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Sermon on the Mount

by George Knepper

Seventh in Series (see previous months)

By G. D. Knepper

Big Creek Church of Christ, Louisiana

June 27, 1958

 

I think I will start off by looking for a while at what sin is. Sin is the worst thing in the world.  Several years ago, when we were supposed to be having prohibition in this country and over in Western Kentucky and in the edge of Tennessee, they told me that if you went down in the hills and hollows, you would find in every other place they were making moonshine whiskey.  I announced one night in the meeting that on the next Monday night (Monday, on purpose because that is always small attendance night) I was going to preach on the worst thing in that community.  Well you can image that everyone thought they knew what it was going to be about.  And that was a rough part of the country.   At the place where we were staying there was a girl about 17 or 18 years old who just begged me not to go to church that night.  She said, “Bro. Knepper, they’ll kill you, just a sure as you go.” And mister, there was a crowd there. I’m telling you the house was filled, and they were looking in the windows.  She was just sure that I was going to get killed.  I went on and named a lot of things that it could be, and among those was whiskey.  I named that as one of the things it could be, and then of course, when I announced that the worst thing in that community was, I said, “its sin.”  That poor girl nearly fainted.

So, the worst thing in the world is sin.  I thought you could start out and name probably 50 things right off the reel without stopping to think that are sins.  Now, turn with me to I John 3:4.  I think we can pin this down a little more closely, than just leaving it up in the air, so to speak.  I’m going to read it as Phillips translates it.

      “Everyone who commits sin breaks God’s law” – not laws—“for that’s what sin is by definition –a breaking of God’s law.”  Not laws, but law.  All right, you have sin defined then as the Bible defines it.  No look at I Jon 5:16, 17“If any of you should see his brother committing a sin (I don’t mean deliberately turning his back on God and embracing evil) there is a clear-cut distinction drawn here.  “He should pray to God for him and secure fresh life for the sinner. It is possible to commit sin  that is a deliberate embracing of evil and that leads to spiritual death – that is not the sort of sin I have in mind when I recommend prayer of the sinner.” Now this is what I want you to get, too.  “Every failure to obey God’s laws is sin, of course, but there is sin that does not preclude repentance and forgiveness.”  So you see there seems to be two levels of sin.  One is simply turning your back on God and embracing evil.  Then the other is seemingly of a different type.  Now turn back to the 2nd chapter and verses 3-5.  “It is only when we obey God’s laws that we can be quite sure that we really know Him.” Let that sink in. “The man who claims to know God but does not obey His laws is not only a liar, he lives in self-delusion.  In practice, the more a man learns to obey God’s laws the more truly and fully does he express his love for Him.” “..The more a man learns to obey God’s laws the more truly and fully does he express his love for Him…” That’s what I’ve talking about.  Obedience is the test of whether we really live in God or not.

     The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ.  Now you are wondering what that is all about. When we obey God’s laws we express our love for God, and if we do not obey God’s laws it is sin.  Now let’s keep those two things in our minds. And when we are not obeying God’s laws we are putting a voice above the voice of God.  The voice of God says, “Do this” but if I do something else, it is clear of you whose voice I’m obeying? That’s sin!  I’m obeying a voice above the voice of God.  In the Garden of Eden what happens?  What did Eve do? Whose voice did she obey?  She put the devil’s voice above the voice of God.  And finite mind had no comprehension of what has resulted from that.

(REMARK: The devil’s voice is evil? ANSWER: Well, it can’t be anything else.  What is he? What does the Book say he is? He is a liar from the beginning and the Father of lies.  So anything the devil says to you is a lie.  It may be half-truth, but ultimately it is a lie.)

NOW, WHEN WE OBEY God we are expressing what for him? Love! Don’t let that get away from you now.  That is fundamental in what I want to bring out in just a minute or two here.  When we obey what he tells us to do, that expresses our love for god.  O course, if I obey the voice of Satan, and put his voice above God’s, I’m expressing my love for whom?   There is no use to dodge the issue.  I am expressing my love for the devil.  I can squirm and twist and pretend and all that, but that is absolute, I am loving the devil.

All right, let’s move on, a little.  Now, then what did Jesus say is the greatest commandment?  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul and with all thy strength.”  With your head, hands and heart, your whole being you are to love God. How do you express that love? By doing what He tells you to do.  Folks, all lesser sins, now focus and base in that sin – just a sure as fate.  And I don’t care what these lesser sins are if you will trace them back, the base in the fact that you don’t love God.  There is your fundamental, there is you basic sin.  That is the reason, folks, you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  If you do that you need not worry about sin. Does that startle you?   That focuses, that pinpoints sin.  We express our love by obeying his commandments. And the first and the greatest of these commands are to love God.  That transcends everything else.  I express my love for God by doing what he tells me to do, and He tells me to love him with all my heart. And you have sin pin-pointed right there, and all the lesser sins.

Now, what was the second commandment? “Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.”  How do I express my love for God, by what I do for this neighbor!  Not by what I do to him, but what I do for him.  There is a lot of difference there.  I can do things to my neighbor, but I want to do things for my neighbor. Do you see what a tremendous thing that is?  How I treat others!

Now let’s put that to the test here. There were three men traveling the road one day.  One was a priest; did he claim to love God?  Sure, sure.  He claimed to love God. He saw a man in a ditch.  What did he do, he shied around him.  Did he love God? He was just saying he did, folks. That’s what I’m trying to show you. We express our love for God, how?  By what we do! Now you can’t do anything directly to God.  I hope I made that clear last night.  You can’t do anything directly for God.  I do things for God carrying out that second commandment.  Now, the priest shied around, who said he loved God?  Was that a sin?  Yes it was!  A Levite came that way.  Did he say he loved God? Why, he was a religious leader.  He passed on by on the other side.   A Samaritan came that way, and when he saw the man in the ditch, what did he do?  He went right down into the ditch to help that man.  Was he talking about loving God?  NO!  But what did he do? He showed it by what he did.  By ministering to somebody that God loved.  Get it?  Now these lesser sins, folks are symptoms. Let’s talk about it like this:

I hope that no one in here has cancer. I hope you don’t.  I would hesitate to speak about it, but it illustrates what I am trying to get at.  Many times, the thing that indicates to the doctor that you have cancer is a long way from the cancer itself. Isn’t that true?  Here is a root perhaps in my foot, but the cancer may be up here in my lungs or some place like that, see?  Now when the doctor comes to examine you, what does he want to find; the place where the cancer is. When I am committing sins that is only a symptom of a lack of love for God. That’s all.  I can dig out those little sins, I can quit smoking, I can quit drinking intoxicating liquors, (if I do)  and I can quit goi9ng to dances (if I do dance), I can quit all those things, but  yet not  reach the source, the cancer.  I’ve got to love God.   Folks, fight for that with all the power there is in you.  Learn to love God.  It shouldn’t be very hard of us to love him –should it? After all he has done for us. After the place he is preparing for us over there.  After the fact that he is preparing things that haven’t entered the mind of man, what he is doing for us.  I breaks in upon us, that he had taken away my sin, that he has washed it clean when I was black in his sight, it shouldn’t be too hard to love Him. Should it? No, it shouldn’t!  Folks all these lesser sins area simply symptoms of the real sin.  And this is a lack of love of God.  You can focus it right there.  And until you get that out of your life –you can cut off  your limbs and do that sort of thing –but  until  you get to the cancer itself, what is going to happen? It is   going to go right on sapping your life.   Does that startle you?  It simplifies my problem, doesn’t it?  Sure it does.  What would you think of a doctor that knew now that the cancer was located somewhere in your body and would start out digging here and digging there where ever those little symptoms are – No, no.   Right at the source folks.  Ask God’s help and he will give it. And by the way where is Jesus talking in John 14, 15, 16 about the comforter that he going to send, I think a much better translation is “helper.”  What does the idea of a “comforter” give you?  He just gives you a pat on the back just to comfort you.  Oh, that’s not what the Holy Spirit does.  He’s a helper, he’s my helper.,  I like the  translation much better, loads better than “comforter.” But as Mr. Dooley said, it’s his business to comfort the afflicted ad afflict the comfortable.  When we get to thinking of the Holy Spirit (now I am speaking reverently I wouldn’t for the world make fun of the Holy Spirit) about what we think a lot of times is somebody that is going to comfort us.  Oh, he’s our helper.  And with his help, folks, we can love God.  You can love Him as much  – more that mother, father husband, wife, son, daughter, or anything else.  And when we put Him first other loves will be ours.  Jesus isn’t saying there that a man is not to love his wife, No! but he doesn’t put the wife above God.

Now there’s more to it.  Jesus spoke of sin for which there is no forgiveness.  Now you have to read that very carefully in its setting, in the context.  Folks, always read what you read, in the context.  Read what came before.  Read what is the occasion for the thing being spoken.  And then read afterwards, too.  Because a lot of times Jesus will illustrate what he had taught.  So you always read something before and after.  That’s what I mean by context.

Turn to Matthew 12:31-32.  That 12th chapter of Matthew is a great chapter.  Matt 12:31-32″Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now let’s find practically the same thing, with a little bit added in Mark 3:22-30.  22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said,” He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”  23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?  24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.  27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.  28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;  29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” —  30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

 

Now I’m going to read from 1 Cor 16:22

The salutation with my own hand — Paul’s.  If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

When a thing is accursed is there any forgiveness for him?  Not when he is accursed. When “..anyone does not..” what? “Love the Lord.”  Right there is your unpardonable sin.  Going back to Mark, they blasphemed the Holy Spirit.  Now how did he blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  Folks, none of us want to get caught in that sin, I know that.  To whom did they ascribe the power that had been exerted? To the devil.  And god exerts His power through whom – through the Holy Spirit.  They ascribed the power that God was displaying and exerting to the power of the Devil. They called him Beelzebub – the prince of Devils.  They refused to accept the truth which could have set them free. Folks , don’t turn away from the truth.  It doesn’t matter how much it hurts t doesn’t matter what it cuts. It doesn’t  matter what it says for you to give up.  Follow the truth!  As God – in one place we read, “Buy the truth, sell it now.”  These people turned their back on the truth.  There was a demonstration that the power of God was being exerted and the turned their back upon the truth and ascribed the power to the Devil It’s a dangerous, dangerous ting to do.  They ascribed the power that was being exerted there to the Devil instead of to God.

Now there was another question raised and that is the statement: “God heareth not sinners.”  Who spoke those words; –  the fellow who had been healed.  He had been blind from his birth.  How long had he known Christ? Just when he was healed.  He didn’t even know who Christ was at that time at all.  Then was he a disciple of Christ? How could he be? Then is what he is speaking from Christ? No! He hadn’t come in contact   with the teaching of Christ at all. Didn’t even know him.  When they said, “Who did this?” He simply said, “Why a man came along and did it. I don’t know who he was, but a man came along.”  That, folks, is fundamental I think in understanding.  As far as I am concerned it is.  You have to watch who is speaking. This was said, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou chalet no die.”  Who said that?  Was it the truth? Is it in God’s word?  You’ve got to watch who is speaking and why he is speaking.  There are lies in God’s word.  Maybe that started it, but there are lies there.  Everything recorded in there that the devil said is a lie.  Now then, (the healed) is not a disciple of Christ at all, he had never come on contact with Christ. Where do you suppose he got the idea that God does not hear, or listen to sinners?  From his teachers?

Well turn to John 9:13.  Now watch I’m trying to build up something here.  I’m telling you folks you must be careful not to read into God’s word something that isn’t there. They took the blind man to the Pharisees.

John 9:13-24 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”Others said,” How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said,” He is a prophet.” 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him,” Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

Now look at verse 16.  “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”  Now look at verse 24 “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”  Was that the truth? We know that it was a blank lie.  Now verse 25John 9:25He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”  Everybody knew that, because they had known him all his life and everybody knew his life story.  Now watch.  Follow this.  They said “We know that man is a sinner..’  He said, “ I don’t whether he is a sinner or not, but he opened my eyes” Now on the verse 27. watch because he putting them into a corner John 9:27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? “   He was not a fool when he said Do you also want to become His disciples? This is fundamental to understanding what is going on here, just watch as we read v28 John 9:28-29 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”   They were criticizing him, jeering him. But watch now as he puts them on the spot.  The man noted there was something strange about what they said and told them  John 9:30  The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!  He was quoting them. They said he (Jesus) was a sinner, but they taught that god does not listen to sinners, so how in the world did this happen? – a strange thing indeed.

Now to Luke 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,’ God, I thank you that I am not like other men — extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

Now watch! Does the tax collector speak to God?  Yes!  He speaks directly to God. It says so ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  By his own admission he is a sinner.  Did God listen to him?  Jesus said He did “.. this man went down to his house justified..”    13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

As far as I am concerned that settles the question.  God listened to one sinner, at least, I know.  Because he said he was a sinner.  The book says we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Now I grant you, that when we are born anew our sins are washed out, but John says if any man says he does not sin he is a liar.  Are we willing right here and now – now that I have shown you what sin is – to say, looking God in the face knowi8ng that he is going to face his answer, are you willing to say that you love God with your whole soul, mind, heart and body? Are you willing to say that?  None of us dare say that, do we?  Is there anyone who dares to look God in the face and say that he has reached that condition where he loves God with all his heart, mind and soul?  None will dare say it.  Well, if we don’t, then we are to a degree, sinners.  Now, do you believe that God hears you well, wouldn’t you just like to think that God doesn’t hear you when you pray?! (until you’ve reached that condition of loving him) Paul tells us that he has not reached that condition, but he was pressing on.  Did God hear Paul?  Paul said he was the “chief of sinners” but God spoke to him.  If hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t drive a sinner to want something, it would do no good for him to pray.  But if it drives him to want something, that man is going to cry out to God just whist that tax-collector did?   “O, God have mercy on me a sinner.”  God, show me what to do as you did Paul.

Cornelius was a Gentile at a time when they didn’t thick that gentiles could have salvation at all, and his prayers came up before God and God heard him and listened to him to the extent that he sent a man clear down to where Peter was, and Peter came clear up there to preach to him. Let’s not try to take God’s place.  Let us not worry what God will do when someone prays.  That is up to him.

I’m not saying he can get just anything he wants, he has to go one step before go the next.  But I tell you that God does hear the sinner who is honestly seeking Him and asking, “What shall I do?”  The man who turns his back on God has sinned – there is no hope for him.  God has never turned his back on anybody.  The man who is (in)sincere, Christian or not, in his prayers,  God hears alright, but I tell you right now that he had better be careful how answers his prayer (how he prays).   The insincere.  I’m talking about sincerity from the heart out.  I’m not talking about the man who says, “O god, I wish you would tell me what to do.”  And doesn’t mean it, he’s a liar.  But those fellows said we know this man is a sinner   and God does not hear sinners.

Now, in Psalm 51: 4 there is a tremendously important verse.  What does David say here “Against thee and the only have I sinned,” Does that mean that he hadn’t sinned against Bathsheba?  Does it mean that he hadn’t sinned against Uriah when he had him killed?  No, no.  But where is the cancer?   It is sin against God. (He turned his back on God)  That is all I wanted to get at folks.

Now the prodigal son, when he came to himself in that far country, he said, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say I have sinned against heaven, and in they sight.”  God is the father figure here and we readily see he had turned his back on God that was the sin and it hurt his earthly father, too.  Love the Lord thy god with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength… Get that straight in your life  and your life will fall into a pattern.  You won’t to fret or worry any more.

Now we are going to the next one of the “blesseds.”  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled. Or satisfied.  Not saturated, nor satiated, but satisfied.  Those who what? Hunger and thirst.  Now don’t try to make something out of that word righteousness.  Some big preachers have been doing a wonderful bit of theology there about righteousness until they don’t even know what they are talking about themselves.  Righteousness means being what God wants you to be.  That’s righteousness.  Philips or Williams translates it this way: right standing with God.  Being what God wants you to be.  Seeking to do God’s will.  Don’t try to make something difficult or hard out of that word righteousness. It just means you are in right standing with God.  You are to do what God wants you to do.  You are doing things that God expects you to do.  You are reaching for that Maturity, you are reaching for that goal, and you are reaching for Matthew 5:48.  That’s righteousness.  As long as you are striving for that, doing his things that are getting you there.  Now then, let’s look at this for just a little while.  We have been translated out of  the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of God’s son, into the Kingdom of Heaven and we are in the church.  And we have mourned, we have become meek, and I told you that is what kind? Are they objective or subjective?  Those are all subjective, aren’t they?

Now we are hungering and thirsting for more of what we have.  After you have gone through that disciplining, making your life more like God, you have come to love God.  Don’t tell me that the boy or girl who is disciplined by his parents doesn’t love his parents more than those who are allowed to grow up riotously.  You show me a boy or girl that has been brought up disciplined and I will show young people who love their parents.  I don’t mean they have been beaten.  I don’t mean their father has been a tyrant.  I mean that their father has taught that boy obedience.  Now we have learned obedience.  We have come in contact with God.  We have had a taste of what it is like to live in the kingdom of Heaven and function  there; to have the Kingdom of Heaven in us.  Am I talking your language?  We’ve a taste of that and we want more.  We have created a hunger and thirst.  But if you haven’t, ask God to help you.  If you don’t want more and more of God and Christ, of this living o the plane  of the kingdom of Heaven,  having the kingdom of Heaven in you and you in it, then ask God to help you to find out what is the matter.  Because this is what this is all about.

Now turn to I Peter 1:13 (Phillips) “So brace up you minds, and, as men who know what they are doing, rest the full weight of  your hope on the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ reveals himself.  Live as obedient children before God. Don’t let your character be molded by the desires..”  Get it? “by the desires of your ignorant days.”

When were your ignorant days? When you were living in the world!  When you were functioning in the world those were your ignorant days.  But he says,

“Don’t be molded by the desires of your ignorant days, but be holy in every department of your lives, for the One Who has called you is Himself Holy.  The Scripture says, “Ye shall be holy for I am Holy”

What are we hungering and thirsting for?  The Holiness of God!

Revelation 4:8  “And the four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes round about and with in:  and they have no rest day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”

So what are we reaching out for?  More of that Holiness! And folks, that isn’t the pseudo-piety that a lot of people try to palm off on you.  A lot of those who have so much piety, a better word would be “Pie-eaty”.  (You’ll get that after awhile)  Instead of piety they’ve got pie-eaty.  They want to be filled, but they want their stomachs filled.

Now let’s get back to that word “integrity.”  Integrity of heart.  Fight for that!  Be hungry for it. Thirst for it.  You all know what hunger is.  If you want to know what real huger is take a look at Ii Kings 6.  There we find the city of Jerusalem was so closely besieged  and had been so long besieged, and the had exhausted  all the food in that city, it is an actual fact  that two women agreed together that one woman  would let her baby boy be eaten one day and the child of the  other woman the next. What I’m trying to illustrate is what a terrible thing physical hunger can be.  Now you are to have this hunger on what plane?   Of the Kingdom of God, that’s right; this new plane you have gotten into or on too.  This new highway you are walking; the straight and narrow path.  You are to have that hunger and thirst.  And you know what that thirst is.  Every one of us, I suppose, has known that.  That’s what I’m talking about, folks:  that you have that great hunger and thirst for this righteousness, that holiness that Got wants you to have.

Turn to Psalms 42:1, 2.  I want to call your attention to  how the Psalmist  felt this.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, oh God, My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God.”

Now what does the word ‘Hart’ mean?  A species of deer.  The deer will travel for miles and miles and miles to these watering places, see. And that is way the psalmist felt.

Now turn to Psalm 63:1

“O God, thou are my God; earnestly will I seek thee, In a dry and weary land, where no water is.

Do you think the Psalmist is joking?  He is talking right out of the depths of his being.  Do you see what he means by huger and thirst?

Look at Psalm 143:6 I spread forth my hands unto thee.: My soul thirsteth after thee, as a weary land.”

You will find those expressions all through God’s word.  Men and women who have hungered and thirsted after God.  That’s what ‘righteous’ means.  Hungering and thirsting after righteousness means hunger and thirsting to more like God.  Reaching for that perfection, having the qualities of God.  Now don’t say I am blaspheming God. I say you are to have those qualities, but not in the same quantity.  Can I illustrate it this way?  What about a chip diamond?  The kind I would have to by if I tried to by one! What about the qualities in that diamond as compared to those in the big diamonds.  Are they the same qualities? Yes, the same qualities, only on a lesser scale.  Now that is what we are trying to see.  We are trying to get those qualities, or attributes, if you would rather call them attributes.  I hope nobody thinks I am blaspheming God.  We are trying to get those great attributes, those qualities that are in God, and so we are hungering and thirsting for them.  We have gotten some of them, so now what does that create in us? A thirst for them; A hunger, a great hunger. And blessed are those that hunger and thirst for God will give you what you want.  But folks, you’ve got to be hungry and thirsty for it.

QUESTION: Do we get filled up here?

ANSWER:  When you eat a meal do you get satisfied?  But are you through eating then?  No you get hungry again.  That is what this is.  No, you will never have it completely, I don’t think, but it is bringing you closer to God.

REMARK: The more you comprehend, the more you want.

ANSWER: That’s right!  It should create that condition in you and me.  Because the more I get the more I realize how much more there is beyond for me to get.

 

Folks, when you are dealing with God’s word, you are dealing with the infinite.  I mean the message, not just the words in a book.  They may be material.  But the message that it conveys is infinite.  And you can study it all your life, and you will only then just discover how little you know.

First of all, to be hungering and thirsting, we’ve got to see ourselves.  Now turn to Psalm 51:1-4  What I am trying to bring out here is that David  is seeing himself.

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness.  According to thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly for mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions and my sins are ever before me.  Against thee and thee only have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight; that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Is David seeing himself as God sees him?  Yes, indeed.  And that, folks, is the first thing that causes hunger and thirst.  You’ve got to see yourself as God sees you.  Don’t try to duck around the corner.  Look yourself in the face.  Stand yourself over there and look at yourself just as you would look at somebody else.  Be objective about it, because that’s the first step to get this hunger and thirst.  Now verses 6-12   Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.   Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Would you say that he is hungering and thirsting?  Now look at verse 13

“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” What will happen then? He will spread it to somebody else.  And that is the way he is satisfied.  You don’t get satisfied by just filling yourself up.  You get satisfied because you can do something for somebody else.  You are taking God’s place and you are serving God.  And you are satisfying that hunger.  Do you see the reason for the second one of the great commandments?  Thou shalt love who?” Thy neighbor as thyself.” Who is it he is going to tell?    He will tell sinners about the great thing that has come to him.  That’s hunger and thirst, folks receiving from God creates a great desire to give.  And it should. Now people who try to appease or satisfy that on a physical level, never do. They will be disillusioned and disappointed.  People who try to satisfy that hunger and thirst on a physical level –can’t do it.  It’s just impossible.  Now turn to Matthew 5:20.  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Now how were the Pharisees trying to satisfy this hunger and thirst?  By something they did themselves, see, on the level of the world.  Now look at Matthew Matt 6:1-8

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.   Matt 6:5-8

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.   7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.  8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

When they gave alms, prayed and fasted, they tried to satisfy in on what level?  The praise of men.  That is the reason they did it.  That’s on the level of the world.  When you are doing that to get the praise of men or to get the dollars of men, you are satisfying it on this level. Jesus said you have your reward, didn’t he?

You don’t tell anybody. It’s like a church that called a new preacher.  They had never seen him before, and a committee went down to the train depot (he didn’t come by Cadillac) to meet him.  As the men got off the train they picked out a fellow, went to him and asked, “Are you the new preacher?” The man said “No, it’s my dyspepsia (a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest that may be described as gas, a feeling of fullness, gnawing, or burning.) that makes me look like that.”   So some people, when they are fasting, want you to think that they don’t have dyspepsia.  They want you to see the physical effects of the fasting, but they don’t want those who see it think is dyspepsia.

What about that boy down there in the far country?  What was he feeding on?  He wanted to eat ever how food.  Where did he have to go to get real food? He would have to go back to his father’s house.  He couldn’t get it down there. See, that’s what God wants you to do.  Go to God for your food, spiritual food.  You hunger and thirst after it.  You don’t do like that good sister was telling you about, who watches television until she was ready to go to sleep, then rushes through a verse of Scripture before she goes to bed. I don’t mean you’re not to go to bed.

 

All right.  We must come to god for directions.   Now turn to  Matthew 7:7-8 We are hungering and thirsting for righteousness now, and we want to know how to get it.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Can’t we do that! Don’t you think I had better go to a picture show instead of asking God?  A lot of people do. Ask and you shall receive.  Now, folks, there is a point in asking, you are asking for something, be selective.  Be specific.  You hear people pray, “God bless me, God bless me, and God bless me. What do you want?  I’m not trying to irreverent, folks, but that sort of thing I don’t like.  Ask God for something specific.  What do you want?  Be specific.  Be Selective.  You want to appease this hunger and thirst.  Who is the only one who knows what you’ve got to have?  God! And so you ask him.  But don’t just say, “God bless me.”   Tell him what you would like to have.

Then he says, seek.  Now then you not only ask God to give it to you, but you try to get it.  You seek.  And what does he say, “Ye shall find.”

What is the third one he says?  “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.”  Now these words are great words.  And he says that if a child asks for a serpent, does a parent give it to him?  No, because it might injure him.  It’s worse for than ever for him.  Now suppose I ask God, “ God you give me a lot of money,” and God doesn’t give it to me,  I turn on God and say, “You didn’t answer my prayer!”  Oh yes, He answered it.  That would have been what to me, probably, deadly poison.

Now we go out and seek.  I am hungry and thirsty.  When you are hungry and thirsty on the physical level, what do you do? You go out and look  to see  if you can find something.  You go seeking it.  Now, you knock.  Now turn to Revelation 3:7-8

Rev 3:7-9 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things say He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:   8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied My name…”

What kind of door? It can be either shut or opened. If you find it shut, you knock.  Do something about it. Now, while you are waiting for God to answer the door, you answer somebody else’s prayer.  Let God use you to answer somebody else’s prayer. And if you do, your troubles will seem small and you will be satisfied.  You are passing God’s blessing on to somebody else.




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4