Alêtheia Christian Fellowship – December 16, 2007
Jesus will conclude His sermon
He has demonstrated that the religion based on the Old Testament is a false understanding because it is based on rules rather than relationship.
:Matthew 7:13&14 ~ 13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
What in the world is the narrow gate?
The answer is verse 24a ~ “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them,” i.e. the narrow gate is the instructions of Jesus we’ve been talking about for two months – The Sermon on the Mount in actual practice
Not just the hearing – not just the understanding – not just the accepting – but the actual doing!
Religious people are easy to spot – they are intolerant, self-righteous, hypocrites, double-minded.
What have we discovered about His words?
1) “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
Four Greek words, pe>nhv, very few possessions - penicro>v, nothing extra - ejndeh>v, lacking basic necessities – but our word here is ptwco>v, the most dire and destitute; without any provision. Literally, the root means to crouch or cower.
It is the comprehension of our own incapability to be other than bankrupt! We are completely destitute and have no means whatsoever so we rely totally on a handout
2) “Blessed are those who mourn,
This strong word for mourning often expressed the grief of one over the loss of a loved one penqe>w.
Repent means to turn, so there not only must there be an admission of sin, but a genuine sense of remorse over it.
3) “Blessed are the gentle,
Meekness often implied self-control; it was the gentleness of strength, prau`>v adjective of prau`>thv.
Meekness is prompted by an awareness of our own sinfulness. And also the strength we now have in God.
Servants don’t pass judgments; lords do. If we see ourselves as servants, we concern ourselves with our service, not that of others.
4) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
It begins with commitment to God’s will, i.e. OBEDIENCE FIRST AND FOREMOST – Look for a prophetic word…Read your Bible! Obey what it says!
Implied in this beatitude is the assumption that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness recognize it is something which they do not possess in themselves. It is rather something which they lack, but desperately desire.
5) “Blessed are the merciful,
Mercy ejleh>mwn - The merciful understand mercy for they know their own inadequacies, dependence, weaknesses and incompleteness. And, when they receive gracious and merciful bounty from the King, they in turn know to show mercy to others.
People who know more of God’s mercy will be merciful.
6) “Blessed are the pure in heart,
Inward purity kaqaro>v, then outward - absolute sincerity and openness before God and men is not the work of man.
7) “Blessed are the peacemakers,
eijrhnopoio>v, our reconciliation with God, but it also involves the reconciliation of man with man.
We become shareholders in the family business when we evangelize – when we bring God’s peace to others.
Poor = kingdom of heaven
Mourn = comforted
Gentle = inherit the earth
Hunger and thirst for righteousness = shall be satisfied
Merciful = receive mercy
Pure in heart = shall see God
Peacemakers = called sons of God – In the family business.
1) Be Salt & Light
Salt was a preservative and necessity of life in the 1st century as well as making a dried out completely tasteless piece of meat palatable.
You don’t use salt preserving a fish and then scrape it off and use it again!
2) Be Peaceable (Murder)
One cannot truly worship God while harboring anger.
Legalism looks to the law to settle disputes; our Lord says that love should arbitrate our differences.
- \\ 3) Be Self-controlled (Adultery)
Rip out your eye? Avoid the place of temptation.
- \\ 4) Be Honorable (Divorce)*
Legalism looks only at the rules, Christian liberty at the reason behind the rules. While the Law permitted divorce, God hates it, and we should avoid it at all costs.
- \\ 5) Be Honest (Oaths)
There were two abuses of the oath, the frivolous and the deceptive. The oath does not bind you – your Christian character does!
- \\ 6) Be Forgiving (Enemies)
Eye for an Eye ~ Never intended as a proof-text for revenge, but as a principle of justice. The very purpose of this system was to avoid personal revenge and vigilante law.
- \\ 7) Be Real (Alms, Prayer, Fasting) *
Most of this is about manipulation, either of God or man or both!
True giving, prayer and fasting is not a technique nor a performance, but a relationship.
: Treasure F Worry F Judging
Help is only a prayer away (Ask, Seek & Knock)
:Matthew 7:15-20 ~ 15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.
If they wear sheep’s clothing you can’t just look at the external! Jesus is trying to tell you the external is masked – it seems good.
What is fruit? Not external hints of the internal condition - not so much mistakes, but the character of a person understood by the results of their ministry over some time.
What is the effect of this person’s ministry?
1- Proclaim God’s Word. 2- Defend God’s Plan. 3- Tackle Tough Issues. 4- Permanent Solutions. 5- Fear God more than Man. 6- Affirm Christ’s Deity. 7- Grace over Works.
(B) Effect of Teaching.
1- More Honor for God. 2- More Honor for Jesus. 3- More Honor for the Bible. 4- More Honor for Each Other. 5- More Concern for the Lost. 6- More Spiritual Maturity. 7- More Actual Obedience.
(C) Personal Moral Character.
1- Not Prideful/Unapproachable. 2- Not Greedy. 3- Not Sexually Immoral. 4- Not Selfish. 5- Not Swindlers. 6- Not Lovers of Power and Position. 7- Not Haters of Correction.
Is the prophet consistently seeking their own reward or is their character more like a servant trying to bless others?
Evaluate the results, but don’t Judge the person!
Carefully examine the message and not the messenger.
:Matthew 7:21-23 ~ 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
There are weeds in the field of wheat – Matthew 13 parable.
Be cautious, but don’t judge!
Drive another’s car and you’ll end up in the ditch.
Be an encourager, pray always and trust God
How is it possible that “Christians,” will be lost?
Two things closely linked:
1) No intimacy
2) Religious activity rather than Relationship – resulting in thinking/believing/doing the wrong things
So the KEY is true intimacy
It was the smug self-confidence of the scribes and Pharisees which inclined them to believe that when it came to God’s Kingdom, they had a corner on the market.
:Matthew 7:24-27 ~ 24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Jesus has distinguished His Kingdom from that of contemporary Judaism and all man-made/corrupted religion.
The bottom line is the choice everyone must make; the choice between mere religion and Christianity.
The right way to heaven is not that of the majority.
Two gates, Two kinds of guides, Two foundations. There are really only two choices and the correct one is secure.
They said, “We love to attend this church because the preacher teaches the way we like to hear it.” To me that is like saying of a certain doctor, “I love to go to him because I know he will always tell me what I want to hear.”
But the Lord Jesus narrows our choices to only two: religion and Christianity.
Religion, in brief, can be defined as man’s efforts to reach God, while…
Christianity is God reaching down to man.
Religion rests upon man’s work for God; Christianity on God’s work on behalf of men.
The small gate is the entrance to the narrow way, the way which leads to eternal life. That gate is our Lord Jesus Himself.
As a friend of mine says, “You can go to heaven God’s way, or you can go to Hell any way you want.”
Do not attempt to innovate upon or modify His means of salvation, for in this God is rigid and unbending.
You may go the tolerant and accommodating way which is well-traveled and on which you will have a great deal of company.
Those who submitted to the religious leaders of their day would follow them on the path which led to destruction.