Well, good morning everyone. We're on a highway to happiness this summer in our study of the beatitudes of Jesus. I hope you brought your Bible this morning. In fact, before you turn to Matthew 5, hold it up in the air so I can see that you are studying along with us this morning. Great. That's good to see. Matthew 5, and we're looking at the second of Jesus’ beatitudes.
I love the words of Solomon in the book Ecclesiastes 3. He's very eloquent in the way he talks about the normal and natural seasons and rhythms of life. For instance, he begins by saying, “There's a time for everything. There's a season for every activity under heaven,” Solomon says. And he goes on to say, “There's a time to be born, and there's a time to die.” He says, “There's a time to plant, and there's a time to uproot.” He even says, “There's a time for war, and there's a time for peace.” And in 3:4 of the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon also says this, he says, “There's a time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Now, most of us like the times of laughter and the times of dancing. We’d rather avoid the times of weeping and mourning. We love to laugh, don’t we? We prefer to laugh. I love to laugh. I love to be around people who make me laugh. I'm not much of a comedian, but I love to be around people who make me laugh. In fact, Friday night Cathryn and the kids and I were at a season-ending baseball team party for one of our kids, and the coach, who’s a little bit of a comedian, made me laugh. He told a joke that I thought I'd try on you this morning. Okay? He said, “Why can you not find a bathroom at a Beatles concert? Because there's no John.” Oh, I laughed, I laughed. I thought it was hilarious. So much so that I try it out on you this morning, and you just groan on me. Oh, my. I don't think the 9:30 or 11:00 service is gonna hear that one just because of your response.
We love to laugh, don’t we? And we love to be around people who make us laugh. But Solomon says, “There's a time to laugh, and there's a time to mourn.” And I have some sad news for you this morning, this is not the time to laugh. We're gonna talk about mourning, those seasons of mourning in our life. And it takes us back to our study of these beatitudes and the second of eight beatitudes that Jesus delivered 2,000 years ago on a hillside overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee. He spoke these eight sort of simple, but sublime, sort of pithy little statements. And in Matthew 5:4 he says, of all things, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Now, we're talking about this being a highway to happiness, and as strange as it was last week to put the words “poor” and “happy” in the same sentence, even stranger this week is the idea of, well, titling a sermon The Happy Sad. I mean, what kind of craziness is that? But that's exactly what Jesus introduces. We've talked about how this highway to happiness is sort of an upside-down view of the world, at least as we think of it in a standard kind of way. Jesus uses the word “blessed” nine times in 12 verses. It generally means, from the Greek language, blissful or happy. Beatitude is a word that means supreme blessedness or exalted happiness. And we come to 5:4 and Jesus says, “Blessed, supremely blessed are those who mourn. Those who mourn experience exalted happiness, because they shall be comforted.” What in the world is that all about?
I think we would all agree that ours is the last generation to embrace mourning as a highway to happiness. In fact, most of us, when we feel the slightest twinge of melancholy, we race to our favorite form of entertainment to try to chase away the blues. The last thing we want to do is feel down. And so we have stand-up comics, and comedy clubs, and situation comedies and now the Comedy Channel. We'll do anything to introduce laughter and comedy and hilarity into our life, sometimes to anesthetize the pain that we're experiencing. But Jesus must've thought that there was something important about seasons of mourning in our life, or else he wouldn't have said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Laughter is a gift from God. So is mourning. It's good laugh about those things that are good and pure and holy and excellent. It is a gift from the Lord. Frivolity, on the other hand is the devil’s way of making us, well, not be sober-minded when the situation calls for it. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” James, his half-brother said in James 4:9, “Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom.” That kind of teaching isn’t gonna get you very man calls for, you know, an after-dinner talk or something like that. It just doesn't sound like what our culture is looking for today. But let's talk about this, let's talk about this, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This second beatitude dispels any myth that the Christian life is just the continuous experience of bliss and frivolity and hilarity. There are seasons of mourning. “There's a time for laughter,” Solomon says, and there's a time for weeping and mourning as well.
What does Jesus mean by all of this? Well, let's being by talking about some of the men of sorrows that we find in the Bible, starting with Jesus himself. Isaiah 53:3 is a messianic passage in the Old Testament talking about the coming of Messiah, and it describes the Messiah. “He will be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Whatever you hear in terms of the health and wealth and feel-good Christianity out there, you got to remember, Jesus was a man of sorrows. He was acquainted with grief. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrew 5:7 that, “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears,” the Scripture says. He grieved over the rejection of his people. And he cried out in Matthew 23:37, “Oh, Jerusalem, oh, Jerusalem, how often I have desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.” He sobbed over the city of Jerusalem and their rejection of him as Savior. Go to John 11, we find Jesus weeping at Lazarus’ tomb. He was a man of sorrow and compassion, he was acquainted with grief. He understands our grief because he himself was acquainted with it. And he wept over the death of his friend Lazarus even though he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. So Jesus was a man of sorrow.
But he's not the only man of sorrows in the Bible. Jeremiah the prophet was known as the Weeping Prophet. Did you know that? In Jeremiah 9:1 he writes, “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people.” Jeremiah wept his way all the way through his ministry. He grieved the spiritual condition of his people, the nation of Israel. So much so that he wrote a book called the Book of Lamentations, of all things. That's a bestseller, isn’t it? Lamentations 2:18, Jeremiah says, “Cry out to the Lord, oh, wall, oh, daughter of Zion. Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night. Give yourself no rest, your eyes respite.” Apparently the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel was such that it wasn't a time, it wasn't a season of laughter and hilarity, it was a season of mourning and weeping and tears, and Jeremiah was exactly the right prophet for the time, this weeping prophet.
We could go into the Psalms. King David wrote the largest book in the Bible, the Book of Psalms. 150 psalms. Oh, there were some other authors in there as well. And we're very well acquainted with the psalms of praise and thanksgiving, but there are many what are called psalms of lament, like the Book of Lamentations. Somebody once said maybe we ought to have lamentation teams leading us in worship in the church and not just praise teams. Can you imagine such a thing today? Don’t worry, we're not gonna have the lamentation team up here, but we'll stick with choirs and praise teams and things like that. But David gave us, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, many songs of lament and sorrow expressing the deep ache in his soul toward God.
And even the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul who wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” Well, this was the apostle who also said in Acts 20 the he, “Served the Lord with all humility and tears. And how,” he said, “for three years I did not cease night and day to warn everyone with tears,” Paul said. He also wrote to the Corinthians, he says, “Out of much distress and anguish of heart, and with many tears,” writes Paul. I remember hearing a sermon from an old Southern Baptist evangelist years ago, simply titled, Where Are the Tears, Where Are the Tears? And he was just talking about that sorrow of heart, the deep grieving and ache in our soul, from his perspective, for the lost world around us, and perhaps for many other things as well.
Now, a fair question we bring to this second beatitude is this, what exactly are we to mourn about? Jesus begins by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” We talked about having that attitude of, “Lord I am not rich before you, regardless of my material wealth, but I am poor in spirit.” In other words, “I am spiritually bankrupt.” Not just a little bit poor, but we are ptochos poor. We are absolute and abjectly poor. We have nothing in our hands to bring, but simply to the cross we cling. He moves from that to, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” But mourn about what? What are we to be sorrowful about? What are we to be tearful about? What is the deep ache in our soul toward?
Well, there are, I don't know, two or three categories that we can talk about this morning. One would be the sorrows of life. Is Jesus talking about mourning over the sorrows of life that we all experience? As Solomon said, there's seasons that come into our life where weeping and mourning are the appropriate response of the hour. Is Jesus talking about, “Well, happy are the parents who bury a child”? Is that what he's saying? Or, “Blissful is the widow”? Is it the mourning, the sorrow of bereavement? Is it that? Are we to say, you know, “Happy is the person who's diagnosed with cancer and only has a few months to live”? This week the world mourned the loss of a music icon named Michael Jackson. It's all over the news. I'm sure you saw it. Is this beatitude saying that those who mourned his death will be promised comfort? I'm not so sure that's what this beatitude is talking about, but the Bible certainly promises comfort to those who mourn the sorrows of life.
Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4. You're gonna turn there quickly, ‘cause I'm gonna start reading here pretty quickly. 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4 is a great text of Scripture to go to if you want to learn about the compassionate heart of God and how he comforts us in times of sorrow. Verse 3 begins, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion”—isn’t that a great term for our heavenly Father—“the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”—the Scripture says—“who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” It's a great text of Scripture, especially when you're sitting or standing next to a fresh grave and you're mourning the loss of a loved one. Know that you have a heavenly Father who is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. And there is purpose in the sorrow of life, because the comfort that you receive at that time is the comfort that he wants you to give others when they go through similar times. Okay?
We could go to many places where the Bible promises that there's comfort for those who mourn the sorrows of life. I'm just not sure that this beatitude is about that. Okay? So if it's not about the sorrows of life and mourning the sorrows of life, is it about mourning the sufferings of this world? Are we to mourn when there are starving children in Sudan? Are we to mourn and have this sorrow of heart and this ache in our soul when there's a devastating hurricane that wipes out the Louisiana coast, or a tsunami on the other side of the world that yield tens of thousands of lives that are lost? Is that what this beatitude is about?
Well, possibly, but not primarily. Certainly, we are to mourn the consequences of a sinful and fallen world in which we live. And there's great pain a suffering that results…we live in a fallen world. But even as I say that, I'm reminded of the fact that the world in which we live has a difficult time addressing pain and suffering in a meaningful way. Have you noticed that? When there's any great world tragedy out there, any suffering that comes to our attention or to our conscience, the world typically responds in one of two ways. It says, “Well, if God exists, he's powerless to do anything about it. He was powerless to avert the hurricane that wiped out the Louisiana coast. He's powerless to do anything about the starving children in Sudan. He wants to, he has a heart for it, but he's just powerless to so.” That's one view of the world. The other is, “He just doesn't care.” And of course, the other view is, “He just doesn't exist.” But this is how the world tends to address pain and suffering, and it doesn't do so in a very meaningful way.
We as Christians understand that we live in a fallen world, that there are consequences to a sin-stained world, and the pain and the suffering that we experience is part of that. Romans 8:22 talks about how “the whole creation groans as in the pains of childbirth up unto this present time.” We groan not because the pastor told a bad joke, we groan because we look at the pain and suffering in this world and we say, “It wasn't meant to be this way.” And God grieves over this as much as we do, but as Christians we have an eternal perspective, and we're able to understand that pain and suffering has purpose in the sovereign plan of God.
C.S. Lewis argued this point by pointing to, of all things, leprosy. Do you know what leprosy is? It's a terrible disease, but it's not probably what you'd think. You think of the effects of leprosy, which is a dismembered hand or an amputated foot, or disfigurement in the body in some way. But leprosy is actually a neurological disease that deadens a person’s ability to feel pain. And so when you visit leper colonies around the world…and I've not visited one, but I've read about them…and there are these folks who have terrible disfigurements in their body, partly because a leper can literally be walking down the street in his bare feet and step on a rusty nail and not feel it. And so that sharp rusty implement goes into the bottom of his foot and he doesn't know it because he has leprosy, this neurological disease. He doesn't feel pain, and so that nail in his foot gets infected, it causes gangrene and it leads to an amputation. Okay? And Lewis, when he's talking about pain and suffering, points to leprosy and says, “Pain has a purpose in our life.” He says, “Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world.” I love that phrase. And he's right. When we experience the sorrows of life, yes, but even the sufferings and the pain in this world, it's a wake-up call that is meant to arouse us to understand it was not meant to be this way. That the effects that we're experiencing in this world are the result of sin that entered the world. We live in a fallen world, and maybe somehow in the midst of that pain and suffering God (0:19:00.0) awakens our heart, he wounds the alarm. He speaks through a megaphone when he speaks through pain and suffering, and it's meant to draw us back to him.
This beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn,” might possibly be about the sufferings of this world. But again, I don't think it's primarily about that. Yes, we can grieve and mourn the consequences of sin, but maybe there's something more here. I really think that what Jesus is getting at here, the most natural interpretation of this is that he's talking about mourning our personal sin. In fact, John R. W. Stott, who is a well-known pastor and theologian who led the All Souls Church in London, England for a number of years, he's written extensively. He writes, “It is plain from the context that those here promised comfort are not primarily those who mourn the loss of a loved one, (0:20:00.0) but those who mourn the loss of their innocence, their righteousness, their self-respect. It is not the sorrow of bereavement Jesus is talking about, but the sorrow of repentance,” Stott says. And I agree with Stott. I think that puts a laser focus on “Blessed are those who mourn.”
We might paraphrase it by saying, “Happy, supremely blessed are those who grieve over their sin.” And that naturally follows the first beatitude. Remember these beatitudes, the danger is in isolating one or the other and saying, “Well, I kind of like this one, but I don't like this one. So I’ll deal with this one.” No, these beatitudes build upon themselves. Foster was the one who painted the picture of a ladder, these beatitudes are. And step by step we ascend closer and closer to God. And so we begin with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” An intellectual understanding that I am bankrupt spiritually before God. I can agree with that. I can agree with it intellectually. But we naturally move into the second beatitude, where the person who has acknowledged his or her poverty of spirit, his or her spiritual bankruptcy before God, the depravity of man that we talked about last week, that naturally leads to the emotional response of mourning and grieving over our sin. The kind of mourning, the kind of grieving that only finds comfort in forgiveness preceded by repentance. That's what the Scripture is talking about here.
In fact, the word “mourn”…just to give some idea of the powerful emotional response that Jesus is getting at here. The word “mourn” is the strongest word that the writer could’ve used in the Greek language to talk about that sorrow of heart, that ache in the soul that a person has. It's the same word used to describe the sorrow of heart that a person feels in the loss of a loved one. And some of you here are widows, some of you are parents who have buried a child, maybe you lost a loved one this year or you will lose one this year, and you know what it's like to stand at a graveside and not tell a silly joke…it's not time for that…but to have this deep sorrow and grieving in your heart.
We've buried a few staff members around here. Four or five in the last four or five, I understand. Two since I've been here as senior pastor in two years. We've held the memorial services here. One was a 30-something-year-old student pastor, just weeks after I arrived. A beautiful wife and children. We know the emotional ache in our hearts when it comes to mourning. Same word is used here. “Blessed are those, happy are those, supremely blessed are those who experience the same kind of mourning and grieving over the spiritual condition they’ve acknowledged intellectually in the first beatitude, that they are poor in spirit.” That's what Jesus is getting at here.
Now, how do we get there? How do we mourn over our sin? Well, we have a helper. Somebody that Jesus described once as the Holy Comforter. Isn’t that interesting that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to comfort us? And the comfort of the person who is mournful is the comfort of forgiveness that comes to the person who is truly repentant of heart. But I want you to think through a little bit of the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing us to this heartfelt contrition that Jesus is talking about in this second beatitude. It begins with the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin. All right? The conviction that the Holy Spirit brings upon our heart. It is his job to bring to us an awareness of our sin. He convicts us of sin whether we are coming to faith in Jesus Christ and it's a conviction or recognition or realization that we are poor in spirit and we have nothing in our hands to bring, but simply to the cross we cling, or as believers in Jesus Christ who are cleansed and forgiven but we still wrestle with the sin nature. It's that daily conviction that, “Hey, you said something today that grieved the heart of God.” Or, “You've got a sin in your life that you need to deal with.” And the Holy Spirit brings that conviction to our hearts, and he works in partnership with our conscience.
Now, the conscience is that internal alarm system, that moral alarm system that God has written into the software of every human being. And you have to be careful with the conscience. You know, Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience be your guide.” Well, kind of. As long as your conscience is trained by the holy and pure word of God, it's a reliable guide. But the Bible teaches that we can silence the conscience. We can sear the conscience. We can shut it down. How? Through repeated disobedience. When the conviction of the Spirit comes and we ignore that, we ignore the alarms that are going off inside of us that says, “No, don’t cross that line. You're stepping into disobedience.” The repeated disobedience silences the conscience. It sears the conscience. And this why the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:18-20, he said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight. Maintain faith and a good conscience,” he said. Make sure your conscience is trained in obedience, and your conscience is trained by the pure and holy word of God. But the Holy Spirit, who comes to convict us of sin, works with our conscience. And when that conviction takes place, it should lead to a confession. A confession that says, “I am poor in spirit,” for the person who is coming to faith in Jesus Christ. A conviction of their sin and their depravity before God. An acknowledgement that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And a confession that says, “Yes, I agree with you, God. I am bankrupt in my spirit before you.”
But don’t stop there. That confession needs to lead to what we call contrition. And contrition is that emotional response of mourning and grieving over our sin. And the Holy Spirit is involved in all of that as our holy comforter. He is leading us to comfort, but it's the comfort that comes after confession and contrition and repentance that leads to forgiveness. The person who continues in his sin will never find comfort. Oh, he might be able to silence the conscience for a time, but at the end of the day your sins will find you out, and your conscience, if not the Holy Spirit, will cause you to be so uncomfortable until you come to that place of confession and contrition that leads to repentance.
Now, let's talk a little bit about the difference between what the Apostle Paul calls “godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow.” All right? I want you turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 7:10, 2 Corinthians 7:10. And here's where the Apostle Paul makes an important statement for us as it relates to this second beatitude. He says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Apparently there's a difference between a godly sorrow and a worldly sorrow. I'm thinking of a person who may be trapped in a habitual sin, and who feels sorrowful when he falls into that sin and repeats it. Even feels guilty, feels regret and remorse. Begs the mercy of God, but then goes out and does it again. That's worldly sorrow. Full of regret, full of remorse, but short of repentance, short of a change in behavior. And you can get trapped in that cycle of sin-confess-sin-confess-sin-confess-sin-confess. Trapped in the habitual cycle of a besetting, addicting sin. Okay? and you feel terrible about it. You feel awful about it. You feel just totally guilty about it, but you don’t change your behavior. That's worldly sorrow.
Now, there's an example in the New Testament, a good example of two guys who show us the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. Their names are Peter and Judas. Okay? Both of these men denied Jesus just before he was crucified. Both of them sobbed tears of sorrow. One experienced repentance and restoration. That was Peter. The other, equally sorrowful for his actions, committed suicide. That was Judas. He was full of regret, he was full of remorse, but not a repentance that led to salvation. And so worldly sorrow is a regret and remorse with no change, where godly sorrow is repentance that leads to restoration and leads to salvation.
Dr. Karl Menninger was a famous psychologist many years ago known all over the world for the Menninger Clinics. He was based in Topeka, Kansas, and he wrote a book called Whatever Became of Sin? And I've always been intrigued by that title. I don't know if he was an evangelical believer or not, but he certainly had a provocative title back in 1973. And a lot of us since then have still been asking, whatever became of sin? You don't hear about sin much anymore. There's a popular television preacher who says, “I don't talk about sin because it's negative.” And I've always been perplexed by that, ‘cause that's sort of, like, you know, going to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, world famous cancer center in Houston, Texas, and finding out that the doctors don’t say the word “cancer” around there. You got to diagnose what you got to diagnose, right? And if Menninger were still alive today, I'd encourage to write a sequel to his book titled, Whatever Became of Repentance? You know, that word that John the Baptist used and Jesus used as they started their ministry, “Repent, for he kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus didn't say, “Regret, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He didn't say, “Have deep remorse in your heart, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” No, he used the word “repent,” which implies a 180-degree turn, a change of behavior.
We see worldly sorrow all the time in the media when politicians and even preachers get caught in sexual sin. Grieving and tears and regret and remorse. But you don't know whether that really leads to a change in behavior. And Paul just warns us here of grieving in a worldly way versus grieving over our sin in a godly way. Grieving the sorrow in our heart, not unlike the sorrow when we've lost a loved one. Grieving over the sin because we've grieved the heart of God. Remember what the Apostle Paul says about the ministry of the Holy Spirit? He says, “Don’t quench the Holy Spirit.” He also says, “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.” When we fail to grieve in a godly kind of way over a sin that he has brought to our attention, when we fail to do that it grieves the Holy Spirit. He is sorrowful not for us, but because of us. And Paul says, “Be careful not to do that. Don’t quench him. Don’t douse the fire.” You know, a picture of putting a bucket of water on the fire that is the Holy Spirit. And he says, “Don’t grieve him. Don’t grieve his heart.”
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Now, let me wrap this up with just a quick picture of a grieving, mournful person in the Old Testament. Take your Bibles and turn with me to Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. I'm just gonna set this up for you. You can read this more in your own personal study. But if you want a good example of somebody who expressed a godly sorrow…it took him some time to get there…but a godly sorrow over his sin, it was King David. And Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 are two of the psalms that he wrote. We might even call them lament psalms, as a result of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. And I want to start in Psalm 32, which is kind of a sequel to Psalm 31. I start there because it starts like a beatitude. Listen to this. “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him, in whose spirit is no deceit.” David had lived a hidden, deceitful life for the better part of a year until Nathan the prophet called him out and exposed the adulterous affair. And David goes on to describe, well, the difficult time that he was experiencing when he hid his sin rather than confessing it to the Father. Verse 3, “When I kept silent my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long”—there was a physical impact on him—“for day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
And then in Psalm 51 we learn in verse 17 that, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, oh, God, you will not despise.” The good news is, for the person who mourns and grieves over his sin, you will find a God who is ready to receive you and to cleanse you and to forgive you. David goes through a series of mournful steps in Psalm 51. He begins in verse 1 and 2 with cries for mercy. There's a confession in verses 3-6. He asks for cleansing in verses 7-9. For inward renewal in verses 10-12. For the restoration to service in verses 13-17. And then, he anticipates God’s blessing at the end of the psalm. It's a great way to pray through the second beatitude. Blessed, happy, supremely blessed, exalted happiness is the possession of those mourn over their sins just like David did.
I want to ask you to bow your heads in an attitude of prayer right now. I told you this was a time not for laughter and hilarity, but it was a time for mourning. And I wonder if there is somebody here today…and this is just a conversation between you and God, and you're giving me the privilege to participate in it with you. But I wonder if there's somebody here today, you're a believer in Jesus Christ, but there's something in your life that is not rightly related to God. And you know what it is. The Holy Spirit continues to bring conviction. Oh, you've silenced your conscience some. It used to sound like the loudest alarm you could possibly imagine when first crossed that line. It's quieter now. And maybe the conviction of your heart this morning is, you recognize that worldly sorrow is the cycle you're in. You have deep regrets and remorse, and you feel the weight of guiltiness, but it doesn't lead to a godly sorrow and a repentance, a change, a turning around away from your sin, away, perhaps, from the idols you are serving, as Paul says to the Thessalonians, and a running toward Christ. And my prayer for you this morning is that today would mark the day where you cry out to God and say, “God, don’t ever let me laugh or smile or experience a frivolous moment again until the sobriety of my heart leads to a godly sorrow and a mourning over my sin, and a repentance that is real and lasting.” Just take some moments right now and quietly, in your own hearts, cry out to God.
Father of compassion and God of all comfort, we come to you thanking you for this beatitude. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We ask, Father, for the comfort of forgiveness and cleansing that comes with a genuine godly sorrow and repentance of heart. We know you desire that for us, Father, or else Jesus wouldn't have said there's a blessedness, a supreme blessedness. We know that whatever the blessed life is, the happy life is, as Jesus talked about it, we got to go through these steps. The poverty of spirit. It's easy to acknowledge that intellectually, Father, but, oh, would you bring about the emotional earthquake in our soul. A mourning, a grieving, a sensitivity to your Holy Spirit like we've never had before, that yields repentance. That yields, Father, a desire to keep short accounts with you. That every time the Holy Spirit brings that conviction to our hearts, we pause wherever we are and we remember 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We pray to that end.
Father, I pray for the person here today who's mourning on his or her way to faith in Jesus Christ, recognizing their bankruptcy before God, mourning their spiritual lostness and condition apart from him. That today would lead to repentance and faith in Christ and a new beginning. And we pray this in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who sent us the holy comforter who is your Holy Spirit.