Let Us Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
1. Psalm 1, that we studied this morning, presents helpful information about: a. righteous people b. ungodly people. 2. In our lesson we are concentrating on the information that Jesus presented in the 4th Beatitude for the benefit of righteous people. 3. Let us begin by considering . . .
I. SOME GENERAL MATTERS PERTAINING TO "RIGHTEOUSNESS"
A. Righteousness: "integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting" B. On his own, man is not righteous (Romans 3:10). C. The Scriptures show how and when God makes us righteous (Romans 6:3-4, 17-18). D. After we become His children, God wants us to live righteously (Titus 2:11-12). E. Those who live righteously enjoy great blessings, including: 1. the necessities of life (Matthew 6:33) 2. assurance that our prayers are answered (James 5:16b) 3. eternal life (Matthew 25:46). F. According to these passages, "being filled with righteousness" is extremely important.
II. HOW TO BE FILLED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. We must not be filled with our own righteousness. 1. Our righteousness must please God (Matthew 5:19-20). 2. Self-righteousness is condemned in the Bible (Matthew 9:10-13). B. We must "hunger" and "thirst" after righteousness. 1. Hunger: "to seek with earnest desire" 2. Thirst: "to desire earnestly" 3. The tense of these words is important. a. The tense indicates present and continuous action -- "they which are hungering and thirsting." b. In essence, Jesus was teaching: "Blessed are those who are craving and longing after righteousness, for they shall be filled with righteousness" (see 1 John 3:7). 4. Jesus set the proper example for us to follow (John 4:34). C. The first 3 Beatitudes will motivate us to hunger and thirst after righteousness. 1. A person who is "poor in spirit" is aware of his unrighteousness. 2. A person who "mourns" regrets his condition, and he has a constant desire to improve. 3. A person who is "meek" is submissive to God and His will. 4. These 3 Beatitudes will lead us to crave and long after righteousness.
III. ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS THAT WILL HELP US
A. Study and meditate upon God's Word regularly (1 Peter 2:2). B. Pray regularly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). C. Worship regularly and associate with Christians (Acts 2:42). D. Stay focused (Philippians 3:13-15).
1. Psalm 1 and Matthew 5:6 have something in common -- they both relate to righteous people. 2. They show us how to be righteous people, and they show how righteous people will be blessed. 3. The question to ask ourselves is: "Am I following these guidelines to the best of my ability?"