Carrying the Authority of Jesus (Mt 10:26-42)

March 20, 2009

Matt. 10:26-39

Will you carry your cross and follow Him?

Will you carry your cross and follow Him?

We have been looking at the disciple relationship which Jesus began teaching here. Remember, these are the words that Jesus had given to those disciples whom He most trusted who had agreed to give up everything to follow Him. Jesus promises the small few Believers who are truly willing to follow Him (not just those who believe in Him and will get to Heaven some day) that they will be transformed into His image and be His representatives on this earth.

In this section, Jesus teaches that the values of a disciple and his perspectives of life must change. There is no longer any room for fear as one follows Christ because the trust and faith in Him should imbue the disciple with a peace. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are you wise in Jesus’ eyes? Part II (Mt 7:24-27)

March 9, 2009

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  25″And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  26″Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  27″The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Obedience reaps eternal rewards in the Kingdom life

Obedience reaps eternal rewards in the Kingdom life

Please read the first post on the Sermon on the Mount because it’s important that you know we are not talking about getting into Heaven after you die. That is through a true heartfelt belief in Jesus and He gives that grace quite easily. Jesus is talking about deeper things here as we began discussing Friday…of living a life now that counts eternally. Yesterday we showed that most of what we do here in this world, we will not even remember for the rest of our eternal lives. So we have the choice of living a life that counts now, or wasting away this time and receiving no eternal value for the time spent here. As we study Matthew, I’m not typically going to bring in a lot of other scripture, but since Jesus is using such a simple parable here to describe the meaning of life, I want to bring in a few other sources.

In the parable above, Jesus tells us that we are foolish if we do not use our life now on eternal matters because everything else will be washed away. Read the rest of this entry »


Are you wise in Jesus’ eyes? Part I (Mt 7:24-27)

March 6, 2009

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  25″And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  26″Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  27″The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Today’s verses can only be read after understanding Wednesday & Thursday’s posts about living the Kingdom of Heaven life through obedience to Jesus and today we’ll finish discussing the Sermon on the Mount.

The foundation of your house is significant

The foundation of your house is significant

Why did Jesus say that listening and acting on His instruction is like a wise man building on rock? The man who builds his house on rock takes more care in the foundation of his home. It takes more effort for him to find the right spot. He might have to spend more effort digging down so that the foundation of his house is firmly on that rock. This all takes time and effort and when he is doing this work, the weather is sunny and nice and it would be a lot more fun to simply relax and enjoy the sun. Instead, he puts the hard work in before the time when it’s needed. He is seen as wise when the rains come and those who did not put this extra work in are washed away, but he is safely in his house built on the strong foundation.

How is this relevant? Read the rest of this entry »


Are you willing to give your life to Jesus? Part II (Mt 7:21-23)

March 5, 2009

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.‘” (Matthew 7:21-23-continued)

The Freedom of Giving It All to Him

The Freedom of Giving It All to Him

Please read Part I from yesterday where this scripture was introduced. Jesus is saying that we might do many good deeds, but that is NOT what gets us into His Kingdom. His example is difficult for most of us in the US because most of us have never uttered a prophetic word, cast out a demon, laid hands on others and seen God heal, or do some creative miracle. Even if you’re in a good “charismatic” church where these things happen, you might not be doing these things in your life. (For the record, I don’t attend a church that would be considered “charismatic” but I do know very well that these things of the Bible are true and real. I’ve seen these things many times.)

Jesus’ point in saying this is that if you were going around practicing these supernatural gifts, you might feel very confident that you are a very godly person, but that in fact, you might have taken His gift and moved off in your own direction with them, serving your own desires and interests and not submitting your life to Him. There is a greater spiritual reality than simply practicing gifts. Knowing God and living in constant communion with and obedience to Him is the greatest calling, the life He calls us to, and something easy to get away from.

I think an example that might be a lot more common today would be if you are off doing good deeds. Good service projects. Doing exactly what we are called to do…helping the poor, widows, and orphans, but making this your idol. If you are doing these things and He is not calling you to them, then you might be in direct opposition to God’s will for your life. You might not. If you decide to go help the needy on a Friday night instead of going to a movie, I can’t see how that would offend God. In this case, you’re not doing the service when He is instead calling you somewhere else.

However, it is becoming more and more popular today to make the Gospel all about serving others. This is not the Gospel! The Gospel is about the life, death, and new life available in Jesus the Messiah. Yes, when you have this new life, you will be called to help others, but the Kingdom is in knowing and following Him! Read the rest of this entry »


Sacrifice to Grow

January 30, 2009

More on knowing…and doing.

As I’ve said, in my life God has given me knowledge (wisdom & understanding) after I was obedient in doing. Some of these things I would believe were good before I did them. But in others, I didn’t really see the value in changing the way I lived. Regardless, in all cases, as I submitted myself in obedience to this new way of living, I gained a real understanding that each of these things added up to a better way of life. God understands how He made us. He gives us these guidelines because He knows what will make us most happy and prosperous.

James explained it this way:

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25

This is not the way to get more love or acceptance from God. He loves us unconditionally and more than we can imagine. His acceptance of our shortfallings comes through Christ and nothing we can do will make that better. So we can gain nothing in His eyes, but if we want more for ourselves, there is a way… Read the rest of this entry »


Filled with Hunger

January 28, 2009

In the last post I discussed the idea that real wisdom and understanding come from doing.  Not from thinking about how something works.  But from doing it.  Jesus described this to the disciples:

If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:15-21

In the early days of my own spiritual journey, I was lead by my intellect.  I believed in the risen Son of God.  I first studied the lives of Jesus and His disciples as they led them 2000 years ago and all the prophecies that were made about His life before He had lived it.  Then I started studying the New Testament.  I was gaining head knowledge, believing that this was worth something, while in truth, it was all worthless.  Read the rest of this entry »