SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
Often we find ourselves focusing on the temporal things in life and not on the eternal. We seem to devote most of our time and energy on the things that pass, things that fade away, things that are transitory at best and have an expiration date, and not on what truly matters and what lasts. Why is that?
Matthew 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Jesus said the law, the Word of God, is something that will outlast even heaven and earth. Then, according to Psalm 138:2, God said He honors His Word above His name. So what does all of this mean? And what are the implications for each of us? To find out more, keep listening.
Great question: “What is truth?” It’s the question Pilate asked Jesus and the same question our culture asks of the church today. But there’s more to that question than is readily apparent. For example:
Is there such a thing as absolute truth?
And if so, what is that truth?
How do we know that absolute truth is absolute?
What about the changing times in which we live?
Does truth change to meet the culture?
Is truth living and active? Does it evolve?
Why is truth for yesterday truth for today?
Doesn’t each generation need their own truth?
Jesus addressed these questions in His first sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7. Let’s take a look at His answer together, shall we?
Everyone has a story. Everyone’s life has a tale to tell. Will it be a story of redemption, faith, grace, mercy and love found only in Christ, or a story of failure, rejections, sin, guilt and judgment found in a life separated from Him? Yes, everyone has a story to tell. And that story is often portrayed as the light of our life.
Consider the words of Jesus:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” – Matthew 5:14-16.
So what’s your story about? What light of His are you shining? And do those who don’t know Christ glorify Him because of your light and good deeds? Something to think about, isn’t it?
Many Scriptures speak of things we must “do” as followers of Christ. Some of them are:
You are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
You are to “walk according to the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).
You must “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
But when we find some passages that speak about who we are (in contrast to what we do), they should stop us cold in our tracks. These are Scriptures that define and describe us from the Lord’s perspective.
In Matthew 5 we find two of these: “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:11), and “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:12-14). And the implications of these are profound. Want to discover more? Then keep listening.
Consider these if / then passages:
“(then) Blessed are those (if) who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for (then) theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (then) Blessed are you (if) when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (then) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for (then) great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12).
Yes, and all who (if) desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (then) will suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12).
Which leads us to ask a few questions:
Question: Will you face persecution?
Answer: That depends.
Question: Depends on what?
Answer: On how committed you are to live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:12).
To find out more about persecution and the if / then passages, keep listening.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9 ). Which ponders the questions:
What is a peacemaker?
What does peace really mean?
And with whom does the peacemaker make peace?
Who is calling the peacemakers “sons of God”?
And what does this look like in real life?
Amazingly, the answer to these questions might very well change your world. To find out more, keep listening.
When we are overwhelmed with fear, it’s usually because our God is too small and our problems are too big.
Have you ever experienced a fear of Death?
Fear of the Future?
Fear of Failure?
Fear of Never Being Loved?
Fear of Pain or Sickness?
Fear of Financial Ruin?
Fear of Divorce?
Fear of Something Happening to My Children?
Fear of Being Victimized?
Fear of Getting Older?
Fear of Things Always Changing?
Fear of Trusting?
Fear of Confrontation?
Fear of the Death of a Loved One?
Fear of Satan?
If so, the reason for your fear is that your God is simply too small. Way too small. Tiny. Do you want to know how to change that? Then keep listening.
When we look at the teachings of Jesus, there are a few questions we must, at some point, ask ourselves. Consider the following:
Can Jesus’ words be taken at face value?
Does He really mean what He says?
And do the words of Jesus apply to me today?
All of them? Or just part of them?
And how can I tell which do and which don’t?
Or, were His statements and promises meant only for those who lived in New Testament times?
And again, how can I tell?
The answer to these questions will have a profound impact on how you understand the Sixth Beatitude. There Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, (why) for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
The fifth Beatitude speaks of mercy. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:7 – “Blessed (makários) are (who) the merciful (those who show compassion, to be benevolent in both thoughts and actions; it is the word that emphasizes the misery with which grace deals), (why) for they (the merciful) shall obtain mercy.”
But mercy from whom?
This Beatitude does not teach that mercy to men brings mercy from men, but that mercy to men brings mercy from God. If we are merciful to others, God will be merciful to us, whether men are or not.
But there is so much more to this wonderful statement of Jesus. To find out more, keep listening.
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,
Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
And then we later find the Apostle Paul saying of Christ:
1 Corinthians 1:30 – But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Are these two passages related? Has Christ really become for us true righteousness? And, if so, what does that say about what we “hunger and thirst” for?
To find out more, keep listening.