THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT -- LESSON FOUR
A Christian Appetite
Matthew 5:6; Romans 12:1,9
I. WE LIVE ON A BEAUTIFUL, BOUNTIFUL, WONDERFUL
A. Yet it is an earth polluted by sin, in thought, word,/action:
We are in a great battle (Ephesians 6:10-18).
B. The U.S. Public Health Service and Defense Department
spend billions annually to "watch the diets" of its citizens
physically, to insure pure food, water and air.
C. But how is your spiritual appetite and taste today?
D. God has provided a heavenly dietician, physician and
II. THE FOURTH BEATITUDE DEALS WITH POWERFUL
A. "Hunger and thirst" expresses strong, intense, deep,
craving desires for that which God has to offer.
B. These are vitally related to human life now and eternally.
C. What is your greatest hunger and deepest thirst?
I. A GOOD APPETITE IS A REAL BLESSING AND GREAT
A. It is evidence of life: Only living things hunger and thirst.
B. It is a mark of normal, healthful and vigorous life.
C. It is a vital key/roadway to growth: Insures a growing
D. It is also a source of genuine enjoyment.
1. We speak fondly of "the bread mother used to bake,"
2. It is a delight to eat when one is truly hungry.
3. It is a joy to feed a hungry person, but almost
impossible to feed one who is not hungry, physically or
II. THE POWER OF HUNGER/THIRST IS ENORMOUS,
FAR-REACHING AND TRANSFORMING.
A. What will a person do to satisfy hunger and thirst?
1. Esau sold his spiritual birthright (Genesis 25:30-34;
2. The Israelites murmured in the wilderness because of
manna, and longed for fish, leeks, garlic, melons
3. Hunger leads to cannibalism: Famine in Samaria (2
Kings 6:24-29). Josephus tells some terrible tales about
the siege of Jerusalem by Titus which "confounded all
natural passions" (McCord, Happiness Guaranteed,
p.30.) Recent survivors of a plane crash in the Andes in
S. America lived on their dead comrades-- Spiritual
Sword, April 1973, p.10.
B. Millions have said, "I wanted it so bad I could taste it." We
know the feeling, yet Jesus spent 40 foodless days and did
not disobey God once.
C. Tell story of young man who went to Buddha: Allen, God's
Psychiatry, p. 140.
III. MAN NEEDS/HUNGERS FOR MUCH MORE THAN
PHYSICAL AND CARNAL BREAD
A. Bread is essential to satisfy physical hunger.
1. "Just what I needed!" We understand such language.
2. This hunger is shared by lower orders of life.
B. But we have higher hungers which are a badge of our
higher spiritual nature, which animals do not share.
1. Our dog Joe and I ate, played and hunted together, but
he could not share my dreams, the beauties of music,
poetry, nature (sunrise, hills, trees, etc.).
2. The world of ideas: Desire for knowledge and growth in
3. Longing of the soul for God/Christ, Creator of all good
IV. "RIGHTEOUSNESS:" LORD, WHO ARE THE "BLESSED"
ONES? (Matthew 3:15; 5:20; 6:1; Proverbs 14:34;
Ephesians 6:14 ).
A. What is the righteousness for which we are to hunger?
1. "The quality of being right or just"--the state or
condition which is acceptable to God and which he
2. It is uprightness of heart/life: Inward righteousness,
one who longs to be good and to do right (1 Samuel 16:7;
3. A synonym of goodness: "The state of him who is as he
ought to be;" Integrity, virtue, purity of life,
uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling/acting
(Matthew 3:15; 5:6,10,20; Acts 13:10)" -- Thayer's Greek
English Lexicon, p. 148, 194. (Gus Nichols' three
4. To be "right" necessarily implies an objective spiritual
standard because it must include knowledge of God
and His righteousness, Christ/heaven--the
righteousness which is of God (Jeremiah 23:6; Job
23:3; Matthew 5:48). Jesus set our standard and is our
standard (John 6:35; Matthew 4:4; Hebrews 1:9; 11:6;
B. Jesus "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Hebrews
1:9; cf. Acts 10:38).
1. Barnabas was "a good man," devoted wholly to Christ,
and he was generous in hand, heart and in his
judgments of others (Acts 11:24; 4:36,37; 9:26-29).
2. "Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good"
3. What is "good"? "Fried chicken, strawberries, pizza vs.
squash, etc." "Purity of life, correct thinking, feeling,
actions vs. immoral living, corrupt thinking, speaking,
C. How "prove all things" to determine between good and evil?
(1 Thessalonians 5:22). Willard Collins, Great Preachers,
1. Does the Bible condemn or warn against it? (2 Timothy
2. Will it injure, hurt/cause the downfall of other people, or
cause me to be a stumbling block to them? (Romans
14:15, 21; Matthew 18:6,7).
3. Will it hurt my influence? "A good name is..." (Proverbs
4. Will this bring me into close companionship with evil?
D. How may we develop and strengthen an appetite for the
good, and thus follow Jesus and not the crowd, majority,
1. By study of the Bible, "the word of life," God's food for
the soul: "Behold his love, goodness, mercy" (Psalm
2. Practice doing what you know to be right, obeying God,
and begin now: "Repent and do the first works"
3. Sing good songs: The influence of psalms, hymns and
spiritual songs is truly great, far reaching and uplifting.
4. Pray to God without ceasing, and worship faithfully in
spirit and truth (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews
10:24,25; John 4:23,24; 17:17; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians
16:1,2; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
5. Abide in the word of Christ, the fellowship of His
disciples and receive their encouragement to engage in
all good works (Titus 3:1).
V. WHY ARE SUCH PEOPLE BLESSED? WHAT IS THEIR
A. The meaning of it: They are already "blessed."
1. Such longing denotes that they are already in some
measure the possessors of that for which they crave:
They already, in some degree, possess that for which
they hunger and thirst. Unless one is already righteous
in some measure, it would be impossible to yearn to
2. "They have set (addicted) themselves to minister unto
the saints" (1 Corinthians 16:15).
B. The certainty of it: "They shall be filled;" i.e., the law of
cause/effect: Sponge: Honey/vinegar.
1. If your deepest desire and hunger is to be righteous, no
power on earth can prevent you from becoming
righteous (Romans 1:16,17; Galatians 6:7,8).
2. The one who thus hungers and thirsts will seek, and
seeking, will find: "Ask and ye shall receive..." Jesus
describes a desire in this beatitude so intense it seeks
fulfillment of that for which it craves (Matthew 7:7; John
C. What is their blessing? They shall be filled.
1. With that which God has to offer: His
kingdom/righteousness, the highest degree and quality
of life now and eternal forgiveness and joy hereafter
(Acts 7:52; 17:31; 24:24,25).
2. Such hunger and thirst lead to a richer, fuller, more
abiding possession and satisfaction, of that for which
they hunger now and eternally.
3. "Is acceptable to God" (Acts 10:34,35).
4. Right with regard to (1) the past, (2) the present, (3)
the future (2 Timothy 4:8).
I. WHAT JESUS SAYS PLAINLY IS THAT SUCH WILL INSURE
"Blessed are they whose ruling desire is to be right and
good above everything else in the world."
A. The greatness of any soul is measured by the
intensity/quality of its desires.
B. Men are right and good in proportion to their earnest desire
to be good and right.
C. "You never find God until he becomes your deepest desire"
-- Allen, God's Psychiatry, p. 142.
II. WE CAN HAVE GOD IN OUR SOULS AND IN OUR WORLD
WHENEVER WE TRULY WANT HIM (James 4:7,8; John
A. Every soul eventually becomes what it craves most
earnestly, and seeks to be.
B. So "be careful what you set your heart on, for you will
surely get it" -- G. Harkness.
III. IT IS CERTAIN THAT THOSE WHO SEEK AFTER GOD
PROMPTLY, WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, DILIGENTLY AND
STEADFASTLY WILL FIND HIM
(Ecclesiastes 12:1; Isaiah 55:5,6;
Philippians 4:5; James 4:7,8).
A. Isn't it wonderful that, We can have God in our lives
whenever we truly desire HIM?
B. JUST SUPPOSE THERE IS ONLY ONE REAL BELIEVER
ON EARTH NOW, AND THE NUMBER DOUBLES EACH
YEAR.... In 31 years, 3,147,483,648!
C. But it all depends upon a Christian appetite!!!!
-- Charles E. Crouch