Posts Tagged ‘Jesus

08
Oct
18

Getting Even Plus

When someone hurts us, our first instinct is to get even with them. We want revenge! Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount. He said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. – Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV)

Here’s the problem with revenge. Rarely is it eye for eye. It’s two eyes for an eye. We don’t want to just get even. We want to get even plus. Jesus turns this thinking upside down and says that we need to go the extra mile by returning evil with kindness instead of revenge. Jesus expects His followers to be different from the world. That means that instead of revenge, we respond with love.
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03
Oct
18

Sin Is Deadly

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses various aspects of the Law and points us to the heart of God’s commands. When it comes to lust, He says that we should go to great lengths to avoid adultery. He said:

If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. – Matthew 5:29-30 (NIV)

Too often we downplay the seriousness of sin. In reality, sin is deadly. Sin is what sends people to Hell. Sin is what sent Jesus to the cross. What do we do? We will mess around with sin and tiptoe up to the line of sin to see how far we can go. What we should be doing is taking ten steps back from the line of sin and draw a new line. We need better boundaries when it comes to sin. If we mess around with sin, it means that we don’t understand grace. Grace is free for us, but it cost Jesus His life. Let’s not take it for granted by messing around with sin.
02
Oct
18

The Heart Of Adultery

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He quotes the Law of Moses and expounds on it. He gets to the heart of the Law. As humans, we think we can keep the Law outwardly and we’ll be OK. In reality, our obedience to God’s commands has to go beyond the surface to our hearts. For example, Jesus talks about adultery. He said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28 (NIV)

Uncontrolled thoughts and pornography addictions are as much adultery as is a physical affair. We need to clean up our thought lives. When we allow our thoughts to run wild, we are at risk of an extramarital affair. Adultery doesn’t begin in the bedroom. It begins in the heart and in the mind. It’s not just men who are guilty of it, either. In this sex saturated society, everyone is at risk of unbridled thoughts that lead to adultery. So let’s get our thoughts under control before that happens.
27
Sep
18

You Make Me So Angry!

The point of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount isn’t to make new rules to burden people, but rather to get to the heart of the Law. You can follow the 10 commandments and still be far from God in your heart. Jesus gives an example with regard to murder. He said:

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell​. – Matthew 5:21-22 (NIV)​

Uncontrolled anger is at the heart of murder. If you’re angry enough to curse someone, you may have an anger problem. Jesus is telling us to deal with our anger appropriately before it gets the best of us. God knows your heart. You may be able to hide your anger from others, but you can’t keep it from Him.
26
Sep
18

Skin Deep Righteousness

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the Law of Moses and He expounds on it. It can be easy to fall into a trap of skin deep righteousness. This trap says that you’re on the right track because you look spiritual on the outside, but in reality are far from God in your heart. Jesus said:

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:19-20 (NIV)

The Pharisees looked really good because they put on an outward religious show. They thought that they were better than everyone else because they outwardly obeyed the Law to the nth degree. Inwardly, though, they were far from God because they didn’t obey God because they loved Him. They loved the applause of people. Do a heart check today. Do you obey God because you love Him or because you want to impress people with how spiritual you appear?
25
Sep
18

Jesus And The Law

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that He was not doing away with the Law of Moses. Rather, He was going to do what no one else had ever done nor could ever do again. He was going to keep it perfectly. Jesus said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. – Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV)

We could never keep the Law perfectly, but that doesn’t give us a license to sin against God or others. Instead, Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He calls us into a loving relationship with God by grace through faith in Him. When we enter into this relationship with God, we are filled with God’s Spirit who transforms us from the inside out. Instead of striving to earn grace, we rest in it. Instead of trying to earn salvation, we accept it as a gift. This gift is so amazing that we want to obey God because we love Him and we love people.
19
Sep
18

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.



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