Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted.

This verse magnifies God’s Spirit who is the Comforter. The word “Comforter”, in the Greek it is παράκλητος, identifies the Spirit of God as a Helper and a Comforter. In Jn.14 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “another Comforter” who will “abide with you forever”. The word “another” is revealing since it obviously identifies Jesus as a comforter, but John identifies the Holy Spirit as THE Comforter. You see, Jesus and His ministry incorporates all other ministries while the ministry of the Holy Spirit, although expansive, is much more specific.
How then can a mourner be blessed and how does God’s Spirit comfort? This is among the spiritual mysteries when hearts can be comforted without any physiological help, but with the powerful and yet delicate healing balm of God’s invisible Spirit. There are many times that the Spirit uses human instruments to help carry burdens and speak words of comfort and healing. Some believers dare to enter into someone else’s sphere of life in order to be touched by their anguish and be used of God’s Spirit to comfort. Many times that comfort happens without many words.
All of us have seasons of mourning and for a variety of reasons. And many times men are insufficient vessels of comfort and their well intentioned attempts to comfort are hollow. Sorrow, and its much deeper brother grief, can grip a person’s spirit and render them spiritually, and sometimes physically, immobile. But believers have God’s promise of comfort. Look at what Jesus says about the Comforter:

Jn.14:26 - But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Let us remember that the Scriptures were written by men who were moved and guided by the Comforter, and Jesus said that His words are spirit. A glorious and surpassing mystery which should make our hearts soar and our spirits rejoice. That same Spirit which inspired and guided the formation of the Holy Scriptures now takes a principle role in communicating those same Scriptures. Therein lies the tangible metamorphosis of a believing follower of the Lord Jesus. We can only change ourselves externally, which is worthless window dressing that is no more powerful that a mannequin displaying the newest fashion. Without an inward transformation any outward change is an act of the flesh.
But the Spirit of God moves within the believer in order to effect change through the building blocks of God’s Word. The divine Mason places each Scriptural brick within us and continues to construct a spiritual house according to the divine blueprint. When a believer spends little time in God’s Word then there is no brick and mortar with which to build, and in fact, that which has already been built begins to decay. And the same is true for those that mourn. God’s Word is always the healing balm which massages the broken heart and comforts us in places and in ways that men cannot reach.

Heb.4:12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s Word is not just some cold set of rules and regulations. It is alive and powerful and can gain access inside a believer where even the believer himself cannot go. So often when we are in mourning about something, whether legitimate of misguided, we turn to everything but God’s precious Word. There are places in our spirits that only the Word can heal and to which only God’s Spirit can bring God’s Word. That Word can encourage us when we mourn; it can correct us out of self pity; it can identify with our mourning; it can breathe life back into a depressed spirit; and it can chase the gloom with a burst of hope everlasting.

Let us proceed further into this sacred mystery of the Comforter.

Jn.15:26 - But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Do you see that? The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus. But I thought you said He would share the Word? Yes, but Who IS the Word. “And the Word WAS God…and the Word was made flesh…”. Do you not see this incredible and glorious mystery? The Holy Spirit will share and minister Jesus Himself to us. In fact, the Scripture declares that all believers are inhabited by the Holy Spirit and Jesus Himself dwells within us through the Holy Spirit. Please do not attempt to explain it all since it goes far above our feeble attempts to capture it with thoughts or human words.
When we mourn we are comforted by a “friend who sticks closer than a brother”. And this friend is acquainted with our grief’s and sorrows and is well able to comfort us without judgment or condescension. So the Comforter comforts us by providing more of Jesus Who is our Healer. And so the Spirit proclaims that when we find ourselves in a state of mourning, we are blessed. Why? Because we can experience the magnificent ministry of God’s Spirit as he comforts us with the Lord Jesus Himself.
I have mourned, have you? Sometimes I have mourned in self pity and without an authentic cause while other times certain events have led me into that state. And sometimes I have just weathered the storm without leaning on God’s comforting Spirit while other times I have been gloriously comforted by THE Comforter. And why does God comfort us, aside from His everlasting love for us? It is so we can comfort others.

II Cor.1:4-5 - Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

God is not just motivated by redemption and healing, He IS the Redeemer and the Healer. And when He comforts us He expects us to share what He has done in order to comfort others. I will be honest with you, I am persuaded that when God uses me to genuinely comfort and heal someone as they mourn, I am more blessed than when I am comforted myself. Can you relate to that as well? We would do well to be a comforter to others rather than their judge.
Do you mourn today? Is your heart broken over some family member or friend? Are you under a mournful burden because of some situation or trial? In Jesus’ name I exhort you to lift your eyes and heart toward heaven and begin to praise Him for Who He is. Allow your spirit to rise before His throne and as you bow in worship surrender to the ministry of the Spirit as He supernaturally cleanses you from your sin and fills you with His eternal hope. Here are some selected verses from Isaiah.

Isaiah 40

1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

28Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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