A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.
December 9, 2007
Read Matthew 5
I have been thinking fairly deeply on the “tension” that exists in the life of faith. It’s an idea that has been a bit difficult for me to really grasp and to express, but I’m going to try to do a little bit of it today along with some reading from Matthew Henry’s Commentary and an Oswald Chamber’s devotional…..
I saw a glimpse of this tension again last week, in Matthew 5 17-48, as it becomes apparent that perfection, as Jesus sees it, is more of an inner attitude of heart than a simple outward performance of obedience. What we SEE is not necessarily what we’ve got . The performance of obedience is not necessarily obedience. We can be obedient and yet totally disobedient, in our inner man
We can practice the law to death and yet not fulfill the law, not as Jesus goes on to speak of it in these later verses.
“Be ye HOLY, for I am holy” (Leviticus 19:2) What does it MEAN? It calls us to holiness in one breath and yet in the same old testament we discover that there is NONE righteous…..no, not one! (Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3: 10-26)
This tension exists of being a sinner, and yet called to be a saint, 1 Corinthians 1:2
We possess all the riches of Christ (Ephesians 1), yet humility is asked for, Matthew 5:3,5.
The Beatitudes (”Be attitudes” ) Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus turns the world upside down.
What looks good to the world?
What looks good to Jesus?
The world says be proud and you will be happy, the world admires the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. What does Jesus say? Be ye perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
What does God say? Be holy, for I am holy……Leviticus 19:2
The Beatitudes speak of happiness and holiness. What a combination! This is unfathomable to the world. The world thinks that holiness detracts from our happiness. Following the rules is a bind. They are meant to be broken!
NO! They are NOT meant to be broken, that is quite clear in Matthew 5, as we read it, but we do find ourselves unable to keep them entirely in our own strength, in the flesh. We can only attempt this in the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.
Look at these elements of the Beatitudes again……
Poor in spirit/heirs
Are these consequences of right attitudes?
Pure in heart/ see God
Peacemakers/ called sons of God
I see 2 more anomalies….
Jesus calls the persecuted righteous (those in right living). He calls them BLESSED (happy). The kingdom of heaven is theirs. They have been persecuted because of right faith. They are BLESSED (happy). A REWARD is in heaven.
Oswald Chambers speaks on this tension that exists in the life of faith a little in the following devotional…..
My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, December 9, 2007
The Opposition of the Natural
Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires —Galatians 5:24
“The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh . . . .” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself. . .” ( Matthew 16:24 ). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.”
Have I refused to go to this funeral? The funeral of my own independence…….
I have been asking the question, “Who is He?”. Here it is again. We must realize who He is……
“The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will.”
The natural life is focused on SELF, a celebration of self. That is what the world is all about, celebrating the self….. for what? In order to DIE…..
Death to self is what Jesus is about….death to self in order to LIVE!
He came that we might have LIFE, and life ABUNDANT!
These are some of my thoughts on what I can only call the “tensions” in the experience of a Christian living in this world.
Read John 5:1-13. Who is He?
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