INTRODUCTION: This week our study is Matthew 5:6. Do you dream
being hungry and thirsty? Is this a goal in your life? This week we
learn from Jesus of a hunger and thirst that we should desire to
become part of our life.
I. HUNGER AND THIRST: A GOAL?
A. Imagine a person who is hungry and thirsty
all the time.
What immediate assumptions come to mind about this person?
1. Would this person have a job?
2. Would this person be respected in the community?
3. Can you imagine yourself in such a situation?
a. What would cause you to enter such a situation?
4. Could you
describe this person in one word?
(Desperate. Normally, you think that a person in this
situation either has a major character flaw or some
terrible circumstance has overtaken him.)
5. What is the
goal of a person who is hungry and
thirsty? (To be fed. To drink.)
a. When a person is hungry or thirsty, how high on
his list of priorities is satisfying this hunger
and thirst? (Top priority.)
B. Turn with me to Matthew 5:6. Read.
What is the good news
for those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness?" (They
will be filled. Their goal will be met!)
C. Do you remember that we learned that "blessed"
"happy" or "fortunate?" How can those who are hungry and
thirsty be fortunate? Didn't you just tell me that someone in
this state has a character flaw or has been overtaken by
D. Is it a character flaw not to hunger and
1. Is it possible
to be "filled" with righteousness if
you do not hunger and thirst for it? (Jesus tells us in
Matthew 5:20 that unless our righteousness exceeds that
of the scribes and pharisees we will not enter the
kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 6:33 He tells us to "seek
first His kingdom and His righteousness." You bet it is
a goal to hunger and thirst for righteousness! If we do
not, it seems unlikely that we will be filled.)
2. Is being hungry
and thirsting for righteousness a top
priority of your life? Like actual hunger and thirst
E. Jesus could have used any parallel He wanted
our attitude towards righteousness. He could have said,
"Blessed are those who run after righteousness, for they will
catch it." "Blessed are those who hunt for righteousness, for
they will bag it." Why do you think Jesus used the term
"hunger and thirst for righteousness" as opposed to any other
1. What does
this tell us about the importance of
righteousness? (Eating and drinking are absolutely
necessary to life. I think Jesus used the words "hunger
and thirst" to convey to us the extreme importance of
righteousness in our life.)
2. How do you
learn to be hungry when you have not eaten?
(No one has to teach you this, it is natural.)
a. Is that also true with righteousness? That we
have a natural hunger for it?
(1) Why or why not?
F. In Genesis 2:15-17 we find that God tells
Adam and Eve that
they must not eat from a certain tree in the Garden of Eden.
(Technically, Eve missed that lesson (v.18). But I'm sure Adam
filled her in on the details later.) In Genesis 3:1-6 we find
Satan tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Is it just a
coincidence that food was the underlying instrument for the
entry of the sin problem into our world?
1. In 1 Corinthians
11:23-26 we are told to remember
Jesus' victory over the sin problem in our world by
eating and drinking. Is it just a coincidence that food
is the underlying instrument to remember the sin problem
in our world has been overcome? (This is no coincidence.
The lesson in this is that we do not live or die over our
abstract theology. There is a common expression, "the
devil is in the details." Here, the "devil" is in daily
living, and not the "details." Our interpretation of the
details of the sanctuary doctrine, our understanding of
every nook and cranny of prophecy will not be the
standard by which our lives are judged. We will be judged
on our basic day to day living. Whether we looked to God
for direction and trusted God for deliverance in the
every day matters of life. Learning God's principles at
church does nothing to save us if they do not become a
part of our living at work Monday morning.)
II. HUNGER AND THIRST: AN ATTAINABLE GOAL?
A. Will someone read Romans 3:10? Are
we stopped? Are we
stumped? Are we at a dead end? Just after we decided that to
hunger and thirst for righteousness was a goal, we now learn
from Paul that "no one [is] righteous!" It is an impossible
1. Paul tells
us that he did not think this up on his
own. He says, "As it is written...." Turn with me to
Psalms 14:1-3. (See also Psalms 53:1-3.) Read.
a. What does the Psalmist suggest is wrong with
people? (Verse 2: They do not seek God. Verse 2:
They do not understand God. Verse 1: They do not
even believe God exists. As a result all they do is
b. Is that us? Does that describe you? Does that
describe me? If you look at your life on Monday
morning, are you involved in evil?
c. When Paul said, "As it is written: ... no one
[is] righteous...." do you think he talking about
this text in Psalms? Was he talking about you, me,
B. Perhaps we have to understand what God means
"righteousness," and how He expects us to obtain it, before we
can go any further in our discussion.
III. WHAT IS "RIGHTEOUSNESS?"
A. What do you think is meant by "righteousness?"
B. Is righteousness a desire to obey God?
1. Will someone read Galatians 2:21?
2. Does this
say that we cannot become righteous by
obeying the law? (Yes.)
a. If we cannot become righteous by obeying, is our
desire to obey also irrelevant to righteousness?
C. Turn with me to Romans 10. Read vv. 1-3.
Is Paul saying
that the Israelites desired to obey God? (Yes. v.2 "I can
testify about them that they are zealous for God....")
1. What was the
problem? (They lacked knowledge. They did
not have the correct definition of righteousness. They
got the wrong answer on the very issue we are
2. What did this
lack of knowledge cause the Israelites
to try to do? (Two things. They decided to:
a. (v.3) establish their own righteousness; and,
b. (v.3) not submit to God's righteousness. Sounds
like we need to get the definition of righteousness
D. Let's read on. Read Romans 10:4-11. What
the Israelites attempt to establish on their own? (Verse 5,
keeping the law.)
1. What does
Paul mean when he says in vv. 6-7 who will
ascend to heaven or descend to the deep to bring Christ
up from the dead? (This is a practical explanation why
our righteousness (keeping the law) will never be
sufficient. We cannot, by keeping the law, deserve to go
to heaven and bring Jesus down as our Messiah. We cannot,
by keeping the law, deserve to raise Jesus from the dead!
Our works are just too puny to do these things that Jesus
did for us by coming down from heaven, living a perfect
life, dying in our place and rising from the grave!)
E. What, then, do you understand to be righteousness?
is the definition of righteousness. He is righteous, we are
F. Can we obtain righteousness? If so, how?
(Romans 10:9 "If
you confess with your mouth `Jesus is Lord,' and believe in
your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be
saved!" That is righteousness by faith in Jesus' sacrifice
and completed work on our behalf!)
1. Notice again
v.3. The Jews lost out because they did
not submit to God's righteousness. How do we submit to
righteousness by faith?
2. Remember we
started this section by asking whether
righteousness is a desire to obey God? Is a desire to
obey God the same as submitting to His righteousness?
(Submission refers to an attitude. We are not rebelling
against God's law. And, we are not rebelling against His
completed work by thinking we can do it ourselves.
Instead, we have the attitude that we desire to obey Him,
but realize (because of the law) our sinfulness and
recognize that our only hope is justification through
Christ's grace. (Romans 3:20-28))
G. Remember that we decided that Jesus compared
the issue of
righteousness with food? That He wanted us to understand that
this was a "daily living issue?" Do you, when facing daily
difficulties, confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that He
has overcome sin and the grave? (Romans 10:9)
1. Is your emotional
attachment to this idea at the
"hunger and thirst" level? If so, you are blessed!
IV. NEXT WEEK: THE MERCIFUL. Study Matthew 5:7!