Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Beatitudes Lesson Three               


Beatitudes Lesson Three
Those Who Mourn

“Blessed are those who ______, for they shall be comforted.”
(Matthew 5:4)

“There is a typical misinterpretation of this text that is unfortunate. Someone will read this beatitude and conclude this "mourning" is about anybody who is sad. Regardless of one's attitude toward God or one's response to the gospel of Christ - that is, apart from any spiritual/moral considerations - it is believed if you are sad about something, you become a recipient of this blessing. {Note: there is a tendency in some religious/theological circles to materialize and socialize the "beatitudes," making them social maxims instead of kingdom principles. Thus, some will read about the "poor" instead of the "poor in spirit," and turn the teaching of Christ into a "special blessing" for people with a certain economic status. Likewise, "mourn" is made to mean a general sadness about anything. The "beatitudes" have to do with spiritual condition. They are not tenets of a "social gospel."} The "mourning" of the Lord's teaching here is not sadness in general; this is about a specific kind of sadness” (“The Process and the Fruit, Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 2.5; May, 1995, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-5-4.htm).

”A fornicator may be sad, because his opportunity for immorality is limited; he has no comfort from God. A thief may mourn because he was caught, convicted and must be placed in captivity. He doesn't become an automatic recipient of this blessing. There is a "sorrow of this world that worketh death," (see 2 Cor. 7:10)” (“The Process and the Fruit, Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 2.5; May, 1995, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-5-4.htm).

“Blessed are those who mourn.” Who is it that Jesus is speaking of? Is it those who are mourning over the loss of loved ones? Or perhaps it is those who are mourning over sin? We have to consider the context of Jesus' words and that He is describing those who are of the nature of the kingdom of heaven. Unfortunately, not all of those who mourn the loss of loved ones are of God's kingdom. And not all of those who mourn the death of a family member will “be comforted” because they will never give their lives to the Lord and put all things in His hands. However, for God's people, both promises will hold true. They shall be comforted. But we shall deal with “those who mourn” over sin, as it describes a characteristic and not simply a resulting condition.

Allow me to quote, “It is indeed a very impressive paradox to say, “happy are they that grieve,” but such is truly the intention of our Lord's declaration. The two possible meanings of this passage are: 1) happy are they who have lost loved ones or possessions, or 2) happy are those who have the ability to mourn over sin. The more probable meaning is the second. There is much more benefit that can be seen in the mourning over sin than the loss of a loved one or some possession. This mourning over sin would and should involve mourning over our own sins as well as the sins of others. In other words, Jesus is saying fortunate are those who can be touched, those who care for the lost, and are deeply hurt to have seen souls in that state. This “mourning” of sin is essential to the Christian's life . . . .” (Tom Moore, “Blessed Are They That Mourn,” http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_they_that_mourn.html).

What kind of a person is it that “mourns” over sin? It is a godly person. After all, God hates sin. Therefore, those who “love God” and are “of God” naturally would also hate sin and be saddened by it and its effects. Consequently, those who seek to be Christ-like and godly people would have a nature that would make them disposed to hate all that is of the dark world of sin.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 reads, “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (NAS).

Unless we as Christians mourn over sin, we will never seek repentance according to the will of God. But, Paul adds, this “godly sorrow” produces a repentance, which leads to salvation. That is mourning over sin in our own lives. Jesus had to give His life upon the cross for our sins. This should cause us to mourn over the sin that we have in our lives.

It is also true that unless we “mourn” over sin, we will have the concern and compassion that we must have in order to motivate us to rescue them from their lost condition. We must first see them in their needful state before we will be moved to meet their need. We must have the heart of Jesus as in Matthew 9:36-37. “And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (NAS). A heart that mourns over sin has compassion on those who need to meet Jesus. “In him the weary and heavy-ladened soul shall find peace Matt. 11:28-30; and the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, shall sustain them here John 14:26-27, and in heaven all their tears shall be wiped away, Rev. 21:4” (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Findex.Com. All rights reserved).

What is also interesting is that the Greek word for “comforted” here is “parakaleo.” In John 14:16, speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Comforter, the Greek work is “parakletos.” Both are from the same root word meaning “to comfort,” “to console,” “to call to one's side” (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers). Those who mourn over sin will be “comforted.”

2 Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (NAS).

The “comfort,” as with all of the beatitudes, is not only a future promise to the people of God, but is also for the present life. God not only promises future comfort to those who belong to Him, but He also promises present and ongoing comfort as they “mourn over sin,” as and they are afflicted.  In fact, Paul speaks of the “comfort” that has already been experienced by Christians. 2 Thessalonians 2:16, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace” (NAS). In addition to this, we have been called upon to “comfort one another.”

1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (NAS).
2 Corinthians 1:6, “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer” (NAS).
Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (NAS).

How do we mourn?
We do away with any love of sin in our lives. He or she that loves sin will not seek repentance because sin becomes an acceptable part of their life. We must remove any acceptance for sin from our lives! But the most important part of mourning is to actually SEE the perfect holiness and purity of our God and the cost of our sin that was paid upon the cross. We must see ourselves as Isaiah saw himself in Isaiah 6 and John saw himself in 1 John 1. It will bring us to desire to know God's will and it will also bring us to our knees before the throne of the Almighty.

“One of the great functions of gospel preaching is to open the eyes of men and women who have sinned; to so testify of Christ and so present God's truth about the human condition, that people begin to mourn over their lost condition. When that mourning becomes part of the larger process of repentance, obedience and conversion to Christ, the mourner is comforted. Illustrations can help us ...” (“The Process and the Fruit, Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 2.5; May, 1995, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-5-4.htm).

Discussion Questions

1) Of what characteristic is Jesus speaking when He speaks of “those who mourn”?

The ability and quality of “mourning over sin.”

It is interesting to note that the word “mourn” (i.e. mourn 9, mourned 1, mourning 11) is used 21 times in the NASB New Testament [i.e. mourn (9), mourned (1), mourning (11)]. The word translated “mourn” here in Matthew 5:4 (pentheo) appears 10 times, while the primary word from which it is derived (penthos) appears 5 times. The word is used in reference to mourning over the loss of a loved one (Matthew 9:15; Mark 16:10), a state or condition (Luke 6:25), the loss of earthly possessions or wealth (Revelation 18:7-19), and mourning over sin and the results of sin (Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 12:21; James 4:9; 1 Corinthians 5:2; Revelation 21:4). In fact, seven of the fifteen times these words appear in our New Testament are in Revelation chapter 18 in reference to the judgment of Babylon. Five of the remaining eight times (if we include our study text) that we find `pentheo' or `penthos' it refers to “mourning over sin”! So we can see that as we allow the Bible to explain Itself, we can reasonably conclude that Jesus speaks of the characteristic of hating or “mourning” over sin and its consequences.

Furthermore, we can again look at the context (as we have been in preceding weeks) and see that Jesus is specifically referring to people who are of the nature of the kingdom of heaven (i.e. God's people). If the reference to mourning here alluded to “mourning” the loss of a loved one or the loss of earthly happiness (i.e. wealth, prosperity, etc.), then Jesus' statement would not be inclusive of only God's people. After all, hasn't everyone experienced and “mourned” loss upon this callous and often cruel earth? And understanding this simple truth we see that this “beatitude” would be of no greater significance than to say that “those who are born . . . . shall be comforted.” This would not be exclusively descriptive of those who are of the kingdom of heaven.

2) What kind of a person “mourns” over sin? How can we grow in this characteristic?

Proverbs 13:5, “A righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully” (NAS).

Proverbs 6:16, “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him” (NAS).

Deuteronomy 12:31, “You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (NAS).

In Micah 3:2, the prophet speaks to the leaders of Judah and speaks of their attitude toward good and evil. He says that they “hate good and love evil.” This is contrary to the nature of those who are of the kingdom of God.

Paragraph 5: “What kind of a person is it that “mourns” over sin? It is a godly person. After all, God hates sin. Therefore, those who “love God” and are “of God” naturally would also hate sin and be saddened by it and its effects. Consequently, those who seek to be Christ-like and godly people would have a nature that would make them disposed to hate all that is of the dark world of sin.”

Paul mourned over the unrepentant. 2 Corinthians 12:21, “I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced” (NAS).

James says that we are to mourn over the sin in our lives as we repent and “draw near to God.” James 4:7-9, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom” (NAS).

Paul rebuked the Corinthians for not having this attitude toward the sin of one of their number. 1 Corinthians 5:2, “And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst” (NAS).

3) What are the results of true “mourning”?

Paragraphs 6-8:

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 reads, “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (NAS).

Unless we as Christians mourn over sin, we will never seek repentance according to the will of God. But, Paul adds, this “godly sorrow” produces a repentance, which leads to salvation. That is mourning over sin in our own lives. Jesus had to give His life upon the cross for our sins. This should cause us to mourn over the sin that we have in our lives.

It is also true that unless we “mourn” over sin, we will have the concern and compassion that we must have in order to motivate us to rescue them from their lost condition. We must first see them in their needful state before we will be moved to meet their need. We must have the heart of Jesus as in Matthew 9:36-37. “And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (NAS). A heart that mourns over sin has compassion on those who need to meet Jesus. “In him the weary and heavy-ladened soul shall find peace Matt. 11:28-30; and the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, shall sustain them here John 14:26-27, and in heaven all their tears shall be wiped away, Rev. 21:4” (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Findex.Com. All rights reserved.).

4) What do the scriptures have to say about “being comforted”?

Paragraph 9 and following:

What is also interesting is that the Greek word for “comforted” here is “parakaleo.” In John 14:16, speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Comforter, the Greek work is “parakletos.” Both are from the same root word meaning “to comfort,” “to console,” “to call to one's side” (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers). Those who mourn over sin will be “comforted.”

2 Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (NAS).

The “comfort,” as with all of the beatitudes, is not only a future promise to the people of God, but is also for the present life. God not only promises future comfort to those who belong to Him, but He also promises present and ongoing comfort as they “mourn over sin,” as and they are afflicted.  In fact, Paul speaks of the “comfort” that has already been experienced by Christians. 2 Thessalonians 2:16, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace” (NAS). In addition to this, we have been called upon to “comfort one another.”

1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (NAS).
2 Corinthians 1:6, “But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer” (NAS).
Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (NAS).

CONCLUSION

How do we mourn from above:

We do away with any love of sin in our lives. He or she that loves sin will not seek repentance because sin becomes an acceptable part of their life. We must remove any acceptance for sin from our lives! But the most important part of mourning is to actually SEE the perfect holiness and purity of our God and the cost of our sin that was paid upon the cross. We must see ourselves as Isaiah saw himself in Isaiah 6 and John saw himself in 1 John 1. It will bring us to desire to know God's will and it will also bring us to our knees before the throne of the Almighty.

“One of the great functions of gospel preaching is to open the eyes of men and women who have sinned; to so testify of Christ and so present God's truth about the human condition, that people begin to mourn over their lost condition. When that mourning becomes part of the larger process of repentance, obedience and conversion to Christ, the mourner is comforted. Illustrations can help us ...” (“The Process and the Fruit, Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 2.5; May, 1995, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-5-4.htm).



Beatitudes Lesson One   |   Beatitudes Lesson Two   |   Beatitudes Lesson Three   |   Beatitudes Lesson Four   |   Beatitudes Lesson Five   |   Beatitudes Lesson Six   |   Beatitudes Lesson Seven   |   Beatitudes Lesson Eight   |   Beatitudes Lesson Nine   |   Beatitudes Lesson Ten



 %%