Blessings and Woes of the Christian Life Part 2 | Luke 6:17-26

YouTube video sermon

Where do you get your satisfaction from?

Introduction

Luke 6:17-26 ESV And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, (18) who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. (19) And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. (20) And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (21) “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (22) “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! (23) Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (24) “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. (25) “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. (26) “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

  • Today we continue our series on the blessings and woes of the Christian life.
    • Last week we talked about the first blessing and woe, blessed are you who are poor, and woe to you who are rich.
      • And really that is to complex of a message to faithfully recap now, but if you missed it please go watch it online because it really tee’s up the rest of these messages in this little series.
    • Especially today as we continue with a similar theme, today we will be talking about the Blessings and Woes of Hunger and Satisfaction.

Bring Up Title Slide

  • I love video games, y’all know that. My favorite kind of video games are Nintendo games. Mario, Zelda, Kirby… They are classics, they are clean and moral, and they are just fun.
    • In fact I am what you would call a Nintendo fan boy, if you came into my office at my house you would see a bunch of Nintendo toys and posters.
    • Now I have owned every Nintendo System since the Super Nintendo, since I was a child…
    • So naturally when they announced their newest system, the Nintendo Switch, I was ecstatic! I was so AMPED. (For those of you who don’t know the Nintendo Switch is a $300 video game system that works on both TV’s and in handheld mode like a tablet, it’s amazing!)
    • Now the Switch was announced about 6 months before it was released, but there were rumors flying around for a year or so before that.
      • And I wanted it SO BAD! I read about it daily, I followed the news stories. I watched them announce it live.
      • Then I did something that few people did, the morning after they announced it I went to Gamestop, a videogame store, at 5:00am, on a negative 14 degree morning, to wait in line for 5 hours for the store to open so that I could reserve a Nintendo switch to buy 6 months later when it was released.
      • For 5 hours I waited in freezing cold weather with a bunch of other nerds like me so that I could have a chance to buy a videogame system.
      • I WAS HUNGRY FOR NINTENDO. I WANTED IT MORE THAN ANY OTHER EARTHLY WORDLY THING.
      • I then saved every penny that I could, because I don’t have $300 that I can just spend… I started selling plasma at BioLife, I sold everything my wife would let me from the house… and I saved up enough money to buy the Switch.
      • So I reserved my system, saved up my money, then at midnight, 6 months after I reserved the system, on the day the Switch was released, I went and picked mine up, with all the other nerds who reserved theirs.
        • Now the Nintendo Switch was the fastest selling video game system, it sold out before most stores opened for business.
        • Then, something very interesting happened, while I was at home playing Zelda on my brand new fancy Switch… there were people FREAKING out. Why? Because they slept in, because they thought they could wait until the day it was released… they would go store to store looking for a Nintendo Switch to find stores empty
      • The switched remained nearly impossible to find for another 6 months or so, leaving a lot of people upset, and frustrated, and hungry for a new Nintendo system…
    • But not me, I hungered BEFORE the switch was released. I worked hard for it, I gave up things for it, and, to a very small extent, I suffered for it.
      • I hungered before the Switch was released and was satisfied and full after it was releases.
      • Most everyone else was satisfied before it was released… then they realized they couldn’t have it and they HUNGERED for it.
    • Maybe you have had a similar experience, maybe it was not for a videogame system… but maybe it was for hard to get concert tickets, or the newest iPhone… maybe you were so busy in life that you forgot to renew your passport for your vacation until it was too late…
      • Whatever the case, it seems to be a universal truth that it is better to hunger now than hunger later… let’s pray…

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY

Point One: Blessed are you who Hunger Now

Luke 6:21a ESV “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied…”

  • Now at this point I want to remind you that the Beatitudes, the blessings listed here in Luke are different than the Beatitudes listed on the Sermon on the Mount.
    • The location was different, here Jesus came down from the mountain to preach a sermon on a level place, the sermon on the mount was preached… well… on a mount, the side of a mountain.
    • The audience was different, the sermon on the mount was preached about any and all people, where here Jesus uses the word “you” to denote He is only talking to disciples… “Blessed are YOU who hunger” verses “Blessed are those who hunger”.
    • And finally the content is different, it sounds similar, but it is different. The sermon on the mount was about spiritual things “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” as opposed to the blessings here in Luke being tied to less spiritual and more physical things “Blessed are you who are hungry.”
  • So, while the sermon on the mount is incredibly important and powerful, this is not what we are talking about today. Today we are talking about PHYSICAL things that have spiritual consequences, so let’s stay grounded as we talk about being hungry…
    • We are litteraly talking about physical hunger, not the spiritual hunger the sermon on the mount talks about.
  • So then, is Jesus saying it is blessed to be hungry? No, not exactly… but what he is saying, to His disciples, to His followers, and to any and all of us who follow Him now, is this:
  • “Blessed are you who are hungry now, you are not fed until you are full like other people are. You often wake up hungry, your food is not a priority; you are so intent and focused on your work that you don’t have time to worry about eating bread, you give up what you have for my sake, you are happy with simple meals; thus you hunger now in this world, but in the other world you will be filled, you will hunger no more, nor thirst any more”
    • When Amanda and I lived in Singapore we were hungry. Not hungry like was hungry for a Nintendo switch, not hungry like someone hungers for righteousness, but we were actually physically HUNGRY!
      • Why? Because we were living on pennies a day, we were given by the church just enough money to BARELY eat. We shared toast and eggs for breakfast in the morning, then we would share a vegetarian meal meant for one person for lunch. For dinner we would share a box of mac and cheese or top ramen. Oh, and one day a week we were not given money for food and were asked to fast.
      • This was our life for nearly a year, I lost nearly 60 pounds, my mom thought I had a tape worm…
      • Why did we have so little? Because there were SO many missionaries Victory Family Center was supporting, for us to ask for more would be to take money out of another missionaries pocket.
      • So for there sake, for Christ’s sake, we were hungry.
        • We went on a half a month mission’s trip to one of the poorest places on the earth. We lived in the “rich people” house, which was cinderblock walks, dirt floors, and a poorly constructed tin roof. Everyone else lived in mud and thatch huts.
        • We ate mostly boiled potato things for those two weeks. Sometimes we were treated with fried plantanes… and once a butcher came to town with a dead cow surrounded by flies in the back of his truck and our host bought some “beef” that they were so happy to serve us.
        • The water we drank came from the same river that people bathed in and the same river sewage flowed into… so it tasted and smelled like B.O., poop, and laundry soap.
        • But we drank it… kind of, not much, but we would when offered.
        • We literally hungered and thirsted for Christ sake.
          • And folks, people got saved. A lot of people got saved.
          • We helped lead people to Christ in Singapore and East Timore, and then we were sent here to help lead people to Christ.
        • We could have stayed home, I had a great career, we could have stayed home and ate steak every night, we could have been fat and happy…
        • But we chose to follow Christ, and that meant, at least for us, choosing to be hungry.
        • And you know what, I want you to hear this, I want you to know this, I want you to BELIEVE THIS… I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN! I WOULD LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE ON RIVER WATER AND POTATOE THINGS IF CHRIST LEAD ME TO. Because I felt SO BLESSED in those times, I felt so spiritually full, God took care of us!
          • We complain more now of being hungry then we would back then. Christ was our satisfaction!

Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. (3) Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

  • That’s where I want my satisfaction from! I want my satisfaction from Christ! Not from food, not from drink, but from Christ!
  • Now remember, the blessing here is not “Blessed are the hungry” but “blessed are YOU hungry”.
    • Jesus is NOT saying it is a blessing to be hungry! In fact the Bible urges us to feed the hungry!
    • In fact, in Matthew 25 Jesus talks about separating the goats from the sheep, those who get into heaven and those who don’t. To the sheep, those who are true Christians He said:

Matthew 25:35-36 ESV For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, (36) I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

  • And to the goats, those who did not make heaven, the heathens and the false Christians He said:

Matthew 25:42-43 ESV For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, (43) I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

  • When these two groups asked Jesus “When were you hungry, when where you thirsty… I don’t get it Jesus” Jesus responded “As much as you have done it to the lowest of the low people, you have done it unto me… and as much as you have not done it unto them, you have not done it unto me.
    • So no, it is not a blessing to be hungry, but it is a blessing to be hungry for Christ sake! A blessing to chose hunger in order to feed the hungry.
  • “Blessed are you who hunger now.”
  • The Believer’s Bible Commentary puts it this way:
    • It says “This does not mean the vast hordes of humanity who are suffering from malnutrition. Rather it refers to disciples of Jesus Christ who deliberately adopt a life of self-denial in order to help alleviate human need, both spiritual and physical. It is people who are willing to get along on a plain, inexpensive diet rather than deprive others of the gospel by their indulgence. All such self-denial will be rewarded in a future day.

Isaiah 58:10-11 ESV if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. (11) And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

  • That brings us to point two: Woe to you who are full now.

Point Two: Woe to you who are Full Now

Luke 6:25a ESV “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry…

  • Now again, Jesus is NOT saying it is some how a bad thing to be full and satisfied… it’s a good thing to be full, it’s a good thing to be satisfied! But what He is saying is this:
    • “You disciples who chose to feed yourself over the lost and the least of these, woe to you”
    • “You disciples who would rather have a nice big meal, a big feast, a big party… and in so doing neglect the work that I am sending you to do, woe to you.”
    • “You disciples who would compromise the task I am sending you on so you can enjoy the finer things in life… woe to you, because sure enough you will enjoy the finer things in this life but you risk lacking the finer things in the next.”
  • A perfect example of this is the love feast the Corinthians held.
    • I’ll give you a little re-cap about the love feasts there. Basically the different religions of the time would hold major feasts in their temples and invite all the poor and homeless to come eat.
      • There would be feasts for Zeus, and for Apollo, and for Iliad… and in these temples of these false roman God’s hundreds and hundreds of people would eat. It was a form of welfare, feeding the hungry, as well as a form of outreach to get people to come to the temples.
      • So the church in Corinth, following the Corinthian culture, they too would hold such feasts in their churches… Problem was, all the people in the church would show up early, eat all the food and get drunk on all the wine… they were FULL. Look what Paul has to say to them about these feasts…

1 Corinthians 11:20-22 ESV (20) When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. (21) For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. (22) What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

  • I love how black and white Paul can be sometimes… he really doesn’t leave anything up for interpretation here…
    • He says “You each are eating all the food, leaving some hungry! What‽ There are people who don’t even have food at home, you have food at home, eat your food so that there is enough food at the feast for the hungry”.
    • He also adds in his disdain for people getting drunk at these feasts…
      • Can you imagine having an outreach to feed the hungry and all the volunteers get drunk‽ THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE!
        • Would have been a great time for the volunteers, not so much for the hungry and needy.
      • Woe to you who are full now, Jesus says.
    • A well fed church in a hungry world is a contradiction in priorities guys…
    • If heaven is real, and hell is real… just take a moment and realize… if we really believe this… that everyone either dies and goes to heaven for ever or goes to hell forever…
      • If we truly believe that… EVERYONE…
      • And if we truly believe what the Bible teaches, that everyone deserves hell, and outside of Christ everyone is going to hell…
      • If we really believe that… then we believe the hungry guy at the street corner is going to hell…
      • We believe the hungry people in Cedar Rapids are dying and going to hell… forever.
      • According to the 2016 Global hunger index the 4 hungriest countries in the world are as follows:
        • Niger, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone.
      • If we truly believe in an eternal hell and an eternal heaven then we believe that there are hundreds of thousands of people dying in Niger, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone. And outside of Christ, those thousands of people are going to go to hell.
    • And you know what, honestly this is not about feeding the hungry… because we don’t need a bunch of well feed people going to hell either… but it is about leading people to Christ.
      • There is a spiritual truth that when you meet a physical need people open up to spiritual needs…
        • So if we can go into these nations by way of hungry bellies… then we can stay and preach the gospel to those who have already physically seen Jesus meet their immediate and real need!
      • I love that out of the top four hungriest countries, we have real ministry connections in two, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste! We have an opportunity to feed hungry people, both the spiritually hungry and the physically hungry.
        • But to do it we have to chose to deny ourselves.
      • Woe to you who are full now.
      • The Believers Bible Commentary puts this line this way:
        • Woe to you believers who eat in expensive restaurants, who live on the finest gourmet foods, who spare no expense when it comes to their groceries. Your motto is “Nothing is too good for the people of God!” Yet the Lord says that you will hunger in a coming day, that is, when rewards are given out for faithful, sacrificial discipleship.
      • Church if you focus on the joys of this life while forgetting about the realities of the afterlife… you may find yourself like all of the people who showed up to buy a Nintendo Switch only to find the shelves empty.

Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, (13) for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Point Three: Living the Christian Life in Light of This

Luke 6:21a ESV “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied…”

Luke 6:25a ESV “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry…

  • So how do we live the Christian life in light of these two verses?
    • Should we sell everything we own and go live in some perish, eating only the most basic and bland foods?
      • Well, some believers interpret this to mean that, and that is exactly what they do. But I don’t think that’s what Christ intended to say to His disciples.
    • Unless God tells you to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, then don’t. Don’t get in front of God.
    • But be willing to, and if not, use everything you have for His glory.
  • But more than that, we really have to take an honest look at the lifestyles we are living.
  • What decisions are we making that puts our needs in front of the needs of the lost an perishing?
  • The first thing I would suggest is very simple, get your finances in order.
    • This is a very real and very black and white step we can all take.
    • Get your finances in order.
    • Because what happens, naturally, and I am speaking to myself here to, is we don’t realize how much or how little money we have…
    • And we treat ourselves to nice restaurants, to the finest of groceries, to the stuff we REALLY want.
      • And we don’t realize that in so doing we are spending money that could go to help people.
      • It’s not like we are consciously robing the poor and hungry, we just don’t think about it, until we run out of money. Until we are in debt. Until we have nothing to give.
    • I can’t tell you how many times were I wanted to give, I wanted to help, but because I was not great with my finances I had spent too much that month.
    • But if I would have had forethought, I would have skipped that trip to Texas Roadhouse, and maybe only went to Pizza Ranch once that month…
    • So we need to get our finances in order… have a solid budget, write into your budget room to give.
      • And I am not just talking tithes and offerings and MFP, but to truly actually have enough to feed the hungry.
    • That’s what Amanda and I are starting to do. We are doing meal planning, we are budgeting, we are planning our groceries runs… so that when the opertunity presents itself we can give, we can go, we can feed.
    • Honestly I would much rather eat cereal for dinner and give Michiah 50 bucks for her missions trip then I would go to Texas Road House for one measly meal.
      • But I don’t think about that when it’s dinner time… unless I have my finances in order.
    • So we need to get our finances in order, put a check on the luxuries that we have and the fine foods we eat… that is not to say we should never eat well, or we should never have luxuries… they should just never come at the expense of the gospel. Amen‽
      • Paul wasn’t asking the Corinthians to starve to death, to the contrary, he tells them to EAT! But he says Eat the food you have at home, plan to feed the hungry and so eat your food at home so this feast can be for them.
    • Secondly, and again I am speaking to myself… and my wife is going to use this against me… but I think we need to practice being hungry a little bit… we need to make a habit of fasting.
      • Here’s what’s cool about fasting… it’s cheaper than free! Not only do you pay nothing to fast, but you save money on the food you are not eating.
      • Not only that, but the more you fast, the more your body get’s used to being hungry.
      • Fasting has incredible health benefits… according to medicalnewstoday.com fasting helps with weight loss (obviously), lower blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol. FOR FREE!
      • And of course there is the massive spiritual benefit of fasting, being devoted to prayer while denying yourself.
    • Church, if we get better at fasting… going to a missions field were there is not a lot of food will not be such a bad shock to our system.
    • So I really encourage you to pray about fasting on a regular basis… personally I am convicted of this too. If you need help with this please talk to a pastor here, Pastor Moses, Pastor Teresa, Pastor Amanda, or myself.
    • Finally, here is another thing we can do. Eat with the homeless. EAT WITH THEM.
      • Don’t just give them money, unless the Spirit really tells you to…
      • Instead, invite them to lunch, buy them food and over the meal, talk to them. How did they get in this situation… what do they need to get out of it… where are they at with Jesus.
      • You know, treat them like a human… but more than that, treat them like an eternal being who is facing either an eternity of heaven or an eternity of hell.

Conclusion

  • In conclusion I want to say this… the Gospel is the most important and powerful news… let us do nothing to hinder that, and let us do everything to spread that.
  • Alter call.