Rest for Spiritual Seekers

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Rest for Spiritual Seekers

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Has life’s daily grind left you lost and searching for spiritual fulfillment? Tune in to discover the real solution.

Transcript

Are you a spiritual seeker?  Do you thirst for spiritual fulfillment? Does attending church seem irrelevant to the complexity of daily life?   Somehow, the old stories of Jesus talking to Pharisees, and you’re not sure what a Pharisee is, just aren’t important when it comes to paying bills or dealing with a broken marriage.   Are you wondering if life even has spiritual meaning?  On Beyond Today we’re going to show spiritual seekers how to find rest.   

There is an ancient legend about a magic pebble, called the touchstone that could turn any metal into gold.  It was told that this pebble could be found on the shores of the Black Sea among tens of thousands of other pebbles.  All looking exactly the same.  The only way you could tell the touchstone from other pebbles was that it was warm to touch.  Normal pebbles would feel cold. 

One man discovered a book that told of the touchstone.  He sold everything he had and traveled to the shores of the Black Sea.  He knew if he started sorting through pebbles there was no way to know if he might just keep picking up the same pebbles over and over again.  So he picked up a pebble, felt was cold, and threw it into the sea. 

All day long, he picked up pebbles, felt their coldness, and threw them into the sea.  Day after day, week after week, he picked up pebbles and threw them into the sea, searching for the magic touchstone that would change his life.  Weeks turned into months, months into years. 

One day he picked up a stone that was warm, it was the touchstone, and without thinking, the man…through habit…threw it into the sea and continued to pick up stones and throw them into the sea.   

The man was so trapped by his daily routine, that his search had become meaningless.  What he wanted was within his grasp and without even knowing it he threw it away.

Are you like this man?  Has the daily grind of life, anxiety, the inundation of countless spiritual ideas, left you lost and seeking for spiritual meaning?  Is it within your grasp, but you don’t recognize it?

If traditional Christianity hasn’t helped you find the answer to your spiritual thirst maybe it’s because you have not been taught the real teachings of Jesus Christ. You may have been taught some Bible stories—but not what they mean for your life. 

The answers to your spiritual longing are contained in the life of Jesus Christ and what He taught.     

Are you willing to take a new look at the teachings of Jesus?   If you are a seeker, are you willing to take the challenge that maybe what you think about Jesus Christ isn’t the real story?

The Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 is the starting point in understanding the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

Here on Beyond Today we’ve been going through a series on the Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes are the fundamental teachings of Jesus concerning the attitudes, or approaches to life, that help us experience perfect happiness.  These attitudes comprise the opening statements of the Sermon on the Mount.
Let’s look at Matthew 5:6 Matthew 5:6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
American King James Version×
:  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists ways of thinking…of feeling… that lead to a blessed life.  He says, “ Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—“

Hungering and thirsting are a description of intense need and longing!

When my son was a teenager we were hiking in the desert of Big Bend National Park.  The trail brought us to the camp store.  It was so hot that the campgrounds were empty.  We stumbled into the store where for a handful of quarters we were able to take a shower, the first we had taken in a number of days, and get something cold to drink.  Which was quite refreshing compared to the tepid canteen water we had been drinking.

I’ll never forget the absolute giddiness we both experienced as we felt washed, our thirst was quenched, and we were sitting on the porch eating some cold, sweet ice cream. 

This was physical hunger and thirst. But have you ever experienced that kind of spiritual longing…that kind of spiritual thirst…like you’ve been lost in a desert?  Are you longing for that spiritual cleansing and a generous drink of spiritual water? 

Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness— will be filled.  You want to be spiritually filled…you long for a mystical spiritual feeling…but notice, Jesus doesn’t say that people are filled who thirst for a mystical spiritual feeling.  He says those who are filled thirst for…righteousness.

What does Jesus means by righteousness?

Before we answer that question,  I want to tell you about a booklet that can help you discover the real Jesus and what He taught.  Now listen…we will not sell you this booklet.   We will give it to you. This will become a vital part of your spiritual life—and it is yours for the asking, with no charge or obligation whatsoever.

Why would I do this?

Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is one spiritually thirsty human being telling another spiritually thirsty human being where to find spiritual water.  I’ve found spiritual water and I want to share it with you. 

The Road to Eternal Life will help you understand how to respond what God is offering to you.

You will find how to take those first steps of repentance, which we will talk about in a few minutes.

What the Bible teaches about water baptism and why Jesus commanded His followers to be baptized. How you can experience the remarkable freedom from guilt that God is offering you through the forgiveness of sin and how the bondage of addictions and destructive behavior can be broken forever.

Go online to beyondtoday.tv to read or order your free copy of this free booklet The Road to Eternal Life.  Or, call, write this down, toll-free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That’s, 1-triple-eight-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.

It really is free and I would love to send it to you.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

What does Jesus mean by righteousness? 

Jesus uses righteousness in the context of being right, or being in a right relationship with God.  Only through God’s grace, or favor, does anyone have the right to come into His presence.      

When God initiates a relationship with you He does so in love and mercy. Still, you have to hear that spiritual call and agree to the relationship. You can’t just wait until you have a serious need for help and then knock on God’s door and demand an audience. 

But how are you to respond to God’s invitation to have a relationship with Him? 

Hundreds of people came to Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, who was preaching that people needed to repent and be baptized.  This wasn’t a new concept in first century Judaism.  Their religious customs involved washing rituals that symbolized the human need to have their bad deeds washed away.

Repentance is change.  Changing the way you think and act.  It means choosing to change the purpose for your life…to change your direction and behavior…so that you are living the way God created you to live.

Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized.  John tried to prevent Jesus by claiming that he needed to be baptized by Jesus.  Christ responded that they must do this to “fulfill all righteousness.”  Jesus is giving us an example of righteousness in action. 

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said that if you hunger and thirst after righteousness you will be filled.  But what actions do you begin to take to be filled?

Not long after the death of Jesus, Peter, one of the men Christ selected to carry on His work, explained to a large crowd who Jesus was and the reason for His crucifixion.  The people who heard Peter became acutely aware of their spiritual thirst and asked:

“What shall we do?”

As you become acutely aware of your spiritual thirst, and realize that Jesus Christ is the Messenger who can lead you to God, then you will ask the same question, “What shall I do?”

This is the same question the Apostle Paul asked when he said, “Lord, what do you want me do?”  This is the question every person who has come to God eventually asks.

Peter replied, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Here’s what you must do if you want your spiritual thirst to be quenched! 

First, you must recognize your need to repent. If you acutely feel the need to change your life,  and accept that the change begins with your choices and actions, you have taken the first step.  Repentance is more than just feeling sorry for what you have done wrong. Repentance is also a commitment to stop your behavior that is against the way God created life to be lived.  It is to turn around and go the other way—God’s way. Repentance is recognizing that you were made in the image of God and that you are a battered, corrupt image of the Creator, who needs God’s forgiveness.  You must acknowledge your wrong decisions and actions have separated you from God.   

You need to see that because of your wrong actions and thoughts you are no longer able to fulfill your created purpose.  Your wrong decisions and actions are destroying you spiritually, mentally, emotionally. 

I don’t say this to be cruel.  This is the gospel of your salvation!

Jesus the Christ left His heavenly home, came to this earth as a human being, was brutally murdered and died a horrible death as a substitute for your sins. 
Not just everyone else’s, but yours!

God, your Father, and Jesus Christ your Savior, have chosen that sacrificial event as a way of showing you love and righteousness in action.  Now, God expects action from you. 

This basic truth lies at the core of your spiritual longing and it is why you need to get on your knees and ask God to help you repent, and forgive you of your sins. King David captures this deep longing for a relationship with God in Psalm 42 where he writes,

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Do you experience this spiritual thirst?   That thirst is based in your need for God’s forgiveness and restoration into a relationship with Him. 

The second action you need to take is be baptized.  Baptism means immersion.  The early followers of Jesus followed the practice of being totally immersed in water to symbolize God’s washing away of their sins.  By following Christ’s example, and command, to be baptized we accept God’s forgiveness of our wrong decisions and actions through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.     

Remember Peter said,   “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

What is this gift of the Holy Spirit and what does it do?

To develop a lifelong relationship with God you need a change of mind…a new way of thinking…a change of heart…a new way of being motivated.   The reason you are a spiritual seeker….experiencing spiritual thirst…spiritual longing…is because you are spiritually incomplete.  The Holy Spirit completes your mind and renews it.  You will begin to fulfill your original purpose as a child of God!

If I asked you, as a spiritual seeker, to make a list of what you’re really looking for in your life what would it look like?

Would it sound something like this?  I want a life of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  This is a biblical list of the “fruits of the Spirit.”  You can’t achieve this spiritual mindset on your own power. 

To begin the process of spiritual fulfillment you must receive a new Spirit.  You must receive the Spirit of God into your mind.  This list of spiritual fruits is what God wants to produce in your life.

Receiving God’s Spirit doesn’t mean that all of your spiritual thirst and longing is immediately quenched.  These steps of repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are only the beginning of the road to eternal life. As human beings we still face the process of being changed from the inside out.  Salvation isn’t a singular event in your life.  It is the lifelong process of God recreating your mind….your heart…your emotions…so that you are molded into your original purpose—eternal life in the Kingdom of God. 

True Christianity is more than a set of beliefs or simply professing Christ.  It is about being lost and dying in a desert and someone giving your life-giving water.  Do you want to drink living waters? 

Get on your knees and ask God to quench your spiritual thirst.   Ask God to forgive you of your sins and to open your mind to real repentance.  

Don’t just read the Beatitudes, live them.  Christianity has plenty of believers, what Jesus wants is committed disciples.  He wants people who are willing to be right with God and live by His code of righteousness.       

In the next segment we’re going to talk about practical ways to seek righteousness. 

You were designed to have a personal relationship with your Creator.   Take time out from the daily grind and seeking of pleasure, and you will recognize the spiritual thirst within you.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Questions for Beyond Today Guests

1. Many people describe themselves as spiritual seekers.  How does a person find spiritual fulfillment? 

2. What does God want from us?

3. How does one start down the road to eternal life?

4. How does God’s Spirit help change a person’s life?

Are you ready to discover the real teachings of Jesus Christ?  Christianity isn’t a “give-your-heart-to-the-Lord” moment in time.  It’s journey through the spiritual desert that leads to the quenching of your spiritual thirst…it is a journey of righteous living … it is a journey to the Kingdom of God.   I urge you to start your spiritual journey right now.