Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
Standard;Mt 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
To paraphrase: How fortunate are those who grieve, who are burdened over loss. For their grief shall be made bearable.
Last time, we talked about those who are poor in spirit, those who are given the grace by God to understand their own spiritual bankruptcy. Theirs and theirs alone is the kingdom of heaven. That first beatitude is the gateway beatitude. Without it the rest of the beatitudes will fall on the deaf ears of God.
God doesn't care if you are into “peace making” if you don't know His Son.
The spiritually bankrupt person knows that all his righteousnesses (all his good deeds) are as filthy rags and any righteousness must come from the Father, and the Father obliges such a beggar with the gift of His Son Jesus.
This is vital. Realize how poor you are apart from Christ and as we move through these beatitudes you will see how rich you are as you place your faith in Him and receive these graces from Him and see how richly you can live if you employ them in your life.
Remember all these beatitudes are graces from God, given to you to make you spiritually rich. So let's look at this second beatitude today: How fortunate are those who employ it. Blessed are those who mourn. Mourn over what? Mourn over sin and it's effects. Grieving over the sin -sick condition of this world, and your own soul, and longing for the Lord to return and set it right.
Blessed are those whose spirits are affected to the point of tears by sin and it's effects.
In the Bible we are told of two incidents where Jesus cried. He wept over the death of Lazarus because He lost a good friend due to the ultimate effect of sin, namely death, and He wept over the city of Jerusalem as He saw what was going to happen to that city in 70 A.D. Because they refused to turn to Him for relief from their sin. Jesus wept over sins and its effects..
When's the last time you were thus affected by sin? Your sin? The sin of others? The effects of your sin and the effects of the sin of others.
“Oh God, how careless I was with my words! How much unnecessary pain I inflicted on that person.”
Oh God, how thankless I am. How slow to forgive others. How quick I am to condemn. How slow to tell others of Your love and mercy. How tardy at prayer. How quick to lose my temper. Quick to take your name in vain, quick to covet and accumulate those things that rust and turn to dust.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ( Rom 7:24,25)
Mourn over your sins, for even as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are a constant companion and they offend the One who loves you so. Mourn with David who after being confronted with his sin with Bathsheeba said, “I have sinned against the Lord!”
And when's the last time you mourned over the sin's of others. “My eyes shed streams of tears because people do not keep Your Law. (Ps 119:136)
O Lord, there's another couple living in fornication. There's another marriage in divorce court. Four years ago, Ray Boltz, a contemporary Christian recording artist announced that he was leaving his wife and children of over 30 years to engage in the homosexual lifestyle. Have you wept for him and his family?
Do you weep over the sins mentioned in 1 Cor 6:10....sexually immoral, the idolaters, the adulterers, the homosexuals, the thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, the revilers, the swindlers? Do you not know that unless they change their ways they will experience eternal torment in hell? Weep for them!
Do you weep for the third world countries who have never heard about Jesus? Do you weep for the whole generation of American children who are growing up without ever having experienced Sunday School or a worship service. Do you see the end of all unbelievers and wail over their souls?
And what about the effects of sin? Do you see the pictures of unborn baby parts in ice cream buckets and wail because over 50 million unborn children have met such a fate in America alone? Do you weep over the emotional difficulties that ravage the post abortive woman or man?
Do you weep over the people who are overloading our mental health facilities because they have been scarred and damaged by sexual abuse?
Do you weep for the damage done to children through divorce?
Do you weep for the children who are dying in Africa and Haiti because they have no food?
I saw a picture the other day of a boy in Africa who was nailed to a chair and left to die because he professed belief in Christ. Doesn't that make you want to cry?
Then there's the disturbing photo taken by Kevin Carter of the vulture waiting for a child to die. I have it with me today, but I will only show it to you if you want to see it.
Aids. The holocaust. The Jonestown massacre. 9-11. The deaths and maiming brought about by war?
Even unbelievers mourn over tragedy, but these are selective mournings. For example all Americans mourned over 9-11, but few mourn over the 50 million unborn children killed by legalized abortion. But God has given the believer the gift of mourning over sin, which encompasses all tragedies. All suffering in this world is a result of sin. Mourn over it. Mourning over sin, is a gift from God.
And as you mourn over sin, look to yourself first. Mourn over your own lovelessness, harsh words, impatience, and uncontrolled anger. Observe how your own sinful actions have had an effect on the lives of others. Like the ripples that reach farther and farther outward from a stone thrown into water so also our sins ripple outward and bring hurt to more and more people.
How fortunate is the person who has godly sorrow over sin, because godly sorrow leads to repentance, it leads to a desire to turn things around. Not only in your life but in the lives of others. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians who were grieved over their sin, “ I rejoice not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting.”........for godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret.
This God-given repentance gives you the desire to turn it around if you will. To do something about it! And so you get involved in the fight for life, you get involved with fighting hunger, you get involved with people to show them a better way.
And as you weep over sin, you will be led to pray for others to intercede on their behalf as Daniel did.
In Daniel 9 he poured out his heart, confessing the sins of the nation and the church and pleading for God's mercy. Do you weep over the sins of this nation? The holocaust of legalized abortion. The shamelessness of Hollywood. The proliferation of pornography? What about the sins of the church?
The acceptance of sexual sin, divorce and remarriage, the preoccupation with materialism rather than souls? The cafeteria style of Christianity where we only obey what we choose.
Ezek 9:4 says, “pass through the city, through Jerusalem (symbolic of the church) put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abomination that are committed in it. The people who mourn over the sins of the church are marked.......they shall be comforted.
Do you weep for the false teachers that have risen up in the church? Those who claim all roads lead to God, or those who delete portions of God's Word or add to it. How many gullible sheep are being led to the wide path of destruction by these wolves in sheep's clothing?
Paul speaking of false teachers in his letter to the Philippians said, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears , walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil 3:18)
O God, awaken this gift of grace among your people today! Let it start right here in this place. Let us mourn over sin! If we will receive this gift and exhibit it in our life we receive the great promise of this beatitude. We shall be comforted. Our grief will be made bearable.
This comfort is like a mother picking up a child who is wailing away over something terrible that happened to them.....like a toy being broken or taken away from them. (It's all relevant isn't it? To a child this is something worth wailing about) Oh that we would learn to wail so quickly over even what may be considered trifling sins.
But what does the mother do? She picks up the child and says there, there, child everything is going to be all right.
And somehow that child knows it to be true.
And so as we weep over our sin, the sins of others and the effects of sin, God comes to us with the Gospel and says....there, there my child, everything is going to be all right.
And we know that even though we will be brought to tears again and again over our sins and the sins of the world, we know that one day, when Jesus returns everything will be made right. Sin (the source of our grieving) will be done away with once and for all!
Now, how many of you have actually been picked up by God and patted on the back, “there there my child everything is going to be all right.”
It just doesn't happen that way. The comfort comes from the Holy Spirit....the Comforter who comes to us in our baptism and consoles us through the Bible and through absolution, and through His work in other believers.
He comes to you in baptism with the assurance that your original sin problem has been taken care of.
“There, there My child.”
He comes to you in regards to your sin through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As you mourn over it and confess it, God comes to you through the assurance of the Gospel. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “There, there My child.”
He comes to you in the Lord Supper where those who partake of the bread and wine in faith are promised the “remission of sins.” “There, there My child.”
And in the matter of absolution, (which any believer may announce to the contrite sinner) we hear these words, “ Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon you and has given His only Son to die for you, and for His sake forgives you all your sins. To those who believe on His name, He gives power to become sons of God, and has promised them His Holy Spirit (the Comforter) He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. Grant this Lord to us all.” “There, there My child.”
Lenski says that “the greatest of all comfort is the absolution pronounced upon every contrite mourning sinner.”
But that's not the only way God brings comfort to us. Sometimes God uses the presence of other believers to bring comfort to our mourning souls.
In 2 Cor 7:6 we read, “But God, who comforts the downcast, (the who? The mourners!) comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me.”
My there's so much mourning and comforting going on there you can hardly keep track of it all.
I don't pretend to understand all the different ways God will come to those who mourn over sin, but one thing I do know, you will be comforted, (your mournaing will be made bearable) and having been comforted, you have an obligation to comfort others.
2 Cor 1:3,4 “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, (anguish) so that we may be able to comfort those who are in ANY affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Are you afflicted by sin or it's effects? (Remember, all misery ultimately exists because of sin.) Then receive the comfort that God sends your way.......”there there child, everything will be alright.”
And then as you see others in anguish, remind them of the comfort that God has spoken to you, so that they may experience His comfort as well.
Still another benefit of mourning over sin, though not mentioned by any of the commentators I have read is this. To mourn over sin is to prove that you are alive spiritually. Your heart has not been hardened or conditioned to just accept it. Sin and it's effects still move you to tears.
And by the way, if you are not aware of it, tears are a valuable commodity to God.
Sometimes tears bring answers to prayer:
2Ki 20:5 "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.
Sometimes tears ARE prayers.
Ps 6:8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
God notes every single tear shed as the result of sin.
Ps 56:8 You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?
And one day when sin is done away with there will be no more need for tears.
Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
Re 7:17 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
And again, let's not forget the promise of comfort in this beatitude as spelled out also in the Psalms.
Ps 116:8 For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.
God will comfort you, He will deliver your eyes from tears! In this life and ultimately in the next.
And, tears are also seeds of joy. :
Ps 126:5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
One final benefit of mourning over sin. It fixes your thoughts and focuses your hope on the return of Jesus. It moves your heart to pray with John as he did in the end of the Book of Revelation. “Come, Lord Jesus!
Every time I hear or sing that song “No More Night,” I am reminded of the times I would attempt to sing along with it and just break down in tears. I guess it just reminded me of the useless pain that people (including me) experience and inflict on others because of sin.
Oh what might have been for that unborn child had he or she been allowed to live. Oh what might have been for that mother if she would have chosen to carry that baby to term.
Oh the pain and sorrow that we have brought into our own lives and our own marriage through careless words and choices. I hate you sin! Yet I still commit you! I still fall into you so easily. O God have mercy! Never let me stop weeping over sin, and never shut my ears to your comfort and may I always look forward to that day when there will be no more tears.
How fortunate those who grieve over sin, they shall be comforted! I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives. He lives, He lives who once was dead, He lives my ever living head.