Sermon Notes: “The Righteousness God Desires” (Matthew 5:6, 10-12)

Sermon Notes

Sermon Title:”The Righteousness God Desires”

Text: Matthew 5:6, 10-12

Date: Sunday, September 9, 2018

Speaker: Pastor Joseph


Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Matthew 5:10-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:21: “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

Introductory questions

  • What does the word “righteousness” mean in this verse in Matthew?
  • Who is a righteous?
  • What the characteristics of the righteous one?

Some Famous Quotes about the text

“Blessed Are Those Who Hunger: Quotations to stir heart and mind. Compiled by Richard A. Kauffman| September 10, 2007

  • IF THIS VERSE is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture, you can be quite certain you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.
    David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
  • THIS BEATITUDE prompts a look at our heart’s desire. What hungers and desires operate within us? Which of them commands our utmost loyalty?
    John W. Miller, The Christian Way
  • IT IS NOT the one who has attained righteousness but the one who hungers for it whom the Beatitudes assert God blesses.
    Bonnie B. Thurston, Religious Vows, the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian Living
  1. What does the word “righteousness” mean in this verse in Matthew?
  • It can mean the conformity of God’s will as it is revealed in the Torah, that is “covenant faithfulness.” In this way, righteousness relates to behavior that conforms to God’s will.
  • Traditionally, elsewhere in the Bible such as the letters of Paul,“righteousness” means  a believer’s right standing before God on the basis of Christ’s satisfactory life, death, and resurrection. In this way, it is a reference to one’s salvation on the basis of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
  • “Dikaoisyene, ‘righteousness,” is the term used in LXX to translate Hebrew sedaqa, which is often better translated ‘deliverance’ or ‘salvation,’ sometimes even ‘victory,’ referring to God’s putting right what is wrong. On this basis interpreters have suggested that dikaiosyne here represents not the behavior of the disciple but rather the action of God, understood either as his exercise of ‘justice’ in the world, especially as his intervention on their behalf, or as his saving gift of ‘justification’ in the Pauline sense… But in Matthew’s usage dikaoisyne is overwhelming concerned with right conduct, with living the way God requires (see on 3:15), and 5:20 dikaisyone will be jused emphatically in this sense. 5:10 follows closely on this beatitude, and the ‘righteousness’ which is there the cause of persecution can hardly be understood as divine action. It is thus better understood here not of those who wish to see God’s will prevail in the world in general or on their own behalf in particular, but of those who are eager themselves to live as God requires” (R. T. France, Gospel of Matthew, 167).

*** In the English language, the word righteousness could be translated as “just” (righteous behavior) or “justification” (declared righteous).

  • Scott McKnight insightfully writes,

The moment one defines righteousness as conformity to Torah or to God’s Word in Scripture, there things happen. First, the scope of Scripture, especially as we find the prophetic texts, focuses our minds on big issues like justice, mercy, peace, faithfulness, worship, holiness, and love. Second, we are pushed into seeing how Jesus himself understood Torah observance, and here we think immediately of two texts, the Jesus Creed of 22:34-40 and the Golden Rule of 7:12, so that for Jesus a “righteous” person was someone who loved God and loved others as himself. Third, we are pressed into considering the antitheses of 5:17-48, where surpassing righteousness refers to kingdom behaviors. (Scott, Sermon, 44)

  • “Jesus is speaking of an intense longing after righteousness that may be likened to both hunger and thirst. Everyone now and then does what is right, but Jesus is pointing hearers not to occasional acts but to a passionate concern for the right…Matthew has a strong interest in the upright living that should characterize the servant of Christ, and we must not try to turn him into a pale shadow of Paul” (Morris, The Gospel of Matthew 5:6)
  • The promise that “they shall be satisfied” or “they will be filled” as metaphor that “expresses absolute and utter satisfaction: they will find a kingdom society where love, peace, justice, and holiness shape the entire of creation” (Scott, Sermon, ibid).


Commentary on Matthew 5:6= Luke 6:21

  • “The noun righteousness/justice (Gk. dikaiosune [dikaiosuvnh]) bears meanings in the New Testament related to two sources. The major one is the Hebrew thought-world of the Old Testament and particularly the sdq [q;d’x] word group, which locates the meaning in the sphere of God’s gracious, covenantal relation to his people and the appropriate behavior of the covenant partners (Yahweh and Israel) toward each other. The other is the regular use of the words in everyday Greek as spoken in New Testament times, which fixes the meaning in the sphere of a life in conformity to a known standard or lawthus honesty, legality, and so on. This latter meaning in terms of doing God’s will is of course also found in the Old Testament.”
  • “Second, the covenant people of God are called to live righteously, that is, in conformity to the demands of the covenant and according to God’s will (see Psalm 1:4-6 ; 11:7 ; 72:1 ; Isa 1:16-17 ). Having within the covenantal relation with God the gift of salvation, they are to behave as the people of the holy Lord. Hosea, the prophet of divine love, ties righteousness with mercy, loving kindness, and justice ( 2:19 ; 10:12 ).
  • “John the Baptist called for repentance and righteous behavior such as is pleasing to God ( Luke 3:7-9 ). Further, it was because of the demands of such righteousness fulfilling the will of Godthat he actually was willing to baptize Jesus ( Matt 3:15 ). Likewise Jesus presents righteousness as conformity to the will of God expressed in the Mosaic law ( Matt 13:17 ; 23:29 ; Matthew 27:4 Matthew 27:19 Matthew 27:24 ) and also conformity to his own teachings concerning the requirements of the kingdom of heaven ( Matt 5:17-20 )”
  • “So, in a fundamental sense, in the four Gospels righteousness as a quality of living is intimately related to the arrival and membership in the kingdom of God and is only possible because God has come to his people as their Redeemer.”

Three aspects of righteousness in the Bible

  • “Legal Righteousness is justification, a right relationship with God. The Jews ‘pursued righteousness,’ Paul wrote later, but failed to attain it because they pursued it in the wrong way. They sought ‘to establish their own’ righteousness and ‘did not submit to God’s righteousness,’ which is Christ himself’ (Rom. 9:30-10:4).”
  • “Moral righteous is that righteousness of character and conduct which pleases God. Jesus goes on after the beatitudes to contrast this Christian righteousness pharisaic righteousness (20). The latter was an external conformity to rules; the former is an inner righteousness of heart, mind and move. For this we should hunger and thirst.”
  • “Social righteousness.” “For biblical righteousness is more than a private and personal affair; it includes social righteousness as well. And social righteousness, as we learn from the law and the prophets, is concerned with seeking man’s liberation from oppression, together with the promotion of civil rights, justice in the law courts, integrity in business dealings and honor in home and family affairs. Thus, Christians are committed to hunger for righteousness in the whole human community as something pleasing to a righteous God.” –John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p.45.
  • “The gospel is not a program for social change, but the gospel should lead people to seek change in society. The gospel is not a social justice movement, but it should lead people to promote justice in society. The gospel is not a moralistic crusade, but it should lead to moral transformation. The gospel is the good news about what God has done and is doing in Jesus Christ and that should affect all other reality. Every square inch, he is Lord of it.”—Carl Mosser
  • T. France’s brilliant commentary on the Gospel of Mathew in the New International Commentary of the New Testament is one of my favorite commentaries on the first Gospel. Observe his insight on Christian engagement in society as he interprets Matthew 5:10, and partly verses 11-16:

“Already in the commendation of the merciful and the peacemakers these beatitudes have marked out the true disciple not as a hermit engaged in then solitary pursuit of holiness but as one engaged in society, and such engagement has its cost. As the following verses will spell out more fully, to live as subjects of the kingdom of heaven is to be set over against the rest of society which does not share its values, and the result may be–indeed, the uncompromising wording of this beatitude suggests that it will be-persecution” —R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 170

  1. “Righteousness in the book of Matthew”
  •  1:19, Joseph, Mary’s husband, is said to be a “just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Because Joseph was a Torah observant/righteous man, he decided divorce Mary to maintain his faithfulness to the law or “to remain observant” (Scott, 44).
  • 5:10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
  • 5:20: For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • 5:45: so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • 6:1: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
  • 10:41: The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward
  • 13:17:  For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
  • 13:43: Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
  • 13:49: So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous
  • 21:32: For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him
  • 23:28: So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
  • 23:29:Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous.
  • 23:35: so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah,[a] whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
  • 25:37:  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
  • 25:46:  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
  • 27:19: Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”


11 Characteristics of the Righteous in the Old Testament (read Ps. 15; Ps. 1)

  1.  The righteous walks blamelessly and does what is right.
  2. He tells the truth.
  3. He is not a gossiper or slander.
  4. He does no wrong to his neighbor
  5. He has a good reputation before his friend.
  6. He hates evil and does not hang out with those who do evil.
  7. He is a friend with those who honor God in their life and action.
  8. He loves justice.
  9. A righteous person does not lend money at an exorbitant rate of interest
  10. They refuse to take bribes
  11. A righteous person protects the innocent at all times
  • Proverbs 11:30:

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls

  • Characteristics of the Man (or Woman) of God

1 Timothy 6:11-16?

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

  • He pursues godliness and what is right.
  • The virtues he lives by are faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. He is kind.
  • He is a defender of the faith.
  • He lives his life according to godly principles.
  • In his actions, he seeks to please God and honor Christ


  1. The righteous is persecuted for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.
  • He is counterculture.

Matthew 5:10-12

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Top 10 Worst countries for Christian Persecution

  1. North Korea
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Somalia
  3. Sudan
  4. Pakistan
  5. Eritrea
  6. Libya
  7. Iraq
  8. Yemen
  9. Iran

Types of persecution Christians Endure

  • Church attacks
  • Abductions
  • Forced marriages
  • Religious freedom violations
  • Extreme violence

“Every day six women  women being raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith.” –-Open Doors

  • Social exclusion
  • Abuse
  • Imprisonment

Other references of Christian suffering in Matthew

  •  The righteous surrenders completely to Christ even in the midst of suffering and tribulation
  • He denies himself so he can gain Christ and life.


  • 10:39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
  • 16:25: For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
  • 19:29:  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[a] and will inherit eternal life.
  • 24:9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.