- Pastor Tom Cunningham
THE SEARCH FOR REAL LIFE
Where our life ends and real life begins…
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
One thing we’re going to find is that ‘what we really want’ is not… just right there. It takes some effort. You have to look for it. You have to seek after it. The Bible describes the kingdom of God as a treasure that’s hidden in a field in Matthew 13:44.
So where do we begin? We begin in the Word of God, where Jesus gives his own clues to finding the elusive treasure of happiness in life. The Beatitudes, beginning in Matthew chapter 5. Eight Beatitudes… “Eight clues that Jesus gives us to find this treasure of true happiness,” to find what it really means to live life to the full.
And here’s the word I want you to catch. It surprises people sometimes. It’s hidden. Your real life is hidden with Christ in God. There’s a hidden nature to the life that God has for you. And it appears to be hidden because it is the opposite of what many of us intuitively think it is going to be. We have this preconceived notion of what we think happiness is going to look like and so that taints our search from the beginning.
So here’s how we’ll define it for the purposes of this message. That a blessed life is “living with a God-given joy and satisfaction”—here’s the key—“regardless of outward conditions.” This is huge, because we are all about a blessed life. I mean, it is one of our rights: the pursuit of happiness, right? But most of us would say that the pursuit of happiness is all about outward conditions. That we can change our situation enough; we can change our circumstances so that we can be happy, so that we can be blessed. But Jesus is going to teach us that a blessed life is God-given. It’s given to us from God. It’s not that we personally pursue it and we find it on our own, it is revealed to us. Remember, ‘real life in Christ’ is hidden. It’s given to us from God. And it’s not dependent upon our circumstances, our conditions, our situations. It supersedes all of that.
And Jesus said, “When you realize the truth about your situation and you are poor in spirit, you finally open up the door to God’s blessing in your life.” You have finally solved a clue in this hunt for real life that has led you somewhere significant. You are making progress…Like a child who finally comes to a parent and without making demands, without making excuses, without making justifications, just says, “Mom, Dad, will you help me?” Jesus says at that point you can be blessed. But you’ve got to reach that point where you say, “I can’t fix it. I can’t renovate it. I can’t patch it up myself. I need help.”
The Message Paraphrase puts it this way. Matthew 5:3, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule in your life.” See, most of us would think that that is not a good thing—to get to the end of our rope, to find ourselves in a life situation where everything has fallen apart and the pieces are pretty broken. But Jesus says, “Blessed are you when you reach that point,” because when you reach that point that you are bankrupt; you finally have made room for God’s hand in your life. Why is that so difficult for us?
So this is how Jesus begins the sermon (and) how He begins His ministry: “Blessed are you who have reached the end of your rope. Blessed are you who have come to realize that you can’t help yourself and you ask God for help.”
We are going to find the hidden real life in Jesus by coming to the end of ourselves and discovering the beginning of HIM!