ChurchCast

Sun, Mar 12, 2017

Hi, Have you Met... You?

Series:Matthew
Duration:51 mins 25 secs

Title: Hi, Have you met you?

Text: Matthew 4:23 - 5:5

FCF: We often think more highly of ourselves than we should.

Prop: Because God blesses those who do not rely on themselves but on Him, we must abandon our self love.

 

Setting Scripture Intro:

[Slide 1] Turn in your bible to Matthew chapter 4. Today is going to be a different kind of sermon at least for me. I am leaving many of the paradigms that I am comfortable with and blending many things together. In so doing I believe that God has led me to craft a stronger more cohesive sermon without abrupt shifts.

 

Now as we attempt to move through Matthew, we will come to sections of discourse. These are places where Jesus speaks to people. What we have initially then is the setting of those sermons. Rather than crafting a sermon on the setting, or attempting to somehow draw the setting into the sermon artificially, we will instead deal with the setting of the sermon first and then move to the sermon itself. So I am in chapter 4 and I’ll begin reading in verse 23 and we’ll read through chapter 5 verse 2. I’ll be reading from the NKJV but follow along in whatever version you prefer.

 

Setting Scripture Explanation:

[Slide 2] Here we see Jesus going about His ministry. His ministry is beautifully outlined here by Matthew. Teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people. Teaching, preaching, healing disease and sickness. There is probably a message right there. It is not enough to help our world fix their superficial problems; we must teach the spiritually interested and preach the gospel of the kingdom too. However, there is a clear aspect of helping those who are physically unable to help themselves.

 

Matthew uses this as a transitional marker to describe how Jesus started to become famous. People heard about what? His preaching? His teaching? Nope. His healing. Often times the reason people hear about us will be about our love for them and not our message. And they may leave having received our love and not believing in our message. Does that change us? Nope. We keep teaching and preaching and healing.

 

We see that people came from all over to Jesus for healing of all kinds of afflictions. When Jesus sees the crowd, he goes up a mountain side where people can hear him better. His disciples come to him and he begins to teach.

 

Sermon on the Mount Scripture Intro:

So now we step into His preaching. Now this sermon, as one commentator counted, has almost 40 unique interpretations. And even eliminating the ridiculous and unbiblical, you still come away with at least 8 legitimate uses of this sermon. I believe the different interpretations and applications of this sermon speaks to the depth at which the Son of God preached. When you listen to modern preaching, even the best sermons are pretty flat compared to Jesus’ message. Not saying their preaching is bad, it is just not divine. Now many great theologians and preachers differ on the meaning of the sermon on the mount, but let me tell you what I see.

 

[Slide 3] In the previous section of scripture we perhaps get a clue as to what to expect from His preaching. First that his message was to repent, [Slide 4] and the gospel according to Mark adds to believe in the gospel. So His message is to repent and believe. That is the content. [Slide 5] Its topic is actually revealed in the text we just read, where we find that he preached the gospel of the Kingdom. So what is the gospel of the Kingdom and what does it mean to repent and believe. I believe that is exactly the nature of the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, some have said that there is no better evangelism passage in all of scripture than this sermon. If you take someone from verse 3 of chapter 5 to verse 27 of chapter 7, they cannot obtain a clearer picture of what the gospel is.

 

[Slide 6] So essentially what the sermon on the mount is, is Jesus explaining 1.) That the Kingdom of God is here now and is coming at the same time. [Slide 7] 2.) That the entry to the kingdom is not based on how many laws of His you keep or whether or not you are a certain race. [Slide 8] 3.) Finally that to enter the Kingdom of God you must be perfect. Because only the perfect are citizens of God’s Kingdom. Interestingly enough Jesus does not tell them that it is His perfection that would secure entrance. Why do you suppose he did that? Because the intention of the sermon, was to convince the people and His disciples of the very real and world shattering truth, [Slide 9] that they were NOT able to enter the Kingdom. His intention was to draw people to Himself. And even though this is the most powerful and amazing sermon that has ever been written, it had little to no effect on the hearers. As is the tragic irony of the book of Matthew, so the tragic irony of the sermon on the mount is that it is so clear and yet no one will hear.

 

Beatitudes Scripture Intro:

[Slide 10 (blank)] So what then is the nature of the first section that we will only slightly crack open this morning? This section is called the beatitudes. What that word means is simply – a state of being happy or blessed. This is an unfortunate name because it makes us think that each of these characteristics can be seen in isolation and that we are happy to be each individual item. The truth of the matter is that the blessing or the happiness is rooted in the concept of kingdom entrance. Each of these represents one layer of character that those who are Christ followers possess. Like the fruit of the spirit, these cannot be seen as individual character attributes but as a unified whole.

 

For the sake of time, we have to divide them up. Realistically we could and should look at all of them together. But since that would take us until about 2:00 I have elected, for the sake of the weakness of our flesh to take these, 3 at a time. You’re welcome J

 

In reality we should be studying the whole Sermon on the mount in one sitting as well. Because the strands that hold it all together can be severed by a week of work, kids, soccer, video games, broken down cars and the sweet smell of spring. Don’t worry we will review each week what we have learned in the sermon.

 

What you need to understand specifically about this section, is that is serves as a powerful introduction to the rest of the sermon and helps to guide us in its interpretation as a whole. Everything else that Jesus says, must flow out of what we find in these first 9 verses. So before we dive headlong into this, let us first pray.

 

Transition:

Rather than tell a story- I am anxious rather to just begin. Look with me in verse 3.

 

I.)                  The King gives the blessing of citizenship to His Kingdom to those who are spiritually bankrupt, so we must abandon self-love.

a.       [Slide 12] Blessed

                                                               i.      To be blessed is to be given Divine favor. Grace is another wonderful synonym here. Graced or favored.

                                                             ii.      We hear the word grace and immediately we think of Ephesians 2

1.       It is by grace that we are granted salvation from our sin. Grace is what positionally disconnects us from our depravity in the eyes of our Righteous Judge. We are granted favor, for which we did not earn.

2.       Of course, we gain this grace through the vehicle of faith or belief. As Ephesians 2 tells us, faith or belief, is a gift of God, for if it were a work it would give reason for boasting.

3.       So what then is this gift of God's that is faith or belief. Belief as we have tried so desperately to define it from Galatians and Jude is twofold. It is dependence and surrender.

a.       Not only do we depend on the chair to hold us up theoretically,

b.      but we surrender our full weight to the chair to hold us up practically.

c.       And so, to believe, is to depend on the finished work of Christ for our positional perfection in Christ

d.      and to Surrender to having Christ raised up in us, to surrender to being clothed with Christ, so we can pursue practical perfection.

e.      Neither dependence nor surrender is in any way a work. The exact opposite really.

f.        To be dependant is to be unable to do something on your own.

g.       To surrender is to cease to attempt to do it on your own.

                                                            iii.      So then, in this small word, blessed, exists the entire gospel . We gain favor from God by belief.

                                                           iv.      One may just as well say, "belief resulting in grace is given to those..."

                                                             v.      Indeed all that is missing from Jesus and John's message is the word repent.

                                                           vi.      How interesting to note then, that the recipients of the first 3 blessings are those who very obviously experience repentance. Let me show you what I mean.

b.      poor in Spirit

                                                               i.      As we have already discussed there have been many people who have clung to this sermon and interpreted it many ways. It would be easy for us to do so too. All that we require to do this is to stop paying attention to what Jesus is actually saying.

                                                             ii.      No doubt as Jesus spoke to the large crowd, many were poverty stricken. No doubt many of them were beggars. No doubt many of them felt oppressed by a government that taxed them excessively. It was not the Roman government from Rome from which these taxes were levied. In fact Imperial tax law was quite fair, probably being no more than 10%. The failure however, was that this 10% was collected from each individual governor of a province. Which the governors used as a means to stockpile wealth. They would overtax, pay the imperial tax amount, and bank the rest. This left the people struggling to get by. Not only that, but as we have already alluded to, the tax collectors for the governors would follow suit. By the time the people were asked to pay their taxes, it is impossible to put a number on it, but the taxes they would end up paying would be quite high.

                                                            iii.      So when Jesus says, blessed are the poor, I wonder if he paused right there. I wonder if he let them think for a moment he was talking about their physical state. No way to prove it of course. Nevertheless to omit the following words would have us assume he spoke of food, clothing, and shelter. He was not, in fact, talking about this at all.

                                                           iv.      in spirit – Reading these words with 21st century eyes we might think that instead of talking about poverty he was instead talking about those who were emotional beggars. Those who were downtrodden. Those who were helpless or abused. However, this word means wind or breath. It is not used to describe emotions, but to describe the non-material, immortal part of all of us. Our souls. Our spirituality.

                                                             v.      So when we put all this together we have this thought – “belief resulting in grace is given to those who understand that they are spiritually bankrupt.” But what does it mean to be spiritually bankrupt?

1.       If you are bankrupt, not only do you not have a penny to your name, but by definition you owe more than you are worth.

2.       If you are bankrupt than by definition you are declared legally unable to dissolve your debts and all your assets that have any wealth attached to them at all are divided among your creditors based on what you owed.

3.       To be spiritually bankrupt is to have more sin debt against God than you are able to pay. It is to have more sin debt against God than you are worth. In the sense that if you gave up everything that you are, it would still not be enough. This is why we cannot work for our salvation. Because it wouldn’t be enough.

4.       To be spiritually bankrupt is to be absolutely, unequivocally, undisputedly guilty with no hope of parole, no hope of defense, and no hope of acquittal.

5.       To be spiritually bankrupt – is to be declared what you are in God’s court – wretched and depraved. And when His court reigns down wrath upon you, there will be NONE who grieve. None who would have argument. The Angels of God would stand and applaud the righteousness of that judge. Because He successfully defended the glory of His Great name.

                                                           vi.      “belief resulting in grace is given to those who understand that they are spiritually bankrupt.”

                                                          vii.      Immediately we are shaken to our core by Jesus’ words. The first words out of his mouth communicate such a heavy message to our souls. Why? Because no one thinks they are that bad. No one thinks that they this way.

1.       You might be able to get a man to admit he does bad things.

2.       Rarer still is to have a man admit that he has sinned against a Holy God.

3.       But it is quite another matter to draw the admission of a man that he is the enemy of God, utterly empty of all that is good.

                                                        viii.      But Jesus declares with the authority of heaven – that a man that is able to come to grips with this spiritual truth, is blessed. How?

c.       For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

                                                               i.      There is possession in these words. Not of ownership but of nationality.

                                                             ii.      As we declare that the United Sates is our country so Jesus declares that those who understand that they are spiritually bankrupt are blessed because they gain citizenry to the Kingdom of God.

                                                            iii.      God’s Kingdom is made up of beings who know they have no right to be there.

                                                           iv.      God’s Kingdom is owned by the godless. The empty and the hopeless. Why?

                                                             v.      Because that is all that is left. There is none righteous.

                                                           vi.      If a man says he does not sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him. And to fail in 1 point of the law is to fail in it all.

                                                          vii.      Friends all of this points to 1 inescapable truth. The gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is predicated on the fact that no one deserves it.

                                                        viii.      Yet it will be given to those who realize and continue to believe, that there is nothing good in them. And this is why we believe that all the good works we do after we are converted are not works to please Him nor are they works of our own doing – because friend we are still this creature but the Spirit of God has invaded. We are still void of spiritual worth but we have been infused with the Holy Spirit and given worth in the Son of God. It is when we live as He would and in the Spirit that we are able to break the worthlessness in us and do what God would have us do. And who gets glory for that? Only Jesus.

Transition:

What else does Jesus say is distinctive about the Kingdom’s citizens? What other characteristics do they have? Really the next beatitude flows from the first. It is a response that a person has to the understanding of their own spiritual bankruptcy.

 

I.)                  The King gives the blessing of eternal spiritual joy to those who are crushed by their spiritual condition, so we must abandon self-love.

a.       [Slide 13] Blessed – again – favored through belief.

b.      those who mourn

                                                               i.      It would have been easy, as with poverty, for the crowd to interpret this as simple mourning over loss. Simple grief.

                                                             ii.      In fact many turn to this and rip it out of context and force our savior to say that God comforts those who grieve the death of a loved one or a pet. And I am not saying that God doesn’t do that. But don’t you dare cheapen the words of our savior by interpreting this beatitude so superficially.

                                                            iii.      Jesus sets the tone of what this means by the first beatitude. It is obvious that he continues the same spiritual theme.

                                                           iv.      To mourn then, is not the weeping of something we have had and lost. It is not over things, people, pets or possessions.

                                                             v.      To mourn is to enter into the deepest sorrow. To be crushed by the weight of something. But of what? What would cause this deep sorrow to occur?

                                                           vi.      The realization that you stand condemned before a Holy God with no hope of innocence.

                                                          vii.      In the book of Zechariah chapter 12 we see a prophesy that has yet to come to pass. We see God preparing to set up his literal, physical kingdom on earth. In doing this He has preserved a remnant of Israelites that will be given grace. The text tells us that He will send a spirit of grace and supplication on Jerusalem. That they will look upon God who they pierced and will lament as you would cry for the loss of a firstborn. It says the whole land will mourn. With new testament eyes we see the obvious meaning. That Israel will one day awaken to the fact that they killed their own Messiah. Their own King. They will repent.

                                                        viii.      I watched a video recently of a young man who was charged with almost 100 counts of sexual misconduct in various degrees. As the judge read through every single verdict declaring him guilty over and over and over and over again, reading off the maximum sentence of each crime he was declared guilty on – I watched as he wept bitterly. With every pronouncement of guilt he flinched. When the list was finally complete he was led away in handcuffs.

                                                           ix.      It is the same level of mourning for us. When we realize that we stand before the Holy God of this universe and realize that we have no defense.

                                                             x.      And again, after conversion, this mourning does not stop. People who can sin without grief. People who say, eh, God will forgive me. People who treat their sin as minor hurts to the big man upstairs- CANNOT be saved. Because they have no idea who God is. They have no idea what sin is. And they have never mourned over their spiritual condition.

                                                           xi.      People often ask me – what do you do with a person who is very depressed because of a sin they committed? How do you go about convincing them that they need to forgive themselves because God has forgiven them. The simplest way to answer that question is- I don’t do any of that. We have this cockeyed notion in this culture that feeling guilty or saddened about our failure is some sort of defect. Jesus tends to disagree.

                                                          xii.      But Jesus says those who mourn this way are blessed? Why?

c.       For they will be comforted.

                                                               i.      The comfort is the eternal joy in the Lord.

                                                             ii.      The comfort is forgiveness. The comfort is atonement. That one would take their place. Jesus speaks about it in the future sense in that He has not offered such a sacrifice yet.

                                                            iii.      The comfort for the young person who is saddened by their sin, is that they serve a God that has gifted them His Spirit and that He can give them victory. Feel the guilt – because you sinned against God. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t fight for it to be gone. Keep it. Love it. Cherish the sadness over your failure.

                                                           iv.      What do I mean by that? I don’t mean you go home and lock yourself in your room and just dwell on what you did and how awful it is. But instead to count it as joy. Because the more it stung you, the more it anguished you, the more bitterness you taste in its wake, the more likely it will be that when you turn from it, it will be permanent. That when you turn from it, you won’t want to feel the pain again. You gain joy that even this failure will be used to remind you what bitter agony it is to fail your King. You might say, well then, where is the comfort?

                                                             v.      The comfort is that one day the battle will be over and if to your dying breath you continue to mourn over your failure and desire to be JUST LIKE YOUR SAVIOR then you will stand before His throne stripped of your depravity and YOU WILL KNOW COMFORT. WHY? Because you will never fail Him again.

                                                           vi.      It is not comforting to insinuate to someone that God doesn’t care about their sin. It is not comforting to tell someone to forgive themselves because the grief they are experiencing is not coming from themselves it is coming from the sharp sting of the Spirit of God. It is not comforting to tell someone to forgive themselves because they are in no position to do so. It is only God who can give them comfort. And in this life, that comfort will only be known when they obey God in love.

                                                          vii.      So what do I tell someone who is saddened by their failure to please God? Like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery - go and sin no more. Repent and believe. Crucify and follow. Put off and put on. Pursue God and you will know comfort.

                                                        viii.      For those mourning over their sexual failures, it produces in them a fervor for obedience to God’s standard of chastity and to see that developed in others also.

                                                           ix.      For those mourning over their addiction to drugs, it produces in them a fervor for obedience to God’s standard of self-control and they desire to see that developed in others also.

                                                             x.      For those mourning over their murder of their unwanted baby in their womb, it produces in them a fervor to agree with God’s view of life and to make an impact of others who would choose the same atrocity.

                                                           xi.      For those mourning over their idolatry it produces passion to eradicate their false gods and see to it that no one worships them again.

                                                          xii.      [Slide 14-15] To be crushed by the weight of our offenses brings us low enough to repent and believe. Look at II Corinthians 7:9-10

1.       Paul here is referring to a previous letter than caused the Corinthians to experience a great deal of sorrow over what he corrected them on. He is addressing that as a good pastor would. That he did not intend to hurt them but what that sorrow produced in them was exactly what it should have produced. This is from the NLT because it communicates the meaning of the text best. Although it does so somewhat liberally with the original languages.

2.       9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

3.       So what a young person who is depressed over their sin may need – rather than to forgive themselves – is to instead analyze whether their sorrow is bringing them to repentance or not. Because if it isn’t bringing them to repentance… than it is a worldly sorrow and will only result in death.

Transition:

[Slide 16 (blank)] To be spiritually bankrupt and mourn over that state are key characteristics of Kingdom citizens. There is one final layer to this onion. You see to be spiritually bankrupt doesn’t necessarily mean that you would mourn your sin. Many confronted with this truth have gone away rejecting God anyway. But even those who mourn their sin, may not be kingdom citizens if they do not have this reaction from their mourning.

 

II.)                The King gives the blessing of exaltation to those who are humbled at their spiritual condition, so we must abandon self-Love.

a.       [Slide 17] Blessed – favored through faith.

b.      the meek

                                                               i.      This word is very difficult to translate.

1.       Because we have a natural word that rhymes with meek that bears similar characteristics. But meekness is not weakness.

2.       The word means many things in different contexts. Gentleness, humility, self-control, tempered strength. Being able to express anger and power over the right things and in the right way and in the next breath being able to express gentleness and humility.

                                                             ii.      It is obvious that these meanings must somehow relate to the previous beatitudes mentioned, but how?

                                                            iii.      A form of this word is used to describe how a wild colt is broken. That the colt still possess the same fire, strength and speed, but has placed himself under the direction of his master.

                                                           iv.      To be meek then, is a person who has discovered his spiritual bankruptcy, mourned his spiritual condition, and seeing the holiness and power of His master, has completely yielded all points of himself to God.

                                                             v.      To be meek is to stand in God’s great court room and plead guilty.

                                                           vi.      To be meek is to be humbled to the point of complete subjugation.

                                                          vii.      Spiritual poverty leads to sorrow and repentance

                                                        viii.      Humility leads to submission. The fullest scope of this we won’t quite get until next week.

                                                           ix.      Meekness is to be broken.

                                                             x.      Now brokenness is a word that is tossed around today. Mostly what people mean by brokenness is that they are sad about their sin. They actually mean sorrow. That is what we already talked about. And remember, we said that sorrow is useless if it does not lead to repentance.

                                                           xi.      So what do we mean by brokenness? We mean that we have been broken. That our will has been yielded. We mean submission.

                                                          xii.      Our culture says – never give up on yourself. Believe in yourself. Jesus’ upends that ideology in 4 words. To be meek, is to give up on you. Why? Because that way led you to spiritual bankruptcy and deep sorrow.

                                                        xiii.      What is given to those who are humbled like this?

c.       They shall inherit the earth

                                                    &nbsnbsp;          i.      God’s ordinal plan for mankind was to be caretakers of the garden. To be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with others who would be caretakers.

                                                             ii.      God promised Israel a promised land where all the nations would be drawn to Him

                                                            iii.      Jesus now renews the original plan, saying that the blessing to those who are meek is that they will inherit the earth.

                                                           iv.      Our world teaches that only the strong succeed. The fittest survive. Jesus tells us that success and inheritance comes to those who are humble.

                                                             v.      This promise is to all believers and the path to it is humility.

                                                           vi.      Indeed, as I have already said before, humility is at the core of the gospel. Without it you cannot be saved. Not that it is a work of your own to be humble, but rather than you are made humble – and the main way that we are humbled is through the word of God as it shows us our spiritual bankruptcy and His Holiness.

                                                          vii.      Being made humble, being broken of our will, means we have been blessed.

                                                        viii.      We will inherit the earth. The earth that Jesus himself with rule and we will reign with Him.

 

Transition:

[Slide 18 (blank)(end)] So what can we take home from this toe dip into the greatest sermon ever preached? What is our conclusion here today?

 

Conclusion:

As always, going back in time to the first century mind, we can find the answers to what we seek.

 

To the Pharisees, this message boldly tells them that they have no hope of ever being righteous enough in their own power. That no matter how pious they were on the outside, it will never make up for the spiritual death within.

 

To the Sadducee the message breaks the status quo that they fight so hard to preserve. There is another kingdom that is coming that is disconnected from this world. One that does not exist in this blip called life. Jesus speaks into their hearts telling them that one day this will all end. The rich, the powerful, the strong, will fade away and the meek and humble will inherit what the strong built.

 

To the average 1st century Jew, his message spoke to their greatest need. After healing them, after caring for them, after tending to their physical need, he uses a play on words to speak to their real need. That they are spiritually empty. That they must recognize their hopelessness and in hopelessness is where God offers hope.

 

But Jesus was not only talking to a crowd of people who followed Him because of His miracles. He was talking to 4 men, who followed Him because they thought He was the Messiah. What was Jesus saying to them? Hey guys, don’t think that by following me you are gaining ground in the kingdom. You don’t become a citizen by simply agreeing with what the King does. The only way to citizenship in His kingdom is perfection. But since that is impossible for you, then you must repent and believe on the sent sacrifice of God. And if that is true of you, if you have done that… then these 9 characteristics will begin to grow in you – and one day they will be all you know.

 

The angle of the message from the disciples perspective resonates best with us. Most of us here have in some way come to Jesus and at least are seeking answers. Perhaps we are the ones waiting for the miracles? Perhaps you are the one who dropped your nets, not really understanding what would happen. Really no matter who you are the message, at its core is the same.

 

From the first 1/3 of these characteristics we see a rather vivid theme. Honestly it describes repentance quite well does it not? The sudden realization that your world is backward. The sudden understanding that what you thought to be true is not actually true. The shattering of your foundation. All of a sudden you realize that you are not a good person who does bad things. All of a sudden you realize that you are not a bad person who does good things. All of a sudden you realize that you are not a bad person that does bad things. You realize that you are wicked, evil, children of wrath. Sons and Daughters of Satan.

 

When the image of yourself becomes crystal clear you weep for what you are. You weep because there is no hope. You weep for there is only death that awaits you. And not simple death where in but a few moments you experience pain to be released forever. No. As God as the life giver is also the life taker so He sentences you to eternal death in the heat of His glorious wrath.

 

And yet – in the hearts of those who are kingdom citizens – they are broken by this. They do not take up arms to defeat such a God… they realize there is no victory against this King. And they break. They yield. They submit. They are humbled.

 

Now these are not prerequisites to enter the kingdom, but are characteristics of kingdom citizens, which means that on the one hand, you do not need all of this, as a checklist prior to salvation, but on the other hand, if you are a believer that has not encountered the wretchedness of your soul when compared to the holiness of God anytime recently then you have cause for alarm.

 

All through scripture the closer someone came to God the more concerned for their life they became.

When Moses saw the goodness of God he fell to the ground and asked for pardon for the stiff-necked people they were.

When Isaiah saw God seated on His throne he assumed he would be obliterated because his lips were riddled with sin.

When Peter had toiled all night to catch fish and failed, Jesus commanded them to cast their nets on the other side and they had so many fish the boats were beginning to take on water. Peter fell to his knees and said “get away from me Lord for I am a sinner”

 

If you claim to be of Christ, and are immensely proud of the way you serve Him, you feel as though you do a pretty good job at living for him, if you look at others and wonder why they can’t just get their stuff together and live more like you do, if you honestly believe that God is lucky to have you and that you must be worth so very much to Him for him to come and save you,– let this message from Jesus Himself be a healthy dose of reality for you..

 

One perfect test of our understanding of this passage, is to go to the Old Testament and see the God who orders the Children of Israel to ride into the Canaanite land and slaughter the men, the women, the children, the animals. And to do so without mercy. To utterly decimate an entire race of people. If you accurately understand this passage… when you read that section of scripture, you do not think – Wow God, why would you do that – they were innocent… you instead think – Holy smokes… I am next!

 

If you interpret this passage correctly your heart resonates with Paul’s heart when he screams out, having already been converted, O WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM, WHO CAN SAVE ME FROM THIS BODY OF DEATH?

 

A correct understanding of this passage leads us to conclude that there is none righteous. No, Not one and that ALL have earned God’s fullest scope of His wrath. But the bread trail of Jesus’ words lead straight to the cross. Where that full scope of wrath was on Him poured. It was for our spiritual bankruptcy that he was pierced. And it is by those wounds that we are comforted of our mourning.

 

If you are a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven, you are well aware of how wretched you are. You know you have nothing to offer God of any worth. A preacher once said “there is no such thing as great men of God only wretched men in the service of a Great and merciful God” and if you are a Christ follower you know that to be true. That is why we will cast our crowns at His feet – for we are not worthy of such honors. He alone is worthy.

 

Kingdom citizens are humble people who know themselves. And in knowing themselves – they can sing with the song writer - “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name.”

 

Stop thinking so highly of yourself. Abandon your self love. Come to God. Bask in His Holy light. Let it scorch your lofty views of humanity. This is what Christians do. They are humbled people. Because they KNOW who they really are underneath. Do you?

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