#4      (THE "BEATTITUDES" SERIES)

"THE FILLING HUNGER, THE QUENCHING THIRST!"

TEXT:  Matt. 5:6; John 6:47-59; Isa. 55:1-2

INTRO:

Hunger and thirst are two of the most basic appetites we have. They come in varying degrees: we often express these appetites verbally in ways like this:

"Boy, I could eat a horse!" "Man, I'm starved!" "If I don't get something to eat pretty soon, I'll die!" "I'm so thirsty my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth!" "I'm dying of thirst!"
Of course, we don't really mean that our appetites are really that bad ... we use such statements to indicate the strong desire at the moment we express them. Our lives are governed to a large degree by our appetites. God created these to keep our lives in proper order, they are quite normal. Only when these appetites are fulfilled with the wrong things do we have problems. There are a variety of appetites that drive our lives:

i.e. food, water, air, ambition, sex, power, love, etc.
Sin is nothing more than God-given appetites fulfilled in improper ways: i.e. appetite of power: God's use of power is for us to be servants to others; the sinful or improper use of power however is directed toward controlling others! God's created appetite of sex is designed for a couple to find joyful fulfillment and bonding in marriage; sin's use of sex however is outside of marriage, all of it outside of God's plan. Jesus now talks about "appetite" in this 4th beatitude, only He specifies what our "hunger and thirst" should be satisfied with: we are to "hunger and thirst FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!" PROP. SENT:      The Bible will teach us that we should have a driven appetite for God's righteousness, found in Christ; only then can we be FULL of happiness or truly experience being "blessed" or happy.

I. APPETITES     Matt. 5:6; John 6:47-59

A. Desire     Matt. 5:6 1. We are a people of many appetites ... we are a culture driven by desires to fill these many appetites. ILLUS: CONSIDER THIS: WE HAVE ONLY 6% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION AND OCCUPY ONLY 7% OF THE WORLD'S LAND SURFACE, YET WE OWN 71% OF THE WORLD'S AUTOS, USE 56% OF THE WORLD'S TELEPHONES, LISTEN TO 50% OF THE WORLD'S RADIOS, RIDE 29% OF THE WORLD'S RAILROADS, AND ENJOY 83% OF THE WORLD'S TELEVISION. WE ARE TRULY A PEOPLE OF APPETITES, AND USED TO SATISFYING THEM ON DEMAND! -- Source Unknown 2. It takes no genius to notice how our whole culture is geared to tantalizing our appetites and of course offering ways these appetites can be satisfied! a. What do you think commercials are all about!!!??? b. A good commercial directs us to focus on an appetite, and then it offers or suggests the product or way that it can be best satisfied. 3. In our culture and way of life our appetites consume a great deal of our time, energy, and resources. Everything in our culture is geared toward appealing to our appetites and finding a way to satisfy them! 4. Is it any wonder that we have a hard time focusing our lives toward fulfilling spiritual appetites instead of natural ones? a. Spiritual appetites often take a back seat to other appetites. There are few if any commercials geared toward fulfilling spiritual appetites, maybe we would be wise to consider this in our ministry! b. We are too often drawn away from Christ by other desires, desires trained by this world through commercials and other forms of appeal to our natural desires: ILLUS: WHEN LEONARDO DA VINCI (WHO DIED IN 1519) WAS WORKING ON HIS FAMOUS PAINTING THE "LORD'S SUPPER," HE HAD BUT ONE OBJECT IN MIND, THAT THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST SHOULD TAKE CENTER STAGE, THAT HE SHOULD ATTRACT AND HOLD THE ATTENTION OF ALL WHO BEHELD THE PAINTING. BUT IN ONE PART OF THE PICTURE THERE WAS A TINY SHIP THAT HE HAD PAINTED WITH GREAT CARE FOR 3 WEEKS. WHEN THE PAINTING WAS DONE AND EXHIBITED THE PEOPLE FLOCKED TO SEE IT. LEONARDO HOWEVER, NOTICED RIGHT OFF THAT PEOPLE CROWDED TOGETHER TO LOOK ESPECIALLY CLOSE AT THE ONE CORNER OF THE PICTURE WITH THE SMALL SHIP THAT HAD COST HIM SO MUCH PAIN AND EFFORT FOR 3 WEEKS TO PAINT. HE HEARD COMMENTS LIKE, "LOOK HOW GRAND THAT SHIP IS, HE IS TRULY A MASTER ARTIST!" HE SUDDENLY BECAME ANGRY AT THIS OBSESSION WITH THE LITTLE BOAT, AND HE GRABBED HIS BRUSH AND WITH ONE SWEEPING STROKE BLOTTED OUT THE LITTLE SHIP, SAYING, "NO ONE SHALL FIND REASON FOR ADMIRING ANYTHING EXCEPT CHRIST ALONE!" HE WANTED CHRIST ALONE FOCUSED UPON! -- Source Unknown 5. If the truth were known, we often push spiritual appetites way down on our scale of interests to satisfy more immediate physical appetites! We are easily sidetracked in a world catering on our physical appetites as top priorities! 6. It is in this context of appetites that Jesus speaks about "hunger and thirst," but with fulfillment in mind by something other than this world's stuff! B. Divine!     John 6:47-59 1. Jesus uses the concept of appetites; the most basic being hunger and thirst, but He offers here a different kind of bread and water! a. He is the bread, His body given for us to consume! b. He is the drink, His blood given for us to consume! 2. Is He promoting cannibalism? NO! a. This is however how the Jews took his statements, they thought Jesus was crazy! b. Obviously Jesus wouldn't be offering this kind of program; He is speaking figuratively, not literally! c. What He is saying is: "My sacrifice for you, if accepted and taken into your life will bring everlasting satisfaction for the real hunger and thirst of the soul!" 3. There can be NO PEACE without bread and the promise of it, Jesus says that He alone is the "bread of life." a. Bread was the center piece of a meal in antiquity, not like our modern culture today where meat is the center dish around which we build a meal. b. Thus, we must read this beatitude according to the culture it was stated in, when bread was THE CENTERPIECE of a meal! Jesus is the CENTRAL ISSUE around which everything else is secondary and less important! c. Without bread, there was no life, and no peace! ILLUS: DURING WORLD WAR II, THE GERMANS FORCED MANY 12 & 13 YEAR OLD BOYS INTO THE JUNIOR GESTAPO. THESE BOYS WERE TREATED VERY HARSHLY AND GIVEN INHUMANE JOBS TO PERFORM. WHEN THE WAR ENDED, MOST HAD LOST TRACK OF THEIR FAMILIES AND WANDERED AROUND GERMANY WITHOUT FOOD OR SHELTER. AS PART OF AN AID PROGRAM TO POST-WAR GERMANY MANY OF THESE YOUTHS WERE PLACED IN TENT CITIES. HERE DOCTORS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS WORKED WITH THE BOYS IN AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE THEIR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. THEY FOUND THAT MANY OF THE BOYS WOULD AWAKEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT SCREAMING IN TERROR. ONE DOCTOR HAD AN IDEA FOR HANDLING THIS FEAR, AFTER FEEDING THE BOYS A LARGE MEAL HE PUT THEM TO BED WITH A PIECE OF BREAD IN THEIR HANDS! SURE ENOUGH, NO MORE NIGHTMARES, THEY SLEPT SOUNDLY AGAIN. AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF HUNGER THEY FINALLY HAD THE ASSURANCE OF FOOD FOR THE NEXT DAY, AND SO NOW THEY HAD PEACE! REMEMBER JESUS' WORDS ABOUT HIS NOT ONLY BEING THE BREAD OF LIFE BUT THAT HE GIVES US OUR DAILY BREAD AND HIS PEACE! WE CAN HAVE PEACE IF WE HOLD IN OUR HANDS THE BREAD OF LIFE! -- Source Unknown 4. Jesus was offering his body as a sacrifice for our sins, for those who take it in they will find salvation and peace, everlasting life with God! a. Christ's death gave proof of His love for us. He knew there is an appetite far greater than physical hunger and thirst, the hunger and thirst of the soul is far greater than that of the body! b. Only spiritual bread will satisfy this hunger and thirst! c. The Manna in the wilderness gave physical strength to Israel but they all died at some point, but this new "MANNA" will give spiritual strength and we will live forever! 5. Christ's offer was real. He would give His body for us, the sacrifice of His own life for feeding us His life, resurrection life! a. It is in this spiritual sense that He really is offering His body for them to consume! b. There will be a real giving of that body for His children; we are to accept that sacrifice, to take it in, to find His salvation and life! ILLUS: IN AN ENGLISH CATHERDRAL THERE IS AN INTERESTING SET OF STATUES DEPICTING A CRUSADER KNIGHT WITH HIS LOVELY LADY AT HIS SIDE. HOWEVER, A CLOSER LOOK AT THE LOVELY LADY SHOWS A HAND MISSING. HAD IT BROKEN OFF? THE STORY IS AS FOLLOWS: AN ENGLISH KNIGHT FIGHTING UNDER RICHARD THE LION-HEARTED WAS TAKEN PRISONER BY THE MUSLIM CONQUEROR SALADIN. HE WAS GOING TO BE PUT TO DEATH, AND HE BEGGED FOR HIS LIFE! HE PLEADED FOR HIS LIFE ON THE BASIS OF A LOVELY MAID WHO WAS WAITING TO MARRY HIM AND HER LOVE FOR HIM. SALADIN SCOFFED AT HIM AND SAID THAT BEFORE LONG SHE WOULD FORGET THE KNIGHT AND MARRY ANOTHER AFTER HE WAS DEAD. BUT THE KNIGHT ASSURED HIM THAT HER LOVE FOR HIM WAS SO GREAT THAT SHE WOULD NEVER LOOK AT ANOTHER MAN EVER! THE NIGHT TOLD SALADIN THAT SHE WOULD REMAIN FAITHFUL TO HIM, HER LOVE WAS SO POWERFUL FOR HIM, ESPECIALLY IF SHE THOUGHT THERE WAS STILL HOPE FOR HIS BEING ALIVE! SALADIN THEN ASKED FOR PROOF OF THIS KIND OF LOVE AND MADE A PROPOSAL TO THE KNIGHT. HE SAID HE WOULD SET THE NIGHT FREE IF HIS BELOVED WOULD SEVER HER RIGHT HAND AS EVIDENCE AND SEND IT TO HIM AS PROOF! WHEN THE LETTER REACHED THE LADY IN ENGLAND SHE PROMPTLY HAD HER RIGHT HAND REMOVED AND SENT IT IN A BAG TO THE MUSLIM CONQUEROR SALADIN. THAT AMPUTATED HAND BECAME A CONSTANT REMINDER OF HER ENDURING LOVE THAT SET HIM FREE FROM DEATH AND MADE HIM DEVOTED TO HER ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE! JESUS DID THE SAME, THOSE NAIL SCARRED HANDS IN ALL ETERNITY WILL SHOW AS EVIDENCE THAT HE PAID THE PRICE FOR OUR EVERLASTING LIFE. HOW CAN WE DO LESS THAN GIVE HIM OUR DEVOTION AND HAVE OUR APPETITES FILLED ON ANYTHIGN ELSE EXCEPT HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS? -- Source Unknown 6. Only divine bread and Christ's blood can satisfy the real hunger and thirst of the soul! a. All other substitutes will be inadequate! b. Attempts to drown appetites of the soul by physical things will only leave us still hungry and thirsty! c. The worldly stuff may temporarily pacify our hunger or dull it, but it will never satisfy it! II. APPEAL     Isa. 55:1-2 A. Decisions     55:1 1. Here is Isaiah, a call is issued for those who are thirsty and hungry to come and take from God nourishment offered for free! a. What a call, especially to anyone who would be hungry!! b. Can you imagine anyone who is hungry not accepting a free offer? c. Here God is pleading with the exiles to become "thirsty and hungry" for God again, only then can they be restored! Only when their appetites are correct, and fulfilled by the right stuff! 2. This is an invitation, yet the decision is still theirs! (And ours!) a. It is up to them to decide what they will hunger and thirst for! b. It is not an issue of "hungering or thirsting," it is an issue of what we will feed that hunger with and quench that thirst with! ILLUS: WHEN THE TITANIC SANK ELEVEN MILLIONAIRES WENT TO THEIR WATERY GRAVE WITH HUNDREDS OF OTHERS ON BOARD. THE COMBINED WEALTH OF THOSE WHO DIED WAS $200,000,000 ... AND THIS WAS IN 1912 DOLLARS! ONE RICH MAN, MAJOR A.H. PEUCHEN OF TORONTO WAS ONE OF THE FORTUNATE SURVIVORS, BUT ONY BECAUSE OF A WISE LAST MINUTE DECISION HE MADE. WHEN THE SHIP WAS SINKING HE HAD $300,000 ON BOARD IN MONEY AND JEWELS ALONG WITH SECURITIES IN HIS CABIN. HE STARTED FOR HIS CABIN TO SAVE HIS WEALTH BUT THEN STOPPED IN HIS TRACKS AND TOLD HIMSELF, "THE MONEY SUDDENLY SEEMED TO ME A MOCKERY AT THAT MOMENT, INSTEAD I STOPPED AND PICKED UP 3 ORANGES!" HIS APPETITES CHANGED AND THIS NEW FOCUS SAVED HIS LIFE! WHERE ARE YOUR APPETITES? WHAT DECISIONS ARE YOU MAKING TO FEED THE APPETITES OF YOUR LIFE? -- Source Unknown 3. The things we strive for reveal the appetites we have and how we plan to fill them! a. Sin has always offered to fill our appetites, and his ungodly ways may temporarily pacify us, but we will die of spiritual starvation in the long run! b. Eve took the fruit seeing it looked good in the natural, but this was an act of disobedience to God's command. She filled her hunger with the wrong choice and it has cost the human race ever since! c. Esau craved stew to the extent that he sold his birthright to satisfy an immediate hunger rather than hold on to the real source of satisfaction in the long run - his spiritual birthright! d. David looked on Bathsheba and filled a sexual hunger that should not have been filled by her, it cost him and Israel dearly! e. Judas craved silver and 30 pieces cost him his soul! f. King Saul craved personal power and it cost him the anointing! 4. Have you discovered the real source of satisfaction to the hunger and thirst of your soul? And, have you made the right decisions to fill them? ILLUS: SIR ISAAC NEWTON, THE GREAT MATHEMATICIAN AND PHYSICIST WHO DISCOVERED SO MANY OF THE GREAT PRINCIPLES OF SCIENCE AND MATH WAS ONCE ASKED WHAT THE GREATEST DISCOVERY HE HAD MADE WAS. HIS REPLY WAS INTERESTING: "I HAVE MADE TWO IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES IN LIFE; THE ONE, I KNOW I AM A VERY GREAT SINNER; THE OTHER, I KNOW JESUS IS EVEN A GREATER SAVIOUR!" HE KNEW HIS REAL HUNGER AND THIRST, AND WHERE TO FULFILL IT. DO YOU? -- Source Unknown 5. This invitation almost has a sense of desperation to it: "COME! ALL YOU WHO ARE THIRSTY..." a. These were tired exiles who were craving freedom and home! b. They were now "thirsty and hungry" for something different than what they had before. It had been their hunger and thirst for the stuff of this world that had gotten them into captivity in the first place. Now, God offers them satisfaction through something different-His WATER & FOOD! 6. Isn't this the situation today in the world? So many have been taken captive by their appetites and by the ways they have chosen to fulfill them, and yet they are still so hungry and thirsty. They are still "empty." God has made a way to fill this hunger and thirst which will quiet or fill the hunger and thirst forever! HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST! B. Direction     55:2 1. Notice Isaiah asks, "why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?" a. This is a good question, one that can still be asked today. b. What do you spend your money on? Where does your labor go? Does it go toward things that have spiritual consequences, or does it just feed the physical cravings and appetites you have in the flesh? 2. The offer here gives direction. It not only makes the statement: "listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." It also promises in Matt. 5:6 "Hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS and you shall be full!" 3. We are to direct our appetites toward righteousness! a. This is Christ's righteousness, not ours! b. This can only be found in Christ Jesus! 4. Too many times we have the wrong focus about spiritual food. We tend to think in terms of what we lose instead of what we gain when we think about spiritual things. ILLUS: LIKE THE NATIVE WHO'S CONFESSION OF CHRIST HAD COST HIM EVERYTHING, NO SOONER HAD THIS MAN BEEN BAPTIZED FOR HIS FAITH IN CHRIST WHEN ALL HIS POSSESSIONS WERE TAKEN FROM HIM AND ALL HIS FRIENDS DESERTED HIM. AN ENGLISH OFFICER ASKED THIS MAN, "ARE YOU ABLE TO BEAR YOUR TROUBLES AND LOSSES?" TO THIS QUESTION HE GOT AN INTERESTING RESPONSE FROM THIS NEW BELIEVER: "MANY ASK ME THAT, BUT THEY NEVER ASK, 'ARE YOU ABLE TO BEAR THE JOYS AND GAIN!' FOR I ENJOY HAPPINESS IN MY HEART SINCE I KNOW THAT CHRIST HAS FORGIVEN ME THAT NOBODY HAS BEEN ABLE TO TAKE FROM ME!" SALVATION FOR THIS MAN HAD NOT BEEN ABOUT TAKING ANYTHING FROM HIM IN HIS MIND, BUT HOW HE HAD BEEN GIVEN EVERYTHING IN CHRIST. HIS APPETITE WAS FULL IN CHRIST, AND HIS THIRSTY SOUL WAS REFRESHED IN CHRIST. WHAT POSSIBLE LOSS COULD THERE BE TO HIM? WE SHOULD SO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT THIS REFLECTS OUR SOUL TOO! -- Source Unknown 5. God helps us to direct our appetites correctly, to see what is really important in life. To hunger and thirst for the right things: God's righteousness and His salvation. a. We must learn to focus our appetites correctly. b. We must understand what will really satisfy! ILLUS: DURING THE BYRON NELSON GOLF TOURNAMENT IN DALLAS IN MAY 1981 A MASSIVE TREE LIMB BROKE OFF AND FELL ON A SPECTATOR WHO WAS KILLED INSTANTLY. IT HAPPENED NEAR THE THIRD HOLD WHERE CHARLES COODY WAS PLAYING AT THE TIME. SHORTLY AFTER THE ACCIDENT, COODY WAS INTERVIEWED ON THE RADIO AND IN TALKING TO THE REPORTER SAID, "AFTER RUNNING OVER AND SEEING THE ACCIDENT, I TRIED TO PLAY GOLF, YET I HAD NO DESIRE TO PLAY AFTER THAT. ALL OF A SUDDEN THOSE 3 FOOT PUTTS DIDN'T SEEM ALL THAT IMPORTANT ANY MORE!" -- Source Unknown 6. How about you? With those around us dying from sin and poor decisions as they run after fulfilling appetites with temporal stuff, do we really see the real need for them and for ourselves? a. We need Christ! We need to "hunger and thirst after righteousness" for only then will we really be full! b. They (WE) need Christ. The world is stuffing themselves with things that will not satisfy their souls. We have the real bread. Are we giving it to them? CONCLUSION:    How can the "hungry" or "thirsty" be pronounced "blessed" or "happy?" In this beatitude Jesus specifies what brings joy to the hungry or thirsty. It is His righteousness! Our spiritual needs or appetites cannot be filled by temporal things, only Christ can fill our hunger and thirst and satisfy it! Righteousness is Christ's righteousness! "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after it FOR THEY WILL BE FILLED!" Are you full? Is your hunger filled, your thirst quenched? Or, is there still a nagging hunger and thirst in your soul? "Come and drink, and eat. Buy without cost." Jesus is waiting to satisfy your hungry and thirsty soul!