INTRODUCTION: This week we turn out attention to the second
Beatitude. Solomon tells us that "sorrow is better than laughter"
(Ecclesiastes 7:3) and Jesus tells us we are happy when we mourn.
Sounds like doubletalk, right? Let's find out what all this means.
I. MOURNING = HAPPINESS?
A. Turn with me to Matthew 5:4. Read. Remember
last week we
learned that "blessed" in the Greek can mean "happy," "well-
off," or "fortunate."
1. Have you ever
heard of an "oxymoron?" An oxymoron is
an internally inconsistent term. For example, "living
dead" is an oxymoron. "Highly intelligent idiot." "Short
giant." "Floating rock." These are all oxymorons.
2. Does "happy mourner" have to be an oxymoron?
B. Turn with me to Ecclesiastes 7:3. Read.
Do you agree that
"sorrow is better than laughter?" That "a sad face is good
for the heart?"
1. Does Solomon
need a remedial lesson in Proverbs?
Proverbs 17:22 says "A cheerful heart is good medicine."
2. Our hearts
should be doing great if both a "sad face"
and "cheerfulness" are good for us! What do you think,
can both be true?
II. WHY SHOULD A MOURNER BE HAPPY?
A. Let's see if we can work this problem out.
In Matthew 5:4
does Jesus say that mourning is a happy event?
B. Is there an advantage to mourning?
1. If you say, "yes," what is that advantage?
C. Have you heard the saying, "I love to hit
my head against
the wall, because it feels so good when I stop?"
1. Is this the message of those who say mourning is good?
2. Look again
at Matthew 5:4. Why are mourners happy?
(Because of a future event: they WILL BE comforted. Jesus
does not say there is joy in mourning. He says there is
joy in the future hope of mourners.)
a. To what future hope for mourners is Jesus
referring? (Remember last quarter we studied what
Paul said about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians
15? He said that if we are wrong about the
resurrection of the dead, we are in a pitiful
state. (1 Cor. 15:19) We are not wrong, however,
for Paul tells us that Jesus' resurrection is proof
that we will be resurrected! (1 Cor. 15:20-23, 50-
D. Should we want to remain in a state of mourning?
The "advantage" of mourning is the comfort of knowing that
Jesus will (and has) made it all right.)
III. A DIFFERENT MOURNING: SADNESS OVER SIN
A. If there is no advantage to mourning, if
it is best
to get to the "comfort" part as soon as possible, what is
Solomon talking about when he says, "Sorrow is better than
laughter?" (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
1. Is Solomon off on a "toot" of his own?
2. Solomon writes
statements in Ecclesiastes that show
he is depressed. For example, in Ecclesiastes 3:19
Solomon tells us that "everything is meaningless" and man
has no advantage over animals! In Ecclesiastes 9:5 he
says, "the dead know nothing; they have no further
a. How can you reconcile this "no further reward"
statement with Paul's clear teaching in 1
Corinthians 15 that the righteous have the further
reward of a resurrection and new life?
b. Is Solomon's statement that "sorrow is better
than laughter" just another one of his statements
while he is depressed and not thinking correctly?
B. Will someone read Ezekiel 9:3-6? The picture
here is of six
warriors and a scribe in Jerusalem. The scribe is told to go
through the city and put a mark on the forehead of everyone
who is upset over sin. The warriors are then told to kill
everyone who does not have a mark on his forehead. I think
this little story is symbolic of the final judgment.
1. Can you put
together Solomon's statement about "sorrow
is better than laughter" with Ezekiel's story and draw a
common conclusion? Is there a message here that makes
sense? (Sorrow shows a concern about what is happening in
your life. If things are always going well, you may
never question what you are doing. God tells us, through
Ezekiel, that He is looking for followers who are upset
about the sin problem.)
C. Do you know people who confess their sins,
but do not mourn
1. Do you confess your sins, but not mourn over them?
2. Does God expect us to mourn over our sins?
a. Is mourning necessary for a genuine conversion?
b. Will we ever come to a real sense of our
sinfulness if we do not mourn over our condition?
D. Let's come full circle here. Remember I
asked you earlier
if mourning was a state in which we should remain? At the
time, the context was mourning over death. You agreed that we
should not be in a constant state of mourning. Do you want to
change your mind when it comes to "mourning" over your sins?
1. I read an
article a few years ago that attacked the
"celebration" style of worship. The theme of the article
was that celebration should be the last thing on our
minds. We should be sad because of our sins. This
article was embarrassingly short of citations to the
Bible. While it contained some general Bible quotes, it
cited no scripture which specifically supported its
point. Have we discovered the missing citations? Do
Ezekiel and Solomon teach us that mourning, and not
celebration are the right attitude?
IV. COMMON HOPE
A. So far we have at least two kinds of mourning:
over death and tragedy and mourning over our sins. You told
me that the reason why those mourning over death can be happy
is because they have the comfort of the resurrection.
1. What comfort,
if any, do those have who are mourning
2. Would this comfort take away the sadness?
3. Should this comfort take away the sadness?
4. Can we both rejoice and mourn at the same time?
5. Consider Isaiah
66:10. Chapter 66 talks about
problems in worship at Jerusalem and moves to a prophecy
about what God is going to do about it. Verse 10 says,
"Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who
love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn
over her." Is God saying her that we can rejoice and
mourn about sin at the same time? (I think so!)
B. Let's examine two texts from Psalms. Turn
with me first to
Psalms 30. Read verses 5-12.
1. Was the Psalmist
mourning? (Yes. Verses 5 and 11 refer
to weeping, wailing and sackcloth.)
2. What do these
verses suggest is the reason for
sadness? (Verse 7 -- "You hid Your face..." (referring to
God), v. 5 -- God's anger, and v. 9 -- refers to the
3. What is the
reason for (vv. 11-12) joy, singing,
dancing and thankfulness? (God's mercy (vv.8-10) and
God's favor (v.5))
C. Turn next to Psalms 126. Read. When verse
5 says, "Those
who sow with tears will reap with joy," does that sound like
Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be
comforted?" (You bet it does!)
D. Friends, has (v.3) the Lord "done great
things for us?" (Oh
1. Can we rejoice
over His victory and the (v.4)
restoration of our fortunes? (While God is looking for a
people who mourn for their sin, He is also looking for a
people who rejoice that He has paid the price for their
sin. The victory is won! Praise God, He is a great and
mighty God who is bringing the (v.1) "captives back to
V. NEXT WEEK: "THE MEEK" Study Matthew 5:5!