The Kingdom Of Heaven

  The Kingdom Of Heaven

  Praise The Lord everyone and greetings in the Name of Jesus, on this wonderful day the the Lord has given us, once again we have a new study,  this week we will be studying on “The Kingdom Of Heaven”so getting right to our study, here is the first part.

The Kingdom of Heaven

Focus Verse

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Lesson Text

Matthew 7:21–23

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Focus thought

The Sermon on the Mount reminds us that we all need grace.

Culture Connection

For Such a Time as This

No doubt as believers we have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. We live in a precarious day and yet a marvelous day. The challenges facing our society are horrific; the opportunities opening up for the church are tremendous. Our present-day culture is constantly changing, and unfortunately it seems to be changing for the worse. Have we ever seen a time when so many people are depressed, frustrated, and uptight?

It is an unforgettable experience to have seen a young woman in a coma dying from an overdose of drugs. It is shocking to know that a couple of acquaintances are gambling their incomes and their homes away. It is more than disturbing to realize a young teenager was given a lower grade in English this year because he would not take the part of a homosexual in a class play.

And yet for all that, there is a singular move of God sweeping through our world. Hundreds, yes, thousands, are entering into the kingdom of God. Many are being transformed by the power of the Holy Ghost. As citizens under the reign of Jesus Christ, we are called to storm the bulwarks of the enemy. We are called to break down the very gates of Hell.

Outline

1. CONTRASTS IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

A. The Standard of the Law

B. The Higher Standard of the New Covenant

2. OUR NEED FOR GRACE

A. Difficulty in Meeting the Law’s Requirements

B. Increased Difficulty in Meeting the Heightened Standards of the New Covenant

C. Need for Grace Since We Are Insufficient to Meet This Standard

Contemplating the Topic

The words spoken by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount sent shock waves through the multitude of those who had come to hear him: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 7:28). They had never heard such words, never heard anyone speak with such decisiveness and authority as this man. The Lord had given fresh, challenging directives; He had spoken as one who utters the oracles of God. The sermon must have had a profound effect for “when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him” (Matthew 8:1).

What must have passed through the minds of individuals as they heard the Master teaching on the mountainside? Most of them must have been common laborers, country and city folk, people burdened with everyday tasks in their homes, in their fields, in their fishing boats, and in their little shops. Some people on the mount, as in every crowd, had experienced their share of sin and sorrow and wanted something better from life than what it had already given them. Perhaps new hope arose within them as Jesus taught clearly of a glorious future for His followers. Six times in Matthew 5–7 He spoke of “the kingdom of heaven,” and additionally He made frequent references to their “Father in heaven.”

Jesus Christ knew His audience well. He knew the people’s thoughts and intents (Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8; Luke 5:22). He was aware of those who were dealing with anger or with an unforgiving spirit. He would have known of some struggling with pride and of others who were wrestling with covetousness. Still others, He knew, were having problems with moral issues. Some were worrying as to how their natural needs would be met in the future. Others would have been weighing the cost of fully committing their lives to Christ.

No doubt many in the crowd that day had strained to keep the letter of the law of Moses, but Christ was teaching them they could go well beyond that: they could actually keep the spirit of the Law. Far from laying down another set of rules, the Lord was presenting these people with another, more rewarding way of life. It was a far better way, a way in which they would live by a new set of values. They could place their confidence in their King, and trusting Him to rule well, they could go on to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Searching the Scriptures

1. CONTRASTS IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

As the people listened to Jesus on the mount, they must have soon recognized that what they were hearing was vastly different from the legalistic monologues of the scribes and Pharisees. The first recorded word of the Lord was “blessed.” It was a word Jesus used for those who find happiness and fulfillment in being of a Christ-like character. What wonderful rewards He promised then—and still promises—to those who will follow Him! What a glorious future awaits those who will obey the precepts of His kingdom!

A. The Standard of the Law

The Law could not save us. Its precepts simply exposed the sinfulness of mankind. The Law revealed the standard of living God required, but it was a standard that man could not fully attain through the weakness of the flesh, which came as a result of the Fall and the ensuing sinful nature.

The people of Israel, to whom the Law was given, were to be aware that they were to worship the one, true God who had led them out of Egypt. They were to recognize that such acts as adultery, murder, theft, and false witness were sinful and repugnant to the Lord. They were to be holy for the One they served was holy. They were called to be separated from the evil practices of other nations. There seems no doubt that even the strict dietary laws were intended to keep God’s people from intermingling with the ungodly and from the horrible practices of idolatry.

The Law was given in preparation for a much greater work to follow. The many sacrifices of lambs and of bullocks simply pointed ahead to Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God. Under the old covenant, the people had to continually make sacrifice for sin. Those sacrifices pointed forward to a coming Messiah. “Wherefore,” Paul wrote, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

In a very real sense the Law (particularly through the sacrificial system) directed and introduced us to Christ. As Adam Clarke has commented, the Law leads us to the very door where salvation can be found. (See John 10:7, 9.)

B. The Higher Standard of the New Covenant

If they were to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, the Lord informed His listeners, their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). This bold statement Jesus spoke early in His sermon must have been startling. The scribes were respected because they copied the books of the Old Testament and taught on matters that pertained to the Law. The Pharisees were religious leaders in the local synagogues who were zealous for the Law and for the Jewish traditions. Arrogantly these teachers of the Law expected reverence from the common people. But because they emphasized man-made traditions and failed to live up to their own precepts, Jesus openly condemned their hypocrisy.

The righteousness Jesus required of His kingdom subjects was not to be simply a matter of outward performance; it was to be a matter of inward purity. Through Christ we can enter into a new covenant, a covenant of grace.

Our Lord strongly rebuked those religious leaders who were blindly guiding others toward certain destruction. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23). Christ perceived these leaders were focusing on minor things while neglecting things of far more importance.

It is possible to refrain from murdering someone and yet to feel a deep hatred for that person. It is also possible to lust after a woman without actually committing the act of adultery. Obviously, as Christ dealt with these matters, He was not just considering deeds; He was examining motives. We are not just to refrain from doing harm to our enemies; we are actually to do them good. And it is clear from the Lord’s directives that we are to do so with a right spirit.

In the  Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

The Christian lifestyle demands more than acquiescence and conformity to a set of rules. It demands a total change in attitude and behavior. To be part of Christ’s kingdom, we must be born again (John 3:5). We are invited to take His name in baptism, and He offers the gift of His Spirit to us. Then we will be willing to turn the other cheek, to forgive others who have injured us, and to endure persecution and even death for the name of Jesus Christ.

  So getting this far in our study of “The Kingdom Of Heaven” a good question to be asking is have we taken the first step in this journey? Are we Born Again as John 3:5 speaks of, if not-now is the time to take that step. As always we will pick up our study on Thursday with part 2 starting with “Our Need For Grace”, looking forward to being with you then.

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Right Choices-part 2

 Right Choices-part 2

Greetings everyone in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this beautiful Thursday afternoon, hoping you have had a good week so far, as I mentioned on Monday we going to pick up part two of our study “Right Choices” at Two Houses-Stand or Fall, so without delay here’s our study.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                D. Two Houses—Stand or Fall

A natural disaster can speak to us like nothing else can. Jesus made use of this principle in teaching this parable. The results of the unwise builder’s decision was catastrophic—his house “fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27). There was nothing left but complete and irreparable ruin.

This parable teaches about the foundation, not the quality of materials in the house. It is our decision to build our lives on Jesus Christ, not our good works, that makes the house stand.

The wise person’s home stood though it was pummeled by rain and probably shaken by wind. No doubt it was built on higher ground, on the rocky area where the floodwaters could not reach it. Before beginning to build, the wise man had determined that the place where the foundation was to be laid was firm. His life and the lives of his family members may have depended upon making the right decision. He built his life on the rock Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                                                                     2.RIGHT CHOICES

When a skilled surgeon makes the right move while operating, it can spell the difference between life and death for the patient. When an anointed minister preaches the right message at the right time, it can mean the difference between Heaven and Hell for a hungry soul. A major decision someone makes in a weak moment can have eternal repercussions.                                                                                                                                                                        A. Old Testament Wrapped Up with Choice

Heaven has well-kept files on those who in the past have served God. The Old Testament records show that many of these men, women, and young people faced tremendous challenges. In some cases they obviously made some bad decisions; in others cases they showed remarkable courage and through faith did great exploits.

Files also exist on many who succumbed to the pressures of their day and miserably failed. Some had every opportunity to do what was right, but they chose to do that which was evil.

Sin has power to deceive. It can convince the disobedient that right is wrong and wrong is right. In ancient days it took determination and courage to make the right choices and to take a firm stand against the forces of evil. Moses was one of those who elected to obey the commands of Jehovah regardless of the difficulties.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:24–25).

Although God delivered Joseph, David, Esther, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and others because they made the right choices, many times the upright have suffered long-lasting imprisonment and even death. Some “were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35). Without doubt Naboth, who refused to sell his vineyard to King Ahab, chose the honorable course; yet, through Jezebel’s treachery, he was stoned to death.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          B. Jesus’ Wrap-up to the Sermon on the Mount

During His concluding statements in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord gave stern warnings about influences that can destroy us. Jesus was careful to caution the disciples against false prophets. They come in sheep’s clothing, He told them, “but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). “For many,” He stated, “shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mark 13:6).

Our Lord’s emphasis on the word “many” should in itself be a wake-up call. In reference to the broad way that leads to destruction, He said, “Many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). Again, in speaking of those who made great profession but had no real relationship with Him, Jesus said many would tell of what great things they had done in His name (Matthew 7:22). Of those people the Lord said, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). In the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:2–14), Jesus taught that not everyone who receives an invitation to obey the gospel will respond to it; of those who do, not everyone will meet the requirements of the Kingdom. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

Everything about Christ’s final words on the mount indicated that only the dedicated and the diligent will prevail. The disciples were certainly aware of this fact. Luke 13:23–24 says, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

There is a time to call for help. There is a time to realize only God can bring us out of our dilemmas. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     C. Our Choice to Make

Each of us should take warning of the great tempest about to break in upon this world. Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount by describing a storm, and this present age, without question, is going to end in a storm of terrifying proportions. The strange weather patterns of late on all continents should be enough to stir us. Gigantic floods in some areas and devastating droughts in others are but signals of greater catastrophes to occur. Scientists are at a loss to explain why the earth seems to be convulsing in agony, but Paul spoke of what someone has called “the sighing and suffering universe.” (See Romans 8:22.) Jesus stated, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

The choice is ours. We can choose to ignore the prominent signs of Christ’s return—the wars, the earthquakes, the pandemics—or we can determine to find a refuge from the coming storm. Our secular society is becoming more and more like the pagan societies of the past. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). We live in an age of decadence, a time when people demand instant gratification regardless of the consequences.

Internalizing the Message

Why should we wait to give our best to the Lord Jesus? Everything in our world seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into the quicksand of immorality and sin. Elijah, who ministered in the ninth century bc during a time of apostasy, posed the question to the nation of Israel, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21). And certainly you and I who live in the twenty-first century are faced with a similar question as to whom we will serve.

There is no middle road. Jesus declared, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). Could it be that, while we profess to serve Christ, by our daily choices we actually serve ourselves? There has to be a commitment that takes us beyond a shallow profession. We are saved to serve. Nothing else in this world can bring us the satisfaction a commitment to the cause of Christ can bring.

Thankfully we can choose the right path, and thankfully God has promised He will go with us every step of the way (Psalm 37:23). He never leaves us to struggle on our own in our desperate situations and never abandons us when we call on His name.

 Paul wrote, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:8–9).

Today is the day to make the right decision to choose the narrow road that leads to everlasting life with Jesus Christ. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8).

So that will conclude our study for this week on Right Choices, so I’m hoping that through this study we have been encouraged in some way to  make better choices, whether they be spiritual or in the natural. Hoping you have a great weekend and worship service, when we get together on Monday our study will be on “The Kingdom Of Heaven”, have a Blessed weekend!

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Right Choices

 Right Choices

  Praise The Lord, and greeting in the precious Name of Jesus Christ. It is good to be back with everyone on the Beautiful Monday afternoon, this week our study is going to be on “Right Choices” do we always make the right choices or a good question can also be how do we make the right choices? Praying this weeks study will shed some light on the topic, so without further delay here is our study!

Right Choices

Focus Verse

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

Lesson Text

Matthew 7:13–14, 24–29

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

~~~~

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Focus thought

Jesus calls us to choose the right path

Culture Connection

Crossroads

What passes through our minds when we see young people struggling in prayer at an altar? Without doubt they are desperately looking to God for help. The glistening tears on their faces and the fervency of their words are witnesses that they are at a crossroads in their lives.

The truth is that every believer can expect to come to certain crossroads, crucial places where important decisions must be made. A few right steps, taken at the right moment, can make a tremendous difference. A few kind words spoken, when it would have been easier to flare up in temper, can save a job, a friendship, or a marriage. There are times in the Christian journey when wrong can almost seem right and right can almost seem wrong. It is then that we need to hear a word behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

Outline

1.LIFE CHOICES    

A.Two Ways Narrow or Broad                                                                                                                     B. Two Destinies Life or Destruction                                                                                                     C.Two Foundations—Rock or Sand                                                                                                       D.Two Houses—Stand or Fall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2. RIGHT CHOICES                                                                                                                               A.Old Testament Wrapped Up with Choice                                                                                             B.Jesus’ Wrap-up to the Sermon on the Mount                                                                               C.Our Choice to Make

Contemplating the Topic

  Storms are a common phenomenon in life. They will come our way whether or not we expect them or are prepared for them. While there are often warning signs a knowledgeable observer can recognize, the inattentive may at first fail to notice the changes in weather conditions. No one seems able to predict fully the intensity of a storm or the damage it may cause. A squall may suddenly turn into a tempest. A hurricane may be downgraded and become no more than a heavy gale. One area may be drenched with rain while another, just a few miles away, may have little more than drizzle.

  A storm is an apt metaphor for the severe circumstances that sometimes occur in our lives. Sometimes with warning, but at other times without notice, discouraging and even heartbreaking things can happen.

  In every area of our lives, no matter how bright or dark our skies may seem to be, we must determine to make the right choices. This is more easily said than done. In the past many of us created our own storms. As sinners we lived selfishly.

  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught there was a better way to walk—a way that brings real satisfaction to our hearts and pleases God. To be sure, it is a narrow way and not many are willing to walk along this path. This was the rugged route Christ chose to follow, and it led Him to a cross.

  Deciding to follow Jesus Christ and His divine principles will hardly remove all our painful circumstances. In fact, it may add some new and severe problems. Jesus told His disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). And yet there is so much to be gained by choosing to serve Christ. He promised peace to His followers, and He promised everlasting life. We will still face difficult situations as we walk with the Master. We will still have days of uncertainty and struggle. But through the Lord’s guidance, through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can rise above our storms.

Searching the Scriptures

  1. LIFE CHOICES

Jesus taught emphatically that we must choose one of two ways to live our lives—as faithful Christians or as indifferent sinners. To illustrate the extreme dichotomy of these lifestyles, our Lord in Matthew 7:13–27 described two gates, two ways, two trees, two destinies, two houses, and two types of individuals.

  1. Two Ways—Narrow or Broad

Jesus carefully explained there is the strait gate and the narrow way “which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14). In his Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W. E. Vine stated that the word “strait” found in Matthew 7:13–14 suggests being “hemmed in like a narrow gorge between rocks.”

This is the unfrequented road because it is narrow and runs counter to the tendencies of most people. Not many find this pathway; not many pass through the narrow gate, for it is hidden from the view of those who are determined to follow their own sinful plans. We must search for the right way. With intensity we must long to please the Almighty.

Although our companions on the narrow road may be few, their fellowship can be a tremendous help and encouragement. With them we can share the awesome views of what God has done for us in the past; with them we look to that which He will do for us in the future. Jesus Christ Himself is our Great Shepherd. He is our constant guide, and He will give us greater understanding as we continue to walk with Him. “The way of the wicked is as darkness” (Proverbs 4:19). “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). So we walk on in hope; we travel on in victory to a holy city where there will be no night.

On the other hand, many enter in at what Jesus described as the wide gate. There is nothing at this entry to obstruct the careless and impenitent. Millions of people have gone through this gate with little thought of where the road beyond them may be leading. These are like derelict ships, broken and rudderless, aimlessly tossed and driven on an angry sea. Millions are deceived into thinking that certain religious rituals or certain charitable deeds will eventually save their souls.

Those who have traveled on the broad road for some time surely must have noticed there is much sorrow and sadness along this way. While there is much to entertain and distract, these things come at a terrific cost.

The traveling companions on this road often struggle with personal problems they can never solve on their own. Some may be terribly bound by habits and addictions. Some may be consumed with loneliness and regrets. Many have wept and promised themselves over and over again they will do better, that somehow they will break away from their evil behavior. There is an old saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

  1. Two Destinies—Life or Destruction

There is no third way, no other option. We are either on the road to Heaven or on the road to Hell. Could any issue in life be more important than this? We must have a made-up mind. Our eyes must be firmly fixed upon the prize that lies before us. We must be willing to pay any price or to face any difficulty in order to spend eternity with Christ. What good is a luxurious cottage on the lake or millions in stocks and bonds if in the end we fail to gain God’s approval? “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). As Paul wrote to Timothy, “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7).

To lose one’s job in a shaky economy must certainly be distressing. To lose a home due to foreclosure has to be a painful experience. To lose one’s health can be more than unsettling. For some, in fact, losing any of these can be devastating. But to lose one’s soul is the greatest of all possible losses, for it is the loss of Heaven. It is the loss of eternal life, the loss of hope, the loss of peace, and the loss of joy.

  1. Two Foundations—Rock or Sand

How simply, yet how powerfully, Jesus dealt with mankind’s greatest need, the need to both hear His Word and obey His Word! He compared it to two men who each built a house—the one upon a rock and the other upon the sand. Everyone recognizes the need for shelter, especially in a time of storm. Everyone realizes the necessity of a place of rest and refuge. But not everyone will make adequate preparations in this life for the future.

Jesus compared the individual who hears His words and follows in His ways to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. This man was wise because he was looking carefully to the future. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 27:12).

During times of calm and tranquility there may seem to be no need to take extra precautions. But in the tempestuous periods of life, when the fierce winds blow and the rain falls in sweeping torrents, the Christian has an assurance others do not have. Speaking of Jehovah, David proclaimed, “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:6).

Christ is our rock, and what a rock! Our footing is secure in Him, regardless of our circumstances. He remains the same in our good times and in our bad times. When our hearts are rejoicing or when they are broken, Jesus is there. Whether we have recovered from a terrible crisis or whether the pain persists, Jesus is still there.

The same storm buffeted both the wise man’s house built upon the rock and the foolish man’s house built upon the sand. (See Matthew 7:25, 27.) The difference was that one house was built on a solid foundation while the other was built on shifting sand. Like the beds of sand in some coastal areas, the positions of men with regard to the Bible are often changing; but God’s Word remains the same.

So that will conclude our study on Right Choices-part 1, when we get together again on Thursday we will  pick up our study at Two Houses-Stand or Fall, so until Thursday praying you have a blessed week.

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The Golden Rule-part 2

The Golden Rule-part 2

  Greetings this Thursday evening in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I trust everyone has had a good week so far, and now we will get to part 2 of our study of “The Golden Rule”.

2. GOD’S CHARACTER NEVER CHANGES                                                                               A. Much of the Sermon on the Mount Contrasts the New Covenant with the Old

  There were radical differences between the highly legalistic views of the Jewish religionists and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The scribes and Pharisees had used the Law, along with their added rules and regulations, to beat the Jewish people into submission. These religious leaders followed Jesus from place to place not because they approved of His message, but because they wanted to entrap Him in His words. While they themselves claimed to uphold the Law, they frequently looked for loopholes to break it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned against this type of hypocrisy.  “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” (Matthew 5:20).

There were glaring contrasts between what was traditionally taught regarding the old covenant and Christ’s revelation of the New Covenant. In the Sermon on the Mount, not only did Jesus correct the misinterpretations and abuses that had arisen, but He also taught a higher set of values. The Lord would say,  “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. . . . But I say unto you . . .” (Mathew 5:21–22; 27–28). The old covenant condemned murder; Christ went on to condemn unjustified anger. The Law prohibited adultery; in addition, the Lord prohibited lust. There had been a liberal attitude regarding divorce, but Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery” (Matthew 5:32). What Christ taught did not abrogate the old covenant; it surpassed it and gave it richer meaning (Matthew 5:17).                                                      

 B.The Principle of How We Are to Treat Others Has Been Consistent

While discussing Kingdom principles in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus covered a range of topics and quickly moved from one important issue to another. But He was consistent in His teaching about how we are to treat others. Always the Lord instructed that we are to treat fellow humans as friends and not as enemies. Always we are to love them, forgive them, bless them, pray for them, and do them good.

There are no higher standards of ethics than what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. While many people live selfishly in the miserable depths of sin and shame, Christ’s sermon presented a series of ideals that, if followed, can lift men and women to new heights. To conclude Matthew 7:1–11, Jesus presented what is often referred to as the Golden Rule: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12)

What does this statement mean? Obviously we are to conduct ourselves toward others in the same way we would want individuals to treat us. This requires a deep sensitivity to those around us. The Golden Rule goes far beyond simply feeling empathy for our neighbors; it demands that we put our feelings into action to make life easier for them.

It is important to remember that although the Sermon on the Mount presents a higher ethical life, its teachings do not bring salvation. We must be born again. We need the sacrificial atonement provided for by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.                  

3.OUR REFLECTION OF GOD’S NATURE

We who are believers are to reflect the nature of God. While on earth Jesus perfectly exhibited his Father’s character and ideals. The Son of God emphatically told Philip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9). Further, immediately after showing mercy to an adulterous woman, Christ taught the people, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Now, however, in His physical absence, we who are Christians are to be the lights that shine in this darkened world (Matthew 5:14). Our lives are to be vivid reflections of Christ’s love and grace to all mankind. “Let your light so shine before men,” Jesus encouraged His disciples, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).             

A.Our Motive Should Not Be to Receive Earthly Rewards

Those whose lives we touch are often filled with gratitude. They frequently respond to the kindnesses shown to them by opening up their hearts as well as their homes. Because a single mother, a senior widower, or an insecure teenager feels he or she has finally found someone who genuinely cares, that individual may want to reciprocate with money or gifts.

Still it is not a matter of what we receive from others that should motivate our actions. If we are Spirit-filled, we will long to share God’s love regardless of any earthly reward.

To illustrate how we should act toward those who are less fortunate, Jesus told the story of the Samaritan who ministered to a wounded traveler on the road to Jericho. (See Luke 10:30–35.)  Nothing in the story suggested the injured man ever saw his benefactor again, and there is no mention of any kind of reward.                                                                              

B.Our Motive Should Be to Follow Jesus’ Example

Perhaps the greatest test of a believer’s walk with God is being mistreated by others. We generally get along well with those who respect us and are friendly toward us. But what about those who are intentionally rude and those who are cruel? The fact is that being maligned and mistreated can be an opportunity to let our light shine brightly before men. Jesus set the standard, and there can be no higher. He was a prince among men who treated Him like a villain. He was the Savior of the world treated like a despot.

On the darkest of days, on a Roman cross surrounded by a jeering mob, Jesus’ love for mankind was displayed for all who would see. He had been falsely accused, spat upon, beaten severely, and nailed to a cross. His friends had forsaken Him; His enemies had mocked Him, saying, “He saved others; himself he cannot save” (Mark 15:31). The physical pain must have been horrific; the distress of soul must have been overwhelming. But what were His words for those who despised Him and delighted in His anguish? Were they words of condemnation or vindictiveness? No. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This was an astounding statement coming from the Lord of glory—an unselfish call for forgiveness for His tormentors rather than a call for twelve legions of angels to destroy them.

His love for others motivated Christ while on earth. Despite His own weariness, He always had time to care for the downtrodden. Jesus would minister to the multitudes until He was exhausted. No one who came to the Lord was turned away. A blind beggar’s cry would stop Him in His tracks; a woman taken in adultery would receive forgiveness. He took time to go to dinner with a hated publican and on another occasion with a haughty Pharisee. He answered His critics, not just to prove His points, but to show them a better way. Heartfelt compassion caused Him to go to the home of Jairus, and despite the ridicule of the mourners, to raise the ruler’s daughter from the dead. Compassion caused Him go through Samaria and minister to a woman who had lived a life of shame. This was the way Jesus lived day by day.

Internalizing the Message

An individual who has been visited and encouraged by someone while hospitalized will remember that experience and would be an excellent candidate to do the same for someone else. Someone who has received a compliment while going through a personal battle would be well qualified to do the same for someone else who is struggling. A person who has received a note of appreciation for a job well done would be able to do the same for another.

Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Our Lord set the precedent for us to follow. A thankful heart, a heart grateful for God’s goodness, will always find ways to bless others. At times our acts of kindness may seem to go unnoticed or even be unappreciated, but the Lord never forgets them.

Jesus promised that at the judgment, when He comes with His holy angels, there will be a glorious kingdom provided for those who had fed Him when He was hungry, provided drink for Him when He was thirsty, clothed Him when He was naked, and visited Him when He was sick and in prison. Though believers may question when they did these things for the Lord, He will give them this explanation: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). We will reap eternal benefits for showing even the smallest kindness to a servant of Christ. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41).

We can be bearers of hope. We have the privilege of relieving the pain and the suffering of others. We can help to carry the burden of another who is traveling on life’s weary road. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

 So That will conclude our study of “The Golden Rule” and for this week, and we pray you have a wonderful weekend, and a great Worship service at church this Sunday, when we get together on Monday for our next study, it will be “Right Choices” Looking forward to being with you then.

 

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The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

 Praise the Lord, and greetings on this Monday as we head on into a new week, hoping you had a great weekend I know I did, we had a Holy Ghost led service and then a good time of fellowship and a lunch that followed. So now we move on into our new study for this week “The Golden Rule”.

The Golden Rule

Focus Verse

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Lesson Text

Matthew 7:7–12

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Focus thought

God has always insisted we should treat others justly.

Culture Connection

It Still Happens

Recently our neighbor across the street donated a kidney to a coworker who, it was hoped, would have at least another year to live.

A stranger paid a parking ticket for a young mother whose nine-week-old baby had spent days in the hospital. The unknown donor left a note on the car: “I saw your car had a parking ticket on it. I’m sure whatever you are going through at the hospital is tough enough so I paid for you.”

In a world that seems increasingly cold and indifferent to the needs of people, it is refreshing to know there are still those who will step up and help. It still happens. There are still those who think beyond themselves. There are still those who will take time from their busy schedules and who will reach into their wallets or purses to lend a hand. There are still individuals today who will reach down for the fallen and help them stand to their feet.

If we are waiting for the perfect moment, if we are waiting to be sure that a person is worthy of our help, what you and I need to do may never happen. We may never act out of compassion and concern. We may never fulfill the Golden Rule.

Outline

1. GOD’S PROVISION

A. God Is a Faithful Provider

B. God Does Not Give Us Harmful Things

2. GOD’S CHARACTER NEVER CHANGES

A. Much of the Sermon on the Mount Contrasts the New Covenant with the Old

B. The Principle of How We Are to Treat Others Has Been Consistent

3. OUR REFLECTION OF GOD’S NATURE

A. Our Motive Should Not Be to Receive Earthly Rewards

B. Our Motive Should Be to Follow Jesus’ Example

Contemplating the Topic

Something about the teaching of Jesus Christ captivated His audiences. His listeners were not forced to listen to His discourses. The words Christ spoke, however, were impelling, commanding, and heart-searching. Instead of burdening His followers with the restrictive regulations of the rabbinical law, He spoke to them of their heavenly Father’s love and of His abundant provisions.

Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, our Lord laid no heavy yoke upon the necks of the people (Matthew 11:30). God’s servants were not to live in a state of perpetual anxiety or paralyzing fear. At the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount, the people of Israel were astonished at His doctrine because “he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

Christ’s words spoke of things the common Israelite could easily understand—the fowls of the air, the lilies and grass of the field, and a house built upon a rock. This man from Galilee penetrated the souls of those who would listen, and no one, neither friend nor foe, seemed quite the same after hearing the words of the Master.

Jesus Christ taught His followers more than what to believe; He taught them how to respond to God’s precepts and how they should live on a daily basis before their neighbors. And Christ taught with compassion.

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord set out some remarkably high ideals for His disciples to follow. They were to take the humble path, the way of loving service to God and to their fellow human beings. They were to trust God in their most difficult situations, and they were to live to be a blessing to others. Though much of what the Master taught was concise, His words at the same time were powerful and had sweeping implications. In summary of all the Law and the prophets required, Jesus gave what has become known as the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).

Searching the Scriptures

1. GOD’S PROVISION

What invaluable lessons can be learned from the examples of God providing for His people in the Bible! In times of national peril, in times of famine, in times of war, and even in times of apostasy, the Lord proved He was incredibly willing and sufficiently able to care for those who would call upon His name.

Consider the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness. Every day was to become a miracle of provision under the careful guidance of Jehovah. It has been estimated it would take forty-five hundred tons of manna to feed the children of Israel on a daily basis. But remarkably this provision was not to be for a matter of days, weeks, or even months; God’s people were filled to the full for forty years.

A. God Is a Faithful Provider

Wonderful promises are found in Matthew 7:7. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” These statements are powerful enough to uplift those who may be discouraged or destitute. They are open invitations broad enough to meet every need.  Everyone can embrace these provisions. The sinner who repents and asks for forgiveness can find assurance in these promises. The seeker who needs the baptism of the Holy Ghost can be filled. There is hope for the suffering and for the sick, for the broken and for the bereaved. The unemployed and the underprivileged can be encouraged. The backslider can be reclaimed. The chemically dependent can be delivered and set free.

By using the present imperative forms for “ask,” “seek,” and “knock,” Jesus was directing His disciples to make their requests to God with unyielding persistence and with unwavering faith. The thought of seeking and knocking, in conjunction with asking, seems to suggest we must act on our faith. We must put legs under our prayers, so to speak.

No one needs to feel excluded or beyond the help of almighty God. “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8). The Lord has obligated Himself to those who come into His throne room with a humble and obedient attitude. The proper approach means everything, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

B. God Does Not Give Us Harmful Things

We may not get what we want. A marvelous story, sometimes called the story of the Emmaus Road, is told in Luke 24:13–35. Two of Christ’s disciples had left Jerusalem after the crucifixion. We know the name of only one—Cleopas—but it seems these two were simply among the rank and file of the Lord’s followers. They were like many believers today who are just common people, without any great distinction. Although there is much we do not know about these two travelers, we do know they were terribly disillusioned and disappointed with everything that had happened. The grim reality of Christ’s death had crushed their hearts as well as their hopes. It would take Jesus Himself, traveling with them to Emmaus, to explain to Cleopas and his friend the greater purpose behind all that had taken place.

Sometimes we do not get what we want even though we feel our motives were pure and we prayed in faith. God is still sovereign. He will never mislead His people, never give them things that would hurt or harm them, never allow them to be tempted above what they can bear. In our humanity we “see through a glass, darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12). But our Father “knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8).

We will get what we need. It is simply a matter of trust. Jesus reasoned that even a natural father will not give his son a stone for bread or a serpent for a fish. Surely we can place our confidence in our heavenly Father’s provisions.

God is infinitely wiser and kinder than any earthly parent could possibly be. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

Our Father is concerned not only with our food, our clothing, and our bodies; He is vitally concerned with our spiritual and eternal welfare. Following His resurrection, Christ’s instructions made it clear the disciples were not to go out from Jerusalem to preach the gospel until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). In Ephesus, Paul questioned the followers of John the Baptist: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). Each one of us should long to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

God will empower new converts who are struggling spiritually to get their footing. God has promised the more mature Christian, weary and perhaps wounded in the struggle against the enemy, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He will always be the same: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). We can depend on the Lord to meet our needs. We gain strength, encouragement, and direction for our lives through union with Him. With unmatched courage and conviction, Paul wrote to his friends from a Roman prison: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

 That will conclude part one of our study “The Golden Rule”, we will pick up with part two on Thursday, looking forward to being with you then, hoping you have a great rest of the week.

 

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The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus-part 2

 The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus-part 2 

Praise the Lord, and greetings once again as we wrap up this week as we are getting close to the weekend, Hoping that you have had a blessed week so far, as mentioned on Monday we are going to pick up our study at 2. What The Commandment Does Not Mean

 

2.WHAT THE COMMANDMENT DOES NOT MEAN

A.It Does Not Mean There Is No Right or Wrong

To proponents of religious tolerance, this verse teaches there is no right or wrong. Everything is subjective. But this verse does not teach that at all. And neither do any of the other 31,101 verses in the Word of God. In fact, at the base of Mount Sinai, God gave the children of Israel ten specific commandments by which they were to live. God drew a hard, distinct line between right and wrong. And He expects His people to live on the right side of that line. In fact, when we look at those commandments, the best life we can live is on the right side of that line.

B.It Does Not Mean We Are Not Accountable to God

We know God sees every action, hears every word, and knows every thought. And further, we know God will judge every sinful action, word, and thought. For the Scripture teaches “the thought of foolishness is sin” (Proverbs 24:9). Every one of us will give account to God for the deeds done in our bodies, whether good or bad (II Corinthians 5:10). And we will give account to God for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36).

Matthew 7:1 certainly does not contradict the whole of Scripture by giving us a free pass to sin without taking thought of coming judgment, both in this life and in the judgment to come. In fact, according to Habakkuk 1:13, God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” God is so holy, He cannot even stomach the sight of sin. God will certainly judge sin.

3.WHAT THE COMMANDMENT MEANS 

A.We Are Not to Have a Critical or Judgmental Spirit

Now that we know what this commandment does not mean, we will devote the balance of our study to what it does mean. It does mean we are not to have a critical or judgmental spirit. Later in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a publican. When Jesus told this parable, doubtless Pharisees were in the crowd.

When Jesus said “Pharisee,” the Pharisees smiled, but when He said “publican,” they scowled. They knew what those two titles meant. To them, Pharisee meant “good guy,” and publican meant “bad guy.” Pharisee, saint; publican, sinner. To them it was that simple.

But the Pharisees were more than just good guys living among everyone else. They actually cut ties with and separated themselves from everyone else. Pharisees did not stoop to perform menial tasks. They considered such tasks as common jobs to be reserved for common folk. They deemed themselves defiled if they even talked to anyone who did not keep the Law as closely as they did. Pharisees did not often invite others into their homes, and neither would they step foot into a sinner’s sin-stained house.

However, throughout the Gospels, Jesus had more trouble reaching the self-righteous than reaching the sinners. The Pharisees began with a noble, pure desire to keep God’s law. But somewhere along the way, those noble motives were lost, and the Pharisees began to seek the praise of men rather than to praise God. Neither did it take long before their obedience became their polished badge of self-righteousness.

In Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the publican, the Pharisee was about to polish his badge by going to prayer. That was the time to show the world how righteous Pharisees were and how unrighteous others were. When it came time for prayer, this Pharisee made his way into the Temple. He found a place far from everyone else—but still within view of everyone else—stood up, lifted up his voice, and began to pray. And he “prayed thus with himself” (Luke 18:11). Some Bible versions read, “He prayed to himself.”

“God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11–12). God was pleased that he had done right and shunned wrong. But he crossed the line from separation into self-righteousness when he came into the holy presence of a holy God and judged his sinlessness against the publican’s sinfulness.

But in the parable, something beat inside the heart of the tax collector that drove him to the Temple when it was time to pray. He looked up at the grandeur and beauty of it all. It was so beautiful, so ornate. He was so unholy, so sinful. He looked across the room at the Pharisee who stood praying, so proud of himself. When the Pharisee eyed the publican, he scowled at such filth.

The publican chose a place away from others, but not for the same reason as the Pharisee. The Pharisee felt as if no one else was worthy to be around him, but the publican felt as if he were unworthy to be around anyone else. As different as his life was from the Pharisee, so was his prayer. He had no good deeds to parade before God. He made a handsome living by gouging his own brothers out of their meager money. Never before had he felt so unholy than in the presence of such a holy God. He could not even lift his eyes toward Heaven. So he bowed down, beat his chest with his fist, and cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

He made no excuses for what he had done or the way he had lived. If he truly repented, Jewish law demanded he give back everything he had ever unlawfully gained plus 20 percent. His repentance was going to cost him. Yet, knowing God was going to change his life, and he was going to change his ways, he prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” That day, Jesus gave a red X to the Pharisee and a gold star to the publican because the Pharisee dared judge the publican before he searched his own heart.

This parable in Luke 18 paints beautifully the principle of Matthew 7. We are not to have a critical or judgmental spirit. He said to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Whether we are in church, in the store, in school, in traffic, or anywhere else, God is not calling us to judge others’ sins or their hearts. He is calling us to search our own hearts to make sure we are right with Him.

If we do have a critical and judgmental spirit, we will be judged by the same measure of criticism and judgment with which we judge others.

B.We Are Not to Judge Others More Harshly Than Ourselves

This verse also teaches us to be careful not to judge others more harshly than ourselves. In order to do that, Jesus painted a humorous picture with His words: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5, NKJV).

This is the word picture Jesus painted in Matthew 7. Jesus admonished His hearers to search their own hearts first. If we do not, then we are rightly called hypocrites. But if we search our own hearts and take care of the “plank” in our eye, we will be able to see clearly to help remove the speck out of our brother’s eye. If not, we will do far more harm than good trying to remove the speck from his eye because we cannot see clearly

Internalizing the Message

Today is a good day to search our own hearts. Is sin present in our own lives? Is righteousness absent? Are we judging others harshly while we ourselves wish to be judged mercifully? When we come to church, do we hope the message preached will prick the hearts of others, or do we hope it will also prick our own?

We must be careful not to judge others before we first judge ourselves. For according to I Corinthians 11:31, “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” Simply stated, if we get our own hearts right with God now, we will not have to worry about Judgment Day, and we will see clearly to be able to help pick up our brothers and sisters if they fall.

So that cooncludes this weeks study on The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus, when we get back together on Monday we will have our study on The Golden Rule, until then have a Blessed weekend.

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The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus

 The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus

Praise the Lord and greetings as we head on into a new week on this Monday afternoon, and as we go into our new study “The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus” this week we’ll be learning on being judgemental, so without further delay here’s our study.

The Most Popular Commandment of Jesus

Focus Verse

Romans 2:1

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Lesson Text

Matthew 7:1–5

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Focus thought

Jesus calls us to live free from a judgmental attitude.

Culture Connection

Words for Believers from an Unbeliever

Tolerance looks pretty on paper, but it’s impossible in real life. If we truly believe in Heaven and Hell, we cannot passively coexist with others of other religions without sharing the gospel with them. And the gospel has the power to convict them of sin and transform their lives.

In his blog Between Two Worlds, Justin Taylor’s entry titled “How Much Do You Have to Hate Somebody to Not Proselytize?” gives a quote from the outspoken, self-proclaimed atheist Penn Jillette. Jillette, of the comedy magic duo Penn and Teller, said this concerning Christians: “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Most of Jillette’s acts are to entertain, but this statement convicts. When we share the gospel with others—especially of other faiths—we are not breaking Jesus’ command of Matthew 7:1–2. Rather, we are sharing good news with them that Jesus can and will give them abundant and eternal life.

Outline

1. EVERYONE’S FAVORITE COMMANDMENT

A. Tolerance: the Postmodern Virtue

B. Life without Judgment (Discernment) Is Impossible

2. WHAT THE COMMANDMENT DOES NOT MEAN

A. It Does Not Mean There Is No Right or Wrong

B. It Does Not Mean We Are Not Accountable to God

3. WHAT THE COMMANDMENT MEANS

A. We Are Not to Have a Critical or Judgmental Spirit

B. We Are Not to Judge Others More Harshly Than Ourselves

Contemplating the Topic

For decades, it seemed to be the “gold medal” verse, beating out 31,101 other verses to stay in first place. Preachers preached it and teachers taught it. Sunday school students memorized it. What is this most popular verse? John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Searching the Scriptures

1. EVERYONE’S FAVORITE COMMANDMENT

But times have changed. Now it appears that John 3:16 has some serious competition from another verse: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Many people who quote it may not even know where it is found in the Bible.

But when Christian parents tell their struggling teenage son he is hanging out with the wrong crowd, he reaches into his memory and pulls out this verse: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But what does it really mean? Does this verse mean we are prohibited from exercising any discernment or judgment? What does the Bible say about the verse that has recently become Jesus’ most popular commandment?

Matthew 7:1 has picked up steam during a period known as postmodernism. According to Wikipedia, “Postmodern religious systems of thought view realities as plural and subjective and dependent on the individual’s worldview.

A. Tolerance: the Postmodern Virtue

Tolerance is one of the pillars upon which postmodern ideas are built. Tolerance is defined as “an attitude of mind that implies non-judgmental acceptance of different lifestyles or beliefs” (unabridged.merriam-webster.com). Tolerance appears to be a new doctrine, but it is not. In fact, we see tolerance weave its deceptive web even in the Old Testament.

God supernaturally blessed Solomon with wisdom to discern matters of state and disputes within his kingdom. But as Solomon grew older, he married more and more women. And with those marriages came their gods. Solomon should have known better and lived better, but being tolerant, he opened the door of his heart and welcomed other gods.

Early in his life, Solomon worshiped the one true God. But later in life, Solomon’s wives “turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

In the beginning, Solomon simply tolerated other gods in his house and near God’s house. But in the end, Solomon actually worshiped those gods. His tolerance for the worship of other gods led to Israel’s downfall and defeat at the hands of their enemies. God warned Moses, and through the Scriptures, Moses warned Solomon: “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:1–3).

B. Life without Judgment (Discernment) Is Impossible

Religious tolerance looks good on paper. If we all called a cease-fire to our fighting over religious beliefs, then we would have peace and goodwill toward men. But there is a problem with that philosophy. Some religions actively promote the destruction of others not devoted to that specific religion. And at the heart of Christianity and the heart of God is the mission to reach the entire world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Every Christian familiar with John 14 understands that pure Christianity is incompatible with postmodern religious thought, namely religious tolerance. For Jesus clearly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus even said, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). Jesus was emphatic about the need to follow Him as the one way to approach God. So let us first study what this commandment Jesus gave in Matthew 7:1 does not mean before we study what it does mean.

  So that will conclude part one of our study of “The Most Popular Commandment Of Jesus” we will pick up part two on Thursday at 2. What the Commandant Does Not Mean. Looking forward to being with every one then.

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