The Sermon on the Mount
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

3 – The Second Beatitude:  Penitence

We’re in Matthew, Chapter 5.  We began two studies ago this great sermon, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  We did in the last study the first Beatitude:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” verse 3, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Today we will turn to the second beatitude.  Verse 4:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Now you will notice, as we begin this series of studies, that the Sermon on the Mount begins with the negatives, which is really an opposite of what you would normally think of from the human approach.  I want to give you two reasons why Jesus begins with the negatives.

  1. Christ came to this world to save the negatives — the sinners.  Is that clear?  Remember, He said [Matthew 11:28]:

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    “I have good news for you; I want to give you rest.”

  2. When we take the gospel and apply it to our lives, it begins with a negative — “Not I” — and only those who are poor in spirit can say, “Not I.”

So, please remember, Christ begins with the negatives because he came to save the sinners — those who are unworthy — and because the gospel, when applied to our lives, begins with “Not I.”  In other words, only to those who recognize and realize their spiritual poverty can Christ say, “Happy are you.”

Now this sounds like a paradox, but the gospel is a paradox.  God brings joy to those who are crying, not to those who are already happy.

I want you to look at the second Beatitude and see what it says:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Do you know what He is saying?  “Blessed are they who are unhappy.  Happy is the person who is unhappy.”  That sounds like a paradox.  But we will discover that this is what the gospel is all about.  Because on the surface it seems that, “How can I be happy when I am unhappy?”  Christ says, “Yes, through Me you can be happy.”

There are three categories that we can apply to verse 4.  Spiritually we can divide Christians into three camps.

  1. There are those who do not know or who refuse to admit that they are poor in spirit.

    For example, we have the message to the Laodicean Church.  What does Christ, the True Witness say about them?  They do not know that they are poor, miserable, wretched, and blind.  These people, these Christians have no cause to mourn.  Why should they mourn about their spiritual poverty?  In Christ’s day, the Pharisees were a good example and today most legalists fall into this camp.

    Oh, yes, they may mourn about the condition of the Church, but they never include themselves with that condition.  And that’s the difference between true mourning and a legalist who mourns about the condition of the church.  And this may be right, [mourning for the church] but they do not include themselves.

  2. Those who realize that they are poor in spirit, but who are indifferent.

    They recognize that they are spiritually poor, but they do not mourn about it.  They fulfill the condition of the first beatitude — they admit they are poor in spirit — but they do not mourn about it.  So they do not fulfill the second condition and there are some, unfortunately, who are in this camp in the church.

    There are several reasons for this:

    1. It could be that because they have had so much failure in the past, that the result is that they say, ’What is the use?  This is how I am; what’s the use of mourning about it?  This is what I am and this is what I will be.”  And so they settle down to be poor in spirit but they don’t mourn about it.  And that is a dangerous condition.

    2. They do not realize, or they do not have the knowledge or appreciation of, the power of the gospel.  They say, “It is impossible for God to give me total victory, so why should I mourn?”

And so both of these are a problem.  But I want to go to the third group because this is who Christ is addressing.

  1. There are those that realize that they are poor in spirit and they are mourning about it.

Now please remember, as I mentioned last study, that Jesus is not discussing here mourning in the sense that we mourn over a loved one who has died.  He is talking here in spiritual terms.  He is talking about people who are mourning about their condition because they want to see some change in their lives.  I want to give you some examples.  This mourning comes primarily, not because of a horizontal relationship, but because of a vertical relationship.

Do you remember what Ellen G. White says?  “The closer we come to Christ, the more sinful we will feel.”  (And the more you will mourn).  But I want to give you some examples.

Turn in your Bible to Isaiah 6:1.  Isaiah was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament and we are told in verse 1:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Here is Isaiah seeing God in a vision.  Then he describes the bodies of the seraphims (they each have six wings and so on).  Then, in verse 3, he describes how one cried to another and said,

And they were calling to one another:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

And then he describes how the posts of the door moved at the voice of Him Who cried and the house was filled with smoke.  But now I want you to notice the reaction that this had on the prophet.  Verse 5:

“Woe to me!” I cried.  “I am ruined!  [Here he is mourning.] For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips,...”

Please notice that he doesn’t say, “The church is terrible, but I’m okay.”  He says “I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips.”

“...And my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

When you see Christ in all His beauty, you will mourn “what a terrible person I am.”  But I want you to notice how God responded to his mourning.  Do you remember, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Isaiah 6, verses 6-7:

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” [I have made you clean in my Son.]

Here is the gospel.  It is only when you realize that in Christ you have been purged, then can you look at verse 8:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?”  And I [the prophet] said, “Here am I.  Send me!”

Only those who appreciate the love of God and His salvation to sinners can be used of God.  Those who are mourning will be comforted and will be used by God.  So that is a good example.

Now turn to Luke 18.  I want to give you a couple of examples from the New Testament.  Here is an example of somebody who mourned.  This is a parable, but I want you to get the full context.  Luke 18:9:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: ...

This belongs to Category 1 that I described to you.  They had a high opinion of themselves, and they looked down upon those who were mourning.  This is the parable.  You all are familiar with it but let’s read it [verse 10]:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

Which of the two of these men was the one who trusted in himself and despised the other?  Well, the Pharisee is the one who trusted himself and the tax collector is the one who was despised because the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself (it was the custom in those days to stand and pray) [verses 11-12]:

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:  “God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

Is he mourning?  What is he doing?  He says “Lord, look at me, look at me!  I’m not like other men — I’m not an extortioner, I don’t exploit others, I’m not unjust, I’m not an adulterer, or even as this tax collector at the back there.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”

And, in contrast, [verse 13]:

But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast [which is a Jewish custom of mourning] and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Two different kinds of worshipers.  They are both believers, but one is quite happy about his condition and one is mourning.  One is Category 1 and one is Category 3.

Listen to how Jesus responds to this parable.  Verse 14:

I tell you that this man [the tax collector], rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself [or is mourning] will be exalted.

Can you see the paradox?  It is good news.  I want to give you one more example, and, of course, that is the great apostle Paul.  You see, Paul was a Pharisee.  There was a time when he was like this very Pharisee that Jesus talks about but, you know, God humbled him.  Turn to Romans 7:18.  Here is a man who realizes that he is poor in spirit.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

And so he ends up in verse 24:

What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?

He is mourning!  In Chapter 8:23, talking about the believers, he says:

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Notice where they are groaning — inwardly, within ourselves — not groaning to others.

You see, it is not enough to acknowledge that you are poor in spirit.  You must also grieve and mourn about it.  Not publicly, but inside yourself.  So I want to put it in theological language:  It is not enough to confess your sins before God; there must be contrition.

I want to give you the need for both by giving you two texts concerning a church that needed it desperately.  Turn to 1 Corinthians 5.  Here was a church that was not mourning, and what Christ is saying concerning the believer also applies to the body of Christ.  Here was a church that was not mourning and Paul is rebuking it.  1 Corinthians 5:1-2:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans:  A man has his father’s wife.  And you are proud!  Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

That is what we call “cheap grace”:  “God has saved us; it doesn’t matter what we do.”  They were condoning sin.  They were not mourning about the condition of their church.  Please notice they were not mourning about their own condition and so Paul is rebuking them.

If you turn a few more pages to 2 Corinthians 12, you will find the same thing.  This church, of course, was in the big city and was facing lots of problems, but verse 21:

I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

In other words, “There are some who have not listened to my first letter, who have not repented.  And I am afraid to come and see this condition.”  (It is true that many did repent; if you read the whole of Second Corinthians you will see this.)

I want to come to an important question:  Why should we mourn individually or as a body?  Why should we have contrition over our failures and our mistakes?  First of all, it is not because we will be punished.  That would be a selfish motive to mourn.  There are three reasons why we should mourn.

  1. Every sin we have committed, no matter how small it is, was implicated on the cross of Christ.  And if you really appreciate Christ, you will mourn for what that sin did to Him on that cross.  Please remember, salvation is free, it is a gift, but it cost God the cross.  And the cross was not simply the Roman crucifixion; it was God’s abandonment.  Jesus went through that!  Therefore, we must never treat sin lightly.  Even the smallest sin was implicated on the cross of Christ.  We must hate sin for what it did to our Saviour.

  2. Our failures brings disgrace to the church.  Remember that the church is the body of Christ.  It is God’s representative on earth.  When Christ came, He came to represent His Father.  Today, it is the church who is supposed to represent Christ.  And when we fail, we are bringing disgrace to the body of Christ.  This is one of the greatest reasons for the failure of evangelism.  You can preach the truth, but if the church is not lifting up Christ by its lifestyle, if the church is disgracing Christ by its failures, then we need to mourn about it.

    Let me give you an example.  Turn to Daniel 9.  I want you to notice there is a difference between the mourning of Daniel for his church and the mourning that you normally hear from a legalist.  A legalist will mourn about the church but never about himself.  But here is Daniel mourning about the church because, please remember that in the days of Daniel, the people, the nations fought against each other in the name of their god.  We don’t do that today.  Today we fight in the name of America, the flag.  In those days, they fought in the name of their god.  And the stronger god would always win, so when a nation or a tribe won, it meant that their god was stronger than that of the nation that was defeated.

    Israel was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar.  The Jews were taken captive and their temple was destroyed.  Here is the temple lying in ruins for all these years, and Daniel was told through Jeremiah, the prophet, that it would take 70 years that this temple would be desolate.  And now, God comes to him and says “No, Daniel, I have another prophecy.”  [It was not the same prophecy, but Daniel did not realize it at that time].  “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings before the sanctuary will be restored” [or cleansed].  So Daniel is concerned about the name of God and see how he mourns in his prayer.  Daniel 9:4-5:

    I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:  “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”

    Notice that he does not say, “the church has sinned,” but, in verse 5, “We have sinned.”  He includes himself with that body.  Did Daniel as an individual do these things?  No.  Did the church do it?  Yes.  He identified himself with the church.  Look at verse 6:

    We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

    “None of us, brethren and myself included, have listened.”  Look at verse 7:

    Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame — the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.

    All through the prayer he uses the personal pronoun which identifies himself with others.  Verse 8:

    O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.

    He’s mourning about the condition of the church, but please notice how he does it.  Not with a self-righteous attitude.  I remember when I first went to Ethiopia, we had a terrible faction.  In the olden days (even now to some degree), we had two policy books in the mission field:  Section One and Section Two.  [One was for the nationals and one for the foreign missionaries.]  And the nationals had got together and rebelled against the missionaries; so there was a big faction.  These were not lay people — they were both workers — one was missionaries and one was nationals.

    They asked me to try and solve the problem.  I had just arrived and the [conference] president called me to his office and said, “Can you solve the problem?  You have an advantage that the others don’t have.”  I asked, “What advantage?”  He said, “Two advantages:  (1) you are new here [I had just arrived]; (2) you were born in Africa so, by their standards, you are a national.  But you are a missionary at the same time, so you belong to both camps.  Maybe you can bring them together.”

    He was a Swedish president and I said, “I’m afraid those two advantages won’t help.  But I will try and bring them together by using the gospel.”  So I brought in the leaders of both groups.  What had happened was that the missionaries that had mistreated the nationals were the pioneers, when there were still the colonial days.  But those pioneers did not come from America; they came from Europe.  These first missionaries to eastern Africa were from Europe.  But now, the present day missionaries (which was 30 years later) were from America.  So the American missionaries were saying “Why should you accuse us for something that the Europeans did?”  And so it went on.

    I said, “In God’s church there is no such thing as American and European and nationals.  We are one body.”  So I turned to the Ethiopians first and I said, “When you steal in Ethiopia, with what part of the body do you use to steal?”  And they said, “Hands.”  And I said, “What part of the body gets punished if you are caught?”  And they said, “The sitting department.”  In Ethiopia, they believe in the Bible method:  They give you 40 strokes but one, by a horse whip.  It is very painful.  They are very Biblical in their punishment.  I asked them, “Why should one part of body, that had nothing to do with the stealing, suffer for the mistake of the hands?”  And they said, “Because it is one body.  There is no difference.”  I said, “Exactly, and the mistakes of the missionaries are also the mistakes of you nationals.  And nationals, your mistakes are the mistakes of the missionaries.  If we would admit that, there would be no pointing of fingers.”

    When a church is divided and one group says, “They are the troublemakers....”  Have you ever heard that?  What is the problem?  They have not understood the gospel.  That is the real issue.  Because there is no part of your body that is a troublemaker and the other part is innocent.  The whole body is guilty and we need to come to grips with this.  And this corporate oneness is what will produce mourning in the right way.  We need that desperately; otherwise, there is no healing.

    There was no healing in Judaism because the Pharisees and the scribes refused to admit that they were sinners like the Gentiles or like the publicans.  They refused.  But when we understand the gospel we realize, like Daniel, why we should mourn.

I’m giving you the three reasons why we should mourn.  Number one, we have sinned because sin was implicated on the cross.  Number two, our failures have brought disgrace to the church which is the body of Christ.  Don’t look at the church as an organization; that is the human approach.  To God, the church is not an organization, the church is His body.  He loves it, even though it has failed Him many times.  But there is a third reason.

  1. When we fail and let down Christ, we also are a poor witness.  You see, we are living in a scientific age and God comes to human beings at whatever level they are.  In a scientific age, God can convince the world that the gospel is the power of God only when the church witnesses that power and, when it fails, what does the world say?  “We knew you are no better than us.”

I am going to repeat two quotations I have already given you many times.  One is from Nietzsche, the great pagan philosopher, who said to the Christian church, “If you expect me to believe in your Redeemer, you will have to look a lot more redeemed.”  And we need to mourn about it because the church today — I’m not talking about just our church — the Christian church has been a failure and has let Christ down, has been a poor witness.

The other statement is from my fellow countryman, Mahatma Gandhi, when he was fighting against apartheid as a lawyer in South Africa.  He addressed this statement to the Dutch Reformed Church:  “When you Christians live the life of your Master, all India will bow down to Christianity.  Until then, please don’t bring the gospel to India.  I’ve seen enough of it here” (with apartheid).  Because at that time the Reformed Church was condoning apartheid.

So we must mourn because of these three reasons.  I would like to add now what I have already said.  This mourning has to be inwardly; in the innermost part of our being, we should mourn.  The Pharisees mourned, but they mourned outwardly to let everybody see how religious they were.  They looked miserable sometimes.  They put on sackcloth and ashes on their head to show the people how dedicated they were about their mourning.  No, the mourning must be done inwardly, between you and God.  A Christian who mourns inwardly is a person who in his innermost being says to God, “I have failed you.  I have been a disgrace to you.  I have hurt your body, the church, please, forgive me.”  And God has comfort for you.

I want you to look at the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ to those who mourn.  Turn your Bible back to Isaiah.  Isaiah is the famous gospel prophet.  Isaiah 40:1-5:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.  A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.  And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

When Christ came to this world, the common people — not the Pharisees — were mourning.  Their leaders were giving them no hope, no peace.  “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.’”  Do you know who made that statement?  John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Messiah.

Look at the symbols Isaiah uses.  These are metaphors.  There are two things:  there are valleys and there are mountains.  The valleys represent those who are mourning; the mountains represent those who are boasting.  He is not talking here of literal valleys and mountains.  He is talking of two groups of people within the camp of Israel.

That text is a prophecy about Christ.  He came to comfort those who are mourning and to bring low those that are exalted in their own eyes.  The other prophecy that I would like for you to look at is Chapter 61:1-3.  This is a prophecy about Christ which He Himself quoted, as you all know:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me [or ordained me] to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

This is the passage, you remember, that Jesus read when He was asked to read the scroll in the synagogue.  Zion is the Christian church, the believers.  Zion at that time meant Israel, and today we know that the true Israel is not the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The true Israel is those who have the spirit, the qualities of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Please notice, Christ our righteousness is our hope, our comfort, and our peace.

Simeon was one of the first persons to hold Jesus Christ in his hands, when He was born.  Do you know what Simeon said in Luke 2:25 when he held this Child?  And keep in mind the definition of Israel.  Here is Simeon holding this little Boy.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

In other words, the Holy Spirit said to Simeon, “This is your comfort.”  He was waiting for that comfort and now it is here.

Now, in concluding, I want to go back to Matthew 5:4.  We have so far dealt only with the first half of the beatitude.  Now for the next few moments I want to look at the second half.  It is important that you see the second half also, because we human beings are impatient.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Past, present, or future?  Future.  There is comforting now.  There is peace, but the full comforting will not come until the future, when Christ comes.  “They will be comforted.”  Justification by faith gives you peace now, but it is not until the coming of Christ that you will receive the total comfort.  I want to give you some texts.

In Luke 6, we have a repetition of the beatitudes but there is a slight difference, a different slant that Luke brings regarding this, especially the second half.  Luke 6:21:

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

“Happy are those who weep now [you are mourning now] for you will [in the future] laugh.”

Now you are mourning and your mourning will take place until your dying day; that is what Paul did.  Paul said, “I groan waiting for the redemption of my body.”  Romans 8:23:

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Turn to a second passage — 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.  After they had read Paul’s first epistles, some of them were mourning:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Paul is approaching this from a little different angle.  We mourn because of our failures and our weaknesses, but there is also another mourning that takes place.  It is not easy to be a Christian.  People will ridicule you, people will despise you, people will laugh at you, especially if you are among intellectuals.  Because to believe in God is only for these “old fogies.”  Modern intellectual man doesn’t need God.

When we were in Ethiopia under Marxism, it was very hard for our University kids because their fellow students mocked them and laughed at them and they were always mourning about this condition.  But God says, “Don’t worry.  You will have the last laugh, because one day you will realize that mourning will be turned into joy.”  Always remember that Christ is our Example.

I want to give you two texts.  First is Isaiah 53:3.  What does that prophecy say about Christ?

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

So when people despise you, remember that Christ went through it and that is what Paul is saying.  The other text is Luke 19:41:

As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it....

Why did He weep?  Because He had great concern.  The word “mourn” in English means “crying,” etc., but in Greek the word “mourn” means to feel deep sorrow, to show great concern, or to deplore some existing wrong that you see.  So when Christ saw the city, He mourned over it.  Why?  Because it had rejected Him.  Not because He was hurt but because their rejection of Him meant that He could not save them.  There is no forgiveness for unbelief.

We have covered the mourning.  I want to conclude with Jeremiah 31:11-14, part of the new covenant promise, part of the promise of God.  First of all, I want to remind you what verse 3 says:

The Lord appeared to us [Israel] in the past, saying:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

If you are going through mourning and suffering, God has not forsaken you.  Now look at verses 11-14 of Jeremiah 31:

“For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they...”

Now, get the picture.  The Lord hath redeemed Jacob and ransomed him “from the hand of those stronger than they.”  There is you and there is Satan.  Who is stronger, you or Satan?  Satan.  But Christ has redeemed you.

“For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.  They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord — the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds.  They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.  Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.  I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord.

Now, this is the promise he will give you at the second coming:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Are you mourning about your condition?  I don’t know about you, but I am mourning.  But I know one thing:  I have hope; I have peace; I have a Comforter.  Jesus did not come to save good people.  He came to save wretched, miserable sinners like me, and I thank God for that.

It is my prayer that we will mourn, because unless a church mourns over its failures, unless we mourn for what we have failed to do...!

My professor at Andrews made this statement.  I was taking systematic theology under Elder Heppenstall and he made this statement one day in class, which kind of shocked the students.  He said, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is to blame for the last two world wars.  Because if we had done our job, we would not have had them.”

We are to blame for the mess that the world is in today.  We need to mourn about it.  We are to mourn because the world has not been lightened with His glory.  We are to mourn because our own people are groping in darkness.

Now I said that was the last statement.  But I want to give you a last text, Joel 2:28:

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

That is what God is waiting to do to His Church:  pour out His Spirit on all people.  But when will He do it?  After what?  Verse 17:

Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the temple porch and the altar.  Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord.  Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.  Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

That is exactly what is happening today.  “Where is your God?”  And what is God saying, “Please, ministers, mourn over the condition of your church.”  Verse 18:

Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.

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