Re: Verse reading–Matthew 6:19-34 (day five)
Do you feel the personal intensity of this sermon (on the Mount) as Jesus begins to make application and challenge each of His listeners? The way Jesus does this in Matthew 6, is the same way His Spirit (Holy Spirit) does it now. God will begin to speak to particular areas of our lives that are NOT “in step with the Spirit” and do not reflect the strength, trust, love, and hope found in a life with Christ. And so in our Re:Verse passage this week, Jesus speaks to particularly personal areas that are outward reflections of our inward desire to trust, love, and hope in the Lord. Jesus is not intimidated by our sin. He will continue to place tension and conviction at the place and point of our sin. The goal is for our outward conduct to match our inward desires. It was the life He lived- perfect obedience. . Jerry Bridges says, “Obedience that isn’t delighted in is not perfect obedience”
“I delight to do your will, o my God; your law is within my heart” – Psalm 40:8
Re: Verse reading–Matthew 6:19-34 (day four)
It was one of my Mother’s favorite verses…Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” It embodies how we should live our lives…focused upon God and His purposes. Too often we get distracted from seeking His will and instead, focus upon our own needs, directions, or desires. Whether it is food, or clothing, or possessions…we need to leave that in God’s hands. When it says ‘they will be added to us’, it does not mean we will get the fanciest car or the latest fashions in clothing or even the most sumptuous meal. When we are focused upon God and His kingdom, even our desires and our level of contentment will be changed. God will be the Lord of every part of our lives. And what a wonderful promise…each day will take care of itself. How freeing is that? We have enough to take care of today…why worry about tomorrow?
Re: Verse reading–Matthew 6:19-34 (day three)
“The eye is the lamp of the body.” We think we know what we’re looking at. But do we? Jesus says maybe not. Do you know how to tell the difference between something that will last into the age to come and something that won’t? Jesus tells us clearly that there are such things that will last and such things that will crumble. Are you learning which is which? The words Jesus speaks in this passage–and his words and actions from other passages–will teach us how to see what lasts and what doesn’t. If we will believe it, the Bible will help us learn to see the world like Jesus sees the world.
Re: Verse reading–Matthew 6:19-34 (day two) “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” vs 30-31
Over the past week I have had the opportunity to spend time with my family in Phoenix. It was the first time all my siblings and parents have been together in about three years. It has been a blessing to watch my daughters connect with cousins and to enjoy these moments together. Later April and I were able to spend a couple of days in Sedona and one at the Grand Canyon. It is hard to imagine that a creator that would consider the majesty, nuance, shape, design, color, and overall beauty of these spectacular formations would not also care deeply about his own children. Worry can overwhelm and cause unnecessary distraction from purpose. Go to the edge of a mile deep canyon and cast your worries there. He considered it, and he will consider you.
Re: Verse reading–Matthew 6:19-34 (day one)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. . .no one can serve two masters. . .do not worry about. . .what you will eat or drink. . .(or) about clothes. . . seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”–v 19, 24, 25, 28, 33.
“The most important things in life are not things.”–Anthony J. D’ Angelo
Jesus was an astute observer. He was not reluctant to talk about the issue that often acts as a “substitute God”. His sermons were often about money and possessions.
Money is not a bad thing. Material things are provided by God for our enjoyment. (See 1 Timothy 6:17). BUT, money does have the potential to draw our hearts away from God. Worry is the sure sign that we have stumbled away from his wisdom.
This week we read the words of Christ on money/possessions. He will declare, again, that He is the King of things.
Re: Verse reading–Matthew 5:17-48 (day seven)
“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”–v 39.
His words must have been hard to hear. Charismatic young preacher. Rumors of miracles. Suddenly, He begins to talk about turning the other cheek.
It sounded illogical. Impossible. Impractical. Both then and now.
“Isn’t this a formula for enabling bullies and con men?” they protested! It just sounded wrong.
But Jesus wasn’t giving a new Law. He was telling them/us that the old Law had to be interpreted by looking at the heart–the presence or the absence of love.
Do you love the bully? Do you love others that he may be hurting? Is love how you reach your decision? Are you willing to sacrifice personal pride for a larger, better solution?
Not a new Law. Insight into the old Law. The question that matters is, “What does love look like?”
Re:Verse reading–Matthew 5:17-48 (day six)
We were made for Kingdom living.
Right away Jesus tells us the result of Kingdom living, “In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Jesus identifies for us the natural display of God in Kingdom living. When we live for the Kingdom as people of the Kingdom, God is exalted; all of creation sees God’s image in us. When we get back to the heart of the matter, loving God and others, the image of God in us illuminates everything around us, and that is real living, for we were made to do just that; we were made in the image of God. We were made for Kingdom living.
Re:Verse reading–Matthew 5:17-48 (day five)
Jesus begins the sermon on the mount in the third person. As he continues to preach and teach, he begins to get more and more personal in his application and exhortation. As the new year begins, many will make New Year’s Resolutions. As we consider 2016 and possible resolutions, here are a few insights from this week’s passage. Instead of do’s and don’ts, Jesus taught about character, integrity, virtue, and transformation. Jesus was convinced that the hope and potential of spiritual growth and progress is grounded in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Dallas Willard- “The revolution of Jesus is in the first place and continuously a revolution of the human heart or spirit. It did not and does not proceed by means of the formation of social institutions and laws, the outer forms of our existence, intending that these would impose good order of life who come under their power. Rather, his is a revolution of character which proceeds by changing people from the inside through [an] ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ.”
Re:Verse reading–Matthew 5:17-48 (day four)
Jesus was a radical teacher. Radical in that He taught things that no one else even considered, much less taught. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day and they ‘refined the law’ in order to cause the masses to submit to their ‘superior’ religious commitment. Jesus took the law to a new level that the Pharisees could never attain. The key here is that none of us is able to keep the law and by keeping it, to find favor with God. In verse 20, Jesus says that unless you surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. It is impossible for us to earn heaven. We can only achieve forgiveness and heaven through Jesus Christ. “It is by grace that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Re:Verse reading–Matthew 5:17-48 (day three)
“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” It’s common to think of “kingdom of heaven” as a synonym for the afterlife. But Jesus is talking about life under the reign of God, whether that life takes place now or after we die. Jesus lived in the kingdom of heaven even as he walked the earth. Therefore, to live in the kingdom of heaven is to live–right now, not merely later–the kind of life that Jesus lives. That is the only kind of life that will last forever, and only Jesus–no other “righteousness expert”–can teach us that life. Part of what it means to “accept Jesus” is to become his apprentices so that he can teach us how to live under God’s reign.