second Beatitude today. V.5. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

See the connection between the first Beatitude and the second. (V.3, 4)  Those that are poor in spirit are often in mourning.  (Rom.9:1) And the opposite is also true.  Proper mourning or heart sorrow is always found in proper poverty or humility of spirit.

The sorrow.

Let’ see what Christ is getting at when He speaks of a blessed sadness or a mourning that receives the blessing of God.

Cursed sorrow.

There was a time when there was no morning or weeping in the world. It was in Genesis one and two.  With the entrance of sin came the entrance of sorrow.  Never forget beloved, sin is the root, misery is the fruit.  I am not saying every sad thing we endure is directly tied to some express sin of ours. But I am saying, the world is a valley of tears because of the curse of God upon the sin of man.

Natural sorrow.

People sorrow, mourn, and weep for many reasons, sickness, pain, bereavement, material loss, wounded pride, and so on. Jesus is not teaching that everyone that is sad for any reason has the blessing of God upon them. Jesus is not saying blessed are the depressed.  Blessed are the morbid.  Those things are self-ward; carnal and not spiritual.  Judas had sorrow and hung himself (Mt.27:3), after which Judas went to his own place – hell. (Acts 1:25, Jn.17:12)

Listen to what God says through the apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 7:6.  But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;  7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.  8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it– for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while–  9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.  10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Graced sorrow.

Remember the Beatitudes are only given to disciples of Jesus. Only true Christians who are truly joined to Christ exhibit this proper sorrow.  Christ is saying, blessed is the man that can mourn well or mourn spiritually. (2 Cor.7:10, 1 Cor.2:12-16)

In the first beatitude we see those that recognize their spiritual bankruptcy before the Lord.  And in connection with the fourth beatitude, we see those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

This sorrow is unto God.  Spiritual sorrow is a fruit or a product of the Holy Spirit, produced by the life of Christ in us. (Gal.2:20) This blessed sorrow is the product of saving faith in Christ.

Sorrow for sin.

So, this sorrow is moral or ethical, which has to do negatively about the corruption of morals – sin.  Lawbreaking. Sins of omission and commission.

The apostle Paul says, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart over his Israelite countrymen because they did not know the wages of their sin and the Savior of their sin. (Rom.9:2)

Sorrow for the misery caused by sin.

Though certainly there is room within the context for Christians mourning over other things.  Such as sickness and death.  We call them, the common miseries of life.  But even in these we can mourn or weep over them in a Christ-pleasing or honoring way.  Or we can sin by grumbling against God because of them.

The paradox.

Here we have another beatitude put in a paradoxical form, ,blessed are the mourners, happy are the unhappy.  Happy mourners.  The world’s way of thinking says, blessed are the merry, blessed are those that laugh. (Ecc.7:6) Remember in Luke’s version Jesus adds this, woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep in the life to come. (Lk.6:25, Lk.12:13-21, Ps.73:1-19)  

The perspective.

In Luke’s gospel Christ uses the word ‘now’.  He implies the word then.  This age (now) and the age to come (then).  Christ wants His disciples to live this life with an eternal perspective of the next life.

Luke 18:29.  And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,  30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life. (I Cor.2:6, Eph.1:21, present evil age – Gal.1:4)

We live now, here on earth, by setting our minds on things above, namely heaven.  We use eternity to inform and direct our life here. (Col.3:1-3)

Sorrow – now.  Comfort – then.  Cross now. The crown. You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot separate them one from another.  This ought to teach us not to despair under godly sorrow, because this is the method for all of God’s children.  (2 Cor.4:6-15, Jas.1:1-4, I Pt.1:6-8)  

2 Corinthians 4:16.  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,  18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Exemplar.

Jesus Christ is our great example in this spiritual mourning.   

Certainly we must exercise caution when seeking to understand the silence of Scripture.  Yet it is significant that Bible never records Christ laughing.  This is not to say He never did.  But the Bible never records it.  But the Bible does say Jesus was a man of mourning.   Listen to what God says through Isaiah about our Christ.

Isaiah 53:1. Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

Christ wept over Lazarus.  (Jn.11:35) Christ wept over Jerusalem. (Lk.19:41)  Jesus was hated and despised by sinners that He came to save.  He wept because He knew the wages of sin is death. He wept for all of the miseries that sinned caused, the loss of union and friendship with God and all of the pains and brokenness produced by sin.  (Gen.6:6, Ps.78:40-41) Christ wept, He knew the cost of ransoming sinners was to have the Father of His love count Him accursed.

Matthew 26:37-39   37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”  39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Again, Christ Himself is our example of the blessed mourner.   

I Peter 2:19.  For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.   20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.  21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

The mourners.

First we mourn over our own sin, which is an aspect of evangelical repentance.   This kind of mourning for our sins is God-ward and not man-centered, it is the opposite of self-centered or selfish.  This mourning vindicates God and indicts self.

Zechariah 12:10  And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

WSC 87  What is repentance unto life?  Repentance unto life is a saving grace,(1) whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin,(2) and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ,(3) doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God,(4) with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.(5)

(1)Acts 11:18 (2)Acts 2:37,38 (3)Joel 2:12; Jer. 3:22 (4)Jer. 31:18,19 (5)Ezek. 36:31

We mourn our sin.

And this kind of mourning indicates sound judgments, right thinking.  Our thinking is informed by God’s word, which is the Bible.  Scripture shows us that sin is a sad thing.  The sinner finds it his delight.  But when we weep over it, this shows that our minds are being renewed after the image of God.

And this kind of sorrow also indicates our hearts are sufficiently tender concerning God, His holiness, His honor, the good of our soul, and the good of others, the honor of Christ, the good of His church and so on.  We are sad that our sins should harm the cause of Christ.  (Ezek.36:25-27)

We mourn the consequences of our sin.

We also mourn the consequences of our sin, for ourselves and for others.  We think of king David with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah. Though for Believers in Jesus the penalty of the sin is forgiven, sometimes God’s leaves temporal consequences for His own holy purposes and our spiritual good. (Ps.51:1-5)

God told David his sin was forgiven but the sword would never depart from his house.  His own children would kill one another, they would try to kill him, brother would rape sister and so on.  (2 Sam.12:10)

God uses these things to make us truly sad for sinning against God and man. And truly desirous of Christ.  These things make us more watchful and hateful of sin.  They make us more humble. We are the man. We are the woman.  (2 Sam.12:7-9, Heb.12:1-10, WCF 5.5)

We mourn our remaining corruption.

This in turn makes us mourn for our remaining corruption.  We cry with the apostle Paul, oh wretched man that I am. (Rom.7:24)

John Stott wrote these amazing words: I fear that we evangelical Christians, by making much of grace, sometimes thereby make light of sin.  There is not enough sorrow for sin among us.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones made the following statement: Christ connects blessedness and happiness with mourning over sin.  No mourning for sin.  No blessedness, no happiness.  So, the person that says, I never want to hear about sin cuts himself off from true happiness.

Again, when we mourn for sin this goes a long way to preventing us from continuing in sin.  And thus this kind of spiritual sorrow is instrumental in reformation of life.

We mourn for the sufferings we bear for Christ.

Cross carrying hurts. We weep because of it. It hurts to lose family and friends because we love Christ and they do not. We are despised and hated because we love Christ by a Christ hating world. And we weep. (Heb.11, 2 Cor.4)  

We mourn the sins of others.

Not only do we mourn over our own sin, but the regenerate heart that loves God, likewise grieves when others dishonor God by their sin.  (2 Tim.3:12, Ezra 9:4, Ps.139:21)

Psalm 119:136.  My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.

Habakkuk 1:1-4  The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.  2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save.  3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.  4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.

We mourn the sin of unbelievers.

Paul wept over the enemies of the Cross of Christ. (Phil.3:18)

Not only mourning over the sin committed by others but also mourning over the suffering by others shows a gracious, sympathetic, and evangelical heart. (Zeph.3:18, Ps.137:1) This is especially evident towards the household of God. (Gal.6:10)

1 Corinthians 12:25.  the members should have the same care for one another.  26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.

We mourn the sin of believers.

We find a number of instances in the Scripture where the leaders of God’s people mourn over the sin committed by God’s people such is the close connection in the Body of Christ.

Ezra 10:1.  Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.  2 Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.  (Ezra 9:3, Dan.9:5-6)

Paul told the Corinthian church that they ought to mourn for the gross sin in their midst.  (I Cor.5:1-13)

The blessedness.

Those that mourn for sin, for God’s sake, their blessedness consists in this, that they shall be comforted.  This is spiritual comfort. (I Pt.5:7)

Notice these are divine PROMISES.  They must come true.

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

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (Lk.6:21)

Godly sorrow turns the soul towards God, and He in turn comforts those that seek Him.  He pardons, He delivers, He strengthens, He reassures, etc.  (Mt.11:28-30, Ps.30:5, 50:15, Isa.55:6, Mic.7:18, Jer.6:16, Jn.14:1-4, Jn.16:33, 2 Cor.7:5-7, 2 Cor.1:5)

The apostle James tells the people of God to mourn so that refreshment from God would come.  How contrary to the modern church that tells congregants never to mourn, instead, always be happy, stay away from anything that causes you to weep.

James 4:7.  Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.  10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.  

If I can borrow a text that speaks of mourning in relation to death and apply it to other kinds of mourning, we learn that there are benefits to be had in mourning.

Ecclesiastes 7:2.  It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart.  3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.  4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.  

We remember that natural joy is weak and fickle and deceiving and brief.  Whereas spiritual joy rooted in Christ is pure and everlasting.

Sometimes in God’s providence, part of the comfort consists in God removing the affliction.

Acts 12:5-7  5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.  6 On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.  7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.  (2 Chron.20:1-30, 32:9, Ps.116, Isa.38)

Oftentimes however, God comforts us IN the affliction, IN the mourning. God is with in our sorrow. (Rom.8:35-39) He is near to the broken hearted. (Ps.34:18, 2 Cor.4:17, 12:8, Heidelberg Q.1)

We see the happy ending of all our mourning in…

Psalm 126:5.  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.  (Isa.66:10, Ps.147:3)

Isaiah 35:10  And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isa.61: 1-3, 65: 13-14)

Revelation 21:4   And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. (Lk.16:25)

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. Who is the source of blessing? What people are blessed and why? How does Beatitude #1 relate to Beatitude #2?  (Ps.3:8, Mt.5:3-4, Lk.6:20-28, Jn.3:16, Jn.15:1-16)
  1. Explain the difference between worldly sorrow and heavenly sorrow? Where do they come from?  What are their objects?  Is Jesus saying everyone that is sad, and weeping is blessed?  Is Jesus saying it is blessed to be depressed?  Defend your answers with Scripture. (2 Cor.7:10, Mt.27:3, I Cor.2:12-16)
  1. Contrast how unbelievers and Believers consider what is blessed, what is desirable, what is sorrowful, etc. In brief, compare what the unbeliever values and devalues versus how God estimates things.  What lessons do we learn by this?  (Ecc.7:6, Lk.6:25, Lk.12:13-21, Ps.73:1-19, Mt.23:1-12, Rom.12:1-2)
  1. How many ‘ages’ are there? Explain what an eternal perspective is.  How does having an eternal perspective help us receive and benefit from beatitude #2?  (Mt.12:32, Lk.18:29-30, I Cor.2:6, Eph.1:21, Gal.1:4, Col.3:1-3, 2 Cor.4:6-15, Jas.1:1-4, I Pt.1:6-8, 2 Cor.4:16-18)
  1. In what ways is Jesus the example of the blessed mourner? How, when and why did Jesus mourn?  In what way is Jesus blessed?  What does this teach us?  (Isa.52:13-15, Isa.53:1-12, (Jn.11:35, Lk.19:41, Gen.6:6, Ps.78:40-41, Mt.26:37-39, Gal.4:4, I Pt.2:19-21)
  1. What is the primary thing that we mourn over. To whom do we mourn?  What do we learn by this?  (Zech.12:10, Acts 11:18, Acts 2:37-38, Joel 2:12, Jer. 3:22, Jer. 31:18-19, Ezek. 36:25-31, Ps.32, Ps.51, Rom.7:24)
  1. Should we mourn for the sins of others? What does this reveal about us? What should the sins of others cause us to do?  (2 Tim.3:12, Ezra 9:4, Ps.139:21, Hab.1:1-4, Phil.3:18, Zeph.3:18, Ps.137:1, Jn.3:16, Acts 14:21, Mt.5:44, 2 Cor.5:17-21)
  1. In what ways has much of the modern church discouraged spiritual mourning for sin? In what ways has the church sought to imitate the carnal levity and non-seriousness of the world?  (Jas.4:4, 2 Cor.13:5, Heb.12:14, Mt.5:20, Isa.28:7-9, Jer.6:14, Ezek.13:10-16, Exod.32:6, Lk.12:19, Rev.2:1-5, 2:18-22, 3:13-20, I Thess.5:6-7, Jas.4:7-10)
  1. What blessings in this life can and do we receive for spiritually mourning according to God’s word? How are we comforted in our mourning in this life?  (I Pt.5:7, Eccl.7:2-4, Mt.11:28-30, Ps.30:5, 50:15, Isa.55:6, Mic.7:18, Jer.6:16, Jn.16:33, 2 Cor.7:5-7, 2 Cor.1:5, Rom.8:35-39, 2 Cor.12:5-10)
  1. What blessings in the next life will we receive for spiritually mourning according to God’s word? How are we comforted in the next life?  (Lk.6:21-23, Jn.14:1-4, Ps.126:6, Isa.35:10, Isa.61:1-3, 65:13-14, Isa.66:10, Rev.21:4)

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