Posts Tagged ‘Jesus


The Blessing Of Persecution

In Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” He begins with several “Beatitudes” that describe what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like. It begins with understanding the depth of one’s spiritual poverty and moves through a growing understanding of God’s purpose for their life. When you want the things of God’s Kingdom, you’ll become more of a Kingdom-minded person. Jesus says that this person is “blessed,” which means, “happy.” He concludes the “Beatitudes” by talking about being persecuted. He says:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

When you live for the Kingdom of God, it means that you are no longer living for the kingdom of this world. You’ll live differently than you did before. You’ll act differently, talk differently and think differently. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You may be persecuted for your faith. Jesus says that you are blessed when you are persecuted because you’ll know that you truly belong to Him. Persecution isn’t a possibility, it is a guarantee. When you live for Jesus, you become a threat and persecution becomes a reality. Stand firm in your faith because Heaven is the reward.

Purity Of Heart

Jesus describes what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like in Matthew 5. It’s how He begins His “Sermon on the Mount.” We know this passage as “The Beatitudes.” He talks about the rewards for recognizing one’s spiritual poverty and need for God. Those who think that they’ve got it all together and have no need of a Savior will never find Him because they’re not looking for Him. Jesus continued by talking about the reward of being pure in heart. He said:

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

What does it mean to be pure in heart? It means that one has a pure devotion to God. God loves you with His whole heart. If you think that you can love Him with only half of yours, you are mistaken. God wants it all. He wants your whole heart. He wants all of you. Is it because God is insecure? Not at all! He’s your Creator and as your Creator, He knows what is best for His Creation. He alone can truly satisfy our every longing for true love because only His love is true and unconditional. Let’s commit ourselves to purity of heart today knowing that we will see God one day.

Giving/Receiving Mercy

I remember growing up in church and learning the definitions of grace and mercy. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. God’s grace means that we get the gift of forgiveness. Mercy means that we don’t receive the punishment we deserve for our sins. Grace means that we get eternal life. Mercy means that we don’t get eternal death in Hell. Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others. He said:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

People are going to hurt you. They’re going to lie to you and cheat on you and gossip about you. They’ll do it more than once. How will you respond? Will you try to get revenge or will you show mercy? Jesus’ words remind us that His way is best. When we show mercy to others, we open ourselves up to receive the mercy of God. Author Dave Willis said something along the lines of “We should not treat people the way they deserve. Rather, we should treat them the way we want God to treat us.” If you want God to show you mercy, be merciful to others.

Receiving To Give

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Matthew 25:14-30.


Mourning Our Sinful Condition

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ longest recorded sermon in the Gospels, Jesus describes a person who is devoted to His Kingdom. It’s a passage known as the Beatitudes. These are the traits of someone who is on the right track to becoming what God wants them to become. The first step is to recognize one’s spiritual poverty. The next step is described in this way. Jesus said:

Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

This is not just any kind of mourning, though. It is a mourning over one’s spiritual condition. God comforts the brokenhearted, to be sure. But this kind of mourning goes deeper than being sad over a death of a loved one or a broken relationship. This is mourning over the fact that you are a sinner and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you get to the point where you realize just how bad you are and how much you need a Savior, that’s when God will comfort you with His grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Spiritual Poverty

Are you poor? Do you live paycheck to paycheck? Do you wish you had more money to afford the things you’d like to buy? You’re probably not alone. You may not be living high on the hog and, in fact, you may feel like you’re living underneath it. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, talked about a different kind of poverty. He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

Those who realize that they are spiritually poor will receive the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said. When you realize that you’re living paycheck to paycheck of grace, you’re on the right track. When you understand that you’re spiritually bankrupt, you understand that there’s nothing good in you that God should desire. God doesn’t need you or anything from you, but He wants you. He wants to have a relationship with you by grace through faith in Jesus. It all starts when you realize that your spiritual bank account is running on empty and that your need of Him is greater than anything else.

This Is Your Story

The apostle Paul, as he concluded his letter to the Philippians, sent greetings to them and then pronounced a blessing over them. He wrote:

Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. – Philippians 4:21-23 (NIV)

Notice what he said in verse 22 about those who belong to Caesar’s household. Paul had been under house arrest because of his faith. Did that stop him sharing the blessings of God’s grace with people? Nope! Wherever Paul went, he talked about Jesus. Whether he was in chains or free, he talked about Jesus. Even the people who worked for Caesar were being changed by the grace of Jesus. As a follower of Christ, your job is to be an ambassador of Christ wherever you are. You don’t have to go halfway around the world to tell people about Jesus. You may simply have to walk across the hall or across the street. The key is to know your story about how Jesus has changed your life for the better and being willing to share it with others. Pray for an opportunity to share your story with someone today.

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