1 October 1999

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted"-Matthew 5:4 The second of our "Beatitudes" will take us a step further in our relationship with Christ. In our initial experience our eyes were opened as our loving Father faithfully exposed our self-righteousness and sin. We found ourselves poor sinners in need of Christ's riches. But our loving Father does not leave us in such a condition…we must grow. Here we find a second pronouncement of blessedness upon the heads of His people. And again, we find the same pattern: The pronouncement of the present blessing; A paradox presented; The paradox explained the with the promised blessing in mind. THE BLESSING We must grow in grace, and to do so we must mourn. But the mourning that Jesus speaks of has a special category in our experience. He does not speak of that mourning we experience when we lose a loved one or suffer a personal loss. The mourning Jesus speaks of is the byproduct of our being made "poor". This is a Godly sorrow of which the Holy Spirit is the Author. Therefore, the mourning of our text is a spiritual one, the initial mourning which precedes a genuine conversion of the heart. While thousands have acknowledged that they are sinners with their mind and tongue, this is the secret confession of the heart. This is a mourning which springs from a personal sense of sin; from a tender conscience; from a broken heart. It is no longer the general sins of the masses of humanity that nailed our Lord to the cross. It was MY SINS that nailed Him to the cross. Our gaze becomes more intent: "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn"-Zech 12:10. Have you looked upon Christ in such a way. Then Jesus has pronounced you as "Blessed". Though it is sad to say, worldliness has entered many congregations. The sorrowful heart is unwelcome. Entertainment is the popular mode of worship today. In such an environment the sorrowful heart is out of place and improper. Where is the weeping Mary; the trembling jailer; and the tears of repentance? "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise"-Psalm 51:17. The noise of the crowd will bring little comfort to such a soul. Zion is the city of our "solemnities" not the display of our worldliness. The "solemn feast" provides an atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth. The "Balm of Gilead" welcomes mourners. Come and see. This "mourning" is by no means confined to the initial experience of conviction and contrition. We must observe the tense of the verb. It is not "have mourned", but "mourn" ... . a present and continuous experience. The Christian has much to mourn over. Sins present and past; sins of omission and commission is a daily source of grief if the conscience is kept tender. We make no apologies to the world for such an experience. We have notable company. Paul wrote, "O wretched man that I am", not that I was. THE PARADOX How can "mourners" be blessed? To the world, this is foolishness. If these are blessed, why do they mourn, and if they mourn, how can they be blessed? "Happy are they who sorrow" is at complete variance with the world's logic. In every age, men have deemed the prosperous and the party goers to be the happy ones. But Christ is at variance with them. He pronounces the blessing upon those who are poor in spirit and those who mourn. Only those who have experienced such have the key to this paradox. Consider His wisdom. THE PARADOX EXPLAINED Mourners are the truly the happy ones because God has made them a personal visit. The Spirit of God has wrought a work of grace within them, and they have been awakened to see and feel their lost condition. They are blessed because God does not leave them in this condition:: "they shall be comforted." To be comforted not only means to bind up the broken heart, it also means to "call near". Thus, the purpose of God's affliction is exposed in the blessing. The affliction of our souls was wrought for a purpose. The paradox is answered. Our honest confession has been answered by the comforts of the Holy Ghost. Lord, we thank thee for such afflictions! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor