Thursday, November 15, 2018

On the Mount Christians Lesson 2: Beatitudes Continued


On the Mount Christians Lesson 2: Beatitudes Continued


Diagram of Sermon on the Mount

5:3
5:17
6:1
7:13
KINGDOM CITIZENS

KINGDOM
LAWS
KINGDOM
ATTITUDES
CONCLUDING
EXHORTATIONS

Their
Personality
Their
Purpose
Their Precedent
Their Prize
WORSHIP
-giving
-praying
-fasting

WALK
-priorities
-influences
-worries
-money
Citizenship Commands


Matthew 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.


Strong's Concordance says the word meek means mildness of disposition or gentleness of spirit.

How is meekness different from weakness in the Christian?
The Christian realizes that God is in control of all things.  He knows that he as a servant of God must rely upon our Master for power, authority and even justice.  It is not weakness that keeps us from revenge or anger it is the knowledge of  ultimate strength that resides in the Creator who is also in us.

What do the following verses teach us about meekness?

Matthew 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 21:5  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

Numbers 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

1 Peter 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Application: Is it difficult for us to differentiate between meekness and weakness when it comes to Christians and especially in Christian leaders? 

Why do you think this is?




 Matthew 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The next quality describes a deep passion for personal righteousness.  I believe it also expresses an overwhelming desire to know God.

Notice what David said about this quality in his own life.

Psalms 63:1-8  A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:  When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.  Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.  My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

How is the hunger and thirst for righteousness also a hunger and thirst for God?
This intense desire and need can only be met through a growing, deepening relationship with God.  There is no righteousness without Him.

Why don't more Christians have such a hunger?

How can such a hunger be filled?
In the same way that a hunger for a loved one, family or friend is filled, by spending time with God.  This is done as we make Him a part of our daily life and spend time listening to Him through the word.  I must recognize my hunger and then satisfy it by being with Him.

 Matthew 5:7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

This is the ability to put pity into action.  It describes more than just a desire to help it is the follow through to actual acts of mercy.
Recall the parable of the Good Samaritan.  How was the Samaritan and example of merciful?
He did something.  To the Samaritan help, kindness and compassion were more than just feelings or fleeting thoughts.  He acted!

What are some ways of mercy we could be acting to better show the King we represent?
Forgiveness, acts of kindness, gifts, notes, cards, letters, phone calls, extending ourselves even to the point of emotional even physical risk.  Mercy is not mercy if it is deserved, it is only mercy when it is given to those who do not deserve to have it.
 8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

This is the mark of an undivided, unpolluted heart.  We might call it being focused upon God to such an extent that all other things, even sin is a distraction which can not find a place in us.

What is so difficult about this trait in our modern society?
Everything is a distraction.  There are a thousand diversions demanding my attention and taking my eyes off God.

Two things are necessary for me to maintain focus in any area of my life.  These will also prove important in keeping my heart pure. 

The first step in developing focus is elevating the target.

By elevating the target we mean to make God and time with Him a priority.  During this time He and He only will be the object of my heart.

How is David is focusing on God in the following scriptures.
Psalms 5:3  My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalms 119:62  At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalms 119:147  I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

Psalms 119:148  Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
He is spending time alone with God.  This refocuses David upon God.

The second step is removing the distractions.

In the first step it is time that is needed in the second step it is a place that is needed.  A place where you can go to be alone with God.  This will not happen by accident it must be planned and then the plan must be followed.
    
The place for you to be personally alone with God can be anywhere you make it.  There is also a place where we can go to be refocused upon God in a public or corporate way.  In Church our attention is turned toward the One who has called us together.  Neglecting this place will keep you from ever being pure in heart.

Why is the reward of this quality so apt?
It is the end result of the life that is focused upon God.  To live a great life one must have a great goal as its prize.  Seeing God will be the greatest reward that can ever be realized.

Matthew5:9   Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

How is this characteristic much more than just the ability to stop physical or emotional conflict between others around us?  What is the only peace that really counts?
Peace with God whom we have rebelled against through our sin and unbelief.

How are we responsible for making this peace?
By telling others of the "Prince of Peace" Jesus Christ.  In Him alone is the peace that lasts no matter what the outward conflicts.

Application: Could you tell someone else how to find peace with God?

 Matthew 5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

It seems impossible to think of being blessed when we are being persecuted but nevertheless this is exactly what Jesus says.

This is the longest of the Beatitudes, three full verses. Why do you think the Lord emphasized this quality of Kingdom Citizens?

Those who follow the Lord have always been persecuted by Satan who uses this world and those under his power to try and hurt God’s people. The first generation of Christians after Christ would pay a very high price for their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Christ.


What does Jesus say is the cause of the persecution?
Righteousness sake.  It is for the cause of Christ for the work of the kingdom which is a righteous work.  It is because of who we are as the followers of King Jesus.

Do we see much persecution for righteous sake in our country and in our personal lives?
No, it may be increasing but it is still very minimal.  There are two reasons.  1.  This country was founded as a refuge from religious persecution.   2.  We do not show righteousness in our own lives as we should. You can’t be persecuted as a Christian if people don’t know that you’re a Christian.

What is the difference between verse 10 and vss 11-12?
Ten deals with those in the kingdom generally.  11-12 is addressed principally to the apostles and disciples who were the primary target of Jesus message.

Summary

List the 8 characteristics of Kingdom Citizens.  (Christians)

1.    Humility (poor in spirit)
2.    Sorrow for Sin (they that mourn)
3.    Meekness
4.    Spiritual Hunger
5.    Mercy
6.    Pure in Heart
7.    Peacemaker
8.    Persecuted
 
Application: Are we the kind of kind of people that Jesus describes as citizens of that future Kingdom?

Think about this, are these requirements for entering into the kingdom or descriptions of those who are already citizens?  How the do we obtain these characteristics?
What did Jesus tell Nicodemus when he came to see him?  "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God“ John 3

Compare the Beatitudes with the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5

Galatians 5:22-23 
But the fruit of the Spirit is
love,
joy,
peace,
longsuffering,
gentleness,
goodness,
faith,
meekness,
temperance:
against such there is no law.
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother:
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet  

Which are the Beatitudes most like?
The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians.

What should this tell us about trying to keep the Beatitudes like we try to keep the law?
They were not meant to be kept by my own power, which is impossible, they are only to be recognized as being in us through the indwelling of Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount by describing those who would be citizens of that Kingdom. The description shows us a people who are unlike any natural born citizens of any earthly kingdom. Instead they describe the spiritual qualities of people who have been transformed and changed as they become members of that spiritual kingdom. This could only be done by God’s power through the agency of the King of the Kingdom, Jesus.

As we read them may we seek that same transforming power to help us to be seen as those living and looking for Jesus’ coming kingdom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

On The Mount Christians: Living and Looking for the Kingdom


On The Mount Christians:
Living and Looking for the Kingdom



     The purpose of this study is to understand the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount as relevant in the life of the present-day Christians.  Some have mistakenly taken the Sermon as the marching orders for the church, when it is plainly dealing with the future Kingdom of God which will be established by Jesus Christ at his second coming.  Others seeing this have mistakenly written off the entire message as only being prophetic.  This ignores the fact that though the Kingdom is future our King is with us now and we are presently citizens of that coming kingdom.   As citizens we are required to be both ambassadors and recruiters for the Kingdom of God.  In a very real way we are invaders intent upon conquering but using weapons and acting in a way which is in keeping with the King of love whom we serve.

 

Let us begin this study by looking at the outline and the diagram of the Sermon on the Mount.

MATTHEW 5-7

I    5 CHARACTERISTICS OF KINGDOM CITIZENS
A   Personality 5:3-12
B   Purpose 5:13-16
C   Precedent  5:17-20
D   Prize 5:21-48

II  6 CONSIDERATIONS    OF KINGDOM CITIZENS
A   Toward Giving  6:1-4
B   Toward Prayer and Forgiveness 6:5-15
C   Toward Fasting   6:16-18
D   Toward Priorities 6:19-21
E   Toward Outward Influences  6:22-23
F   Toward Money 6:24
G   Toward Worry 6:25-34

III  7 COMMANDS FOR KINGDOM CITIZENS
A   Do Not Judge 7:1-6
B   Ask, Seek, Knock    7:7-12
C   Enter The Narrow Gate   7:13-14
D   Beware of False Prophets 7:15-23
E   Build On The Rock 7:24-27



5:3
5:17
6:1
7:13
KINGDOM CITIZENS

KINGDOM
LAWS
KINGDOM
ATTITUDES
CONCLUDING
EXHORTATIONS

Their
Personality
Their
Purpose
Their Precedent
Their Prize
WORSHIP
-giving
-praying
-fasting

WALK
-priorities
-influences
-worries
-money
Citizenship Commands

Is The Sermon on the Mount Primarily For the Church?
When studying the Sermon on the Mount it is essential that we place it in its proper place in relationship to the local church and the Church Age. Did Jesus intend the Sermon on the Mount to be marching orders for the church or was it intended as a description of His own physical future Kingdom? Lets consider this.

First, the Sermon on the Mount has few truths about salvation by grace, prayer, the formation of the church or the gift of the Holy Spirit. If the Sermon was inted to be primarily for the church age then these missing truths are a problem.

Second, many things taught by Christ in the Sermon not only repeat the law, “Thou hast heard it said,” but actually increase the law and its penalty, “But I say unto you.” If one were to use the Sermon as a means of showing someone how to be saved there is only condemnation but no clear means of salvation.

Thirdly, if Christians were meant to obey the Sermon on the Mount in this present age it would be almost impossible to do and be able to function in almost any human society. Statements against violence, “turn the other cheek” would mean a country could not defend itself, or any Christian defend their home nor could any Christian serve in the military. Commands to give to any that ask or seek to borrow would mean a Christian could not be a banker, at least not a profitable one.

Difficult Scriptures For The Church Age

Matthew 5:20-22
 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:30
 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  

Matthew 5:39-42
 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

The proper place and primary interpretation then for the Sermon On The Mount is the future Kingdom of God upon the earth that will be instituted when Christ returns as its King and rules the nation with a rod of iron.

It has application for us, because we are members of the Kingdom through the new birth, but only when Christ rules and reigns upon the earth can the Sermon on the Mount be fully implemented. It is not the marching order of the church as those were given in Matthew 28:18-20 at the end of Christ time on earth and just before the full empowering of the church on the Day of Pentecost. Much in the Sermon on the Mount can and should be applied within our churches and in our own individual lives but that is an application and not the interpretation of this powerful message. The primary purpose of the Sermon is as a description of the citizens of Kingdom of God that will ruled by Jesus Christ when He returns.

Why do you think Christ gave a sermon about the coming Kingdom of God instead of the plan of salvation or the church at this time in His ministry?

John the Baptist and Jesus both preached the same message during and just before Jesus started his public ministry. “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” The nation of Israel had to be offered the Kingdom and shown its King. The Sermon on the Mount was a presentation of that Kingdom and those who would enter it. Israel as a nation refused both, they would not repent, nor would they accept Jesus of Nazereth as the true Messiah. The gospel was then refocused through the church to the Gentiles.

Was the church and the Gospel to the Gentiles a fall back  or Plan B if Israel refused to accept Jesus?

No, there is no plan B with God. The offer had to be made but God knew Israel would not humble itself, repent and believe. The church, which began on the mount, was not an afterthought, but a mystery revealed by Christ during his eartly ministry.